There's only one magazine in Finland that concentrates on crime fiction, Ruumiin kulttuuri / Body Culture. I contribute to the mag quite regularly and have for example interviewed people like Michael Connelly, Vicki Hendricks and Jason Starr and written articles on David Goodis, Hank Janson, the female noir fiction of the fourties and fifties (Margaret Millar, Dorothy Hughes, etc.) and James Hadley Chase. I've always tried to avoid a fanboy attitude and concentrated on the content of these writers and their historical significance.

Now, I just heard from the editor-in-chief that he's had complaints about how I've had too much stuff on pulp and noir in the mag and he'll have to cut it down. I had suggested a shortish article on Otto Penzler's 1,000-page anthology The Big Lizard Book of Pulps, which I think should merit some notice even here in Finland. Now there won't be any. I've had some three to five articles a year in the mag and all the other pages are about cooking in crime novels, Agatha Christie, new Swedish crime novelists and other stuff. Why isn't there room for other types of literarute?

At the same time, I've been wondering about why hardboiled crime fiction has never been in favour of the Finnish crime fiction reading public or even fandom. Of course there are counter-examples, Chandler has been a favourite, but I've heard some people complain that he's too violent. Too violent?! Chandler?! What the f---? Why read crime novels if one can't take violence?

Note to self: calm down. I almost caused a fire when I was pondering about what I should say: I'd put a kettle on the stove to make me a cup of tea (hey, I'm not really that hardboiled!) and forgot it. The water had run dry and the kitchen was full of smoke... The kettle went to ruin. You can also blame my ADD for this, it's happened before...

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Comment by Juri Nummelin on December 9, 2007 at 9:33pm
Thanks for comments! Yes, I think one of the factors is hardboiled being quite US centric. There's lots of anti-American attitude here in Finland. (But then again, the new Patricia Cornwells and all that gets translated.) People seem to equate what the US is doing now out in the world and the violent novels they write. As for social criticism, can't think of anyone who's socially more critical than Jason Starr! He's the only crime writer I know who writes about ordinary people who are always between jobs or have none at all or have very low-end jobs. And Reed Farrel Coleman, Laura Lippman, Connelly... what's that if not social criticism?

Sorry 'bout Penzler's book's name, should've looked it up!
Comment by Barbara Fister on December 9, 2007 at 12:58am
What an interesting post. I would have though (dunno why) that hardboiled would go over well in Finland. Is it because it's too US-centric?

Swedish/Norwegian/Icelandic fiction seems more anchored in social issues than US hardboiled, which personally I like but ... I'm just wondering why an editor who might fancy Jo Nesbo would object to your focus, unless it's that US culture is too dominant already...

Sorry abut your kettle! That's a literal interpretation of "hard boiled."

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