Juhan Habicht

Juhan Habicht

Juhan Habicht (b. 24. I 1954) is an Estonian prose writer and a prolific translator.

He was born at Nõmme in Tallinn and attended 27th primary school and 1st secondary school. In 1977 he graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Tartu. From 1978 to 1990 he worked as a programmer in the industrial laboratory on the technology of detail design of turbines at the Tallinn University of Technology. From 1990 to 1992 he was a senior economist at the Institute of History, a translator at the Katherine publishing house, an instructor in computer studies at both the Labour Market Office and the Estonian Institute of Art, and later as a technical writer and staff member on motoring journals. From 1993 to 1997 he was a consultant to the Estonian National Commission of UNESCO. Since 1997 he has been freelance, mainly translating thrillers and science fiction. Habicht has taken part in the activities of the Tartu and Tallinn Young Authors’ Associacion (NAK), and from 1984 to 1986 he was chairman of the Tallinn NAK. From 2002 to 2017 he was chief editor of the electronic science-fiction journal Algernon.

In the seventies Habicht published a few short stories in journals and in the 1977 anthology Noori autoreid (‘Young Authors’). His first story collection, Veerevad kivid rataste all (‘Rolling Stones Under the Wheels’) appeared in 1983, and a collection of short prose, Veevalaja (‘Water-carrier’) in 1987. Habicht’s imagery was realistic for the period; the protagonists often came from his own circle. In 1990 he and Tõnu Trubetsky published a science fiction story they had written together, ’Igavene suvi’ (‘Eternal Summer’) in the journal Vikerkaar, the prototypes for which were members and acquaintances of the popular punk group Vennaskond. Similar to this is another work written with Trubetsky, Inglid ja kangelased (‘Angels and Heroes’), which came out in 1992. In 1993 appeared Habicht’s novel Selles mängus ei hüpata (‘We Do Not Jump In This Game’) – a crime novel about the underworld Estonia of the nineties, inspired by the innovative role-playing computer games of the period (such as ‘Larry’ and ‘Space Guest’).

Juhan Habicht has been one of the main promoters of cyberpunk science fiction in Estonian. Probably the first cyberpunk story in Estonian, ‘Warcraft n_thousand’ (Vikerkaar, 1997) was written by him, and he has also translated into Estonian the works of his favourite author William Gibson (such as the novel Idoru).

In addition, Habicht has translated abundantly – over a hundred works – from both science fiction (Roger Zelazny, Frank Herbert, Charles Stross, Genevieve Cogman, Jeff Vandermeer and others) and thrillers and classics of literature (Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Richard Brautigan and others).

E. L. (Translated by C. M.)



Books in Estonian

Selles mängus ei hüpata [romaan]; Must koer, ehk, Proloog, ehk, Kümme astat varem [novell]. Tallinn: Katherine, 1993, 172 lk.
Trubetsky, Pathique, Habicht, Inglid ja kangelased. Tallinn: Kirjastuskeskus, 2002, 270 lk.

Veerevad kivid rataste alt. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1983, 87 lk.
Veevalaja. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1987, 144 lk.