Tor covers ‘Finnish Weird’

Johanna Sinisalo holds up her Prometheus Award (Photo by Ryan Lackey)

Tor.com, one of my favorite sites devoted to science fiction, ran a recent piece by Jonathan Thornton, “A Readers’ Guide to the Finnish Weird in Translation.”

If you check it out, you’ll notice that writer Johanna Sinisalo is a central figure in the genre and even named it: “Finnish author Johanna Sinisalo coined the term “suomikumma,” or Finnish Weird, to refer to a new strain of speculative fiction being produced by herself and her Finnish peers.”

Thornton then goes on to offer some recommendations, including an anthology edited by Sinisalo, and two of Sinisalo’s novels, Not Before Sundown and The Blood of Angels. 

Yet another Sinisalo novel, The Core of the Sun, won the Prometheus Award in 2017. As it happens, she won the same year the Worldcon was held in Helsinki, so we were able to present the award before Sinisalo’s local fans.

You can read an appreciation of The Core of the Sun by our own Chris Hibbert at this blog, and also read a piece about the book at Tor’s website, written by Natalie Zutter. 

Libertarianism, feminism, chili peppers, drugs, desire, dictatorship & dystopia: Johanna Sinisalo’s The Core of the Sun, the 2017 Prometheus Award Best Novel winner

To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, and make clear what makes each winner deserve recognition as notable pro-freedom sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society is continuing to present weekly Appreciations of past Prometheus Award-winners. Here’s the latest Appreciation for Johanna Sinisalo’s The Core of the Sun, the 2017 Best Novel winner:

By Michael Grossberg
The Core of the Sun, by well-known Finnish writer Johanna Sinisalo, is both feminist and libertarian in its evocative themes.

In the quirky and imaginative 2016 novel, translated by Lola Rogers from the Finnish language and published by Grove Press/Black Cat, Sinisalo vividly imagines a dystopian alternate history of Finland in which a patriarchal and authoritarian government enforces a social system, a War-on-Drugs Prohibition of individualistic pleasure and a eugenics program that breeds and virtually enslaves compliant women.

Set in 21stcentury Finland after a century of male-dominated government breeding and cultural reinforcement of its women to be slower-witted and more childlike, the fast-paced story unfolds in short chapters with epistolary and personal interludes that evoke a struggle of women within an alternate-reality Finnish culture somewhat evocative of The Stepford Wives (a cautionary feminist novel by Ira Levin, the Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for his dystopian novel This Perfect Day.)

Social stability and public health, along with a War-on-Drugs Prohibition, are strongly enforced and favored over social change, creativity, personal expression, self-fulfillment, curiosity and diversity – the latter, of course, all part of the constellation of values and attitudes that we know flourish much more under a classical liberal/libertarian polity.

Continue reading Libertarianism, feminism, chili peppers, drugs, desire, dictatorship & dystopia: Johanna Sinisalo’s The Core of the Sun, the 2017 Prometheus Award Best Novel winner