The Greek author Nikos Panajotopoulos was born in Athens in 1963. While studying Engineering, he was also involved in the theater. After a brief phase as a culture journalist, he started to work as a screenplay writer for television and feature films; he also teaches at a film school in his home city. In 1996 at the Thessaloniki Film Festival he received the screenplay prize for the film ‘Apontes’. Since 1997 his volume of stories and two novels have also earned him a name as a prose writer.
In his books, Panajotopoulos, who is influenced by American film and literature, speculates on the influence of modern science and technology on our culture. He uses the genre of science fiction, which until now received little attention in Greek literature, as the means for discussing contemporary social problems. In the age of globalization, the identity of his heroes is almost no longer bound to a specific location; they also do not belong to a particular nation. The central theme in his stories is the irreconcilable tension between the inner and the outer worlds of the characters. Through incidents that take place abruptly and can be “measured” in scientific terms, like for instance sickness and death, the characters come face to face with their emotional limits and are thrown off course. In the novel ‘O ziggy apo ton Marfan – To imerologio enos exogiinu’ a sick 12-year-old boy attempts to deal with his parents’ conflict-laden separation. The boy reinterprets his feelings of alienation vis-à-vis his family and environment in terms of an extraterrestrial existence on a rough and inhospitable planet – which simultaneously has a comic and tragic effect. Panajotopoulos’ second novel ‘To gonidio tis amfivolias’ (1999), which was published in Germany under the title ‘Die Erfindung des Zweifels’ (2002), is a utopian satire about using genetic engineering as proof of someone’s artistic talents. The hero, an author from the old school, experiences all of the highs and lows of a writer’s existence in an imagined future, where the result of a gene test is the only factor that decides the fate of an artist’s career. The work, whose fictive authorship is cleverly made into a mystery, is a parable on the fear of the post-enlightened age in the face of uncertainty. The discontent regarding the present is intensified in a vicious caricature of a future literary business, where the genetic code makes all doubts, talent searches, and literary criticism superfluous. Panajotopoulos’ novel is characterized by a sober prose and with its sharp irony fills both critics and the public with enthusiasm. The author lives and works in Athens.
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