Space, dystopia and the medieval in Stockholm – Ahrvid Engholm (Sweden)

    If you keep ears and eyes open, and your antenna outstreched, there’s quite a lot happening of genre interest in the Swedish capital.

    May 23rd Pippi Longstocking, though eternally around 10 years, was celebrated big time on her 70th birthday in the open-air museum Skansen,

    May 25rd, Towel Day,  from Douglas Adams’ books, was honoured with a picnic. (Gothenburg had a “Geek PrIde” parade, but my enthusiasm for gaming, dressing up in fake armour, pretending to be in japanese comics, etc, is rather limited.)

    The president of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, has been on a state visit and Grand Hotel hosted a conference called India Unlimited, with lectures like one on “Space and Innovation” June 2nd, which I attended.


    Susmita Mohanty, Founder CEO of Earth2Orbit, held a very inspiring talk.

    ( ).

    When she asked around for donations to begin her space education she heard from with Arthur C. Clarke! He helped her with both funds and cutting red tape. She talked about the history of the Indian space program, going on for half a century, and its future with probes to the Moon and Mars. But did you know that India (just as China) goes for manned missions! They have begun astronaut training and have tested a space capsule demonstrator, later to be manned, looking like a scaled down Apollo capsule.


    Cecilia Hertz of Umbilical Design ( ) took the stage next. She does design work for NASA and other space organisations. When she entered the space business some claimed “Ah, you’ll put curtains on the ISS windows!” When she showed how to save valuable weight and volume inside a spacecraft, by integrating the launch chairs with the floor structure, such voices were…curtained. She has further worked a lot with using space technology and materials to solve everyday problems on Earth.


    I had to rush to catch the last half of Margaret Atwood, appearing in the Academy Bookstore (and later on stage in the Stockholm Culture House), also on June 2nd . Lots of people had gathered. She talked about dystopias, history, the environment and her own writing:

    I make no predictions,” she said “I’m not in the business of predicions. But tell what might happen. At the same time I want to give realistic hopes.”

    Afterwards a long line of people formed, craving for Ms Atwoods scribblings in a book, maybe her latest in Swedish translation, Maddaddam.

    As I saw Atwood and heard about the Indian space program, I unfortunately missed the seminars about “Bio hacking” ( ) on the Technical Museum, since it took place the same afternoon. One should be biohacked to be at two places at the same time. Or three.

    If you like medieval music, there’s the Early Music Festival ( ) between June 3rd and 7th. And speaking of the medieval, George R. R. Martin comes to town Jun 23rd, just before Archipelacon (on the island of Åland, a ferry trip from Stockholm, where he is GoH.

    The SF Bookstore is hosting it, but their place is too small due of the popularity of the “Game of Thrones” TV series. Expect hordes of youngsters with rubber swords and weird costumes to turn up in the Royal Armory ( ) where he will be. Tickets to this extravaganza are released June 12th ( The Royal Armory had an exhibition last year with GoT material, as I have reported earlier ( ) so they are probably ready for this medieval siege.

    Going from swords to spaceships, an estimated 100 (!) astronauts are coming to Stockholm the 20-27th of September for the 28th congress of the Association of Space Explorers, called Inspired by Space ( It’s hosted by the Royal Technical Institute – with e the Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang, who works there – and will include public lectures, school visits and the opening of the institute’s new exhibition site Dome of Visions. September 18-17th will also offer a space exhibition in Kungsträdgården (The Royal Gardens), called European Space Expo. (And August 7-9 there´s Swecon, – but to Confuse you it’s in Linköping.)

    Lots of things are going on in the Royal Capital of this frozen Northern Kingdom, in other worlds…words!

    P.S. A tip: every fortnight I post a calendar of selected events (skiffy, literature, science, odd interesting stuff) on the SKRIVA list. Though in Swedish, dates, names and venues should be decipherable. The latest one looks like this,57

    The Fantastic Short Story Competition 2015

    The deadline of the 16th (Swedish) Fantastic Short Story Competition 2015 (“Fantastiknovelltävlingen”) is August 31st. Send stories of sf, fantasy or horror, max 50 000 characters in length, to AND Unfortunately they must be in Swedish. Who knows, though, maybe Google Translate can do wonders…

    Winners (1st to 3rd place), selected by a jury, share a grand prize of ca €220 and free susbscription to the magazine Skriva – which isn’t the same as the organiser, the writers’ mailing list SKRIVA. For details in /G/o/o/g/l/e /T/r/a/n/s/l/a/t/e  Swedish:

    ©Ahrvid Engholm


    Ahrvid Engholm

    Ahrvid Engholm is a swedish author, editor, journalist and SF fan.



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