Sunday, July 20, 2014

Finnish Horror Con in the Works

From a seemingly innocuous Facebook conversation thread an idea was born: there are clearly people who would like to see a Finnish convention dedicated to horror. If you are one of these people, there’s a Facebook group for discussing the plans further.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gender in Finnish SF Awards, 2014 Edition

Back in 2009, I blogged about the gender distribution of Finnish short sf awards. Some years have passed, and the conversation popped up at this year’s Finncon, so I figured it was time to update the chart. Without further ado, here are the updated results of winners and top 3 in the major Finnish short sf awards.

 “m” and “w” indicate the winner, “t3m” and “t3w” how many men and women were in the top 3. A couple of top 3 results from the Portti competition are missing (will try to track them down later). For the winner, ½ means a woman–man team won, and ? signifies a pseudonym that haven’t publicly revealed their gender.

The Atorox Award is an annual popular award open to all members of fandom, and the winner is selected from all the Finnish sf short stories published in the previous year. The last time I noted that while there are almost an equal number of men and women who have won the award, the trend was towards more women winning. This situation seems to have swung back a bit, since four of the winners in the last five years were men, and men also have had a small majority of the top 3 positions.

In the juried Portti and Nova short story competitions, women continue to rule. Although after the last time there have been two male winners of Nova, the competition as a whole has been really strongly dominated by women. And looking at Portti in the 2000s, the winners are divided pretty equally, but there’s a clear majority of women in the top 3 placements. It may be worth noting that both competitions use pseudonymous entries, so the juries don’t know who the writer is (therefore a regocnizable gender or name isn’t an issue, except of course that some better–known writers have quite distinctive styles and because of that probably aren’t quite that anonymous).

I think the following points are also worth re-quoting from my original post: I don’t have any statistics about how many texts have been submitted to the competitions by men and by women, or what is the distribution of men and women of all published stories (eligible for Atorox). Also I don’t know the gender distribution of either the competition juries or the Atorox voters, so I can’t even venture a guess about if these are at all relevant. Another thing I haven’t looked at is whether the types of texts that win prizes have changed (between science fiction and fantasy, for example).

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Itäranta in Spain

Emmi Itäranta’s novel Teemestarin kirja has been published in Spain as La Memoria del Agua. I’m hoping this helps the wonderful book find many new readers. There’s an interview with Emmi in El Periódico where (I presume) she talks a bit about the book.

The book has also been published in the U.S and UK, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and in the Arabic region.


Tähtifantasia & Tähtivaeltaja Awards 2014

The Tähtifantasia Award is given annually to the best translated fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year. This year’s award was announced at Finncon.
The winner of the award was the short story collection Kanelipuodit ja muita kertomuksia by Bruno Schulz, published by Basam Books. The collection includes all the short stories written by Schulz.
The jury commended the poetic, metaphorical language of Schulz that creates a wondrous reality where the living merges with the inanimate, dreams with consciousness, the mind with the outside reality. Humans are a part of the whole that is constantly changing. Schulz was mentioned to be a predecessor of the weird fiction born in the early 20th century, a style of fantasy that also comes close to horror and science fiction. His influence can be seen in the works of many new weird writers.
The award jury comprised critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, author and editor Anne Leinonen and the representative Osmo Määttä.

Another Helsinki Science Fiction Society award, the Tähtivaeltaja Award for best science fiction book published in Finnish last year, was announced earlier this year. The winner was Sokeanäkö (Blindsight) by Peter Watts, published in Finland by Gummerus.
The jury described the book as having fascinatingly strange and diverse characters, and wondrous scientific inventions. Sokeanäkö is masterfully constructed and offers startling visions about the significance of consciousness, the forming of identity, the structures of awareness, and the evolution of the human race.
The award jury was: critic Hannu Blommila, editor Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and critic Antti Oikarinen.

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Nova Competition 2014

The results of the Nova short story competition for new writers were announced at Finncon. The first prize went to Tuukka Tenhunen for his short story “Ugrilainen tapaus” (“The Ugric Incident”). The competition was organized for the 15th time this yeard, with a record amount of 198 short stories participating. The competition jury comprised author Magdalena Hai, last year’s winner Anna Malinen, book blogger Hanna Matilainen, sf writer Tarja Sipiläinen, and the editor of the Kosmoskynä zine Juri Timonen.

The top three this year was as follows:

  1. Tuukka Tenhunen: Ugrilainen tapaus (200 €)
  2. Anu Korpinen: Tähden hauta (100 €)
  3. Taru Hautala: Jo joutui armas eilinen (50 €)
photo: Magdalena Hai

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Kosmoskynä Award to Pasi Karppanen

The Finnish Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association occasionally gives a Kosmoskynä (“Cosmos Pen”) award to a person who has benefited Finnish science fiction literature in a commendable way. This year at Finncon the award was given to Pasi Karppanen for his work in reinvigorating the association in the early 2000s. He had a hand in breathing new life to the association zine Kosmoskynä, and starting new competitions and other activities. He was also the editor of the Kosmoskynä zine for several years.


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Atorox Award 2014

The Atorox Award for best Finnish sf short story published last year was traditionally announced at Finncon this weekend. This year’s winner is Jussi Katajala for his short story Mare Nostrum, published in the Osuuskumma eco-sf anthology Huomenna tuulet voimistuvat.

The top three this year was:

  1. Jussi Katajala: Mare Nostrum (Huomenna tuulet voimistuvat, Osuuskumma)
  2. Shimo Suntila: Milla ja Meri (Portti 2/2013)
  3. Miikka Pörsti: Raportti. Mikä johti operaatio Tähtivaeltajan epäonnistumiseen? (Tähtivaeltaja 4/2013)

Two observations: this was the first year since 2000 with an all-male top three for Atorox. Also, this was the second year in a row that the winner was published in an Osuuskumma anthology. As Osuuskumma is only two years old, it remains to be seen whether the trend continues, but I think it’s obvious (not just from these results but when looking at published short fiction in Finland in general) that there’s been a major shift from publishing mostly in fanzines to getting a lot of new stories published in anthologies.

Congratulations to the winner and runner-ups!

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Causal Angel Preorder

Hannu Rajaniemi’s new book The Causal Angel can be preordered from the Rosebud web store. If you want to be among the first to get the book, head to the Rosebud now.

And while you’re there you can browse their sf catalog which is 20 % off until July 3.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014


As many of you probably already know, there won’t be a Finncon next year. (This is just a one-year breather—there are already initial plans for 2016 and even 2017.) But 2015 won’t still be a year without a big convention in Finland. Archipelacon takes place in exactly a year: June 25–28, 2015 in Mariehamn, the capital of the Åland islands.

Archipelacon is a joint venture put together by a bunch of experienced conrunners from Finland and Sweden (with staff also from Norway and Germany). The event venue is the brand new Alandica Culture & Congress Center, and the flavor of the convention is internationally Nordic. There will be programming in Finnish and Swedish, but the majority of the program items will be in English. The Guests of Honor announced so far are Johanna Sinisalo from Finland and Karin Tidbeck from Sweden.

The con site
Mariehamn is a beautiful city with gorgeous sights, interesting museums, great shopping opportunities, and several excellent restaurants. The town is small so everything is conveniently close, and the convention will organize excursions to interesting sites outside town. (For more information, see for example Cheryl’s con report from Åcon 7 which took place in Mariehamn this year, or Åcon GoH Karen Lord’s blog post about Åland.)

Åland is quite easy to get to via Finland and Sweden, and there will be an inexpensive group travel opportunity by cruise liner to the islands. We are hoping that all of you who said you still want to come to Finland in 2015 after Helsinki lost the Worldcon bid last year will give Archipelacon some serious consideration: the more international crowd we get to the convention, the merrier!

As Archipelacon steps into the boots of Finncon for one year, the program will be of high quality, mixing serious, fannish, and fun items. The convention will also host an academic conference of the Finnish SF and Fantasy Researchers Network. There will of course also be a vendors room and a good bar on site, and the midsummer weather in Åland is usually warm enough that the con hotel’s pool bar should be put into good use.

The Archipelacon membership is 30 €, and there is also a youth membership (10 €) for people under 26. Go sign up and join the con!

If you want to have updates about the convention, you can follow @archipelacon on Twitter or sign up for an info mailing list that will keep you up to date with con-related stuff. If you’d like to take part in making Archipelacon happen, contact the organizers and let us hear from you!

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Itäranta in US

Emmi Itäranta’s marvellous novel Memory of Water was published in the US this month—go check it out, it is definitely worth a look!

The novel won the Teos science fiction competition in Finland a couple of years back, and the us edition got a favorable mention in Washington Post (among other places).

Itäranta says a couple of words about the book and the writing process on the Harper Voyager blog.