Finnish Weird is an online and paper mag produced to promote Helsinki’s bid for Worldcon in 2017, and it showcases some of the finest up and coming Finnish SF and F talent. However, it’s quickly apparent from reading it that the lines between SF, Fantasy and Horror, and between magic and reality, are more blurred in Finland than they are in other countries. Finland is a liminal country, caught between east and west, between forest edge and lake shore, and the speculative fiction produced there treads an unsettling path between genres.
The introduction provides an excellent overview of where the Finnish SFF / Weird scene is right now, and it all sounds very healthy. The magazine includes an interview with Finn-in-exile Emmi Itaranta, whose The Memory of Water* has overtones of SF, set in a future world where fresh water is scarce and only the masters of the ancient tea-ceremony know how to find it. Also featured is Tiina Raevaara, whose “Gordon’s Story” (included here) is an unsettling and touching fable. A bird, injured in an ongoing war, is brought into a hospital where all the other staff and patients are birds. His room-mate, the only human in the hospital, is a man who is gradually turning to stone. Humans and birds live side by side, each unaware of the others world. The uneasy but growing friendship, and it’s inevitable tragic end, is told through the eyes of the bird.
The third author featured – and it’s nice to see such a focus on women in the magazine – is Jenny Kangasvuo, whose short story based on a passage from Finnish national epic the Kalevala closes the magazine. Kangasvuo is the author of Wolf Blood**, published by Teos in 2012, an unusual werewolf novel set in the wilds of Northern Finland, with LGBT and pagan themes, which sounds intriguing.
If all this has whet your appetite for some Finnish Weirdness, you can read the magazine online for free here :
Me, I’m off to find someone prepared to publish Wolf Blood in English, because my Finnish is limited to “please” and “thank you”, and I would dearly love to read it…
*Teemestarin Kirja – Finnish title
**Sudenveri – Finnish title