Emil Petaja (1915 - 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, 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 comprised of 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 mythological approach to science fiction was discussed in scholarly publications.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."