Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kevin Wignall's translation out

The paperback series I'm editing has a new book out, and it's one I'm personally very proud of: Kevin Wignall's Who Is Conrad Hirst? The Finnish title is simply Kuka on Conrad Hirst?, which is the literal translation.

Here's the cover by Ossi Hiekkala - and once again, it's great. I'll be posting more about Wignall and his book later, but here's a piece I wrote when I first read the book some time ago.

I'm also happy to tell you that Kevin Wignall is coming over to Finland next Friday and he'll be at the Kouvola crime fiction festival on Saturday morning.

The next two books in the series will come out in the Fall, and they are one of the best crime novels of the recent decade: Scott Phillips's The Ice Harvest (as Jäätävää satoa) and James Sallis's Drive (as Ajo).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back from the vacation, catching up on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and what not

We just returned from our three-day trip to a summer cabin. Everything was fine, even though Kauto threw a big rock at the back of my head. It was an accident and he said immediately he was sorry, but still... Elina was later pretty amazed I didn't get angry. The weather treated us two ways: first it was warm and sunshine, then it wasn't that anymore, almost the exact opposite. However, Kauto and Ottilia got to fish for the first time in their lives (and me for the second time in my life!). Kauto even got two! Ottilia caught one, but it fell from the hook. We killed the two fish, but we couldn't eat them, which is kind of stupid.

Okay, here's an interesting article on how Facebook will - probably - change literature. Thanks for the link to Sarah Weinman on Twitter!

PS. And, oh, I decided I'll grow me a mustache. Photos later.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The new issue of Ruudinsavu

Don't worry, this isn't something I've cooked up lately - it's been on a long journey from a printing house to another: the new issue of Ruudinsavu, the official magazine of the Finnish Western Society. The issue has articles on the little-known western films of Alan Ladd, Italian cartoonist Giorgio Cavazzano, the western book covers of Poika Vesanto (some examples of which I posted here couple weeks back), the Italian cartoon Cocco Bill and the first Finnish western short story. And also lots of other stuff, alongside with five pages of western-related obituaries. It's a good package, once again, even though not one of the best we've come up with.

The cover is by Jari Savolainen. And - oops! - I notice now that there's a wrong name in the magazine. Darn darn darn! There's always something missing my eye. Sorry, Jari!

David Peace and me

Just saw a picture of British crime writer David Peace in the web. I just had to post it side by side with a photo of myself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Book done and gone

I sent the manuscript for the reference book on writers of historical fiction to the publisher today. I'm really taking a vacation now. It's been hell of a Spring around here and I need a break. So even though I've been posting lazily lately, don't expect anything very sudden.

I started my vacation going book-hunting with Antti Tuomainen who came from Helsinki to visit Turku. He's a crime writer, with two noir novels under his belt - alongside with Tapani Bagge, he's the only noir writer working in Finland nowadays - one that can be taken seriously. It's a real shame his novels haven't been getting enough attention. But I'm digressing here. I found quite a bunch of interesting books, ranging from Donald Goines to Diane Johnson's biography of Hammett and Wayne Dundee's first novel, The Burning Season.

I'm reading Jonathan Maberry's zombie thriller, Patient Zero, and I'm really waiting to get back to it. It's more of a thriller than I really like about a book, but the combat scenes with zombies are very, very thrilling.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Couple swimming trunks, eh?

We were going to go swimming last Sunday, but the swimming hall was closed - it's closed on weekends for the whole summer! (Typical of Turku, the city where we live in. They never do anything right.)

But this gave me a reason to gather up my collection of vintage swimming trunks. Are you ready? I counted I have at least 25 pairs of old swimming trunks, from the sixties to the late eighties. I took a snapshot of all of them - and here it is.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Silverbob's crime stories

I compiled a bibliography of sorts of Silverberg's early crime stories and put it up on my bibliographic blog here. It's not complete and it doesn't even have those stories that I published in the Tapaamme tuonelassa book (I'll try to add them when I get a chance to pick the book up from the library (sic)). Plus there are also at least dozen western stories and some sport stories. That man was a fast writer!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Petri Salin on Silverberg

A friend of mine, Petri Salin, well known for his short stories in the science fiction fandom here in Finland, wrote this to me in e-mail about Silverberg:

Olen hiukan eri mieltä Silverbergin rikosnovellien tasosta. Minusta ne ovat hämmästyttävän päteviä. Ja mitä tulee siihen että oikeastaan niissä (ainakin kolmessa) on ihan sama tarina on vain osoitus siitä ammattitaidosta jolla Silverberg operoi. Vaikka kuvio on sama niin jokainen novelli on omaperäinen ja toimii erittäin hyvin omilla ehdoillaan. Juuri se teki minuun vaikutuksen - se on ammattilaisen merkki jos mikä.

I'll try to translate:

I beg to differ about the quality of Silverberg's crime stories. I thought they were astonishingly competent. And as for the fact that they (at least in three of them) have basically the same story over and over, it is only the indication of the craftsmanship with which Silverberg works. Even though the pattern is the same in each story, every story is also original and works very well in its own conditions. That's what impressed me most - that's the sign of a true professional.

Well said and thanks, Petri! The Silverberg book received only two reviews that I know of - one negative (actually very negative), one so-so, but more enthusiastic and knowledgeable than the other one. Maybe there would be enough demand for a collection in English, too. I'm sure there would be enough buyers - this could be something for a published like Bleak House Books or Busted Flush Press.

Homo magazines closing in

This is somewhat pulp-related: a chain of homosexual porn magazines is closing in, due to economical crisis.

Thanks for the link to Lawrence Schimel, who remembers having written his first pieces of erotica for some of the publisher's magazines.

The Silverberg cover by Jukka Murtosaari

Okay, this is really embarrassing. I publish a book that's the first of its kind, then I forget to promote it, then I run out of copies (I really don't have one of my own), then I lose all the files related to the book, and when I want to post a cover scan here in my blog, I'll have to ask for it from a friend.

Thanks to Tapani Bagge (who's a great crime novelist) I was able to get my hands on the cover of Robert Silverberg's Tapaamme tuonelassa / We'll Meet in Hell that I published as a smallish booklet three years ago. I wrote more about it couple of messages back. So here it is, in all its black-and-white glory. The cover is, as I already mentioned, by Jukka Murtosaari.

There's also a blurb in the cover. It's James Reasoner saying: "It's always pleasure to read Silverberg." It's from his blog - he reviewed one of Silverberg's early pseudonymous nudie novels.

As you can see, there's "No. 1" in the cover. There was never a second issue - of anything. I did one of my Joe Novak stories in a similar format with a very small print run under the Verikoirakirjat / Blood Hound Press imprint a year back, but that's about it. One of these days...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jason Starr's Panic Attack

Jason Starr has for long been one of my favourite authors: poignant, funny, full of satire and wit and anger. Here's a chapter for download from his forth-coming novel, Panic Attack, which will hit the stores next August. I have the book, but haven't had time to read it yet. I'm soon getting the book on historical fiction writers out of my hands (cross my fingers) and I think I'll be able to concentrate a bit on recent crime fiction.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Rap Sheet on Robert Terrall

Really great piece on paperback writer Robert Terrall, conducted by J. Kingston Pierce. Yet another paperbacker who was a Communist at one time. (I think there's an essay on this in Woody Haut's Pulp Culture.)

Robert Silverberg's crime stories

Many bloggers I'm following have been commenting favourably on A Little Intelligence, a collection of old science-fictional crime stories published recently by Crippen & Landru. The writers are Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett, who both have had a good career in science fiction. Here's Bill Crider, and here's Ed Gorman.

No one mentions it, but I think this is the first time Silverberg's and Garrett's early crime stories have been published in a book form. Their science fiction stories have been published, some many times, but their crime stories haven't been.

If I'm not correct about this, please tell me. Because I'm about to boast a little bit. Because I actually published the first collection of Silverberg's early crime stories. I made a small booklet called Tapaamme tuonelassa / We'll Meet in Hell in 2006, under the (fictional) imprint, Verikoirakirjat / Blood Hound Press. The booklet has four stories whose Finnish translations I found in the Finnish pulp, Seikkailujen Maailma, from the early sixties. All the stories were from one issue of the Guilty Detective Magazine. I don't remember the details at the moment and I can't seem to the digital file of the booklet (I've long since run out of copies), so I can't check. I may have forgotten to post about the book here, which doesn't make me a good promoter of my own work. (But hey, I still managed to sell all the copies I printed, and I think there were as many as 200!)

The black-and-white cover was by Jukka Murtosaari and my friend Jukka Halme wrote the introduction. The crime fiction circles in Finland didn't seem to understand what the fuss was about, but the science fiction fandom was much more interested in the book. The stories are not great - they are more run-of-the-mill noir that was published a lot in the late fifties and early sixties, and from the four stories in the book three were too identical to each other. But it was still the first collection of Silverberg's early crime stories ever published!

Aw man, this sucks! I can't find the book, I can't find any of the files and I can't post Jukka's cover here in Pulpetti! This is utterly unforgivable - first I forget to promote the book when it's new, and then when it could be a collector's item and of interest to people reading this blog, I fail to find anything relating to it. You'll just have to trust me on this.

Edit: I managed to dig up a mention of the book. The issue of the Guilty Detective magazine all the stories were originally published in June, 1960.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Will never try a Clavell book in my life

As you may remember, I was reading James Clavell's historical novels for a book I'm working on. I was boasting about how I'd read all 4,000 pages of them.

But no. I just couldn't. This is pretty awkward to admit, since I'm still writing the entry for him, but I had to put Shogun down and when I started to read Tai-pan, I had to put it down, too. I will probably take a look at Gai-Jin, but nothing more. His novels set in more recent times I won't even open.

I was talking earlier about how Alex Haley's Roots (and Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code) are more about telling than showing. This is also the case with Clavell. He can't seem to understand how to build a scene in an economical way, and he really isn't good with action scenes. What was more troubling was his habit of cobbling the narrative with flashbacks - almost every page has a flashback in which a character is given a motive for his or her actions. And I just couldn't get into that. It got so tiresome I shudder at a sight of a Clavell novel.

Hope my employer isn't reading this. And mind you, in the coming book I'll try to write about Clavell in a more objective way than what I just posted above.

I'm also sorry I never wrote anything more about Norah Lofts. I read several of her novels and I liked them more than Clavell's books, even though I wasn't enthusiastic about them. Some of you might try Madselin (1969, IIRC) if you're interested in how to write about the Norman Conquest without sword and axe fights.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Penguin SF covers

Here's another link from the Forbidden Planet blog: the science fiction covers of Penguin paperbacks. Some very cool stuff included.

Flemish 3D western

The most popular Flemish cartoon series ever, Suske en Wiske (Anu ja Antti in Finnish), has been made into a 3D animated film and it's a western! The characters look ugly, as they seem to always do in computer animation, but interesting nevertheless.