Published in 1940, is a militar-based dystopian novel that depitcs a repressive totalitarian world. This work written by Karin Boye shows us a dehumanized society, controlled by the State, where the individual (the fellow-soldier) exists as a mere tool of the powerful World-State, which "imprisoned" its population in a morally claustrophobic reality, “a compulsory and massive abduction of personality and individuality”.
The only personal space was that of the mind, threatened with the new discovery.
Leo Kall is the main character, a scientist that works in Chemistry City Four. Kall develops a truth drug more effective than any type of torture. Once administered this drug, called Kallocain, the individuals that take part in the experiment reveal all their feelings and most intimate thoughts. Kallocain thus enables the approval of a bill that aimed at condemning and punishing the fellow-soldiers on the grounds of their thoughts.
“No fellow-soldier over forty has a clear conscience.”
Karin Boye, Swedish writer and poet, characterised this work as "frightening and macabre". She committed suicide on April 24th, 1941, on "the day the Nazis invaded her beloved Greece".
Publisher: Antígona, translated by João Reis.
Image credit: Editora Antígona