2022 Tähtifantasia Award

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has announced the winner of the 2022 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year.

  • Susanna Clarke: Piranesi; Translated into Finnish by Helene Bützow. Published by WSOY

From the citation, via Google Translate:

A man called Piranes lives in an endless maze consisting of large halls and staircases. There are statues in the halls, clouds and stars can be seen from the upper floors of the building, there is water at the bottom. The man seems to have lost his memory and is at the mercy of the tides, as well as other forces of nature.

The main character is a prisoner, a scientist and an explorer of his own kind. His world may contain ancient secrets. Piranes’ only interlocutor is the Second, mysterious man, from whom he receives the task to complete. However, Piranesi questions the meaningfulness of the task assigned to him. For another, the world is a labyrinth, but Piranesi calls it a House that is beautiful and gentle on its inhabitants.

The Piranesi novel is original and surprising, beautiful and fascinating. The concise work serves as an exciting mystery, a poetically depicted fantasy journey, as well as a philosophical reflection. The skillfully paced narrative keeps the reader in its grip and gradually opens up the riddle. The author creates a rich overview of his world that expands in the reader’s mind. The positivity and sincerity of the main character contrast with the peculiarity of his situation and partly the terrible events.

Susanna Clarke’s novel is a work of art that does not empty into a single interpretation. It tells about illness and recovery, memory and identity, the search for knowledge, the joy of loneliness and longing for other people. Piranesi shows how, in seemingly impossible situations, you can find peace of mind in small things. On the other hand, the message of the book does not encourage romantic fantasies. The main character’s means of survival include logical reasoning, organizing everyday life and tactile doing.

At the center of the novel are the psychology of the title character, as well as the infinity, enigma and beauty of the House, that is, reality. The book challenges you to reflect on the relationship with the world and how to escape from it. In the novel, magic is used as a science degenerated into a mere technique. Instead of revealing the wonder of the universe, it is a tool for the pursuit of power. Piranesi values its environment for its own sake, while for others it is for exploitation. Clarke refers to a society in which people have forgotten their share of the bigger picture and focus on petty exploits. The book hints that when looking for a secret, you should pay attention to openness and listening. Care and compassion are the keys to the world.

Larger than its size, Piranesi will remain in the reader’s mind. It is a Borges-like puzzle in the style of Mervyn Peake. A fiction about our strange and wonderful reality and being human.

The award jury is composed of critics Jukka Halme, and Aleksi Kuutio, Risingshadow.net  representative Osmo Määttä, and book blogger Niina Tolonen.

2022 Tähtifantasia Award Shortlist

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has chosen the nominees for the 2022 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year.

The award jury is composed of critics Jukka Halme, Aleksi Kuutio of Risingshadow.net, and Niina Tolonen, a book blogger.

  • Susanna Clarke: Piranesi (WSOY, translated into Finnish by Helene Bützow)
  • N. K. Jemisin: Viides vuodenaika [The Fifth Season] (Jalava, translated into Finnish by Mika Kivimäki)
  • TJ Klune: Talo taivaansinisellä merellä [The House in the Cerulean Sea] (Karisto, translated into Finnish by Mika Kivimäki)
  • Madeline Miller: Kirke [Circe] (WSOY, translated into Finnish by Irmeli Ruuska)
  • Siri Pettersen: Rautasusi [Iron Wolf in Estonian] (Jalava, translated into Finnish by Eeva-Liisa Nyqvist)

2021 Tähtifantasia Award

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has announced the winner of the 2021 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year.

  • Margaret RogersonKirjojen tytär [Sorcery of Thorns]; Translated into Finnish by Mika Kivimäki. Published by Karisto.

From the citation, via Google Translate:

The events of Margaret Rogerson’s novel The Daughter of Books (Sorcery of Thorns, 2019) take place in an alternative 19th century. Elisabeth Scrivener, 16, has grown up in the Great Library, where she has been raised to be a book keeper. The library contains demonological books with their own consciousness. A loose spell book is dangerous and can turn into a demon, or malefic. Elisabeth manages to destroy the runaway malefic, but ends up being wrongly charged with the murder of a senior librarian.

Inexperienced but tenacious, Elisabeth has to fight a network of intrigues that threatens the whole world. As his allies, he gets an enigmatic young wizard, Nathaniel Thorn, and his demon servant Silas.

The daughter of the books is an immersive adventure fantasy with an emotional connection to the personal characters. The narration is carried by a witty humorous dialogue, a natural romantic spark, an interesting world building and a non-stop pace.

Rogerson’s Gas Lantern Fantasy is a novel for young adults with no upper age limit. It is shamelessly entertaining and draws on the tradition of adventure books, but is a modern work aimed at today’s reader.

The daughter of the books talks about the struggle between good and evil and the importance of selflessness and unyieldingness. People who seem to have little in common can find each other. As important as the struggle for justice is overcoming one’s own prejudices.

The author has created a fresh combination of ingredients found to be good. Rogerson describes interestingly what price people are willing to pay for magic and what is ultimately important in life. Mika Kivimäki’s Finnish translation is of uniform quality.

The award has been presented for 15 years. Previously, only fantasy books translated into Finnish were considered but this year for the first time novels originally written in Finnish also were eligible, and the winner is one of those works.

The award jury is composed of critics Jukka Halme, and Aleksi Kuutio, Risingshadow.net representative Osmo Määttä, and book blogger Niina Tolonen.

2021 Tähtifantasia Award Shortlist

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has chosen the nominees for the 2020 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year.

The award jury is composed of critics Jukka Halme, Aleksi Kuutio of Risingshadow.net, and Niina Tolonen, a book blogger.

  • Dino BuzzatiNoiduttu takki ja muita kertomuksia [a collection of stories published in Italian] (Basam Books, Translated into Finnish by Leena Rantanen)
  • Ta-Nehisi CoatesVesitanssija [The Water Dancer] (Tammi, Translated into Finnish by Einari Aaltonen)
  • Heikki KännöRunoilija (Sammakko)
  • Margaret RogersonKirjojen tytär [Sorcery of Thorns](Karisto, translated into Finnish by Mika Kivimäki)
  • M. G. SoikkeliNeljän miekan tanssi (Vaskikirjat)

2020 Tähtifantasia Award

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has announced the winner of the 2020 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year.

The award has been presented for 14 years. Previously, only fantasy books translated into Finnish were considered but this year for the first time novels originally written in Finnish also were eligible, and the winner is one of those works.

  • Juhani KarilaPienen hauen pyydystys (Siltala)

From the citation, via Google Translate:

Catching a little pike is an absurd adventure, a development story and a love story that elegantly combines realistic storytelling and fantasy. Juhani Karila’s modern Lapland marsh, forest and village landscape is filled with mystical creatures, but they are treated like any other everyday phenomenon. Karila does not explain why or how the creatures of northern mythology have returned to the other side of the Arctic Circle, but sucks the reader directly into the middle of the events.

…Along with the joyfully advancing story, Karila makes accurate observations of the way the world is going and creates a picture of human life as part of a larger whole. Catching a small pike also describes the human – often negative – impact on its environment.

The book is a touching description of human choices, love, rejection, the difficulty of self-acceptance, and forgiveness. With the help of her two different protagonists, Karila successfully rhythms her text, ranging from more humorous to more thoughtful or sad. Karila’s ability to change mood and style from one chapter to another can only be admired.

The award jury is composed of critics Jukka Halme and Aleksi Kuutio, and Osmo Määttä of Risingshadow.net.

2020 Tähtifantasia Award Shortlist

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has chosen the nominees for the 2020 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year. This year, for the first time, Finnish works are also included in addition to fantasy books translated into Finnish.

The award jury is composed of critics Jukka Halme and Aleksi Kuutio, and Osmo Määttä of Risingshadow.net.

  • Katri AlataloIkuisesti, siskoni (Gummerus)
  • Neil GaimanPohjoisen mytologia [Norse Mythology] (Like, translated to Finnish by Jouko Ruokosenmäki)
  • Karoliina HeinolaHitonhauta ja muita puolielävien kohtaloita (Aarni)
  • Juhani KarilaPienen hauen pyydystys (Siltala)
  • V. E. SchwabMagian syvempi sävy [A Darker Shade of Magic] (Karisto, translated to Finnish by Mika Kivimäki)

2019 Tähtifantasia Award Shortlist

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has announced the nominees for the 2019 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best translated fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year.

The award jury is composed of critics Jukka Halme and Aleksi Kuutio, author and publisher Anne Leinonen, and Osmo Määttä of Risingshadow.net.

  • Matt Haig: Kuinka aika pysäytetään [How to Stop Time] (Aula & Co, translated to Finnish by Sarianna Silvonen)
  • Robin Hobb: Narrin salamurhaaja [Fool’s Assassin] (Otava, translated to Finnish by Ilkka Rekiaro)
  • Shirley Jackson: Linna on aina ollut kotimme [We Have Always Lived in the Castle] (Fabriikki Kustannus, translated to Finnish by Laura Vesanto)
  • Samanta Schweblin: Houreuni [Fever Dream] (Like, translated to Finnish by Einari Aaltonen)
  • T. H. White: Muinainen ja tuleva kuningas [The Once and Future King] (Vaskikirjat, translated to Finnish by Pekka Tuomisto)

2018 Tähtifantasia Award

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society announced the winner of the 2018 Tähtifantasia Award at Finncon 2018 in Turku. The award is given for the best translated fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year.

  • David Mitchell: Luukellot [The Bone Clocks] (Sammakko, Translated to Finnish by Einari Aaltonen)

The award jury is composed of critics Jukka Halme and Aleksi Kuutio, author and publisher Anne Leinonen, and Osmo Määttä of Risingshadow.net.

Jukka Halme said, “The jury commended the book’s handling of the themes of time, and the worth of eternal life, and how it tackles changes in society and consequences of climate change, yet is also an entertaining read. The Finnish translation gets a special mention from the jury.”

[Thanks to Jukka Halme for the story.]

2018 Tähtifantasia Award Shortlist

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has announced the nominees for the 2018 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best translated fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year.

  • Eka Kurniawan: Kauneus on kirous [Beauty Is A Wound] (Gummerus, Translated to Finnish by Jaana Kapari-Jatta)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: Ikuisen hämärän maa [The Beginning Place] (Vaskikirjat, Translated to Finnish by Jyrki Iivonen)
  • Andri Snær Magnason: Aika-arkku [Tímakistan]  (Aula & Co, Translated from the original Icelandic “The Time Casket” to Finnish by Tapio Koivukari)
  • David Mitchell: Luukellot [The Bone Clocks] (Sammakko, Translated to Finnish by Einari Aaltonen)
  • Brandon Sanderson: Viimeinen valtakunta [Mistborn: The Final Empire] (Jalava, Translated to Finnish by Mika Kivimäki)

The award jury is composed of critics Jukka Halme and Aleksi Kuutio, author and publisher Anne Leinonen, and Osmo Määttä of Risingshadow.net.

[Thanks to Jukka Halme for the story.]

2017 Tähtifantasia Award

The 2017 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best translated fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year, was presented at Worldcon 75 on August 10.

The winner is:

  • Kazuo Ishiguro: Haudattu jättiläinen [The Buried Giant] (Tammi, suom. Helene Bützov)

Translator Helene Bützow accepted the prize.

The award jury was composed of critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, author and publisher Anne Leinonen, and fantasy reporter, Osmo Määttä, representative of Risingshadow.net.

Translator Helene Bützow