The Portal Archive: Some sort of introduction to Danish science fiction

With only 5,5 million inhabitants, speaking their own language, and with a long history of maintaining a mono-ethnic culture, Danish science fiction literature is in every way a small subject for study. Some attempts have been made to publish a science fiction magazine, but invariably they meet bankruptcy fast, or turn into very small-circulation fanzines. As science fiction magazines sprout science fiction writers, and later festivals to meet the writers, increasing the number of fans that read the writer´s stories – Denmark does not have a significant number of science fiction authors. Some stories are published, and some fans exist (and some fans write), but mostly Danish science fiction fans read foreign science fiction books. And by foreign we mean English books. Only VERY few fans will read German or French authors, even less Russian, Spanish, Italian – unless these are translated into English first. Maybe 50 foreign titles appear in Danish during a year, most will be juveniles, and a large majority will be Fantasy – and most of us will have read the books already the year before in their English edition …

The Fanmark
So: What happens here in Denmark for science fiction fans, our “Fanmark” as we call it, comes from fannish activity. The Danish fanbase (that we know of, and meet at festivals, etc) come to some 150-200 fans in total. Most of these will be a member of most (or indeed all !) of the Danish fangroups.

  • SFC
    The oldest is Science Fiction Cirklen (SFC), an organisation founded by fans for fans in 1974. Still very active, SFC publishes between 4 and 8 books per year with mostly translations into Danish of notable foreign science fiction. Once every year SFC hosts a short story competition for an anthology, and occasionally SFC will publish new research into the genre in book form. SFC also publishes PROXIMA twice a year, a 100+ page critical magazine, with articles, reviews, and bibliographic information about the genre. And SFC publish their memberzine, NOVUM, four times per year with diverse news and fannish content. Both magazines publish new Danish science fiction in every issue. On the yearly relaxacon, DanCon, the national get-together for Danish science fiction fans, critics, fans and writers will discuss the genre. More informal are the 8-10 yearly fanmeetings in Copenhagen. SFC has just about 100 members, and focusses primarily on written science fiction.
  • Fantastik
    Fantastik is another society of fans in Denmark. Established in 2003, they host the yearly Fantasticon-festival – a more internationally oriented festival with international guests. As with the society, the festival looks more broadly at the genre, including Horror and all kinds of Fantasy in their focus. And with emphasis on all manifestations of these genres, whether in books, comics, movies, etc. Fantastik publishes a memberzine, HIMMELSKIBET, 4 times a year, with reviews, articles and new Danish fiction, and hosts fanmeetings every other week in Copenhagen. Fantastik also has just around 100 members.
  • Trekkies is in some accounts the largest Danish fangroup with almost 600 members, all fans of Star Trek, but very few turn up for events that are organizing. Still, the large number enables them to publish a slick member magazine, SUBSPACE, 4 times a year, with all the fannish content one expects from a mediamagazine. The annual Holodeck event draws about 50 people, and the yearly National Championship in Star Trek knowledge about the same. No short stories are written by this group (that I know of), not even fanfiction.
  • Other fans
    Apart from these very stable groups, there are some Tolkien fans, some Star Wars fans, and a large number of unorganized Harry Potter fans. Here we do get fanfiction, though only online, and (after 5 years, and with help from the Hans Christian Andersen Award) the Potter-fans have even succeeded in bringing J. K. Rowling over for a Potter-festival in Odense this autumn.

Fanzines & Blogs
A few fanzines are being published, very irregularily, and a handful of blogs exist, most of them discussing new foreign stories, either from the original editions, or from the few that make it into a Danish translation, but as the occational original Danish story appear, they will draw attention to it (it is always an event when a new Danish science fiction story are published).

With this, the stage should be set for  the coming articles on THE PORTAL about new Danish science fiction, and the people behind it.


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