Jannick Storm (1939-2015)

Jannick Storm

Jannick Storm

Danish author, critic and translator Jannick Storm who, according to the dedication in Brian Aldiss’ Billion Year Spree, “colonised Denmark”, died May 9.

By the end of the 1950s attempts to introduce translated foreign sf into Denmark had failed, says John-Henri Holmberg in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia. Storm spent the 1960s working to re-establish the genre, writing and speaking about sf, especially its more experimental authors. In 1968 he began editing a line of sf in translation by such writers as J.G. Ballard, James Blish, Philip K. Dick, Frederik Pohl and Clifford Simak.

Storm’s Danish translation of Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition (1969) was the book’s first appearance in print. That same year he conducted a fascinating interview with Ballard for Speculation that ends with a bitter observation about fandom:

Storm: In SF Horizons, Brian Aldiss wrote that “Ballard is seldom discussed in fanzines.” Time has certainly proved him wrong, and now you are one of the most discussed people in fandom. What do you think of fandom itself?

Ballard: I didn’t know that was the case, because I never see any fanzines. I don’t have any contact with fans. My one and only contact with fandom was when I’d just started writing, which is twelve years ago, when the World Science Fiction Convention was being held in London, in 1957, and I went along to that as a young new writer hoping to meet people who were interested in the serious aims of science fiction and all its possibilities. In fact there was just a collection of very unintelligent people, who were almost illiterate, who had no interest whatever in the serious and interesting possibilities of science fiction. In fact I was so taken aback by that convention that I more or less stopped writing for a couple of years. Since then I’ve had absolutely nothing to do with fans, and I think they’re a great handicap to science fiction and always have been.

Storm began writing his own sf in the 1970s, with stories appearing in English in New Worlds and Ambit. In Denmark, his work appeared in literary magazines, anthologies, and his own magazine Limbo. His short fiction is collected in Miriam og andre (“Miriam and Others”) (1972) and Er mao død (“Is Mao Dead”) (1974).

Storm’s own book on science fiction, Vor tids eventyr: Katastrofe-området (1978; The Fairy Tales of Our Time: Disaster Area) returned Brian’s appreciation with the dedication, “To Brian W. Aldiss, who colonised ME.”

[Thanks to John-Henri Holmberg and Andrew Porter for the story.]