Veiko Belials

Short stories


Veiko Belials (born 20. VII 1966) is a science fiction, fantasy and children’s author, poet, translator, and teacher.

Belials was born in Tapa. In 1984, he graduated from Tapa Gymnasium. After attending the Soviet military service, he began studying forestry at the Estonian Agricultural Academy and graduated in 1991. Afterwards, he worked at a forestry trade union. From 2000, he also taught rural economy at Luua Forestry School. In 2003, he graduated with a technology teacher degree from the University of Tartu. From 1999, Belials is a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union and from 2015, the president of the Estonian Science Fiction Association.

As a prose writer, he debuted with the horror story Nöörid (‘Ropes’, 1993) in the science fiction and fantasy (SFF) magazine Mardus. He has published science fiction, horror and fantasy stories in the magazines Looming and Vikerkaar, in addition to the web magazine Algernon and the anthology series Täheaeg (‘Star Time’). He is one of the main writers represented in many science fiction anthologies, including Eesti ulme antoloogia (‘The Anthology of Estonian Science Fiction’, Varrak, 2002), Sõda kosmose rannavetes (‘War in the Coastal Waters of Space’, 2011), Eestid, mida ei olnud (‘The Estonias That Never Were’, 2017), Isaac Asimov 100 (2019), and Eesti ulme XXI sajandil (‘Estonian Speculative Fiction in the XXI Century’, 2020). He has co-authored several SFF stories with other authors, for example with M. Simpson, L. R. Berg, I. Hargla and J. J. Metsavana. The bulk of his hundred or so SFF stories have been published in four collections. He has won the Estonian SFF prize Stalker eight times.

As a productive author of the golden age of Estonian SFF writing, he has written stories in several SFF sub genres such as cyber and nuclear punk, space adventures and ghost stories. His SFF stories sometimes contain excellent references to the works of grand masters and his own adaptations of familiar narratives. In the fantasy novel Ashinari kroonikad (‘The Chronicles of Ashinar’, 1997), the author describes feudal, sword and sorcery type medieval worlds, in which good and evil are pitted against each other in an unfair and violent fight. In the science fiction novel Jumalate vandenõu (‘The Conspiracy of Gods’, 2006), religious and philosophical contemplations form the backdrop to a space adventure full of fights and battles to foil the plans of an evil secret organization to enslave mankind.

The story collection Helesiniste Liivade laul (‘The Song of Light-blue Sands’, 2002) contains various fantasy and horror worlds, which critics have noted for being influenced by great SFF classics. The story collection See, mis tuikab su veres (‘That Which Courses Your Veins’, 2005) offers Anglo-American-style bloody and danger-ridden dark fantasy. In those stories, the heroes are tasked with finding answers to the demons’ secrets, thereby fighting both the nightmare creatures and secretive human powers. A parodying style is present in the short stories of his collection Kogu maailma valgus (‘The Light of the Entire World’, 2013), where the reader encounters a ghetto future city run by hackers’ gangs or a galactic human colony struck by a zombie apocalypse. The collection Surnud mehe käsi (‘Dead Man’s Hand’, 2021) includes space science fiction dealing with mainly large-scale ideas and philosophical questions.

Belials started writing poetry during his military service, his first attempts were published in the magazine Noorus. In his poetry collections, he mainly combines love and nature poetry but also writes sharp straightforward jeer poetry. The collections are thematically diverse, emotionally sincere and nostalgic, use new symbolist devices and mythological motifs. They contain many parodies, oftentimes hinting at Estonian poetry but to well-known songs as well. Belials can capture important ideas succinctly and add punchlines to his messages using both rhyme and free verse. He has been more considerate of form when penning certain love sonnets.

In the children’s book Ossum-Possum, pannkoogielukas (‘Ossum-Possum, Pancake Creature’, 2000), which walks the line between pretend and real worlds, the imagined things of the main character Laura comes to life when she is transported through a portal to the Land Under the Bed where various fantasy creatures live and regular objects become unusual. Among other authors, Belials was included in the story collection Ruttu tuttu! Isade unejutte (‘Swift to Slumber! Bedtime Stories by Fathers’, 2005) which was recognized with the Raisin of the Year Award for most surprising and original children’s book.

Belials has translated Russian science fiction authors and published several Russian science fiction anthologies: Keskpäeva varjud (‘Shadows of Midday’, 2015), Me armastame Maad (‘We Love Earth’, I 2016; II 2017), Raevu päevad (‘Days of Rage’, I 2019; II 2020) and Viimase sõja viimane sõdur (‘The Last Soldier of the Last War’, 2021). As a nature photographer, he has compiled a photo album Meil on elu keset metsa (‘We Have Life in the Woods’, 2011) and published two forestry reference books: Metsasõbra teatmik (‘Forest Friend’s Handbook’, 2006, co-authored by Aino Mölder) and Tööohutus raietöödel (‘Work Safety During Lumbering’, 2007).

A. O. (Translated by A. A.)

Books in Estonian

Science fiction and fantasy
Ashinari kroonikad. Tallinn: Varrak, 1997, 351 lk.
Veiko Belials, Marek Simpson, Existerion. Tallinn: Varrak, 1999, 138 lk.
Helesiniste Liivade laul. Tartu: Fantaasia, 2002, 143 lk.
See, mis tuikab su veres. Tallinn: Salasõna, 2005, 187 lk.
Jumalate vandenõu. Tallinn: Varrak, 2006, 207 lk.
Kogu maailma valgus. Tartu: Fantaasia, 2013, 271 lk.
Surnud mehe käsi. Tartu: Lummur, 2021, 264 lk.

…ja libahuntidest ja lollist vennast. Tartu: Luhalind, 1989, 25 lk.
Vihmaste õhtute nukrus. Tartu, 1993, 53 lk.
Ma olen pingviin. Tartu: V. Belials, 1998, 76 lk.
Naised, viin ja armuvalu. Tallinn: Bahama Press, 2001, 45 lk. [E-raamat.]
Ingelsilm. Tallinn: Varrak, 2003, 47 lk.
Sina ja vaikus ja pajud. Pärnu: Jumalikud Ilmutused, 2011, 99 lk.
Asfalteeritud inimesed. Saarde-Pärnu: Jumalikud Ilmutused, 2015, 82 lk.

Children’s books
Ossum-Possum, pannkoogielukas. Tallinn: Avita, 2000, 138 lk.
Lugu kolmest jänesest. Tallinn: Dolce Press, 2008, 20 lk.

Reference books
Veiko Belials, Aino Mölder, Metsasõbra teatmik. Tartu: Halo Kirjastus, 2006, 55 lk.
Tööohutus raietöödel. Tartu: Halo Kirjastus, 2007, 16 lk.