Sandor Szathmari was pre-eminent among the creators of prose in
Esperanto and is revered particularly for his novel Vojagho al
Kazohinio (Voyage to Kazohinia).
Born in Hungary in 1897, he learned Esperanto in 1912 and
first began to write in the language in 1932, as a sideline to his career
as a mechanical engineer. Between 1937 and 1942 he presided over the business
management of the Hungarian Esperanto Association. In 1939 he finished
work on Vojagho al Kazohinio. However its publication was delayed
by the outbreak of war in Europe and it didn't appear in Esperanto until
1958, by which time three Hungarian editions had stolen its thunder.
His short stories were published widely in the 50s and 60s,
in the revues: Belarto, Monda Kulturo, La Nica Literatura Revuo, Monda
Kulturo and Hungara Vivo. He also contributed articles on literary
themes and the international language movement, to i.a. Sennacieca
Revuo, la Praktiko, Sennaciulo, Hungara vivo, Monda Kulturo and Esperanto.
His study on poet and dramatist Gyulya Baghy, formed the preface to Ora
duopo (Golden duo).
Szathmari's short-story collections are: Mashinmondo (Machine-world)
which appeared in 1964 under the Stafeto banner, Kain kaj Abel
(Cain and Abel) which was published posthumously in 1977, and
Perfekta civitano (Perfect citizen), which gathered all his
short stories into one volume in 1988. He was also one of the authors
represented in 33 rakontoj, la Esperanto Novelarto (33 stories,
Esperanto Prose) and its revised, expanded edition - Trezoro
(Treasure), which were published in 1964 and 1989 respectively.
In Vojagxo al Kazohinio Szathmari satirically sketches
the problems of a society which has overcome every psychological alienation
but which has lost its human nature. In the midst of that society however
there remains a group of "old" humans, which the society has
segregated to prevent its own destruction. These "old" humans
symbolise today's humanity. They accept ridiculous and abnormal taboos
while the unemotional unalienated majority symbolise the result of science
serving its own ends and not those of humanity.
Sandor Szathmari died in 1974. He also wrote and published
in his native Hungarian.