This classic Swedish novel envisioned a future of drab terror. Seen through the eyes of idealistic scientist Leo Kall, Kallocain's depiction of a totalitarian world state is a montage of what novelist Karin Boye had seen or sensed in 1930s Russia and Germany. Its central idea grew from the rumors of truth drugs that ensured the subservience of every citizen to the state.
Karin Boye (1900-1941) was a Swedish poet and novelist whose suicide in 1941 amid the shambles of a war-racked Europe reflects the fate of a whole generation of writers. Her first novel, Astarte, appeared in 1931.