Lennart Sörensen (1936-2014)

By John-Henri Holmberg: Very belatedly, I am sad to announce the death of Swedish critic, translator, academic and editor Lennart Sörensen, born 1936, on May 18, 2014.

LennartSörensen was raised and lived in Malmoe. An early SF reader, he attended the first Swedish SF convention, Luncon, held in the neighboring university town Lund on August 18-19, 1956. He also joined the Malmoe club Chaos, edited the second issue of its fanzine Chaos, and contributed to the most literary of the Swedish fanzines at the time, Urvoat, published by Claes-Otto Wene.

While studying at Lund University, where he gained an M.A. in English, Sörensen in 1957 began contributing reviews and essays, often on SF, to daily newspapers like the morning Sydsvenska Dagbladet and the two afternoon Aftonbladet and Kvällsposten; he also wrote in various literary magazines. In late 1957 he began contributing to the Swedish SF magazine Häpna! in which he over a period of six years published four short stories and more than 60 essays, editorials, and in-depth reviews; from 1958, he was also the magazine’s co-editor, selecting as well as translating more than half of its content. In 1959 he also contributed a story as well as two essays to the Swedish edition of Galaxy magazine.

After ending his work for Häpna! in 1963, when he had married and needed to increase his income, Sörensen accepted a teaching position at Lund University and simultaneously began to write textbooks in literature, English and Swedish for immigrants. He continued writing freelance reviews and essays for newspapers.

Sörensen’s work in fandom and SF was on the whole limited to the eight years from 1956 through 1963. Nevertheless, he was the first literary critic in Sweden to discuss and review SF as a serious, adult literary form, and his work on Häpna! very obviously contributed greatly to the magazine’s quality. He deserves to be remembered as one of those making a lasting contribution to the establishment of SF in Sweden.

[Via Andrew Porter.]