Helju Rebane

Short stories

About Helju Rebane


Helju Rebane (b. 18.VII 1948) is a prose writer, born in Tallinn, who has lived in Moscow a long time. She writes mostly science fiction in Estonian and Russian.

Helju Rebane belongs to a distinguished scholarly family. He father was Jaan Rebane, Ph. D. (1924-1993); her uncle Karl Rebane (1926-2007) was president of the Academy of Sciences of the ESR (1973-1990). Helju Rebane matriculated from secondary school number 5 in Tartu and studied mathematics at the State University of Tartu, graduating in 1971 with a specialism in theoretical mathematics. From 1972 to 1973 she worked in the department of logic and psychology at that university, and thereafter was a postgraduate in logic at the University of Moscow, and then a lecturer at colleges in Moscow and a senior engineer at a computing centre.

Rebane made her debut in the journal Looming in 1981 with the story Väike kohvik (‘The Little Café’). In 1983 she won a prize in the story competition run by the journal Noorus. Rebane’s short story collection entitled Väike kohvik appeared in 1986. The book aroused plenty of response from the critics.

Critics of Rebane’s works written in Russian praise the author’s expressive vocabulary and her skill in presenting and appreciating global problems in the narrow framework of a short story. Many of the stories have a sub-text, science fiction breaking into reality or running in parallel with it. Rebane’s stories provoke imaginary pictures and ideas of the relationship between good and evil. Helju Rebane’s work is characterised by a power of speaking simply about complex issues. Her short stories lead to a good and unexpected climax. The short novel Altrus is a funny yet ironical and sarcastic depiction of a person’s situation in a society with totalitarian features.

Helju Rebane’s stories have been translated into German and English. Her works have been published in Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Israel, Canada, in several anthologies (including compilations with the Strugatski brothers, V. Pelevin and M. Veller), in the Internet (in the Estonian on-line science fiction journal Reaktor) and in the anthology Läbi valu ja vaeva (‘Through Pain and Trouble’, 2020).

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

Books in Estonian

Väike kohvik [jutustused]. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1986. 110 lk.
Õige valik. Tartu: Fantaasia, 2021. 181 lk.

Books in Russian

Город на Альтрусе: фантастическая повесть и рассказы. Воронеж, 2011. 207 lk.
50 рассказов. Москва: Ridero, 2017. 288 lk.
Кот в лабиринте: рассказы. Москва: Ridero, 2017. 207 lk.