Author: Viktor Petterson

After thirty years

Issue 1/1987 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

This, the very first Finnish science fiction story, is an extract from Viktor Pettersson’s (1849-1919) Efter trettio år (‘After thirty years’), published in 1886. Introduction by Matti Apunen

On 31 August 1916 father and daughter went up on the ‘deck’ of the air balloon Atlantic. Atlantic was just one of the comfortably furnished air vehicles that plied the regular route between the New and Old Worlds. Pleasure trips between these continents were now made, preferably, by air balloon rather than by ship, because the journey took half the time – a mere three days; and this despite the fact that the standards of comfort in ships were now excellent, since they were made of cardboard and furnished with electric motors. In addition, air balloon travellers avoided sea-sickness and the associated unpleasantnesses. Of course, they did suffer from ‘air­sickness’, but the symptoms of this disease made themselves felt in a much more bearable form. For they actually made the sufferer happy, enthusiastic and friendly, so that he wanted to embrace the Lord and the whole world. Dried-up and creaky old bachelors became as lovable and sympathetic as confessors who have made their vow of celibacy; spiteful and pompous wives and spice-selling madames smelling of wormwood became in a second as devoted and sweet-natured as a mademoiselle in a shop selling drinking water. It was like being under the influence of some wonderful aphrodisiac. More…