Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
The literary journal Books From Finland has published Tiina Raevaara’s short story My Creator, My Creation online. Tiina Raevaara is a doctor of genetics and a science writer who has published a novel and a short story collection. The story has been originally published in Finnish in her collection En tunne sinua vierelläni (“I can’t feel you beside me”).
From the journal introduction:
The world of the short story “Luojani, luomani” is strongly gendered. Its narrator is an artifical female intelligence, who is always switched off at night, a kind of gynoid whose self resides within a hard case. The man is her creator and her owner, and men rule the technical world which the literate machine dazzles with her achievements. But for the man she is merely a saleable, unfeeling object, devoid of any tangible selfhood.
This story, lent wings by its quotations from Dante’s Divina Commedia, remains intriguingly open at the end, as Raevaara’s short stories generally do. Their atmospheres are a call to empathy, so strongly do they depict the power of the unconscious to give voice to that which has been silenced.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Second on the block is “The Quantum Thief” by newcomer Hannu Rajaniemi, due from Gollancz in the UK this September. —— if you dropped Greg Egan’s hard physics chops into a rebooted Finnish version of Al Reynolds with the writing talent of a Ted Chiang you’d begin to get a rough approximation of the scale of his talent —— I think Hannu’s going to revolutionize hard SF when he hits his stride. Hard to admit, but I think he’s better at this stuff than I am. And “The Quantum Thief” is the best first SF novel I’ve read in many years.(Sidenote: Gummerus will publish The Quantum Thief in Finnish in spring 2011.)
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
“Of course I will explain to you again why the trip to the Bahamas was so vitally necessary” said Dirk Gently soothingly. “Nothing could give me greater pleasure. I believe, as you know, Mrs Sauskind, in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.”
— Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Friday, May 14, 2010
Åcon, our little convention in Mariehamn, Åland, is arranged for the fourth time this year. The first day of the convention started traditionally very early with a ferry trip to Mariehamn (from Turku and Stockholm, in Finland and Sweden, respectively), with all the eating, shopping, and chatting in the bar that are customary in these situations.
The Thursday program was light, with introductions, people getting to know each other, a “do not disturb” sign workshop (inspired by previous experience of the very efficient hotel cleaning staff at work at early hours) and a very nice presentation by our Guest of Honor, Geoff Ryman, about some very impressive old sf movies (with lots of samples). There was also a movie showing (Frau im Mond by Fritz Lang from 1929, although not in its entirety, to the disappointment of many). And of course a lot of drinking beer and chatting with other fen in the bar and the lounge.
This morning before the official program started some of us took and excursion to a local chocolaterie, Chocolaterie Amorina.
We got a presentation about how chocolate is made, what kinds of differences there are in different kinds of beans, ways of making it, etc.
The world of chocolate is quite complicated, and the characterizations for different kinds of chocolate—not to mention the pralines—seems to have a lot of common with wine tasting, both in the multitude of different tastes found in chocolate, and also in that you clearly need some practice to appreciate the really fine chocolates properly. If you visit Mariehamn, be sure to visit the Amorina!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
The Wreckamovie community, founded by the people behind the Star Wreck and Iron Sky movie projects, has been tasked by the Savonlinna Opera Festival to create a crowdsourced opera production to be premiered at the festival in 2012. (Probably, sadly, won’t be a space opera, though.)
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Johanna Sinisalo explores the roots of Finnish myth in “Bear’s Bride,” employing ancient traditional verses so seamlessly that until I read the author’s note I assumed she herself had composed them for the story. After reading said note, I found the story beginning to ring in my recollection with heightened mythic resonances. With that awareness in place going in, a good coming-of-age tale, set among a Finnish ur-tribe, may just refine itself to greatness. The “Mythically Correct” Award in this collection goes to Sinisalo, hands down.
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