Heikki Nevala (b. 1982) is a writer from South Ostrobothnia, now living in the city of Oulu. His short stories have been widely published in various magazines and anthologies and he has risen to the ranks of Finland’s speculative fiction elite. In 2010 he won the Atorox prize with a short story which also gained first place in a writing competition organized by Portti Magazine in 2009. Atorox is awarded in Finland annually, to the preceding year’s best debut short story in the genre of science fiction or fantasy. The doubly awarded short story: Koneesta sinä olet syntyvä (“You Are Born of Machine“) is included in the Scars collection which is Nevala’s first published work. It also includes the short stories Orson Shaneyn kasvot (“Orson Shaney’s Face“ , 2005) and Kauhun kaksi huonetta (“The Two Rooms of Horror’“, 2006).
By formal education Nevala is a Master of Computer Science and Information Systems. At the moment he works as a freelancer and studies to be an optometrist at Oulu University of Applied Sciences. In addition to literature he is interested in good and very bad movies, fine arts and heavy metal music. He has started to write his first science fiction novel. Among those writers who inspire him he mentions H. P. Lovecraft and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Nevala has started to write his first novel.
The horror elements of the short stories are all original and fresh so that the reader never knows what to expect. (…) With these talents you would expect a novel as well.
– Portti Magazine
The predominant features of the short stories are strangeness, horror, science fiction and humour. The world is often viewed from a surprising perspective. (…) Nevala has many original ideas – and now and then the short stories display positively cryptic features. The reader is not allowed to get off easily, which is entirely positive.
– Jussi K. Niemelä, Tähtivaeltaja
You Are Born of Machine is a considered and polished entity which draws the reader into it. (…) Each scene moves the story forward, reveals something new about the world or individual. (…) The narrative is pleasantly relaxed at first. Towards the end the pace picks up but the style and atmosphere remain uniform until the final stage.
– Timo M. Netticolosseum
[The Two Rooms of Horror is] a chilling and effective horror story about choices in life and alternative destinies, focusing on a room between two realities. Two ideas central to science fiction have been combined in a creative way resulting in a new art of writing short stories.
– The jury of the Nova 2006 Short Story Writing Competition
Scars is a rich and diverse collection of short stories which form a text mosaic that challenges literary genres. Nevala moves dexterously between science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy and magic realism. The contexts of his stories range from the USA mid-west to the Finnish heartland, from the Arab world to Japan, from the distant past to the unspecified future.
In Nevala’s short stories the truth is revealed by a cruel overarching light. He does not write about technology but about people caught up in the midst of technology and the incomprehensible, where birth and death both leave their scars. The stories observe the dark, threatening and unspoken aspects of everyday and familiar phenomena such as love, friendship and sexuality revealing people’s endless quest for power over one another. The inevitable consequences of these are themes of guilt and deception.
Nevala has received praise for the intense atmosphere of his short stories. Their shock value also lies in their insidious psychological horror which occasionally reaches graphically violent proportions. Nevala also makes clever use of intertextuality, especially the Bible, which is an inexhaustible dark source for his stories. Heikki Nevala writes unique science fiction of an international standard; scar tissue which remains to nag away you.
Original name: Arvet
Publisher: turbator 2010
Softcover 130 x 210 mm
Cover design: Grilchman Comp 2010