Fafnir 3/2014

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research 3/2014

Jyrki Korpua, Hanna-Riikka Roine & Päivi Väätänen:
Editorial 3/2014

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Nicholas Wanberg:
“Noble and Beautiful” –
Universal Human Aesthetics in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia

Abstract: C. S. Lewis believed that the best Christian writing should not aim to be original but should rather focus on borrowing and adapting from previous works. Unsurprisingly, Lewis’s most popular work, The Chronicles of Narnia, shows the influence of a wide variety of sources. Beyond the better known mythological and Christian influences, the series also draws from Rider Haggard’s works and the Lost World genre more generally. Many of these influences have led to accusations of racism against the works. To better understand such claims, this paper seeks to analyze one of the key elements fueling to such accusations, namely beliefs about human and humanoid aesthetics, which have historically taken on racist implications. In The Chronicles of Narnia, the narrator and characters alike treat questions of personal aesthetics as being objective assessments, and skin tone is shown playing a significant part in these judgments, with a certain variety of “fair” skin being ideal and deviations from this norm, whether becoming too red, too pale, too blue or too dark, being treated as unattractive. Aspects of the inner nature of characters is also frequently treated as being externally visible, and there is a strong, albeit imperfect, correlation between physical attractiveness and individual moral standing. Understanding these themes can lead to a better understanding of Lewis’s works and serve as a warning for contemporary writers on the dangers of adopting themes uncritically.

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Iris Gassenbauer:
Into the Woods. Getting Lost and Meeting Witches.

Abstract: The article examines different aspects of woods in fantasy as well as horror literature and aims to discuss the main functions of forests, also considering their traditional purposes in the realms of folktales. As the settings of supernatural, forests are closely linked to the genres of fantasy and horror. Because they lack man-made structures, they have potential for disorder, and this leads characters acting inside the forests into lostness and abandonment from every civilized system. The state of confusing spatial organisation helps the unknown Other to emerge, while courts, villages or other human residential areas can be juxtaposed with the wilderness of the forest. As folktale forests are typically settings of the supernatural, forests have traditionally been places of mythical adventures. When entering the woods, a hero-to-be begins the journey of his or her personal development and hero-shaping, as he or she faces the peculiar personages of the forest and fights his or her way through the manifold challenges. In addition to their function as settings where the Other emerges, forests also form isolated systems where the locus amoenus as well as the locus terribilis can be found.

Keywords: forests, locus terribilis, adventures, human lostness, nature-space

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Hanna Samola & Hanna-Riikka Roine:
Discussions of Genre Interpretations in Johanna Sinisalo’s Auringon ydin and Finnish Weird

Abstract: What would our life be like in the Eusistocratian Republic of Finland, the speculative society where the citizens have been domesticated by means of selective breeding? What would it be like to be a woman who does not meet the requirements and norms of the accepted female behaviour in this society? Finnish writer Johanna Sinisalo’s (b. 1958) latest novel Auringon ydin (2013, “The Core of the Sun”) invites its reader to ponder these questions. Among the questions that the reader is presumably asking is the question of the novel’s genre. In this essay, we discuss the possible genre interpretations of the novel in relation to speculative and science fictional background.

Keywords: speculative fiction, Finnish weird, genre, interpretation, Johanna Sinisalo

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Liisa Rantalaiho:
A Book review: Sanna Lehtonen — Girls Transforming. Invisibility and Age-Shifting in Children’s Fantasy Fiction Since the 1970s.

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Sanna Lehtonen:
A Book review: Brian Attebery – Stories about Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth

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