Friday, April 29, 2011


The Logicomix graphic novel (which I believe is available in English) has been getting high praise from just about everyone here in Finland. The premise is interesting: it's a metatextual rendering of the history of mathematical, exact logic. It's told from many perspectives: the artists discussing the book under construction and Bertrand Russell telling about his life in a public speech, with the story moving forwards and backwards in time. The examples of logic Russell gives in his speech are also played out in the present time, with the artists discussing them. 

Logicomix is a fluent read, but I got the feeling it's also overhyped. The art is a bit stale (the artists are said to have collaborated earlier on the Babar animated TV show...) and while there's a lot of stuff going on all the time, with many important mathematical thinkers and philosophers popping in and popping out, I didn't realize what the fuss was about. (Plus I didn't understand many of the dilemmas presented, which may explain why I wasn't as fascinated as some others.) The stuff with Ludwig Wittgenstein was probably the most powerful. But I'd say if you're interested at all in the mathematics or the history of philosophical logic, you should try Logicomix. I just wish it would've been more original, more courageous. As a graphic novel, it's way behind Spiegelman's Maus, anything by Will Eisner, Alan Moore's and Eddie Campbell's From Hell etc. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Controversy over Ace Atkins's forth-coming Spenser books

Ace Atkins and TV writer Michael Brandman will be continuing Robert B. Parker's Spenser books. This has caused a lot of controversy at the Rara-Avis e-mail list, with people shouting "couldn't they at least wait until the body was cool? I mean, shit, Parker hasn't been dead two years". From my perspective, I can't see any harm someone writing more mediocre books that read pretty fast and tell about nothing. I mean, I've never been able to understand what's behind Parker's success and cult status. I don't want to hear stuff like "you just had to be there" or "Spenser's voice is unique" (which it doesn't really seem to me), I want to hear solid analysis.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Interview with Woodrell

Apart from just about everyone else, I'm not a big Daniel Woodrell fan, but do check out this interview with him.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finns getting a right-wing parliament

It was an election day today. Finland voted for a new parliament and decided that what we need is a bunch of over thirty right-wing nuts to deal with such complicated things as the EU monetary crisis, the global immigration and such. Here's a BBC article. Finland follows the route of many European countries, for which I'm very, very sad. Seems like Barack Obama is the only good guy right now. (I'm sure many of my American readers disagree with me on this.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Antti Tuomainen strikes a deal

Marvellous news from my writer friend, Antti Tuomainen, the noir man extraordinaire! Beware of the Finnish noir apocalypse!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: The Concrete Jungle

The Concrete Jungle is the US title for Joseph Losey's The Criminal (1960). It's a very, very tough crime film, reminiscent of the best, the most hysterical film noirs à la Kiss Me Deadly or Brute Force. Very hardboiled (and not very unlike Sean Connery) Stanley Baker is the head character, a career criminal just getting out from the prison and already developing his next big gig. Everything goes well and they get 40,000 pounds, but afterwards Baker's criss-crossed, in the best tradition of the genre. The ending is very grim, which means it's very good. Some of the scenes are so hysterical you want to jump up and shout: "Stop!"

There are some problems with the film: there's too much music, some of the scenes are a bit stagey and there are some inconsistencies in the script, but all in all, a lovably dark crime film from one of the masters. There are some things here Joseph Losey couldn't have done if he hadn't left the USA after being blacklisted: the homosexuality of the inmates is not hinted at, it's plainly shown (even though there are no kisses here or even a mention of the relationships), and the violence is harsh and brutal. Here's a good review of the DVD. Check it out, if you can.

More Overlooked Films at Todd Mason's blog here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood on View-Master

I'm unpacking feverishly and coming up with very weird items in my collection of sorts. Here's one, a folder for the View-Master discs containing the story of Little Red Riding Hood (in Finnish language, if anyone's wondering). Can't find the year this was published. I know I have somewhere a similar folder for Tarzan discs, will have to post a picture of the folder and its photos, provided I'll ever find it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

Cape Cod Noir

This reminds me of the idea I pitched to Akashic two years ago: the Helsinki Noir anthology. Thanks to Kevin Wignall, I got a very good line-up for the thing. I'll have to dig it up and refresh it.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Gil Brewer's bibliography

Just a quick note: here's a pretty complete bibliography for Gil Brewer's short story fiction, with some discoveries (i.e. Gil Brewer wrote some short stories as by Jack Holland).

Saturday, April 02, 2011

We just moved

We carried almost all of our possessions to our new apartment - our new home! - today and we are all pretty tired. Kauto threw up after eating almost only candy and snacks all day and this new place is a mess, with all the 6,000 books lying around, in boxes, on tables, on shelves, everywhere. Plus all the clothes, Elina's vintage dresses, 120 shoes... and I'm not someone to blame her, since I've got at least 100 T-shirts and what not. We've talked about opening a bottle of Moët & Chandon when the move is over, but it's not over yet. Wish us luck!