Johanna Sinisalo is a Finnish science fiction and fantasy writer. She was awarded the Finlandia Prize for literature in 2000 for her first novel Not Before Sundown (Troll: A Love Story) and now her novellette "Baby Doll" is a Nebula award nominee. has had the honour of interviewing Johanna Sinisalo about the Nebula award nomination:


Dear Johanna, I know that you're busy, so I want to thank you for allowing to interview you. I also want to congratulate you on the Nebula Award nomination. It's great that a Finnish writer has been nominated for a Nebula Award.

At first I'd like to ask you what does it mean for you that your novellette "Baby Doll" was nominated for a Nebula Award?

It's a tremendous honour, one of the top achievements of my whole life. When I was an aspiring writer and an active Worldcon-attending sf fan, I remember dreaming of a Nebula or Hugo nomination – but then I said to myself that it is futile to dream of something that far out and impossible... And now it is reality, thanks to many people who made it happen – especially my French translator Anne Collin du Terrail, who made an excellent translation of "Baby Doll" to "Utopiae 2005" anthology; James and Kathy Morrow, who read that translation and wanted to have an English one; David Hackston, who did that (and was helped by Jim and Kathy); and the wonderful people in FILI, who granted David his fee.

Were you surprised when you heard that "Baby Doll" had been nominated for a Nebula Award?

Definitely. I have heard that even novels and stories that are originally written in English (like British or Australian ones) have serious difficulties getting nominated, and the Nebula has the reputation of being exclusively an American award. Getting nominated with a translated work, from a country as small and obscure as Finland, that really shouldn't happen!

For those not familiar with "Baby Doll", what can you tell us about it?

It's a near future story that deals with the over-sexualization of childhood, how the media and social pressure force even younger and younger children to experiment with things they do not even understand, and how uncapable (or unwilling) their parents are to recognize and criticize the trend. It has been said it's quite a disturbing thing to read.

What was the spark that generated the idea of writing "Baby Doll"?

It was actually a subscribed story. There was this publisher that compiled an anthology of stories in which they wanted the writers to combine crime and sexuality. I did not want to write the obvious passion crime story and gave the idea a lot of thought. Finally I got the idea from the movie "Repo Man" in which a petty criminal, gotten caught, says "I blame society – society made me what I am". I started to think in what kind of crime the society really could be the guilty party, and ended up with "Baby Doll".

Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers and fans?

Without your support I wouldn't be here. Thank you, all – and keep reading!

Thank you for the interview, Johanna, and good luck with the Nebula Award.


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