Friday, December 30, 2005

Star Wars, Shanghai Style

Who says in The Revenge of the Sith: "They want to know him at fuck"?

Check it out.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Just a quick note

We got today back from Elina's parents where we spent three days. Kauto seemed to miss Matti and Karin later today when they had left and had a short relief only when we dug out some pictures of his granddad. Lots of presents, mainly for Kauto. Lots of booze, but not as much as during earlier Xmas parties, since Elina wasn't quite well. Lots of chocolate and ham. I have a massice case of dyspepsia. I'm eating Rennies like the guy in Ray Banks's The Big Blind.

Read most of James Michael Ullman's The Neon Haystack. Will report back on that.

Was shopping for Xmas in the university library duplicate sale - came back with over 20 books. Will report back. A snappy flea market tour in Toijala on Thursday on our way to Hämeenlinna. Nothing spectacular, though. Saw Tapani and his family briefly. Tapani gave me the Hard Case Crime and Point Blank Press books he had ordered me from Abebooks (I have no credit card). I'm looking to forward to reading them. Will report etc.

Tapani and his folks have a furless dog. Kauto was enthusiastic about it and even tried to say "koira/dog" when the thing vanished downstairs. Do we have to have a dog in the future?

Our mutual gifts with Elina received today. Lots of fun and stupid stuff, such as the Garfield playing cards from 1978, in an almost mint condition. Kauto got his hands on them and chewed bits off from some of them. I must be the only person in the world who got two old plastic freezer boxes for Christmas!

Isku came from the printers just on Wednesday. The jerks had done an earlier version that had some mistakes in it - one in my own story in which a map suddenly switches hands! Must ask for revisions.

Did some vanity google tonight. Found a negative review of The White Heat. Will report back on that, too (but perhaps only in Finnish).

Don't know when I'll post again, but in the meantime: have a nice after-Xmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy holidays

Heading off for holidays early tomorrow morning and pretty busy with shopping and family today, so:

May Santa protect us!

PS. Was Christmas shopping already yesterday and found Westlake's Two Much (a nice Crest edition), Fred Zackel's much-praised P.I. novel Cocaine and Blue Eyes and couple old Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines (in Finnish). I also purchased two paperback translations of Erle Stanley Gardner's A.A. Fair books that are being reprinted by Hard Case Crime. Am heading soon towards the duplicate shop of Åbo Akademi's (the Swedish-speaking university of Turku) library. They sell books for 20 cents! Yummy!

I also bought the seventies' (actually the only one) translation of Edgar Wallace's, Merian Cooper's and Delos Lovelace's (who he?) King Kong. Will scan the Matti Louhi cover when we return.

My holiday reading will consist of Allan Guthrie's Two-Way Split and James Michael Ullman's The Neon Haystack (1963). I remember liking it very much some 16-17 years ago.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Jurassic Park 4

I was looking up John Sayles's info on IMDb and noticed that he'll be writing Jurassic Park 4. While this was new to me, the thing that attracted me most was this rather nonsensical comment in the discussion board:


I've stay, since I found it: TOO SHOCKING, DESPERATLY WORRY AND SAD, AS TOO SCARED, AND TOO FURIOUS, ABOUT THIS HORRIBLY UNEXPECTED INFO, about wich I EXTREMLY BEG, that it only be, A AWFULL, JOKE. Because you know what it would means, for the so damage (but if are not make it that ANIQUILATINGS ideas, as NONE of that kind, is ABSOLUTLY POSIBLE BRINGING BACK AND WITHOUT DISSAPEAR, AND, BUT FOR THIS TIME, NEVER AGAIN, HIS, TOTALLY AND SO UNIQUE, MAESTRY), cuality of the history, of JURASSIC PARK if it happens ? This simply, CAN'T, happen.

Otherwise, Jurassic Park, as you, and I, we KNOW, WILL BE LOST, AND THIS TIME, WITHOUT, REPARATION, AT ALL, OBVIOUSLY. Because the complete, so exciting, beautiful, unique, escence, of Jurassic Park, that we all the real lovers and passionate of this unforgettable history franchise, this Master Piece, we love, and for the same, MISS SO MUCH!!!, couldnt come back again, and stay forever, wich NEVER did must gone. And wich COMPLETE, only posses it, the First Film, Jurassic Park, and talking about the films, and the books. The only master piece of this saga, and, if you aren´t note it yet, THE ONLY, wich posses the sense, the key, the brilliant formula, of this story, FOR ALWAYS, I mean, for ALL THE MOVIES OF THIS SAGA, and his books.

So CLEAR and SIMPLY, like that, just, analize the sense of the birth of this story, and you will, realize of it, of what I say. Sense, that only is communicate and showed, ONLY, IN THE FIRST FILM, JURASSIC PARK. And wich, can, COME BACK, AND STAY, FOREVER. But, about the info of the page that I did put you lols, up, the web page, ONLY WITHOUT, LIKE THAT, in that horribly web page info, SO INCONCIOUS AND STUPID ideas, wich in the case of that info in that page, part of the so frightning examples of it, are: The idea with Keira Knightley that appears there, wich is, SIMPLY, A DEVASTATING, IDEA, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS, OF COURSE!!!. But it wouldn't be, if the responsible of this, just DON'T DO IT!!!, and, ANYMORE!!!, AN, WE NEED MORE SOOO STUPID, AND, HORRYBLE,IDEA, but specially for in the case of this horryble info that I share with you guys up there(the web page), a it wouldn´t be IMPOSSIBLE, FIX IT, ONE, IDEA(S)!!! Please, if anyone knows about this, it CAN'T, BE TRUE, INFO, what is this, where it came from, and if theres jokers LIKE THIS. I PLEASE, ASK to you, that you answer me back on this board, or write me to my e-mail, if you want. To who, like me, wants the Real Best, for Jurassic Park, for his legacy, wich must be, not only in his first part, but, in ALL the films of this whole story in it, UNIQUE, BRILLIANT, UNFORGETTABLE, FASCINATING, AND, OBVIOUSLY, WONDERFULL, like the big mayor part, of his first film, deeply from my heart, THANK YOU, and NEVER, change that beautiful and perfect view, care, intention, hope, your TRULY, SENSITIVE, DEEP, SO CORRECT and WORRING, point of view, and DEVOTION, for THE ETERNAL SHINE, of Jurassic Park, like the MASTER PIECE that it is, and that shows to all, in his first film. And also, to you, the guys like that there: Take Care, Always, Please. And believe guys, when I tell you that you, KEEP YOUR FAITH about OUR BELOVED, JURASSIC PARK, the REAL story and escence of it, refering to the films one, that only we have known and felt, in his, first, part, because, it, WILL BACK!!!, THIS TIME, FOR STAY FOREVER, AND AS YOU'LL NEVER IMAGINE. YOUR EXPECTATIVES WILL STAY ON THE STARS. Wich about this story, I knew and it did stay and will be forever, in an eternaly special way, in my heart, and in all the rest of my being, giving me, later, much time later, a sign, a mission, in my so special, and because that, beloved, and, so unforgettable, 1993.

(If anyone could read this through, raise your right hand and say out aloud: I've also read Finnegan's Wake.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Stuff done

Books read:

Ray Banks's The Big Blind (Point Blank 2004). Very nasty little book, in the vein of Irvine Welsh: Scottish lowdown people running scared and doing what's not supposed to be done. In this one, a guy gets beaten to death and dumped into water. It's about a salesman of my age, who's accomplished nothing in life, but amounting to the said event. Banks writes like he's boxing in an illegal match. The novel could have more plot, though. I was expecting more twists and turns. But I'm not complaining.

I'm currently reading Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath. I don't especially like serial killer novels, since I think they are only upgrades of the puzzle crime novels of Agatha Christie and others, with criminal masterminds planning the crime for so long it's a wonder they get it done.* I thought I'd give this a shot, since it's been compared to Elmore Leonard and other writers of my liking. And I really liked Konrath's short story "Whelp Wanted" that is available in PDF in his blog, hmm, umm.. yes, somewhere there. I can't seem to find anymore, but I downloaded it and have Konrath's kind permission to use the story in a forthcoming issue of Isku.

Konrath's humour is quite heavyhanded, though, and he overwrites some scenes and makes them feel pretty lousy. There are some quite nice ones, though, especially the one in which the serial killer stalks the hero, Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels, in her bedroom. Konrath seems to be hitting big in the US soon, so watch out. (And remember that you read it first here. I mean the Finnish folks.)

Movies seen:

For the first time in my life, I watched J. Lee Thompson's Cape Fear (1961), the original from which Scorsese later filmed his overhyped version. I liked that, when I saw it in, what, 1991, but it's clear Thompson's version is much better. You just gotta admire Robert Mitchum doing the quintessential baddie in the lead - you just don't want to meet him, never.

I haven't read the John D. MacDonald novel on which the movies are based, but if it's anything near this, I'll be liking it more than any other MacDonald I've ever read. (Saul Bass's credits in the Scorsese film are spectacular. If not anything else in the film, they are the reason for it to exist.)

I also had a chance to watch The Lady in Red by Lewis Teague. I mentioned this earlier, but with a wrong title. It's Teague's second or third feature film, but that's not important. It was John Sayles's second script, after Piranha in 1978, and it shows clearly: the film is very pro-feminist, pro-worker, very class-conscious and shows in the climax how a poor woman, a black man, an old man and a young guy who has no hope in life can work together. It's a film set in the late twenties' gangster world, with John Dillinger and Thompson machine guns and all that, but Sayles's script is what makes this important. (I think Sayles is one of the two bank clerks in the climax, but I'm not sure.) Teague directs really crisply, though. Later on he directed Romancing the Stone, if you remember that one.

Work done:

I've more or less stopped working for the year, but here's an update:

I'll finish the PI novel early next year. There's some 20 or 30 pages still to come and then I'll have to do the editing pretty fast, since it's going to a contest with the end of January as a deadline.

Then I'll possibly get back to my mainstream novel that's been in a hiatus this Fall. I'll be writing it in a train, on my way to shoot the TV show. (We actually shot an almost real one a week ago, a test pilot with three interviewees. It went quite well and I was very satisfied with how I looked on the tube!)

The pirate Isku is still coming out, but I don't know whether it will make it before Christmas. Here's hoping - they are quite busy at the printers.

I started writing another Joe Novak story. It came from remembering a line from a novel (which one, I forget) in which someone walks around a room and touches things. In this Novak is sitting in an empty hotel room, not knowing who really invited him there, and moving around and touching things he finds in there. It's set in the mid-sixties, so my hero is already past 40 in it.

* Luis Buñuel has a nice one on this in his fifties' film, Rehearsal for a Crime aka The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz. In this, a young guy, bored with his life, plans murders, but someone else always makes them before he has the nerve to do them.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ken Bulmer is dead

British science fiction and action writer Kenneth Bulmer has died. Born in 1921 and starting out in fanzines in the early fourties, Bulmer had quite a long career. Mostly known for his SF, he also wrote westerns, war novels, sea stories, etc. Even a series about the Falkland war!

The novel on the left, Galactic Intrigue, was published by Panther in 1953 (that's the copyright year and only year I can find in the book). The copy on the book says:

When Brent, son of old-man Brent of the Galactic Press, leaves Earth for a holiday on the far planet of Luralye, he travels by Matter Transmitter - a sensational new means of interstellar travel which breaks its passengers down into atoms and re-assembles them at their destination.

But there are powerful groups in the Galaxy who do not intend the Matter Transmitter to succeed - particularly the huge spaceship concerns that still dominate the space-ways - and when Brent steps out of the Transmitter on Luralye, with a beautiful violet-eyed girl, he finds himself involved in this desperate struggle for power.

Ken Bulmer in Finnish

Here are covers for the only two series that have been translated from Ken Bulmer in Finnish: the Adam Hardy series for New English Library in the early seventies and the submarine series as by Bruno Krauss. In the latter the Germans are "heroes" or at least in the lead. I've read the Hardy book and can quite recommend it, if you like sea stories with strong heroes. At least it's more entertaining than the over-written stuff by Patrick O'Brian...

Early Henrik Tikkanen

Henrik Tikkanen was a legendary Finnish author and illustrator who started out in the years just after WWII. He made lots of illos for some small adventure, mystery and humour magazines, such as Ässä (= Ace). Here's a striking cover for Ässä 1/1950. Later on Tikkanen wrote some of the most revered books about living in a culturally inclined Swedish-speaking community in Finland.

The illustration was black & white already in the mag, the magazine's logo was colour, but I forget what it was. Some illustrations from the same mag below.

Tikkanen's action

Here's a great Tikkanen illustration for a story that was published in the Ässä magazine.

Another Tikkanen

Here's still another action illustration from Henrik Tikkanen.

Tikkanen's cartoon

Here's a very well drawn cartoon from Henrik Tikkanen. It looks like it's been drawn with single strokes!

She says: "If you keep looking at other girls, you'll soon have to find another girl!"

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I'm Jack Burton

You're Jack Burton.
The Pork Chop Express.

Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
brought to you by

M.A. Numminen remix

The legendary Finnish underground/children's artist M.A. Numminen with DJ Sane:

Grab it fast, since it won't be downloadable for long!

Bad Boys/Pahat pojat

I watched last night parts of one of the most popular Finnish films, Aleksi Mäkelä's Bad Boys. I didn't expect anything, but boy oh boy, was it crap! It's hard to understand why this one has been so popular.

Katsoin eilen illalla viimeiset puoli tuntia Aleksi Mäkelän Pahoista pojista. En odottanut paljoa, mutta tämä oli aivan kamala. Täysin motivoimatonta toimintaa - miksi poikien isä käyttäytyi kuin täysi idiootti, vaikka annettiin ymmärtää, että hän on älykäs ja manipuloiva (varsinkin lopun tohelointi sikarin kanssa oli täysin eri henkilöä) -, surkeata dialogia, käsittämättömän tyhjänpäiväistä tunnelmointia ja pyrkimystä male bondingiin ilman että käsikirjoittaja ja ohjaaja olivat ymmärtäneet, mikä poikia todella olisi yhdistänyt - kyse oli vain tyhjästä kuoresta, jostain josta Mäkelä ja Pekka Lehtosaari olivat lukeneet, että näin toimintaelokuvissa tehdään. Lisäksi he olivat käsittäneet, että aina kun jotakuta, vaikkapa koiraa, hakataan, pitää laukoa hauskuuksia. Kohtaus, jossa Vesa-Matti Loiri hakkaa koiran kuoliaaksi, oli ainoastaan typerä.

Lisäksi elokuvassa käytettiin täysin tarpeettomia jump cuteja ja zoomileikkauksia saman kuvan sisällä. En keksinyt, miksi ne olivat tarpeellisia. Tai no, keksinpä: Mäkelä halusi matkia ulkomaisia esikuviaan, mutta näillä on kyllä hallussaan rytmitys paljon paremmin kuin Mäkelän kaltaisella amatöörillä.

Taidan pysyä Vareksesta kaukana.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My dream of Lee Goldberg

Lee Goldberg has found my post about the dream I had, with him and George W. Bush. Andy comments:

Having lived in Finland, I can vouch for the other guy that the long hours of winter darkness and the copious amounts of coping alcohol can make for all kinds of bizarre dreams.
Thankfully I was usually too drunk to remember any of them.

Mr. Goldberg makes a mistake, though, saying that I'm a screenwriter. Apart from some half dozen amateur movies in the late eighties, I haven't scripted anything. And some might argue that those things were not scripted.

James Reasoner's Texas Wind; my other blog

Now that Kauto is in daycare, I can concentrate more on my first love: books. I read James Reasoner's Texas Wind, the cult hardboiled private eye novel from 1980 that has been missing due to its original publisher's bankruptcy. It was reprinted last year by Point Blank Press (that's run by our very own Juha Lindroos).

It's a great and satisfying read. I started the book late last night and finished it today almost by noon (of course after having slept the night). It's very short - 142 trade paperback-sized pages - which is always an asset, but in those few pages ("few" by today's thriller industry standards) Reasoner creates a fully convincing world, convincing characters and a convincing mystery, with one or two nice twists at the end. This is the way things should be done, nice and tidy, and not just fill page after another.

Reasoner keeps his own blog Rough Edges here. I read it often and get a glimpse of an everyday of an extremely prolific writer. Reasoner must've written 180 novels by now. He also seems a very nice guy, just like his P.I. hero, Cody.

The cover on the right (or left?) is the original found in Reasoner's website . If you ever see the book on sale, grab it. There are two copies on sale in Abebooks - the cheaper one goes for 100 bucks.


Be sure to check my other blog: I've been posting there some short reviews of old and obscure films noirs. In Finnish, that is.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


I forgot to mention in my update that the pirate issue of Isku went finally to printers on Saturday and the Silverberg book will follow early next week!

Ultra Bra

(Sorry, this is in Finnish, see for English-speaking material below.)

Näin viime yönä unta, jossa soi useaan otteeseen Ultra Bran biisi, jota ei ole olemassa. Olen ennenkin ihmetellyt, miten on mahdollista, että unissaan onnistuu säveltämään, sanoittamaan, sovittamaan ja tuottamaan täydellisiä biisejä - tämä oli juuri sellainen tapaus. En enää muista, mistä biisissä oli kyse, mutta sen muistan, että lauloin kertosäettä mukana useaan otteeseen ja että lauluun yhtyi tyttäreni Ottilia (tai joku muu - tämä on äärimmäisen epäselvä muistikuva). Tärkeintä kuitenkin on, että biisi oli täydellistä Ultra Brata.

En ole koskaan ollut kovin kiinnostunut Ultra Brasta. Tai sanotaan näin: kun he aloittivat komissaarilaulullaan (joka sittemmin paljastui parodiaksi), olin innoissani. Olin innoissani, kun he esiintyivät Yo-talolla hetki tuon jälkeen, mutta sitten siitä tuli aivan liian suosittua. Biisit kuulostivat hyviltä, mutta joku "hipness" minussa sanoi, että minun pitää pysyä tästä kaukana. Ärsyttävät kokoomuslaisetkin pitivät bändistä - sehän tarkoitti sitä, että sitä ei voinut kuunnella. (Kokoomuslainenhan ei voi pitää Patti Smithistä tai Sonicsista.)

Mutta kun olin nähnyt mainitun unen, kaikki tietämäni Ultra Bra -fragmentit alkoivat soida päässä: "sinä lähdit pois", "joka ei lämmitä", "savanni nukahtaa"... herkeämättä. Samaan aikaan tunsin oloni oudon melankoliseksi. Muistan aiemmin päivällä katsoneeni Kautoa, joka leikki lattialla, ja tunteneeni kaihoa.

Olin aiemmin viikolla käynyt hierojalla. Tällä oli Turun Radio päällä ja siellä soitettiin Ultra Bran biisi, jossa lauletaan jotenkin sinne päin, että savanni nukahtaa. Se oli minusta hieno biisi. Tämä yhdistyi mielessäni siihen, että olin vajaa viikko sitten vakaasti sitä mieltä, että Anni Sinnemäki oli Linnan juhlien kuningatar, todella viehättävä ja kaunis mustassa yksinkertaisessa puvussaan. Eihän sillä ole mitään tekemistä asian kanssa, mutta silti... (Tämä kuva on pari vuotta vanha.)

Ehkä annoin lopulta periksi Ultra Bralle. Ehkä hierojalla maatessani - kun minulle tehtiin hyvää, autettiin elämään paremmin - pystyin kuuntelemaan bändiä puhtaasti, enkä antanut esimerkiksi sen häiritä, että entisen työkaverin, rasittavan määräilijän, kännykän soittoäänenä oli juuri Sinä lähdit pois.

Olen viime aikoina miettinyt, että minulla ei ole ollut sukupolvikokemuksia. Ultra Bra oli monille minun ikäisilleni juuri sellainen, ja olen aina enemmän tai vähemmän pyrkinyt pysyttelemään erossa sukupolvikokemuksista. Ainoa biisi, jonka tunnistan sukupolvibiisiksi, on Red Hot Chili Peppersien Knock Me Down - diggailimme sitä yhdessä parin muun jätkän kanssa lukiossa ja se muodostui eräänlaiseksi hymniksi vuosille 1989 ja 1990. Olen vain hiukan kasvanut pois Peppersien kaltaisesta musiikista, vaikka toki biisi tuo mieleeni valtaisan määrän muistoja.

Ehkä Ultra Bra -kokemukseni liittyykin juuri tähän. Ehkä kaipasinkin yllättäen sitä, että tuntisin olevani yhtä niiden kaikkien samanikäisten ja samannäköisten (!) ihmisten kanssa, jotka 90-luvun lopulla elivät Ultra Bran tahdissa, tunnistivat biisien sanoista omat tunteensa ja oman elämänsä. Voi olla, että tämä on jo liian myöhäistä. Biisit eivät tunnu kuuluvan maailmaan, jossa on lapsen unikoulu ja kohta alkava rasittava ja hiukan pelottava matkatyö ja keittiö, jota ei koskaan jaksa siivota ja joululahjastressi ja mitä vielä.

Muistan muuten, että Ampukaa komissaarit, nuo hullut koirat herätti minussa aikanaan samanlaisen nostalgisen sukupolvireaktion. En ollut itse ehtinyt mukaan 70-luvun vasemmistolaiseen toimintaan ja sain 80-luvun puolivälistä alkaen vain katsella kyllästyneenä sivusta, kun nuori vasemmisto kuihtui pois (nyt olen taas liian vanha ja väsynyt lähteäkseni uudestaan virinneeseen toimintaan mukaan). Ultra Bran voittobiisi SDNL:n järjestämässä poliittisten laulujen kilpailussa herätti minussa -94 tunteen: voisiko uusi nuoruus olla sittenkin mahdollinen?

Ehkä sitä juuri ajattelin uneni kautta: olisiko uusi nuoruus sittenkin mahdollinen?


As I said, it's been quite a week, amounting to a dream about Lee Goldberg and George W. Bush...

I've been to Helsinki talking about the TV show. The test pilot will be shot tomorrow and I don't know whether I'll be able to get any sleep.

Kauto went to the daycare on Wednesday. Everything went smoothly, but now he got sick with fever and cold. We've been giving him sleep school and slept badly ourselves. The last time we did this it seemed to go well, but then something happened and it went bonkers. It is stupid to restart it when Kauto is starting his daycare, but we just can't wait anymore - we want to sleep the night!

I've dug out some more old Finnish pulp stories from the archives for the anthology I've been editing all Fall, but I seem to be running out of steam. The authors are either too poor or too obscure. Some gems have sprung up even lately - for example Asser Harkima, who wrote tough private eye and gangster yarns in the late fifties. His endings are pretty poor, though. Maybe the book is done for my part (except for the introduction) and I should leave it rest.

I finally finished Joe Sacco's massive graphic novel/reportage Palestine today - I've had it from the library for four or five months now and can finally take it back. Vow, what a depressing read that was! It was easier when I was a kid and my parents told me that Jasser Arafat is the good guy, and that was that. Sacco makes clear that he thinks Israel is not the good guy here, but he makes also clear that the Palestinians are old-fashioned, bigoted and racist towards the Jews.* And sexist - even though this is not very clear, since Sacco has many women say that the hoods are good and the Quran tells them to wear them and what are they to say against the Good Book? It seems that there can be no solution. There should be, that much is evident, because the whole situation just raises hate and violence in the Arab world and may cause the World War III.

* How could not they be?

Friday, December 09, 2005

I dream of Lee

I had a most wonderful dream last night - or actually in the morning.

The American author and scriptwriter Lee Goldberg (whose blog I read frequently) was a performing magician and was giving a show at a stage somewhere. It was a big outdoor stage and there was quite a big audience. I was his apprentice. Lee Goldberg said he was going to do a big trick, but it required the presence of President George W. Bush. Lee said it was going to look very tricky, but was actually quite easy. It involved ropes and some cans of paint.

But when Bush came on stage, Lee vanished and left me to do the trick. At this point, I noticed that George W. Bush was a mess. He was like a total idiot, grinning to himself, mumbling and smiling stupidly. He was poorly dressed and hadn't shaved. The most curious thing was when I shook hands with him and noticed that half of his right hand thumb had been cut off. He looked actually quite ugly and disgusting.

Bush waited for me to do the trick about which I had no clue. I saw Lee Goldberg standing amongst the audience, but he gave me no tips about the trick. I looked at the cans of paint and ropes on the floor and had to admit to the smiling President that I don't know what to do. I simply had no idea what the trick was supposed to be about.

Now Bush started to laugh hysterically. He plunged down backwards from the stage and hit his head and everyone came to his aid. At this point I woke up.

(Sorry for not having written anything for a past few days. It's been quite a week.)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Just One Night, part 5

This is the final part of the crime story I wrote 20 years ago, as a teenager. I have translated it now and changed bits here and there, but all in all I thought it was a pretty good story for a 13-year old. (I don't know what you think.) The most striking thing is that I left the end without any explanations of what was to come. In this version I made it seem like Brougher got killed, which isn't actually hinted at the original. In the final part the original version was pretty straightforward and the dialogue was ridiculous ("Do something! I don't want to die!") and I rewrote some parts of it. I may rewrite this still and post it as a whole story.

In the lobby, Doc, a short, shabby man, who handled all the emergencies in the hotel, was putting bandages over Moose’s arm. Camaro was standing by the door.
”What was the shooting?” Moose asked.
”I had to kill one of Hersey’s guys”, Brougher said.
”Who?” Moose asked.
Brougher looked at Suzie. ”I think it was Taylor.”
Suzie said: ”You knew him?”
Brougher said: ”Yes” and went to the door. Camaro said: ”The Fury came back.”
Brougher saw the old Plymouth sitting and waiting some thirty meters away from the hotel door. He knew it was full of men waiting for a chance to kill Brougher and his men and get Suzie Terrell. To silence her.
Brougher didn’t want that to happen. He felt his stomach tighten when he thought about Suzie. He hadn’t felt this for years and at first he didn’t know what it meant.
”Let’s get on with this”, he said and opened the door. Camaro followed him out.
The Fury started. It almost jumped when it drove past the door. A machine gun flashed in the window.
”Down!” Brougher shouted as he ducked.
Camaro didn’t make it. He got hit in the arm, worse than Moose just ten minutes ago.
”Fuck!” Brougher heard Camaro say.
Brougher got up and saw Suzie hiding under a table. The clerks were behind the desk. They wouldn’t take any customers tonight. Suzie’s dad had paid the hotel enough money to take the potentially dangerous Suzie as their customer, but Brougher knew Terrell had lots to pay after this.
He took a peek through the door’s glass windows. The Fury had parked just fifty meters away. Brougher saw someone rise from the car. It wasn’t Hersey. He was probably in the backseat, enjoying the show.
Brougher lit a cigarette and checked his Luger. ”I’m going to finish this thing”, he said and went outside. In his mind he kissed Suzie Terrell on the cheek.
The street was empty. The Fury had driven away. Jack cursed and threw his cigarette away. He wouldn’t be able to get Hersey this time.
He heard a siren somewhere. Damn those coppers, always getting in the way, Brougher said to himself.
Suddenly a man came from behind the corner. He was holding a shotgun in his hands and he was firing at Brougher. One of the bullets scratched Brougher in the leg. Brougher fired twice, but didn’t hit. He put his back against the wall.
The man shot again. The ricochet sounded off the wall and Brougher felt blood run on his left cheek. Jack took two quick steps and aimed. He shot twice. The man coughed and his shotgun fell to the ground.
The siren was closer now.
Brougher heard a low rumble coming behind him. He turned around and fired point blank at the Plymouth. The big red car drove past him. It was fast. Brougher saw a revolver at the window and heard a shot. He thought he saw Hersey when he felt something hit his stomach. The Luger fell from his hands. He collapsed and reached for his gun, but the Fury was too far away.
Brougher took a pack of Kents from this shirt pocket. He heard sudden, nasty creaking sounds and someone was shouting: ”Put your hands on your heads, you fucks!” Jack laughed and blood came from his mouth as he lit one of the cigarettes.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A quote of the week

Since I'm tired (some fucktards who call themselves our neigbours had a party last night from 4 a.m. to 6.15 a.m. and kept me awake all that time), I'll post only a quote from the German philosopher Georg Lichtenberg. It illustrates my mood about other people quite well:

There can hardly be a stranger commodity in the world than books. Printed by people who don't understand them; sold by people who don't understand them; bound, criticized and read by people who don't understand them, and now even written by people who don't understand them.

(I could add: the houses are housed by people who don't understand them.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Just One Night, part 4

(Part 4 of the crime story from 1985.)

Brougher and Camaro took their guns out of the holsters and went to the door. A big, red Fury had been parked near the hotel. A man stood beside it and seemed to be having a conversation with someone in the car.
Suddenly the car spurted into motion. When it was passing the hotel, a shotgun showed at the window and fires flashed. Moose got hit in the arm. Camaro and Brougher sent three bullets after the car, but missed.
”Are you okay?” he asked Moose.
”It’s a scratch”, Moose said.
Brougher nodded even though he could see that there was quite a lot of blood in Moose’s arm.
”Hey, where’s the guy?” Camaro shouted.
Brougher took a look. The man, who’d been talking to the driver of the Fury, was gone.
”Camaro, stay here. Moose, get Doc. I’m going to Suzie”, Brougher said and ran through the lobby and up the stairs. Brougher heard nothing and he knocked on the door. He felt excited and worried, even though he didn’t really know why. This was his job, after all.
Suzie came to the door. ”What was the shooting?” she asked. She was wearing a tight black skirt and a velvet blazer.
”It was Hersey. Get your bag and let’s get out of here”, Brougher said.
Then they heard a window breaking in the bedroom.
”Get down”, Brougher said and pulled Suzie down on the floor. Someone had come into the apartment.
”Stay there”, Brougher said and got up quietly. He backed against the wall. A man came from the bedroom with a sawed shotgun in his hands. It wasn’t Hersey. Of course it wasn’t.
Brougher shot a bullet through the man’s belly. The man twisted and blood came spurting from his stomach, but his hand rose up and he tried to shoot.
Brougher shot again. The man dropped the shotgun and fell on the floor.
”Get your bag”, Brougher said to Suzie, who looked terrified. Suzie rose from the floor and kept watching the corpse.
”It’s Hersey’s gang alright”, Brougher said. Who else would it be? He felt he had to calm Suzie down. It had been necessary to shoot the man.
Suzie gulped and nodded. She looked as she was about to burst into tears any minute.
”Do you know him?” Brougher asked.
Suzie nodded slowly and shakily.
”What’s his name?” Brougher felt he had to focus Suzie’s attention to something and not let the panic get over her. He knew the man and had seen him, but he wanted Suzie to have something to think about.
”I don’t know. I’ve just seen him once or twice…” Suzie’s voice was collapsing. ”He was some sort of a bodyguard.”
”Okay, it’s alright now. Get your bag.”
”Wouldn’t it be safer here?” Suzie said.
”No. Just go and don’t ask any questions”, Brougher said.
Suzie nodded and went to the bedroom. Brougher saw the broken window and felt a cold breeze coming through. Weird, he thought. It’s warm outside.
In the lobby, Doc, a short, shabby man, who handled all the emergencies in the hotel, was putting bandages over Moose’s arm. Camaro was standing by the door.
”What was the shooting?” Moose asked.
”I had to kill one of Hersey’s guys”, Brougher said.
”Who?” Moose asked.
Brougher looked at Suzie. ”I think it was Taylor.”
Suzie said: ”You knew him?”
Brougher said: ”Yes” and went to the door. Camaro said: ”Fury came back.”

(The dialogue after the shooting is new. In the original version they didn't say a word, which seemed a bit too hardboiled.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Old magazine commercials

Mainoksia Seurasta 22/1962; ads from Seura magazine, 22/1962.

Petterit-alusvaatemainos; the Peter underwear ad.
Miehet liikkuvat, petterit istuvat; The men move, the Peters sit still.


Reumalääkemainos - lääke on saksalainen, mutta onko mainos kotimainen?

Ad for a rheumatism medicine.


Graafisesti hauska Kuvaposti-lehden mainos - harmi että kuvittaja ei ole signeerannut työtään. Hyvin julistemainen.

Very nice ad for the Kuvaposti/Picture Post magazine. It says: "Picture Post is different."

Mauri Sariola

Mauri Sariola was the first Finnish crime author to be translated into English and hit the American market (unless one wants to count Mika Waltari, but I don't think his three crime novels have been translated into English). Here's the early seventies paperback cover for The Helsinki Affair.

Photonovel à la Mauri Sariola

My dad found a photonovel based on Mauri Sariola's crime novel in the Seura magazine in the early sixties. The stills were taken from a film that was based on one of Sariola's novels. Ismo Kallio (the guy in the close-up) played the lead, inspector Susikoski.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Valkoisen hehkun kritiikeistä

(This is in Finnish, sorry. It's about the reviews I've been getting on White Heat. See below for English-language material.)

Valkoisen hehkun arvosteluja on ruvennut tippumaan. Olen parin päivän sisällä lukenut kaksi ison sanomalehden arviota. Aiemmin olen lukenut yhden tieteellisen foorumin arvostelun (joka oli kohtuullisen kiittävä) ja yhden ylistävän sanomalehtiarvostelun sekä kuullut Antti Lindqvistin kehuneen kirjaa TV-maailmassa. Lisäksi Parnasson elokuvakolumnissa Antti Selkokari moitti minua siitä, etten ollut nähnyt kaikkia kirjassa mainittuja elokuvia! (Tapasin Antin juuri kun tuo oli ilmestynyt ja totesin hänelle, että kirja ei ilmestyisi vielä kymmeneen vuoteen, jos se olisi edellytys. Lisäksi eläisin vaimon rahoilla koko tämän ajan, mikä ei kuulosta kovin reilulta diililtä Elinalle.)

Minua on kirjan vastaanotto jännittänyt aivan tavattomasti (tiedoksi niille, jotka pitävät minua pelottavan itsevarmana!) ja olen ollut kahden vaiheilla koko ajan sen suhteen, kommentoinko arvioita vai en. Jossain vaiheessa sanoin Elinalle, että en aio edes lukea niitä. Se ei varmaankaan olisi kovin järkevää - joskin olen monen veteraanikirjailijan kuullut sanovan, etteivät he millään tavalla edes pyri etsimään arvioita omista kirjoistaan, mikä kuulostaa tasapainoiselta asenteelta omaan työhön.

Toisaalta arviot kiinnostavat, toisaalta niitä pelkää. Uteliaisuus lopulta ajaa niiden pariin. Joskus sitten harmittaa, että on ylipäätään pyytänyt jotakuta postittamaan jonkun arvion. Toisaalta kun lukee kaksi hyvin erilaista arviota peräkkäin, huomaa väkisinkin sen, että kirjoja arvioidaan hyvin erilaisilta pohjilta, ja sen että arvioijilla on hyvin erilaiset käsitykset siitä, millaisia tietokirjat ovat. Tämän huomaaminen on jollain tavalla vapauttavaa, vaikka kaikille tekisi mieli vain sanoa, että hei, tieteellinen kustantamo on sen julkaissut, se ei voi olla huono!

Tänään sain Hämeen Sanomissa olleen arvion, jossa kirjaa moitittiin enemmän kuin aiemmin näkemissäni. Luonnollisesti otti päähän ja rupesin jo kehittelemään vastakommentteja, joita olisin laittanut tuntemalleni kriitikolle, mutta sitten tajusin, että kritiikki kohdistui asioihin, jotka olisin itsekin valmis nostamaan esille, jos pitäisi valita piirteitä, jotka tekisin uudestaan, jos voisin. Tällainen on esimerkiksi lähteiden vähäisyys joissain kohdissa.

Tähän sanoisin tosin, että kyse on - herra nähköön! - vain johdatuksesta, peruskurssista, tieteen ja tiedon popularisoinnista, eikä mistään omaperäisestä tieteellisestä tutkimustyöstä (eikä se ole myöskään mikään "labour of love", vaan yksinkertaisesti päivätyötä (mitä ei tietokirjailijoille suoda, vaan oletetaan, että he tekevät tämmöiset pikkuhommat kuten yli 400-sivuiset kirjat sivutyönään)). Tämä on tuntunut jääneen huomaamatta joiltain arvostelijoilta, kuten Hämeen Sanomien kirjoittajalta (joka myönsikin minulle kun tapasimme kadulla (ennen kuin olin hänen juttuaan nähnyt), ettei hän osaa sanoa, arvosteliko hän Valkoista hehkua tiede- vai tietokirjana: näillä asioilla on huomattava ero!).

Mutta kuten sanottu, olisin itsekin nostanut lähteiden vähäisyyden kritiikin kohteeksi, jos olisin saanut Valkoisen hehkun eteeni ja sanottu, että kirjoita tuosta. Toinen asia, mistä kirjaa Hämeen Sanomissa moitittiin, oli että esitän arvostelevia lausuntoja elokuvista. Anteeksi.

Yksi asia minua on vaivannut pitkin matkaa. Joka paikassa jutut alkavat Peter von Baghilla! Miten yksi mies on muka voinut halvaannuttaa suomalaisen elokuvakirjoittelun niin, että jokaista alan kirjaa verrataan väkisinkin häneen? Valkoinen hehku ja Baghin Elokuvan historia eivät ole mitään toisiaan poissulkevia kirjoja, jotka kamppailevat keskenään. Ne on kirjoitettu erilaisille yleisöille, mutta itse näen ne toisiaan täydentävinä kirjoina.

Lisäksi olen ihmetellyt, että Baghin kirjan käyttöä lähteenä on kritisoitu. What the..? Eikö toista elokuvan historiaa käsittelevää kirjaa saa käyttää lähteenä? Baghin kirjassa on monia ongelmia, mutta ei se tee siitä käyttökelvotonta. Varsinkin kun Bagh on varmasti nähnyt prosentuaalisesti enemmän käsittelemiään elokuvia kuin minä! (Ja lisäksi: näyttäkää minulle kirja jossa ei ole ongelmia.)

Aamulehden kirjoittaja muuten totesi, että olen unohtanut kokonaan "maailman parhaan ohjaajan", Stanley Kubrickin. Se on ihan totta ja kyllä hänet siellä olisi voinut mainita,* mutta on hauskaa, että toinen kirjoittaja vaatii tämmöisiä lausuntoja pois ja toinen on pahoillaan, kun niitä ei ole enemmän. Ole siinä sitten.

Paras kritiikki, mitä olen kirjasta saanut, oli kun kuulin, että se oli otettu Oulun yliopiston tutkintovaatimuksiin. Muu on vain pulinaa ja unohtuu. (Yhtä asiaa olen vielä ihmetellyt: miksei kukaan arvostelija ole maininnut, että Hollywoodin studiokauden lajityypit käsitellään yliolkaisesti eikä lajityypeille ole omia alalukujaan? Minä vaatisin niitä ensimmäisenä, heti kun olisin maininnut von Baghin.)

* Kubrick ei tosin oikein sovi mihinkään yleiseen kehityslinjaan, joista Valkoisessa hehkussa on kyse. Hänet olisi voinut toki mainita film noirin yhteydessä ja käsitellä The Killingiä tai spektaakkelin yhteydessä ja sanoa, että hän teki yhden parhaista (taas arvostelma!) historiallisista elokuvista eli Spartacuksen, mutta muu olisi jo vaikeata. Ja sitäpaitsi: maailman paras ohjaaja? C'mon!

Just One Night, part 3

(13-year old me writing here again.)

”What are you going to do after this?” Brougher asked.
”I think I’ll go to Paris. I hear it’s a pretty place.”
”If you like big cities. I prefer smaller ones, just like this Austin”, Brougher said.
”This isn’t so small”, the woman said.
Someone came crashing into the room. It was Camaro.
”What is it?” Brougher asked.
”Hersey’s car has been spotted. It’s coming this way.”
”Red Plymouth Fury, fiftyeight?”
Camaro nodded.
”Go down and wait for me”, Brougher said and Camaro left the room. Brougher took his coat and said to Suzie: ”Get the clothes and your most necessary things ready. It’s possible we have to leave fast. My car is the cherry red Mustang. Take this. Just for security.”
Brougher put a small Beretta on a desk.
”Just aim and pull the trigger. You got it? Good. I’m out of here.”
Brougher headed out of the room and went down the stairs. He saw Moose and Camaro finishing up their pizzas at a lounge table. He went over to them and said: ”Finish your food and let’s get on with this thing.”
Camaro wolfed down his pizza. Moose asked: ”Aren’t you going to eat anything?”
Brougher shaked his head. ”Where was the car seen?” he asked.
”Fourth Street”, Moose said.
”It must be coming this way”, Brougher said, more to himself. ”When was this?”
”Two or three minutes ago”, Camaro said.
”Who reported it?”
”John”, Camaro said.
”Okay, get ready boys, it’s soon action time!” Brougher said and went to the counter and ordered a shot of bourbon. He gulped it down. Damn Hersey. I’d be sleeping by now, if it wasn’t for him, Brougher thought. But without him I wouldn’t have seen Suzie Terrell naked. Brougher grinned to himself.
Camaro had appeared by his side. ”What’re you thinking?” he asked Brougher.
”Nothing much. Cursed Hersey, that’s all.”
”We get good money out of this. Terrell’s dad is a rich man.”
”Yes, I know”, Brougher said.
Moose, who had gone to the hotel door, came back and said: ”They are coming.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TV stuff

I was in a meeting concerning the TV show I'm about to host. Nothing scary happened, even though they hadn't told me the day when they were gonna shoot the test pilot - "It has always been this", they said, even though that wasn't the exact truth.

I also met the managing director of the Yle Teema digital channel. She wanted to meet a new face and to hear I'm in with 110 %. That was scary.

Actually no, she was quite a nice lady. I also met one of her assistans (I didn't quite actually comprehend who she was) and turned out that she had known my father when he ran the cinema club in Pori in the seventies! The lady said it was the best cinema club she's ever been in, because my father used to encourage comments and discussion after the screenings. (He's always said that that's what cinema clubs are for, the discussion, not just for the screenings.)

I'm still not 100 % sure I know what's going to happen with the show, but I keep telling myself that I've now discovered that the TV shows are always made in the midst of chaos and no one knows what the result will be.

Monday, November 28, 2005

What's with leggings?

I'm currently reading Joseph Finder's corporate thriller Paranoia and one thing in it reminded me of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, even though Finder's book is vastly better.

Both books have protagonists admiring women with leggings. In Brown's novel, this gets very embarrassing, because the guy clearly has no clue of what women wear. The effective Sophie of the novel wears stuff straight out of '89, but in the real life she'd be wearing a pinstripe suit with high heels. Instead she has a large sweater and leggings. In Finder's novel the guy goes on a date with a young woman who's supposed to be very sexy and trendy. And she shows up in leggings.

Now, there's nothing wrong with leggings per se, but at the moment they just don't cut it. (Yes, I know, they are back in style again, but for girls under 25, not these business ladies!)

Finder shows his lack of fashion knowledge in a scene where the same girls has platform shoes! C'mon! Platform shoes?!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Early Spillane

Mickey Spillane has never been a favourite of mine, but this is an interesting item: an early aviation story that was a filler story in a comic book. Spillane worked as a script writer in the comic industry before creating his private eye hero (or actually, "hero"), Mike Hammer in 1947.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Upea yleisönosastokirjoitus

Nauru tappaa tutkimusten mukaan:

Just One Night, part 2

(Continuation of the crime story I wrote 20 years ago, as a teenager. The first installment here.)

Moose said with a grin: ”Chicken barbecue pizza.”
”Sure, go ahead. Make it a family pizza”, Brougher said.
”We are one big family here”, Camaro said and sat on the couch. Moose danced to the door and pushed the phone button beside the door. He placed the order through the phone.
Camaro said to Brougher: ”Should we watch something? I brought The Last Boy Scout with me.”
Suzie Terrell opened the door and shouted: ”You won’t watch anything! I’m trying to get some sleep here!”
”Alright alright”, Camaro mumbled.
The door closed with a bang.
Moose had made his order and came to sit on the coach. ”So we don’t get to watch anything?” he said. ”Even now that we have a pizza coming?”
Jack lifted his eyes from the book and said: ”Why don’t we just be quiet?
Camaro said: ”Suzie girl tries to get some sleep.”
A shout came through the door. ”I am not a girl to you!”
”She makes me mad”, Moose said.
The bedroom door opened and Suzie Terrell stood at the door with only her pants on.
”Vow!” Camaro said.
”Damn it! Can’t you morons let people get some sleep? It’s fucking one in the morning! And you there, stop staring or I’ll bust your balls!” The door slammed close and soon the men heard crying come from the bedroom.
Brougher looked at Moose and Camaro and said: ”What if you guys go out to eat your pizza or whatever, miss Terrell seems to be very tired. I’ll leave some of the chicken pizza to you.”
”Alright. You’re the boss”, Moose said. ”Let’s go”, he said to Camaro.
Jack put the book away and went to the bedroom door. He knocked and opened the door gently. Suzie Terrell wasn’t sleeping or crying, she just lay there and watched the ceiling. ”Yes?” she asked when he noticed that Brougher had come in.
”Nothing. I came to apologize.”
”It’s alright. It’s all my fault.”
”Sure. I know that.” Brougher grinned and sat on a stool beside the bed.
”You got any cigarettes?” Suzie asked.
”Sure.” Brougher took the pack of Kents out of his shirt pocket and offered one to Suzie. She took it and put it between her lips. Jack also took a cigarette and lit both. Suzie got up to a sitting position. When she noticed that Brougher was looking at her admiringly, she said: ”I’m sorry. I’ll put something on.”
”Don’t worry. It’s a pleasure.”
Suzie rolled her eyes and got up. She put a long red t-shirt on. She remained standing up.
”What are you going to do after this?” Brougher asked.
”I think I’ll go to Paris. I hear it’s a pretty place.”
”If you like big cities. I prefer smaller ones, just like this Austin”, Brougher said.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Editing your own stuff for publication


Earlier today when I was alone at home with Kauto, I happened to take the latest issue of Isku (the self-published crime/adventure fiction magazine I edit) and read some lines of my Joe Novak story, "The Case of the Walking Sticks".

And what did I see:

Pappa laittoi keppinsä tuolia vasten ja otti harmaan takkinsa taskusta ruskean piipun, tupakkapussin ja tulitikut. Pitkillä, kuivuneilla sormillaan hän kääri sätkän ja sytytti sen.

The old man placed his cane against the chair and took a brown pipe, tobacco bag and sticks out of the pocket of his grey coat. With his long, dry fingers he rolled a cigarette and lit it.

My first reaction: "What the..?"

I understood later what had happened. I remembered that the old man smoked pipe in the early versions of the story. Then I thought that he's an old pro, booze smuggler from the twenties and even earlier, used to run liquor for Capone and took a bullet in his leg and still didn't get caught, and he just can't smoke pipe. He's a tough one, not some intellectual reminiscing his lost youth. I switched the pipe to tobaccos, but forgot to take out the pipe!

I'm the only editor of Isku, but it seems that I clearly need someone to proofread my own stories. Dave Zeltserman once wrote on his blog that you should always edit on paper, never on screen. I do exactly that: edit on screen. That's why my texts seem so good...

I've already done the layout for the next issue's Joe Novak, maybe I should print them out...


I watched Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy just last night and was mildly disappointed. I haven't yet read Mike Mignola's comic and can't compare, but this wasn't just original enough. It looked just like another film from Blade to Captain Sky. The plot line should've been tighter and focused more around the Seven Gods of Chaos (and they should've attacked the Earth! I would've loved to see Hellboy to kick their asses!).

The biggest problem, however, was that they had saved money in the wrongest possible place: the actors were almost uniformly bad. Ron Perlman was OK in the lead, but John Hurt was a bit lame all the time and all the others came out of straight-to-video grade stuff. (Especially Rasputin, who should've revelled gleefully in evil and sin, was just another baldhead. I could've done his part just as well. His partner-in-crime looked great, but was no actor.)

It's too bad for del Toro. I really liked Cronos and Mimic (though I should've seen that one again) and his film about Spanish civil war, The Devil's Backbone, is very stylish and full of spooky atmosphere. (The last five or ten minutes are a let-down, though.) I understand he's doing Lovecraft's "Mountains of Madness", hope he gets something more original this time done.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Morgan Kane

I was scanning some books by Louis Masterson aka Kjell Hallbing for an article that's about to appear in Ruudinsavu/Gunsmoke. It's a commemmoration of the fact that Morgan Kane, Masterson's hero, was born 150 years ago.

The first one is the last in the actual Morgan Kane series and it's called The Last Hunt. Sorry, the scan is only black & white, since I thought about posting them here only after I'd completed the scan for Ruudinsavu. (I don't know if this has been translated into English and if it is, I don't know the exact English title.)

El Diablo

Kane adventured still in the El Diablo series, but he dies in the last one, Stormens oye/The Eye of the Storm. These are the original Norwegian books, published by the nation's leading paperback house, Bladkompaniet. They had been Masterson's publisher from the sixties on, when he started out doing Western one-offs and war novels.

Still another Diablito

This is just about Diablito, Morgan Kane's son, whose real name is Paco Galàn. In The Cross and the Sword he gets into the dangerous world of bullfighting.

Kirjailijapareja Suomesta

Tapani muistutti minua Armas J. Pulla -erheen lisäksi muistakin kotimaisista kirjailijaduoista. Hän itsekin kirjoittaa yhdessä Karo Hämäläisen kanssa, mutta kirjat julkaistaan kummankin nimillä tasavertaisesti.

"Nuortenkirjapuolella meitä on paljon, mutta suurin osa tekee omilla nimillään: Nina Repo ja Seita Parkkola, Anne Leinonen ja Eija Laitinen. Ja tietysti Nopolan sisarukset. Taru Väyrynen kirjoitti miehensä kanssa salanimellä Taru Mäkinen. Jouko Raivio ja Kirsti Manninen tekivät dekkareita. Karistolta tuli Paitsiokeikka, jonka kirjoittajaparina oli kouvolalainen poliisi ja toimittaja. Lommi taisi olla toisen nimi." [Paitsiokeikka oli Jukka Lommin ja Harri Mannosen kirja vuodelta 1999.]

Itse Elinan kanssa muistimme Ville ja Laura Rauvolan, jotka kirjoittajat lastenkirjoja Laura Lähteenmäen nimellä.

Ja sitten olemme tietysti me, Elina ja minä. Olemme tosin tehneet vain tietokirjoja eikä kirjoittamastamme nuortenkirjasta ole vieläkään tietoa, ilmestyykö se.

Just One Night, a crime story

I wrote earlier about the crime stories that I did when I was a teenager. I read some and one of them seemed good enough. I'll try to translate it and post here as a sort of serial. Here's the first installment. I edited it a bit and took out the most puerile elements. But you'll have to remember that I was 13 at the time. (I took the joke straight out of the web.)

Just One Night, part 1

”Please, turn it off. I don’t feel like listening to some Mozart or whatever”, Jack Lee Brougher said to a young woman who was witting on a sofa.
She was Suzie Terrell. Suzie was 23, very good-looking and nicely shaped blonde. She made a nasty laughing sound and said: ”It’s Bach, not Mozart. And try to show some respect to the great masters.”
”I have respect only for B.B. King. And besides that, Hersey might catch you any minute, if that thing is still on for another second.”
”What do you mean?”
”It makes me bored.”
Jack Lee Brougher was a security man of the Flanagan hotel. He was 26, tall, but not very muscular, and quite handsome. He had dark hair and wore blue jeans, a white shirt and a black tie. In his holster there was a Luger in account of Rodger Hersey, the criminal mastermind. Brougher guarded Suzie Terrell, because Hersey had just got out of jail and Suzie was the one to turn him in three years ago.
”Please”, Brougher said again.
”Alright. But only if you don’t change it to some B.B. King.”
”Alright”, Brougher said. After Bach had faded, he got up and turned on the radio. ”It’s no B.B. King. I don’t know what it is”, he said, when he found the blues station. Brougher grinned and lit a cigarette. Suzie Terrell didn’t look too pleased with him.
Moose Vincent came into the room. He was a tough one, with over six and ten, 110 kilos and bulging muscles. He had his hair up in a ducktail and he had black spitters and a black leather jacket on.
Brougher smiled when he saw Moose Vincent tap his fingers to the rhythm of Jerry Lee Lewis, who had begun to play on the radio. Brougher crushed his cigarette in the tray and said: ”Miss Terrell looks bored. Why don’t we do something funny. You could dance.”
Moose grinned and started to jump into the rhythm. It looked stupid as hell, but Suzie Terrell just sighed.
Moose stopped jumping and said: ”Camaro has a good joke or two.”
Camaro Cunningham was the hotel’s third security man, a tall and skinny man.
”Well, get him here quick”, Brougher said. Moose left the room. Brougher humphed and asked Suzie Terrell: ”What’s the matter with you?”
”This waiting. And the three of you, damn it! Why don’t you hell leave me alone?”
”Don’t you understand that you have to be guarded?”
When the woman didn’t say a word, Brougher shrugged, got up, turned off the radio and went to the living room shutting the door behind him. He lit another cigarette and picked up a paperback copy of Gores’s Hammett from the small desk. Moose came back with Camaro.
”Sorry”, Brougher said. ”Miss Terrell wants to be alone.”
”Damn shame”, Moose said. ”Just when Camaro had a good one.”
Brougher knew that Camaro’s jokes were always too long. He put the book away and waited. Camaro started: ”There’s this girl, Katie. She hears that her granddaddy has died and she goes straight to her grandparents’ house to visit her 95-year-old grandmother. This girl, Katie asks how her grandfather had died and her grandmother says that he had a heart attack while they were fucking away on Sunday morning.” Camaro started to giggle.
Brougher asked: ”Is this long?”
Camaro didn’t pay any attention to him and went on, still giggling: ”Katie tells her grandmother that two people who are hundred years old and fucking are asking for trouble.”
Sure, Brougher said to himself.”Oh no, my dear”, Camaro said implicating the whining tone of the granny. ”Many years ago, when we realized how old we were, we figured out the best time to do it was when the church bells would start toring. It was the right rhythm. Nice and slow and even. Just in on the Ding and out on the Dong.” Now Camaro made a pause. ”Granny wipes away a tear, and says that he’d still be alive if it wasn’t for the ice cream truck.”
Camaro and Moose started to laugh and pound their feet with their hands. Brougher grinned and when the two men had stopped he said: ”Let’s order some food.”

Monday, November 21, 2005

Writer duos

My friend Tosikko talks about on her blog about the Finlandia prize of literature. The shortlist has a SF novel by Risto Isomäki, and the jury said that it's not a perfect piece, but it discusses important matters and henceforth could receive the prize. Tosikko asks, rather rightly so, why Isomäki's novel is up there, if it's not well written. Someone commented that Finnish writers are usually not great stylists, or if they are, they don't discuss important matters (for example, Jari Tervo, who on the other hand wrote Myyrä/The Mole, an Ellroyish piece about Urho Kekkonen, the president of Finland 1956-1981 [or was it 1982? or -83?]).

I suggested that Finnish literature could benefit from a system in which someone comes up with the plot and the characters - and of course the issues - and someone else does the actual writing. This hasn't happened much in here, while it's very common everywhere else. Do you remember any actual writer duos from the annals of Finnish literature?* Take for example Ilkka Remes, the most best-selling thriller writer now. He could easily increase his income by making up a plot and characters and giving the stuff to some other writer. Then they'd split the advance fee and royalties (or whatever the system is in the US or UK).

This could also help some aspiring writers who don't have yet a novel of their own (or have had one), but who show promise. As the Finnish paperback and fictionmag industry has waded to almost non-existence, there's no real let-out for young writers. They have to make their breakthrough immediately with their first novel, which is kind of silly. I know couple of young writers who could easily fill out the pages from an existing synopsis.

* Tuuri Heporauta and his brother Arijoutsi wrote a SF thriller in the fifties, called The Mines of the Moon. Mika Waltari and Armas J. Pulla wrote as Captain Leo Rainio in the thirties. That's just about it. Any other suggestions? [Nota bene: Tapani said that I was in error first. It was Armas J. Pulla, not Leo Anttila who collaborated with Waltari on the Captain books. I changed it into Pulla now.]

Sunday, November 20, 2005

My private eyes

We were in Pori to visit my mother (I also attended a class reunion; only ten people showed up, but we managed to drink quite a lot of booze) and I got to dig old notebooks of mine that my mom keeps in the closet. I was actually looking for some poetry experiments I was talking about with an acquaintance of mine for another possible project (and found them; will be reporting about it here or on the other blog), but then I came across some notebooks that had crime stories in them. As I've written here earlier, I wrote lots of P.I. fiction in my teens - say, from thirteen to eighteen. All of the stories took place in America (one might've been in Australia, though) and the heroes had great names. Here's a list:

Johnny LaShelle
Ed Aristoteles [should be Aristotle, of course, were he meant to be American)
Monty Suffern
Mel Shawcross
Lou Parker [this might've actually been a screenwriter down on his luck, getting mixed up with some criminous producer or something like that]
LeRoi Taylor [a space private eye]
Joe Stone
Curtis Strock
Jim Amadeus
Spencer Cartmell
Joe Villalobos
Sam Odessa
Ted von Mayerling
Jack Lee Brougher
Jimmie Christina
Evan Taylor
Charles Leroy
Philip Hunter
Lou Carroll
Eddie Ray Ford
Eddie Carradine
Charlie Waits
Arnold Clothes

Then there was of course Joe Novak, who's still my hero. Ted von Mayerling is now a part of the Novak mythology, popping up every now and then as a rich and annoying private eye (something like Jake Gittes in Chinatown). (He hasn't been mentioned in any of the published ones, though.)

I like those names, man! I don't think the stories are anything close... Take note that the later ones are the more parodic ones: Sam Odessa, Joe Villalobos, Ed Aristoteles. The early ones are more straight-forward.

I also had heroes called Nero Woodward and Archie Moulton. It's pretty obvious who I'd been reading...

I also found something that I hadn't remembered: I was clearly on my way to be a professional book packager! I had made notes for two series about international spy rental offices, with meticulous detail into what cars the spies drove, what kind of guns they had, and so on. The one was about the Netzer & Netzer Agency (the story was about a spy called James Stapley) and the other was about the multinational Smith-Mao-Buligin agency. Very nice! From the handwriting, it seemed that I was 11 or 12 at the time.

I took some of the stories with me and I'll read them. I don't think they'll hold up (the dialogue seems pretty stilted), but it strikes me now that maybe I should've pursued this line of work more powerfully, instead of going to the university and tried hard to be an intellectual. I could be a published fiction writer now, doing top thrillers... I'll report about the stories here later on.

STOP THE PRESS: I looked up some more from the experimental anti-novel that's up on my other blog: Nick Partner, Chuck DeWitt, Arthur Shape, M. Ed Pierce, Ray Minerva, Socrates Hulce. Tom Soupdish doesn't really work, unless in some zany parody. Ray Minerva was purported to be gay, but I don't think I ever got on with it. (I remember now that a friend of mine once told me about a story he had written in school with a hero called Jeremy Graveyard in it!) I seem to remember now that I made a list in a small notebook with all the private eyes I'd come up with... Must look that up next time!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

P.I. novel; VHS tapes

My P.I. novel is starting to develop into a climax. I just wrote myself into a situation where I have to decide whether my hero is going to kill one of his girlfriends or does she have time to wash his trousers first. After that it will be pure hell.

It wasn't a good day doing any work, since Kauto slept pretty badly (his diapers leaked in the middle of the night and he was awake for over an hour even after we changed them). I've felt pretty tired all day and I slept for 20 minutes after reading Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange (which is still strangely eluding me).


I mentioned getting some old VHS movies from my dad. He picks these things up from the flea markets and sometimes he manages to sell them on. I get usually to choose something beforehand. Here's what I got:

George Schaefer: Pendulum, with George Peppard (1969)

Sebastian Gutierrez: Judas Kiss, mid-nineties noir, Gutierrez scripted later The Big Bounce

Lewis Teague: Polly (1979), from the John Sayles script, gangstery story set in the 30s

R.M. Richards: Revenge, Burt Reynolds flick from -86, with a small cult reputation, was supposed to be directed by Robert Altman, but fell into the hands of Dick Richards; the final director is hiding under a pseudonym; I missed this when it aired for a week in Pori and I didn't get a chance to write a review of it, now I'll have my second chance

I also got Hellboy by Guillermo del Toro which I haven't seen (nor have I read the graphic novel...).

The pirate issue of Isku

My self-published fiction mag Isku is soon coming out with the great pirate issue. It has five stories, with two classics, one by Arthur Conan Doyle himself and one by the Finnish legend Marton Taiga. The rest three are by me, Petri Hirvonen and Petri Salin. (I tried hard to get other writers, but it seems that people think it's hard to write about ships and all that. It didn't matter in the 1930's, did it, now?)

Well, the illos are great. Here are the cover by Jukka Murtosaari and the illustration by Timo Ronkainen for my story about Joe Novak and the lost treasure map. (I think it's one of the best Novak stories ever.)

By the way, if you speak Finnish, check out my other blog. I'm humiliating myself completely by publishing something I wrote at the age of 15 or 16. It's an experimental novel or what's left of it now. Joe Novak makes an early appearance, which I didn't remember.

German paperbacks

I was doing layouts all night and came up scanning some interesting German paperback covers. First batch is about two pirate novels. It's said that the covers are better than the text... German paperback fiction doesn't have a good rep, even though the industry there has been large.

The titles: Black Cargo and Under the Wrong Flag.

Cliff Coppers

Here are some covers for the German Western series that was published in Finland as Cliff Copper. The original series was called Red Rock Ranch. The hero of the series was Finlandisized and given a Finnish background, but not very inticingly. The titles are great: Horses Don't Whinny at the Graveyard, The Bloody Hard Ground, Blood Pudding for the Vultures... (The Last Draw of Breath doesn't hold up in that company!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


They are building a new house just next to us. As I sit here and type, I see the machines digging up earth and drillers clawing into the ground - and explosions! They are granading away huge pieces of ground rock. The traffic stops, loud beeps announce there's danger in the air - and then - BOOM! the smoke rises above the ground and big pieces of plastic (truck tyres spread open?) fly in the air. You don't see this kind of King Action in the middle of day very often. Keep up the good work, guys!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Just a quick post:

on Friday, at the university library checking out some old pulp stories, then rush off to Tampere to a party that was held for the contributors of the Valo weekly; Elina's dad got sick and Elina couldn't come; lots of booze and The Crash live (they are much better than HIM and Nightwish (I still don't get why they didn't break up sooner)); I also had a quick chance to check Libris, my favourite used book store in Tampere and find some interesting paperbacks;

on Saturday, off to Nokia to see Markku and have lunch with him (thanks again for the food!) and then to see my dad and pick up books and old VHS's from him (will write about these later), he had also found a neat stack of old children's napkins for Elina's and my collection; we also had a quite long and not very friendly chat about grammatological things; then to Hämeenlinna where Kauto and Elina were;

on Sunday, back to Turku and then Ottilia came to us for Fathers' Day, which amounted to lots of noise between her and Kauto and finally to some small conflicts, but also some nice moments of warmth and friendship; then at seven o'clock I took Ottilia back to her mother and said that we'll have to rearrange some of the meetings next Spring since I'll be having a job (she said: "It's good for you to have some kind of a job"; well, does anyone reading this think I don't do work?) and then back.

Ottilia had made a very nice tie for me as a present out of felt with Kauto's picture (!) on it. The best part of Fathers' Day was, though, when Kauto behaved nicely after I'd got back and started to babble in his own way, saying words that sound like "buoy". Just imagine a small boy, sitting by himself, playing by himself, saying over and over again: "Buoy buoy buoy!" We almost started to cry, after all the commotion today.

And then I said to myself: "I don't feel like opening the computer any more." Here I am. Had to make corrections to the latest issue of Pulp which is almost mainly about British stuff.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I had finally some time yesterday to pick up the copies of Banalologioita, my latest self-publication. See the cover. (Oops, the scan seems to be pretty bad. Don't mind that. Just admire my AD skills...)

I read it last night. It could've been shorter (it's 42 small pages now), since there are one or two essays that now read like reader's letters to the editor. But there are some bona fide classics, such as the one about eating your lunch in public places or the one about sneezing. The one about wanking and its impact on the economy (or rather the other way around: economy's impact on the amount of wanking) is still disputed by academics all over the world.


But I am serious. I'm glad this finally saw the light of day, even as a self-pubbed book that has a limited distribution.

Lord Lister

Here is a cover of another pastiche that those German guys, Matull and Blankensee, made. Lord Lister was modeled after the British Raffles.

Great name, that Lord Lister, doncha think?

More of faux Doyle

One of the Harry Taxon stories I wrote about earlier has been published in English. Anthony Boucher picked up a story from the Spanish anthology called Memorias Intimas del Rey de los Detectives and translated it and used it in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. This was later reprinted in Allan Barnard's anthology The Harlot Killer in 1953. The story is about Jack the Ripper (as is the whole antho). The Taxon story has Jack kill his 37th victim.

Faux Conan Doyle

I wrote a small piece for the Finnish Whodunit Society's Ruumiin Kulttuuri magazine on two Finnish-language books that have been published as by Arthur Conan Doyle, but are not vintage Doyle.

The other one is one of the German Conan Doyles that were written by two guys, Kurt Matull and Theo Blankensee. It's already apparent from the outset that it's not a real thing - Watson has been replaced by Harry Taxon, young man who is an apprentice of Holmes. The Holmes is no real Holmes either, since he has loads of technical apparatus at his help. The German Holmeses appeared in 1907—1911, and Harry Taxon had his own mag, too, called Harry Taxon und sein Meister. It was published in 1908—1909. The Noble Thief is the one below.

The other one is a real mystery. The Victim of a Blood-Sucker a historical novel, set in the late 18th century and features one Luc de Kerjean. Baron Luc is setting up a conspiracy against the King. It sounds more like Alexandre Dumas or Ponson du Terrail than Conan Doyle.

The Victim of a Blood-Sucker (great title, huh?) was published in Wisconsin in 1907 in two parts by a American-Finnish publisher. I've been toying with the idea that this is a trunk novel that Doyle was able to sell only to the Wisconsin-based publisher to be translated into Finnish.. but then again, probably not.

My new job

I visited today Helsinki to see my future boss in TV. I've worked with her before and while that experience wasn't altogether successful to me, I was able to get more sense out of her this time. I also met my colleague and friend, Manu, who will also be doing the show. I also heard that Tero, who's taken photos for Elina's and my talkkuna book and some of our magazine articles is doing some inserts for it, too. This calmed me down a bit, even though it seemed that they didn't really know what they were going to do. We are shooting a test pilot on next Tuesday. The real pilot will be shot in December.

Maybe all the TV shows are done like this. No one knows what is going to be done and some just lean back and relax and say: "Hey, don't worry!" Me, I'm an amateur and don't know how things go. But it seems they really have confidence in me, since I heard there were some 20-30 people running for the job.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blogit ja parodia

Lueskelin sattumanvaraisesti paria suomalaista blogia Sediksen linkkien kautta. Uusi maailma aukeni: maailma, jossa ei ole muuta kuin blogeja ja niiden semanttista pyörittelyä. Huomasin miettiväni, eikö kukaan huomaa, että blogien häviö on jo lähellä. Mielessä nimittäin käväisi vanha totuus, jonka mukaan parodia ja varsinkin itseparodia ovat merkkejä siitä, että jokin ilmiö on menossa mailleen. (Toisaalta parodia on aina säilyttävää, konservoivaa, ja sikäli se on myös merkki siitä, että jokin ilmiö halutaan säilöä sellaisenaan.)

Stuff on the other blog

Let me remind you there's an article on Seikkailujen Maailma in English on my other blog.

I also put the rest of e.e. cummings's poems in there. In Finnish, that is.

Cover for a Finnish pulp

This is a cover for Seikkailujen Maailma, the Finnish pulp that lived 1937-1963. In this issue, there's a story by "Charles D. Hammer", who's better known as Robert Silverberg. It will be included in the forth-coming collection of his early crime stories. Quite bad cover, I must say.

Other stories include Ron Garret's crime-themed juvie Motorcycle Murder and Westerns by Reuben Jenner and John Harrison McLean. There are also some anonymous stories. I'm thinking that Ron Garret could actually be Silverberg's buddy, Randall Garrett.

The blurb says: "The year for mavericks has begun!" (Or something to that effect.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

I got it!

I got the TV job!

Well, that's how I figured it. I was pretty flabbergasted when they phoned me earlier today and announced that they had liked me. I'm going to shoot the test pilot next Tuesday and the first real show - well, that went past me since I was in such a mess during the conversation. It seems, though, that they don't yet really know what they are going to do with the show, but I've decided that I won't mind. It pays the bills.

Now I just have to get new glasses. The current ones show reflection.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Vow! What a man!

This is an old magazine illustration by one Martti Masala, who did lots of book covers and other illos in the thirties. That swimming suit is a knockout! And the guy isn't bad himself either! (It's from a magazine called Reading for Everyone.)


Ottilia came to us for a weekend. It was All Saints Day on Saturday and everything was close. Which didn't mean much, since the rain was coming down hard all day and we didn't get out. We had a friend of ours and his daughter come by. Kauto went pretty wild over two girls at the house. Ottilia left today early with her mother to a concert and we spent a nice evening with Kauto. He's much calmer when there's no one else around but Elina and me (and we don't just sit at the computer). He wants so much of Ottilia's attention that when she's not in the mood or is too tired to play and run around, Kauto gets pissed off. Well, not pissed off, but irritated. He performs stunts just to get attention - he for example threatens to walk off the sofa.

Today he tried to kill himself and both of us. He put a little toy box beside the television which is on a small desk and tried to get up on the desk. He tried to pull himself up by pulling from the cords... And he didn't do this only once, but at least 15 times.

It's great he's so energetic and clever, but it does eat us at times.

What else happened? Nothing much. I read some pages of Clarke's Jonathan Strange. I'm still not getting to it, but it seems to have its moments. I'm reading Moomins for Ottilia for bedtime stories. I strongly suggest everyone read Moomins. They were once voted the second best books in the Finnish literature and I won't say anything against this. Very delicate, very funny and sad at the same time, devoid of the so called wisdom that rots most of the children's classics, and also very adventurous. A note should be made of this: Jansson's books appeal to a wide range of readers, not just girls or boys.

I spent one hour of my precious life and tried to watch Perdita Durango by Alex de la Iglesias, from Barry Gifford's novel. What a waste! I mean, I'm not prudish and am the last person to claim any moral for a piece of art, but there should be at last a sign of humanity in the characters. This was too wicked even for my taste. I've seen another previous film by de la Iglesias who was a find of the Almodovar brothers. Accion Mutante was its title and it was just as "evil" and "wicked" and boring as this.

Watch out: there's an article on the Finnish Seikkailujen Maailma on my other blog. In English, so it's a treat.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Osmo Pata

Osmo Padan eli Toivo Vuorisen Sannan suudelman (Kirjamylly 1945) kansikuva. Vuorinen kirjoitti myös nimellä Topi Tuisku: novelleja lukemistolehtiin sekä 70-luvun alussa vakoiluromaanin Kolauta kohtuullisesti. Jälkimmäisen julkaisi Iltakirjat-niminen pulju. Kumpikaan kustantamoista ei käsittääkseni julkaissut mitään muuta. Mietinkin, että ne saattoivat olla liikemiehenä toimineen Vuorisen perustamia one-off -kustantamoita ja kirjat käytännössä omakustanteita.

The cover of Sanna's Kiss (1945) by Osmo Pata (= Toivo Vuorinen, who also wrote pulp stories and a late paperback as by Topi Tuisku). Nice outfit! Gotta love that tank top!

Sorry about the B&W photo - it's scanned from a xerox.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Suomeksi blogeista

(Sorry, as this is about blogging culture in Finland, I thought I'd better write it in Finnish.)

Ajattelija Karl Krausilta kysyttiin joskus, miksei tämä, nerokkaana lohkaisijana tunnettu mies, ole ikinä sanonut mitään natseista. Hän vastasi: "Ei tule mitään mieleen."

Tämä tuli mieleen, kun luin Anssi Miettisen juttua Hesarin Kuukausiliitteestä. (Aiheena siis yleisesti blogit, jos joku ei tiedä.) Jotenkin tuntui, että vaikka Miettinen oli perustanut oman blogin, antanut kommenttien lentää, laittanut juttunsa eri versioita luettavaksi ja kommentoitavaksi, jutusta ei jäänyt mitään käteen. Ihan kuin Miettinen ei olisi keksinyt mitään sanottavaa. Ei tullut mitään mieleen.

Tämä johtuu ennen kaikkea siitä, että kaikki mitä blogeista voidaan sanoa on kauhean ennustettavaa. Yhteisöllisyys, uusi journalismi, kansalaisjournalismi, narsismi, julkisuushakuisuus, kaikki tämä tulee mieleen jo viiden ensimmäisen minuutin aikana. Jos liioittelen, niin olisin voinut ilmoittaa Miettisen jutun lopputulemat jo ennen kuin rupesin lukemaan sitä. (Tosin siinä ei ollut kunnon lopputulemia - ehkä se johtuu siitä, ettei aiheesta tule mitään mieleen.)

Blogikulttuurissa ei siis ole - ainakaan omasta mielestäni - mitään kiinnostavaa sinänsä, on vain joitain yksittäisiä blogeja, jotka ovat kiinnostavia (enkä ole varma, onko omanikaan sellainen). (On tietysti joitain blogiryhmiä, joita seuraa, vaikka ne eivät olisikaan mitenkään erityisen kiinnostavia; itselleni tällaisia ovat useat amerikkalaiset rikoskirjailijoiden blogit, joissa yleensä kerrotaan työn etenemisestä tai luetuista kirjoista. Jolloin niiden lukeminen kuuluu enemmänkin työn piiriin.)

Blogeista ei tule mitään mieleen. Tai jos tulee, se on niin banaalia, että sitä ei viitsi sanoa. On erikoista, että Hesari ei saa blogeista mitään irti (mikä ei ole ihme), mutta kuitenkin samaan aikaan se perustaa monta blogia toimittajilleen ja ulkopuolisille (Mikko Rimminen). Siinä on varmaan takana se, että blogit tekevät varsinaisetkin mediat kiinnostaviksi mahdollisille lukijoille - eikö se ole vähän banaali lähtökohta?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Robert Viby's covers

Robert Viby is a Danish illustrator who made some paperback covers in the fifties. Some have been used in Finland. I am putting them here, since I was scanning them for an article in the forth-coming issue of Pulp.

The first one is for Edward Aarons's Sam Durell book,
Assignment - Madeleine, that was published by Fawcett Gold Medal in 1958. Quite a striking cover, I must say. Viby has lately done covers for children's and juvenile books and has left the world of pulp sadism.

Prather with Viby

This is Viby's cover for Richard Prather's Strip for Murder (Fawcett Gold Medal 1955), one of the best entries in the Shell Scott saga. In the climax Scott flees the nudist camp naked with a balloon and lands on top of the city hall.

More Viby

Rather static composition for Day Keene's Notorious (Fawcett Gold Medal 1952).

Brian De Palma: Blow Out

I saw Brian De Palma's Blow Out Monday evening and liked it very much. It was at least fifteen years when I saw it for the last time (at least I don't remember seeing it) and didn't remember much of it. It's a tour de force in a technical sense, but it's also an exploding critique of masculinity. It's obvious that John Travolta doesn't really love Nancy Allen, he only sees a possibility to gain back his lost manhood and pride. He uses her and gets quite a punishment.

I wondered, though, why so many people laughed at the climax, when Travolta rushed to save Allen. De Palma uses slow motion, as he often does in climaxes, and I didn't see anything funny about that. Maybe it was Travolta. Well, they could've left out the falling snow from the scene in which Travolta listens to the tape he recorded while Allen was being strangled... The final scene is crushing and very ironic. No one laughed, even though there's also jokey feel to the scene.

Which goes to prove that De Palma is a master of irony.

Even though he's rather underappreciated at the moment. I wonder why. Someone might say that his career is uneven. Hey, whose isn't? I think that even in his worst films there's something interesting, even in Bonfire of the Vanities (I wrote a positive review of it when I hadn't yet heard that it was a box-office and critical failure everywhere else; haven't seen it since, so can't really say). The Mars film has some spectacular scenes and the opening shot of Snake Eyes is breath-taking. Along with Blow Out, my personal favourite would be Raising Cain, with very good overacting from John Lithgow. (I wrote somewhere that Lithgow is a better psycopath than Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, based on the De Palma film and Ricochet by Russell Mulcahy. Should see that again to verify. Maybe I wasn't thinking clearly.)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Back from the book fair

Just got back from Helsinki where we were at the book fair to publicize our talkkuna book. Everything went well, except when we were on the way to Helsinki: Kauto kicked Elina's coffee and my tea over, with his yoghurt. It was one of those "always-need-to-be-ashamed" -situations.

I met some publishers and talked about books. There's now a chance that I might be able to edit a series of paperbacks with the real new American hardboiled and noir! This is just what I've been looking for... I'd like to introduce an idea of having some classics of the genre translated for the first time - Gil Brewer's The Red Scarf for example. And ask some Finnish crime writers to do short snappy books for the line. I have some in mind already. (I didn't remember to ask if they would be interested in the Visa Mäkinen novelizations...)

We talked also about a series of game and quiz paperbacks. We'll see about that. We've had a proposition about such a book for at least two years now, but it hasn't caught fire. I don't know if it did this time.

I think I also got a publisher hooked on the famous last words book we have made with Jukka. We'll see what comes out of that - I just sent the guy the manuscript. It's a very small publisher, but a real publisher nevertheless.

I had a pleasant chat with Jukkahoo who's the other editor of the pulp SF magazine we are doing for the Helsinki University SF club. We came up with some great ideas. The Giant Brain of Titan! Urho Kekkonen fighting the Ancient Gods! I hope this will meet with great applause and will be published annually. We talked about fake commercials for the mag. I said that there could be one about ordering stuffed girls' heads, put as trophy on the wall. I have a picture of that somewhere, I will scan it and put here for everyone to wonder just how marvellous creature a human can be!

Afterwards we spent a nice evening with Marja and Matti, our friends who live in Espoo, near Helsinki. Mari and Juha were also present. The morning wasn't so nice after all the alcohol consumed, but now, at 18.42, I feel just about normal. It's just those damn hangovers...

Friday, October 28, 2005

e.e. cummings

I remembered earlier today that in the birthday book 23 that I self-published almost ten years ago there was also a poem called "23" by e.e. cummings that I had translated just for the book. I remembered that I translated other e.e. cummings poems too and I have done nothing with them. I've been thinking for ten years about submitting them to some editor, but have done nothing.

Well, is blogging something, as opposed to "nothing"? You can see the translated poems in my other blog.

This is getting mighty literary here, maybe I should read some good old trash.