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Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem

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Aniara, Harry Martinsons stora rymdepos, är på en gång en förtvivlans varning i kärnvapnens och de ekologiska hotens tid och det kanske fulltonigaste uttrycket för Martinsons livslånga projekt att visa oss människans försök att se sig själv och sin roll i skapelsen. Aniara publicerades första gången 1956 och fick ett storartat mottagande. Men kanske är det först idag som ry Aniara, Harry Martinsons stora rymdepos, är på en gång en förtvivlans varning i kärnvapnens och de ekologiska hotens tid och det kanske fulltonigaste uttrycket för Martinsons livslånga projekt att visa oss människans försök att se sig själv och sin roll i skapelsen. Aniara publicerades första gången 1956 och fick ett storartat mottagande. Men kanske är det först idag som rymdeposet fullt ut framstår som ett av vår tids konstnärligt och intellektuellt mest utmanande verk.


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Aniara, Harry Martinsons stora rymdepos, är på en gång en förtvivlans varning i kärnvapnens och de ekologiska hotens tid och det kanske fulltonigaste uttrycket för Martinsons livslånga projekt att visa oss människans försök att se sig själv och sin roll i skapelsen. Aniara publicerades första gången 1956 och fick ett storartat mottagande. Men kanske är det först idag som ry Aniara, Harry Martinsons stora rymdepos, är på en gång en förtvivlans varning i kärnvapnens och de ekologiska hotens tid och det kanske fulltonigaste uttrycket för Martinsons livslånga projekt att visa oss människans försök att se sig själv och sin roll i skapelsen. Aniara publicerades första gången 1956 och fick ett storartat mottagande. Men kanske är det först idag som rymdeposet fullt ut framstår som ett av vår tids konstnärligt och intellektuellt mest utmanande verk.

30 review for Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Of all Nobels on my shelves, Harry Martinson's Aniara is the one I have reflected on the most, unable to put it into comprehensible context, and to give it an honest and fair evaluation. I don't claim to be able to do it now either, but I can't stand the idea of this favourite being left to travel in a void, straight ahead into space without any recognition from me, the grateful reader. It has shaped my relation to Swedish literature more than anything else. Being a poem, a science fiction post- Of all Nobels on my shelves, Harry Martinson's Aniara is the one I have reflected on the most, unable to put it into comprehensible context, and to give it an honest and fair evaluation. I don't claim to be able to do it now either, but I can't stand the idea of this favourite being left to travel in a void, straight ahead into space without any recognition from me, the grateful reader. It has shaped my relation to Swedish literature more than anything else. Being a poem, a science fiction post-apocalyptic verse epos, and a deeply disturbing journey into the human condition, it is one of the books I quite often open randomly to enjoy the brilliant Swedish verse. I actually bought an English translation, second hand but very expensive, because I thought I could read excerpts from it with my students, but in the end, Martinson's language was so much connected to Swedish in my mind that I did not go ahead with the project. Of all the Nobel Prizes in Literature, the one awarded to Martinson and Johnson in 1974 is probably the most disputed. Both were members of Svenska Akademien at the time, and they had to endure harsh criticism for receiving the prize from their own colleagues. It is still a sore chapter in Swedish literary history, and Martinson's dramatic suicide is thought to be directly linked to the fact that he was deeply hurt by the reaction to the Nobel award. Politics aside, having read quite a lot by both Johnson and Martinson, and at least two or three works by all other laureates worldwide as well, I belong to the party claiming they deserved the honour DESPITE being in the academy. Aniara speaks for itself. A group of survivors after an apocalyptic catastrophe on Earth travel straight ahead, without goal, in space, still mourning what they lost, and trying to make sense of their existence in a void. The result is a strange swaying back and forth between over-exalted emotions and complete numbness, - a scary feature of hopelessness which I recognise in many layers of global society today. While Wells in his The Island of Dr. Moreau still finds hope and solace in humankind's heart despite wild experiments with horrible outcomes, the dystopia of the nuclear age is bleak, hopeless, an eternal trap. "Efforts at escape through flights of mind and fading in and out from dream to dream - such methods were at hand. With one leg washed by surges of emotion, the other resting on emotive death, we'd often stand. My questions of myself got no reply. I dreamed a life up, but I lived a lie. I ranged the universe, but passed it by - for captive on Aniara here was I." The Swedish flow of words is a song, creeping under my skin: "Försök till räddning genom tankeflykt och överglidningar från dröm till dröm blev ofta vår metod. Med ena benet dränkt i känslosvall det andra med sitt stöd i känslodöd vi ofta stod. Jag frågade mig själv men glömde svara. Jag drömde mig ett liv men glömde vara. Jag reste alltet runt men glömde fara. - Ty jag satt fånge här i Aniara." Being locked forever in a small community, similar to the one evoked by Brooks in The Bunker Diary in its inevitable isolation and lack of possibilities, different religions and groups start to form according to the personalities of the inhabitants, leading to a cult of regret at the loss of paradise, which in this case is the less than perfect Earth they had to evacuate from: "In Memory Hall there are recanters' fêtes and those immersed most deeply in recanting have gathered, bearing ashes on their pates, self-torturers with their recanting-chanting: Stand and confess. The walls of grievous rage are closing on the fate we engineered. our doom is mirror-image to the cage at which from outside we at one time sneered." "I Minneshallen hålls det ångermässor och de som sjunkit djupast i sin ånger ha samlats där med askbeströdda hjässor torterande sig själv med ångersånger: Stån upp till svars. Den tunga vredens murar sig sluter om det öde vi beredde. Vårt straff är spegelbilden av de burar som en gång utifrån vi själv beledde." The Aniara travellers try different illusions to make their life more bearable, such as artificial gardens or projections in space to fill it with the illusion of context. These schemes fail, as the humans are too aware of the tricks and only feel more definitely detached from the earth they left behind. Theirs is a world where God and Satan drop their eternal fight and unite in mourning over the human disaster: "Describe the creature fine and fair who sewed the shrouds for his own seed till God and Satan hand in hand through a deranged and poisoned land took flight uphill and down from man: a king with ashen crown. Beskriv den människa som i glans sit släktes likdräkt sydde tills Gud och Satan hand i hand i ett förstört, förgiftat land kring berg och backar flydde för människan, askans konung." The dichotomy of the beautiful, heart-warming verse and the scary message is omnipresent in Martinson's epic poem, and the relevance of the worrying scenario is as acute now as in the 1950s. The world is still developing in a direction where power to destroy is given to people with no sense of love and responsibility for the beautiful nature of our shared planet and our common cultural heritage. Aniara is a cautionary tale, holding up the mirror of regret when it is too late: don't travel straight ahead without purpose! Noble Nobel Martinson! You were well worth your award.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    oh my good friends, i've stumbled on a little treasure that is hidden wonder. billed as an 'epic science fiction poem', 'aniara' was the crowning achievment of harry martinson. i came across this author, while digging into past nobel prize winners and seeing that martinson (along with another member of the swedish academy - yeah that's the group that decides who wins the award) was given the nobel prize over that years favorites: graham greene, vladimir nabokov, and saul bellow. bellow eventuall oh my good friends, i've stumbled on a little treasure that is hidden wonder. billed as an 'epic science fiction poem', 'aniara' was the crowning achievment of harry martinson. i came across this author, while digging into past nobel prize winners and seeing that martinson (along with another member of the swedish academy - yeah that's the group that decides who wins the award) was given the nobel prize over that years favorites: graham greene, vladimir nabokov, and saul bellow. bellow eventually won the award, but by some crime against humanities, nabokov never got one. alas, i had to know what the merit was of these two authors that the swedish academy deemed more deserving than a vladimir nabokov. i couldn't find much on eyvind johnson (the other winner), so i decided to take a shot on this harry martinson. of course my interest was piqued when i saw what his epic poem cycle aniara was about: a spacecraft, in a post-apocolyptic world, gets knocked of track on a flight to mars, and is thus floating into deep space with no chance of returning. the plot line alone is packed with several genres, philosophies, and prophecies. as you would imagine, my poor library did not own a copy, but had to get one from asu, to lend to me. i'm about a third of the way through this book, and so far it has lived up to its potential. i'll offer more thoughts upon completion, but i couldn't wait and had to share this spectacular, and unique work of art. so this is a wonderful, little piece of art that seems sadly overlooked in world literature. it is such a unique piece of writing that blends such disparate, genres, ideas, and styles. i'm not gonna go too far into it for two reasons: 1) i'm in the middle of re-reading it to try and unlock some of the allusions and mythology used in the poem (martinson used many different cultures and myths, as well as etymologies from different languages for his neologisms); also, 2) i don't wanna spoil it for anyone else who may wanna read it. so i'll prob. post so more thoughts on this, in a month or so.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wart Hill

    they played a game of chess with infinity. I don't know where to start with this review, so I'll just leave that quote up there and say my goal is to learn Swedish so I can get a copy in the original language and read it again. In Swedish. Did I mention Swedish? This poem is amazing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Gillade stämningen såååå mycket, så ensligt och bortom allt hopp. De ba flyter utan riktning i rymden. Ingen kan rädda dem. Literally lost in space. Fantastiskt. Tyckte dock det blev lite väl mkt med alla egenkomponerade ord, och kände verkl bara wtf när den där sekten bildas (?) och den ”leds” av en kvinna som ba jo men absolut jag lägger mig här så kan alla män som vill komma och ha sex med mig d lugnt i like it :))) och att det skrivs som ngt storslaget och vackert fast det egentligen bara su Gillade stämningen såååå mycket, så ensligt och bortom allt hopp. De ba flyter utan riktning i rymden. Ingen kan rädda dem. Literally lost in space. Fantastiskt. Tyckte dock det blev lite väl mkt med alla egenkomponerade ord, och kände verkl bara wtf när den där sekten bildas (?) och den ”leds” av en kvinna som ba jo men absolut jag lägger mig här så kan alla män som vill komma och ha sex med mig d lugnt i like it :))) och att det skrivs som ngt storslaget och vackert fast det egentligen bara suger.

  5. 4 out of 5

    fonz

    Metáfora muy negra de la trayectoria vital del ser humano, perdido en el estéril vacío de un cosmos inmenso e indiferente. Un viaje terrible en el que en todo momento cargamos con el atroz conocimiento de que vamos hacia una muerte vacía de significado (una idea que Thomas Ligotti emplea y amplía en su "La conspiración contra la raza humana"), y con la convicción de que lo malo que ocurre en el mundo es culpa nuestra. Me ha gustado mucho como Martinson, un poeta que nada tiene que ver con el géne Metáfora muy negra de la trayectoria vital del ser humano, perdido en el estéril vacío de un cosmos inmenso e indiferente. Un viaje terrible en el que en todo momento cargamos con el atroz conocimiento de que vamos hacia una muerte vacía de significado (una idea que Thomas Ligotti emplea y amplía en su "La conspiración contra la raza humana"), y con la convicción de que lo malo que ocurre en el mundo es culpa nuestra. Me ha gustado mucho como Martinson, un poeta que nada tiene que ver con el género, emplea metáforas de ciencia ficción para hablar de estos temas en un poema épico futurista y moderno; la nave espacial, la guerra nuclear, la colonización de planetas, el vacío estelar... Los mejores momentos son cuando emplea el lenguaje científico, incluso usando palabras inventadas típicas de la cf, con sentido lírico. Las descripciones del viaje al principio del libro, o el canto 77 donde se describe una estrella muerta son puro sentido de la maravilla. Curiosamente también emplea esa típica herramienta del género, la inmersión, con un resultado excelente. Es algo que siempre he pensado, que el sentido de la maravilla y la inmersión, cuando están bien conseguidas, más que especulación científica, son lírica y poesía por necesidad. Además, como señala Martinson en el canto 85, hay realidades científicas inexpresables con otro lenguaje que no sea la poesía. Esta idea es muy potente, un camino de salida a una paradoja que me fascina, la de los límites de la ciencia ficción, es decir, cómo podemos expresar en un lenguaje comprensible las maravillas y terrores del universo, los paisajes alienígenas, la inabarcable e incomprensible inmensidad y frialdad del cosmos. Pero eso solo es parte del libro, hay otros cantos menos narrativos y más introspectivos, sobre la memoria, la espiritualidad, la felicidad, la tragedia, el dolor que causa la humanidad, que para un lerdo en poesía como soy yo, me han dejado más indiferente y no he terminado de comprender bien. Resumiendo, una rara avis que se lee muy fácilmente y con interés, gracias a la, en mi opinión, acertada decisión de la traductora de transformar los versos originales en un poema en prosa. A mí me ha recordado a ratos a la obra de Samuel Delany, un escritor que me gusta mucho, con algunas gotas de Bester cuando se ponía lírico. También me gustaría hacer notar cierto paralelismo; Delany era admirador de Bester y le fascinaba cómo éste empleaba lenguaje poético para plasmar sensaciones inexpresables por el lenguaje "llano" en "Las estrellas, mi destino" ("El frío sabía a limones y el vacío era un rasguño de garras en su piel"). Todo esto me ha hecho preguntarme, primero, qué llevo a Martinson a escribir ciencia ficción y cuál era su relación con el género (se nota que lo conoce y que está versado en ciencia y tecnología) y cuántos de los escritores de la new wave norteamericana e inglesa (incluyendo a mavericks como Stanislaw Lem), conocían esta obra (recordemos que publicada en 1956, misma fecha que "Las estrellas, mi destino").

  6. 5 out of 5

    John

    Jag måste härvid bekänna att mitt läshuvud ej räckte till. När min poetiska båge jag spänna förlorad i rytmen därtill Ibland var den så förgrymmat vacker men kontexten mig då kollra bort, i DaiseliDoodyGhazilnutattacker mitt fokus var synnerligen kort.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    "Aniara" brillamment rendu en français par Philippe Bouquet et Björn Larsson est le grand chef-d'œuvre littéraire de l'époque post-Hiroshima. Publié en 1956 "Aniara" offre toujours l'analyse la plus poussée et la plus percutante de la possibilité de l'annihilation de l'humanité par lune guerre nucléaire. Dans le monde réel le problème est toujours très actuelle même s'il a plus au moins disparu de la littérature. Le poème raconte l'histoire du vaisseau spatial "Aniara" et ses 8000 passagers qui q "Aniara" brillamment rendu en français par Philippe Bouquet et Björn Larsson est le grand chef-d'œuvre littéraire de l'époque post-Hiroshima. Publié en 1956 "Aniara" offre toujours l'analyse la plus poussée et la plus percutante de la possibilité de l'annihilation de l'humanité par lune guerre nucléaire. Dans le monde réel le problème est toujours très actuelle même s'il a plus au moins disparu de la littérature. Le poème raconte l'histoire du vaisseau spatial "Aniara" et ses 8000 passagers qui quittent la Terre, rendue inhabitable par la guerre nucléaire, afin de s'installer sur la planète Mars. "Aniara" des déviée de son trajectoire par une astéroïde et rate son atterrissage. Ses passagers sont condamné à voyager dans le vide jusqu'à la fin de leurs jours. Au bout de vingt-quatre ans, la structure du vaisseau est abimée et ses systèmes de maintien de vie se dégradent. "Aniara" devient un sarcophage et tous ses passagers meurent. La thèse de Martinson est consternant. Il ne semble pas regarder l'autodestruction de la race humaine comme une tragédie mais plutôt l'aboutissement digne d'un phénomène qui n'avait pas de sens. D'après Martinson la vie de l'homme est absurde. On peut réfléchir sur l'extinction de la race humaine mais il ne faut pas en pleurer. Aux yeux de Martinson la chance et le miracle sont la même chose. Dieu in n'existe pas. Les passagers d'Aniara refusent d'accepter la réalité de leur situation. Ils créent des nouvelles religions et ils fondent des écoles pour former une relève. On scrute continuellement les galaxies à l'extérieur pour des signes d'espoir. Malgré tout ils ne s'échappent pas à leur destin. "Aniara" est connu en-dehors de la Suède seulement à cause de l'opéra du même nom de Karl-Birger Blomdahl qui a eu sa première en 1959 à Stockholm. Dans les quatre ans qui ont suivi, on a monté l'opéra dans une douzaine de villes à l'étranger. Bien que fulgurant, le succès a été de très courte-durée. La dernière représentation à l'étranger a eu lieu à Montréal en 1967 devant une salle vide. La dernière représentation à Stockholm a lieu deux ans plus tard. Ensuite on l'a montée à Gothenburg en 1994 et à Malmö en 1917. À mon avis, le poème et l'opéra sont des œuvres de grande importance et méritent un meilleur sort. Comme démontre la confrontation et entre le Corée du Nord et les États-Unis la possibilité d'une guerre nucléaire est aussi forte qu'à l'époque ou Martinson a écrit son poème épique.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mariamosh

    Ljuv kombination av science fiction och poesi när rymdfärjan Aniara reser mot kolonier på Mars för att rädda sig undan en jord på väg att förgås av människan, men direkt hamnar ur kurs och blir dömda att i en evighet färdas ut ur galaxen i det eviga rymdmörkret.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Santiago L. Moreno

    "Aniara" es un poemario constituido por 103 cantos, publicado en 1956 por el premio Nobel sueco Harry Martinson y ahora traducido y prosificado por Carmen Montes Cano. Cito su nombre porque es obligado, puesto que la tarea de volcado al castellano se me antoja un auténtico tour de force. Personalmente, he tardado en aclimatarme a ese proceso, pero una vez asimilado, la lectura se ha convertido para mí en una auténtica delicia, un proceso de navegación tan armónico que la primera palabra que acud "Aniara" es un poemario constituido por 103 cantos, publicado en 1956 por el premio Nobel sueco Harry Martinson y ahora traducido y prosificado por Carmen Montes Cano. Cito su nombre porque es obligado, puesto que la tarea de volcado al castellano se me antoja un auténtico tour de force. Personalmente, he tardado en aclimatarme a ese proceso, pero una vez asimilado, la lectura se ha convertido para mí en una auténtica delicia, un proceso de navegación tan armónico que la primera palabra que acude a mi mente para calificarlo es "música". El relato describe la singladura de una gigantesca nave espacial perdida en el espacio, con rumbo fijo entre la Tierra y la constelación de Lira. La premisa inicial me ha recordado el cuento Tricentenario, de Joe Haldeman, aunque el contenido no puede ser más distinto. El corpus de la narración está constituido por los sucesos y los cambios sociales que se dan a lo largo de esos años y por el recuerdo de la historia anterior al despegue. Si la métrica se ha perdido, el aliento poético de esta epopeya pervive aún en sus páginas. No puedo imaginar la potencia con la que este texto, tan cercano a Bradbury en su calidad lírica, debe de golpear al lector en su forma original, con su naturaleza rítmica y su rima al completo. Bajo la épica del náufrago, Martinson narra el desarrollo vital y el ocaso de los habitantes de una nave que apunta a generacional pero que no llega a serlo, describiendo a la par, con similar pulso lírico, los vaivenes humanos y los paisajes cósmicos. De paso, crea, en maravillosos interludios, una mitología completa de una Tierra al borde de la extinción situada a casi veinte mil años en el futuro. Esto no es una novela, es un canto, una melodía que invade la mente con imágenes hermosas. Una extraña flor tan breve como bella.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bjorn

    A spaceship hurtles towards a distant constellation, going faster than anything in human history but essentially standing still from a relative point of view. That wasn't the point, of course. They were just supposed to be temporarily evacuated to Mars and Venus while Earth "recovers". All of humanity being shipped out on spaceships - each one just making a routine trip, just on a much grander scale. Except for the Aniara which gets hit by a meteor shower. Her steering gets knocked out, her SOSs A spaceship hurtles towards a distant constellation, going faster than anything in human history but essentially standing still from a relative point of view. That wasn't the point, of course. They were just supposed to be temporarily evacuated to Mars and Venus while Earth "recovers". All of humanity being shipped out on spaceships - each one just making a routine trip, just on a much grander scale. Except for the Aniara which gets hit by a meteor shower. Her steering gets knocked out, her SOSs go unanswered, her AI kills itself after it sees Earth be destroyed in a nuclear holocaust, and the Aniara and her thousands of passengers are sent hurling on a 15,000 year journey towards Vega, with only their memories for company. It's staring. It's staring cold outside. It sounds like a potentially cheap sci-fi movie, it is actually a pretty fucking great sci-fi story except told in verse. Martinson tells it through the eyes of the AI operator whose job it is to keep the systems running as the years pass, the systems fail, and all the distractions - virtual reality and social media (yes, in 1957), religion, sex, music, science, even suicide - lose their allure and only the impossible vastness of space remains. He switches style from canto to canto, examining different characters, different aspects, different ways of trying to cope with the uncopeable. Myself I questioned, but gave no reply. I dreamt myself a life, then lived a lie. I ranged the universe but passed it by - For captive on Aniara here was I. This book is 50 years old this year. It's lost absolutely none of its power.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Johan Thilander

    Omläst inför ett samtal med regissörerna till filmatiseringen. Var lite beredd på att hata omläsningen av denna - flera böcker som jag älskade när jag var yngre skäms jag över idag. Men denna var inte dålig. Därmed sagt: jag tycker den är överskattad. Inte att det är en dålig dikt, men folk skattar den för högt. Det är bra litteratur, det är en kompetent skriven dikt, men som en av de hundra bästa litterära verk på Världsbibliotekets lista? Nåja. Peppad på att se filmatiseringen och prata med reg Omläst inför ett samtal med regissörerna till filmatiseringen. Var lite beredd på att hata omläsningen av denna - flera böcker som jag älskade när jag var yngre skäms jag över idag. Men denna var inte dålig. Därmed sagt: jag tycker den är överskattad. Inte att det är en dålig dikt, men folk skattar den för högt. Det är bra litteratur, det är en kompetent skriven dikt, men som en av de hundra bästa litterära verk på Världsbibliotekets lista? Nåja. Peppad på att se filmatiseringen och prata med regissörerna, om ni är i Nynäshamn den 4/3 kl. 14.00 - kom till biblioteket!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matilda

    "An Epic Science Fiction Poem" må låta obskyrt och pretentiöst. Hade nog aldrig läst den om det inte vore för litteraturvetenskap A. Men oooo som jag gillade denna! Detta diktepos från -56 är inte som någon annan poesi jag läst tidigare. Martinson har gjort något så fascinerande som att korsa sci-fi och poesi, och framföra det i 103 sånger - ett epos om ett folk som flyr en jord förstörd av människans påhitt. Ombord på skeppet Aniara går allting utför, hoppet sinar, och människans tillit till te "An Epic Science Fiction Poem" må låta obskyrt och pretentiöst. Hade nog aldrig läst den om det inte vore för litteraturvetenskap A. Men oooo som jag gillade denna! Detta diktepos från -56 är inte som någon annan poesi jag läst tidigare. Martinson har gjort något så fascinerande som att korsa sci-fi och poesi, och framföra det i 103 sånger - ett epos om ett folk som flyr en jord förstörd av människans påhitt. Ombord på skeppet Aniara går allting utför, hoppet sinar, och människans tillit till teknologi och drömmar skildras, och allt är sååå otroligt vackert, finurligt och samtidigt väldigt mörkt. Det finnes skydd mot nästan allt som är mot eld och skador genom storm och köld ja, räkna upp vad slag som tänkas kan. Men det finns inget skydd mot människan. Allt är (som jag så ofta finner i poesi) inte glasklart eller självklart, men allt är tänkvärt och följer ändå en slags story. Därav tror jag att även den som inte är så bekant med poesi skulle gilla denna. Hade jag haft en egen hylla för diktverk så hade denna hamnat på toppen! Svinhäftig.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jakob Hessius

    Den här texten må vara upptakten till Martinssons Nobelpris, men det förändrar. Ingenting. Det här var verkligen inte min grej alls. Poesin gick mig helt över huvudet. Kändes helt slumpmässig då den inte håller någon fast form utan byts från kapitel till kapitel. Jag är nog inte tillräckligt smart för det där.

  14. 5 out of 5

    NocturnalBlaze

    Un curioso libricino che racconta la vicenda di un'astronave alla deriva, senza più un luogo a cui tornare e senza la possibilità di approdare ad un nuovo inizio, perduta nello spazio e destinata ad una lunga parabola discendente e ad una inevitabile e tragica fine. Una sorta di poema epico rivisitato in chiave fantascientifica che, nonostante le premesse apparentemente interessanti, non mi ha minimamente coinvolta e poco mi ha trasmesso. Il più grande problema che ho riscontrato è stato - e qui Un curioso libricino che racconta la vicenda di un'astronave alla deriva, senza più un luogo a cui tornare e senza la possibilità di approdare ad un nuovo inizio, perduta nello spazio e destinata ad una lunga parabola discendente e ad una inevitabile e tragica fine. Una sorta di poema epico rivisitato in chiave fantascientifica che, nonostante le premesse apparentemente interessanti, non mi ha minimamente coinvolta e poco mi ha trasmesso. Il più grande problema che ho riscontrato è stato - e qui ammetto un limite personale - con la forma. Si tratta, infatti, di poesia, un tipo di scrittura con cui ho poca dimestichezza e di cui, probabilmente, non sono in grado di apprezzare la complessità. A questo si aggiunge il fatto che il linguaggio è volutamente nonsense, si utilizzano termini ed immagini dal sapore fantascientifico, parole inventate che non vengono mai spiegate che, assieme alla generale struttura frammentata, rendono la prosecuzione nella lettura davvero complessa e poco scorrevole. Se trovavo interessante l'idea di seguire la progressione dei sentimenti di questo equipaggio destinato a soccombere, sempre più consapevole del suo destino crudele, di fatto non sono riuscita a cogliere quasi nulla della loro angoscia, del senso di vuoto e di fato incombente che immaginavo onnipresente. Come dicevo, potrebbe essere un mio limite nella mancata interpretazione del verso poetico, ma penso che molto sia anche dovuto al carattere episodico e confusionario della narrazione, che poco è riuscita a lasciarmi in questo senso fantascientifico/epico che aspettavo. Forse per qualcuno con più dimestichezza con la poesia potrà risultare una lettura più affascinante (ho letto molte recensioni positive, quindi posso immaginare che la mia sia una opinione un po' fuori dal coro), ma per quel che mi riguarda, nonostante sia riuscita a cogliere degli spunti di riflessione e delle immagini anche di un certo spessore, questa nel complesso risulta un'opera davvero confusa, che rende impossibile creare un qualsivoglia attaccamento per ciò che accade o per i personaggi coinvolti da questo tragico destino. I pochi sprazzi che si hanno della quotidianità della navetta non bastano per stabilire una connessione, che subito viene spezzata dall'atmosfera nonsense e dalla disorganicità del testo: una lettura davvero non nelle mie corde.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Greg Fanoe

    Nobel Prize Project Year: 1974 Winner: Harry Martinson Review: This is a lyrical account of a group of people fleeing the destruction of Earth who are hurtled into the reaches outer space and are forced to confront the insignificance of mankind in the grand scheme of the cosmos. It's a beautiful, though bleak, book filled with great lines and fine observations. If the idea of an science fiction poem that confronts atomic age era fears appeals to you, this is about as good as it can be. It's an odd, Nobel Prize Project Year: 1974 Winner: Harry Martinson Review: This is a lyrical account of a group of people fleeing the destruction of Earth who are hurtled into the reaches outer space and are forced to confront the insignificance of mankind in the grand scheme of the cosmos. It's a beautiful, though bleak, book filled with great lines and fine observations. If the idea of an science fiction poem that confronts atomic age era fears appeals to you, this is about as good as it can be. It's an odd, thoroughly unique classic (though sadly, it is currently out of print and very expensive). My favorite poem of this book is Poem 85: "The galaxy swings round like a wheel of shimmering smoke which is the light of stars, or sun haze. For lack of other words, you know, we call it sun haze. I mean just that languages do not suffice to express everything contained in that spectacle. The richest of the languages we know, Xinombric, has some three million words, but the galaxy you are watching now contains far more than ninety billion suns. Has any human brain ever mastered all the words of the language of Xinombra? Not a single one! Now do you understand? And yet--do you? Analysis: The co-win in 1974 of Harry Martinson and Eyvind Johnson was considered controversial at the time, because both were members of the selection committee and both were pretty much unknown writers. I assume the fact that Harry Martinson has the most BS Nobel citation of all time didn't hurt either ("for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos"). I'm sure he won it for some more boring poetry, but it makes me happy that the writer of a book such as this won the Nobel, no matter how shady the circumstances.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rebecka2

    (English review farther down) 79 Vi kom från jorden, Doris land, klenoden i vårt solsystem, det enda klot där Livet fått ett land av mjölk och honung. Beskriv de landskap som där fanns, de dagar som där grydde. Beskriv den människa som i glans sitt släktes likdräkt sydde tills Gud och Satan hand i hand i ett förstört, förgiftat land kring berg och backar flydde för människan: askans konung. I love these old science-fiction classics. They are peculiar and unafraid of standing out, sharp and clever, and alway (English review farther down) 79 Vi kom från jorden, Doris land, klenoden i vårt solsystem, det enda klot där Livet fått ett land av mjölk och honung. Beskriv de landskap som där fanns, de dagar som där grydde. Beskriv den människa som i glans sitt släktes likdräkt sydde tills Gud och Satan hand i hand i ett förstört, förgiftat land kring berg och backar flydde för människan: askans konung. I love these old science-fiction classics. They are peculiar and unafraid of standing out, sharp and clever, and always with critique hidden between the lines. They remind me that, from the start, the "science" in science-fiction refers not so much to spaceships and hovercrafts as it does social science. Aniara by Harry Martinsson is an excellent example of this. It is very peculiar and haunting, with sharp critique against weapons of mass destruction, and the environmental changes humans are inflicting on the earth. Hence the title he gives the human species in the verse above: "King of ash". He really was no optimist, Harry Martinson. He was, on the other hand, one hell of a poet.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anders

    An immense spaceship drifts deeper into space, away from an Earth ravaged by nuclear holocaust. Wonderfully melancholic and at times painfully tragic, reading Harry Martinson's sci-fi poem (here in the original Swedish) is a great but uneven experience. I found the first third or so, as well as the finale, to be the most powerful, while the middle part failed to hold my interest in the same way. Some parts are excellent, but at other times the text feels confusing and contrived. I'm also not cra An immense spaceship drifts deeper into space, away from an Earth ravaged by nuclear holocaust. Wonderfully melancholic and at times painfully tragic, reading Harry Martinson's sci-fi poem (here in the original Swedish) is a great but uneven experience. I found the first third or so, as well as the finale, to be the most powerful, while the middle part failed to hold my interest in the same way. Some parts are excellent, but at other times the text feels confusing and contrived. I'm also not crazy about Martinson's way of using invented words (this is not a principled objection, it just didn't work that well for me here). To be fair though, my expectations may have been unreasonably high. Overall, I wanted to like "Aniara" more than I actually did; for me, the premise is better than the execution. I will probably give it another shot in a year or so, however, as I got the feeling it will improve on a second reading.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emelie

    Ju längre in jag kom i boken, desto mer obegripligt kändes det att min hemkommun valt att döpa ett torg till Aniaraplatsen. Nog för att jag ofta känt att allt är hopplöst och på väg åt helvette när jag varit där, men det handlar nog mer om mitt tonårsjag än om platsen i sig. Hur som helst är boken väldigt vacker, och jag tycker att alla borde läsa den. Speciellt de som är ansvariga för platsnamn i Sollentuna kommun

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joakim Kroksson

    Bland det klokaste jag läst om livet.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Javier Pavía

    Si tuviera que resumir Aniara en una palabra sería "ínfulas". ¿Os imagináis que Góngora escribiera ciencia ficción? Eso es Aniara. ¿Cómo llegué hasta este libro? A través de "The great escape", un disco de Seventh Wonder que incluye un tema de 30 minutos sobre esta epopeya espacial. La idea me pareció interesantísima y vi que estaba basada en este poema de Martinson. Iba dispuesto a que me gustara. Quería que me encantara. Pero no: es mejor la canción, hasta el punto de que, al cerrar el libro, Si tuviera que resumir Aniara en una palabra sería "ínfulas". ¿Os imagináis que Góngora escribiera ciencia ficción? Eso es Aniara. ¿Cómo llegué hasta este libro? A través de "The great escape", un disco de Seventh Wonder que incluye un tema de 30 minutos sobre esta epopeya espacial. La idea me pareció interesantísima y vi que estaba basada en este poema de Martinson. Iba dispuesto a que me gustara. Quería que me encantara. Pero no: es mejor la canción, hasta el punto de que, al cerrar el libro, me leí la letra para enterarme de algo. Tiene mucho mérito dedicar un poema épico, en plan Mio Cid, al viaje estelar de una nave espacial (llamada goldondra, que supongo que es el modelo de nave) perdida en el universo camino de alguna parte. Y como poeta, Martinson lo hace más con introspección y filosofía que con narración y detalle. Este argumento daría para una fantástica historia que se podría enfocar de muchas formas. Por ejemplo, la serie Ascension y la novela Aurora, de Kim Stanley Robinson, van de lo mismo, pero con enfoques muy diferentes. Pero este poema opta por la oscuridad. Por ser indescifrable. Por ejemplo: la Tierra se llama Doris. No sabemos por qué. No sabemos desde cuándo. Pero a veces también le llaman Tierra, supongo que con el único afán de confundir. Hay una ciudad, Dorisburgo, que creo que está allí, pero puede ser que sea una comunidad dentro de la nave. Y el valle de Doris creo que no es un sitio, sino que se refiere a toda la Tierra. Los elementos de ciencia ficción a veces se pueden entender por el contexto (los fotófagos), pero casi nunca son claros (tacis, veben, fototurbo). El autor se esfuerza sobremanera por resultar incomprensible. La excepción es la mima (a veces en mayúscula y a veces no), que es algo así como un Internet holográfico en el que te sumerges con los cinco sentidos y que es la pieza central de la nave: la única forma de divertirse en un viaje cósmico. Pero Harry, majo: ¿de verdad una nave generación intergaláctica que no tiene un sistema para cambiar de dirección? Eso hay que mirarlo, ¿no? Menuda perla, el ingeniero que la diseñó... Se quedaría a gusto. Entiendo que es un poema y no se le puede exigir la claridad y la estructura de una novela, pero no he podido disfrutar más que algunos momentos concretos de inspiración del autor. Y de la traductora, que tiene todo el mérito del mundo por volcar esta epopeya al castellano.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Berit Lundqvist

    This year, it has been 40 years since the Swedish Author Harry Martinson died. On February 11, 1978, he took his own life by cutting up his belly with a pair of scissors, a ritual suicide just like harakiri. He was at the time admitted to a hospital in Stockholm had been suffering from severe depression for quite a while. But why was he depressed? one might ask. He was at the prime of his career. Only four years earlier he had received the Nobel Prize for literature. Well, in this case the Prize This year, it has been 40 years since the Swedish Author Harry Martinson died. On February 11, 1978, he took his own life by cutting up his belly with a pair of scissors, a ritual suicide just like harakiri. He was at the time admitted to a hospital in Stockholm had been suffering from severe depression for quite a while. But why was he depressed? one might ask. He was at the prime of his career. Only four years earlier he had received the Nobel Prize for literature. Well, in this case the Prize was the problem. As a member of the Swedish Academy he had awarded himself with the Literature Prize, and for this he was violently critizised by both the newspapers and fellow authors. As a result, he fell into a depression. Nothing new under the sun regarding the Swedish Academy, eh. Juicy scandals then, juicy scandals today. Today Harry Martinson is mostly remembered for his epic space poem Aniara from 1956. I’m usually not very keen on reading poetry, since it’s far beyond my horizon. But Aniara is something very special, and very beautiful. You don’t need to be into neither poetry nor science fiction to appreciate it. On the contrary, both the verse and the distance in time and space are of utter importance to refine the thoughts. The text is divided into 103 songs of pure magic, a universe in a drop of rain. Some time in a far future, the 32:nd World War has made the Earth inhabitable. People are evacuated to Venus and Mars. 8,000 people are travelling to Mars on the space ship Aniara. However the ship is knocked out of course, and heads into deep space with no chance of returning. Life goes on, but people will never be the same. Still they try do the same things as before. There is a supercomputor for entertainment, a sex cult (also for entertainment), religious cults, and of course an evil commander. The whole story is told mainly by the voice of a narrator to the bitter end. All that remains for him is to come to terms with his ultimate fate. Light a candle, put on some soft music and embark on the spaceship Aniara to explore the beginning, the final destiny, and everything in between. English online version here (the songs start on p 33): https://www.scribd.com/doc/238998252/... Swedish online version here: https://litteraturbanken.se/forfattar... Or, if you’re not in the mood to read, just listen to this beautiful interpretation of the Blind poetiss’ song (song 49) by the wonderful Helen Sjöholm, from a fairly recent musical version: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GYIKTT5...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bbrown

    "That was how the solar system closed its vaulted gateway of the purest crystal and severed spaceship Aniara’s company from all the bonds and pledges of the sun. Thus given over to the shock-stiff void we spread the call-sign Aniara wide in glass-clear boundlessness, but picked up nothing. Though space-vibrations faithfully bore round our proud Aniara’s last communiqué on widening rings, in spheres and cupolas it moved through empty space, thrown away. In anguish sent by us in Aniara our call-sigh faded ti "That was how the solar system closed its vaulted gateway of the purest crystal and severed spaceship Aniara’s company from all the bonds and pledges of the sun. Thus given over to the shock-stiff void we spread the call-sign Aniara wide in glass-clear boundlessness, but picked up nothing. Though space-vibrations faithfully bore round our proud Aniara’s last communiqué on widening rings, in spheres and cupolas it moved through empty space, thrown away. In anguish sent by us in Aniara our call-sigh faded till it failed: Aniara" Such is the fate of the spaceship Aniara, as chronicled in Nobel Prize-winner Harry Martinson’s epic poem. After being thrown off course its 8,000 souls are left to live what remains of their lives in a vast spaceship hurtling into the unknown emptiness of space, with no hope of ever returning to Earth. This epic poem is everything a work of science fiction should be, providing a fantastic situation that nevertheless resonates with us, and using that situation to explore mankind. Here Martinson chooses as his topic how mankind comes to terms with hopeless, pointlessness, and the inevitability of death. Being trapped on Aniara renders life meaningless for all the passengers on board- if they make scientific discoveries they can’t send them back to Earth so no use will ever come of them, they can write poems and songs but they will be trapped within the confines of the ship, and everyone knows that eventually Aniara will reach its limits on this unending journey and everyone aboard her will die. This is a fantastic situation, yes, but is it really so different from our lives? The passengers of the spaceship Aniara are making, after all, “A lifelong journey onward to an end which would have come in any case, and comes.” The struggle with whether our actions in life have meaning, and the struggle to come to terms with our eventual demise are not challenges that require space travel to be a reality. Martinson explores how people deal with these challenges by presenting us with the microcosm of the ship. At first the passengers keep the hopelessness of the situation at bay with mima, “a filter of truth, with no stains of her own.” Mima presents the passengers with images of far off planets and with recordings of terrible events happening back on Earth, providing a Plato’s cave that people are all too happy to flock to. Mima is more than a computer, she’s a conscious thing that has desires of her own, and she eventually welcomes death to avoid seeing the horrors of Earth dying behind them. With the loss of mima the mirror-world she created is lost as well, and thus the passengers turn to religion, whether the old ones of Earth, or factions worshipping the lost mima, or sex cults. As the journey gets longer and the ship strikes further into the emptiness of space the religion gets more extreme as the hopelessness becomes harder to bear: a cult featuring human sacrifice has a surplus of volunteers. People retreat into memories of their life before entering the ship, even if the worlds left behind seem hellish. The bearers of these memories aren’t the usual archetypes found in science fiction but interesting characters in their own right, from a female pilot (about whom the narrator notes “she wounds you in the way that roses wound”), to a blind poetess, “with songs so beautiful they lifted us beyond ourselves, on high to spirit’s day. She blazoned our confinement gold with fire and sent the heavens to the heart’s abode, changing every word from smoke to splendor.” Despite a few events that rejuvenate the excitement of the passengers there are no long-term victories on Aniara. Being on the ship forces an acknowledgment of the inevitability of death, strips the passengers of the normal pantheon of reasons life isn’t pointless, and the passengers are powerless to invent new reasons that satisfy them; even the religious cults are abandoned in time, with only some small symbolic gestures remaining. Nihilism conquers this microcosm, as the numbers of insane and suicides multiply. Eventually the ship breaks down too severely to be repaired and death comes for all who remain. Having read The Death of Ivan Ilyich recently I can say with certainty that I found Aniara more affecting. The events of the poem are hopeless, yes, but the warning rings through clear: for all its flaws Earth is a paradise, and mankind, “a king with an ashen crown,” must maintain it or face the vast emptiness of space. This work essentially won Martinson his Nobel Prize in literature, and despite the controversy the win was well deserved. It’s a travesty that this work is out of print, and so rare that used copies cost hundreds of dollars. It’s beautifully written, the characters are usually not drawn with much detail but still manage to be interesting, and the setting it presents is masterfully constructed. Best of all, these virtues exist to actually explore ideas worth exploring and to say something worth saying, which you would expect to be commonplace in science fiction but which, sadly, is not. Why is this work so little known in the genre of science fiction when far, far lesser works like Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, Clarke’s Childhood’s End, and Neuromancer by Gibson are not only still widely read, but held up as some of the best works of science fiction to ever be put to paper? Aniara is better than any of those works by an order of magnitude, and yet it’s been all but forgotten. It speaks poorly of the genre’s fans, and sadly is justifies some of the lack of respect shown to science fiction. Aniara lives up to the potential of science fiction, and you should read it unless you absolutely can’t stand that genre. One minor complaint: in Aniara Martinson makes up a plethora of words, both used to identify technology and used in normal conversation. Especially in the few stanzas that make heavy use of the slang of old Earth I found it just too much. I wish he had pulled a Gene Wolfe and only used existing but rare or archaic words, but it’s impossible for me to criticize Martinson for this too severely when he effectively addresses this exact point: “The galaxy swings around like a wheel of lighted smoke, and the smoke is made of stars. It is sunsmoke. For lack of other words we call it sunsmoke, do you see. I don’t feel languages are equal to what that vision comprehends. The richest of the languages we know, Xinombric, has three million words, but then the galaxy you’re gazing into now has more than ninety billion suns. Has there ever been a brain that mastered all the words in the Xinombric language? Not a one. Now you see. And do not see.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    محمود أغيورلي

    هناك جماليات كثيرة في هذه الملحمة الرمزية ، ولكن جزء كبير منه تظلمه الترجمة الى لغة اخرى ، هناك مقاطع يمكن اسقاطها على هجرات الانسان المتكررة و هناك مقاطع يمكن اسقاطها على مناح عدة من الحياة ، يفضل ان تضع عنوان عريض قبل ان تتوقف عن القراءة لكي يسهل عليك المتابعة لاحقا ، و العنوان فقط يكفيه ان تكتب اين وصلت المركبة الفضاية و ماهو اخر حدث حصل . مقتطفات من الملحمة إنيارا للكاتب هاري مارتينسون ---------------------- أرواحنا ننفقها في الاحلام , ابدا نمحو حلما بحلم , لحاجتنا الى ما هو حقيقي , و كل ايماء هناك جماليات كثيرة في هذه الملحمة الرمزية ، ولكن جزء كبير منه تظلمه الترجمة الى لغة اخرى ، هناك مقاطع يمكن اسقاطها على هجرات الانسان المتكررة و هناك مقاطع يمكن اسقاطها على مناح عدة من الحياة ، يفضل ان تضع عنوان عريض قبل ان تتوقف عن القراءة لكي يسهل عليك المتابعة لاحقا ، و العنوان فقط يكفيه ان تكتب اين وصلت المركبة الفضاية و ماهو اخر حدث حصل . مقتطفات من الملحمة إنيارا للكاتب هاري مارتينسون ---------------------- أرواحنا ننفقها في الاحلام , ابدا نمحو حلما بحلم , لحاجتنا الى ما هو حقيقي , و كل ايماءة جديدة تصبح سلماً , باتجاه آخر خواء مسربل بالحلم , ويصبح كل ما هو بعيد وناء بيتا لنا , وراء التخوم تكمن طمأنينتنا حقاً --------------- مجبرون نحن للبحث عن كلمات أخرى قادرة على ان تحتوي وتضم كل شيء وتجلب لنا الطمأنينة -------------- محاولات الفرار عبر شطح العقل والانزلات ذهابا وايابا من حلم الى حلم طرق لطالما الفناها , بساق واحدة غرقت تحت فيض الشعور و اخرى مقيدة الى شعور مات و انقضى , كنا نقف , استجوبت نفسي , لكنني لم اعثر على جواب , حلمت لنفسي بحياة ما , لكنني عشت كذبة , جلت اصقاع الكون , لكنني مررت به مرورا , وها أ،ا هنا مجرد سجين على متن إنيارا ------------------ ثمة حماية تقينا من كل مكروه تقريباً , من النار , ومن اخطار العاصفة والصقيع , و لتضيفوا ما يخطر على بالكم من ضربات اخرى , لكن لا توجد حماية ضد الجنس البشري ---------------- عندما تحركنا الحاجة , لا احد يرى بوضوح , كلا , فقط عندما تصبح المهمة تعذيب القلب , و نبش جميع كنوزه من الاحلام , من اجل ان ننفق السنوات الباردة والشريرة -------------- على وقع نداء الحياة يزيد الوقت في سرعته , يصيل امد اللحظة نفسها , عندما يوشك احدنا على التلاشي , ياله من رعب ينكفىء الى الداخل , وياله من رعب يميد الى الخارج , ويالها من حالة رهيبة دائما , عندما يكون المرء على وشك الانفجار --------------- كم عدل ان تكون لك امنية عن حياة قادمة ستأتي , هذا يشهد لمتعة في العيش ولرغبة جارفة بأن ترى روعتها من جديد , لا ان انموت بكل بساطة مثل ذباب على شاطىء -------------- جميل اننا ننسى الاشياء احيانا و جميل ان ذاكرتنا لا تسعفنا الا للحظات وجيزة , و جميل اننا لا ندرك دوما فحوى ترحالنا المنحوس ------------

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jonas Blom

    Länge sedan jag både fick rysningar i kroppen och tårar i ögonen av att läsa någonting, men nu hände det igen. Det är delvis för att ämnet jordens undergång, här genom kärnvapen, påverkar mig starkt och delvis för att språket är skrivet i en monoton rytm som i en långläsning nästan blir hypnotisk. När jag läser kommer jag att tänka på ögonvittnesskildringar från bombattackerna i Hiroshima och Nagasaki, som ibland berättar om något obeskrivligt vackert som snart övergår i en oerhörd smärta. "Vad hä Länge sedan jag både fick rysningar i kroppen och tårar i ögonen av att läsa någonting, men nu hände det igen. Det är delvis för att ämnet jordens undergång, här genom kärnvapen, påverkar mig starkt och delvis för att språket är skrivet i en monoton rytm som i en långläsning nästan blir hypnotisk. När jag läser kommer jag att tänka på ögonvittnesskildringar från bombattackerna i Hiroshima och Nagasaki, som ibland berättar om något obeskrivligt vackert som snart övergår i en oerhörd smärta. "Vad hände ini husen. Så gott som ingenting. Allt gick för hastigt för att riktigt hända. Tänk er en klocka på ett nattduksbord, som ställd att mäta tiden i sekunder, blir överrumplad av sin egen smältning, och kokar upp och virvlar bort som gas, allt på en milliondel av sekunden."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    Suelo ser muy cabal con lo que leo y cuando hablo de un libro procuro no apoyarme en elementos poco tangibles; intento analizar cuidadosamente qué es lo que funciona y lo que no (hasta dónde soy capaz de llegar). Pero con Aniara me ocurre que no puedo decirlo claramente. De hecho, ni siquiera he sido capaz de entender exactamente qué estaba leyendo mientras lo hacía ni porqué me atraía tanto si a la vez era consciente de que no entendía ni la mitad de lo que Martinson quería transmitir con este Suelo ser muy cabal con lo que leo y cuando hablo de un libro procuro no apoyarme en elementos poco tangibles; intento analizar cuidadosamente qué es lo que funciona y lo que no (hasta dónde soy capaz de llegar). Pero con Aniara me ocurre que no puedo decirlo claramente. De hecho, ni siquiera he sido capaz de entender exactamente qué estaba leyendo mientras lo hacía ni porqué me atraía tanto si a la vez era consciente de que no entendía ni la mitad de lo que Martinson quería transmitir con este poema épico de ciencia-ficción. Vamos, que Aniara es el claro ejemplo de literatura con la que uno debe dejarse llevar y punto.

  26. 5 out of 5

    IsagelCharles

    Still always amazed by the simplicity and freshness of Martinsson’s poetry. I still find this work to have the same flaws and the same moments of transcendence as when I first read it. It remains an extraordinary portrayal of the vastness of space and the terrifying littleness of humanity within it, and of the destruction we bring upon ourselves and our planet. It’s such a dark book, but it has such perfect clarity of verse.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    I loved loved this book. There was something absolutely special about it. I couldn't really describe the content (which is kind of a plot written in a poetic way kind of just connected poems or something along those lines) if I was asked to but it made me feel. Even though it is hard to understand and paradoxal and slightly odd at times, I really got a feeling for it. It was relatable in an existential way and I was left with a feeling of wonder. Hard to explain but I definitely recommend it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine Ceder

    Ofattbar och vacker. Kommer läsa om flera gånger. Fastnade inte för allt men mina favoriter (#18, 79, 100!) är så bra att det inte är sant och helheten är inget annat än en femma.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Billy O'Callaghan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. These days, Harry Martinson tends to be summarily dismissed (mainly by those who haven't read him) as one of the unworthy Nobel laureates, a man who, alongside his compatriot, and fellow Academy member, Eyvind Johnson, scooped the prize in 1974, purely out of cronyism (and supposedly ahead of Nabokov, Graham Green and Saul Bellow). It's a real shame that this should be his legacy, because it overshadows a rags-to-riches talent that in its best moments bordered on rare genius. 'Aniara', generally These days, Harry Martinson tends to be summarily dismissed (mainly by those who haven't read him) as one of the unworthy Nobel laureates, a man who, alongside his compatriot, and fellow Academy member, Eyvind Johnson, scooped the prize in 1974, purely out of cronyism (and supposedly ahead of Nabokov, Graham Green and Saul Bellow). It's a real shame that this should be his legacy, because it overshadows a rags-to-riches talent that in its best moments bordered on rare genius. 'Aniara', generally considered his masterpiece, is a breathtaking achievement. A science fiction epic, consisting of 103 cantos broken into four sections and utilising a variety of rhyming schemes, it is a grand, fatalistic vision of the future of mankind, recounting the story of Aniara, an ark carrying some 8000 passengers to Mars from a dying Earth. But a meteor shower drives the ship off course and sets them on a helpless drift towards the furthest reaches of the solar system. Initially, Mima, a Hal-like supercomputer, calls the shots. Built by human hands, it quickly evolves to possess thousands of times the intellect of its maker and achieves godlike status. The inventor was himself completely dumbstruck the day he found that one half of the mima he'd invented lay beyond analysis. That the mima had invented half herself. But as the Bible says: “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow,” and when Mima becomes aware of precisely what has happened back on Earth, it plunges into a depression and wills itself to death. And now that the passengers are left alone to fend for themselves, they soon revert to baser instincts. Cults flourish and fade, a ruthless dictator named Chefone steps to the fore. But everything passes in time. And after twenty four years, the ship reaches the edge of the solar system, and the realisation hits that just sixteen light-hours have passed, and that the stars of Andromeda still lie uncountable lifetimes away. … O would that we could turn back to our base now that we realize what our space-ship is: a little bubble in the glass of Godhead. I shall relate what I have heard of glass and then you'll understand. In any glass that stands untouched for a sufficient time gradually a bubble in the glass will move infinitely slowly to a different point in the body of glass, and in a thousand years the bubble makes a journey in its glass. Martinson's Nobel Prize was awarded “for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos”, and this is certainly an apt description when considering a book like Aniara. It's a very emotional piece of work, full of love, loss and regret, and teeming with symbolism and metaphor it evokes the epics of great old world mythologies while remaining eminently timely, and even timeless (the threat of a planet dying in the wake of its thirty-second world war). More than anything else, though, 'Aniara', in posing big eternal questions (about God, human nature, and our place in the scheme of things), captures the immensity of the universe and the brevity and inconsequentiality of our own existence. We're coming to suspect now that our drift is even deeper then we first believed, that knowledge is a blue naiveté which with a measured quantity of insight imagined that the Mystery has structure. We now suspect that what we claim is space and glassy clarity around Aniara's hull is spirit, everlasting and impalpable, that we have strayed in spiritual seas. This isn't an easy book to find (in English, at least), but it is well worth the effort. If a poet as fine and thoughtful as Harry Martinson deserves to be read, and re-read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Todor

    Oh, how I wish I could understand the original Swedish version! Hats off to the translators - I can imagine the amount of research and foreign language skills needed to achieve a decent version of this for international readers. What a grand idea, a science fiction poem! Poetry in and about space, the tragic flaw of the main character (our species) shut in a capsule and shot into cosmic dimensions. It's unbelievable this gem is out of print and I was lucky to find a second hand copy from some ob Oh, how I wish I could understand the original Swedish version! Hats off to the translators - I can imagine the amount of research and foreign language skills needed to achieve a decent version of this for international readers. What a grand idea, a science fiction poem! Poetry in and about space, the tragic flaw of the main character (our species) shut in a capsule and shot into cosmic dimensions. It's unbelievable this gem is out of print and I was lucky to find a second hand copy from some obscure internet seller.

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