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Volume 2309
 Our Edgar Rice Burroughs Amateur Press Association Reprint Series
The Hadac Family Visit ERB Fan and Scholar Fredrik Ekman in Sweden
by Jim Hadac
(The Cry of the Red Hawk)
Jim and Fredrik at Fredrik's home - see caption below   This past October, I had the exciting opportunity to visit fellow ERB-APAn Fredrik Ekman. It all began with my daughter, Jamie, being accepted for a Study-Abroad program at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. She was entering her senior year at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where she has majored in biology, and particularly genetics. She left in late August to do a four-month program concerning biotechnology at Copenhagen. Naturally, my wife, Yoko, and I considered taking time off from our jobs to visit our daughter. We were also interested in visiting Denmark as we had never been to any of the Scandinavian countries, although we’ve been to other countries in Europe.

     Over the following several weeks, we worked out the time period we would both be able to go on the trip (in October). We then arranged our flight and hotel reservations. It also occurred to me that there was a Swedish ERB-APA member, Fredrik Ekman. As I knew Sweden was next door to Denmark, I figured it might be possible to fit a trip to visit him in our schedule. It was especially interesting to me that we had both joined ERB-APA in the 91st issue of Autumn 2006 (two years ago!).

     I checked Fredrik's address in an ERB-APA, hoping he didn’t live far to the north of Stockholm among the reindeer. When I saw on a map that his home city of Linkoping was somewhat between Copenhagen and Stockholm, I felt that we could easily make the trip there. It looked like we could work it out to visit on a weekend, which I figured would be more convenient for Fredrik. I contacted him by e-mail to let him know I was thinking of going to see him. He replied promptly that he would be happy to see us and show us around his city. As he lives in an apartment, he thought we would find it less difficult to stay in a hotel in town. In an e-mail, he provided us with links to information on hotels in Linkoping.

    Fredrik asked if I had any reading copies of the middle and later Tarzan books, the Pellucidar books and any non-series books. He also hoped I had the second issue of the Tarzan and John Carter Dark Horse comic series. He wanted to trade ERB books in Swedish for the ones I would bring. I would be happy to do that.. I had the comic he wanted but, unfortunately, not so many books for him. Ken Manson helped out  by bringing me some of his duplicate books. I was able to stuff 13 paperbacks and the one comic in my luggage to take to Sweden. Fredrik also asked if I could take U.S. cash to bring back to the States and make a check for our OE, Tracy Griffin, to pay his membership fee and for copying. I assured him that it would be no problem.

    We left Chicago O'Hare International on Sunday, October 12, and arrived in Copenhagen on Monday, after a seven-hour flight. We took the train to the Central Station and then walked from there several blocks to our hotel.

    We spent the next four days exploring Copenhagen. We also took the train to Helsingor, the site of Elsinore, Hamlet's castle. But we had the problem that we didn't know when we would be able to go to Linkoping. Jamie went for a school trip to the U.K. and would be coming back to Copenhagen late on Friday. She let us know that she didn't want to leave for Sweden until noon on Saturday. We were able to reserve seats on a direct Copenhagen-Linkoping train that would leave at 12:30 and take 4 hours to reach Linkoping. That's a distance of about 200 miles/320 kilometers. Then the next problem was hearing on the platform that the train was cancelled and we would have to catch a train to Malmo and then take the train from there to Linkoping. We were able to do that, going through a tunnel and over a bridge to cross the Sound and enter Sweden. But then our next problem was that we got off at a Malmo station but not THE Malmo station. When we got to the Malmo Central Station, the train we wanted had departed. We had some time to look around the city of Malmo before we got back on the train to Linkoping.

    So we let Fredrik know we would be arriving much later than we thought we would, at 6:00. After traveling through southern Sweden, with its woods and lakes (I was reminded of Wisconsin), we arrived at Linkoping station and met Fredrik there. It was good to see him and he took us to a nearby hotel to check in there. Then he took us for the short walk to Linkoping's historic cathedral. While the Lutheran church service was going on, we sat and listened to the organ music and admired the magnificent interior.

    From there, we walked and took a bus and saw more of Fredrik's city. Linkoping is a city which is 721 years old with a population of around 97,000 (Sweden's pop. is around 9 million ) and it's the capital of Ostergotland County. Well-known for its cathedral, it is now also known for its high-tech industry. Fredrik said there's a great aircraft museum in the city, but we had arrived too late to see it. Instead, in the western part of the city, we walked in the quiet darkness through Old Linkoping, a living museum area. From there we went on to Fredrik's apartment.

    Fredrik's apartment was lovely -- Yoko certainly liked it very much. And I soon saw the bookcase in the living room where Fredrik has his collection of ERB books in Swedish and English-language editions. Yoko took a picture of Fredrik and me in front of his bookcase. As you can see in the picture at the beginning of my story, Fredrik had many other books besides ERB.

     Then we exchanged our books I had given him -- the paperbacks and the one comic I had brought. Fredrik gave me three paperback Tarzan books, one hardcover Tarzan, three John Carter comics, two Tarzan comics, and one Korak comic, all in Swedish. I would give half of these items to my friend, Ken. I was surprised that Fredrik gave me two hardcover Jules Vernes and a comic adaptation of the Disney movie of "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea." I had told him that my friend Greg Phillips was a Verne as well as an ERB collector and he would be glad to receive these after I got back.

     Fredrik also showed me his collection of fanzines. Especially interesting to me were the early ERB-APAs that Fredrik had. I asked him where he got them from. He said he had bought them off eBay from Mike Resnick. I said I had met Mike at Chicago science fiction conventions and I knew he no longer considered himself an ERB fan. This was certainly the proof of that, that he had sold his ERB-APAs! It was also interesting to see articles from ERBAPAns who are still writing for ERB-APA and to see names of people I had never heard of!

     Fredrik also showed me his submission, which you will see in this issue. It's a study of the role of numbers on Barsoom and Fredrik did his usual great job of analysis and imaginative speculation. Fredrik said that his main interests are Barsoom and the ERBian languages (he's a teacher of Swedish and English) so that he's looking for fanzines with articles that focus on those topics.

     Fredrik offered to cook a real Swedish dinner for us, which was extremely nice of him. While he was cooking, I read his article for ERB-APA and perused the ERB-APAs and also talked with Yoko and Jamie. Then dinner was ready and it was a marvelous experience for all of us. We had some great herring and mashed potatoes and, next, real honest-to-goodness Swedish meatballs. I also did a toast of "SKOL" with Fredrik with schnaaps. which he said was very traditional. Fredrik who sings in the choir also sang a  beautiful traditional Swedish song for us. It was certainly a special dinner for us weary travellers! And I have to mention that we really loved the lingonberry sauce too! We also continued our conversation during the meal and, then, after it, back in the living room.

    The most important news  that Fredrik told us was that he was going to get married in July of next year. Of course, we congratulated him! Yoko was particularly interested to hear that Fredrik did training in Japanese martial arts," jujutsu" and "iaido." Yoko had never heard of the latter and Fredrik said that it is the basis of "kendo" or Japanese sword-fighting and involves drawing the sword and the striking motion of the sword.Certainly, it's not Errol Flynn-type fencing! Fredrik also talked about his travels in the States, such as to Fargo, N.D., and the area of Minnesota near there. He had gone there to contact distant relatives and it was interesting for me to hear about a part of the country I have never visited!

    Of course, we talked about ERB and ERB fandom, especially ERB-APA. We also talked about other authors we liked, such as the late Arthur C. Clarke. Fredrik mentioned a Swedish author I had never heard of -- Frans G. Bengtsson. He wrote historical fiction about the Vikings and one book that Fredrik recommended is "The Long Ships." It is translated and I have found it in Amazon books. I look forward to getting it. Interesting that ERB didn't write any historical fiction about the Vikings. I'm sure he could have come up with some great stories about them!

   We talked about a number of things touching on history and politics concerning our countries. Yoko was interested to know more about the Swedish education and healthcare systems, which Fredrik could give us some insight into. Jamie was quiet and later said she still felt tired from her trip to the U.K. She talked just a little about Denmark and her studies .Anyway, it was getting late and it was time to take leave of our very gracious host .I think it was a most enjoyable visit. Fredrik very kindly guided us on the bus back to our hotel. We enjoyed a very good night's sleep in Linkoping and had an excellent breakfast at the hotel in the morning. We had thought about going on two more hours to the capital city, Stockholm, but decided we would not have enough time to spend there and would also get back to Copenhagen too late, so we returned to Denmark. I thought that someday I will have to return and see more of Sweden and also visit Fredrik again!

    Monday was our last full day in Copenhagen and then it was back to the USA on Tuesday. The three of us spent the day wandering around in the Danish capital and I was able to make a good discovery. In a little old bookstore, the clerk said he had books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I bought six Tarzan hardcovers in Danish for about 200 Danish kroner (around $40). Not a bad buy and I now had Danish ERBs to add to my Swedish ones to bring back home.

  As we flew away from Scandinavia, Yoko and I felt very happy that we had been able to visit our daughter and spend time with her in the fascinating city of Copenhagen. And I was also very happy that I had taken the opportunity to visit Sweden and meet my fellow ERB-APAn, Fredrik. I certainly wish that I will be able to see him sometime again- if not in Sweden, perhaps in the USA (maybe at a Dum-Dum).

Above Photo Caption: Jim Hadac and Fredrik Ekman at Fredrik’s apartment in Linkoping, Sweden, on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008. We are standing in front of Fredrik’s bookcase, which holds his collection of Burroughs books. My wife, Yoko, and daughter, Jamie, were there and Yoko took the photo.

Map showing the route from
Copenhagen to Linkoping (enlarge)

Jamie, Yoko and Jim in Copenhagen
(in a cemetery)

1998 Swedish edition of 
Tarzan of the Apes 

1978 Swedish edition of John Carter,
Warlord of Mars, No. 2

Danish ed.  of Tarzan and the Golden Lion
Publisher: Frederik E. Pedersens


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