Last April (11-16), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer were flown out to Finland to participate in Vandercon. A seven day, countrywide event spanning from Jyväskylä to Helinski, Vandercon was not to be only a celebration of the couples work, but to also be a cultural exchange for Finnish SF/F literature, which was made possible by a FILI (Finnish Literature Exchange) grant. While there, Ann and Jeff met a myriad of talented writers, discovered Floridian hockey is alive and well, and discovered that Finland is a veritable hotbed for Weird fiction (so much, that Ann, editor of the Hugo Award winning Weird Tales, unexpectedly purchased a short story from a workshop, which she writes about on the Weird Tales site here).
Smitten with Finland, the VanderMeers have spent the past month accounting for their trip in a series of videos, interviews, and profiles of the writers they met, all of which are better than any souvenir for those interested in International Weird literature.
Also, the VanderMeers will be publishing some of the Weird fiction they found overseas with their Cheeky Frawg e-book imprint.
“… Jukka Halme and Tero Ykspetäjä,” writes VanderMeer on his blog, Ecstatic Days, “have agreed to co-edit It Came From the North: A Finnish Fantasy Sampler for Cheeky Frawg. The first volume of this planned series will debut in November. Other (potentially exciting) developments involving cross-cultural exchange and further translations are too nascent to talk about at this time.”
This is a very neat thing. When we travel abroad, we strive very hard to bring back a part of that experience with us and to our friends, be it through photos or souvenir-shop trinkets, but the VanderMeers have gone above and beyond capturing their unique experience, and fortunately for us, are willing to share and exchange with the U.S. SF/F community what will inevitably be a stimulating cadre of fresh ideas and books from Finland. To find out more, Jeff VanderMeer has cataloged all the various links into one post, and you can begin your own voyage through Finnish SF/F literature here.