Thursday, May 29, 2008


I posted a list of robinsonades before Robinson Crusoe on one of my other blogs here. The list is in English, the short foreword is in Finnish.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Erotica almost out

My newest book is - almost - orderable. Erotica: 69 Exciting Classics of Literature I've written in collaboration with Ville Hänninen and Vesa Sisättö will be out in September, but you can take a look here. In Finnish, of course.

Beside some bona fide classics à la Marquis de Sade and Georges Bataille, I wrote about the readers' letters in the Finnish porn mags and the Finnish sleaze paperbacks of the seventies. And lots else - the job was almost crushing. Ville said after finishing his entries that he'll never read erotic literature again.

Fun stuff heard at the gym

I went to the gym to do some workouts after a long break. The gym guy was talking with some people at the front desk, who had probably been asking for some advice, seemingly about losing weight, even though the girl whom the guy talked to was exceptionally slender and slim. When I walked in and started to wave my club card, I heard the guy say: "We know from Auschwitz that the extra kilos always go away. Even the fat Jews lost all their lard there."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Christa Faust's Money Shot

I was sorry when I didnt' have time to write more about Christa Faust's excellent Hard Case outing Money Shot that came out earlier this year. Luckily James Reasoner provides us with a good and thorough review.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Teeemu Tairan suositeltava blogi

Haluan vain suositella ystäväni Teemu Tairan blogia. Uskontotieteen tutkija ja monipuolinen kirjoittaja Teemu käsittelee blogissa laajalti monenlaisia asioita, psykobillystä ranskalaiseen filosofiaan.

Lisään sen oikealle linkkilistaan, niin kuin pari muutakin blogia. Detectives Beyond Borders on hyvä dekkariblogi, jota seuraan itse vähän satunnaisesti, mutta jossa on aina jotain kiinnostavaa - ja monesta eri lajityypistä. Lee Goldbergin Writer's Life on hyvä paikka, jos haluaa tutustua amerikkalaisen kirjailijan ja tv-käsikirjoittaja-tuottajan elämään - ja samalla tuohtua tämän fanifiktiota käsittelevistä mielipiteistään.

(Just recommending some blogs.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mika Waltari writing as Kristian Korppi

(Now, finally to something I've promised almost a week ago. Well, maybe it was only last Wednesday.)

The world knows Mika Waltari as the writer of The Egyptian and some other historical novels that mix adventure, philosophy, occasional overwriting and literary themes. When Waltari published his The Egyptian (originally titled Sinuhe egyptiläinen) in 1945, he had been writing fiction (and drama and poetry and some non-fiction) for exactly 20 years. His first short stories came out in an otherwise forgotten magazine called Juttutupa/Story Shackle in 1925. He published short stories under the pseudonym Karl Detmold (it was sometimes typeset wrong, for example as Kaarlo Detmold). Some of the stories are already in the horror mold, some of them are pure adventure, while some are whimsy love stories. He wrote in his memoir that the publisher of Juttutupa paid better for the love stories.

In 1925, Waltari also published his first book, Jumalaa paossa/On the Run from God, which is a religious adventure story (of novella length, some 70 pages). Waltari was later ashamed of it, for a good reason - the story is clumsy and full of naïve religious propaganda. (It may've been the hand of the religious publisher. Waltari has only said that he had to rewrite the original manuscript to get the thing published. What I'd pay to see the first draft!)

In 1926, he published a collection of short stories under the byline of Kristian Korppi. He'd used the nom de plume also on some poetry he'd published in a collection of young poets, and he would use it for a year or two in short stories he wrote for the fictionmags of the time. It translates as "Christian Raven" and shows a direct Poe influence.

The collection is titled The Dead Man's Eyes, with the subtitle Stories From the Threshold of the Unknown, and in the book there are eleven stories some of which are quite readable even today - though Waltari later said he hoped the book would remain forgotten, and it remains unreprinted, save for three stories.

Those three stories are the best in the bunch. "Auringonlaskun saari" has even come out in English - in the book Johanna Sinisalo edited in 2005, The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy. "The Isle of Setting Sun" could've very well been published in Weird Tales or Adventure or some other pulp magazine of the period, and it might be reminiscent of, say, Clark Ashton Smith, if it were not for the fact that it precedes Smith's work by some years. Waltari's story is strong sword and sorcery, with fantastic overtones.

The other two stories that have been reprinted are "Muumio/The Mummy" and "Punainen kolmio/The Red Triangle". The former one is pretty standard fare, but still effective story-telling about a curse of a mummy a Finnish archeologist finds in Egypt. "The Red Triangle" is much stronger: it tells a story of a young student who buys a skull and a dagger from an auction and finds himself getting drawn into a mystery that involves a beautiful woman. The story is ripe with S/M eroticism, with the young student fantasizing about decapitated heads.

Both "The Red Triangle" and "The Isle of Setting Sun" have a mysterious triangle in them - in the latter Vikings find a mystery woman in a room in the shape of a triangle, and in the former the student gets obsessed with drawing a perfect triangle. One might notice there's influence of H. P. Lovecraft, but it's 99 % certain that Waltari never knew Lovecraft's name. (Someone should take up the Red Triangle and form a mythology around it...)

Other stories in the book are more standard. The most horrific is "Kirotut silmät/The Cursed Eyes" in which the protagonist drowns a newborn baby in a bog and afterwards chops the mother by axe. In a manner reminiscent of Poe, the protagonist narrates his own story with a maniacal tone.

Also adventurous is "Oopiumihoure/The Opium Dream" in which a strange man tells about his adventures in India, becoming a yogi and then falling in love with a beautiful woman... "Mustat orkideat/The Black Orchids" features a huge black dog, which seems to possess mysterious forces - this might also be the work of Lovecraft ("The Hound", 1924), but it also brings The Hound of the Baskervilles into mind.

As I said, only three stories of the bunch have been reprinted in Finnish (in a book called Lukittu laatikko ja muita kertomuksia/The Closed Box and Other Stories), but I don't see why the whole book has to remain unread. Some of the stories could've been written by many American or English authors, and in comparison Waltari has nothing to be ashamed of.

It has also been commented on as a rare entry in horror in the annals of Finnish literature, but even a quick look at some of the fiction mags of the 1920's reveals that there was lots of horror being written in Finnish. Some of the stuff made its way into books.

(Next: Waltari's humorous adventure novels as by Kapteeni Leo Rainio. Sorry, by the way, about the black and white scan of the Korppi book - I had to take a photocopy at the university library and they don't have colour copiers. The cover is, I presume, by Sylvi Kunnas.)

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs

I finally got my hands on The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs (Marion Boyars, 2007). The publisher had asked a permission to cite Pulpetti in the book and I was curious to see what they'd have to say about me.

There were two citations, the first one being about Ki-Gor and the Finnish translation I found in an otherwise forgettable magazine and the second one about Harry Etelä whose horror stories I collected in a small volume last Fall. Pulpetti is in the chapter called "Fan Blogs, Obsessives and the Extreme", which is fine by me. What's simply great is that Harry Etelä gets mentioned in an English book! I'm sure he'd've appreciated. (Here's hoping this will boost the sales, which have been pretty low so far.)

Rebecca Gillieron writes:

For a European perspective it is also worth checking out Finnish writer Juri Nummelin's Pulpetti. At the tender age of thirty-five he has already written a number of books on the history of cinema, rare first names, Western writers and foor, but pulp fiction is his real passion. That he really knows his stuff is self-evident, take a look at this post about finding a rare magazine at a flea market, as you will almost see him salivating, the enthusiasm is so infectious (...)

(...) his blog makes for some interesting reading, if for no other reason that as an example of the in-depth knowledge and passion that fan bloggers have for their chosen field/idols.

There's a slight error. Rebecca Gillieron writes that I'm offering copies of Jungle Stories - a rare pulp magazine! I was only thinking that if someone might be interested in the article about the Tarzan clones in my own pulpish fanzine, Pulp, I've got copies left. (The thing is settled. Rebecca Gillieron said to me in an e-mail that they'd change it for the second printing.)

The whole book seems quite interesting, a bit essayish and humorous, but usually on the analytic side. Lots of citations, which might make for uninteresting reading, if one's not interested in the particular item. The book has chapters on many different types of blogs, some of bthem being very literary, some being very pulpish and trashy (like Bookgasm or Groovy Age of Horror), some being about the whole internet business and the change of book publishing. Sarah Weinman gets mentioned coupla times.

PS. FictionBitch wasn't particularly impressed. Here's James Carson at BlogCritics.

Zekial Marko AKA John Trinian dead

I just got an e-mail from a relative of crime writer Zekial Marko (also known as John Trinian) announcing he died on the 9th of May. It was also revealed that his birth name was Marvin Leroy Schmoker, which I don't think was public information before.

I also don't recall seeing any notice about his death before, but here's a short obit, which doesn't say much about his novels. (He wrote some half dozen crime paperbacks, one of which (Once a Thief) was translated in Finnish as Rotta ulos kolostaan in the Ilves paperback series. It's an excellent story about a criminal who gets out of the jail.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sorry, too busy

Promised some articles about Mika Waltari. Sorry, things have been pretty hectic, will have to wait till the next week.

Check out this, however - it's an interview of Jari Teilas, who's written an extensive book on the battle of Little Bighorn. The interview is in English, the book is in Finnish. Parts of this book have been previously published in the Ruudinsavu magazine I edit. The book will be out in June and I hope it gets every bit of success it deserves!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mika Waltari

As you've probably guessed, I've been busy. With the usual various assortements I try to get daily done*, I've been working on a book about Mika Waltari who's the most famous Finnish writer outside Finland (maybe in here, too).

As you probably can guess by now, my book will be about his lesser-known works. Which means it's largely about his early career and his pulp magazine and other fictionmaggish contributions. I'll be writing a series of articles about those here in Pulpetti for the next few weeks and I'll be starting with his horror story collection, Kuolleen silmät / The Dead Man's Eyes, as by Kristian Korppi, from 1926. It's a much-sought collector's item which I couldn't possibly afford myself, but luckily the university library has a copy.

So, stay tuned! (Maybe tomorrow or on Friday.) If you want to prep yourself, try to locate a copy of The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy, ed. by Johanna Sinisalo. It includes a translation of Waltari's sword and sorcerish novellette "Island of the Setting Sun" from the Korppi collection. Sinisalo's book came out in 2005. I'm pretty sure people like Bill Crider and James Reasoner would like Waltari's story.

* Which means: translating two books, one into Finnish, one into English, and typing and editing a collection of Finnish Western stories that will be out in November, and rewriting my crime novel manuscript. I'll get back to all these in due time. Forgot to mention that I revised and sold a manuscript that I'd already thought had went to limbo: FinnLectura will publish a history of cinema I wrote, targeting the book for teenagers and preteens (apparently I failed, since they are aiming the book at adult students!).

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's my birthday

I turned 36 last Saturday. I had a birthday party last Friday in a local club with my friend Rooper whose actual birthday was on Friday. Six of our friends played records and we also were DJ's for a while. I played some classics like Samantha Fox's Touch Me and Sabrina's Boys... the crowd was wild.

We also had a bit of a show. I played - with Kauto's acoustic toy guitar (or actually ukulele, since it has only four strings) - some of the old songs I recorded back in the late eighties, under the name Yuri. They were some sort of acoustic punk or hardcore punk, with songs lasting from two seconds to thirty. Some of the titles I played: Kill Kill Kill, I Am a Dead Milkman and Exaggerate. The whole gig lasted for about five minutes - at least that's what I hope.

My kid brother Matias (of The Demars fame) was also there and we reconstructed some of the songs we recorded at the approximately same time under the group name The National Panasonic Boys. We had a bunch of other toy instruments beside the ukulele and we switched them between songs. Some titles: The Echoing Sound of Space, I Eat Bread, The Vengeance of Robots and We Screw You (Bylsimme sinut in Finnish; we didn't know 20 years ago what the word "bylsiä" really means).

I hope to be able to post some of the songs on my MySpace account or on YouTube. Mind you, I really can't play or sing, but it was fun. This may be the beginning of my second career. (I've never performed live and only four of my songs have ever been released, and then it was only limited edition of compilation C-cassette called Kuolleena haudattuja/Buried Dead.)

The Zelazny Code

Hard Case Crime has announced the publication date - and the breath-taking action cover by Chuck Pyle (any relation to Howard Pyle, by the way?) - for Roger Zelazny's The Dead Man's Brother that was cancelled by Berkley in 1972.

I mentioned the book here and offer some bits of the publication history. It's not much, though.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My library - in Finnish

Posted a lengthy essay/memoir/article/whatever about my library and the books I've been amassing for the past 20 years on the literary blog Nono. Check it out. Alas, in Finnish.

A German publisher of artsy pulp

I just stumbled on (thanks, Al!) the site of a German publisher Pulpmaster that specializes in translations of American, British and Australian hardboiled writers with cult values: Charles Willeford, Paul Cain, Derek Raymond, P.J. Wolfson... They also seem to have some German writers, the names of which I don't really recognize.

The style of the covers is pretty distinct - I don't know whether this kind of expressionist style would work anywhere else except in Germany.