Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Afterlife of dead trees.

Mike Pohjolan esikoisromaani julkaistu.

July 2nd, 2008 by Jarmo Puskala

(English summary: Star Wreck RPG author Mike Pohjola’s first novel was released last friday. It’s in Finnish.)

Mike Pohjola: Kadonneet KyyneleetStar Wreck -roolipelin tekijän, roolipelitaiteilija Mike Pohjolan esikoisromaani Kadonneet Kyyneleet julkaistiin viime perjantaina.

Tällä hetkellä Mike opiskelee Taideteollisessa Korkeakoulussa elokuvakäsikirjoittamista ja CV:stä löytyy myöskin useampi roolipeli, näytelmäkäsikirjoitus, sekä Sanaleikkikirja.

Koska yhtään kappaletta kirjaa ei ole vielä ehtinyt Energialle, niin arvostelupuolella täytyy tyytyä toteamaan, että kansi on hieno. Julkaisijan sivulta löytyy seuraavanlainen juonikuvaus:

Roosan isä on kuollut, eikä koulunkäynti kiinnosta. Äidillä on uusi miesystävä, jonka luona hän mieluummin viettää aikaansa. Roosa ei halua selittää elämäntarinaansa enää yhdellekään psykiatrille. Tuntuu kuin viettäisi puolet kouluajasta juttelemassa kuraattorien ja koulupsykologien kanssa.

Toisaalla, keskellä suurta merta on pieni saari, jossa kasvaa iso omenapuu. Puu on kahden airiin, Punakanelin ja Omenaruusun, koti. Eräänä aamuna kun Punakaneli hyppää alas puusta, hänen jalkansa eivät laskeudukaan omenapuun juurelle, vaan loiskahtavat veteen. Vesi peittää alleen puun juuret ja jokainen aalto nostaa veden pintaa. Saarelta on lähdettävä, keinolla millä hyvänsä, mutta Omenaruusu ei halua jättää kotiaan. Kun Punakaneli yrittää taivutella ystäväänsä, Omenaruusu järkyttyy ja vaipuu syvään uneen. Ainoa tapa pelastaa Omenaruusu on hankkia hänelle airiin kyyneleitä.

Roosan ja Punakanelin kohtalot kulkevat rinnakkain nuortenromaanin sivuilla. Toden ja mielikuvituksen rajat hämärtyvät heidän etsiessään kadonneita kyyneleitä.

Forever Awake.

October 8th, 2007 by Antti Hukkanen

Peace and War, the Omnibus Edition

I finally finished Joe Haldeman’s novel Forever Peace last night. It kept me up until 4 in the morning just because the story kept kicking on higher and higher gears so I couldn’t leave the book with only fifty or so pages left. It was funny in a way. After all, I’d been reading the book for quite a while already, in tiny snippets every night before bed. (Oh, what I’d give for the time to sit down with a good book…)

I bought the omnibus edition Peace & War at Finncon last July, after listening to the author being interviewed Actors Studio style and realising three things at once. One, the man is funny, intelligent and an incredibly gentle person. Two, I’d only read two pieces by him: a translation of his seminal Forever War back when I was in school, and the Vietnam-themed poem (!) DX in the anthology Demons & Dreams edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (ISBN 978-0712630214, good luck finding a copy). And three, those two works – a three-page poem and a translation (for crying out loud!) – had left me with a lasting impression of a terribly skilled novelist. It was time to reacquaint myself.

True, the title of the omnibus – Peace & War – is a reference to a classic (I should really say, another classic). But it’s also very accurate: that’s what Haldeman writes about. Not content with merely describing either, he recounts the lives of people taking part in war in a way that makes the necessity of peace achingly evident. His style is remarkable – friendly, casual, like listening to a friend relate something that happened to him. That style gives his works a light and approachable quality, but also emphasises the understated way he describes moments of savage action. No build-up of tension, no deceptive calm before the storm, it really brings home the horror of combat when you have to re-read the last two sentences before it sinks in that an ambush has just been sprung and someone lies dead from stepping on a land mine.

And the sheer scope of it! Not for Haldeman the simple statement that war is hell. No, he goes right ahead and demonstrates that if war is indeed an intrinsic part of human nature, why then, the evolutionary quantum leap necessary to rid us of war is worth it. True, being one of a dying breed (as his protagonists tend to be in these stories) does leave one feeling rather forlorn. But then, war also leaves one feeling rather forlorn, or rather dead. Think about it.

Hey, there’s even a way to link this rant with Iron Sky. In 2004, Mr Haldeman split the James Tiptree, Jr. Award with Iron Sky writer Johanna Sinisalo. According to her, he was so much of a gentleman that he spent most of his acceptance speech praising her work. Having listened to and read the man, I’m inclined to believe it.

We’re Not Alone.

September 27th, 2007 by Antti Hukkanen

Sympathy for the devilI’m ashamed to admit that I only today learned of the Baen Free Library project. To those not In The Know, it’s an online service by the publishing company Baen Books that offers electronic versions of their books for free. It’s been around since 2000, and currently offers 98 titles. To quote First Librarian Eric Flint: “I will cheerfully put up the stuff for free myself. Because I am quite confident that any ‘losses’ I sustain will be more than made up for by the expansion in the size of my audience.” So they’ve been saying (and proving) the same thing that we demonstrated with Star Wreck – that free distribution cannot but benefit the authors – since the turn of the millennium. So we weren’t quite the first, although apparently, Mr Puskala endorsed the Free Library on our forum already in 2002.

So why is this fact so hard for show business to admit? Why is the industry trying to clamp down on online piracy when it’s so obviously counterproductive – more regulations means higher costs means artificially-elevated prices means piracy appears more attractive? Beats me. Probably because it’s so much easier to cling to what you grew up with instead of trying to change with the times. Possibly because the prevailing ideological climate seems to be moving in a more draconian, paranoid direction. We can only hope that successful endeavours like the Free Library (and Star Wreck) will eventually convince the movers and shakers that free distribution is an opportunity and not a threat.

Actually, I know the true reason. It’s because only good authors benefit from the publicity generated by free distribution. Let’s face it: without the artificial hype generated by massive publishing efforts – if people knew what it is they’re buying – would the likes of Dan Brown or Ilkka Remes ever sell a copy?

And would we really be any worse off for it?

Space Nazis are gathering in Finnish bookstores.

September 27th, 2007 by Jarmo Puskala

Ilkka Remes: Pahan Perimä

There have never been this many swastikas in Finnish shops. The new Space nazi touting Ilkka Remes book we wrote about before has hit the stores last friday. And being a very potential bestseller bookstores and supermarkets have huge piles of the books – right next to the pepper mills and cookbooks.

A Brave soul from our forum by the name of swreckie has already read the book and tells that nazis on the moon are mentioned in one sentence on page 312. That’s it. I guess we don’t have to fear any competition.