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It Came from the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction

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This anthology of Finnish fantasy edited by Desirina Boskovich features fiction from Carita Forsgren, Mari Saario, Johanna Sinisalo, Hannu Rajaniemi, Anne Leinonen, Marko Hautala, Maarit Verronen, Olli Jalonen, Leena Likitalo, Tuomas Kilpi, Tiina Raevaara, Jyrki Vainonen, Sari Peltoniemi, Leena Krohn, and Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen—author of the critically acclaimed The Rabb This anthology of Finnish fantasy edited by Desirina Boskovich features fiction from Carita Forsgren, Mari Saario, Johanna Sinisalo, Hannu Rajaniemi, Anne Leinonen, Marko Hautala, Maarit Verronen, Olli Jalonen, Leena Likitalo, Tuomas Kilpi, Tiina Raevaara, Jyrki Vainonen, Sari Peltoniemi, Leena Krohn, and Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen—author of the critically acclaimed The Rabbit Back Literature Society. What will you find within these pages? A photographer stumbles on a wounded troll, and attempts to nurse it back to health. A lonely girl discovers the flames in the family smithy are tied to an ancient portal between worlds. A modern woman excavates something sickening from the shower drain…and falls in love. A peculiar swamp holds restorative powers, for its avian and human inhabitants alike. It Came From the North offers a diverse selection of fifteen fantastical tales from some of Finland's most respected writers, alongside up-and-coming talents who are redefining the rules of contemporary literature. Are you ready for a journey into the uncanny? Then come discover the strangeness lurking in the land of a thousand lakes.


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This anthology of Finnish fantasy edited by Desirina Boskovich features fiction from Carita Forsgren, Mari Saario, Johanna Sinisalo, Hannu Rajaniemi, Anne Leinonen, Marko Hautala, Maarit Verronen, Olli Jalonen, Leena Likitalo, Tuomas Kilpi, Tiina Raevaara, Jyrki Vainonen, Sari Peltoniemi, Leena Krohn, and Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen—author of the critically acclaimed The Rabb This anthology of Finnish fantasy edited by Desirina Boskovich features fiction from Carita Forsgren, Mari Saario, Johanna Sinisalo, Hannu Rajaniemi, Anne Leinonen, Marko Hautala, Maarit Verronen, Olli Jalonen, Leena Likitalo, Tuomas Kilpi, Tiina Raevaara, Jyrki Vainonen, Sari Peltoniemi, Leena Krohn, and Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen—author of the critically acclaimed The Rabbit Back Literature Society. What will you find within these pages? A photographer stumbles on a wounded troll, and attempts to nurse it back to health. A lonely girl discovers the flames in the family smithy are tied to an ancient portal between worlds. A modern woman excavates something sickening from the shower drain…and falls in love. A peculiar swamp holds restorative powers, for its avian and human inhabitants alike. It Came From the North offers a diverse selection of fifteen fantastical tales from some of Finland's most respected writers, alongside up-and-coming talents who are redefining the rules of contemporary literature. Are you ready for a journey into the uncanny? Then come discover the strangeness lurking in the land of a thousand lakes.

30 review for It Came from the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    So what exactly is 'Speculative Fiction'? A lot of readers find this term confusing, and I can see why. The word 'speculate' suggests conjecture, supposition - trying to understand something from incomplete information. It also hints at predicting the future and in terms of fiction (to me anyway) 'speculative' calls to mind straight-down-the-middle sci-fi, the Arthur C. Clarke kind built around ideas which, though invented, are realistic enough that they could easily come true. In other words, it So what exactly is 'Speculative Fiction'? A lot of readers find this term confusing, and I can see why. The word 'speculate' suggests conjecture, supposition - trying to understand something from incomplete information. It also hints at predicting the future and in terms of fiction (to me anyway) 'speculative' calls to mind straight-down-the-middle sci-fi, the Arthur C. Clarke kind built around ideas which, though invented, are realistic enough that they could easily come true. In other words, it sounds just like one sub-division of science fiction. The way it's actually used, though, is pretty much the opposite: as an umbrella term for all fantastic literature, within which the whole of sci-fi is itself just one sub-division. Confused? Me too, but we seem to be stuck with it and if you want a better idea of the sort of thing it includes you could do a lot worse than to read It Came From The North. I picked this book up as part of a book-bundle promotion - and was left wondering what it was doing among the others, which ranged from boring to dreadful (3-, 2- and even 1-star ratings). ICFTN stood out a mile though; unusually for an anthology, I liked every story and several of them just left me spellbound. The best recommendation I can give it is that, never having read any Finnish authors before, I still thoroughly enjoyed it despite probably missing references to Finnish culture and mythology left, right and centre! Here are just a few of them to give you some idea: - 'Hairball': bizarro (yuk! I defy you not to laugh and retch at the same time!) - 'The Horseshoe Nail': a gentle fantasy in which two worlds come face to face. - 'Not Before Sundown': ever wondered what trolls (the Scandinavian kind, not the Goodreads variety) are really like? Well here you get a full zoological description. - 'White Threads': pure sci-fi (or psy-fi); what if your mind could manipulate reality at the quantum level? - 'Chronicles Of A State': disaster at a fusion plant threatens to engulf a totalitarian dystopia. - 'Watcher': the most surreal of the fifteen - and my favourite. - 'The Garden': genuinely creepy horticultural horror. - 'Those Were The Days': the human aftermath of an accident at the Time Research Institute. 'Watcher' by Leena Likitalo is barely a conventional story at all; it's more like a glimpse of something, a picture. For anyone who knows the graphic art of M C Escher, that's what it reminds me of: arbitrary yet intricate, self-contained, utterly without discernible purpose or meaning, just hanging there in space filled with a sort of vertigo and bafflement and pain...a cynic might say it's a pretty good metaphor for the Universe we do actually live in. But it's unclassifiable; so surreal, so off-the-wall, it slips through the cracks between the familiar genres. So maybe there is, after all, something to be said for the term 'Speculative Fiction' if it acts as a safety net to catch imaginings as original as this.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mathew Walls

    It's hard to give an accurate rating for this book, because it's very inconsistent. I really liked A Heart Clothed in Black (Leena Krohn) and a few of the others were pretty good, but then there were ones like Hairball (Carita Forsgren) or The Garden (Jyrki Vainonen) that I didn't care for at all. The majority of the stories were OK, nothing special, but they were at least all fairly interesting in their premises and settings. I wouldn't necessarily recommend the book on its own merits, but if y It's hard to give an accurate rating for this book, because it's very inconsistent. I really liked A Heart Clothed in Black (Leena Krohn) and a few of the others were pretty good, but then there were ones like Hairball (Carita Forsgren) or The Garden (Jyrki Vainonen) that I didn't care for at all. The majority of the stories were OK, nothing special, but they were at least all fairly interesting in their premises and settings. I wouldn't necessarily recommend the book on its own merits, but if you're looking for some samples of interesting authors you might not have heard of, it's certainly worthwhile in that regard.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Very good. 3/4 of the stories were excellent. Not a bad one on the bunch.Really unusual concepts and conceits. The last story, "Delina" really packed an emotional punch. I shouldn't have finished it in public, because I was commenting out loud. >.< The reader doesn't have to be familiar with Finnish culture to enjoy the books, but there are a few stories where it helps to know a bit about folk culture, the Kalevala and the vagaries of the Finnish temperament. Very good. 3/4 of the stories were excellent. Not a bad one on the bunch.Really unusual concepts and conceits. The last story, "Delina" really packed an emotional punch. I shouldn't have finished it in public, because I was commenting out loud. >.< The reader doesn't have to be familiar with Finnish culture to enjoy the books, but there are a few stories where it helps to know a bit about folk culture, the Kalevala and the vagaries of the Finnish temperament.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Dhu

    Interesting collection of stories from Finnish sff authors. After having recently read Johanna Sinisalo's Birdbrain, I was perhaps primed to notice how strong a role that nature plays in many of these stories. Landscapes, geology, animals, organic growth, ecology - use of these elements seemed to be more prevalent than in collection that tend to be more focused on American and occasionally British writers. Very much worth reading.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elle Maruska

    Overall a decent collection. Some of the stories were fairly weak or long-winded but the overall quality is definitely worth a look! Rating anthologies is always difficult because there are always going to be some stories that work and some that don't, but I feel like this collection does provide a very interesting introduction to speculative Finnish literature

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Bradway

    A couple of eerie or trippy selections with lots of padding. For safe shipping, I guess.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sal

    While this collection maintained a good quality throughout and introduced me to several intriguing authors that I intend to explore further, I found Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen's "Those Were The Days" to be the kind of beautiful, lasting story that sticks with you for a lifetime. Incredibly well worth the read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Collection of spec fic from Finnish authors. Most of the tales rate at least an 'interesting' or 'good', two in particular (Those Were the Days and Elegy For a Young Elk) I found to be fantastic. Definitely worth a read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sue Chant

    Nothing new jumped out at me but not bad overall. 1.“Hairball” by Carita Forsgren (trans. by Anna Volmari and J. Robert Tupasela) - good 2.“The Horseshoe Nail” By Mari Saario (trans. by Liisa Rantalaiho) 3.Not Before Sundown (excerpt) By Johanna Sinisalo (trans. by Herbert Lomas) - very good 4.“Elegy for a Young Elk” by Hannu Rajaniemi - excellent 5.“White Threads” by Anne Leinonen (trans. byLiisa Rantalaiho)- ok 6.“The Laughing Doll” by Marko Hautala (trans. by Jyri Luoma) - dull 7.“Delina” by Maarit Nothing new jumped out at me but not bad overall. 1.“Hairball” by Carita Forsgren (trans. by Anna Volmari and J. Robert Tupasela) - good 2.“The Horseshoe Nail” By Mari Saario (trans. by Liisa Rantalaiho) 3.Not Before Sundown (excerpt) By Johanna Sinisalo (trans. by Herbert Lomas) - very good 4.“Elegy for a Young Elk” by Hannu Rajaniemi - excellent 5.“White Threads” by Anne Leinonen (trans. byLiisa Rantalaiho)- ok 6.“The Laughing Doll” by Marko Hautala (trans. by Jyri Luoma) - dull 7.“Delina” by Maarit Verronen (trans. by Hildi Hawkins)- ok 8.“Chronicles of a State” by Olli Jalonen (trans. by David Hackston) - started off OK but just rambled on interminably - didn't finish it 9.“Watcher” by Leena Likitalo - very good 10.“The Border Incident” by Tuomas Kilpi - strange, interesting, but seems unfinished somehow 11.“Ospreys” by Tiina Raevaara (trans. by David Hackston) - good 12.“The Garden” by Jyrki Vainonen (trans. by Anna Volmari and J. Robert Tupasela) - unmemorable 13.“The Gift Boy” by Sari Peltoniemi (trans. by Liisa Rantalaiho)- quite good 14.“A Heart Clothed in Black” an excerpt from Pereat Mundus: A Novel, Sort Of by Leena Krohn (trans. by Hildi Hawkins)- dull 15.“Those Were the Days” by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (trans. by Liisa Rantalaiho) - interesting, enjoyable, but went on a bit too long

  10. 4 out of 5

    Reuben Robert

    It's rather rare for an anthology to have a completely stellar collection - but this one is an exception by far. I was particularly enthralled by Those Were the Days where the author manages to easily convey a shocking story despite an insanely convoluted timeline within a temporally messed up world. This story should have been impossible, but the author delivered anyway. Must read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    What a fun book! I loved reading various takes on speculative realities, some of which included Finnish culture, history, and mythology. There were some visionary stories here.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brittney

    Some good, some not so good stories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephani

    It is hard to give a good star rating on an anthology. Like most anthologies, some of the stories were 5 stars and some were 2.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elise Rogers

    This anthology is inconsistent. The stories, in quality, range from brilliant to ok. The brilliant ones I never wanted to end, and I was sad when they did.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Agata Nowicka

    Very intelligent Refreshingly original and intelligent collection. I hope there will be more! It shows what a well educated nation is able for.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charles Taylor

    A mixed bag Most of the stories In this anthology are worth reading - all of them really, but some are of the sort that don't appeal to me personally - extracts from novels, for instance. It was enjoyable getting to know something of the Finnish SF scene - plenty of variety and inventiveness! The opening and closing stories were for me the best - taking off beat ideas and developing them in unexpected directions - a hair ball that comes to life, and a flood of time respectively.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I wanted to check this anthology out as there is a lot of rich culture and mythology in the Nordic regions that doesn’t get the time in the spotlight it deserves. I have a couple other anthologies coming around and behind this so I can get a broader exposure to what is available right now. Also, since WorldCon is going to be in Helsinki in 2017, I figured now would be a good time to explore. A lot of the stories in this collection are intensely weird, and not at all what I expected. I didn’t have I wanted to check this anthology out as there is a lot of rich culture and mythology in the Nordic regions that doesn’t get the time in the spotlight it deserves. I have a couple other anthologies coming around and behind this so I can get a broader exposure to what is available right now. Also, since WorldCon is going to be in Helsinki in 2017, I figured now would be a good time to explore. A lot of the stories in this collection are intensely weird, and not at all what I expected. I didn’t have any solid preconceived notions coming in, but these stories fell outside anything I could have imagined. “Hairball” by Carita Forsgren is a freaky bit of magical realism where a woman falls in love with an anthropomorphized glop from her shower drain, and is a musing on how we try to mold the people in our lives. This sets the tone for the collection by driving the signpost to let us know we have arrived at Weird Territory. “Chronicles of a State” by Olli Jalonen was an amazing tale about slowly paving the road to hell through the good intentions of an unreliable narrator looking back on the glories of his life. He let no good crisis go to waste while being second to none at self-justifying his decisions. There are so many delightful observations about human nature through a cynic’s lens. This is also apparently an extrapolation of one of the USSR’s famous politburo men. “Watcher” by Leena Likitalo was a delightfully weird bit of circular fiction exploring identity and how our interactions with different groups shapes our worldviews. “Ospreys” by Tiina Raevaara is deeply weird journey through the circle of life and death. “The Garden” by Jyrki Vainonen is like The Colours out of Space from a child’s perspective, but even weirder. “The Laughing Doll” by Marko Hautala was a creepy take on a Finnish urban legend, but it lacked the punch I was hoping for. A little less time spent on the crumbling relationships and a little more trying in the monster would have made this better. It seemed disjointed and more like two parallel but unrelated stories that were happening at the same time. Some of the pacing and phrasing was awkward and I wonder if I lost something in the translation. Unfortunately, it also seems that Finnish weird writers pull strongly from “literary” influences, thus freeing themselves from trifles such as “plot” or “development.” Which plunged much of this collection into not being for me. “Elegy for a Young Elk” by Hannu Rajaniemi is a really pretty post-singularity story, although I’m not quite sure what happened. “Delina” by Maarit Verronen was a meditation on the choices we make but not really a story. “The Border Incident” by Tuomas Kilpi started out incredibly strong but felt like an unfinished Pandora revisit.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    Really not for me. Although there was a good story here and there too many of them were simply too weird, even for me. The reading experience of this anthology was a real struggle, sadly.

  19. 4 out of 5

    The Sample Reader

    The splendid weirdness of the first story and the swords-and-sorcery chops of the second bode well, suggesting that It Came from the North is a collection of stories with real variety and promise. Read the full ebook Sample Reader review here. The splendid weirdness of the first story and the swords-and-sorcery chops of the second bode well, suggesting that It Came from the North is a collection of stories with real variety and promise. Read the full ebook Sample Reader review here.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tyrannosaurus regina

    Oh gosh I loved this. I loved it so much. Not every story equally, no, but it's becoming clear to me that I have a weakness for stories that are gentle and strange and that's an apt description for my favourites. The last story in particular just broke me right down.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    The first and the last stories are easily the best. As for the others, maybe something was just lost in translation since Finnish is a notoriously difficult language for native English speakers to learn.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Hairball - 3* Weird, but not like creepy, more a bit cooky. The Horseshoe Nail - 2* Predictable, and a bit dated: felt very 80s/90s standard fantasy Not Before Sundown - 1* Excerpt not inviting to read more. A mixed bag. Did not care for the excerpts.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sanne

    Very nice story collection. I particularly enjoyed The Horseshoe nail, Elegy for a Young Elk, Ospreys, and Those Were the Days. My favourite was White Threads by Anne Leinonen.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Yakovlev

    A coupling of bizarre weird short foreign fiction. It's exactly as unconventional as it can be.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrey Shchekin

    The stories are of different quality, so it's hard to give a single rating. But I do think it's worth reading.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Outlawchild

    It was AWESEOME, until the last two stories. Which were boring, not part of the theme and should have never been included. But before that, awesome.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Monica T.

    Those were the days by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen and Hairball by Carita Nail were my favourite.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Ordal

    A few unremarkable stories, but enough amazing ones that it was worth it if only to discover new authors. Now if only I could read Finnish so I could read their other works...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This anthology is inconsistent. The stories, in quality, range from brilliant to ok. The brilliant ones I never wanted to end, and I was sad when they did.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    The last story, Those Were the Days, merited four stars. The Gift Boy, three. The rest of it? That's where the two comes in.

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