Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Finnish Fantasy Anthology Reviewed in Strange Horizons

Rose Fox reviews The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy over at the Strange Horizons site. And she likes it quite a lot:
Johanna Sinisalo, herself a prolific author and winner of the Finlandia Prize, has assembled a masterful collection of Finnish tales of the fantastic for this latest volume in the Dedalus European Fantasy series. — — This is clearly an anthology created by the Finns themselves, rather than by outsiders peering in and making value judgements based on their own disparate cultures, and it is worth taking a moment to appreciate that these works will now be so widely available to Anglophone audiences. Students of history will be particularly intrigued, and there’s also a good deal here to appeal to the more casual audience — — it’s a challenge worth taking on.
The book is a collection of Finnish short stories from the nineteenth century to present day, from a wide range of authors (many of them well respected mainstream authors—this is a collection you could well recommend to a friend who might normally be a bit wary of genre material). If you want to sample the Finnish fantastic, this collection offers an excellent opportynity for that.

Other reviewers have liked the book too. For example, in Scotsman.com:
This wonderful anthology is a fine addition to Dedalus's range of fantasy literature in translation, and is every bit as diverse and challenging as its predecessors. — — Every entry left me wanting to know more about these eerie authors.
And from the Independent Online:
These excellent stories share an edginess that's quite distinct from the quirkiness many contemporary English writers prefer to celebrate.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Download Free Novella By Pasi Jääskeläinen

Writer and soon-to-be novelist Pasi Jääskeläinen (who has won three Atorox awards for the best short story of the year) has a blog. He has also put an older novella-length story of his, Laurelia etsimässä, on his blog, free for the taking. Recommended.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Seminar of Fantastic Research at Finncon

“Exploring the Borders of the Fantastic” is a seminar of the Finnish fantastic researchers. It will be held in conjunction with Finncon, on August 17 and 18.

From the organizers:
The themes of the Seventh meeting of the researchers of science fiction and fantasy will explore the changing borders of the fantastic in fiction, and in this sense we shall talk about being on the edge, breaking the limits and bending the rules as well as creating new ones. Fantasy in itself transcends the conventional, creating worlds by using metaphorical language and narrative structures. Nowadays it looks like the boundaries between sf and fantasy are moving, and even the walls between fantasy and mainstream, fantasy and realism grow dim in literature and other media of art.

The aim of this seminar is to bring up the questions concerning this larger cultural alteration of conventions. The general objective of this seminar is to promote multidisciplinary research of sf and fantasy in Finland, and to enhance national and international relations to other researchers, research networks and units. It is, again, arranged as part of Finncon06 programme, and by its support.

Teachers of the seminar are Irma Hirsjärvi, Frans Mäyrä, Liisa Rantalaiho and Markku Soikkeli. For those who want to participate, the deadline for 500 word abstracts is June 30; the text should be sent to Irma Hirsjärvi.

More info can be found at Babeknabel (the English version is at the bottom of the page).

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Pirate Picnic Saturday in Espoo

The Espoo sf society ESC summer picnic will be held tomorrow (10.6.) starting at 2 PM. The purpose of the picnic is “to check the pirate and coast barbarian situation in Espoo—and make sure there will be some pirates and barbarians if none are found”. Pirate attire recommended. More info at ESC site.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New Novel Set In Future Turku

Hard Luck Cafe coverThe new Vares novel Hard Luck Cafe by Reijo Mäki is set in Turku of an unspecified future. There are soldiers on the streets, the Art Museum functions as headquarters of EU multinational troops, the Martti city area belongs to muslims, and there are gondola elevators moving through the air, transporting people from place to place.

Of course some things remain: The ex–private detective Vares and his regular pub Uusi Apteekki. From there he checks out the cynical vision of the future Mäki writes about, with no love to spare for neither EU, the Pope, radical activists nor multinational corporations and globalization.

Comments about the book in Helsingin Sanomat and Turun Sanomat

Friday, June 02, 2006

First Thursday Talk

A pretty good turnout at mafia yesterday, including some who don’t regularly visit, which is always good. Here are some topics missed by those who weren’t present (and some who left too early):

  • reminiscing about old conventions
  • Finnish sf short stories today
  • Eurovision (although very briefly, since it’s been talked to death already, but anyway: go Lordi!)
  • how to get new people to join fandom and participate
  • funny or stupid (or usually both) videos and comics found on the net
  • the state of TSFS and the things the society could do (ironically, no representatives of the society were present at the time)
  • ideas for future fandom events

All in all, a very good evening. Time flew by unnoticed into the wee hours. See you again next month!