Categories
books ramble sweden

dystopia

You’re spinning me around
My feet are off the ground

this year has been quite the reading session.

Kallocain, Karin Boye (1940)

swedish book, released 9 years before 1984 and 13 before Fahrenheit 451. i enjoyed it a lot, and kept me wanting more as i read through it, chapter by chapter. never a dull moment. it’s got some moments that really resonated with me, and hit pretty well. i really recommend this one if you enjoyed 451 (or even if you didn’t! it’s better in my opinion)

it’s a dystopia, where-in an authoritarian state has total control and surveillance over all of it’s people. every man and woman has to, in addition to working long hours per day, do military or police service every day. children are a couple of years after birth sent to learning camps, where compulsory training in military tactics and similar subjects are done, only allowed to visit their parents once every week. an inevitable war against the neighboring world state is constantly on the horizon, as rations are limited and hours are increased more and more every day.

Leo Kall, the protaganist, creates the truth serum “Kallocain”.

there’s a lot of themes and plot points that reminded me a lot of Fahrenheit 451, which i read a couple of months before this one. 451 was also very intriguing, and made an impression on me similarly as Kallocain did. the war brewing throughout the books, the apathy of the people, the end and so on.

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)

i’m not interested in summarizing this one, as most people have already read it. kallocain is not as well-known as this one, not even in sweden (which is a shame). kallocain seems in most parts more “grounded” in contrast to this one, but i still enjoyed it quite a lot!

there is mostly one part i want to discuss, the fire chief. once an avid book reader, turned into one of the main characterized antagonists of the book. the monologue he has while visiting the main protagonist really hit me like a firetruck, it was a great read and really made me feel quite mad. it was such a brutal scene!!! then, when the protaganist …<spoiler in the next block, select to view>

… kills him with the flamethrower, and it is implied that the chief invited him to do so, really really really struck me as a great moment. even he was done with the world…

what i wanted to say is that the biggest contrast (character-wise) between the two books is the thematic shift between Leo Kall and his supervisor, and Guy Montag and his chief. Leo Kall keeps working for the state up until soon before the end, while his boss constantly warns him of the consequences. this is almost completely swapped in 451, Guy Montag is the one who realizes the faults of the society he lives in early on.

i have yet to read brave new world or 1984, but they are often bundled together alongisde kallocain and 451 as the “Dystopia Canon”, with brave new world even being the earliest one of the four books.

my book reading has slowed down quite a lot. but during 2021 i’ve read at least 15 books so i’m still pretty proud over that fact. i impulsively buy new books when im feeling down, so there’s that. i have a big back catalog…….. hehe. smell ya’ later.

tarot of the day

XIV – Temperance

V of Cups

III of Pentacles