Hannu flanked by Tachyon project editor Rachel Fagundes and book designer Elizabeth Story. (Photo by Jill Roberts)
From OPEN BOOK SOCIETY:
From the opening salvoes of “Dues Ex Homine,” through the sensually virtual war “The Server and the Dragon,” through a quantum ride through the painful “Ghost Dogs,’ to the innovative neuro-fiction of “Snow White is Dead” and the snippets and sundries in “Unused Tomorrows and Other Adventures” the writing in Collected Fiction is stellar – an easy slide through the expanding vistas of Hannu’s unique brand of science fiction.
It’s very visceral worlds that Rajaniemi constructs, carefully and deftly; weaving in and out of the psychedelic atmosphere of a Phillip K. Dick piece. His style is the mark of true professionalism, both to the word and what it conveys. Word economy appears to be loose until the end of a story when you realize everything had its place in the end. This is a rare treat in the many authors I’ve had the pleasure (and occasional displease) of reading. The hard science fiction element and the science fantasy is smoothed over and dictated to the reader such an elegant fashion that even non-science fiction fans can pick up and read easily.
Rajaniemi’s command of the English language is commendable and the words flow like gossamer fabric across the page. The reader enters a trance like state causing suspension of disbelief and immersion into a whole new way of experiencing science fiction. In fact, the hard science is often conveyed so subtly that it almost whizzes past you. Stories with both grace and elegance adorn these pages, and the pounding pulse of the prose keeps the reader turning the pages.
The first thing I will say about the book is that it has something for everyone. Hannu is extremely creative and has a ton of great ideas. As such, the book is filled with a plethora of stories from every kind of sci-fi, some fantasy, and even things like horror and historical fiction. I found myself excited for my next train ride to find out what tale I would get to next and how I would like it on the spectrum of things. There were stories about ghost astronauts, dragons who are bffs with computer servers, cyber gods, a voodoo identity crisis, magical fish, cyber plagues, transdimensional dogs, histories of planets, and much more.
On that note, I found the stories to be of varying levels of enjoyment. However, I found that my enjoyment of the tales very often had to do with my taste, as the stories that I liked less were simply about subjects that I did not find interesting. Additionally, there were only a few stories I did not like. For the most part my feelings of the stories ranged from good to great. Hannu seemed to do very well in a short story medium, packing tons of excitement and emotions into quick reads. The tales all felt like they fit the short fiction medium, and the works felt like they had the impact of larger novels despite their small size. The writing was clean and the prose was good; showcasing worlds, science, and magic from tons of stories to a dazzling effect.
If you want to dream of other worlds and scientific marvels, and want to do it in bite size pieces, I highly recommend checking out Hannu Rajaniemi’s Collected Fiction.
I decided to limit myself to one book and, oddly enough, despite the rare opportunities to get autographs from some of my favorite authors, the title I couldn’t resist was Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction, from an author who wasn’t even in attendance. It’s a beautiful limited edition hardcover from Tacyhon Publications. I’d heard rumors it was almost sold out, and when I saw Greg [Ketter] had a single copy, I snatched it up.
(Poorly translated from Russian by Google)
And finally we made a collection of 19 of his short stories, ranging from the very old items by type and Deus Ex Homine to fresh products (Invisible Planets). It turned out well on the whole.
If you are fed up with stories of Jean le Flambera and want to read something else from Rayaniemi, this collection – a great option. Here are all the stories that the author wrote for his career, plus several previously unpublished and not seen on the network. Here and “bogochuma”, which changes the body and mind, and the media turns people into gods (Deus Ex Homine); Tyche and the Ants, so his posthuman fairy tale for children about a little girl overcome various challenges against the backdrop of the fantastic lunar landscape, etc.
All said, this is one of my absolute favorite short story collections, and by far and away I was catching a lot of flies. I heartily recommend for every die-hard sci-fi fan and/or modernized fairy-tale consumer. The fanboy has spoken.
For more info on HANNU RAJANIEMI: COLLECTED FICTION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Lius Lasahido
Design by Elizabeth Story