The Intruder soundbook by Emil Petaja.
Emil Petaja (12 April 1915 – 17 August 2000) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer whose career spanned seven decades. He was the author of 13 published novels, nearly 150 short stories, numerous poems, and a handful of books and articles on various subjects. Though he wrote science fiction, fantasy, horror stories, detective fiction, and poetry, Petaja considered his work part of an older tradition of "weird fiction." Petaja was also a small press publisher. In 1995, he was named the first ever Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction Writers of America.
Of Finnish descent, Petaja's best known works are a series of science fiction novels based on the Kalevala, the Finnish verse epic. Petaja's series brought him readers from around the world, while his particular mythological approach to science fiction has been discussed in scholarly publications and included in related anthologies.
In a statement published in Contemporary Authors (Gale Research, 1984), Petaja commented, "My writing endeavors have mainly been to entertain, except for the factual material concerning Hannes Bok and fantasy art in general, which serves to indicate my enthusiasm for these subjects. My novels about the Finnish legendary epic Kalevala: The Land of Heroes spring from a lifelong interest in this fine poetic work. I own six translations of the Kalevala, as well as the work in the original. Both of my parents were Finnish."
Emil Petaja (pronounced PET-a-ya) was born on April 12, 1915 in Milltown, Montana – a small lumber town in the western part of the state. He was the youngest of 10 children born to John and Hanna Petaja. The future author attended schools in Bonner and Missoula, Montana.
According to an autobiographical account, Petaja's introduction to fantastic literature came in 1931 when he came across a copy of Weird Tales. Reading the magazine changed his life, and he became a lifelong devotee of fantasy and science fiction. Petaja started out as a fan and immersed himself in the genres by befriending other interested individuals, by collecting pulp and science fiction magazines, and by forming clubs and associations. During this time, Petaja also struck-up correspondence with, and sometimes befriended, such early luminaries as H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, and August Derleth. Notably, Petaja is part of a unique group of individuals in the history of the genres who turned their fandom into literature. He was also a member of First Fandom – a group which honors fans from the time when science fiction was known as "scientification." Petaja corresponded with Lovecraft in late 1934, and the next year proposed teaming with Duane W. Rimel to form a fan magazine, The Fantaisiste's Mirror, that would resume serializing Lovecraft's Supernatural Horror in Literature from the point it had left off in the defunct Fantasy Fan. However, the magazine never materialized. Petaja and Lovecraft continued corresponding until the latter's death in 1937.
The author's first published writings date from 1935 with the short story, "Two Doors," for the semi-prozine Unusual Stories. Another early work, "Weird Music" (written with Duane W. Rimel), appeared in 1936 in The Phantagraph. Other short fiction and verse was published in The Californian (alongside the efforts of Lovecraft), Futuria Fantasia, The Acolyte, and other small press and regional publications.
Much of Petaja's early literary efforts were verse – and according to the author, he won a "couple of minor regional poetry contests." In 1936, Petaja self-published a chapbook of poems, Brief Candle, running-off copies on the mimeograph machine at Montana State University, where he was a student majoring in creative writing. Brief Candle contained cover art and illustrations by Petaja's friend, Hannes Bok, whom he had met that same year. The chapbook marked the first book publication for each author. According to Petaja, approximately 40 to 50 copies were printed with many "given to friends and well wishers." Some of these early pieces were later collected in As Dream and Shadow (SISU, 1972). Other poems from throughout his career remain unpublished.
In 1937, Petaja moved to Los Angeles, California. There, he settled into the Los Angeles sci-fi scene, befriending Ray Bradbury – then still a teenager – as well as Henry Kuttner, Henry Hasse, Forrest J. Ackerman and others. Throughout 1937 and 1938, Petaja and Bok shared an apartment, and together they attended fan meetings, haunted second-hand book shops, went to the movies, and helped each other with their poems and stories.
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