Friday, June 29, 2007

Off for a week

Our Summer holiday just begun. I'll be at the Vammala Book Fair tomorrow (that's Saturday) and then we'll be leaving for the cabin in the Turku peninsula (actually Dragsfjärd, but I don't know what peninsula that belongs to) and I'll be off for a week. Don't post any comments while I'm away, I'm not sure I'll be able to reply to them. (It's not as this blog would demand a lot of comments from the readers.) I'm really waiting for the week off: I'll be finally reading Paul Malmont's The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Please note

A shortish text on my career as a non-fiction writer here. (In Finnish.)

Almost finished a short story

I've been writing a pulpish short story for a contest. It should be there by tomorrow and I'm still coming up with new ideas and revising and rewriting! Argh! I'd give anything to be able to be a real pulp writer and come up with a publishable story with just one draft! Just how did they do that??

(Well, Louis L'Amour did that and from what I've read by him I've decided that his books are poorly plotted and his characters are pretty flat and unsuccesfully contradictory. His battle and fight scenes are quite well-written though.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Peter Winston was...

I was finally able to check Pat Hawk's pseudonyms catalogue (a valuable tool, if you ask me) for Peter Winston. It seems that Peter Winston was a house pseudonym that was used by Paul Eiden and James/Jim Bowser. Eiden wrote also some war paperbacks as by Delano Stagg (two of which have been translated in Finnish) and some crime novels under various house names. According to Hawk's, Eiden wrote The ABC Affair and Assignment to Bahrain. Bowser wrote The Glass Cipher and Doomsday Vendetta. (And, then, two years after the last book in the series Jack Laflin was called in to write yet another one.) It also seems that Bowser wrote a hardback mystery novel for St. Martin's in 1987, called No Sanctuary. In the mean time, he did two Nick Carters (Death of the Falcon, 1974; A High Yield in Death, 1976).

If Kauto weren't demanding we go out, I'd check further. I can only advise you to go to Google and Amazon and Abebooks.

Finished a book

Just sent a book to the publisher. I finished typing Harry Etelä's horror short stories and also wrote the introduction. We'll be asking a longer foreword from someone (mainly Tapani Maskula) who knows Etelä's song-writing career better than I do.

I'll put my foreword here. Check it out. I may yet write more about Etelä here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ki-Gor in Finland

Boy oh boy, was I lucky today! I was on the flea market at the Turku open marketplace where people sell their own stuff during Summers and spotted couple old Viikonloppu/Weekend fiction magazines from the late fifties. Normally they hold no interest for me, as there usually are no authors' names and the stuff that was published in the mag was almost exclusively women's romance. But then I thought, what the heck, you never know, there might be something. I asked what they cost and an old lady said "fifty cents a piece" (which is, if I remember my currencies correctly, 40 American cents).

The first one I flipped through yielded nothing, but then - then, in the issue 28/1958, I noticed a familiar name in a story: Ki-Gor. The story was called "The Gods of Atlantis/Atlantiksen jumalat".

Then I noticed the writer's name: John Peter Drummond. Then I realized that I'd found something I didn't earlier know to have been published in Finnish: a translation of a Ki-Gor story from the Jungle Stories pulp magazine. I'd written about the Ki-Gor stories in Pulp, my fanzine that deals with all things pulp, as part of my longer article of Tarzan copycats. But I sure didn't know that the Finnish audience had been in access to read the genuine article themselves!

Now, for those who don't know: Ki-Gor appeared in a pulp magazine called Jungle Stories from 1939 to 1954. It was one of the most popular Tarzan copycats that was seen also in comic books, only with his name changed into Kaanga. (Don't really know why this was.) The first of the stories was written by John M. Reynolds, but the rest of the adventures were written by John Peter Drummond that was a house pseudonym. Ki-Gor is Robert Kilgour who's orphaned when his parents die - they are missionaries working in Africa. Ki-Gor is rescued by a bunch of animals and he develops into an athlete. He finds a young lady called Helene Vaughn whose plane is wrecked and they fall in love. Ki-Gor's best friends are Timbu George, who's a black African, and N'Geeso, a pygmy chief. Ki-Gor has a pet ape and an elephant on which he rides. So, basically he's Tarzan with another name.

Some of the Ki-Gor stories have been recently reprinted (details here). Here's also some stuff on Ki-Gor, and it reveals that the Finnish translation was originally called "The Beast Gods of Atlantis" and it was originally published in the Winter 1949 issue of Jungle Stories (and reprinted in High Adventure, #71, 2003). On the left you can see the cover of the issue of Pulp that has my article on the Tarzan copycats; the cover boasts a Ki-Gor issue of Jungle Stories. (I think I still have some copies left of the issue if you're interested.)

MonoJunk: Finnish electro act

I've really liked the tracks the Finnish electro band MonoJunk has put up on their MySpace site. Check them out - if you're into electronica. My favourite track is "Fantasy".

A "spam" poem

Here's a experimental poem I just made up from a post that I read on an e-mail list I'm on (so it's not really spam). I won't mention the actual author and I sure won't tell what it's about, it just struck me as pure genius. I edited the thing a bit and inserted couple line breaks.

Yes, I see the one
between "my posts." and "Gremlins."?
I do not see one
following the period
after "Gremlins."

The line below
that is 1 2 4 C 4 1 +.?
Do I need
a new prescription
for my glasses?

Origins of Batman and Manly Wade Wellman

No, they don't have anything to do with each other, I just thought I'd put them together. Here's a bunch of articles and stuff on Manly Wade Wellman that Jeremiah Rickert edited for the Oregon Literature Review, and here's an article about the origins of Batman and The Shadow's influence on the character. Both interesting stuff.

It's also interesting that both of these, Wellman and The Shadow, are relatively little known in Finland. I know only of couple short story translations from Wellman and I've never seen any Shadow story translated in Finnish, even though both are quite big cult figures in the USA. Yes, we saw the horrendous film with Alec Baldwin and in the backpages of the Thriller magazine there were some Shadow stories in the early nineties, but that's about it.

Kari Valkama ja Veikko Viima

(This is about a pseudonymous crime novel that was published in Finland 20 years back.)

Lueskelin eilen uusinta Sarjainfoa ja huomasin P.A. Mannisen hauskasta Pajatso-lehteä käsittelevästä jutusta, että minulle entuudestaan täysin tuntemattomassa lehdessä seikkaili Veikko Viima -niminen sankari. Nimi resonoi välittömästi ja Simo Sjöblomin dekkaribibliografian tarkistaminen vahvisti muistikuvan: Veikko Viima -nimellä ilmestyi kirja vuonna 1987, nimeltään Psykoanalyytikon psalmi. Kustantaja oli uskonnollinen Herättäjä-Yhdistys; kirjoittajan oikeaa henkilöllisyyttä ei Sjöblom tiedä. (Kansallisbibliografia Fennica on remontissa enkä pysty tarkistamaan, onko siellä mitään mainintaa Viiman oikeasta nimestä tai hakusanaa Valkamalle.)

Kuinka todennäköistä on, että kyseessä olisivat täysin eri henkilöt, varsinkin kun Viima on aika harvinainen sukunimi? Itse väittäisin, että Kari Valkama on laajentanut repertuaarinsa myös dekkarin puolelle. Tietääkö joku jotain Kari Valkamasta, enempää kuin että hän kustansi yhden numeron Pajatso-lehteä (ja ilmeisesti teki ainakin osan lehden sarjakuvista)?

Tässä sivu, jossa joku arvioi romaanin ja spekuloi kirjoittajan henkilöllisyydellä:

Edit: Kvaak.fissä Timo Ronkainen tiesi kertoa, että Kari Valkama -niminen taiteilija asuu Teuvalla. Herättäjä-Yhdistys taas toimii Lapualla, joten samoilla suunnilla ollaan. (En olekaan ennen ratkaissut salanimikirjoittajan henkilöllisyyttä! Jippijaijee!)

Edit no. 2: Väärillä jäljillä ollaan. Timo Kokkila löysi guuglaamalla ihmisen, joka vapaaehtoisesti ilmoittautui teoksen kirjoittajaksi.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The cover for the 2nd issue of Adventure Stories

The second issue of Adventure Stories/Seikkailukertomuksia that I edit and publish will feature a novella-length story "Devil Wings Over France" by James Reasoner. I just received the cover illustration for the story - it's by Jukka Murtosaari who's done other great illos for my fanzines and mags. The story is great, too - pitch-perfect World War I aviation adventure with just a pepper of horror. (It was originally published in an anthology called Retro Pulp that came out last year. It was edited by none other than Joe Lansdale.)
(Check out the contents of the first issue of Seikkailukertomuksia here. The first issue's cover here.)

An excerpt of Harry Etelä's short story

I've been editing and typing a collection of Harry Etelä's pulp horror stories from the late thirties and late fourties, as I've mentioned some times before. I've got only one to go (I've been typing these for the last two or three months, a page or two before actual work) and it's one of the feircest stories ever published in Finnish language. It's a story about a village blacksmith who kidnaps young boys and grills them over fire and eats them! This was in 1939, in Finland, where decorum, a sense of decency, was pretty much ruling. Bad taste was something so despicable you can't even begin to describe it. (And bear in mind that Etelä also wrote some of the most revered and loved schlager tunes in Finland, such as Katri Helena's "Puhelinlangat laulaa" (which was first recorded by his big brother, Pentti Viherluoto).)

Here's an excerpt of the story "Kauhujen salakammio/The Secret Chamber of Horrors" that I've been thinking about would be the titular story of the collection. I'll translate the relevant bits after the Finnish part:

Ennen kuin poika käsittikään oli häneen tartuttu kourin, joitten hirmuinen voima oli rusentaa murskaksi hänen jäsenensä, ja hän tunsi sinkoutuvansa kammion toiseen päähän. Pudottuaan lattialle hän jäi makaamaan siihen liikkumattomana ja katseli salavihkaa käsivartensa yli, kuinka seppä hiipi lähemmäksi. Kun hän oli tullut yli keskilattian, poika nousi nopeasti ja juoksi kaartaen ovelle, jonka raskasta salpaa hän yritti kohottaa...
Mutta samassa seppä oli jo hänen kimpussaan paljastettuine puukkoineen.
- Älä rimpuile, tai pistän sinut heti! hän huusi, ja teräs välähti liekkien punertavassa loimossa. - Minun on nähtävästi sidottava sinut, kirottu penikka, kunnes kaikki on valmista.
Nurkassa oli köyttä, eikä kestänyt kauan kun seppä oli sitonut pojan kovakouraisesti.
Taas kuului heikko napsaus jostain.
Tuomela kuunteli tarkasti ja katsoi ympärilleen. Se oli jo neljäs napsaus lyhyessä ajassa. Mikä ne aiheutti? Hän katsoi kattoon ja nurkkiin, mutta unohti sitten koko asian ja meni lisäämään halkoja rovioon.
- Täytyy olla hyvä tuli, tappelukukko, hän sanoi. - On niin hauska nähdä, kun käperryt ja muutut suloisen ruskeaksi. Parhaat paikat syön sinusta tänään, loput vien jääkellariini. Tiedätkö, että kämmenpohjista nautin kaikkein eniten?
Poika kuuli ketjujen ja rautojen kalinaa. Nyt hän ymmärsi renkaitten tarkoituksen.. hänet ripustettaisiin tuleen...

- You gotta have a good fire, young hero, he [the blacksmith] said. - It is so nice to see, when you crumble in and get so sweet and brown. I'll eat the best parts of you today, the rest I will take down to the cellar. You know that I like the palms most?
The boy heard the chains and iron bars rattle. Now he understood the meaning of the rings... he would be hung over the fire...

Good Midsummer's Eve!

I haven't been blogging much lately - you guess the reason: I've been busy. I'll get back to normal schedule at least for the next week, then we'll take a vacation for a month. (We just have to - Kauto's daycare is closed for July.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Peter von Baghin törttöilyt

(This is about movie politics in Finland.)

Peter von Bagh sanoi Sodankylän filmijuhlilla Ylen kulttuuriuutisten mukaan, että Rovaniemen yliopistolle ei kannata perustaa elokuvatutkimuksen professuuria. Baghin perustelu oli vastaansanomaton: aiemmat esimerkit akateemisesta elokuvatutkimuksesta Turussa ja Helsingissä eivät vakuuta häntä.

Perustelu on mahtava ja on vain sääli, että esimerkiksi Hesari ei kirjoittanut tästä mitään - tämänhän olisi tullut olla valtakunnan uutinen ja Kulttuuriuutisten sijasta se olisi pitänyt olla puoli yhdeksän uutisissa ykkösjuttuna.

Onneksi Baghin ja kumppanien harrastama impressionististen oivallusten heittely on tuottanut loistavia tuloksia jo kohta 40 vuotta ja yhä jatkuu.

Ihan tosissaan: miksi Kulttuuriuutiset uutisoi tämmöisen ankan? Varsinkin kun sanottiin, että Bagh on elokuvahistorian professori taideteollisessa - siitä syntyi mielikuva, että Baghilla on oikeasti jotain sanottavaa tähän asiaan ja että hän pystyy veto-oikeudella kumoamaan suunnitellut hankkeet (joista uutinen ei muuten kertonut mitään, kuka suunnittelee, minkälaisia näkökulmia tutkimuksessa on ja niin edelleen?).

Ja vielä tosissaan: Baghin teoksissa on hyviä oivalluksia, mutta vaikka niistä kuinka nauttisi, en ymmärrä, millä älyllisellä epärehellisyydellä oikein pystyy olemaan sitä mieltä, että hänen koulukuntansa lähestymistapa on ainoa oikea? (Varsinkaan Baghin viimeisimmän "suur"-teoksen, Tähtien kirjan, jälkeen. Elokuvan historiankaan käyttö hakuteoksena on vähän niin ja näin - esimerkiksi kohdat Aleksandr Dovzhenkosta, joita Bagh ei ole kummemmin kirjoittanut uudestaan 90-luvun uuteen laitokseen, ovat vähintäänkin outoja.)

Myönnän auliisti, että oman teokseni, Valkoisen hehkun, saama vastaanotto Baghin leirissä on yksi syy tähän kirjoitukseen.

Monday, June 18, 2007

My winner story up

The story with which I was one of the winners of the short story contest is now up at the Usvazine website. Check it out here. For the foreigners reading this, there's a special international issue in English here. (It seems that there might be some trouble loading the PDF's, but you never know what works for you.)

There are some things about my story that I should've thought about more, but here goes nevertheless.

Edit: now the PDF of the international issue is loadable. Sorry for the mess. Grab the stories, maybe you'll like some of them. Most of the stories are in the speculative fiction class, some are maybe new weird.

Edit: do you think it was classy to point out my pulp fanzines in the afterword to my own story? I'm getting confused about it myself.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Two books coming

Today was good today at work, even thought I didn't get that much actual work done. But we started working again on the 69 book (the one that's about classical erotica and pornography and smut and that I'm writing with two other writer friends of mine), and we also heard today from a publisher that they'll take our book on the cultural history of babies and baby related stuff. I'm doing the baby book with Elina and a writer friend of ours. The 69 book (there will be 69 articles about 69 books or something to that effect) will come out in the Fall '08, the baby book - about that I don't know. The publisher said he'd call next week.

From copulation to babies! Isn't that something?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Where do we get our opium?

A sample from a Finnish schoolbook from 1945 - a questionnaire for students. The highlightened question goes: "Where is opium obtained from?" (Or you can put it like in the subject header.) Other questions are quite, hmm, how should I say, normal and prestigious, like in "What does the word 'realistic' mean?"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Adjusters

I checked further: The Adjusters series seems to be one of those men's adventure series that filled the paperback racks in the late sixties and early seventies. It was first written by Peter Winston (about whom I know nothing, and Abebooks seems no other books by him). The final entry in the series was written by Jack Laflin. The cover of the last book says: "The Adjusters: an organization unique in the annals of counter-espionage". It also seems that Peter Winston was the hero in the books - so why was Laflin's name used in the last novel (and why the two-year hiatus between the fourth and the five books?)?

Here's the list, from Abebooks:

Assignment to Bahrein, Award 1967
The ABC Affair, Award 1967
Doomsday Vendetta, Award 1968 ("Dispatched to solve a murder in Tangier, A-2 is trapped in an espionage network bent on destroying America's most strategic missile bases.")
The Glass Cipher, Award 1968 ("Agent A-2 on a brutal spy hunt that begins with the biggest sellout in international espionage.")
The Temple at Ilumquh, Award 1970 (written by Jack Laflin)

Jack Laflin?

I once mentioned Jack Laflin in a comment of an older post, but he came up again recently when Lurker at Populaari mentioned him and scanned the cover of his only novel in Finnish translation. Lurker didn't dare to read the book (which was originally called The Spy in White Gloves) and I wrote in a comment that it's a pretty bad novel, even considering that it was a spy paperback from a small publisher and from an author no one knows anything about.

Does anyone reading this know who Jack Laflin is? Any educated guesses? It sounds a bit like house name, but has anyone ever confirmed having written as by Laflin?

For what it's worth, here's the list of Laflin's novels:

The Flaw, Belmont 1964
The Reluctant Spy, Belmont 1966
A Silent Kind of War, Belmont 1965
The Spy in White Gloves, Belmont 1965
The Spy Who Didn't, Belmont 1966
The Spy Who Loved America, Belmont 1964
The Temple at Ilumquh, Award 1970 (seems to be the fifth part of a series called The Adjusters)
The Bees, Ace 1970 ("No one expected a miracle - but that was the only hope for a nation, a world, ravaged by a deadly swarm.")
Throw the Long Bomb, Whitman 1967 (a juvenile football book)

(There's also a Vantage hardback from 1992, called Serpent in Paradise, but I have no way of knowing if it's the same author or not.)

An interesting tidbit is that the cover of the Finnish edition of the Laflin book was drawn by Teuvo Koskinen who later on his career made on to create one of the success stories of Finnish children's literature: Miina and Manu, two cats who live in a fifties-like small town world.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tapani Bagge's new book out

My friend Tapani Bagge has a new book out. It's a collection of criminous short stories, many of which have been previously published (and one of them also in English, at Thrilling Detective; see here). I'm very proud to be able to say that two of the stories, "Takakontti" and "Vain pikku viilto" came first out in Isku. Kasvot betonissa/Face in the Concrete has these stories (and there's also an afterword):

Kasvot betonissa
Onni yksillä
Kevyt lomakupru

Vainajan veli
John Lee Hooker on kuollut

Mahdoton tehtävä
Eka kerta
Vain pikku viilto

Musta maanantai
Etelän uni

Here's a fresh review by Kimmo Miettinen. In Finnish, understandably. If you want translations of the stories' names, don't hesitate to ask.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Jaws and Freud

Here's my Freudian take on Jaws - it's in English, take a look. I did this for a university course and I intended the thing to be taken lightly.

Tolkien's Túrin

I finished the Finnish translation of Tolkien's "new" book late last night. The Children of Húrin was quite gripping and the fleshing out of the short story that was originally published in Silmarillion was quite successful, minus some clumsy shifts ("Now the story goes back to Túrin"). If you like Tolkien, don't hesitate to grab this.
Reading the book reminded me of the fact that I've last read Silmarillion 20 years ago (appr.), even though I've read The Lord of the Rings six or seven times, and it could be the time to reread it. I should also tackle The Unfinished Tales, which I found boring during my intellectual days. I just don't know whether I'll have the time even during this Summer.

Tsekatkaa alempana

Sattuneesta syystä - enkä jaksanut siirtää sitä ylemmäksi - Jukka Halmeen arvio Viidennestä testamentista on pari postausta alempana.

Women's romance; Sydney J. Bounds

Finnish novelist and short story writer Kirsti Ellilä and another writer, who goes by the name of Tuima, have just started a blog that concentrates on commemmorating many forms of women's entertainment in books. There's already a lengthy memoir of Tuija Lehtinen who's been writing women's romances for at least two decades now. Check the blog here (it's in Finnish).

Veteran SF and western author Sydney J. Bounds's last interview here. Lots of interesting material about writing - Bounds started out in the paperback boom of the early fifties, the so-called "mushroom jungle" era - and publishing and other writers. As for Finnish interest in this, I'm sorry to say that I've never found anything of his translated in Finnish. Bounds died quite recently, say, six months ago. (Don't quote me on this, I'm going strictly by memory.)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Digital Contagions on sale

My friend Jussi Parikka's dissertation about the cultural history of computer viruses (or viri?) is out from Peter Lang and on sale here (and on Amazon, if you prefer that one).

Don't do it!

Quite nice, quite shocking French anti-AIDS posters (what other kind of AIDS posters could there possibly be?) here. (Thanks to Todd for the heads-up!)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Viidennen testamentin arvio

(A new review of The Fifth Testament.)

Tässä Jukka Halmeen arvio Viidennestä testamentista Tähtivaeltajaan - ilmestyessään sitä varmaankin lyhennellään.

Juri Nummelin (toim.): Viides testamentti
Turun seudun kirjoittajien jännitysnovelleja 1939-2007-. M-novellit 1. Turbator

Viides testamentti kuuluu sarjaan kirjoja, joiden lukemiseen ei käytetä liikaa aikaa, koska se on hyvä juuri niin. Se on nopealukuinen teos, jonka yksinkertainen tarkoitus on viihdyttää hetkellisesti, ilman sen suurempia mystisiä tarkoitusperiä. Tässä tehtävässä Viides testamentti onnistuukin hyvin.
Sisällysluettelosta käy ilmi, että kirja on koottu puoliksi vanhemmista arkistojen aarteista, toisen puolen ollessa tuoreempaa, julkaisematonta tavaraa. Kumpikin puoli pitää pulpin lippua kohtalaisen korkealla. Harry Etelän "Mustaa verta" on liki Poe-mainen jännityspala, joka yhdessä Markku Soikkelin kokoelman kokeellisen niminovellin ohella aika lailla ainoana edustaa selkeämmin spekulatiivista fiktiota. Soikkelin kertomuksessa kerronta lähtee omiin sfääreihin jo heti alkulauseestaan: "Sillan kaiteella istuva poika oli puettu pelkkään metaforaan". Kieli kantaa tarinaa loppuun saakka, vaan mikä itse asiassa onkaan loppu?
Tähtivaeltajan lukijoille tuttu Boris Hurtta suoriutuu omasta osuudestaan hyvinkin Wanha Herra -maisesti. "Ikonipuinen arkku" on perus-Hurttaa, remakka seikkailukertomus, jossa maisema vaihtuu ja informaatio vyöryy lukijalle sopivissa annospaloissa.
Viides testamentti on hieman epätasainen, mutta erittäin miellyttävä kokonaisuus jännitystä useammalta vuosikymmeneltä. Siinä missä Pirkko Arhippa tai Kirsti Ellilä luovat tarinaa hieman rauhallisemmilla, mutta erittäin intensiivisillä kertomuksilla, Aake Jermon ja Olavi Tuomolan klassikkotarinat etenevät kuin höyryjuna. Jälkimmäisen "Hantsungin kultainen buddha" on vanhakantaisuudessaan lähes hellyttävän naiivi, jos kohta myös kokoelman hauskin yksittäinen kertomus. Totti Karpelan "Perin inhimillinen tekijä" on hyvä osoitus kirjailijan iskevästä kerronnasta, jossa kaikki pulpin yksittäiset osat ovat kohdallaan. Samoilla linjoilla etenee Sami Myllymäen "Isku vyön alla", jossa perisuomalaisen kesäidyllin puitteet kohtaavat maaseudun vähemmän idyllisen realismin.
Novellien lisäksi kirjasta löytyy Juri Nummelinin mukavasti kirjailema esipuhe, jossa hän pienillä viitteillä ja yksityiskohdilla antaa lukijalle kiehtovan paljon pientä mielen makusteltavaa pidemmäksikin aikaa. Kustantajan loppupuhe käsittelee osittain samaa asiaa, esittäen myös muutaman vastauksen siihen, miksi uuden kirjasarjan nimi on m-novellit. Minusta vastaus on yksinkertaisesti, m niin kuin mukava.
Viides testamentti on anteeksipyytelemättömän häpeilemätön genre-uskollinen pläjäys pulpia, jonka soisi löytävän lukijakuntansa. Kioskipokkarien kulta-aika tuskin koskaan palaa takaisin, mutta pienimuotoisen kioskikirjallisuuden ystäville tämä kirja on mukava kesälomalahja. Pehmeät kannet ja kaikkea!

Jukka Halme

Monday, June 04, 2007

Same old same old

Been busy. Didn't want to blog during the weekend. Spent time with the kids. Been writing a short story. Finally getting around to getting some inspiration for it. Doing some magazine articles one of which requires lots of work. Working on a book. Been watching Twin Peaks reruns from the Finnish TV. (May write about this in a later date.)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Oh man

We went back to the cellar with Kauto and I took a closer look at the Dean Koontz book that I noticed was growing mildew on its back. It was Dragonfly and the copy I have is the first hardback edition. I notice from Abebooks that it's not very common. The cheapest copy goes for 17 dollars and that copy is jacketless and only in acceptable condition. The highest is 295 dollars! And my copy is growing mildew! Do you know those days you want to kill yourself..? Well, my copy is also jacketless and it was maybe only acceptable to begin with, but still... (I paid 50 cents for it, so the actual loss of money isn't great, but still...)

A Finnish review of Plunder of the Sun

Lurker at Populaari noted the quite negative review of Plunder of the Sun that's screening today on Finnish TV. The reviewer, Timo Peltonen, wrote that the plot behind the film is stupid, and he said it was the fault of the book that's basis for the film: David Dodge's hardback novel of the same name, from 1949.

Now, I've read several novels by David Dodge and can tell that they are of pretty high quality, of funny and wise-cracking hardboiled adventure variety. His novel To Catch a Thief (which peculiarly has never been translated in Finnish, despite being filmed by Hitchcock) is also outstanding, a very good adventure novel. And what's more interesting is that Plunder of the Sun came out rather recently as a paperback, by the deservedly famous Hard Case Crime, with a nice cover. At least Timo should've Googled for the book and found out about this pretty good review by Bill Crider - or this, also a very positive one. Here's also a nice site that David Dodge's daughter keeps.
Of course Timo is entitled to his opinion, but it seems there's a lack of cultural knowledge behind the negative review. Another reviewer, Tapani Maskula of the Turun Sanomat, gave the film three stars (out of five) - he knows the classical Hollywood cinema from A to Z and knew how to put the film into context.

PS. Oh my God! Christa Faust's Money Shot already has a cover. Check it out! Awesome!

Peter Cave

I've forgotten to write about Peter Cave, whose one novel I tried to read some months back - he'll be included in my forthcoming book Pulpografia Britannica (if I ever get it done and find a publisher for it - well, if not, I'll put it out myself, with a limited edition). The book, originally called The Crime Commandos and published by Everest as a paperback in 1976, is about a commando force that the British police puts up to really get the criminals published, no matter how.

The book is however slow and boring and it doesn't live up to its expectations about an ultraviolent action novel. I say "sadly", even though I'm very much against the vigilancy the book supports.

Cave isn't a very interesting author either: he started writing some short stories for the Tit-Bits fictionmag in the late sixties and then switched to paperbacks, writing some porn and novelizations, including books on the Avengers and Taggart TV series. He knew Christopher Priest in the sixties and Priest is said to have commented that the quality of Tit-Bits began to decline when Cave started writing for them.

The Finnish translation was published in 1980 by Vaasa in their Manhattan paperback series. The cover is presumably Spanish in origin.

Tarzan in a Finnish mag

Here's another example of a comic strip published in a Finnish fictionmag in the bygone days: the cover of Seikkailukertomuksia/Adventure Stories noting the beginning of the Tarzan strip in the mag. This is from 1957.