Archive for the ‘Böcker’ Category

Barbarian Lord Tells It Like It Is

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Barbarian Lord is both a hardcore boozer who possesses extremely violent behavioral patterns and a keen appreciation for poetry AND the name of the recently* released graphic novel dedicated to portraying his adventures in boozing, brawling, and poetic appreciation. As Barbarian Lord’s own personal real-life skald, Matt Smith sings Barbarian Lord’s praises and spreads his renown to those of us who are not fortunate enough to lift a sword and join in his adventures firsthand. Matt’s also an all-around good guy who I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a few horns with at local venues ranging from “the highest hall” to “the lowest cave” (in his own words, and if you know the area then you can likely guess what those are).

But getting back to the book, this is the sort of work for people who like the following:

-Vikings (obviously)
-Icelandic sagas
-Heroic understatement
-Badass illustrations
-Evil trolls and other monsters
-Vicious conniving
-Sexy witches who maim innocent birds
-Demonic possession of domesticated farm animals
-And, last but definitely not least, death metal allusions

If you’re even at this weird, little website, then that should be enough to convince you to hail the hero himself at http://barbarianlord.com/ and to join his quest for justice, drinking, and killing all who stand in his way.

*I say “recently” somewhat loosely because it was actually released last summer, but being only half a year behind the times is a step in the right direction for me. The last time I blogged about a book, I was three years late. Skål for punctuality!

New England Coastal Sampo

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

“This was Estonindian black metal dub. Music for wounded bears as they shrugged off tranquilizer darts. A genre so conclusively suicide-inducing, blue-ribbon Congressional panels were afraid to listen to it. If Francis Scott Key had been a ninth-century raider whose head was still throbbing and clanging from an ax-blow to the helmet, standing with one hand braced on the dragon prow of his longship watching his enemies’ tarred warships burn in an uncanny blue bituminous haze, while unseen galley slaves chanting the stroke rumbled the ship from below, he may have closed his eyes, thought of Ragnarok, and composed an anthem like this.”

The above passage is taken from page 229 of Corwin Ericson’s Swell, and it epitomizes everything that I like about the novel, which is easily the best that I’ve read in the past few years. The book is set on a fictitious island off the coast of Maine and follows the misadventures of slacker/protagonist Orange Whippey as he gets sucked into a bizarre series of events involving cranky old fishermen, highly literate Korean smugglers, a North Atlantic whale-herding skald, and an intimidating Thor-cult priestess. This is a book for anyone who enjoys the following:

-Quirks of coastal New England culture
-Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
-Metal (the music)
-Penis humor
-Norse mythology
-Experimentation on whales
-The Kalevala
-Alternate Abenaki/Sami history

The book was actually published in 2011, but I sadly didn’t discover it until a few weeks ago, since I have a great talent at being behind the times. I can at least claim to be the person who ordered amazon.com’s last in-house copy (but you can still get it through one of their affiliate vendors, which you should do). If further convincing is needed, check out these links, provided by Corwin himself, since we’re facebook friends (which makes it official):

http://mymemoriesofafuturelife.com/2011/12/13/the-undercover-soundtrack-corwin-ericson/

http://www.largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/2012/06/book_notes_corw.html

Bengtsson’s Long Ships Finally Reaches Vinlandic Shores

Monday, July 12th, 2010

The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson is amazing and I get all excited each and every time I pick it up. In fact, it’s the only novel I specifically included on the Viking Self Help Guide’s list of Reading Material. It’s a solid adventure story worthy of being read even by people who don’t get all knocked off kilter when it comes to Vikings. Michael Chabon thinks so, too, and he’s a lot better than me—not just in general, but also/especially when it comes to being taken seriously. He even wrote the introduction for the new version that was just released here in North America by New York Review Books.

Yes, that’s right! After many years of neglect, this book can finally be found in Vinlandic bookstores! It used to be that you could pretty much only get an English language version in Britain or in places that carried British imports (and it was a version that suffered tragically from some very unflattering cover artwork). This new version rectifies what was once a dire situation indeed.

Lo There Do I See Historical Viking Fiction

Monday, February 8th, 2010

This is a pretty impressive directory of Viking-related historical fiction novels:

http://www.historicalnovels.info/Medieval-Scandinavia.html

And to make matters even more stimulating, that list doesn’t even include tangentially-Viking historical fiction, such as Bernard Cornwell’s highly arousing Saxon Tales. There’s a whole ‘nother directory specifically devoted to medieval Anglo-Saxon historical fiction on the site, as well as directories for many other time periods/geographic locations. Hail Margaret Donsbach!

The Voyage of the Short Serpent

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Rather than epic and badass, I would describe The Voyage of the Short Serpent by twisted Frenchman, Bernard du Boucheron, as short and quirky. It’s a funky little story about an Icelandic mission sent to Greenland during its final days of Norse inhabitation. Lots of gruesome ongoings take place in the decaying Greenlandic colony which makes for an interesting read. Not the greatest fiction novel about Norsemen and women, but a unique one.

Click here to go to its official page at The Overlook Press’ website. (Note: the publisher’s description is wrong; the novel is set in Greenland, not Iceland.)

Orkanpartyt

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Orkanpartyt (The Hurricane Party) is the title of Klas Östergren’s contribution to the Myth Series of novels, and it’s awesome. It’s a retelling of Loki’s final act of betrayal, but set in a hellish, future Stockholm (or at least what I presume to be Stockholm, based on the descriptions in the book, especially that of the archipelago). And it features insightful commentary on the cult of reality tv. So far it’s only available in Swedish. 

But here’s a link to some info about the upcoming English-language release from the official Myth Series’ site. 

And here’s a link to Orkanpartyt’s page at the Salomonsson Agency which includes some Swedish reviews (in English).

Men Who Hate Women

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

I was out prowling the streets of Boston and noticed advertisements for Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo plastered all over the MBTA’s busses because it has just been released in paperback.

I always thought it was somewhat pathetic that the English language publishers refused to release this book under its original title, which translates from the Swedish as Men Who Hate Women and is actually way more more apt than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Besides, the blinding yellow/green book cover is what will catch peoples’ attention first anyway. I guess Americans and Brits and all the other English …Hail onwards »