Swedish ‘cli-fi’: Mats Soderlunds ‘Attlingarna Hotet’ — Troll styr varlden och bar skuld far svar vattenbrist
“Overmnnskliga varelser ligger bakom andra varldskriget. Aven vana lasare har svart att hanga med i forsta delen av Mats Soderlunds dystopiska fantasitrilogi. Men med mer karlek och redigering hade den har berattelsen kunnat bli nagot riktigt stort, skriver reporter Sebastian Lonnlov.”
Yes, that’s newspaper headline in Sweden, above, and that’s the first paragraph by Swedish literary critic Sebastian Lonnlov in the introduction. Like other countries in Europe, from France to Italy and Germany and Norway and Spain, cli-fi novels are being published in their native languages, and using The Cli-Fi Report in Taiwan as their literary headquarters. The Report now comes with translation buttons in ten languages, including Chinese and Japanese.
The story? Jenny is 11-years-old when her father goes missing. They are attacked by a group of armed strangers during a mountain hike. Jenny is taken captive but manages to escape, while her father vanishes without a trace. Several years later Jenny and her siblings find out what really happened on the mountain and who the strangers really were. But that is just the beginning.
“The Threat” the first part in a trilogy set in an imminent future where climate disasters have become part of everyday life and where the lack of water leads to war. Sweden and Finland are the new, water-owning superpowers and migrant workers from mainland Europe travel to the north. The digital flux is constantly present and every little action or event is registered and logged. Yet there is an ancient secret hidden among all of this: a secret that may threaten the entire humanity. And not only the human race.
As you can see, Sweden has been getting into the cli-fi act as well, as Mats Soderlunds’ new novel “Hotet” (The Threat) shows. Published in January, it is now reaching readers nationwide in Sweden and other Nordic countries.
A photo of the novel’s cover can be seen here.
Another Swedish novelist to watch is Jesper Weithz, whose cli-fi novel “What’s Not Growing Is Dying” was published in Swedish a few years ago and is now being readied for an English-language translation edition as well.
The Swedish title is “Det som inte vaxer ar doende.”
In a recent Q&A interview with the Cli-Fi Report, Mr Weithz explained how he first heard about the cli-fi genre and what his own climate fiction novel is all about.
His novel could be said to be an existential cli-fi thriller set against the backdrop of modern life, and while it’s a cli-fi novel to be sure, climate change, man-made global warming — and their potential disasters — hover at the edge to the story but are never ”center stage” or the main ”focus” of the novel. It’s a powerful family drama, written with Weithz’s minimalist aesthetic and searing prose. It would make a very good translation for readers in the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and for anyone else who wants to read the book in English. In addition, translations into German, French, Italian, Norwegian, Finnish, Chinese and Japanese would also find an audience of cli fi genre readers in those countries — Portuguese for Brazil, too, since part of the novel takes place in Sao Paolo. You could say that Weithz’s novel would give readers in any country a sense that we in the modern world are standing on an ice flow and hearing the first crackling sounds of disintegration. It’s that powerful of a novel.