Monday, December 29, 2008

Sf Writing Course in Tampere Next Spring

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.

more

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Esa Kauppila Wins Portti Competition

The results of the 23rd annual Portti short story competition were announced yesterday in Tampere. The winner is Esa Kauppila for Lasin läpi rantaan päin (“Through the glass, towards the shore”).

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

Year’s Last

A pretty good turnout at the mafia tonight. In the early evening there was a Serious Literary Discussion of many good books. Later on, as more people appeared, the topics became more varied, such as fandom, stupid Internet videos, cameras, tv shows, and the difficulty of Christmas shopping. A fun evening, as usual—see you all again next year!

Last First Thursday

The last Turku pub meeting for this year is today. That means I’ll be in Bar Bremer at six. Hope to see you there too!

Tähtivaeltaja Short Story Competition

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has announced the second Tähtivaeltaja short story competition. The theme is “sf in space”. The winner will receive a cash prize of 350 euros and there are book and other prizes for the runners up to be awarded by the jury.

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

Management by Sauron

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.

Damn

According to Aamulehti, the Tampere winter swimmers’ sauna has burned down. Might mean we need to find a new place for the annual fandom co-operation meeting.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ecstatic for a Few Days

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.

Åcon 3 Announces GoH

Portrait of Steph SwainstonÅcon 3 has announced their Guest of Honor (website update still pending): British author Steph Swainston comes to Mariehamn next May. Great news and a great choice for a guest—make sure you'll be there too!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kuvastaja Award 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

Helsinki Book Fair

The Helsinki book fair is this weekend. The traditional Science Fiction Sunday will be there as usual, but there are interesting items to see on other days too. Some excerpts from the program below.
  • 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
The Helsinki science fiction fandom has a booth at the fair (1b20). Go visit them if you attend the fair!

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

New TSFS Board Elected

There’s been no official announcement yet, but the Turku sf society meeting minutes have been published, and from them you can see that the board of TSFS for next year was elected yesterday.

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

KrimiCon Minicon on Saturday

The very active Tampere subdivision of the Finnish SF Writers Association will organize KrimiCon, a minicon with the theme “bandit romance in fantasy and speculative crime” this Saturday. There will be an opening speech about science fiction & criminology, a new issue of the Kosmospenaali fanzine, and a movie (Clive Barker’s Nightbreed). Everybody welcome.

More information from Markku.T.Soikkeli (e-mail him at uta.fi).

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hannu Rajaniemi’s Book Deal

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

Pub Meeting + Book Fair

Just a quick reminder that the October pub meeting in Turku is today. Bar Bremer at six, as usual.

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)
On Saturday, the Turku sf societies will organize a party at Kirjakahvila, starting at 8 PM. At the Cosmic Comics Café there will be the opening party of a comics exhibition by Reetta Laitinen on Friday at 7 PM.

See you at the fair (and of course at the pub meeting tonight)!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Escon 2008

The Espoo sf club ESC will organize a sf convention called Escon 2008 on October 8 at the Kino Tapiola in Espoo. The event will concentrate on YA sf, both reading and writing. Among the speakers are Ilkka Auer, Petri Hiltunen, and Anne Leinonen.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Parcon

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!

Gray and brown 3-store concrete building, with a taller part in the back
The con site, a local school of transportation (I think). We stayed at the school dorm, which was conveniently located in the tall building attached to the school.

A door in the hallway, blocked with iron bars, some writing in Czech on it.
The hallway didn’t look too promising at first, but once we got to our room, it turned out to be perfectly fine.

A football field and a lot of small buildings behind it, lots of trees
…and the view wasn’t too shabby either.

The terrace of a white country-style restaurant building
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.

Juha and Peter sitting, Ann and Jeff drawing beers from the tap in the middle of the table
The PUB. Here’s your table, there’s your tap—when you’re leaving, pay your bill with your table number. Ingenious! And extremely good beer too!

Piles of books stacked on the table, all with Edward Miller covers
I think it’s fair to say we were all envious when we saw the amount of good sf published in Czech for sale at the con.

A guy using an excercise bike on the stage, two women holding stuff over his head
The opening ceremony. Don’t ask—I haven’t got a clue. It was all in Czech. But the locals laughed, so it must have been funny.

The guests sitting behind a long table, people queuing up to get their signatures
Signature Session. That’s Ian R. MacLeod, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Hal Duncan, and Edward Miller. Quite an impressive lineup for a convention this size, not located near to where any of them live.

The wall of a big gym hall filled with fantasy paintings
The art show.

Jukka standing in a shabby elevator, with walls covered in carpeting, bright lights, and ominous metal doors
The elevator of Doom. Wall-to-wall carpeting (and I don’t mean just on the floor), shabby lights on the ceiling, thick metal doors that went CLANG when you closed them… we used the stairs a lot.

9 persons crammed around a pub table, toasting with their beers
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).

Five people in traditional garments singing folk songs, and another person juggling beside them
The entertainment. As Jukka said, the minstrels were really pretty good. But the room was very hot.

Two people browsing a table that has dozens of assorted liquor bottles on it
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.

A plate with two pickled sausages and some sauerkraut on it, being eaten. Plus two slices of bread
Lucky for them, Juha was there, and feeling peckish after a night’s drinking.

German, British, Irish, and Finnish fandom sitting at a long table
Chatting with assorted Eurofandom before heading back home again.

Head on to my Flickr set if you want to see more Parcon pictures.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Turku Meetings This Week

This Thursday is again the first of the month, so if you happen to be in the Turku area, welcome to the monthly sf pub meeting at Bar Bremer (Uudenmaankatu 1) at six to talk sf (and other stuff) over food and beer!

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

Book Fair Tickets

If you are coming to the Turku book fair (in the beginning of October) and need discount tickets (3 €), I’m able to get a few so get in touch with me and let me know.

Monday, August 18, 2008

John Ajvide Lindqvist in Helsinki

The Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist is coming to Finland for the publication of the Finnish translation of his novel Ystävät hämärän jälkeen (Låt den rätte komma in / Let the Right One in). You can meet him in the Suomalainen kirjakauppa in Tapiola, Espoo, on Thursday August 21 at 16:30, and in the Akateeminen kirjakauppa in Helsinki, on Friday August 22 at 16:00.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Going to Parcon

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

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Picnic

The Helsinki University sf club organizes their traditional holistic picnic next Saturday (August 16) starting at 2 PM. Everybody is welcome to attend.

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

August Mafia

It was a very nice pub meeting today. A lot of discussion about the future of Turku fandom and events (not a lot of the people who are supposed to be the future of the Turku fandom and events present though—one might almost deduce that the future of Turku fandom doesn’t particularly care for the “old folks’ meetings”). Also, it turned out there are lots of Mythbusters fans in local fandom.

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

Pub Meeting on Thursday

Yes, it’s the first Thursday again. So, come to Bar Bremer at six on Thursday to talk about Finncon (there will be a new issue of the Mafia Zine that contains my Finncon report), or of other things of sfnal interest. Welcome!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Finncon: Sunday

Back from Finncon. (Although I’m sure the dead dog party is still going strong as I type this.)

Panelists sitting behind the table, discussing

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).

A huge crowd, standing up, singing for the con chairperson

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.

Eemeli, Jukka and Topi wondering about the little doggy “robot” on stage

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.)

photos

Finncon: Saturday Evening

The yesterday party was a typical Finncon party—in good and bad. The bar, Telakka, was too small and way too hot to be comfortable. Fortunately there was a terrace outside, but it was crowded, so you had to choose between sitting and breathing. The lines for the bar were quite long.

Telakka terrace, filled to the brim with sf people
Of course, the place being crowded also meant lots of people to talk to.

Masquerade judges at their table, looking at a character from a comic by Petri Hiltunen
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.

The inquisitor trying to stab Black Cat

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Finncon: Saturday

Got to the convention center a couple of hours later than I’d originally planned (thanks to the party yesterday), but still with plenty of time to wander around the convention and catch a couple of program items.

Main entrance to Tamperetalo, people in cosplay costumes going in and out
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.

Main Hallway, people wandering about
The main hallway is certainly a step up from the usual. Very nice.

A crowd gathered at a vendor table looking at various anime items on sale
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 SF society and the Helsinki Uni sf club table, with zines, t-shirts, etc.—and a TARDIS standing behind the desk
The Helsinki societies brought a cool TARDIS to the con!

A view from the second floor to the lobby
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).

Markku Soikkeli, Cheryl Morgan, Ben Roimola, Farah Mendlesohn, Mike Harrison, and Edward James behind a table discussing
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.

Jukkahoo in his Lipton suit talking to Farah Mendlesohn
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.

Sorsapuisto, lots of people in colorful costumes
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.

Tähtifantasy Award to Ngugi wa Thiong’o

The winner of the second annual Tähtifantasia award for best translated fantasy book was announced at Finncon. The winner is Variksen velho by Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

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.

Susi Vaasjoki Wins Atorox

The Atorox award for best Finnish sf short story published last year was announced at the Tampere Finncon a moment ago. This year the award goes to Susi Vaasjoki for the short story Taruntekijä (“Story Maker”) which also won the Portti short story competition. Carita Forsgren came second for Trio Org and Jussi Katajala third for Vetehinen (“Water Spirit”). This was the 26th time the award was given.

The top ten this year is:
  1. Susi Vaasjoki: Taruntekijä
  2. Carita Forsgren: Trio Org
  3. Jussi Katajala: Vetehinen
  4. Tuomas Saloranta: Lihan lapset
  5. M.G. Soikkeli: Maan langat, Marsin hiekat
  6. J.K. Miettinen: Jäytää
  7. Mari Saario: Keveät
  8. (tie)Heikki Nevala: Herra Tvist
    Petri Salin: Exit only
  9. Heikki Nevala: Kauhun kaksi huonetta
More info on the competition is on the TSFS Atorox page.

Finncon – Friday

The Finncon Friday went as expected. I hear there was a lot of good quality programming in the science department as well as the writing one. Of course I missed all of that. But during the evening there was the mighty Finnconkampen: the tabletop ice hockey tournament.

Finnconkampen

The winner, once again, was Pasinen.

The Champion


The very nice Czech delegation to Finncon:

Czecshs


There was quite a good turnout on the terrace of the Telakka pub, discussing this and that about science fiction:

Telakka

Rauni Lintula Wins Nova

The results of the Nova short story competition for beginner sf writers was awarded tonight at Finncon. The top three this year are:
  1. Rauni Lintula: Marva
  2. Marketta Niemelä: Västäräkki
  3. Juha Huhtakallio: Nukkekoti
Congratulations to the winners!

Friday, July 25, 2008

In Tampere

Have arrived in Tampere for Finncon. Traditionally missed all of Friday’s programming; now waiting for the evening festivities to commence.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Charles Vess in Turku

Charles Vess, who is one of the GoHs at Finncon this weekend, and his wife Karen Shaffer are coming to Turku on Monday and would like to meet some local fen. If you’d be interested in meeting them, drop me a note either by e-mail or SMS (040 576 6450).

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Monthly Pub Thursday Reminder

Tomorrow is again the first Thursday of the month, so there will be the traditional Turku sf pub meeting. Bar Bremer, at six.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Swedish NOFF Delegate Selected

Portrait of Jonas, tired but happyThe Swedish fandom has selected their NOFF delegate for the year. The winner is Jonas Wissting, who will be traveling to the Tampere Finncon in July.

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

Finncon Accommodation Available

Hotels in Tampere during Finncon are pretty hard to get any more, but if you need accommodation, Tampere fen have promised to offer accommodation to a few travellers. Contact Ari Seppi (@uta.fi) for more information.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Lord of the Rings Symphony Comes to Finland

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.

Tähtivaeltaja Award 2008

The Tähtivaeltaja Award for the best science fiction book published in Finnish in 2007 has been announced. The winner is Olen legenda (I Am Legend) by Richard Matheson, published by Vaskikirjat.

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

Rajaniemi Represented

SFScope reports that Hannu Rajaniemi is now represented by the John Jarrold Literery Agency. Congratulations, Hannu!

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

New Fandom

Huge congratulations to Anne Leinonen (and Tapsa too, of course) who last night made a brand new human (of the boy variety)!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Zines Get Cultural Grants

This is already old news (from the beginning of June), but I’ve been a bit busy and thought it still worth reporting. The Ministry of Education has given grants to support cultural magazines, and among 109 publications getting grants there are a couple of sf zines too (these are zines published by sf clubs, and probably best classified as semiprozines).

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 €.

Sinisalo Sturgeon Finalist

Johanna Sinisalo’s short story Baby Doll is a finalist for the 2007 Theodore Sturgeon Award. The English translation of the story was published in the SWFA European Hall of Fame anthology. It’s been previously also published in Year’s Best SF 13. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again: Go Johanna!

(Thanks for Toni Jerrman for noticing this.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Finncon 2008 Program Announced

This year’s Finncon has announced its (preliminary) program. The English program items have been marked with (en). The English-language programming at the moment looks like this:
In addition there are Guest of Honor kaffeklatches. Remember this is still a preliminary program and will probably develop further as the con approaches.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back from Swecon

ConFuse is over and we’re back home. And what a great convention it was!

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.

A bunch of folks sitting around a table in the bar chatting with the GoHs

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.

Tommy, Ylva, Jukka, and Marianna discuss evil in fantasy

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.

The front and back views of the LSFF mug: moon surface, and LSFF & ConFuse logos

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).

A view from the end of the table, with rows and rows of books

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.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Swecon: Saturday

After yesterday’s festivities (at midnight, the whole city center seemed to be full of happily drunk teenagers celebrating finishing their school) the streets seemed very quiet this morning. Some people went on a walking tour of medieval Linköping. (They told me later that they saw a lot of beautiful decaying old buildings and places where a lot of people had been killed which was interesting and fun. I have strange friends.)

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

ConFused

When we approached the convention site, everything looked par for a Swecon: a couple of people sitting outside, no visible indication of a convention just about to start. But then we noticed small signs saying “ConFuse,” and from there things went weird. Everything has been extremely organized for a Swecon: a convention book, up-to-date program leaflet, professional badges (that have been pre-printed and cut), and also a “readme” leaflet telling people useful things about the convention and surroundings. They even have a soundboard in the main program room and free wi-fi in the convention area!

Convention booklet, program leaflet, badge, readme flyer and the con mug laid out in a folded stack on a table

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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In Linköping

We’ve arrived in sunny Linköping, the city of ConFuse, this year’s Swecon. The night ferry trip to Sweden and the train journey from Stockholm to Linköping went without incident (the extremely bad humor expressed during the trip doesn’t really count as an incident, since it is pretty much the norm with this crowd). On the way we invented a great new fandom game (more on that later) and even smoffed a bit (about what could be done to improve the inner workings of the Atorox nomination process and who’d make a great GoH for the Turku 2011 Finncon).

People walking on the street by the Linköping market place

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.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Buy Your Åcon 3 Discount Membership Now

If you’re thinking of going to Åcon next year, you can still join for the discounted rate of 20 € until June 15 (Sunday this week). After that, membership goes up to 25 €. So go to the members page and join now!

The Nuuksio Witch Project

A report and some photos of the ESC summer picnic to the Nuuksio forests to look for witches and dinosaurs. Looks like they had a lot of fun!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tolkien Scholar in Turku

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

Åcon is Gone, Long Live Åcon

Back from a magnificent convention in Mariehamn, Åland. Åcon 2 was a success! The Guest of Honor (Ian McDonald) was interesting and entertaining. There was a suitable amount of quality programming (some said there was too much, but on the other hand last year others complained about there being too few items, so I guess the amount is in general pretty much perfect). The bar staid open late (and had much better stock of beverages than last year, although—despite our strong suggestions—they still run out of much of the good stuff during the weekend). Room parties were loud and fun. 70 members attended, met friends, made new ones, and engaged in drinking sfnal discussion. And some drinking, of course.

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

Pub Meeting Moved to Next Week

The Turku pub meeting in May has been moved ahead one week, since the first Thursday is May Day, when some of the regulars are at Åcon, and many of the rest probably have other activities too. So, see you at Bremer on th 8th!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Swearing Hedgehog Wins Comics Finlandia

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

Usva Goes HTML

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

Sf Table Hockey Finnish Championship Games

The Helsinki University sf club will organize the “Nth annual science fiction table hockey championship games” in Helsinki on Friday April 25. The place is the HYSFK club house at Hietaniemenkatu 14 B, and the games start at 6 pm. You can sign up in advance by e-mail to Pasi Vihinen (pvihinen at gmail.com).

BaCon

FUI (the Åbo Akademi Society for Strange Interests) will arrange their first minicon, called BaCon, on Tuesday April 8. The place is the University Tenants’ Association’s festival hall (Inspehtorinkatu 4 B, both floors), and the event starts at 5 PM (the program starts at 6). Entrance fee is 3 euros.

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

Biggest. Mafia. Evar.

…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.

A small stack of fanzines on the table

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

Pub Meeting tomorrow

You know the drill. First Thursday of the month. Bar Bremer at six. (A new issue of Turu Mafia Zine is coming out, by the way, this time with guest writers. Come and get yours.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Finncon 2008 Wants You

Finncon will take over Tampere this year (or was it the other way around?) on July 26–27. Since the whole event is organized by unpaid volunteers, they would like you to participate in arranging the con! Become a gopher and help the organization by minding a venue for a while, taking care of running errands, helping the program participants, manning the info desk, or whatever you feel like doing—even doing stuff for only one hour helps (of course you can do much more if you wish). No sfnal qualifications or age limits for participating.

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

Tähtifantasia Award Nominees

The short list for the second Tähtifantasia award has been announced. Tähtifantasia is given annually to the best fantasy book translated into Finnish in the previous year.

The nominees are:
In the jury this year are: critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, writer/editor Anne Leinonen and fantasy fan Osmo Määttä. The winner will be announced at Finncon 2008 in July.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Atorox Nominees 2008

The Atorox nominees list was announced today. There are 30 short stories on the list this year competing for the title of the best Finnish sf short story published in 2007.

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)
The list was compiled by a preliminary jury plus votes of fandom. The Atorox award will be given at Finncon in Tampere next summer (July 26–27).

FSFWA Library

The Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association has a new library. Most of the books have been donated to the association in Leena Peltonen’s will and by Juhani Hinkkanen. The old library will also be incorporated in the new one that will be available to members in Tampere (the local section at Henriksson & Soikkeli, plus at local events and conventions by request).

(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

March Mafia

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

Pub Meeting on Thursday

First Thursday again, so welcome all to Bar Bremer tomorrow at six!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Atorox Nominations Deadline Less Than a Week Away

It’s time to send in your nominations for candidates for the Atorox award. The deadline to send your candidates is March 9.

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

Yhteistyökokous

  • 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!

Finncon Gets Cultural Grant

This year’s Finncon has received a grant of 5 000 euros from the government cultural funds. Yay!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Danish Fan in Helsinki Tomorrow

Olav, a friend and fellow fan from Copenhagen (and chair of Eurocon 2007), will be staying in Helsinki for a couple of days. I've got his phone number in case someone there would like to meet him on Wednesday evening for some beers or such.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

NoFF Delegate Announced

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

Tähtivaeltaja Award Nominees

The nominees for the 2007 Tähtivaeltaja award have been announced. They are:
The award is given annually to the best science fiction book published in Finnish (either translation or original work) by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society since 1986. The jury consists of journalist Hannu Blommila, critic Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and journalist Vesa Sisättö. The winner will be announced later in the spring.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Henki ja Elämä in Tampere

The Henki ja Elämä (“Life and spirit”) book festival takes place in Tampere this weekend. There will be a couple of sfnally interesting program items during the event:
  • 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)

Finnish Sf in Year’s Best

The forthcoming Year’s Best SF 13 anthology (edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer) will have a Finnish short story in it, Johanna Sinisalo’s Baby Doll (first published in Finnish in 2002). Baby Doll was also published in French in the 2005 Utopiae anthology. Go Johanna!

(via Babek nabel)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Finnish Writers on the Net

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

Atorox Nominees Wanted

TSFS is asking for nominations for the best Finnish sf short story of 2007. Every member of the Finnish fandom can send in their candidates (in addition to the preliminary jury), and the ones that get the most votes will end up on the final nominees list.

(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.)

Usva Camping Report

Anne is blogging the Usva writers’ horror camp. Sounds like loads of fun.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Finncon 2011 Initial Meeting

From time to time there have been musings about organizing another Finncon in Turku. Most of the active fen here haven’t been too interested to commit to such a project again though, having already done it at least once, many of them twice. But now a new generation is emerging, and some of them have expressed interest in conrunning. The proposed year is 2011, which is when Turku will also be a European Capital of Culture.

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

Noviisi 2007 Competition Results

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

To Do in Tampere

Some sfnal events coming up in Tampere in the near future:

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

New Regime for Tutka

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.


The new board of Tutka. From the left: Kati Oksanen, Katimaria Mustajärvi, Mirka Ulanto (chair), Pasi Karppanen, Ari Takalo

Friday, January 04, 2008

Usva Horror Camp

The Usva zine will organize a weekend for writers and readers in Otava (near Mikkeli) at the end of January. The weekend theme is horror and ghosts.

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

Swedish-speaking Sf Society in Turku

Enhörningen reports that the “Society for strange interests” (Förening för underliga intressen vid Åbo Akademi) had their inaugural official meeting on December 12. The society has been active for over a year (some of their members have visited the Turku pub meetings), but now they’ve decided to become an official, registered society.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

First Pub Meeting of the Year

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.)

Tähtivaeltaja Award to Lauren Beukes

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has announced the winner of this year’s Tähtivaeltaja Award : the best science fiction book published i...