Estonian Science Fiction Day
On the 8th of September, 1970 Henn-Kaarel Hellat used a new Estonian word ‘ulme’ instead of ‘science fiction’ in a public article in the newspaper “Sirp” (The Sickle in English) for the first time. In 1971 a contest of new Estonian terms was held by the same newspaper. Among other things the good replacement for too long science fiction was sought. Two new terms prevailed: ‘ulme’ and ‘ruja’.
The first of the two short words remained in use and is an umbrella term in Estonian today to designate speculative fiction with its three main sub-genres: science fiction (short version SF is also used sometimes in Estonian), fantasy and horror. ‘Ruja’ was a favorite of musician Jaan Rannap and nowadays it refers to a legendary Estonian band.
In Estonian, the word ‘ulme’ probably opposes to the word ‘olme’. The latter meaning present circumstances, conditions while the word ‘ulme’ has a sub-text link with terms vision and dream.
The genre, of course existed before September 1970 but it got a new, short and sharp, unique name.
In September 2015, Estonian fandom celebrated the 45th anniversary of the term ‘ulme’. The Estonian Science Fiction Day (literally – Day of Ulme) was celebrated in Estonian Writer’s Union House (in the Black Ceiling Hall). The godfather of ‘ulme’, Henn-Kaarel Hellat was present, Jaak Tomberg (PhD in literature) held a lecture “Science Fiction and Representative Energy”.
The Estonian Science Fiction Association had a chance to turn over Stalker awards which in different reasons had not yet found their way to nominees. One of the more prominent Stalkers was to Mario Kivistik for his outstanding contributions. Both Mr. Hellat and Mr. Kivistik offered their palm prints to generate a 3D models for the future Stalker award clay tablets.
More than 15 years Estonian fandom has held regular monthly meetings in the Beer Ministry in Tartu (former pub Labyrinth) and in Vintage Lounges in Tallinn (former pub Lost Continent).