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Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem Paperback – September 1, 1998

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Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Swedish
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 157 pages
  • Publisher: Story Line Press (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885266634
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885266637
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,447,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Tkacs on September 7, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After more than twenty years of searching for an English translation of this poem, I finally have had the great fortune to obtain a copy!
This is the 24-year story of how the 8,000 inhabitants of a doomed 'space ark' try to cope with their hopeless situation. It is a dark review of the human condition, sometimes difficult, often beautiful.
The introduction and translator's notes are a must-read. Strangely, there is no mention at all of the 'modern' opera by Karl-Birger Blohmdahl (the only true 'space opera'?) which is how most non-Swedes have been introduced to Aniara for many decades.
The Aniara Suite was featured as side 2 of a very rare release of the "2001..." soundtrack years ago. If still available, the 1985 Caprice 2-CD set (CAP 22016 1-2) is an excellent companion to this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carla Toms, MD on June 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Martinson's epic poem is composed of separate episodes which form distinct and richly resonant threads in a tapestry of voices, each clearly and palpably real. The language has a range similar to that of the composer, Mahler, delving fearlessly into the plain, the sparse, even the tacky, pausing there only to soar with equal courage into the shatteringly beautiful. Suffused throughout with a combination of subtle insight and deep compassion, the work is deeply moving as only great things are. Any concern that an "epic poem" or "science fiction" are not for you should be gently set aside. Pick a starry window on a quiet night and read this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By isala on September 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Harry Martinson's epos Aniar should rank as one of last century's most beatiful books. Written already in the fifties, but still as actual as ever. A spaceship carrying refigees from Earth to Mars. It's steering is damaged by a meteorite. Helpless, the refugees follow the spaceship out into the cold voids outside of our solar system. They die of hopelessness when they understand that twenty years of travel has only brought them a few light-days away from Earth ("A lightyear is a grave").

Martinson invented new words to describe the technology, all of them beatiful. The translation works just great.

Part of Martinson's greatness is that he saw that we were heading in the wrong direction much earlier than his contemporaries; either stuck in the "American Dream" or trapped by "Soviet Progressive" ideals. The book cn be read in so many planes: belief in technology while forgetting human values, fear of nuclear war, shallow searches for instant gratification, man's - and mankind's - loneliness in an uncaring universe.

Martinson was an apostate from communism, and he was ostracised by the Swedish intellectual establishment, and later commited suicide.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
This review is based on the Swedish version since the English is not yet in print at the time of writing. Aniara is a poetic tale of a spaceship with the same name. Aniara is lost in space, headed out of our solarsystem, and beyond all rescue. Experience the frustration, fear, and yearning for confort that the passangers feel, in this fantastic poem.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Nothing Man on February 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Aniara, by Harry Martinsson, is about a space ship which is damaged, in such a way that the people travelling with it can no longer control where they are going. This makes for a fascinating read, unlike anything you have ever read.
The main problem about Aniara is that noone can tell you what it is like, you have to see for yourself. Trying to describe Aniara is like telling you what a song sounds like whitout singing: You either get the wrong impression or don't get it at all. You have to experience it by yourself.
See that you do.
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