Hans Olav Lahlum – Haakon Lie – Historien, mytene og mennesket (2009)
When Haakon Lie came home from the US after the Second World War, he was convinced that Norway’s future lay to the West, and over the following decades he used his considerable power in the Labor Party to make it take a pro-America, pro-Israel, and anti-Communist stand. In this, he was morally and strategically right, or at least more so than the shallower generations of leftists that came later. He was also, reportedly, an asshole, but my one complaint about this biography is that it doesn’t examine the accusations against him more deeply. Haakon Lie comes across as temperamental and old-fashionedly authoritarian, but was that really all there was to it? Lahlum doesn’t settle this question.
Jack Williamson – Darker than You Think (1948)
I can sum up the thing that turned the staple foods of geek culture – werewolves and zombies and vampires etc. – into shit, with one word: Awesomeness. All surface, no soul. The only way to save these tropes now is to return to the roots, and this novel is one of them, an early variation over the currently popular theme of modern-day werewolves and witches fighting a secret war with humanity, with the main difference from the current products (True Blood etc.) being that it isn’t awesome. It’s human. All powerful myths are.