“A surreal English language debut novel set in a world shaped by language in the tradition of Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin.”
Dystopian SF novel, the first novel by the author whose collection “Jagannath: Stories” won the Crawford Award, about an information assistant who discovers strange situations in the remote colony of Amatka.
Penguin Random House’s site has this description with an excerpt:
“Vanja, an information assistant, is sent from her home city of Essre to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka with an assignment to collect intelligence for the government. Immediately she feels that something strange is going on: people act oddly in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion.
Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with her housemate, Nina, and prolongs her visit. But when she stumbles on evidence of a growing threat to the colony, and a cover-up by its administration, she embarks on an investigation that puts her at tremendous risk.
In Karin Tidbeck’s world, everyone is suspect, no one is safe, and nothing—not even language, nor the very fabric of reality—can be taken for granted. Amatka is a beguiling and wholly original novel about freedom, love, and artistic creation by a captivating new voice.”
“I recommend that you lay your hands on a copy.” — Ann Leckie
“An instant classic.” — Jeff VanderMeer
The Publishers Weekly review concludes, “Karin Tidbeck introduces the mysteries and mechanics of her world slowly while leaving the origins of these pioneers opaque. Her ending takes a turn into much weirder territory, but her tense plotting, as well as the questions she raises about language, control, and human limits make this a very welcome speculative fiction novel. Tidbeck reimagines reality and the power of language in her dystopian SF novel. . . .”
“Karin Tidbeck’s haunting world made of words is undeniably disturbing and provocative.” — The Chicago Tribune
“A fresh dystopian twist. . . . Karin Tidbeck’s first novel, translated by the author from her native Swedish, is grim, spare, and fascinating.” — Library Journal
“Karin Tidbeck’s “Amatka” is a stunning, truly original exploration of the mysteries of reality and what it means to be human. It’s brutally honest and uncompromising in its vision—a brilliant short story writer has been revealed as an even more brilliant novelist. One of my favorite reads of the past few years, an instant classic.” – Jeff VanderMeer, author of the “Southern Reach” trilogy
“Karin Tidbeck is a brilliant conjurer of worlds, a fabulist armed with an imagination as fiercely strange as any I have ever encountered. Her fiction is built on a foundation of improbabilities and even outright impossibilities, and if you surrender to its increasingly bold claims on reality you will walk away surprised, thrilled, and in all likelihood changed forever.” — Matt Bell, author of “Scrapper”
Gary K. Wolfe reviews it in the June issue of Locus Magazine: “At its most ambitious, “Amatka” it’s a provocative meditation on language and reality, but it also offers tantalizing hints of a post-apocalyptic dystopia, a portal fantasy, a conspiracy mystery, a dream vision, and even an SF colonization tale.”
Karin Margareta Steen Tidbeck (born 6 April 1977) is a Swedish author of SF, fantasy and weird fiction born in Stockholm, Sweden.
She lives and works in Malmö as a freelance writer, translator, and creative writing teacher, and writes fiction in Swedish and English.
Karin Tidbeck debuted with the short story collection “Vem är Arvid Pekon?” (Who is Arvid Pekon?) in 2010, followed by the novel “Amatka” in 2012.
Her first work in English, the short story collection
“Jagannath“, was published in 2012 by Cheeky Frawg Press to favorable reviews, with Gary K. Wolfe describing Karin Tidbeck as “one of the most distinctive new voices in short fiction since Margo Lanagan“.
The collection made the shortlist for the 2012 James Tiptree, Jr. Award and was nominated for the World Fantasy Award.
The short story “Augusta Prima”, originally written in Swedish, was translated into English by Tidbeck who won a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award (2013) in the Short Form category.
The English translation of “Amatka” was published in 2017.
Karin devotes her spare time to forteana, subversive cross-stitching and Nordic LARP.