Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nova 2011 Competition

The Nova short story competition for new writers for the next year has been announced. The deadline for the stories is February 28. More info from the Nova page at TSFS.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Heli Määttä Wins Portti Competition

Anne has the low-down on the 2010 Portti short story competition. This year’s winner is Heli Määttä from Oulu. The second place went to Maarit Lejon, and the third was a tie between Anna Malinen, and Petri Laine & Anne Leinonen (who collaborated on a story).

The Portti competition is the biggest sf short story competition in Finland. The first prize is a cash award of 2 000 €; the total sum of the prizes is 4 200 €. The competition is organized by the Tampere sf society, and the winning stories are published in their zine Portti. This year’s award jury comprised professor Frans Mäyrä, editor Kanerva Eskola and Portti editor Raimo Nikkonen.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Birdbrain Reviewed

Johanna Sinisalo’s 2008 novel Linnunaivot ( Birdbrain) has been translated into English. It is reviewed in Salon Futura, and Sam Jordison quite likes it:
Since it’s December, I don’t feel too nervous about declaring Finnish writer Johanna Sinisalo’s Birdbrain (translated by David Hackston) one of the most interesting books I’ve read this year. It is… well… the fact that it’s so hard to describe is part of its appeal."
Go read the full review—and purchase through the link in the review to get some excellent Finnish fiction to read and support the zine that told you all about it while you’re at it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Jyrki Ijäs 1943–2010

Portrait of Jyrki at Finncon 2010Sad news this weekend: Jyrki Ijäs, one of the stalwarts of Finnish fandom, died on the night between Thursday and Friday of an advanced cancer. Jyrki was very active in the early days of Finnish fandom, among other things he edited his own zine Ikaros and was a member of the organizing committee of the very first Finncon in 1986. He loved science fiction and movies and a good chat over a beer or two. Even though he was mostly retired from fandom activities, he attended Finncon this year. I’m kind of glad that his last convention was a rather traditional Finncon more in the style of “the old days”—and I’m happy I got one more chance to chat with him there!

Babek nabel has a thread for remembering Jyrki.

Photo by Johan Anglemark

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Love of Books Award to Toni Jerrman

The Finnish Fair Foundation has given the “For the Love of the Book” achievement prize to Toni Jerrman in recognition of his long-standing cultural work in the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror literature. The jury commended Jerrman for a determined and sincere enthusiasm that has promoted awareness of genre literature for over 25 years. He has worked in the field as an editor, newspaper critic, radio journalist, and lecturer, and with his “rock spirit, anarchism, and courage” helped especially adolescent boys and young men find their way into the habit of reading books. Toni’s influence in the Finnish fandom was also recognized by the jury.

The Finnish Fair Foundation operates in conjunction with the Finnish Fair Corporation and aims to promote Finnish trade and industry, as well as Finnish business life in general. The Love of Books award is worth 5 000 €, and the winner is decided by a jury that this year comprised the chairwoman of the Finnish Book Publishers’ Association Anna Baijars, author Olli Jalonen, professor Laura Kolbe, author Sofi Oksanen, editor-in-chief Jarmo Papinniemi and cultural journalist Reetta Ravi.

Saario in Albedo One

Albedo One 39 coverThe Irish sf magazine Albedo One’s latest issue (#39) contains an English translation of Mari Saario’s short story The Horse Shoe Nail (Kenkänaula) which won the Atorox Award in 2009 for best Finnish sf story. The issue is available as a paper copy and also in pdf format—no ebook version, alas.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Date for Finsmofcon

Just a quick post to note that, to avoid a clash with a big fandom social event, the Finnish "smofcon" (yhteistyökokous) has been moved one week earlier than previously announced, to Saturday, February 19. The place is the traditional Kaupinoja sauna in Tampere.



Wednesday, October 06, 2010

His Master’s Voice Online

The latest issue of the Redstone Science Fiction webzine features the short story His Master’s Voice by Hannu Rajaniemi. This very cool story first appeared in English in Interzone #218. In Finnish, it was originally published in the Usva web zine, and came fourth in the 2006 Atorox awards (the annual fan vote award for best Finnish short story).

PS The latest issue of the excellent Tähtivaeltaja zine is out, and it contains an interview with and a new short story by Hannu. Among lots of other fine sfnal content, as usual.

Fantasy Evening at British Council

From Risingshadow: an evening of fantasy at the British Council Finland on October 29, featuring fantasy writers Angie Sage, Seita Parkkola, Anne Leinonen, Eija Lappalainen, and Viivi Hyvönen.

Free admission, but the amount of attendees is limited—contact Sari Tuomaala (040 197 3997) if you want to go and for more information.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Turku Book Fair 2010

The Turku International Book Fair started today. This year we have a special sfnal guest: to celebrate the publication of the Finnish edition of Ink, Hal Duncan is visiting Turku. You can meet him, along with many other interesting writers, today at the “Book Fair Evening Mass”, organized by the Like, Sammakko, and Savukeidas publishers, at Club Dynamo (from 7 PM onward).

Hal will also, naturally, be at the Book Fair. Below are some examples of the many interesting program items you can see this weekend:

Saturday
  • 10:30 Boris Hurtta interview (Fiore-lava)
  • 11:30 Boris Hurtta at the TSFS booth
  • 12:10 Comics creators on stage / Ilkka Heilä, Pentti Jarla, and Juba Tuomola
  • 13:00 Pekka Manninen at the TSFS booth
  • 13:30 Turbator show / Boris Hurtta, Juri Nummelin, Petri Laine, Petri Salin, and others (Turku-lava)
  • 13:50 Hal Duncan interview (Agricola-lava)
  • 14:30 Myths in the arts (kokoustila 3)
  • 15:00 Like & TSFS sf seminar “Spotlight on Hal Duncan” (kokoustila 1–2)
  • 15:45 Hal Duncan signing at the Like / Rosebud booth
  • 16:00 Hal Duncan kaffeeklatch at the TSFS booth
  • 16:30 Limits of political humor in literature / Pertti Jarla & others (kokoustila 3)
Sunday
  • 11:00 Women’s comics morning (Agricola-lava)
  • 11:00 Jukka Laajarinne interview (Fiore-lava)
  • 11:50 Jani Saxell (& others) interview (Fiore-lava)
  • 13:10 Pertti Jarla interview (Arktinen Banaani)
  • 14:00 The roots of Finnish horror literature (kokoustila 1–2)
  • 14:50 Astronomy in Turku (Porthan-lava)
  • 16:10 Kalevala and pop culture (Porthan-lava)
The full program (in Finnish) can be found on the Book Fair site.

Boris Hurtta Gets Critics Award

The Finnish Critics’ Association has given its “kilon punnus” acknowledgement award to Boris Hurtta, a versatile author of several novels, short stories and fact articles. Hurtta has written many kinds of books from horror and adventure to role playing games, travelogues, and histories. He’s also an author of numerous articles, among others about early Finnish fantasy literature, the monasteries of Meteora, and second-hand book stores in Turku. He’s a known bibliophile and a very well-liked person in the Turku cultural circles.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Apex Book of World SF Vol II

The Apex book company has announced the TOC of the second volume in the Apex Book of World SF series. Among many familiar names (if you’ve been following the world sf scene lately), such as Fábio Fernandez, Nnedi Okorafor, or Ekaterina Sedia, (and many more that at least I’m not familiar with yet) is one very familiar to us Finns: the collection features Hannu Rajaniemi’s short story Shibuya no Love. That story is kind of special to me—I originally read it in Futurismic (if memory serves), and liked it so much I wanted to share it with people. This lead to me starting my current fanzine, Turu Mafia Zine, that published the aforementioned story in the first issue (with the author’s permission, of course).

The Apex Book of World SF, vol. II will be published in mid-2011. Check it out!

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Sf Line from Jalava

Jumalan moukari coverRisingshadow reports that Jalava will start publishing a new line of sf books under the title “Saturnus scifi”. The series will comprise science fiction classics from the 1950s to the 1990s, the first books will be Jumalan moukari (The Hammer of God) by Arthur C. Clarke. I wish them luck and hope they find their audience for the books!

Friday, August 20, 2010

H.P.Lovecraft Historical Society

This summer, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society of Finland was founded “to promote interest in horror literature, honor the memory and works of H.P. Lovecraft, support the literary hobbies of its members, spread information about the world in H.P. Lovecraft’s time and support role-playing activities”. And they’ve got a web page.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Viikinsaari Picnic

The Finnish fandom’s annual relaxcon, the Roadside Picnic at Tampere Viikinsaari, took place yesterday. It was really good to see people again—even though it’s only been a couple of weeks since Finncon, those are always so hectic that you never get to talk to as many people as you’d like to.1)

Viikinsaari 2010

This year, there weren’t quite as many people present as in the last few years. The closeness to Finncon was probably a factor,2) but also there were a couple of other, overlapping events this year: the Usva writing camp was held over the same weekend, and the Turku sf society had an official meeting also on Saturday.3) Also, summer vacationing probably still going on for some. Still, a good couple of dozen fen travelled to the familiar barbecue & picnic place on the Viikinsaari island to meet each other and have fun. And it was good.

The weather wasn’t nearly as hot as we’ve grown used to this July, but it wasn’t chilly either (don’t listen to the people who complained; it was a perfectly fine Finnish summer day). We roasted all kinds of things over the fire, chatted, took pictures, avoided the scary flesh-eating ducks and the hordes of thirsty wasps (who seemed to especially like to crawl in people’s cider and beer bottles—no doubt to stage an assault into the unsuspecting victim’s mouth from there4)). No casualties were reported (Ella’s ankle got nibbled on by a duck, but I think that was the worst of it).

Being fen, there naturally was some smoffing going on. Got a good initial response for Båtcon—organizing a minicon on the ferry en route to the Stockholm Eurocon.5) A new literary project that Vesa talked about may also have nudged a bit towards becoming reality some day (if so, more on that later).

Viikinsaari 2010

There was of course talk about Finncon. Some feedback on this year’s convention, as well as throwing ideas in the air about how to create an even better one. Too bad the Finncon 2011 committee members hadn’t showed up, but at least there were several people from the 2012 convention participating.6)

After sufficient picnicing7) we continued in Ravintola Tillikka’s terrace that has good food and a very nice view on the river, overlooking the bridge. And there was also a surprise visit from Ellen & Delia, on their way back from their great Karelia expedition. It was lovely to see them again and hear the stories of their adventures.8) The cultural exchange also covered comestibles: turned out, Ellen didn’t much care for the beer she had ordered, and Dr. Pasinen was unhappy with the bee troot someone had included in his pyttipannu dish;9) thus, the traditional Finnish “beets for beer” program was invoked.10)

All good things come to an end, and so around 11 o’clock we11) had to leave the merry company and head back to Turku. See you all again soon, I hope!

Vesa L. has also written a report, with a lot of pictures included.

---

1) Finncons are awesome. Relaxing with friends over a barbecue is awesome in a different way.

2) Especially to some Helsinki area people, to whom venturing outside the Kehä 3 highway more than once in a month seems to be quite a hurdle.

3) Dammit, people—these are just the kinds of things the annual co-operation meetings are supposed to prevent!

4) And, to be swatted or bitten to death immediately afterwards. But nobody said wasps are very smart.

5) If you want to know more, ask Hanna Hakkarainen or me about it.

6) Seriously, these kinds of events are ones you really don’t want to miss when organizing a convention, provided you’re interested in how things have been done before or in doing cooperation with other people outside your own group, which isn’t a requirement for running a convention of course.

7) In other words, when people started running out of stuff to drink.

8) They showed us pictures of them practising their blacksmith skills, and of course the famous hedgehogs participated too.

9) Tried to convince him pickled beetroot is delicious; he wasn’t having any of it.

10) One might perhaps also say, invented.

11) Thanks to Jaana and Ben for the good company during the trip!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tähtifantasia Award to Haruki Murakami

Still catching up on news published at Finncon: The Helsinki Science Fiction Society’s Tähtifantasia award for the best fantasy book translated into Finnish and published last year was given to Haruki Murakami for Kafka rannalla (Kafka on the Shore), published in Finnish by Tammi.

In the press release, the jury complemented the novel of being easy to read and having a good rhythm despite being over 600 pages long. The plot has some surprising turns and the story is emphasized by warm humor. The visions of Murakami are fascinating; he presents riddles for the reader and challenges them to make their own decisions about the story. The style combines fluently the conscious and the subconscious, reality and another world. There are countless possibilities in the mind; the moral responsibility begins with dreams. Even though the novel describes a murder and the death of a loved one, it is basically life-affirming. The main characters meet people with big hearts who want to help them. Life can’t stand still; humanity comprises the actions we take and the choices we make in life.

The jury consisted of critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, writer and editor Anne Leinonen, and Risingshadow.net representative Osmo Määttä.

Usva Shortshort Competition Results

The Usva zine short short story (under 1700 words) competition results were also announced at Finncon. The competition had five judges, but instead of jointly deciding the winner, each judge picked their own winner among the competing entries. The winners are:
  • Marissa Janhunen: Kauniit vihreät pilvet; picked by Tiina Raevaara
  • Tuomas Saloranta: Avaruusloinen, picked by Petri Salin
  • Tuomas Saloranta: Nuori mies nimetön; picked by Irma Hirsjärvi
  • A.C. Ross: Ruumis; picked by Sari Peltoniemi and Liisa Rantalaiho
The winners received a price sum of 100 € each. The stories and judges’ comments will be published in October in Usva 4/2010.

Heikki Nevala Wins Atorox 2010

Slowly recuperating from Finncon, so this is already old news. But better late than never: the Atorox award for best Finnish short story published in 2009 went to Heikki Nevala for his story Koneesta sinä olet syntyvä (“From a machine shall you be born”).

The top ten looks like this:
  1. Heikki Nevala: Koneesta sinä olet syntyvä (Portti 4/09)
  2. J. Pekka Mäkelä: Kolmekymmentä vuotta (Tähtivaeltaja 1/09)
  3. Anne Leinonen: Pienen rasian jumala (Portti 1/09)
  4. Tomi Jänkälä: Keskikesällä Harri (Usva 4/09)
  5. Petri Salin: Requiem sudelle (Portti 1/09)
  6. Timo Männikkö: Miekkaa mahtavampi (Portti 2/09)
  7. Marika Riikonen: Terveisiä älylliseltä elämältä (Tähtivaeltaja 4/09)
  8. Jussi Katajala: Lemminkäisen kuolema (Tuhansien zombien maa)
  9. Tomi Jänkälä: Veden vangit (Usva 2/09)
  10. Mika-Petri Lauronen: Mäyränä nummia tonkii (Portti 1/09)
The Atorox award is decided by a popular vote by fandom, and is given out by the Turku Science Fiction Society, this year for the 28th time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home from Finncon

Back home from Finncon. Had a great time! Since I spent very little time hanging out at the actual con site or watching programming this year, these are mostly random notes and observations rather than any coherent con report. I'm sure there will be plenty of those around soon as well.

Finncon without Animecon was a success. I don’t think any of the naysayers who told us it couldn’t be done after so many years together with the anime people hold that opinion any more. The estimated attendance was around 3 500 people visiting the con site (combined total of Saturday and Sunday visitors)—on both days there were around 1 500 persons present simultaneously at moments when all the programming rooms and the hallways were full, and of course while most people were there on both days, there were a lot of people that only came on one day plus locals who visited the site during the day. In addition, there were some people at the Kirjailijatalo and quite a lot of folks at the Ilokivi (where the Wreckamovie festival took place). So the amount of unique attendees was probably around, or at least very close to, the official target of 2010 people.

The PR about the lack of Animecon could and should perhaps have been done with a bit more sensitivity. I gather some anime fans felt they were looked down and frowned upon—this wasn’t intentional, but I can see how the happy enjoyment of “we got our convention back” could be taken as a sign of animosity towards the anime crowds, even if it wasn’t meant that way. I hear there will be a stand-alone Animecon in 2012. I’m very happy that the tradition will not die out, and am sure it can be very good—based on what I’ve heard about them, the Finnish anime conventions such as Tracon and Desucon have proven that the anime people can organize terrific conventions.

The convention site was rather hot—Finnish buildings aren’t equipped for dealing with temperatures close to 30 degrees Celsius—but it didn’t seem too bad. It seemed much cooler inside to me than at a couple of previous Finncons; probably this was because there weren’t such huge crowds inside the building.

Entering the con site for the first time was a very good experience for me. My first reaction was, “Wow, this looks just like Finncons used to,” with the hallway full of people browsing the books at the vendors’ tables, chatting at the sf societies‘ tables, hanging out in the cafe—and running frantically behind the info desk. I heard quite a few people mention that for the first time in years they met new people and got better acquainted by ones they’d only met briefly before just by walking around and starting to chat with each other.

The programming got good feedback as well. The only bigger criticism—that I heard, that is—were that there were too many interesting program items going on simultaneously, that some very similar items clashed, and that one person couldn’t make the only item they were interested in when arriving by train the same day and not wanting to come the day before. To which my respective responses would be, I’m glad to hear that; yes, unfortunate but unavoidable; and, well, tough.

The Guests of Honor couldn’t have been more perfect. Both our foreign GoHs Ellen Kushner and Pat Cadigan proved just as charming, witty, and funny as we had hoped, and provided us with many interesting talks and discussions. Their days were programmed pretty full, but they never complained or disappointed. Our Finnish GoHs Sari Peltoniemi and Liisa Rantalaiho we already knew, and so knew them to be just as great guests as they indeed were. And wonderful were as well out other foreign guests, fantasy author Delia Sherman who accompanied Ellen and charmed everybody, and critic and editor Cheryl Morgan, a regular visitor of Finncons, trusted panelist and great all-around PR woman (as well as a kind-of visiting guest liaison).

The Saturday evening party was at Lozzi. The place was really hot (poor masquerade participants who had to endure the heat in their costumes during the awards ceremony), but luckily the weather was fine and the terrace was large enough for pretty much everybody not driven away by the poor selection of beers and exorbitant prices at the bar. The masquerade awards ceremony was very entertaining (the prize categories included, for example, best sucking up to the judges, and the prizes were, among others, cute toy animals and “Epic boobs”—and also “Epic man-boobs”—t-shirts). There were some very impressive costumes, especially the Farscape team (their Chiana was perfect) and the elven warrior from LOTR. All in all, despite the beer being bad and expensive, people seemed to enjoy themselves. I didn’t stay very late, but had time to meet a lot of people and have some very good conversations.

The media coverage of Finncon was pretty amazing. For starters, our GoHs got a full culture section front page in Helsingin Sanomat (the largest daily newspaper in all the Nordic countries), and there were also mentions and articles in several other papers (including a four-page one in Huvudstadsbladet), and even a couple of tv spots. So we’re very happy about that. Also, her Finnish publisher told us, Pat Cadigan’s Mielenpeli, published just a couple of days before the convention, is already going on its third printing. Win!

There was one unique aspect of Finncon this year, not directly related to this convention. There were several bids for organizing Finncon in 2012. Both Tampere and Helsinki had launched serious bids for the convention (although Tampere’s bidding and publicity was much more active at the convention and Helsinki took a somewhat more laid-back approach); Espoo and Moon had also signed up, but it is telling of their bids that Espoo promised an extra day for everyone if they won (June 31st, 2012), and Moon was the only one that had facilities ready—after all, they have a vacant base after the Moon Nazis return to conquer Earth in 2011. The results of the vote were announced at the ending ceremony, and Tampere got a deserved victory, receiving more votes than the other candidates put together. The Helsinki delegate tried to raise suspicions about the result but was swiftly manhandled out of the stage by the security personnel. (Thanks, by the way, Tampere fandom for handling the security at the convention!)

The closing ceremony went rather well, if I say so myself. I was told I’m supposed to be on stage too, and my impromptu translations of Anne’s speech got a few laughs from the audience. We thanked the GoHs and everybody who took part in organizing the convention (this year, maybe more than most, there were many to thank: whole sections of the convention such as security, sales, and publicity were mostly handled by fandom from other cities than Jyväskylä; this convention truly was a joint effort of the whole Finnish fandom) and said our goodbyes.

It was then time for the dead dog party, in the traditional sauna-by-the-lakeside. Food, sauna, swimming, beer, cigars, and relaxing after the weekend. The GoHs seemed to love the gift bags presented to them by Kati, the GoH liaison, and even had some presents for the committee. (I got the very cool anthology The Green Man that contains a short story by Delia, among many other fine writers, and fabulous illustrations by Charles Vess—thank you!)

The dead dog ended at 11 PM, but since we didn’t feel like going to bed, it was decided to have a post-dead dog party in a pub at the center of Jyväskylä. Soon the place was filled with sf folk (people from at least Finland, Sweden, and Latvia attended) and raucous merriment. I had to bail out at around 1 AM, but I heard some even continued to a post-post-party after the pub closed its doors.

I didn’t get to talk to quite as many people at the convention as I would have liked (mainly because of going to bed quite early each night), but that’s how it always goes. Was very happy to see quite a few Swedes at the convention—I hope you all had a good time! My friend Dave described a dream convention as something "where people keep talking about awesome things you didn't see because you were at something else awesome”. I think that is a very good description, and it also describes my Finncon this year very well.

See you next year in Turku!

Earlier posts on Thursday and Friday.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Finncon: Friday

The first day of Finncon is behind us. Didn’t actually manage to catch much of the programming, but there seemed to be a good crowd (the Kirjailijatalo terrace, where the program was—quite sensibly—moved from the inside, was a bit small and not everybody could fit in, but inside the house would have been just too hot).

There was some excellent media publicity today—Finncon got the front page of the culture section of Helsingin Sanomat! There was a big article about Pat Cadigan (an excerpt is available online), a review of Mielenpeli (Mindplayers, published just in time for the con), and also an article about Ellen Kushner. The convention was also mentioned in regional newspapers. Go us!

Things like organizing some last minute changes to the weekend schedule, battling with the technology, and moving the GoHs to another hotel better equipped to handle this weather (air conditioning, yay!) took most of the day, but I did manage to catch parts of the Hugo discussion. It was very entertaining, witty and informative, like you can expect from Cheryl, Jukkahoo, Kisu, and Tommy. (Note to future organizers: this is a program item you can, and should, have each year!)

After the “official” hours, it was time to move to Sohwi for the traditional Friday evening gettogether. A lot of familiar faces, and some new ones. Food, a couple of beers and relaxed conversation in good company; just what the doctor ordered. And got some planning done for Åcon 5 as well! A good first day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tomi Jänkälä Wins Nova First Prize

The Nova 2010 short story competition results were announced today at Finncon 2010 in Jyväskylä. The first prize in the competition went to Jyväskylä’s own Tomi Jänkälä for his story Uralin sininen (“Ural Blue”). The first prize is 200 €. The top three of the competition were:

  1. Tomi Jänkälä: Uralin sininen
  2. Jaana Lehtiö: Palautus
  3. Anna Malinen: Vihat

There were 96 competitors this year with 128 entries altogether. Both new and experienced writers attended the competition (Nova is a competition for writers who haven’t yet published a book).

The jury of the competition consisted of Marianna Leikomaa, Pasi Karppanen, Aleksi Kuutio, Anne Leinonen, and Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo. The competition is organized by the Finnish SF Writers Association and the Turku Science Fiction Society. The competition got funding from Taiteen Keskustoimikunta.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finncon Beginning

It’s time for the Finnish national convention once again. This year Finncon will be held in Jyäskylä, GoHs are Ellen Kushner, Pat Cadigan, Sari Peltoniemi, and fan GoH Liisa Rantalaiho. Also appearing are American fantasy author Delia Sherman, British editor and critic Cheryl Morgan, and a whole bunch of Finnish writers and other interesting sf persons.

So far the arrangements have gone recently well. The foreign guests arrived safely and were yesterday taken to a dinner cruise in the Helsinki archipelago. Today started with a press conference (which went very well), followed by a drive to Jyväskylä, just in time for the city reception (for the Jyväskylän kesä arts festival that Finncon is part of).

After a very hot day it was very nice to go to a lakeside cabin in the vicinity of Jyväskylä (which we found, eventually, with only a couple of wrong turns) for some evening snacks, a sauna, and a swim at the lake.

Tomorrow, the convention program starts with some literature and film programming, and the convention proper takes place on Saturday and Sunday at the university main building. See you there!

Usva International Edition 2010

The excellent Usva webzine has a new international (read: in English) edition out, just in time for Finncon. It contains six short stories by Katja Salminen, Marika Riikonen, Marketta Niemelä, Carita Forsgren, Marko Hautala, and Tomi Jänkälä. Go download your dose of quality Finnish fiction in handy pdf format!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

US Deal for Rajaniemi

Hannu Rajaniemi has made a three-novel deal for the US publishing rights with Tor. His debut novel, The Quantum Thief, will be published in hardcover in May 2011. Congratulations, Hannu!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Åcon Wins the Tentacle Award

As Kisu & Karo mention in their con report, The Tentacle Award was given out at Condense last weekend. The Tentacle is a Gothenburg-based award, given out for societies or persons who have actively bridged the gaps within fandom. This year the winner of the award is Åcon, the convention that strives to bring together fen from the Nordic countries. Much appreciated.

Guest Blog: Swecon Report

Unfortunately, due mainly to scheduling reasons, I couldn’t attend Swecon this year. But Kisu and Karo were there, and have written a report from the convention.

Condense—The Heavy Convention

Swecons always draw in (quite) a few Finns and Swecon 2010, Condense, in Gothenburg was no exception. Due to several reasons, this year the Finnish con-team consisted of only two members: Kisu & Karo from Tampere. Other members of Finnish fandom were sorely missed and everybody sent their best regards to all Finnish fans (especially those, who’d been to Gothenburg conventions before, you know who you are and we heard quite a few tales about your experiences).

The best way to travel to Gothenburg was by air and we arrived to Gothenburg in Friday afternoon. The convention begun in the evening and one of the first items was an interview with the guest of honor, the always interesting Justina Robson. After that it was time to socialise in the bar (and to check out the Alvarfonden books, which is always a costly mistake).

Saturday’s programming begun with book tips and breakfast (the convention offered breakfast to all members for free!). After that, Kisu took part in a panel, “Is there more SF than we see,” with the other guest of honor, Nene Ormes, and Per Åkerman. The three panelists had slightly different views on what the panel was supposed to be about (and the programming information gave a fourth interpretation), but in the end it seemed to be a success, ranging from manga to Swedish and Finnish science fiction and fantasy all the way to amateur films and radio plays (which there should be more of). After that it was time to do a bit of sight-seeing in Gothenburg.

In the evening Kisu attended the Banquet while Karo went out to be social and network with some other non-banquet attending members. The banquet included also speeches from the guests of honor, which were interesting to hear. As traditional in Swedish fandom, awards were also given (Alvar prize went to Helena Kiel, which was nice!). An extremely surprising turn of events took place when the winner of the Tentacle-award was announced. Tentacle is a Gothenburg-based award, given out for societies or persons who have actively bridged the gaps within the fandom. Much to everybody’s surprise, the winner of the Tentacle award was Åcon! The beautiful diploma will (hopefully) make its way to Finland a bit later on.

After the NoFF-auction (where they also auctioned off a few interesting beers, which sold for high prices) it was time for more relaxing discussions in the bar, outside the convention venue and in the Swecon 2011 bid party organised by Eurocon 2011. Sunday morning came way too soon, but we still managed to make our way to the convention to hear first about the future of fantasy, and then to take part in “How can conventions be improved” discussion, which highlighted some of the real successes of Condense. Breakfast for members!! After that, it was time to vote for Swecon 2011, and the Stockholm Eurocon gave a nice presentation about why they should also be Swecon. The other conventions of 2011 declined to run, and so the Eurocon 2011 won the vote and is now also Swecon. After the spirit of Swecon had once more been captured, and the tearful goodbyes said to the guests of honor, it was time to go back to the hotel to pack before the dead-dog party (where the Finns were the last to leave…).

Condense might’ve been the “heavy convention” but it all seemed very light and most especially friendly. We were warmly welcomed and will certainly come back some day! But first next year and Stockholm!

Kisu & Karo

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free Comic Book Day in Sarjakuvakauppa

Turun sarjakuvakauppa will have a free comic book day on Thursday, June 17. On that day, for every purchase over 10 euros you get a free comic album.

Tähtivaeltaja Award to Vellum

The Tähtivaeltaja award for the best science fiction book published in Finnish in 2009 goes to Hal Duncan for his debut novel Vellum, published in Finland by Like.

The jury commended Vellum for being a rich and ambitious story that moves on many levels and binds together history, mythology, visions of the future and literary references. The stylistic, nonlinear structure is used effectively and the ideas and visions penetrate the subconscious. Vellum is a challenging read, but is written so eloquently and fluently that it keeps you turning the pages.

The Tähtivaeltaja award is given by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society. On the jury were critic Hannu Blommila, editor Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and journalist Vesa Sisättö.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Sf Summer on Teema

The YLE Teema tv station has a “Kino Scifi” theme of classic science fiction movies on Wednesdays this summer. Kino Scifi starts with an “East and west” theme Saturday on June 12, when there will be two movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey (UK 1968), and Ikarie XB 1, made in Czechoslovakia in 1963.

The Wednesday films are: Metropolis (Germany 1926), Things to Come (UK 1936), The Thing from Another World (USA 1951), This Island Earth (USA 1955), Forbidden Planet (USA 1956), The Incredible Shrinking Man (USA 1957), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (USA 1956), Alphaville (France 1965), La Jetée (France 1962), Fahrenheit 451 (UK 1966), Silent Running (USA 1972), and Sleeper (USA 1973). That’s a mighty fine list of old classics, and there are some truly great films on it. Well worth watching!

(Nod to Ben on Babek nabel)

Friday, June 04, 2010

Rajaniemi Fiction Online

Subterranean Press has published a short story Elegy for a Young Elk by Hannu Rajaniemi on their web site. It’s been a while since I read that story, but I liked it a lot:
[…]my absolute favorite this year, Elegia nuorelle hirvelle by Hannu Rajaniemi. A splendid mix of post-singularity feel and traditional Finnish elements, this story would make an excellent representative of Finnish sf also abroad.
Isn’t it nice when one’s wishes come true?

The story came second in the Atorox vote for the best Finnish sf short story originally published in 2006. Go take a look!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sands of Sarasvati Movie

Noted this in Babeknabel: a 50 000 € development grant has been given by the Finnish Film Foundation to a production company First Floor Productions for developing a movie based on Risto Isomäki’s Comics Finlandia-awarded graphic novel Sands of Sarasvati. The movie is to be directed by Aku Louhimies. I hope we’ll see something come of this one day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tiina Raevaara Online

The literary journal Books From Finland has published Tiina Raevaara’s short story My Creator, My Creation online. Tiina Raevaara is a doctor of genetics and a science writer who has published a novel and a short story collection. The story has been originally published in Finnish in her collection En tunne sinua vierelläni (“I can’t feel you beside me”). 

From the journal introduction:

The world of the short story “Luojani, luomani” is strongly gendered. Its narrator is an artifical female intelligence, who is always switched off at night, a kind of gynoid whose self resides within a hard case. The man is her creator and her owner, and men rule the technical world which the literate machine dazzles with her achievements. But for the man she is merely a saleable, unfeeling object, devoid of any tangible selfhood.

This story, lent wings by its quotations from Dante’s Divina Commedia, remains intriguingly open at the end, as Raevaara’s short stories generally do. Their atmospheres are a call to empathy, so strongly do they depict the power of the unconscious to give voice to that which has been silenced.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Linkage: Finnish Sf Reviews

On Babeknabel, Toni has started a thread for interesting sf reviews in Finnish newspapers and magazines. So head over there to keep current on what’s being said about sf books (in Finnish, of course).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stross on Rajaniemi

Charlie Stross on what should be on the next year’s Hugo novel shortlist:
Second on the block is “The Quantum Thief” by newcomer Hannu Rajaniemi, due from Gollancz in the UK this September. —— if you dropped Greg Egan’s hard physics chops into a rebooted Finnish version of Al Reynolds with the writing talent of a Ted Chiang you’d begin to get a rough approximation of the scale of his talent —— I think Hannu’s going to revolutionize hard SF when he hits his stride. Hard to admit, but I think he’s better at this stuff than I am. And “The Quantum Thief” is the best first SF novel I’ve read in many years.
(Sidenote: Gummerus will publish The Quantum Thief in Finnish in spring 2011.)

Johanna Sinisalo Interview on SF Signal

Johanna Sinisalo talks about her short story Bear’s Bride and how it ended up in Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling’s anthology The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People in an interview by the SF signal.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Picnic

This Saturday (May 29) the Helsinki university sf club organizes their traditional event, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Picnic. The picnic starts at the Helsinki railway station at 2 PM (near the departing local trains sign). You need money, a Helsinki time table, and salted peanuts. The picnic spot will be randomly drawn using the phone book map and flipism. If the weather is bad, the nearest bar will be designated as the randomly selected spot.
“Of course I will explain to you again why the trip to the Bahamas was so vitally necessary” said Dirk Gently soothingly. “Nothing could give me greater pleasure. I believe, as you know, Mrs Sauskind, in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.”
— Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Friday, May 14, 2010

Åcon 4 Underway, with Chocolate

Åcon, our little convention in Mariehamn, Åland, is arranged for the fourth time this year. The first day of the convention started traditionally very early with a ferry trip to Mariehamn (from Turku and Stockholm, in Finland and Sweden, respectively), with all the eating, shopping, and chatting in the bar that are customary in these situations.

Lots of people gathered around bar tables, chatting

The Thursday program was light, with introductions, people getting to know each other, a “do not disturb” sign workshop (inspired by previous experience of the very efficient hotel cleaning staff at work at early hours) and a very nice presentation by our Guest of Honor, Geoff Ryman, about some very impressive old sf movies (with lots of samples). There was also a movie showing (Frau im Mond by Fritz Lang from 1929, although not in its entirety, to the disappointment of many). And of course a lot of drinking beer and chatting with other fen in the bar and the lounge.

People going aroud the program room saying hi to people they haven’t met before Saying hi to strangers

This morning before the official program started some of us took and excursion to a local chocolaterie, Chocolaterie Amorina.

Entering the shop

We got a presentation about how chocolate is made, what kinds of differences there are in different kinds of beans, ways of making it, etc.

The hosts talking about chocolate The hosts of the chocolaterie introducing us to the world of chocolate

A plate with six pieces of chocolate and six different pralines, along with a cup of hot chocolate The taste of paradise

The world of chocolate is quite complicated, and the characterizations for different kinds of chocolate—not to mention the pralines—seems to have a lot of common with wine tasting, both in the multitude of different tastes found in chocolate, and also in that you clearly need some practice to appreciate the really fine chocolates properly. If you visit Mariehamn, be sure to visit the Amorina!

Chocolaterie Amorina The chocolatier Mercedes Urbano-Winqvist makes all her pralines by hand

Sitting at the table decorated with cacao beans, sampling the selection

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Inexpensive Finncon Accommodation

The Scandic hotel chain currently has a summer offer where if you book a room for at least two consecutive nights, the prices start at 55 €/night/room. This is valid also for the Jyväskylä Scandic during Finncon (use the booking code EAR), so if you don’t have a room yet (and don’t necessarily want to stay at the officially recommended con hotels), this is a very inexpensive opportunity. The hotel is a bit farther than the Milton and Sokos hotels, but still only a very walkable distance away (this is Jyväskylä after all).

Friday, May 07, 2010

Linkage: Sf in Media, Wreckers Make Opera

The Swedish-speaking newspaper Östra Nyland interviews Ben about sf and Fandom in Finland, and his sf hobby in particular.

The Wreckamovie community, founded by the people behind the Star Wreck and Iron Sky movie projects, has been tasked by the Savonlinna Opera Festival to create a crowdsourced opera production to be premiered at the festival in 2012. (Probably, sadly, won’t be a space opera, though.)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Beastly Bride

Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling’s new anthology, The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People, features a short story Bear’s Bride by Johanna Sinisalo, one of the most acclaimed Finnish sf writers. She is in good company: the anthology also has stories by Lucius Shepherd, Jane Yolen, Tanith Lee, Peter S. Beagle, Jeffrey Ford, and others, with “selected decorations by Charles Vess”. Green Man Review writes about Johanna’s story,
Johanna Sinisalo explores the roots of Finnish myth in “Bear’s Bride,” employing ancient traditional verses so seamlessly that until I read the author’s note I assumed she herself had composed them for the story. After reading said note, I found the story beginning to ring in my recollection with heightened mythic resonances. With that awareness in place going in, a good coming-of-age tale, set among a Finnish ur-tribe, may just refine itself to greatness. The “Mythically Correct” Award in this collection goes to Sinisalo, hands down.

Sf Detective Novels

The io9 blog lists the top 10 sf detective novels of all time. What has this to do with Finland? Well, on the list are both Tea From an Empty Cup, by this year’s Finncon GoH Pat Cadigan, and Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan who will be GoH at Finncon next year.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Your Room for Åcon

If you’re thinking of going to Åcon, but haven’t booked your hotel room yet, now is the time to do it. There are a couple of rooms left in the hotel, and they are keeping them reserved for Åcon members until Monday. (And while you’re at it, remember to sign up for the con as well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Finncon Hotel Info

The hotel booking information for this year’s Finncon is now up on the con web site (in Finnish only, but the English version is coming soon). There are several hotels available in the center of Jyväskylä with quite inexpensive prices (starting from 55 € per night for a room for up to four persons), and also some cheaper hostel options.

Some hotel prices are only available for a limited time, and since Jyväskylä is usually quite booked during the Jyväskylä Summer festival anyway, it is a good idea to reserve your room early.

Rasecon ’10

Rasecon will be the first sf convention in the Western Uusimaa region. The Swedish speaking minicon will take place on Saturday 29 May in the Karjaa city library. The Guests of Honor of the event will be Swedish Finn writers Maria Turtschaninoff and Petri Salin, with special guest Ben Roimola, editor of Enhörningen.

The programming starts at 10, and lasts until around 2 in the afternoon. Attendance is free. More info on Enhörningen or on Rasecon’s Facebook page.

Linkage: BaCon II Report

Enhörningen has a report of the BaCon II minicon held in Turku last year. BaCon III will take place this Saturday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Literary Evening in Jyväskylä

Tomorrow (Monday, April 12) there is a literary evening in the Jyväskylä Writers’ House (Seminaarinkatu 26 B), starting at 7 PM.

The “Readings and Discussions” evening features:

  • “The Shapes of Stories: Confessions of a Structuralist”;
    Bruce Holland Rogers (author and teacher of creative writing)
  • “Diaries of a drunk horse: Graves and Grapes”;
    Mohsen Emadi (Iranian poet and intellectual)

The event is free, everybody interested is welcome.

Friday, April 09, 2010

J. Pekka Mäkelä online

J. Pekka Mäkelä’s short story Thirty More Years (originally published in Finnish in Tähtivaeltaja) is available online at finnishwriters.com as an English translation. The story is set in the same world as his latest novel, Karsta. Go take a look!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Eurocon 2011 Membership Fee Rises

If you’re thinking of attending next year’s Eurocon, now would be a good time to pay your membership fee—you have until the end of the Easter holiday (April 5) to become a member with the current price of 35 €. After that, the price will be 40 €.

Eurocon will take place in Stockholm in June 2011. GoHs are Elizabeth Bear and Ian McDonald, fan GoH Jukka Halme. Plenty of Finns are attending and a group trip will be arranged so this will probably be the easiest way to attend Eurocon in a good long while.

BaCon III

FUI (Åbo Akademi university’s sf society) will host their third microcon, BaCon III, at Terrakoti (Yo-talo A, 2nd floor) on Saturday, April 24. The con theme is sf, fantasy, anime, and MEAT.

The nature of BaCon is very informal: watching movies, hanging around, and eating (food will be available at cost). Definitely bacon, but there will also be a vegetarian alternative.

Questions and inquiries to Vilgot Strömsholm.

Beer Today, Whisky Tomorrow

The monthly pub meeting takes place today at Teerenpeli, starting at six. Sfnal conversation over drinks and food. Welcome!

Tomorrow will be the second “whisky mafia” where we gather at Kerttulin kievari (around seven) to sample their fine selection of whiskies in good company. Everybody is welcome there as well.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Richard Morgan to Finncon 2011

Richard MorganFinncon 2011 has announced their second Guest of Honor: British author Richard Morgan will be coming to Turku in July 2011.

Richard Morgan has written six novels, ranging from dystopian cyberpunk detective thrillers to fantasy. Like has published his debut novel, Altered Carbon, in Finnish as Muuntohiili in 2007. He has also penned a couple of comics miniseries for Marvel (collected in trade paperbacks), and is working with the video gaming industry.

By the way, if you haven’t read Muuntohiili yet, it is currently on sale in the Like web shop for only 7 €.

picture from RichardKMorgan.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Isku Sf Special

Isku is a zine that publishes pulp thriller stories. Isku #11 is a science fiction special issue. It features five short stories, both new ones and reprints (the oldest is from 1940). The zine costs 3 € and can be ordered from the editor Juri Nummelin (details at the link).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

FSFWA Wants You

The Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association runs writing circles for all writers interested in getting and giving peer feedback. There are 4–6 writers in every circle, and they are looking for new members. Participation is free and doesn’t require a membership. More info on the association’s discussion forum.

Tähtivaeltaja 2010 shortlist

The Tähtivaeltaja Award shortlist for best science fiction book (Finnish or translated) published last year has been announced. The nominees are:The winner will be announced this summer. This is the 25th time the award is given; last year the winner was Tie (The Road) by Cormac McCarthy. The Tähtivaeltaja Award is given by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society. The jury comprises journalist Hannu Blommila, editor Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and critic Vesa Sisättö.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Comics Finlandia 2010 to Petteri Tikkanen

Petteri Tikkanen holding his Comics Finlandia diplomaPetteri Tikkanen’s album Eero was awarded with the Comics Finlandia award for the best comics album published in 2009.

The comic was described as a simple but moving and important story with detailed and stylish imagery where even the smallest details carry meaning.

Comics Finlandia is given annually to a Finnish comics creator (or creators) for a single accomplishment published in the previous year. The price sum is 5 000 €.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Atorox Nominees 2010 Announced

Turku Science Fiction Society has announced the nominees for the 2010 Atorox award for best Finnish sf short story published last year. The annual grumbling about how all the wrong ones got on the list and the right ones left out may now commence.

The nominees list is as follows:
  • Laika Ahlstedt: Lapsenryöstö (Kosmoskynä 3–4/08)
  • Anne Alasirniö: Tehtävä (Usva 1/09)
  • Harri Erkki: Mummo kuoli saunan lauteille (Usva 4/09)
  • Rimma Erkko: Puhtaus on puoli ruokaa (Tuhansien zombien maa/Turbator)
  • Boris Hurtta: Vaitonainen sanansaattaja (Usva 3/09)
  • Kristiina Huttunen: Siunattu (Spin 3/09)
  • Tomi Jänkälä: Keskikesällä Harri (Usva 4/09)
  • Tomi Jänkälä: Kuori (Alienisti 23)
  • Tomi Jänkälä: Veden vangit (Usva 2/09)
  • Jussi Katajala: Lemminkäisen kuolema (Tuhansien zombien maa/Turbator)
  • Mika-Petri Lauronen: Mäyränä nummia tonkii (Portti 1/09)
  • Anne Leinonen: Pienen rasian jumala (Portti 1/09)
  • JK Miettinen: Kun herään (Tähtivaeltaja 3/09)
  • J. Pekka Mäkelä: Kolmekymmentä vuotta (Tähtivaeltaja 1/09)
  • Timo Männikkö: Miekkaa mahtavampi (Portti 2/09)
  • Heikki Nevala: Jousenjänne (Usva 4/09)
  • Heikki Nevala: Koneesta sinä olet syntyvä (Portti 4/09)
  • Heikki Nevala: Muodonmuutos (Tuhansien zombien maa/Turbator)
  • Heikki Nevala: Salamanteri (Usva 2/09)
  • Leila Paananen: Saaren perintö (Usva 1/09)
  • Marika Riikonen: Terveisiä älylliseltä elämältä (Tähtivaeltaja 4/09)
  • Solja Saarto: Mestari Hoettenin oppipoika (Usva 4/09)
  • Timo Saarto: Poika ja tinasotamies (Kosmoskynä 3–4/08)
  • Petri Salin: Requiem sudelle (Portti 1/09)
  • Tuomas Saloranta: Äidin talossa (Tuhansien zombien maa/Turbator)
  • Johannes Sohlman: Lenkkipolulla (Tuhansien zombien maa/Turbator)
  • Susi Vaasjoki: Tähdenniemi (Usva 4/09)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lecture on YA Utopias in Jyväskylä

On Friday, March 26, professor Kimberley Reynolds from Newcastle University gives a guest lecture on children’s literature, especially utopias and dystopias, titled, ‘Whatever happened to “happily ever after”? Visions of the future in contemporary YA fiction.
Abstract: Once the future in children’s books was presented optimistically—as a time when scientific progress, technological innovation and the wisdom gained through experience would lead to a more just, harmonious and enjoyable life for all. Contemporary YA fiction offers quite a different view of what lies ahead for future generations. This lecture will explore how adolescent readers are being asked to think about and prepare for the future in the fictions they read and compare it to current thinking by a range of influential environmental strategists.

The lecture takes place in room C5 in the main building, 12:00–14:00.

PhD Dissertation on Children’s Fantasy in Jyväskylä

Sanna Lehtonen defends her English thesis “Invisible Girls and Old Young Women: Fantastic Bodily Transformations and Gender in Children’s Fantasy Novels by Diana Wynne Jones and Susan Price” in the Jyväskylä University humanities faculty on Saturday March 27 (Blomstedtin sali, Villa Rana, 12:00).

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Turku Pub Meeting Today

The monthly sf pub meeting is today, Teerenpeli at six as usual. Welcome!

New Address for Espoo Pub Meetings

The Espoo sf pub meetings are moving. The new meeting place is the restaurant Harakanpesä at Leipurinkuja 2. The Espoo fen meet every last Monday of the month.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

New Short Story Collection by Tiina Raevaara

Tiina Raevaara (who took the second place in the 2009 Atorox awards) has a short story collection, En tunne sinua vierelläni, out this Friday.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tähtifantasia 2010 Nominees

The nominees for the Tähtifantasia award for best translated fantasy published in Finnish last year have been announced.

The nominees are:
  • Joe Abercrombie: Ase itse (The Blade Itself, Kirjava)
  • Jorge Luis Borges: Kuvitteellisten olentojen kirja (El libro de los seres imaginarios, Teos)
  • Joe Hill: Bobby Conroy palaa kuolleista ja muita kertomuksia (20th Century Ghosts, Tammi)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: Lavinia (Lavinia, WSOY)
  • Haruki Murakami: Kafka rannalla (Kafka on the Shore, Tammi)
The winner will be announced at Finncon in July. The jury for the award comprises critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, writer and editor Anne Leinonen and Risingshadow.net representative Osmo Määttä. The award is given by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society, and previous winners are Jeff VanderMeer, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Ellen Kushner.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finnish NoFF 2010

The Finnish NoFF delegate was announced yesterday at Finnsmofcon: Mirka Ulanto will be the noffit this year, and will travel there (and back) to a Nordic convention some time this year.

Mirka is the chair of the Turku university sf club, and is also a member of the organizing committee of Finncon 2011. She has also published a few short stories in Finnish sf zines.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Zine Grants

The Ministry of Education has announced the grants for cultural magazines for 2010. In the list are several familiar names: Tähtivaeltaja (17 000 €), Sarjainfo (the zine of the Finnish Comics Society, 17 500 €), Kosmoskynä (800 €), Portti (15 000 €), and Spin (3 000 €).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Åcon 4 Program

Åcon 4 has published its preliminary program schedule. Looks like a lot of fun, again. So, gå tå the cån site and sign up to the most fun convention in the Nordic!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

PhD Dissertation on the Fables Comic in Tampere

Karin Kukkonen will defend her doctoral thesis on Storytelling Beyond Postmodernism: Fables and the Fairy Tale on Saturday, February 20 at the Tampere University.

The dissertation, according to the abstract, analyses modes of storytelling beyond postmodernism’s subversion and self-reflexivity, aims to apply key terms of literary study to the narratives of comics and graphic novels, and draws methodologically on the emergent cognitive approaches in the humanities.

About Fables from the abstract, “Fables is deeply engaged with the traditional and the postmodern fairy tale, and its narration juxtaposes subversive and self-reflexive with gratifying and immersive storytelling, making the series thus a key case study for different possible modes of narrative in the comics medium.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Festival of Living Literature

This Saturday in Tampere: the Festival of Living Literature at Finlayson Werstas. The Tampere fandom is present with a table, including the Finnish Tolkien Society, Smial Morel, the Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association, Portti, Vaskikirjat, Risingshadow, and Kontu. There’s also a “Monster Academy” for horror fans.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Åcon Travels

The Travel Info for Åcon4 is now up on the web site, along with the reservation form you can use to book your trip. The prices are very inexpensive as usual, starting with 10 €/return trip from Turku.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Vampire Operetta in Imatra

Yön ruhtinas (“Prince of Darkness”) is an operetta production by the Imatra Theater that opens next week. The Gothic thriller is located in newly-independent Finland of 1918, and tells a tale of “eternal love, treacherous jealousy, and undying passion”. With vampires. Yön ruhtinas is directed by Ismo Sajakorpi.

February Festivities

Yesterday was one of the largest pub meetings in a while–I think there were over 20 people in total present. Lots of talking, drinking, eating, and so on, until a bit too late o’clock. Some notes from yesterday, plus a couple of links I promised people:
  • The February lunch is in two weeks, but on Friday, not Thursday as usual.
  • It was agreed to have an ice cream mafia at some later date (probably at Nuvole). Suggestions on suitable dates are of course welcome.
  • The Pakkaspaavo winter beer is yummy. Rich, chocolatey. And soon unavailable again. :-(
  • The bartender at Teerenpeli took the requests for non-alcoholic drinks seriously, and the results were pretty fine.
  • I had with me the latest Fingerpori collection I bought on the way to the pub, it was popular with people. Go buy yours at Turun sarjakuvakauppa!
  • A couple of web comics that were recommended by people: Oglaf and Sexy Losers (both extremely NSFW, if you care about such things).
  • Some talk about the ongoing row between Amazon and Macmillan. I once again recommend The Book Depository for buying books online. Good selection, good service, and the postage is included in the book prices, so ordering just a book or two to Finland is usually cheaper than from Amazon.
  • Oscars speculation. Avatar and The Hurt Locker were pretty much a tie as bets on who will win best picture. My guess is that The Hurt Locker takes the Oscar with its topical subject and, well, not being sf, but could go either way easily. Hollywood loves Cameron, but I’d wager that if Avatar is rewarded as best picture, Bigelow will get best director as “consolation”. Then again, I’m usually wrong with my awards guesses so don’t go betting money based on my opinions.
  • Stargate SG-1 was a fun show. I haven’t seen all of it, but based on what some were saying about the later seasons, I guess I’ll have to get my hands on them at some point.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Nalo Hopkinson GoH of Finncon 2011

Finncon 2011 has announced their first Guest of Honor: multiple award-winning writer Nalo Hopkinson will be coming to Turku next year. Born in Jamaica, but currently living in Canada, Hopkinson has written four novels and a several short stories, edited anthologies and taught writing at various programs. She has received the John W. Campbell award, the Locus Award, the World Fantasy Award and many others for her work.

Image: “Sherurcij”, Wikimedia Commons

Pratchett on Alzheimer, on Teema

The YLE Teema channel will show a two-part documentary about Terry Pratchett and his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. The first part will be shown tonight at 9 and again on Sunday, half past one. Part two next week, the same times.

(Hat tip to Liisa on the Spektre list)

Snorfcon 2010

Snorfcon, the convention for Nordic conrunners, returns after a few years’ hiatus. Snorfcon 2010 is organized by Heikki Sørum, and will take place in Oslo, Norway, on August 13–15.

The theme of the third Snorfcon is “the care and feeding of a large convention” (defined as a convention with more than a thousand members/attendees). This of course excludes the majority of Nordic sf conventions, but includes a lot of anime cons (who have been invited to the event). Which is not to say the organizers of traditional sf cons wouldn’t find the programming useful and interesting, nor that they wouldn’t have valuable input for the organizers of larger conventions. Especially next year’s Eurocon has already announced interest in the event (and of course some Finncon organizers will be there).

The Snorfcon web site is not yet up to date, but if you want more information about the convention, you can join the mailing list (the common language for the convention and for the list is English).

Pub Meeting Today in Teerenpeli

Welcome once again to the Turku area sf pub meeting! Same place as last month, restaurant Teerenpeli. The meeting starts at six, everybody is welcome to join!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Uncanny Valley—Sf Theater in Helsinki

Uncanny Valley is a production by the Circus Maximus group. It tells a story of an “elderly future rock star and the robot that takes care of him”. The play got reasonably good reviews (its style was compared to Samuel Beckett’s plays), and the group gives three extra performances this February. More info on the play’s web site.

H.R. Giger Exhibition in Tampere

Giger alien drawingThe Tampere Art Museum has a movie retrospective exhibition of the works of H.R. Giger. There are drawings, videos, and sculptures on display. The exhibition is open from January 30 to April 4.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mailing List for Sf Research

An e-mail list has been set up for discussion between all science fiction and fantasy researchers in Finland. The purpose of the list is to share information about new research, publications, and cultural research conferences. You can subscribe to the list by sending a message containing the text “subscribe scifi-res” to the address <majordomo@helsinki.fi>.

Friday, January 08, 2010

January Mafia

The Turku pub meetings gather (at least for now) in a new place: the brewery restaurant Teerenpeli. There were about 15 persons present last night, and at least I was quite happy with the place: there was enough room for everybody without people having to cram themselves around one too small table, the beer selection is decent (way better than in Hirvi or Bremer anyway), and the acoustics were good enough to have multiple conversations easily (no stone walls like in Bremer, nor a tv with occasional sporting events as in Hirvi).

The clear minus of the place is food: Teerenpeli has some pub-style dishes (toasts, salads that are actually quite good, and I can recommend the warm “tepas plate” for cravings for something with more fat in it). But it’s not a dining restaurant, so people who prefer that may be a bit disappointed (or have to arrange eating somewhere before coming to the pub). Anyway, my feeling was that the majority of people thought the pub is good for our meetings, at least for a few months (we can always reassess the situation later).

Lots of sf movie, tv, and comics talk this time; discussing the pros and cons of Avatar (and 3-D) especially. Moon was liked by all who had seen it. The Hut was recommended as a good place to buy blu-rays (many UK releases even have Finnish subtitles). There were also see-through goldfish.

After many people left rather early, the rest of us decided to pop in Cosmic Comic Café where the Turku comics club was supposed to have their meeting. No comics gathering there, but we stayed for a couple of beers and more conversation anyway.

While we were drinking and chatting, Hanne and Tomi were having quite a different evening: their second child was born yesterday. Congratulations!

In addition to the pub meeting, there will be a couple of other gatherings on January as well. On Saturday next week (Jan 16) there will be a whisky tasting evening in Kerttulin kievari (Kellonsoittajankatu 3–7), starting at 7. And on the 21st we’ll have the traditional sfnal lunch, this time at the Indian restaurant Delhi Darbar on Hämeenkatu, the time is half past noon. Everybody interested is welcome to attend either (or both)!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Sf Writing Course in Tampere

The Tampere adult education center has a course on writing fantasy and science fiction this winter (20 lessons, January to March), taught by Markku Soikkeli. The course tuition is 35 €, more info in the curriculum (scroll down to “110609K FANTASIA- JA SCIFIKURSSI”).

Pub Meeting Today in Teerenpeli

The first Thursday of 2010—happy new year! The Turku pub meetings move closer to the center of the city, to Teerenpeli. The restaurant has its own brewery and also a decent selection of bottled beers, ciders, and whiskies. There is also some food (mainly toasts, salads, etc.) if you’re hungry. As usual, there’s info and also a place for discussion of the new venue at the Turku mafia Facebook group.

The meeting starts at 6 PM, as usual. Welcome!

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...