Scandinavian Speculative Fiction Writers Leena Krohn and Karin Tidbeck Translated into English

Leena Krohn (born February 28, 1947 in Helsinki) is one of the most respected Finnish writers of her generation. In her large body of work for adults and children, Krohn deals with issues related to the boundary between reality and illusion, artificial intelligence, and issues of morality and conscience.

Her large and varied body of work includes novels, short stories, children’s books, and essays. In her books she deals with topics that include man’s relationship with himself and the world, morality, borders between reality and illusion, and the problem of life, especially through observing different kinds of artificial intelligence. Krohn is an activist in the Finnish 911-Truth movement.

Leena Krohn has received several prizes, including the Finlandia Prize for literature in 1992. Her short novel Tainaron: Mail From Another City was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and International Horror Guild Award in 2005. Her books have been translated into English, German, Bulgarian, Estonian, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish and Italian. Leena Krohn used the Internet in her literary work as early as mid-1990s. Her sister, Inari Krohn, is a graphic artist. Leena Krohn was born and lives in Helsinki.

Krohn’s work has been likened to Ursula LeGuin’s, though often it is more reminiscent of Calvino, Borges, and Lem, layered in with foreboding bits of Lovecraft. Not exactly science fiction, not exactly fantasy, but some hybrid of those genres blended with literary fiction, Krohn’s tales often involve the exploration of consciousness both human and animal—and, at times, that of machines—against myth-tinged backgrounds…” – Kirkus Review

From cities of giant insects to a mysterious woman claiming to be the female Don Quixote, Leena Krohn’s fiction has fascinated and intrigued readers for over forty years. Within these covers you will discover a pelican that can talk and a city of gold. You will find yourself exploring a future of intelligence both artificial and biotech, along with a mysterious plant that induces strange visions. Krohn writes eloquently, passionately, about the nature of reality, the nature of Nature, and what it means to be human. One of Finland’s most iconic writers, translated into many languages, and winner of the prestigious Finlandia Prize, Krohn has had an incredibly distinguished career. Collected Fiction provides readers with a rich, thick omnibus of the best of her work—including novels, novellas, and short stories. Appreciations of Krohn’s work are also included. For readers of Ursula K. Le Guin, Milan Kundera, Virginia Woolf, Tove Jansson, and Italo Calvino.”

“Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have done wonders for the availability of contemporary Finnish writing in English with their Cheeky Frawg press, and in December they will release their greatest book yet: Collected Fiction by Leena Krohn. [Now available via Amazon and Book Depository.]” – Matthew Cheney

Leena Krohn: The Collected Fiction (Cheeky Frawg Press)

The table of contents:

Foreword by Jeff VanderMeer

Part 1: Complete Novels and Novellas

DOÑA QUIXOTE AND OTHER CITIZENS (1983) translated by Hildi Hawkins

TAINARON: MAIL FROM ANOTHER CITY (1985) – translated by Hildi Hawkins

GOLD OF OPHIR (1987) translated by Hildi Hawkins

PEREAT MUNDUS: A NOVEL OF SORTS (1998) translated by Hildi Hawkins

DATURA, OR A FIGMENT SEEN BY EVERYONE (2001) translated by Anna Volmari & J. Robert Tupasela

THE PELICAN’S NEW CLOTHES (Children’s fiction) (1976) translated by Bethany Fox

Part 2: Short Stories & Excerpts from Longer Works

A selection from UMBRA (1990): “The Paradox Archive” – translation by Hildi Hawkins

Three from MATHEMATICAL CREATURES, OR SHARED DREAMS (1992): “Gorgonoids,” translated by Hildi Hawkins; “The Lord of My Death” and “Lucilia Illustris” translated by Viivi Hyvonen

A selection from DREAMDEATH (2004): “To Sleep, to Die,” “Fear of the Dark” and “Fit and Unfit for Death” translated by Hildi Hawkins

A selection from THE BEE PAVILION (2006): “Really Existing,” “So Sorry,” and “The Three Buddhas” translated by Anselm Hollo

Four from FALSE WINDOW (2009): “The Divider,” “Picture Book,” “Filemon or the Wooden Man,” and “The Queen of the Night and Other Strangers” translated by Leena Likitalo

A selection from HOTEL SAPIENS (2012): “Me and My Shadow” translated by Hildi Hawkins

The short story FINAL APPEARANCE (2014) translated by Eva Buchwald


“On Tainaron” by Matthew Cheney (essay)

“Change and Transformation in Tainaron” by Desirina Boskovich (essay)

“The Robot and the Ant: The Tales of Leena Krohn (The First Thirty Years: 1970 to 2001) (essay/appreciation) by Minna Jerrman, translated by J. Robert Tupesela (first appearance in English)

Afterword and poem “Would I Believe My Eyes” by Leena Krohn, translated by Hildi Hawkins and Bethany Fox

“The American Cheeky Frawg Books is a joint production of Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.

Cheeky Frawg specializes in quality, self-aware e-books. Every e-book is hand-crafted on a letterpress using only the best, most perfectly formed 00000s and 111111s. The e-binding is hand-rolled by former Cuban cigar makers, our interiors are lovingly formatted by Neil Clarke, and our covers, unique back covers, and wallpapers are designed by the Las Vegas Madman, artist Jeremy Zerfoss.” 

“One of the classics of twentieth century fantasy, from an iconic Finnish writer. The reports back from a strange and fascinating city called Tainaron, complete with talking insects and an unnamed narrator who is far from home.

Lena Kroon’s short novel Tainaron: Mail from Another City was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and International Horror Guild Award in 2005. Tainaron shares some affinities with the work of Kafka, while being utterly original. Each section of the novel illuminates the next, with the weird element serving both as strange adventure and parallel to the real world. It is one of the most important works of post-World War II dark fantasy.

…her elegiac linguistic melodies enthrall the mind’s ear, evoking as well bittersweet intimations of immortality more lovely, dangerous and disturbing than any realistic voice might utter.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

… reads not so much as New Weird but as an unclassifiable wonder, escaping definitions and sub-genres both old and new.” – The Internet Review of Science Fiction

Tainaron is a fascinating little book and a welcome introduction to a fine writer.”- Emerald City

… shows Krohn at the height of her powers. Her use of language is transparent, cool, reserved even, leaving the reader the necessary space for personal reflection and interpretation.” –Fili: Finish Literature Exchange

The novel contains scenes of startling beauty and strangeness that change how the reader sees the world. Krohn effortlessly melds the literal with the metaphorical, so that the narrator’s exploration of the city through its inhabitants encompasses both the speculation of science fiction and the resonant symbolism of the surreal.”- Locus

Leena Krohn has, with a slim volume of thirty letters written from an imaginary city of insects, given us a lens of words through which to consider reality, a microscope to reveal yearning and wonder, a telescope to look for what it means to be human, a window and a mirror and an eye other than our own.”  – Matthew Cheney (from his afterword)”

Shadows of Kafka and Strindberg are infused with Krohn’s love of her fragile characters…Aficionados of the surreal will find this a contemporary masterwork.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred review)

“Datura is luminous–at once a secret history of losers, dreamers, and quacks, and a lyrical argument on the nature of reality. I thoroughly enjoyed it.” – Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria

Our narrator works as an editor and writer for a magazine specializing in bringing oddities to light, a job that sends her exploring through a city that becomes by degrees ever less familiar. From a sunrise of automated cars working in silent precision to a possible vampire, she discovers that reality may not be as logical as you think—and that people are both odder and more ordinary as they might seem. Especially if you’re eating datura seeds. Especially when the legendary Voynich Manuscript is involved. Where will it all end? Pushed by the mysterious owner of the magazine, our narrator may wind up somewhere very strange indeed.

From the author of Tainaron, a World Fantasy Award finalist. Krohn is one of the most respected Finnish writers of her generation. Translated by Anna Volmari and Juha Tupasela.

“JAGANNATH” by KARIN TIDBECK (Sweden); Cheeky Frawg Books
Introduction by Elizabeth Hand
Afterword by the author

Karin Margareta Steen Tidbeck (born 6 April 1977) is a Swedish author of fantasy and weird fiction. She lives in Malmö and, in addition to her writing, works for a writers’ organization and as a creative writing instructor. Tidbeck debuted with the short story collection “Vem är Arvid Pekon?” (Who is Arvid Pekon?) in 2010, followed by the novel “Amatka” in 2012. Her first work in English, the short story collection “Jagannath“, was published in 2012 by Cheeky Frawg to favorable reviews, with Gary K. Wolfe describing Tidbeck as “one of the most distinctive new voices in short fiction since Margo Lanagan“. The collection made the shortlist for the 2012 James Tiptree, Jr. Award and was nominated for the World Fantasy Award. The short story “Augusta Prima“, originally written in Swedish, was translated into English by Tidbeck who won a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award (2013) in the Short Form category.

I have never read anything like Jagannath. Karin Tidbeck’s imagination is recognizably Nordic, but otherwise unclassifiable–quietly, intelligently, unutterably strange. And various. And ominous. And funny. And mysteriously tender. These are wonderful stories.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

Restrained and vivid, poised and strange, Tidbeck, with her impossible harmonies, is a vital voice.” – China Miéville

Enter the strange and wonderful world of Swedish sensation Karin Tidbeck with this feast of darkly fantastical stories. Whether through the falsified historical record of the uniquely weird Swedish creature known as the “Pyret” or the title story, “Jagannath,” about a biological ark in the far future, Tidbeck’s unique imagination will enthrall, amuse, and unsettle you. How else to describe a collection that includes “Cloudberry Jam,” a story that opens with the line “I made you in a tin can”? Marvels, quirky character studies, and outright surreal monstrosities await you in what is likely to be one of the most talked-about short story collections of the year.

Tidbeck is a rising star in her native country, having published a collection there in Swedish, won a prestigious literary grant, and just sold her first novel to Sweden’s largest publisher. A graduate of the iconic Clarion Writer’s Workshop at the University of California, San Diego, in 2010, her publication history includes Weird Tales, Shimmer Magazine, Unstuck Annual and the anthology Odd.

In these wonderful, subtle stories, magic arrives quietly. It comes from the forests or the earth or was always there in your own family or maybe exists in another realm entirely…leaving you slightly dazed and more than a little enchanted.” – Karen Joy Fowler

Jagannath heralds the arrival of a bold and brilliant new voice, which I see too few of these days. You must read Karin Tidbeck.” – Caitlín R. Kiernan

In Karin Tidbeck’s collection Jagannath, the mundane becomes strange and the strange familiar with near-Hitchcockian subtlety. I loved Tidbeck’s clean, classic prose. It creates beautifully eerie music for a twilight domain.” – Karen Lord

I can’t think of when I last read a collection that blew me away the way that Jagannath has, or one that’s left me somewhat at a loss to describe just how strange and beautiful and haunting these tales are.” – Elizabeth Hand (from her introduction)

It Came From the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction“, edited by Desirina Boskovich (Cheeky Frawg Books)

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.

Table of Contents :

  1. “Hairball” by Carita Forsgren (trans. by Anna Volmari and J. Robert Tupasela)
  2. “The Horseshoe Nail” by Mari Saario (trans. by Liisa Rantalaiho)
  3. “Not Before Sundown” (excerpt) by Johanna Sinisalo (trans. by Herbert Lomas)
  4. “Elegy for a Young Elk” by Hannu Rajaniemi
  5. “White Threads” by Anne Leinonen (trans. by Liisa Rantalaiho)
  6. “The Laughing Doll” by Marko Hautala (trans. by Jyri Luoma)
  7. “Delina” by Maarit Verronen (trans. by Hildi Hawkins)
  8. “Chronicles of a State” by Olli Jalonen (trans. by David Hackston)
  9. “Watcher” by Leena Likitalo
  10. “The Border Incident” by Tuomas Kilpi
  11. “Ospreys” by Tiina Raevaara (trans. by David Hackston)
  12. “The Garden” by Jyrki Vainonen (trans. by Anna Volmari and J. Robert Tupasela)
  13. “The Gift Boy” by Sari Peltoniemi (trans. by Liisa Rantalaiho)
  14. “A Heart Clothed in Black”, an excerpt from “Pereat Mundus: A Novel, Sort Of” by Leena Krohn (trans. by Hildi Hawkins)
  15. “Those Were the Days” by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (trans. by Liisa Rantalaiho)


The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy, edited by Johanna Sinisalo (Dedalus Literary Fantasy Anthologies ; Dedalus)

This anthology of short stories includes a wide range of texts covering the period from nineteenth century until today. The richness and diversity of the stories reflects the long tradition of fantasy in Finnish literature, ranging from the classics to experimental literature, from satire to horror.

This is the first collection of Finnish short stories of its kind and almost all have been translated into English for the first time. It includes work by the leading Finnish authors Aino Kallas, Mika Waltari, Arto Paasilinna, Bo Carpelan, Pentti Holappa, and Leena Krohn as well as contributions by the rising stars of Finnish fiction.

A book containing the best of the younger Finnish writers, as well as a selection of writers from the 19th century. It contains work by leading Finnish writers such as Aino Kallas, Bo Carpelen, Johanna Sinisalo and Leena Krohn. The stories show the long tradition of the gothic and fantastical in Finnish literature: it’s a great introduction to the long, dark night of the Finnish imagination. More information at“. – James Doyle

The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy : Dedalus Literary Fantasy Anthologies - Johanna Sinisalo

Table of Contents

Original collection of 27 vignettes, excerpts, and short stories published in Finland between 1870 and 2003. Translated by David Hackston.

Introduction by Johanna Sinisalo

“Wolf Bride” by Aino Kallas; trans. by David Hackston · ex *; originally published in Finnish in Sudenmorsian (1928).

“The Legend of the Pale Maiden” by Aleksis Kivi; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Tarina kalveasta immestä” in Seitsemän veljestä (1870).

“Island of the Setting Sun” by Mika Waltari; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Auringonlaskun saari” in Kuolleen silmät as by “Kristian Korppi” (1926).

“The Great Yellow Storm” by Bo Carpelan; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Stormen” in Jag minns att jag drömde (1979).

“Boman” by Pentti Holappa; trans. by David Hackston · nv *; originally published in Finnish in Muodonmuutoksia (1959).

“Shopping” by  Tove Jansson; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish in Resa med lätt bagage (1987).

“Congress” by Erno Paasilinna; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Kongressi” in Alamaisen kyyneleet (1970).

“Good Heavens!” by Arto Paasilinna; trans. by David Hackston · ex *; originally published in Finnish in Herranen aika! (1980).

“The Slave Breeder” by Juhani Peltonen; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Orjien kasvattaja” in Vedenalainen melodia (1965).

“Transit” by Johanna Sinisalo; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish in Ensimmäinen yhteys (1988).

“The Monster” by Satu Waltari; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Hirviö” in Hämärän matkamiehet (1964).

“A Diseased Man” by Boris Hurtta; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Tautimies” in Portti (2001).

“Chronicles of a State” by Olli Jalonen; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Koon aikakirjat” in Värjättyä rakkautta (2003).

“A Zoo from the Heavens” by  Pasi Jääskeläinen; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Taivaalta pudonnut eläintarha” in Missä junat kääntyvät (2000).

“Datura” and “Pereat Mundus” (extracts) by Leena Krohn; trans. by David Hackston · gp *; The Lord of Sounds, ex; originally published in Finnish in Datura (2001).; The Trepanist, ex; originally published in Finnish in Datura (2001).; A Finger to the Lips, ex; originally published in Finnish in Datura (2001).; The Ice Cream Man, ex; originally published in Finnish in Pereat Mundus (1998).

“Three Prose Poems” by Markku Paasonen; trans. by David Hackston · gp *; Despilfar, vi; originally published in Finnish in Voittokulku (2001).; Punishment, vi; originally published in Finnish in Voittokulku (2001).; Final Assignment, vi; originally published in Finnish in Voittokulku (2001).

“The Golden Apple” by Sari Peltoniemi; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Kultainen omena” in Portti (2003).

“Desk” by Jouko Sirola; trans. by David Hackston · ss *; originally published in Finnish as “Kirjoituspöytä” in Käveltävä takaperin (2003).

“Blueberries” / “Explorer” by  Jyrki Vainonen; trans. by David Hackston · gp *; The Contents list reverses these dates of publication.; Blueberries, ss; originally published in Finnish as “Mustikoita” in Luutarha (2001).; Explorer, ss; originally published in Finnish as “Tutkimusmatkailija” in Tutkimusmatkailija ja muita tarinoita (1999).

“Black Train” / “Basement, Man and Wife” by Maarit Verronen; trans. by David Hackston · gp *; Black Train [, , 1996], ss; originally published in Finnish as “Musta juna” in Kulkureita ja unohtajia (1996).; Basement, Man and Wife, ss; originally published in Finnish as “Kellarimies ja vaimo” in Kulkureita ja unohtajia (1996).

Secular literature in Finnish wasn’t published until the nineteenth century. Hence, this anthology of stories first published between 1870 and 2003 is the equivalent of an English fantasy sampler ranging from Beowulf to Harry Potter, and it showcases a historical sequence of different literary manners.

The one nineteenth-century piece is a synthetic folktale, a variant of the demon-lover scenario. The early-twentieth-century stories–a werewolf tale and a Viking echo of Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner–are romantic-historical and the most sensuous things in the book. The mid-twentieth-century selections are superficially realist, regardless of fantastic premises or developments; outstanding among them is the Twilight Zone-ish “Shopping” by Tove Jansson, creator of the famous children’s book and comic-strip character Moomin. The newest, late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century stories are often surrealist and subtle, worthy peers of the English-language stories in Feeling Very Strange (2006). Nature and war are motifs of a great many stories, and wild satire informs a pungent handful. Fantasy fare of the highest literary caliber.” –  Ray Olson



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