In 1919, the same year Demian was published, seven of these stories appeared as a book entitled Märchen--literally, Fairy Tales. For this first edition in English, we have followed the arrangement Hesse made for the final collected edition of his works, where he added an eighth story, "Flute Dream."
The new note so clear in Demian was first sounded, Hesse believed, in some of these tales written during the years 1913 to 1918, the period that brought him into conflict with supporters of the war, with his country and its government, with conventional intellectual life, with every form of orthodoxy both in the world and in himself. Unlike his earlier work, from Peter Camenzind through Knulp, the stories in Strange News from Another Star do not allow for an essentially realistic interpretation. They are concerned with dream worlds, the subconscious, magical thinking, and the numinous experience of the soul. Their subject is the distilling of wisdom.
The eight stories are "Augustus," "The Poet," "Flute Dream," "Strange News from Another Star," "The Hard Passage," "A Dream Sequence," "Faldum," and--perhaps the masterpiece of this collection--"Iris."