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The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy (Dedalus Literary Fantasy Anthologies) (2012)

by Johanna Sinisalo (Editor)

Other authors: Bo Carpelan (Contributor), David Hackston (Translator), Pentti Holappa (Contributor), Boris Hurtta (Contributor), Olli Jalonen (Contributor)16 more, Tove Jansson (Contributor), Pasi Jääskeläinen (Contributor), Aino Kallas (Contributor), Aleksis Kivi (Contributor), Leena Krohn (Contributor), Arto Paasilinna (Contributor), Erno Paasilinna (Contributor), Markku Paasonen (Contributor), Juhani Peltonen (Contributor), Sari Peltoniemi (Contributor), Johanna Sinisalo (Contributor), Jouko Sirola (Contributor), Jyrki Vainonen (Contributor), Maarit Verronen (Contributor), Mika Waltari (Contributor), Satu Waltari (Contributor)

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883223,457 (3.69)6
The latest volume in the Dedalus European fantasy series, this anthology of short stories includes a wide range of texts covering the period from nineteenth century until today. The richness and diversity of the stories reflects the long tradition of fantasy in Finnish literature, ranging from the classics to experimental literature, from satire to horror. This is the first collection of Finnish short stories of its kind and almost all are translated into English for the first time.… (more)



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I came for the Estonian werewolves, but I stayed for the Finnish fantasy.

I originally picked up the Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy as it has a new English language translation of Aino Kallas' 1928 novella "Sudenmorsian" (The Wolf's Bride) which centres around an Estonian Hiiumaa Island farmwife who is enticed and bewitched into joining a werewolf pack. There is an earlier translation by Alex Matson that is pretty much impossible to find in print. In a slight twist, the extract used in this 2006 anthology cuts off at Chapter 8, making it a de facto "happy ending" version, where the werewolves are left to run free in the forests and marshlands and the tragic fate of the bewitched heroine is not revealed. This actually felt totally ok to me as the novella clearly seems to side with the natural world of the werewolves vs. the superstitious strictures of the local authorities and villagers. With a bit of easy googling of "Aino Kallas" + "Wolf's Bride" you can even pick up on some fascinating references to studies that interpret Kallas' werewolves as symbols of modern era women. Having a "happy ending" version of one of the usually grim and despairing tales of Kallas is a separate treasure of its own. Some may be irritated to be left wondering what the real ending is. Trust me I won't spoil it, but it is not "happy".

The rest of this book was a bonus in that it introduced me to about a couple of dozen other Finnish writers in the fantasy realm. The Kallas is actually pretty much the closest the book gets to the horror genre and the rest really is more along the lines of speculative, often dream-like fiction. I especially enjoyed the sample of editor Johanna Sinisalo's short fiction, a tale of a n'er do well who is unwittingly drawn into a dolphin freeing plot by an otherwise seemingly mute girl who seems to have a psychic connection to the underwater mammals. I now discover that Sinisalo is also the writer behind the original story of cult Finnish sci-fi film "Iron Sky" and her "Troll - A Love Story" is definitely going onto my To Be Read shelf.

Anthologies can sometimes be a mixed bag but the variety and the quality here was excellent and I hope to read more from these authors. ( )
1 vote alanteder | Apr 24, 2015 |

A somewhat underwhelming collection of fantasy fiction from Finland, a country with a relatively young written literature. Styles are all over the place here, as perhaps expected in an anthology of this type, ranging from folk tales to the dystopian and surreal. There is a talking dog, a washed-up old dragon, werewolves, and plenty of (ab)normal humans. The highlights for me were 'The Slave Breeders' by Juhani Peltonen, 'Transit' by Johanna Sinisalo (also the collection's editor), 'Chronicles of a State' by Olli Jalonen', and 'The Golden Apple' by Sari Peltoniemi. (I took meager notes on this book and feel uncompelled to elaborate here-- a few more details at story level can be found in another GR member's review.) Perhaps the most notable curiosity in the collection is the selection from Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins, though her brief domestic tale of post-apocalyptic survivorship failed to win over this reader. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
I really like these Dedalus Fantasy Anthologies. There were only two stories I thought were completely worthless but still I can understand the place they have in the collection as the editors were trying to set the back drop for the development of Fantasy in Finland where realism is the literary style of preference and where historically language took a written form only recently. There are a lot of entertaining creative stories in this collection, no mind screws (which I really think is the key to a perfect short story), and a few really amazing tales. My favorites were: "The Great Yellow Storm" (about a boy who falls asleep in school and dreams of the school's destruction), "Boman" (a story about a man and his dog that happens to be able to talk, read, sprout wings and fly), "Congress" (a satire on government and world politics in the form of a transcript of a discussion between representatives from countries around the world as to what would be the most efficient way to 'please' alien invaders), "Good Heavens!" (a man dies while checking out a hot woman and has to deal with his after life), "Transit" (A druggie and an autistic child free some captive dolphins, the plot was a little silly but I liked the writing style), "A Zoo From the Heavens" (A allegorical story told by a father to his son hides a sad secret from the family's past.), "Three Prose Poems" (3 poems in very short story form, loved it.), "Blueberries" (A man collects bones and is conflicted when he finds a full human skeleton), and by far my very favorite "The Slave Breeder" (a man finds a large group of people in the living room of his castle and decides to enslave them). Those were just the ones I really enjoyed but this collection was very enjoyable as a whole. ( )
  Pretear | Dec 31, 2008 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sinisalo, JohannaEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carpelan, BoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hackston, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holappa, PenttiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hurtta, BorisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jalonen, OlliContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jansson, ToveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jääskeläinen, PasiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kallas, AinoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kivi, AleksisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krohn, LeenaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paasilinna, ArtoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paasilinna, ErnoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paasonen, MarkkuContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peltonen, JuhaniContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peltoniemi, SariContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sinisalo, JohannaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sirola, JoukoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vainonen, JyrkiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Verronen, MaaritContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Waltari, MikaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Waltari, SatuContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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