Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction

Hannu_largeIt’s hard to even begin to express how much of a Hannu Rajaniemi fan I am. I have reviewed his books before (here and here in English, and here and here in Bulgarian), journeying through them has always been electrifying. His fiction is a vortex where the science and strangeness of the future meet, exploding in ferris wheel fireworks of bold ideas, narrative complexity and damned good writing. It’s the kind of prose that could go into textbooks on why and how SF is the awesome thing it is (alas, no such textbooks that I know of).

Seriously. Hannu Rajaniemi is one of the few writers who balance a sound scientific background with a vivid writerly talent, expertly enough to hammer out a vision of the future that is truly alien, and yet so very relatable. It is one of the crowning feats of good SF – to make the seemingly impossible behave as though it is reasonable and, ultimately, quite plausible. The miracles of fantasy and SF lure readers with their desirability, even when they are terrifying. The gap between how much we want those miracles and how impossible it is to have them is by now something we as readers are comfortable with (should we really be?). But Rajaniemi’s fiction imbues the genre with a brand new strain of cognitive dissonance: yes, you can have those miracles! Maybe not literally, but you can certainly understand them rationally, you only need to pay attention. Often enough, you don’t even need to have read academic papers in the relevant subjects! Continue reading

GRANTA България, бр. 1: “Бъдеще?”

Before the review itself, apologies to the non-Bulgarian speakers who might be reading the blog. Mybiochemicalsky is and will be written primarily in English, but the urge to write about Bulgarian literature as well is simply too strong. Hence this separate rubric, which I hope to have the energy and occasion to populate slowly.

Когато преди няколко месеца научих, че GRANTA, литературно списание-еталон на над 120 години, ще се сдобие и с българско издание, се зарадвах много. Още повече се зарадвах, като разбрах темата на първия брой – “Бъдеще?”. Даже обмислях да се пробвам със собствена проза, но не би, останах си с обмислянето. Българският пазар се нуждае отчаяно от качествена периодика. Дори само едно списание, излизащо два пъти в годината, е силна стъпка за литературната ни реалност, в която да си писател е почти като да тръгнеш да бориш мелници. От повече от месец дебютният брой на GRANTA България вече се намира по българските книжарници, а аз най-сетне успях да го прочета през последните няколко дни.

Най-общите ми впечатления са, че българската GRANTA тръгва добре, но можеше и още по-добре. Continue reading