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Tidbeck, Karin

Entry updated 21 May 2019. Tagged: Author.

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(1977-    ) Swedish author who began to publish work of interest with "Vem är Arvid Pekon?" ["Who Is Arvid Pekon?"] in Jules Verne-Magasinet #513 in 2002; it was later assembled with other tales as the title story of Vem är Arvid Pekon? (coll 2010; exp vt trans author as Jagannath: Stories 2012). This early work runs from austere mythopoeic nordic fantasy, perhaps too easily dismissible as twilit, to concisely evocative sf like "Jagannath" (Summer 2011 Weird Tales), set in what seems to be Generation Starship aeons hence, but which in fact is a huge animate crustacean-like Mother-entity traversing a Ruined Earth; upon her approaching death from malnutrition, the protagonist female escapes the living hollows of the Mother and begins her transformation into a new bearer of life.

Tidbeck is of particular sf interest for her first novel, Amatka (2012; trans author 2017), set on a colony planet (see Colonization of Other World) some generations after landfall. The ageing, straitjacketed culture that has evolved – its bureaucratic rigidness may be seen as Satirical of the sometimes humourless structure of the author's native Sweden – has become increasingly dysfunctional, due to the colonists' failure to comprehend that the metamorphic fluidity and decay cycles of the planet's flora and fauna are signs are evidence of a Living World, and that the colonists' attempts to preserve their way of life against the seemingly Entropic melting of the artifacts of their culture, are doomed: particularly the enforced routines of obsessive naming, the rote behaviour and the undeviating passionlessness, which are intended to hold the line against reality. The tale is occasionally schematic (see Thought Experiment), but the sensuous clarity of Tidbeck's style animates even the more doctrinal interrogations of her tale. She is a writer of considerable strength. [JC]

Karin Tidbeck

born Stockholm, Sweden: 6 April 1977


  • Amatka (Stockholm, Sweden: MIX Förlag, 2012) [hb/Lisa Sjöblom]
    • Amatka (New York: Vintage Books, 2017) [trans by author of the above: pb/Anna B Knighton]

collections and stories

  • Vem är Arvid Pekon? ["Who Is Arvid Pekon?"] (Stockholm, Sweden: Man av Skugga Förlag, 2010) [coll: binding unknown/]
    • Jagannath: Stories (Tallahassee, Florida: Cheeky Frawg Books, 2012) [coll: exp vt of the above: trans by author of the above: pb/Jeremy Zerfoss]
  • Jagannath (Stockholm, Sweden: MIX Förlag, 2011) [story: ebook: trans from English by author: first appeared Summer 2011 Weird Tales: na/]
  • Blodsband (Stockholm, Sweden: MIX Förlag, 2011) [story: ebook: trans from English by author: first appeared 2011 Unstuck #1 as "Cloudberry Jam": na/]
  • Sing (New York:, 2013) [story: ebook: first appeared 17 April 2013 na/Greg Ruth]


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