Open writing course on writing fantasy and science fiction, tutored by Markku Soikkeli. Once a week, Jan 13–Apr 7. The course is directed to adult writers interested in writing all kinds of science fiction or fantasy.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The second place was a tie between Anne Leinonen and Anni Nupponen, and Kirsti Ellilä came third (although I think that should have been fourth, since the second place was tied). Honorable mentions were awarded to Joonas Kallonen, Petri Laine & Anne Leinonen, Mika-Petri Lauronen, Timo Männikkö, Erkka Mykkänen, Olli Rintamäki, Petri Salin, M.G. Soikkeli, and Susi Vaasjoki.
(Info from the “scifi” list)
Update: Anne has more details and a photo. Anne mentions that the winning stories usually are much longer than the average texts in the competition (which is one of the reasons I’m not especially interested in the Portti competition—I have a hard time classifying for example last year’s winner, almost 13 000 words, as a short story any more), and that the theme this year was reaching to the pagan roots of the Finnish people and that there was little science fiction in the awarded stories (leaning towards fantasy and horror).
Thursday, December 04, 2008
The preliminary jury (researcher Irma Hirsjärvi and author Anne Leinonen) will select the finalists, and the winner will be decided by a jury comprising editor Toni Jerrman, editor Jukka Halme, and author Tiina Raevaara.
More info (in Finnish) on Babek nabel.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
On Friday, there was a dissertation at the University of Tampere, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Dept. of Management Studies titled, “Valta, johtajuus, tuho ja toivo J.R.R. Tolkienin teoksessa Taru sormusten herrasta” (“Power, leadership, destruction and hope in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings”). Harri Hietikko has studied the phenomena of power and leadership in Tolkien’s novel, the power structures in the societies of Middle Earth, and the struggle to own the ring of power. The key question of the dissertation is if the book can give something concrete to the management in modern work society. Hietikko has researched the types of leaders in the book, the patterns of management that can be found in it, the governmental structures in Tolkien’s world, and the different types of leadership myths that can be found in the book.
Monday, November 03, 2008
I’m a guest blogger at Jeff VanderMeer’s Ecstatic Days this week, sharing the spotlight with Jukkahoo. I’ll probably be mostly talking about Finnish fandom (the first post is up now), so if you’ve been reading this blog, you already pretty much know the things I’ll be saying. But head there anyway to see what Jukka is up to, and do browse the blog further—it’s definitely worth reading.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Kuvastaja award for the best Finnish fantasy book published last year was announced on Sunday at the Helsinki Book Fair. The winner is Viides tuuli (“The Fifth Wind”) by Päivi Honkapää. From the jury’s description of the book, “The idea about the winds and their world was great; the world felt thought out, but the book only told what was necessary—sense of wonder rarely seen in fantasy”.
Viides tuuli is Päivi Honkapää’s debut novel. It also won the 2007 Tiiliskivi (“Brick”) award: a book award by the literature students of the Tampere University meant to bring to public awareness good books that have been ignored by the mainstream media. The book was published by WSOY.
The shortlist consisted also of Hyinen hauta by Ilkka Auer, Suomu by Sari Peltoniemi, and Tuulihevonen by Ulla Viertola. This was the eight time the award was given by the Finnish Tolkien Society.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
- Anne Leinonen talks with readers, Fri 14:00
- Takauma (“Flashback”), Fri 15:30
A discussion between Mirjam Lohi and Tiina Raevaara
- Jani Saxell at the sf booth, Sat 14:00
- J. Pekka Mäkelä at the sf booth, Sat 15:00
- Tiina Raevaara at the sf booth, Sun 14:00
- Petri Hiltunen at the sf booth, Sun 15:00
- Eräänä päivänä tyhjä taivas, Sun 15:30
Tiina Raevaara interviewed about her debut novel
- Tieteis- ja fantasiakirjallisuuden monet maailmat (“The many worlds of science fiction and fantasy”), Sun 16:00
Panel discussion: Hannu Blommila, Jani Saxell, Viivi Hyvänen, J. Pekka Mäkelä
- The Kuvastaja award, Sun 16:50
The award for best Finnish fantasy book published in 2007
- Velhon uskontunnustus (“The creed of a wizard”), Sun 17:00
Esko Miettinen talks about the common themes in fantasy and the Bible
There’s also a lot of comics programming at the fair, and the Comics Society of Finland has a booth. Kvaak has details.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The new chairman is Kati Oksanen, and with her on the board are Aino Artell, Shimo Suntila, Henri Miettinen, Pasi Karppanen, Leila Paananen, Maria Rossi, Antti Oksanen, and Katja Rosvall. What is notable is that many of the people holding key positions this year (chair, treasurer, editor of Spin, web & tech, book fair, ads+printing) aren’t on the board next year, and actually the majority of the board will change. This will certainly pose a challenge for the society next year, but I understand a few persons will continue in their roles even if they’re not on the board (most importantly, the editor of Spin), so hopefully the transition will go smoothly.
Another challenge will be that at least a couple of persons on the new board are active also on the boards of Tutka and STk—this kind of convergence always has the risk of some societies suffering because people don’t have enough time to do everything properly. Of course, it is also a chance to increase co-operation between the different societies.
The membership fee for the society was increased to 12 € for 2009.
And lastly, welcome back to active fandom, Shimo!
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
More information from Markku.T.Soikkeli (e-mail him at uta.fi).
Monday, October 06, 2008
The Finnish (although living in Scotland) writer Hannu Rajaniemi today announced a three book deal with Gollancz. This is very impressive for a debut novelist, and what makes it even more impressive is that it was based on one sample chapter of Hannu’s writing.
Says Simon Spanton from Gollancz,
“Hannu’s first chapter was entirely enticing; yes, it was brimful of energy, originality and fascinating science but these were bonuses. What caught me and left me desperate for more was the masterful way he set up the characters, created relationships between them based on intrigue and need and suggested a rich past and a dangerous future for all concerned. I haven’t been this excited after reading just one chapter in a long, long time and consequently I’m delighted to be able to welcome Hannu to Gollancz.”
This is wonderful news! Congratulations, Hannu!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Also the Turku International Book Fair begins tomorrow. The Turku sf societies have a booth (A93) at the fair, go there to meet people, get info about sf fandom in the Turku area, in Finland in general, and to some extent in the Nordic countries too.
Some excerpts of the weekend’s programming:
- Mike Pohjola talks about his YA fantasy book Kadonneet kyyneleet on Friday at 11
- The comics scene in Turku presents itself on Friday at 12:20
- A panel discussion about publishing fanzines on Saturday at 11 (represented in the panel are Spin, Kosmoskynä
, and Enhörningen)
- A “Comics-morning” on Saturday at 11 (Milla Paloniemi, Juba Tuomola, Pentti Jarla, Tarmo Koivisto, Vesa Kataisto)
- M short story collection series on Saturday at 2 (Harri Kumpulainen, Juri Nummelin, Kirsti Ellilä, Boris Hurtta, Tapani Bagge, Totti Karpela)
- Myths in fantasy on Saturday at 3 (Boris Hurtta, Mike Pohjola, Anne Leinonen, Mari Saario)
- The Simpsons! on Sunday at 12:40 (Jouni Paakkinen)
See you at the fair (and of course at the pub meeting tonight)!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
A couple of weeks ago Jukkahoo, Juha T., and I traveled to the Czech Republic to attend Parcon, their natcon, held in the city of Plzeň. The whole trip was a lot of fun, the convention was small but nice, the locals welcoming, and the Guests of Honor great. The city was surprisingly pretty (and a curious mixture of old Europe and Soviet-era eastern block styles), plus it had great pubs, nice (and unbelievably inexpensive) restaurants, and a 24 hours cigar shop—what more could you want! (Well, maybe besides having a common language with the locals…) I would have written a longer report, but Jukkahoo already said pretty much everything I would have in his excellent report, so go read that one instead. I’m just going to post a couple of pictures.
But first I want to say hi to all the people I met at the con, like Marta (hope to catch up with you again sometime when you’re not totally tied up with organizing duties), Jan, Jolana, Frederic, and all the others whose names I can’t reproduce here (either because of my lousy memory for names, or because I haven’t got a clue how to spell them—sorry about that). And especially big hi and thanks to Peter (without him and all his help this trip probably wouldn’t have happened) and Teresa (who graciously helped Jukka and me to indulge in our fancy and took us to a walking trip to Plzeň-by-night to find some cigars)! And of course hi to Ann, Jeff, and Hal—it was so great to meet and spend time with all of you again! (And sorry to the organizers for making Hal miss his speech by hijacking him to the bar…) Last, but not least, thanks to my traveling companions Jukka and Juha—had a blast, must do this again!
We realized we hadn’t eaten much of anything in the last ten hours. Luckily the restaurant, Knight Lochoty, was just on the other side of the street. After a lot of confusion and gesture language, we managed to order food and beers. Which were pretty good. We never found out if the knight actually had any historical significance.
At The PUB again. Our international (pictured here, an American, a Brit, a Frenchman, a Czech, an Italian—who’s really a Scot—and a beer of another Scot, plus three Finns) gathering was a great company to spend an evening with. Lots of fun was had. Lots of beer was drunk (when we arrived, the scoreboard showed all of the top 10 having at least 14 pints’ head start on us. When we left, we were at the fourth place—on the nationwide score).
The Sunday morning breakfast buffet. The Czechs were coy with their offerings. I think they just wanted someone to eat their pickled sausages before they told anyone they might have some baguettes left too.
Head on to my Flickr set if you want to see more Parcon pictures.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
If you’re not that keen on going to a pub, the University sf club Tutka has an open night at their club office Terrakoti (Yo-talo A, 2nd floor), also on Thursday. It’s mainly aimed at new university students, but they say everyone is welcome to stop by. They will be present from six a’clock onwards.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Flights and accommodation for Parcon have been booked. Really looking forward to seeing what a Czech convention looks like, traveling to Plzeň (home of many a good beer I’m told), and of course meeting the VanderMeers and Hal Duncan again.
There are three of us traveling to the con from Finland. If anybody else reading this is going too, drop me a note—it would be great to meet you there!
Monday, August 11, 2008
The picnic starts at the railway station (outgoing local trains). You’ll need some money, the Helsinki local transportation time table, and some salted peanuts. The target of the picnic will be decided randomly using the Helsinki area map of the phone book, and will be determined using Random Destiny.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Today’s mafia zine has a lengthy report of the Finncon–Animecon event held in Tampere a couple of weeks ago (some reporting available also on this blog). Plus stuff on books and comics and some news too. I couldn’t stay for too long (babysitting duties), but the merriment went on when I left.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Back from Finncon. (Although I’m sure the dead dog party is still going strong as I type this.)
Sunday started (for me, anyway) with an excellent discussion about the definitions of the fantastic. Smart and interesting commentary that flowed very well. This I would have listened to for a longer period.
In addition to the panel, I saw Charles Vess and Petri Hiltunen show and tell about their works and interests (interesting), part of the definitive war panel (a bit formulaic, as the definitive panels tend to be nowadays) plus the fandom quiz by Jukkahoo (funny and arbitrarily judged, as always, although the competition might be just a little unfair when the questions are about events some participated in, while some others hadn’t even been born yet).
The closing ceremony started with awards for some competition, for people who mainly weren’t present. And then they had some anime awards. I’ve probably said this before, but I don’t think awards belong to the closing ceremony, but should be a separate item instead. But anyway, final words were said, the K-9 (who evolved from a cow in a year) was passed on to the next year’s chairs, the committee, guests, and other participants got their (well deserved) thank yous, and then it was time to go home.
So, the first Finncon in Tampere is over. We’ve had the event in a whole new city, by a whole new crew (or many new people anyway). That is great, I think, and I hope we’ll see another Finncon in Tampere someday. The con newszine mentioned 5 000 visitors on Saturday, so the total amount of attendees should be somewhat higher than that (but probably not by very much).
The venue worked reasonably well (if only—as I said yesterday—because the weather was nice and a lot of the anime people spent their convention outside). I heard there were a few technical glitches and some crowded moments, but I managed to avoid those. As long as you didn’t go to the “anime end” of the building, there was enough space to move around. The sf societies’ tables and vendor space were better than in the previous two years—you could actually approach them and see people—but there still was a problem of them being in a crowded hallway.
But even if the crowding issue wasn’t as bad as it has been the previous couple of years, the appearance of the event was still badly disproportionate and the place still felt too much like you were at an anime event that contained these little spaces of science fiction inside it (the programming rooms), and it wasn’t easy to connect with friends among that many people.
The programming ran nicely on time and the programming spaces seemed to be tended to well, but personally I thought the content of the programming was somewhat light and general—much of it felt a bit introductory. (Of course I’m judging largely by the items’ descriptions on the program book, so I might be wrong here.)
But all in all, I had a good time. Talked to old friends, made new ones (hi Val & Mike!), and was entertained by the programming. A big thank you to all the organizers, you did a huge job, and the Tampere Hall is still standing. (I hope all of you are too.)
Of course, the place being crowded also meant lots of people to talk to.
The masquerade worked—or didn’t, depending on your expectations—as usual. The trend nowadays is unfortunately to have the masquerade at the bar,
which usually means there’s no stage and too many people to really see
the contestants. I think Cheryl is getting used to the Finnish way of doing masquerades, but the other judges probably were in for a bit of a surprise if they expected anything like the Worldcon masquerade. Instead of doing serious costuming, the Finns tend to just whip up costumes and concentrate more on having fun. (Of course there occasionally are some really fine costumes too.)
Maybe this had something to do with the judges deciding to go for a bit more unorthodox way of creative awarding: instead of traditional scoring, there were awards for the most unexpected costume (the Inquisition), the most obvious brown-nosing (the Petri Hiltunen characters), and so on.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Tampere-talo is working pretty well as a venue for Finncon. Inside, it’s not too crowded, and the air conditioning seems to be coping (if only barely) even though it’s rather hot outside.
The main hallway is certainly a step up from the usual. Very nice.
The closer you get to the end where most of the anime programming (and vendor space) is, the hotter and more crowded it gets. Still, at least the whole place doesn’t look like this.
The Helsinki societies brought a cool TARDIS to the con!
There’s lots of lobby room and places to sit down for a bit of rest or chatting with people. The only thing missing is a decent bar (or if there is one, I haven’t found it yet).
Genre criticism panel. The panel was a bit unevenly composed: when you have four very knowledgeable critics, who in addition know each other well and very obviously have talked about these things before, the two Finns in the panel didn’t have much to contribute (and six is usually too many for a panel anyway). The panel didn’t stay on topic that well but contained a lot of interesting discussion anyway.
Farah Mendlesohn was interviewed by “James Lipton”. A good talk that was way too short and felt hasty—this item should have had a slot twice the length it now was.
The whole Sorsapuisto was overtaken by people in costumes. Thank goodness it wasn’t cold and rainy—it would have been a disaster if all those people would have tried to fit inside Tampere-talo!
That’s it for now; the evening party is about to start. More reporting later.
The jury described the novel as a political satire full of dark humor that has the absurdism and richness typical of African storytelling. Wa Thiong’o’s characters and use of language were praised by the jury, who also noted that the novel expands the definition on fantasy, proves that it is written also outside the west, and introduces the African mythology and culture to us.
The award is given by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society. The jury consisted of critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, critic and editor Anne Leinonen, and Osmo Määttä from the Risingshadow fantasy forum.
The top ten this year is:
- Susi Vaasjoki: Taruntekijä
- Carita Forsgren: Trio Org
- Jussi Katajala: Vetehinen
- Tuomas Saloranta: Lihan lapset
- M.G. Soikkeli: Maan langat, Marsin hiekat
- J.K. Miettinen: Jäytää
- Mari Saario: Keveät
- (tie)Heikki Nevala: Herra Tvist
Petri Salin: Exit only
- Heikki Nevala: Kauhun kaksi huonetta
The winner, once again, was Pasinen.
The very nice Czech delegation to Finncon:
There was quite a good turnout on the terrace of the Telakka pub, discussing this and that about science fiction:
- Rauni Lintula: Marva
- Marketta Niemelä: Västäräkki
- Juha Huhtakallio: Nukkekoti
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Jonas comes from Linköping where he’s been active in fandom since the beginning of the 2000s. He was involved in organizing this year’s Swecon as well as a couple of earlier Linköping conventions, and is also a member of the Åcon 3 committee. He’s coming to Finncon “because it’s nice to go to a convention with Finnish fans,” so say hello to him in Tampere!
Monday, June 30, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The Tampere Filharmonia will play Howard Shore’s The Lord of the Rings Symphony in Tampere-talo (the same place that hosts this year’s Finncon) next spring. There will be two concerts, on May 1 and 2. The concert is accompanied with illustrations by Alan Lee and John Howe.
Tickets went on sale on Monday and are available from Lippupiste and Tampere-talo.
The jury commended the novel’s timeless quality, dark atmosphere, and scientific approach that effectively separates the book from the vampire fantasies. The award jury were: critic Hannu Blommila, editor Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and journalist Vesa Sisättö.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Hannu is a Finnish author, nowadays living in Edinburgh, whose texts have appeared in Futurismic, a few anthologies (including two Year’s Best SF anthos) and in several zines (including Usva International 2006, available online as a PDF) and who has been described as the next big name of sf by Charles Stross. I’m a big fan of his writing and hope this move means we’ll be seeing more of his texts, and hopefully longer ones too, in the not too distant future.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Kosmoskynä (the Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association’s publication) got 500 €, Spin (published by the Turku SF Society) 3 000 €, Portti (Tampere SF Society) 15 000 €, and Tähtivaeltaja (Helsinki SF Society) 16 000 €.
(Thanks for Toni Jerrman for noticing this.)
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
- Sat 12 PM: EVE Online—builders of virtual worlds
video game creators talk
- Sat 3 PM: Science fiction and fantasy genre criticism
- Sat 4 PM: Masquerades—different masquerades in different conventions
show and tell
- Sun 12 PM: Charles Vess Guest of Honor Speech
- Sun 1 PM: Intertextuality and Allusions in Russian Contemporary Fantasy
presentation of books and authors
- Sun 1 PM: EVE Online—fan fiction made real
the video game creators are back
- Sun 2 PM: M. John Harrison inside the “Actors studio” (I think that should be the Authors studio)
- Sun 3 PM: Diana Wynne Jones—a rebel amongst children’s fantasists?
- Sun 4 PM: Latin American science fiction
presentation by Peruvian sf writer Tanya Tynjälä
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
On Saturday evening, after the programming ended, people stayed at the con site drinking beer and chatting (and some of us having a cigar in honor of the half-Finnish team that was victorious in the quiz program), when suddenly the door started beeping menacingly at us. Apparently the burglar alarm had been set so that after one o’clock going back and forth through the door wasn’t a terribly good idea. I think some people still stayed for a while, but shortly after witnessing Tommy sprint from the building with Pasinen in tow (presumably to catch the bus, not to escape from the scene before security came to investigate the alarm), we decided to call it a night and left for the hotel. Jukka entertained Ben and me well into the night with obscure sf trivia questions from a book he had bought.
Sunday started, again, with the Guests of Honors on a panel; this time they talked about blogging and all the ways modern writers are expected to promote themselves. In addition to mentioning that a blog can be a useful tool for a writer, one that can be used for creating a personal connection to ones readers, it was noted that we may once again be entering an era of performing creators and that these things go in cycles (when audio recordings were invented, performers were furious that their art would be reduced to mere “clerking in a studio,” and now authors are lamenting that they can’t necessarily do their work secluded from the audience again but are “required to be performing monkeys” to promote their work.
Sunday was more quiet than the earlier days, as these things tend to go. In addition to not sleeping enough the previous couple of nights, the mood changes a bit when people start to leave already during the day. So did also we because we needed to catch the evening ferry from Stockholm: after Jukka and Mari were done with their Evil in Fantasy panel, we said our goodbyes and headed for the railway station for the train to Stockholm. The train left almost on time despite Juha’s timetable-bending warp field being present. On the way home we stopped four or five times to grab a quick bite (I swear Dr. Pasinen has a Tardis stomach; it must be bigger on the inside—and if you don’t take him eating when he’s hungry, he’ll just stare at you with his puppy eyes until you cave), got a lot of bad ideas (and some good ones too), learned what mozzarella is really made of, educated Ben, Jukka, and Marianna on certain unmentionable horrors of the Internet (they’d rather not had learned about), and reminisced about the con.
So what was so good about it? The location was excellent, very close to the city center, the hotels, and many restaurants. And the venue worked very well for a convention this size. Everything was close together, with the second-hand book tables and the bar on the entrance level, and a lounge area, the art show, and the program rooms half a floor down, close enough for easy access but not too close to the bar to disturb each other. There was a notable amount of interesting programming (a lot of it with the GoHs), and it run admirably on time—mainly thanks to Britt-Louise, who kindly but firmly announced when the items were supposed to start winding down.
Swecons aren’t know for their t-shirts and other merchandise but this time the organizers had made stylish ConFuse mugs. In addition to being very inexpensive, they included free coffee or tea for the duration of the convention. Exellent! And as Sten said, every convention automatically becomes 30 % better with an ice cream buffet.
Did I already mention books? The Alvar Appeltofft Foundation had their traditional book sale, and were they selling! In addition to the normally impressive selection of books they had just had a sizable donation of books they wanted to move—and they were priced as such. There was a lot of fluff, but also real finds on those tables, to be had from 5 crowns up (that’s about 50 cents).
According to the organizers there were 95 warm bodies present, which made this the biggest ConFuse ever. Huge thanks to the Linköping fandom for a great time, and hope to see many of you at a Finnish con also! And congratulations to Anders Reuterswärd (two-time Swedish agent of Åcon, among other things) for the Alvar Appeltofft memorial award!
I’ve put up some more photos of the con on Flickr.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I went to prepare for my program item. I had a suspicion that 11 AM isn’t really a good time to have book discussion, and my suspicion turned out to be correct. Ten minutes after the item was supposed to start Jukkahoo walked in, and we chatted about this and that. Marianna came in about five minutes after that, so we continued chatting. At about 25 minutes past 11, Tommy and Carolina arrived, and we decided there were enough people and had a short but fun discussion.
The Guests of Honor are really being worked today. They’ve both taken part in at least two program items in addition to their speeches, and Cory Doctorow was interviewed today for the second time (this time about his other activities than writing fiction). At the moment they are talking on stage about the craft of writing science fiction. Neither of them confessed to wearing a tiara while writing.
I have to say the Swedes have once again managed to pick excellent Guests of Honor for their convention. Both Roberts and Doctorow have been constantly interesting and entertaining, and very approachable to the fen. Cory Doctorow started the day’s GoH programming by discussing the future of books. The discussion was interactive, the audience having many questions and comments. It didn’t stay on one topic very well, partly because of all the comments and opinions, but also partly because I don’t think they had decided whether “the future of books” meant the future of the book as a physical object or the novel as a literary form (which I think are two completely different, but equally interesting topics). The discussion had many good points for (and against) electronic books, and also some speculation about the future forms of fiction and reading.
Adam Roberts talked about his research and opinions on the history of science fiction, a topic that was also discussed a bit in his interview yesterday, but which he was now able to go deeper into. He had very interesting opinions on the differences between science fiction and fantasy, and the connections these might have with different religions and materialistic world views. He also observed how modern science fiction (and especially the general perception of it) has been influenced by film. Later on the day he again continued and expanded the topic on his Guest of Honor speech with for example some definitions of what he views as the science fiction literature. The topic of the speech was “Encyclopedic SF,” and he raised some excellent points about the birth of sf around the same time encyclopedias were invented, and further connection between these. He is an interesting and intelligent speaker you really want to pay attention to, because he regularly makes insightful observations (among the wonderfully wry comments about things).
Cory Doctorow’s interview about technology, civil rights, and activism didn’t really contain much new information for anyone who’s read his columns and other writings before, but I think these things are very relevant in today’s society and it’s important they are talked about. Besides, he’s such a captivating speaker with really sound arguments that he’s a pleasure to listen to and it’s very easy to get swept along with his enthusiasm. He started his GoH speech with a short short story that nicely tied up with his earlier discussion about the future of books. The other part of the speech on the other hand touched the same issues as his interview, but from the point of view of how important it is to have control over your tools and the things you own to be happy, and how important it is that people are allowed to use their creativity and make stuff themselves even in this era of “no user-serviceable parts”.
It‘s been a long day, but there’s still some programming left. There have been many good and fun conversations with other members of the convention. Ben and Jukka went to defend Finland’s honor in some kind of a frog sport. I think I’ll head for the bar.
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Friday, June 13, 2008
The opening ceremony started almost on time and was pretty unceremonial. After that, we found some beer and comfy sofas, so life was good. The organizers say there are 81 paying members: I estimate about 50 of them have already showed up (more will no doubt be arriving during the evening and also tomorrow). They have a discount membership for people under 20 and also for people attending their first convention, which I think is a wonderful idea (and very good for bringing new people to fandom), and about a dozen or so have taken them up on the offer, so it seems to be working.
The bar is well stocked on tasty beers (and actually gives you the third degree if you try to by a Tuborg), although I’m pretty sure they don’t have “every kind of whiskey” as advertised. Juha has a Dalek drink (which, as he tells me, consists of apple juice plus essence of cactus and lime).
The first program item I saw today was the interview of one of the GoHs, Adam Roberts. Witty and entertaining all the way through. So far, this is gearing up to be definitely one of the best Swecons I’ve attended.
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It appears there are some end-of-school festivities going on around here today. Lots of young people in white caps driving around the city center in carriages pulled by tractors and general merriment. All the young girls seemed to cheer and wave to Ben.
We have a very nice (and roomy) hotel room near the city center, about a block from the con site. We circled around a bit to see the city, eat (Mongolian barbecue, yum…) and buy supplies (beer seems to be ridiculously cheap here). We ran into Jonas, and later Tommy, who both were on their way to the con site to prepare things. A total of seven Finns have traveled to Swecon this year. Marianna and Pasi went to see the town, Juha is at his hotel, and the rest of us (Jukka, Ben, the other Pasi and me) are sitting in our nice (and roomy) hotel room, waiting for the convention to start.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Professor Arne Zettersten from Sweden is visiting Finland and will be giving an informal presentation of his new book Min vän Ronald och hans världar (“My friend Ronald and his worlds”) at Åbo Akademi on Monday May 19. He will discuss Tolkien and his research about the author (Zettersten knew Tolkien when he was writing his dissertation in Oxford).
The event is organized by FUI, and will take place in Arken (Tehtaankatu 2), auditorium Helikon, at six. For more information, contact Johan Olin (040 517 7718).
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
Proper reporting will have to wait for a couple of days (or more precisely, a couple of nights slept), but for now I’ll just note that there will be Åcon 3 next year (May 21–24, 2009). Membership fee is 20 € until June 15, and 25 € afterwards. I’m sure more details on how to pay will appear soon on the web site.
I’m not on the committee next year, so I’m really looking forward to just going to Mariehamn an enjoying being a member of Åcon.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
The inaugural Comics Finlandia award was given today to Milla Paloniemi for her album Kiroileva siili (“Swearing Hedgehog”). It’s a collection of comic strips about a hedgehog who—well—swears a lot.
The Hedgehog has taken Finland by storm, and the first album rose to the top of the book sales charts when it came out. Some in the comics circles were pretty upset that such commercial (and popular) strips as Kiroileva siili and Viivi ja Wagner (a srip about a woman and an anthropomorphic pig living together) were allowed to compete for the title of the best comic album of the year. I expect a lot of hand wringing and arty frustration now that one of them has won the award.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The Usva ezine has started publishing some of its stories and articles in HTML format in addition to the PDF zine itself. This is very welcome for all of us who like to use offline readers (PDAs, ebook readers, etc.) to read the stories without having to print the issues on paper.
Friday, April 04, 2008
The organizers say there will be anime fantasy sci-fi, plus other videos, board games, etc. There will also be food (bacon) for a reasonable price. No alcohol, though, although the organizers promise this will be corrected during the after-party.
More info available from Vilgot Strömsholm (vstromsh at abo.fi).
Thursday, April 03, 2008
…well, in Turku, anyway. I counted 22 persons at today’s pub meeting. The room started to feel very crowded at some point (although there were enough chairs for almost everybody).
We were supposed to read the Nebula shortlisted short stories and discuss them, but Ben was the only one who had read them. At least most of them. And even quite liked one. But there wasn’t that much discussion. More like a lot of excuses. Maybe next time.
But as I said, a very good crowd. And a lot of things to talk about, naturally. Like Finncons, Åcon, recent good books, and stuff, but also some really important things like food (and trading chili recipies) and whisky. Probably something else too, but I was too engaged in talking about food and whisky to notice.
You could buy stuff at the meeting too—Petteri brought a couple of copies of the new Fingerpori album with him. (Thank you!) There were a few fanzines on display also. The latest issues of Ansible and Weird Tales, Journey Planet (straight from Eastercon), Seikkailukertomuksia (pulp fiction) and new issues of Kosmoskynä and Turu Mafia Zine. Which, by the way, has a guest column, and also a translated short story in this issue. That almost makes it a real zine, I think.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Depending on the amount of work done gophers will get perks like a special t-shirt, food, and of course an invitation to the dead dog party. So head over to the con web site and sign up!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The nominees are:
- Haltiamaan kuninkaantytär (The King of Elfland’s Daughter) by Lord Dunsany (Vaskikirjat)
- Locke Lamoran valheet (The Lies of Locke Lamora) by Scott Lynch (WSOY)
- Variksen velho (Mũrogi was Kagogo) by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (WSOY)
- Matkijalintu (Mockingbird) by Sean Stewart (Karisto)
- Húrinin lasten tarina (Children of Húrin) by J.R.R. Tolkien (WSOY)
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
On the list are:
- Carita Forsgren: Trio Org (Portti 2/07)
- Vesa-Pekka Herva: Paikka rannalla (Portti 1/07)
- Boris Hurtta: Doktor Kronburgerin muistikirja (Portti 3/07)
- Katariina Juntunen: Pohjavirtoja (Usva 2/07)
- Jussi Katajala: Vetehinen (Usva 2/07)
- Natalia Laurila: Maitosoturit (Tähtivaeltaja 4/07)
- J.K. Miettinen: Jäytää (Portti 1/07)
- J.K. Miettinen: Todellinen kenokas (Portti 3/07)
- Tiina Männistö: Ensimmäinen tapaamani noita (Spin 3/06)
- Heikki Nevala: Herra Tvist (Usva 3/07)
- Heikki Nevala: Ihmisten sankarit, jumalten äpärät (Usva 1/07)
- Heikki Nevala: Kauhun kaksi huonetta (Kosmoskynä 2/07)
- Tiina Raevaara: Sudenkorento (Usva 4/07)
- Marcus Rosenlund: Varde mörker (Enhörningen 12)
- Mari Saario: Ensimmäiset kahdeksan ruutua (Spin 2/07)
- Mari Saario: Keveät (Spin 3/06)
- Mari Saario: Sateenkaari 2256 (Tähtivaeltaja 1/07)
- Mari Saario: Toiset uneksivat runonsa (Usva 1/07)
- Timo Saarto: Ruusumiehen aika (Spin 1/07)
- Petri Salin: AY0938 (Enhörningen 12)
- Petri Salin: Exit only (Usva 1/07)
- Petri Salin: Metsämiehen tarina (Finnzine 2/07)
- Tuomas Saloranta: Lihan lapset
- M. G. Soikkeli: Jos haluat rakkautta, varaudu sotaan (Tähtivaeltaja 4/07)
- M.G. Soikkeli: Maan langat, Marsin hiekat (Portti 2/07)
- M.G. Soikkeli: Marsin ikävä (Marsin ikävä, turbator 2007)
- Piia Tirronen: Karuselli (Usva 3/07)
- Jani Torvinen: Poika (Usva 3/07)
- Mirka Ulanto: Heijastuksia (Portti 4/07)
- Susi Vaasjoki: Taruntekijä (Portti 4/07)
(By the way, FSFWA needs to re-think their web strategy—or start to think about having one. Having info scattered on two separate sites plus additional pages on members’ personal home pages is just so 1990s.)
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Back from the pub meeting (early because it was my turn to babysit). There was quite a crowd this time, I counted some twenty persons in total. Talked about this and that, including the possible new membership options for TSFS, the state of Spin, the coming Atorox award, results from the “Finsmofcon,” the book fair, a planned sf exhibition in the library, and many other things, including a lot of unofficial topics I’m not going to repeat here. Bough a beer to a fine young gentleman who took part in the demonstration against the absurd censorship laws introduced in Finland a while ago. Ate a burger. Drank beer. Had fun. And hopefully convinced a couple of persons that they really, really want, no, need to go to Åcon.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
Everyone can participate at this step—no membership of TSFS (or any other society) or other formal qualifications required. Also, you don’t need to read every short story published in Finland last year: as long as you have read at least one short story that you think is good enough to be an Atorox candidate, you can nominate that story (or stories).
Details on the announcement on the TSFS site. There’s now also an Atorox FAQ, which answers some questions about the nomination process (inspired by the questions posed at the findom meeting last weekend).
Friday, February 29, 2008
- print out needed materials: check
- arrange car pools: check
- make list of Important Things Need To Talk To People About: check
- find a prize to donate to the raffle: check
- buy snacks + things to roast on the barbeque: check
- buy cigars: check
- buy beer: check (if only a couple, since I’m drivin this year)
- pack things: check
Findom’s annual co-operation meeting, “Finsmofcon,” is tomorrow. See you there!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The Finnish NoFF delegate for 2008 has been announced: Tampere fan Marianna Leikomaa was chosen to attend a Nordic convention of her choice during the year.
Marianna is a member of Smial Morel and has been actively involved with the TamFan fantasy con and Kuvastaja book award, and is also the Supreme Queen of Everything of this year’s Finncon in Tampere. You may also have read her critiques in Portti and Kosmoskynä, or seen her filking in many fannish events.
Congratulations to Marianna! Contributions for NoFF can be made to account 800027-36932210 (recipient is NoFF administrator Ben Roimola; put “NoFF” in the info field). More about NoFF.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
- Haiteksti (The Raw Shark Texts) by Steven Hall (WSOY)
- Olen legenda (I Am Legend) by Richard Matheson (Vaskikirjat)
- Nedut (original novel) by J. Pekka Mäkelä (Like)
- Marsin ikävä ja muita kertomuksia (short story collection) by M. G. Soikkeli (Turbator)
- Musiikkia miesäänille ja lentäville lautasille (short story collection) by Howard Waldrop (Kirjava)
Friday, February 15, 2008
- Risto Isomäki talks about his new book Litium 6 (Sat 10:30, Viinibaari)
- Esko Valtaoja tells how he became a writer (10:30, Tähtien Sali)
- Johanna Sinisalo discusses the new Moomin graphic novel Muumimamman vaarallinen nuoruus (“The dangerous youth of Moominmamma”) she has written (Sat 13:30, Viinibaari)
- Esko Valtaoja talks about his new book Ihmeitä – kävelyretkiä kaikkeuteen (“Miracles: a walking tour of everything”) (Sat 13:30, Tähtien Sali)
- Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen talks about his new short story collection Taivaalta pudonnut eläintarha (“The zoo that fell from the sky”) with his editor Kanerva Eskola (Sat 14:00, Viinibaari)
- Sari Peltoniemi discusses her latest YA book Suomu (“Scale”) (Sun 12:30, Lasten maailma)
(via Babek nabel)
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Finnishwriters.com is a new site that showcases Finnish authors and their texts. The site was started by Juha-Pekka Koskinen, Anne Leinonen, and Sari Peltoniemi (who are the only featured authors at the moment, but more is to come).
On the site there are introductions of the authors in English, Swedish, and German, and also some sample texts (extracts from novels and short stories—mostly in English, less so in the other languages). Unfortunately they’ve chosen the less-screen-or-other-reading-device-friendly pdf format for the texts.
I think the site is a good idea, and suggest you go have a look. All the currently featured authors have written fantastic fiction, although the site isn’t limited to any specific genre or type of literature.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
(There seems to be a slight change in the rules this year: there is no pre-set minimum amount of votes a story needs to get on the nominees list; instead the rules just say, “20 to 30 short stories will form the candidate list”. I guess this is to avoid a situation like last year where the amount of required votes needed to be adjusted on the fly to have at least some nominees.)
If you have trouble remembering which short stories are eligible, there’s a thread on the FSFWA forum where people have been listing stories published in 2007. (Update: or you could of course just go to the Atorox page where there is a list of stories too.)
Monday, January 28, 2008
This Wednesday (January 30) there will be an open meeting to discuss the possible Finncon, what it would be like and who would be interested in participating. Everybody who is interested is welcome to attend. The place is Turku-sali, Yo-talo A (2nd floor), Rehtorinpellonkatu 4. The meeting starts at six.
An open e-mail discussion list has also been created for talking about the project, and is open to join if you’re interested. (Please fill in also your real name when joining the list.)
Monday, January 21, 2008
The first Noviisi short story competition for 13–17-year-olds is over. The first place was a tie between Vilhelmiina Palonen for her short story Karahka (“Lopped branch”—the translation does not do the title justice) and Klaus Maunuksela for Yö ei ole sinua varten (“The night is not for you”). There was no mention of the winners’ age in the announcement. The Winners split a 300 € cash prize, and in addition both got a scholarship for 55 € for a writing workshop this spring.
In addition, Sara Valta got an honorary mention for her story Sammalmestari (“Master of moss” perhaps—hard to translate without reading the story).
The jury commended the variety of different stories in the competition, and felt that the overall quality of the finalists was rather good, and also that there was quite a bit of humor in the stories. The structure of the texts often betrayed the inexperience of the writers, and the judges recommend wannabe future writers show their texts to someone before submitting it to a competition or for publication.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Tracon III role playing convention February 16, Tampere University of Technology
Programming for rpg, larp, anime, manga and cosplay enthusiasts. Admittance 2 €.
Vampire Symposium II writers’ meeting February 23, “FSFWA Kaleva”
Meeting for writers by the Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association. Presentations about the application of modern vampire characters in stories, plus discussion about the participants’ vampire stories. Participation fee 5 € for members of the FSFWA, 10 € others.
Findom’s annual co-operation meeting March 1, Kaupinoja sauna
Meet & greet for fandom activist in Finland. Planning future activities, meeting friends. Discussing Important Things. (Smoking a cigar.) Participation fee 5 € (plus 4 € for the sauna)
Saturday, January 12, 2008
A new board was selected (a little belatedly) today for the Science Fiction Culture Cabinet at the University of Turku (“Tutka”) for the year 2008. There is a lot of new blood in the society: three of the five board members are new. The new board has a lot of ambitious plans for the coming year; I hope this will benefit the sf activities in the Turku area in general. Can’t be bad for the potential Turku Finncon 2011 that is lurking somewhere around the corner either.
I’ve been a member of the Tutka board since the founding of the society, but lately the activity in the society has been waning. A new group with a lot of new ideas is just what the doctor ordered; this feels like a bunch I’m happy to leave “my society” to for the foreseeable future.
Friday, January 04, 2008
The programming will include an introduction about ghost stories in the Finnish folklore from a writer’s point of view, story telling, and relaxing with food, movies, nature walks, etc.
The event has no admission fee; there is still room for a few more attendees.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
It’s again time for the Turku area sf pub meeting. So welcome to Bar Bremer (we’re nowadays at the yard-side room of the bar) this Thursday (January 3rd) starting at 6 PM!
(A new issue of the Mafia Zine should be finished by then, and will of course be available to the attendees for free.)
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