Norwegian science-fiction? Yes, there is…

Not too long ago, I watched the Swedish version of the John Ajvide Lindqvist novel Let the Right One In. I was so taken with it, I watched the English-language version of it, Let Me In, starring Kodi Smit-McPhee (the kid from The Road). I was actually expecting the Swedish version to be better, but it wasn’t. Here’s the trailer for the American version, if you haven’t already seen it:

So it got me thinking. If Sweden could turn out such a terrific (and I mean terrific) piece of genre fiction, then what about Norway? I Googled around and discovered that the American triumverate of Issac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Heinlein had an analog in the Norwegian pair Jon Bing and Tor Åge Bringsværd. Unfortunately, most of what they’ve written (often in collaboration) remains untranslated in English, and a monoglot like me is stuck.

So I emailed them (separately) and received gracious responses from both of them (separately) indicating what works I could read in my native tongue. Bringsværd pointed me to the following pieces:

  • “The Man Who Collected The First of September 1973.” The Book of Fantasy. ‘ed’. Jorge Luis Borges. Viking, 1988. Print.
  • “Codemus.” The World Treasure of Science Fiction. ‘ed’. David Hartwell. Little Brown & Co., 1989. Print.
  • “The Glass Mountain.” Drama Contemporary Scandinavia. ‘ed’. Per Brask. PAJ Publications, 1989. Print.

Jon Bing went so far as to email me a short story of his entitled “The Owl of Bear Island,” a wonderful short piece found in Tales From the Planet Earth, edited by Frederik Pohl. I’ve read Mr. Bing’s piece and I can tell you that it is a literary treat to read a story by someone who is not only a master of the genre, but who writes from a non-American, non-British perspective. There’s nothing overt, heavy-handed, or American bashing about it–it just has a different feel to it. I highly recommend it, and while I’m at it, I’ll ask if anyone knows if I can get Bing and Bringsværd’s 1979 miniseries Blindpassajer on DVD that I can be sure will play in my player. So … can I?

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9 Responses to “Norwegian science-fiction? Yes, there is…”

  1. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon….

  2. You can watch “Blindpassasjer” at NRKs web-page here: http://www.nrk.no/nett-tv/prosjekt/1889/

  3. If you want the DVD you can buy it here:
    http://nrkbutikken.no/dvd/blindpassasjer

  4. Garland Holtsclaw Says:

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  5. Very good written information. It will be useful to anybody who reads it, as well as me. Keep doing what you are doing can’t wait to read more posts….

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