The Core of The Sun

Johanna Sinisalo

Original title: Auringon ydin

Author: Johanna Sinisalo

Published: 2013

Publisher: Teos

Genre: Fantasy & Science Fiction

Pages: 340

Reading material:

English edition

From the queen of “Finnish weird,” a captivating and witty speculative satire of The Handmaid’s Tale-esque welfare state where women are either breeders or outcasts, addicts chase the elusive high of super-hot chili peppers, and one woman is searching for her missing sister.

Set in an alternative historical present, in an “eusistocracy”—an extreme welfare state—that holds public health and social stability above all else, The Core of the Sun follows a young woman whose growing addiction to illegal chili peppers leads her on an adventure into a world where love, sex, and free will are all controlled by the state.

The Eusistocratic Republic of Finland has bred a new human sub-species of receptive, submissive women, called eloi, for sex and procreation, while intelligent, independent women are relegated to menial labor and sterilized. How did Finland turn into the North Korea of Europe?

Johanna Sinisalo’s tautly told story of fight and flight is also a feisty, between-the-lines social polemic—a witty, inventive, and fiendishly engaging read.

Such a clever and imaginative work! When a society lost its freedom, eating spicy food became a form of resistance. The seemingly trivial things in real life have become the best expression of people’s resistance under high pressure. Chili worship, smuggling, gratitude, and the superpower given by chili…… Great creativity has shown by the delicate structure.

Citic Press, China

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Rights sold:
FINLAND: Teos (orig.)
ARABIC: Al Arabi
GERMANY: Klett-Cotta
HUNGARY: Metropolis Media Group Kft.
LATVIA: Izdevnieciba Petergailis SIA
SPAIN: Roca Editorial
TURKEY: Ithaki Yayinlari

About author

Johanna Sinisalo

Johanna Sinisalo (b. 1958) is a Finlandia Prize-winning superstar of Finnish speculative fiction. In addition to her nine novels, she has also written short fiction and film and television screenplays. Her works have been translated into twenty languages.

Sinisalo has won several literary prizes also abroad, such as the 2004 James Tiptree, Jr. Award and the 2017 Prometheus Award, and was nominated for the Nebula Award in 2008, the Prix Escapades in 2012, and the Grand Prix de L’Imaginaire in 2017. In 2022, Johanna Sinisalo was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal for services to Finnish literature.


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2013, Fantasy & Science Fiction

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The Core of The Sun

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