Finnish SF and Fantasy: An Established Community, a Surge of Talent

This is the conclusion of a two-part feature on Finnish SF/Fantasy. In April, my wife Ann and I flew to Finland for seven days of lectures, workshops, and other presentations at various universities and writer organizations across the country. The trip was made possible by a travel grant from the Finnish Literature Exchange (FILI), in conjunction with the largesse of the Finnish science fiction/fantasy community. You can read Part 1 here.

SF/Fantasy by Finnish writers is hot this year, with two major titles now out in the U.S. that capture the range and complexity of the current scene: Birdbrain by Johanna Sinisalo and The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi. But visiting Finland meant having a chance to delve a little deeper, an opportunity to catch tantalizing glimpses of a rich and vibrant SF/fantasy tradition in which the distinctions between genre and literary fiction seem less and less important.

A Golden Age for Cross-Genre Finnish SF/F?

Indeed, novelist and short story writer Anne Leinonen believes “Finnish science fiction and fantasy is living its golden age. In this millennia, the number of writers has significantly risen, as well as general respect toward the genre…Copying Anglo-American ideas or styles [isn’t as common], with the use of local and national elements becoming a natural part of storytelling. The borders have blurred, bringing new methods, ways, forms of expression to our literature.”  

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