Spin magazine of the Turku Science Fiction Society is published for Worldcon in two parts. Issue A focuses on articles, while issue B is devoted to short stories. The magazine you’ve got in your hands is the short story special, containing two short stories which placed high in the Atorox competition.
Atorox Award is a short story award granted by the Turku Science Fiction Society, given to a SF short story which has been published for the first time in the previous year. In addition to the stories, this special contains a more in-depth introduction of the Atorox Award, the voting system, and its meaning for the Finnish fandom and SF.
Maiju Ihalainen won the award for best Finnish SF short story in 2017 with her story The Temple of Heavenly Tears (“Itkevän taivaan temppeli”). The short story is loosely based on a Japanese myth. The story is a beautiful and wistful tale of a young woman who finds out to her disappointment that the world is not quite how she imagined it.
Aleksi Kuutio placed second with his short story The Knotmaker (“Solmuntekijä”). It’s a story about two women whose life is changed by a chance meeting at the marketplace, when they run into a man who can make miraculous knots.
Both short stories are in their own ways representative of the art of the Finnish SF short story. Ihalainen’s story is an example of Finnish writers taking inspiration from different cultures and folk tales.
On the other hand, Kuutio’s story represents fantasy inspired by an ancient Finnish environment, but takes plenty of liberties with it. Typically for current Finnish short stories, both stories are bittersweet and lingering, focusing on building the atmosphere.
Atorox short stories have been published in English before, for example The Horse Shoe Nail by Mari Saario (Spin English Special 2/2011). However, this is the first time the top two short stories have been translated into English before the award ceremony. In this way, readers who don’t speak Finnish will be able to get acquainted with the Atorox winners right away.
Spin has a long tradition of publishing short stories. Usually Spin doesn’t publish Atorox stories, since the award is granted to short stories which have already been published somewhere else. Spin primarily publishes short stories which have placed in the Nova short story competition. Through the competition, Spin offers many writers a platform for publication, and often these stories have later done well at Atorox. For instance, Kuutio’s Solmuntekijä won the Nova competition in 2015.
The cover art was made by Anna Mattila (sketch and line art) and Juhani Mönkkönen (colouring), inspired by Kuutio’s short story. The same cover is also featured in the Nova 2015 anthology, which compiles the ten best short stories in the Nova 2015 competition.
Spin is proud to do its part to make Finnish SF accessible to the English-speaking readership. A special thanks goes to our translators, Suvi Kauppila and Aino Halme, who devoted a lot of time and effort to translating the stories. We hope you enjoy the results!
Translation by Suvi Kauppila