Bewildering Stories biography
A hundred years ago, Claës Lundin (1825-1908) was well known in Sweden. He was a journalist and foreign correspondent, working for newspapers in his native Stockholm and in Gothenburg. He wrote many books, mostly about life in Stockholm, but also travel books from Europe and Sweden. His first book Paris i våra dagar (Paris in Our Days) was published in 1869, and his last book En gammal stockholmares minnen (Memories of an Old Stockholmer) appeared in two volumes in 1904-1905.
He is today remembered for two things. Together with August Strindberg (1849-1912) he wrote Gamla Stockholm, Anteckningar ur tryckta och otryckta källor. Framletade och utgifna af Claës Lundin och August Strindberg (Old Stockholm, memoranda from published and unpublished sources, collected and edited by Claës Lundin and August Strindberg.) They were published in 1880-1882 and reprinted many times; a facsimile appeared as late as 1983.
His “fame” in this connection is of course a kind of “guilt by association.” Strindberg is the more famous man and to some extent the reason for all the reprints over the years. Strindberg was a hack writer and considered Lundin to be a slow writer who went into matters in circumstantial detail. Lundin retaliated and said that Strindberg was careless with details. They quarreled and separated. Lundin wrote a second volume alone. Many of his Stockholm books have been reprinted.
Before his stormy collaboration with Strindberg, Lundin’s science fiction novel Oxygen och Aromasia had been published in 1878. The novel was inspired by Bilder aus der Zukunft (Pictures From the Future) by the German philosopher and science fiction writer Kurd Lasswitz (1848-1910). In Oxygen and Aromasia, many of the events take place in Stockholm and Gothenburg, places that were Lundin’s element.
Lundin as an early science fiction writer was rediscovered by Sam J. Lundwall. Lundwall, himself a science fiction writer, translator and publisher of science fiction books as well as the magazine Jules Verne Magasinet (which he still publishes) revised and republished the story in 1974 and again in 1994. The Bewildering Stories version is based on the original text.
Copyright © 2007 by Bertil Falk