The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has offered up its free magazine-style anthology, Finnish Weird, to introduce science fiction and fantasy fans to the country’s unique take on weird fiction. Paper copies will also be available at the upcoming Loncon 3.
Finnish Weird highlights the work of three authors and also has some interviews and editorials.
But there’s something–uh–weird about Finnish Weird.
Take Jenny Kangasvuo’s Flow My Tears! Fall from Your Springs! This folktale tells of the supernatural lengths a maiden goes to avoid marriage to a powerful but ancient warlord. It is well-written, emotive, and personal. It even has an honest-to-goodness plot. Despite all the recent claims by Finnish fantasists that the key to good science fiction and fantasy is to “break across genres”, Flow My Tears! Fall From Your Springs! is pure genre fantasy (folkstyle).
And yet…it, like all of Finnish Weird is fiction that is distinctly of a different category – wholly unrecognizable to Atorox the robot after whom Finland’s highest science fiction award is named. “Outsider” (the old pulp author pseudonym of the now forbidden racial, sexual and misanthropic ideas expressed in the Atorox series) would almost certainly not recognize the works in the Finnish Weird as sharing the same tree as his own work.
The quality that distinguishes Finnish Weird from the tradition of Atorox is obvious: it is feminine.
In a genre founded by men, for men, there’s absolutely nothing wrong about a story or novel having a feminine identity. This isn’t about right or wrong. It isn’t about female characters or male characters, or even the ideas expressed in books. It is about how fiction that traditionally identifies as men’s fiction has all but vanished from the country’s premier showcase for it.
It is kind of like going to the Apple Store and finding the shelves stocked with X-boxes and Windows 8.
In a country that produced Martii Lofberg and certainly Aarne Haapakoski, it is fairly clear that feminine fantasy and masculine vision-casting may never discover a way to be equal bedfellows. Eventually, the masculine voice falls silent.