Kurtén, Björn

Tagged: Author

(1924-1988) Finnish palaeontologist and author whose fiction appeared first in his native Swedish, his first novel of potential sf interest being published as early as 1941. His sf novels – Den svarta tigern (1978 Sweden; trans Kurtén as Dance of the Tiger: A Novel of the Ice Age 1980) with a foreword by Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002), and Mammutens raddare (1984 Sweden; trans Kurtén as Singletusk: A Novel of the Ice Age 1986) – fascinatingly apply late-twentieth-century speculations about Evolution to the subgenre of Prehistoric SF (see also Anthropology; Origin of Man), offering the suggestion that blond and burly Neanderthals fell fatally in love with their black, beautiful, neotenous Cro-Magnon neighbours (see Exogamy), bringing them home to engage in sterile matches. Neoteny can be defined as an indefinite prolongation of childlike behaviour and physical proportions. The influence of Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989) can be traced in the tenor of these speculations; the notion that our ancestors rose to preeminence through hypnotic cuteness is intriguing. [JC]

Björn Olaf Lennartson Kurtén

born Vaasa, Finland: 19 November 1924

died Helsinki, Finland: 28 December 1988

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