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Haars, Peter

(1940-2005) Norwegian/German graphic designer and author. Immigrating to Norway in 1962, he created poster artwork for Det norske teatret ["The Norwegian Theatre"] and turned to books in the mid-1960s. Advocating book covers as a particular form of art, he designed more than 300 books for Pax Forlag and Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, including the spectacular covers for Gyldendal's Lanterne Science Fiction series. He made the scenography for Jon Bing and Tor Åge Bringsværd's play Å miste eit romskip ["To Loose a Spaceship"] (1969), as well as Tor Åge Bringsværd's Jungelens herre ["Lord of the Jungle"] (1974). With Per G Olsen he edited and translated the anthology Nattjegere ["Night Hunters"] (anth 1975), containing stories about Vampires and Werewolves – the only anthology in the Lanterne SF series not edited by Jon Bing and Tor Åge Bringsværd.

Early in the seventies he published the graphic novels Prokon ["Prokon"] (graph 1971) and Happy Biff ["Happy Biff"] (graph 1972), both using elements from Pop Art and sf for social criticism. The audience was not yet ready for this form of expression, so he turned to writing instead. His first published story was "Din fremtid er lys" ["Your Future Is Light"] (August 1976 Algernon #10), later included in the early Norwegian anthology Nazar IV Dragsug: Norsk science fiction 1977 ["Nazar IV Suction: Norwegian Science Fiction 1977"] (anth 1977) edited by Jon Bing, Tor Åge Bringsværd and Sigmund Hoftun.

Haars's first book of prose, Pygmalion og andre avskyelige noveller ["Pygmalion and Other Disgusting Stories"] (coll 1977), showed that Norwegian fantastic literature was growing outside the Lanterne Science Fiction series. Using such literary archetypes as the Frankenstein Monster and Count Dracula, the reader was invited into a cabinet of horror. This still stands as one of the most important contributions to Horror fiction in Norway.

His huge knowledge and interest in horror literature also had an impact on his sf novel Reisen til Ai-Po-Tu ["The Journey to Ai-Po-Tu"] (1978), the title being Utopia backwards. The fictional book The Necronomicon by the mad Arab Alhazred, known from H P Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, plays an important role in the story. In a Far Future world where the ruling, white elite of power has withdrawn to the Inner World, living in mirror dreams, the protagonist Timur is abducted to the Outer World and sent on a journey to the planet Ai-Po-Tu, to find his missing wife.

Kutt, eller: Den negative helt som medium ["Cut, or the Negative Hero as a Medium"] (1979) tells the stories of serial killers such as Jack the Ripper and the German Peter Kürten, interconnected with a murder mystery in the present world. Not really sf, but definitively fantastic literature, the novel asks unpleasant questions: what is reality, and what is the made-up scenery in the making of a film? Can you trust a photograph of a man obviously being alive, when you know you have killed him years before? Haars's last book, Pull – en hattehistorie ["Pull – A Hat Story"] (1985), is more an ordinary literary work, a "journey into the multitude labyrinths of literature and thought". [CPe]

Peter Haars

born Nürnberg, Germany: 18 February 1940

died Oslo, Norway: 28 January 2005

works

collections

graphic novels

works as editor

Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 21:59 pm on 22 April 2024.
<https://sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/haars_peter>