Jump to content

Jacek Dukaj

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jacek Dukaj
Jacek Dukaj
Dukaj in 2022
Born (1974-07-30) 30 July 1974 (age 49)
Tarnów, Poland
Alma materJagiellonian University
GenreScience fiction
Notable worksKatedra, Czarne oceany, The Old Axolotl, Perfekcyjna niedoskonałość, Lód
Notable awardsEuropean Union Prize for Literature (2009)
Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis (2017)
European Science Fiction Award (2023)

Jacek Józef Dukaj (pronounced: [ˈjat͡sɛk ˈdukaj]; born 30 July 1974) is a Polish science fiction and fantasy writer. His fiction explores such themes as alternate history, alternative physics and logic, human nature, religion, the relationship between science and power, technological singularity, artificial intelligence, and transhumanism. He is regarded among the most popular Polish contemporary science fiction authors.[1]

He is the recipient of numerous national and international literary prizes including the European Union Prize for Literature, Janusz A. Zajdel Award and European Science Fiction Award.


Jacek Dukaj and Anna Kańtoch - laureates of the 2010 Janusz A. Zajdel Awards

He was born on 30 July 1974 in Tarnów. He graduated from High School No. 3 in Tarnów and subsequently studied philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.[2] He made his literary debut at the age of 16 when he published his short story "Złota galera [pl]" ("The Golden Galley") in the Fantastyka science-fiction monthly.[3] In 1997, he published his first novel Xavras Wyżryn. His texts and short stories were featured in such science fiction and fantasy magazines as Nowa Fantastyka, Sfinks, Framzet, Fantom, Fenix, Science Fiction and Czas Fantastyki.

His short stories have been translated into English, German, Russian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Italian, Bulgarian,[4] Hungarian,[5] Ukrainian[6] and Bosnian.[7] His first story, "The Golden Galley", was translated into English by Wiesiek Powaga and published in The Dedalus Book of Polish Fantasy. Michael Kandel's translation of "The Iron General" has been published in A Polish Book of Monsters and his translation of fragments of The Cathedral into English is available online. The Cathedral served as the basis for the 2002 Academy Award-nominated science-fiction short film of the same name directed by Tomasz Bagiński.

In 2007, he published one of the most successful of his novels entitled Ice for which he won the Janusz A. Zajdel Award,[8] European Union Prize for Literature[9][10] and Kościelski Award.[11][12] In 2009, he published Wroniec whose action takes place in the background of the 1981 martial law in Poland.[13]

Dukaj (right) at the Literary Heights Festival, 2022

The Apocrypha of Lem, a mock-review in Lem's tradition, written as an afterword for reedition of Lem's A Perfect Vacuum, was published in "Lemistry", translated by Danuta Stok. The Old Axolotl is the first book of Dukaj published in English (in 2015).[citation needed] The novel inspired a 2020 Netflix-original Belgian TV series Into the Night.[14] In 2017, English language rights to Ice were acquired by London-based publisher Head of Zeus. The publication date will be announced once the novel is translated.[15]

As of 2021, Jacek Dukaj is also involved in business, being main shareholder and CEO of Nolensum company, founded to produce video games based on his stories and original ideas,[16] as well as shareholder and member of Board of Directors of Bellwether Rocks, an investment fund with focus on gamedev industry and tokenization, NFTs, crypto etc.[17]

In 2023, he was awarded the European Science Fiction Award conferred by the European Science Fiction Society (ESFS) in the Best Author category.[18][19]

Style and themes[edit]

His works frequently feature elements of cyberpunk, alternative history, and horror stories. The use of religious themes is one of the most distinctive features of Dukaj's novels. They were already present in The Golden Galley, his literary debut. The author is also known for undertaking literary experiments manifesting themselves in the combination of elements of fantasy with science fiction as is the case with The Iron General (2015).[20]

Dukaj has stated that creating a cohesive vision of the universe in a particular work is the basis of any good fantasy or science fiction book. Hence his books scrupulously describe the scientific aspects governing this universe and make use of elaborate scientific terminology. The realism in presenting the boundaries of human understanding might be inspired by the works of Stanisław Lem, which introduce the theme of the wear and tear of future inventions. The secret relationship between science and power is also explored in Dukaj's works, most notably in Black Oceans (2001), which is reminiscent of Lem's His Master's Voice (1968).[21]



Awards and nominations[edit]



  1. ^ "Jacek Dukaj wśród 23 najbardziej wpływowych Polaków w AI". rynek-ksiazki.pl (in Polish). 16 November 2023. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  2. ^ "Jacek Dukaj" (in Polish). Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Złota Galera" (in Polish). Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Jacek Dukaj - Literature". Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  5. ^ Bence Pinter (24 September 2021). "Q&A with Jacek Dukaj". spekulativzona.substack.com. Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  6. ^ "Jacek Dukaj". britishcouncil.org. Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  7. ^ Almir Šelahić (10 December 2021). "Jacek Dukaj "Led": U dubinama alternativne istorije". oslobodjenje.ba (in Bosnian). Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  8. ^ "Kańtoch i Dukaj laureatami nagrody im. Janusza Zajdla za rok 2010" (in Polish). Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Jacek Dukaj". Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Europa doceniła Polaka. Dukaj nagrodzony!" (in Polish). 29 September 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Jacek Dukaj". Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Jacek Dukaj laureatem Nagrody Kościelskich" (in Polish). 13 October 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  13. ^ "Wywiad z Jackiem Dukajem" (in Polish). Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  14. ^ "Netflix Announces the First Belgian Original Series – Into the Night". Netflix Media Center. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  15. ^ "ICE: 1000-page Polish Science Fiction Masterpiece to HoZ". Head of Zeus. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Jacek Dukaj założył spółkę Nolensum. Pracuje nad pierwszą grą opartą na swojej powieści". Wirtualne Media. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  17. ^ "Bellwether Rocks ASI chce zainwestować kilkadziesiąt mln zł w projekty cyfrowej rozrywki". Stooq. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  18. ^ "2023 ESFS Awards Winners". locusmag.com. 12 June 2023. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  19. ^ "EuropeanScience-Fiction Society 2023 (ESFS) przyznało nagrody". wirtualnywydawca.pl (in Polish). 13 June 2023. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  20. ^ "Jacek Dukaj" (in Polish). Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  21. ^ "Jacek Dukaj" (in Polish). Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  22. ^ Śląfka Archived 31 December 2018 at the Wayback Machine; list ow winners (retrieved 27 March 2017)
  23. ^ "Jacek Dukaj laureatem Nagrody Kościelskich" (retrieved 27 March 2017)
  24. ^ "Polska Europejska Nagroda Literacka 2009 dla Jacka Dukaja" (retrieved 27 March 2017)
  25. ^ "Wykaz laureatów – Nagroda Literacka im. Jerzego Żuławskiego". (retrieved 4 November 2023)
  26. ^ "Nominowani i laureaci Nagrody im. Janusza A. Zajdla". Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  27. ^ "Jacek Dukaj odznaczony medalem „Zasłużony Kulturze – Gloria Artis”" Archived 28 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine (retrieved 27 March 2017)
  28. ^ "2023 ESFS Awards Winners". locusmag.com. 12 June 2023. Retrieved 2 March 2024.

External links[edit]

Media related to Jacek Dukaj at Wikimedia Commons