Thursday, May 31, 2007

I get political

I rarely get political about anything these days, but now I just had to write about these things in the Daddy Blog. Check it out. It's in Finnish.

The list of Finnish translations of Robert Bloch

After trying very hard (well, not very hard) to do some actual work, I compiled a list of Finnish translations of Robert Bloch and dug up the original publishing info. You can see the results here. The notes are in Finnish. Here's another Bloch site, and here.

My fictional hero real?!?

I wrote almost two years back about the private eye heroes of my early literary experiments here. As you can see, I had a hero called Monty Suffern, who was an Australian private eye. Now an anonymous poster found out about this and wrote:

Monty Suffern is a real Australian. He and George Fury were a famous rally car team in the 1960s-70s based at Swinburne University of Technology (then Swinburne College of Technology). Monty's interest moved to aviation and he is now at Baylor University, Texas. See

Mysteries of life and fiction! I had no idea!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Here's a scan of a page of an Italian comics superhero, Misterix. He says: "There's no fear of radium anymore. / Leave the girl alone!"

Here's some info on Misterix in English - it's not much, but all the other pages Google finds are in Italian which I don't speak very fluently, I must say. This seems a good place to start, though. The comic strip was published in Finland in the fifties in the Seikkailukertomuksia/Adventure Stories magazine that was one of the Ilmarinen publishing house's fictionmags focused on crime and adventure. They had lots of comic strips, this being some of the weirdest.

The cover for Ässä

I'm putting out a new fiction magazine (I must've mentioned this before), Ässä, that focuses on hard-hitting crime stories. The mag is soon out and here's for a taste the cover with an illo by Henri Joela who I've been using quite a lot lately for my small press publications. The story is for "Hundred", a story by J.D. Rhoades.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Crime novels worthy of reconsideration

The Rap Sheet had a wonderful idea: they asked several authors, critics and crime fiction bloggers what crime novel they thought had gone unnoticed or had been forgotten. You can see the results here; look also here: this blog archives all the posts about the subject.

I thought about posting to Rap Sheet's masterminds whether I could have my votes in, but didn't have time (and also suffered a stroke of low self-esteem), but here in Pulpetti I can do whatever I want and don't have to restrict only to one novel. I'll pick some up, mainly from memory and my 2000 book, Pulpografia, that introduces over 300 American pulp and paperback crime authors translated in Finnish. These are by some authors that are rarely, or maybe never, discussed on blogs and other venues highlighted by interest in noir and hardboiled.

W.T. Ballard: Murder Las Vegas Style (Belmont 1967): a misfortunate P.I. gets dragged in a triangle drama of deception and deceit

Jonathan Craig: So Young, So Wicked (Fawcett Gold Medal 1957): a mob hitman is hired to kill a 15-year old nymphette who lures the man into a web of deception

Ben Benson: Broken Shield (Mill 1955): quiet and wise police procedural about a young cop whose partner is killed

Tedd Thomey: Killer in White (Fawcett Gold Medal 1956): comes close to Jim Thompson in its depiction of evil dressed as a doctor

Al Conroy: Devil in Dungarees (Fawcett Crest 1960): ultrahardboiled book about a big caper gone hugely wrong

Stephen Ransome: I'll Die For You (Doubleday 1959): an old pulpster, Frederick C. Davis, being in top of his form in the late fifties' hardback mystery novel under a pseudonym

Floyd Mahannah: The Golden Goose (Duell 1951): almost a deconstruction of a P.I. novel, very unorthodox crime novel about a bad P.I. whose's assigned for his last job; almost as good as this is Mahannah's other novel, The Golden Widow (1956)

Walt Sheldon: Gold Bait (Gold Medal 1973): only crime paperback I know that's been written in the form of letters and diary entries (if there's another one, please let me know!), beside that it's also a fast-paced adventure novel about trying to find a gold treasure

Richard Deming: Hit and Run (Pocket 1960): a sleazy, half-criminal P.I. is hired by a woman to kill her husband; they keep the body in ice in the bedroom - wanna guess where they get their ice for the drinks?

Zekial Marko (John Trinian): Scratch a Thief (Gold Medal 1961): a melancholy take on a prisoner just released from prison

Bruno Fischer: Run For Your Life (Gold Medal 1953): a chase novel about a man who's being framed for a killing, a surprisingly political novel about the McCarthy era

Charles Alverson: Fighting Back (Bobbs-Merrill 1973): a quiet mob novel about a restaurant owner who won't back down in front of Mafia

John Jakes (as William Ard): Give Me This Woman (Monarch 1962): very hardboiled and violent book about a sleazy P.I. who's on the hunt for a psychopath journalist (who's on his honeymoon with a dead woman in the trunk of his car!) and who's being hunted by a knife-wielding psycho killer

I think any of these could merit being reprinted by someone like Hard Case Crime or Stark House Press or any other small press that does noir and hardboiled reprints.

There's also the case of being Finnish and in Finland there's not much market for hardboiled crime fiction (even though Chandler and Hammett have been quite popular here and guys like Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane are being published to critical acclaim and to rather wide readerships). So there are several - dozens and dozens - authors who haven't had their due in Finland: Donald Westlake whose early hardboiled thrillers have been published only in obscure paperbacks and some not at all, Lawrence Block, Robert J. Randisi, etc. (I've been writing about this earlier here and here.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Going away

We're leaving town pretty soon and head off towards Hämeenlinna where Elina's parents live. I realize I haven't been blogging as much as I would like to have, but these things happen. Maybe later. I still haven't said anything about Ben Benson, but am really going to do that. Maybe something about some pulp magazine stories I've been reading in intervals. And David Thomson's The Whole Equation, which is an essayistic take on the history of Hollywood. If you enjoy my writing (in Finnish), do check out my other blogs: Min Dikt is full of poetry and Jurin Tekstit is ripe with corrected entries from Pulpografia. Check also Julkaisemattomia.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Road to ruin

Kauto demanded earlier today that we go down to the cellar. I don't know where he got the idea (or actually I do, but it's quite a long story - he's two years old, after all), but I did have some stuff to take down there and I agreed. I noticed right away that there was something wrong: a stack of boxes, full of magazines and books, was collapsed. There were some boxes with the Ruudinsavu/Gunsmoke magazines on bottom and I noticed that the boxes felt wet. I opened them and noticed that some of the mags were also damp. They also smelt mildewy. I touched the concrete floor underneath the boxes - it was damp. I don't know why, but as you know, it's no good for books. I'll have to call the maintenance tomorrow.

And they weren't the only boxes that felt and smelt mildewy. Kauto got a bit restless after a while and I took him upstairs and after he'd gone to bed I went back downstairs and tried to save my precious paperbacks. Some of the books were ruined and there were some books I'll have buy again, such as the early seventies translation of W.T. Ballard's Murder Las Vegas Style, which is one of my favourites. I left some books to dry, but some I just had to throw away. I also threw away some 20 or 30 copies of several issues of Ruudinsavu/Gunsmoke.

I'll have to go back in a couple of days to check out the real damage. I noticed that many of my Richard Prathers were also damp, and the hardback copy of K.W. Dwyer's (= Dean Koontz) early thriller (the title escapes me at the moment) was actually ripe with mildew. I couldn't throw it away, I just couldn't.

Now, you ask, why are these books in the cellar, if they are so precious to me? Umm... I really don't know. There's no room for them up in the apartment, which is really no excuse. I guess I just thought that the cellar would be as a good place as any, since it's at least warm. Maybe the books should be in metal boxes or some such.

I tried to put the boxes back so that none would touch the concrete floor (and I threw away the mattresses that had been under the boxes), but we'll see whether the mildew keeps growing and destroying my precious paperbacks.
Ben Benson: later, later. I'm going to a business meeting tomorrow and after that I'll be busy.

Friday, May 18, 2007

New book out

The postman brought today my newest publication: it's the thriller reference work I edited; I've mentioned it here couple times before. The book has been divided in two parts: the American authors and the European authors. I'm not entirely satisfied about the publisher's solution in this, but I just want everyone to be sure that it wasn't my idea.

The thing that really bugs me about this is that I completely forgot - Heaven knows why - that Len Deighton should be in. Also Jack Higgins was left out, but that was due to technical reasons (although I'm the one to blame). There's hope, though, that there will be a sequel as more and more interesting and newer authors are being translated (and some other, less noteworthy veterans and classics were left out from this). Check more here and here.

I tried to blog yesterday about crime writer Ben Benson, but the text vanished and I didn't feel like writing it again. I'll try again one of these days.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A new book in the M series

The same publisher, Pelipeitto, that put out The Fifth Testament I edited, is starting a new line of short story collections and another one is already coming out - it's M.G. Soikkeli's science fiction stories. I had no hand in this, so here's only announcement from the publisher (in Finnish, understandably):

Suomalaisen science fictionin
merkkitapaus Turussa 21.5.07
M.G.Soikkeli ja MARSIN IKÄVÄ

Fil. tri, kirjallisuudentutkija, viime vuonna Turun Yliopiston kotimaisen kirjallisuuden v.a. professorina toiminut, kuluvana vuonna apurahalla omaan kirjoittamiseensa ja kritiikkiin Tampereella keskittyvä Markku Soikkeli on suomalaisessa tieteiskirjallisuudessa eräs tunnetuimmista ja palkituimmista fanzine-novellisteista. Nimellä M. G. Soikkeli alan lehdissä v:sta 1991 alkaen tieteisnovelleja julkaissut kirjailija on mm. voittanut suomalaisen scifin arvostetuimman kisan, Portti-novellikilpailun, jo useita kertoja, ja sijoittunut kaikissa alan kilpailuissa (joihin on osallistunut) aina kärkijoukkoon. Novellien lisäksi Soikkeli on julkaissut runsaasti alan artikkeleita ja kolumneja suomalaisissa scifilehdissä, ja alan kirjallisuuden kritiikkejä muuallakin, mm. Turun Sanomien kulttuurisivuilla. Soikkeli on tehnyt jo mittavan yliopistouran Turun, Helsingin ja Tampereen yliopistoissa, kirjallisuuden tutkijana ja opettajana.
Soikkeli poikkeaa monista suomalaisista alan kirjoittajista. Hän keskittyy aitoon science fictioniin, ja tuo sciencen, tieteen, monitasoisesti novelleihinsa mukaan: sekä kirjallisuudentutkijana, ruotiessaan genren eri suuntausten mahdollisuuksia novelliensa sisällä, että monialaisena yhteiskuntatieteilijänä, tutkiessaan yhteiskuntien kehityslinjoja ja –potentiaaleja novelleissaan, jotka asettavat sekä historian että muiden tieteiden vallitsevat totuudet kyseenalaiseksi. Soikkelin tarinat ovat todellista, aitoa tieteisfiktiota, joskaan hän ei väheksy fantasiankaan elementtejä. Niitäkin hän käsittelee tiedemiehenä ja tutkijana – ja taitavana tarinoitsijana, erinomaisena kielen käyttäjänä.

Soikkeli on vahva tieteiskirjailija, joka luo tarinoissaan paitsi tiede- ja tieteisfiktiota myös huikeita kohtaloita, jännittäviä seikkailuja ja syvällisiä kurkotuksia outoihin tulevaisuuksiin. Soikkeli on Suomessa harvinainen science fiction-kirjailija: hyvin kurinalainen ja lajin traditioita kunnioittava, samalla kuitenkin rönsyäviä ja laaja-alaisia, lajia uudistavia tarinoita luova kokeileva kirjailija, kirjailija joka ei pelkää aiheittensa arkojakaan elementtejä. Politiikkaa, uskoa ja uskontoja, seksuaalisuuden monimuotoisuutta ja muita aiheita tutkiessaan Soikkeli luo tarinoihinsa jännitteitä joita harvoin suomalaisessa scifissä tapaa. Soikkelin novelleissa yhdistyvät science fictionin elementit nautittavasti laaja-alaiseen filosofiseen näkemykseen, ja samaistumispintaa Soikkeli rakentaa joukkojen, ryhmien, kansojen tai ihmiskunnan mittakaavaan, soveltamalla yksilökuvauksessa lähes brechtiläistä etäännyttämisefektimenetelmää.

Soikkelin novellien esikoiskokoelma, turkulaisen turbator-kustantamon m-sarjan järjestyksessä toinen teos: MARSIN IKÄVÄ ja muita kertomuksia, julkistetaan lehdistötilaisuudessa ravintola Puutorin Vessassa Turussa maanantaina 21.5. klo 11.00 alkaen. Tilaisuudessa ovat paikalla kirjailija itse ja kustantaja Harri Kumpulainen, joka scifimaailmassa tunnetaan alalle 40 vuotta novelleja kirjoittaneena Harri Erkkinä. Kirjan uunituoreet lehdistö- ja arvostelukappaleet ovat tilaisuudessa tarjolla. Tervetuloa suomalaisen scifin merkkitapaukseen!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Turku castle

I forgot to mention that the castle in the cover of The Fifth Testament is the medieval Turku Castle. It's really the place for which everyone knows Turku and it's a cliche, but it works here.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

My flash fiction magazine coming out soon

I'll be publishing a small flash fiction magazine, called Ässä/Ace, soon. You can see the contents here (in Finnish, but check it out anyway, you might spot some familiar names in there). There's also an old cover for a Finnish pulpish mag from the late fourties, Ässä. The illustration is by Alexander Lindeberg, who's still active in the age of 90.

Finally the cover of The Fifth Testament

Here's finally the cover of The Fifth Testament, the book of suspense stories by writers of the Turku region that I edited and that was published a month ago. I've mentioned it a couple of times back earlier. The cover is by Jukka Murtosaari, who's an enthusiast of classic pulp and paperback illustrations, which clearly shows. Here is a cover he made for Gryphon Books (in b&w only, sorry) and here and here are some others he's made for my small press publications.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Eurovision song contest

Someone might wonder why I haven't been saying anything about the Eurovision song contest that's being held this week in Helsinki, Finland. Well, the main reason is that I just don't care. Couldn't actually care less. Didn't care a bit when Finland and Lordi won, don't care know even if Finland scores one points at this time. So, no Eurovision comments from yours truly.

I'm more content with other kinds of music (really, all that stuff is quite bad!) and I've been listening to Finnish electronic folk band, Paavoharju, instead. Very beautiful and haunting.

A review of Viides testamentti/The Fifth Testament

I haven't been promoting Viides testamentti/The Fifth Testament, the anthology of crime stories by Turku-based writers that I edited, hard enough and I don't have a scan of the cover even now at hand, but here is - in Finnish, alas - a review that Johanna Matero kindly wrote for the Ruumiin kulttuuri/Body Culture magazine of the Finnish Whodunnit Society. This is the original version - she had to cut chunks away for the publication.

M niin kuin missio
Juri Nummelin (toim.): Viides testamentti. Turun seudun kirjoittajienjännitysnovelleja 1939-2007M-novellit 1. Turbator 2007. 199 s.

Minun sukupolvellani on jaettu kollektiivinen kokemus löytöretkistäviihdelukemistoihin. Kesälomat olivat pitkiä. Kesämökkien kirjahyllyistä jaisovanhempien ullakoilta löytyi aarteita lukutaitoiselle alakoululaiselle.Rikosnovellit ovat eläneet uutta kukoistustaan 2000-luvulla. Kukoistus näkyymm. Gummeruksen Intohimosta rikokseen -sarjassa ja Kouvolan Dekkaripäivienyhteyteen järjestetystä dekkarinovellikilpailusta, joka on niin ikäänpoikinut omat kokoelmansa.

Harri Kumpulainen kutsuu kustantajan ominaisuudessa keksimään m-merkityksiäuudelle m-novellien sarjalle. Tehtävä on helppo: M niin kuin missio.Turbatorin tarkoituksena on säilyttää, pitää yllä ja tuottaa uudelleenviihdelukemistoa sen kaikissa, moninaisissa merkityksissä. Kustantajakorostaa viihdelukemistojen kulttuurihistoriallista merkitystä ja viihteenturhaa aliarvostamista saatesanoissaan.

Viides testamentti alkaa tuotteliaan turkulaisen pulp-asiantuntijan, teoksentoimittaja Juri Nummelinin johdannolla. Nummelinin käsittelyssä kokoelmaalöyhästi yhdistävästä turkulaisuudesta tulee (kulttuuri-)historiallinenpulpin kehto. Pulpin ja dekkarin harrastajien kuuluu hankkia teos hyllyynsäjo pelkästään johdannossa esitellyn trivian vuoksi.

Kokoelman kymmenestä dekkarinovellista puolet on arkistojen aarteita, puolet kokoelmaa varten kirjoitettuja uutuuksia. Arkistojen löydöt, Pirkko Arhippa,Harry Etelä, Totti Karpela, Olavi Tuomola ja Aake Jermo, pitävät kutinsa ennen julkaisemattomia vasten. Harry Etelän "Mustaa verta" näyttäytyy lähes kunnianosoituksena lajin goottiselle Poe-perinteelle. Arhipan 1980-luvuntuotos "Välikäsi" puolestaan on esimerkki käänteistä, joita rikosnovellilla on. Ja Karpelan teksti osoittaa, että joskus ratkaisu on niin absurdi - tainiin ilmeinen - ettei siihen voi reagoida kuin nauramalla.

On äärimmäinen klisee todeta, että rikosnovelli on haasteellinen laji. Silti, miten rakentaa arvoitus ja imu lyhyeen tekstiin? Miten motivoida muutamalla viivalla hahmotellun henkilön toiminta? Uskottavasti. Ja mikä merkitys miljööllä ja ajalla on?Kokoelman kirjoittajien tekstien kohdalla Turku on harvoin toiminnan keskipiste. Poikkeuksen tekevät Harri Erkin, kustantajan, "Tunneli" ja Kirsti Ellilän "Pyhän kosketus". Erkin tekstissä miljöö nousee keskeiseksi, kun taas Ellilän kaikin tavoin ansiokkaassa tekstissä nimetty miljöö ei ole välttämätön.

Rikosnovelleissa miljöö on helpompi tuottaa henkilöitä uskottavammaksi yksinkertaisesti nimeämällä se. "Huuhka" kertoo vähemmän kuin "Raisio","Ispoinen" tai "Bessarabia". Silloinkin, kun ne eivät kerro juuri mitään.

Markku Soikkelin "Viides testamentti" on kokoelman kokeellisin novelli. Sekin on omalla tavallaan kiehtova ja mielenkiintoinen, joskin sitä olisi voinut alkupuolelta hieman helpottaa lukijalle. Soikkelin teksti esittelee spefi-dekkarin scifi-dekkarin uudemmaksi vastineeksi. Lajissa ei genren sisällä sinänsä ole mitään uutta. Spefi vain laajentaa scifin spekulatiiviseksi fiktioksi. Ja dekkariksi. Ehkä.

Rikosromaanit ovat jo pitkään olleet höystettyjä huumorilla ja ironialla. Olavi Tuomolan "Hantsungin kultainen buddha" on kokoelman ainoita lukijaa naurattavia tarinoita. Huumori ei ole välttämätöntä, mutta sen olemassaolo kiinnittää huomiota sen poissaoloon. Lyhyt muoto ei anna tilaa irvailla.

Lukijalle rikosnovellikokoelmien haaste on niiden tyylillinen moninaisuus. Perinteiseen arvoitusdekkariin profiloitunut lukija ei ehkä löydä etsimäänsä kuin yhdestä novellista kokoelmassa, jossa ovat edustettuna kaikki genrenalalajit. Tämä selittänee rikosnovellikokoelman pienehkön ostajakunnan.

Viides testamentti -kokoelmasta puuttuu muutamia ilmeisiä turkulaisia kirjoittajia. Reijo Mäeltä ilmestyi juuri oma novellikokoelma. Samalla eräät perikunnat olivat liian riitaisia päästääkseen edesmenneen kirjailijan tekstiä sopuisasti käsistään.

Viidennen testamentin hinta-laatusuhde ei ole kohdallaan. Pehmeäkantiseksi pulpiksi tarkoitetun, J. Murtosaaren hienon monivärikannen omaavan teoksen hinta on "kioskikirjallisuudeksi" liian kova. Toisin sanoen painosmäärä on liian pieni.

Toivon, että tulevilla sukupolvilla olisi tilaisuus tehdä oman sukupolvenikaltaisia löytöjä kesämökeillä ja ullakoilla. Lehtien lukumäärä on liiansuuri ja lehtien käyttöarvo liian pieni. Niitä ei säilytetä. 2000-luvulla julkaistut dekkarinovellikokoelmat ovat säilyttämisen arvoisia. Menneen, nykyisen ja "tulevan" ajan pieninä katsauksina peleihin, blogeihin ja irkkaamiseen kyllästyneille tulevaisuuden teineille. Niille, joiden verkotovat kaatuneet. Ja niille, jotka ovat vaihtaneet kannettavansa lyijykyniin.
Johanna Matero

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Life like a Richard Scarry book

Busy busy busy... Every blog post, every blog checked feels like a waste of time. Will be getting back at some point.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Good news etc.

I just heard that a project that seemed doomed for a while has been resurrected: I'll be writing in collaboration with two writer friends of mine a reference book on erotica and pornographical classics, with a very wide range starting from Sappho and ending up in the late seventies wanky paperbacks and the new millennium literary S&M. The book should come out next year.

I've also made arrangements for the sequel of my book that came out earlier this year, about forgotten Finnish authors. That one was about poets, this one will focus on novelists and short story writers. I tried on get some pulpsters in, but the publisher declined.

It's been hectic around here, as I've been trying to get new issues of Ruudinsavu/Gunsmoke, Pulp and Isku/Punch ready and out. I've also another new fictionmag coming, this time focusing on flash fiction. It's called Ässä (= Ace), and I've got some great stories by new talents, such as David Terrenoire and Christa Faust for this, and also some Finnish stories, but I'm lacking in original homegrown stuff. The genre must be weird to Finnish writers, even though there's been lots of science fiction flash fiction, drabbles, as they are called in SF fandom.

But must get back to work now. I'm doing an article on novelizations and slowly getting back to rewrite the YA novel I wrote with Elina.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Oh man

Didn't really know anyone could be so busy. Don't have time for blogging at the moment. And Kauto forced his way between us in the night, and I'm stiff all over. I slept the last three hours on a mattress on the floor.