Sjón

Tagged: Author | Music

Pseudonym of Icelandic singer-songwriter, poet and author Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson (1962-    ), who has performed with the rock band The Sugarcubes as Johnny Triumph, and with Björk under his own name; he has been active as a poet since the later 1970s, beginning to publish prose fiction a decade later with Stálnótt ["Night of Steel"] (1987), where Icelandic Mythology and rock (see Music; SF Music) "speak" to one another. The exploration and manipulation of the topoi of Metamorphosis, evident in this tale, generates throughout his work, in prose and poetry and song, a sense of the multiplex nature of reality in a manner characteristic of Fantastika in the twenty-first century.

Skugga-Baldur (2003; trans Victoria Cribb as The Blue Fox 2008) complexly interweaves the hunt for a blue fox with a priest's burial of a beloved woman he had rescued from shipwreck; eventually he is transformed into a fox through wearing its skin [for Metamorphosis above and Skinned here see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. In Argóarflísin ["The Splinter from Argo"] (2005; trans Victoria Cribb as The Whispering Muse 2012) an elderly bigoted gentleman, obsessively convinced of the superiority of the Nordic peoples, is forced to listen to the story of the Argonauts by a man who had sailed with Jason [for Golden Fleece again see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. Rökkurbýsnir ["The Marvels of Twilight"] (2008; trans Victoria Cribb as From the Mouth of the Whale 2011), set in the seventeenth century, describes the immolation of a scholar in an isolated Island. Mánasteinn: Drengurinn sem aldrei var til (2013; trans Victoria Cribb as Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was 2013) conflates the introduction of Cinema to Iceland, various consequences of World War One (including the Spanish flu'), and the coming to awareness of a teenage male hooker.

Sjón's closest approach to straightforward sf may be contained in the third part of CoDex 1962 (2016; trans Victoria Cribb 2018), a novel-like assemblage of three previously published tales (or sections) [for details see Checklist below, where it is broken down into individual volumes]; the book as a whole hovers fruitfully between its presentation in parts and its apotheosis as a single text, similar in this respect – though markedly more insular than – Roberto Bolaño's 2666 (2004; trans Natasha Wimmer 2008). The overall narrative begins in 1962, as a Jew escaping the Holocaust (see World War Two) brings his son the protagonist to a kind of "birth", as a clay baby (more Golem than Frankenstein Monster), 1962 also being Sjón's birth-year; ultimately, all Icelandic children born in that year will be seen as quasi-magically linked [for Magic Realism and Matter once again see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], rhetorically transforming CoDex 1962 into a myth of origin for Iceland: the protagonist, Jóseph Loewe, who remembers his birth and everything since, may be seen as the island's cantor: analogies with Die Blechtrommel (1959; trans Ralph Manheim as The Tin Drum 1962) by Günter Grass and Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (1980) are manifest throughout. The second part of the tale describes Iceland in 1962 just as the Cold War assaulted it, and the Island is cursed by nuclear radiation from bomb tests. In part three, which extends at least until the present day, a geneticist plots to combine Genetic Engineering with the Mutants of 1962 to create a successor race (see Adam and Eve). CoDex 1962, being exceedingly ambitious, awaits full recognition, which it may merit. [JC]

Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson

born Reykjavik, Iceland: 27 August 1962

died

works (selected)

series

CoDex 1962

  • Augu þín sáu mig – ástarsaga ["Thine Eyes Did See my Substance – A Love Story"] (Reykjavik, Iceland: Mál og menning, 1994) [Codex 1962: binding unknown/]
  • Með titrandi tár – glœpasaga ["Iceland's Thousand Years – A Crime Saga"] (Reykjavik, Iceland: Mál og menning, 2001) [Codex 1962: binding unknown/]
  • Ég er sofandi hurð – vísindaskáldsaga ["I'm a Sleeping Door – A Science-Fiction Story"] (Reykjavik, Iceland: JPV Publishing, 2016) [Codex 1962: binding unknown/]
    • CoDex 1962 (Reykjavik, Iceland: JPV Publishing, 2016) [omni of the above three: Codex 1962: binding unknown/]
      • CoDex 1962 (London: Hodder and Stoughton/Sceptre, 2018) [trans by Victoria Cribb of the above: Codex 1962: hb/Owen Gent]

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