Thursday, December 16, 2004

Portti Short Story Prize 2004

A portrait of Leila
Leila Paananen won this year’s Portti short story competition (the most prominent sf short story competition in Finland) with her story Häivähdys sitruunaa (A Touch of Lemon). The first prize of the competition is 2 000 euros. Leila is a fairly new writer from Turku; she’s previously been in the top ten of the Nova competition, and last year, she came second (tied) in the Portti competition. Congratulations for being the first this year!

The top five stories in the competition were:
  1. Häivähdys sitruunaa, by Leila Paananen
  2. (tie) Kaikessa lihassa on tahto, by Jenny Kangasvuo and Meren valtiatar, by Natalia Laurila (Nova winners 2004 and 2002, respectively, by the way)
  3. (tie) Unelmiin kudottu, by Katariina Juntunen and Uneton vankilassa, by Juha-Pekka Koskinen
(Photo by Tomi)

Making Your Own Fandom, Part Three

Ronja sound asleep on a bed cover
The latest addition to the valiant effort by the Turku fandom to have a home-grown new generation in twenty years (so the current board of the society can finally retire) is Ronja Saario. She’s over a month already—I think someone somewhere must have pressed the universe’s “fast forward” button once too often.
(Photo by Tomi)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Christmas Partying

A view from the club house
We had the traditional TSFS Christmas party last night, with maybe around two or three dozen local fen and a couple of visitors from Helsinki present. It was held at the club house of the Tenants’ Association in the Student Village, which is usually a bit sterile and boring for a party, but this time the organizers had managed to light and decorate the place really well, so it was quite cozy.
Jukka Halme and Ben Roimola sitting on the sofa
There was traditional Christmas food (not tired of ham and casseroles yet, so it tasted delicious) and some program, but not too much: a raffle and a quiz. I spent most of the evening sitting on a sofa, talking with Jukka and Ben about all things sf (and other), most definitely including the coming Worldcon and Finncon, but also how to win any conversation—much like besting the other bands by having an amp that goes to eleven—and some other thing we all noted must be remembered afterwards, which I have forgotten. Nobody got around to the dancing, so the stereo played good music at a reasonable volume that didn’t make you shout to be heard.
Mikko handing a raffle ticket to Kirsi
The raffle was fixed, as always. Around half of the prizes went to the spouse of the one drawing the tickets out of the hat, and the others were dealt evenly to the members of the board. Or maybe it’s just that they bought most of the tickets…
Johanna and Kirsi surprized at Jani winning again
The quiz was fun, too, although the jury seemed to summarily disqualify most of me and Jukka’s (correct) answers for no reason at all. (—Who names the starships in Iain M. Banks’s Culture novels? —Iain M. Banks. —Who built the gates of Moria? —The set design crew of Peter Jackson’s, etc.) All in all, I had a very good time. A big hand for the organizers!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Season’s Meetings

There was another nice mafia evening tonight. People were coming and going a bit, but I think we had this year’s attendance record: the guest book had 15 signatures at the end of the night. The usual crowd was present; a couple of older faces not seen in the fandom circles for a while also stopped by. After most of the folks had left, the few that were left wandered away from science fiction and had quite a heated debate mainly about semantics of language. Well, actually, we didn’t get very far because we couldn’t agree on the terms. But anyway, it was fun.

’Tis the season again, and Christmas parties are here. This Saturday is the Christmas party of TSFS. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, come by to have a good time with a lot of food, music, sf-themed programs and dancing, with a crowd of local sf fen. If you are in Helsinki, there is Ye Olde Smalle Yule Partie by HYSFK on Sunday. I hear a black hat and moustache are the outfit du jour.

On an un-Christmas-related note, there is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer themed meeting at Terrakoti next week’s Thursday (by TSFS). Head there, if you feel like sinking your teeth into Buffy instead of the Christmas ham.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Turku Mafia Renascent

Well, it’s been three times now, with a steady core group and a few new faces each time, so I dare say the Turku pub meetings are a tradition again.

Tonight, there were a couple of Danish fanzines to be read (souvenirs from Snorfcon) in addition to the beer, food and conversation. I gave out the “mini-zine” I’d made just for this occasion—a nicely formatted printout of a short story, actually. If you missed it, the short story was Shibuya no Love by Hannu Rajaniemi, and it can be read at the Futurismic web site. Go take a look, it is excellent. Too bad it isn’t eligible for Atorox (it’s in English and published by a foreign webzine), because it is one of the better short stories I’ve read in a while.

PS If you happen to be in the Turku area, don’t forget the sf jumble on Sunday (at noon)!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Pub Meetings in Turku

The monthly pub meeting in Turku is next Thursday (November 4th), 6 o’clock at Pub Bremer. Everyone is welcome to join us in talking books, movies, fandom and all things sf.

The local comics people also have their meeting on Thursday. It’s at the Cosmic Comic Café at 6, so if you are interested in drawing or writing comics, you should check that out.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Back to Reality

…or Snorfcon, Day Three.
Day One Day Two

The first Snorfcon is over. We shared views, got new ideas and had many interesting conversations. Although there clearly are big differences between the way of thinking in fandoms in different Nordic countries, I definitely think there is much more that the active fans have in common that what sets them apart. And I’m pretty sure that this meeting will result in increased cooperation—or at least communication—within the Nordic fandom. How, where, and when exactly, remains to be seen.

Dinner on Friday Night.

All things are possible when you put a dozen fan actives in a room for a couple of days and close the door. Including making not only one, but three credible (sounding) bids for a make-believe convention in just two hour’s time and presenting them to the other participants.

The bid for the Nordicon in Oslo even had a presentation, including pictures of the con site. Most impressive.

Another thing that especially impressed me was The “Snorf” dot One, a fanzine Knud Larn produced some time between Saturday and Sunday—I still can’t figure out how that is possible—and distributed on Sunday morning.

As I had expected, the most important and memorable thing about Snorfcon was all the people I got to meet. I mean, I’d met most of these people before, but not really talked to that many of them. At least, nowhere nere as much as after spending a weekend with them talking about things we all know and love. And by listening to fans from other countries, I gained more insight about the Finnish fandom and what makes it tick. Perhaps more on that some day.

There were a lot of things that did not get discussed, and everyone agreed that the first Snorfcon shouldn’t also be the last. But for now, many thanks to the organizers who made this happen. And a very special thank you to Olav, our gracious host for the weekend.

Others: Johan Anglemark has a report on his blog about this Snorfcon (in Swedish).

A Glorious Day of Smoffing

…or Snorfcon, Day Two.

Blessed technology! The ATM’s (well, some of them) work with international credit cards, and hand you these cute little paper thingies that you can then give to the locals in exchange for food and drinks. They are rather handy, actually. I vaguely remember there used to be something like this when I was younger…

The day was a lot of fun. The discussion was lively and flowed seamlessly from one subject to another. Ideas were tossed around and people were really interested in not only how others do things but how to do more things together. Some ruminations about a Nordic sf convention were also whispered.

After dinner (at an Italian restaurant this time), this evening didn’t go on quite as long as yesterday (which is probably a very good thing, considering that we still have one day to go). And of course, this is the unique “sleep an extra hour for free” night, which helps a little. Happy Halloween!

Next: Back to Reality
Previous: Day One

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Oh Show Me the Way to the Next Whisky Bar

...or Snorfcon, Day One.

Things started out quite nicely. There was no official program today, but we all met (except Johan °, who was missing) and after waiting (for him) for a while, went to the restaurant we were supposed to eat, anyway – only to find him there, drinking beer and waiting for us.

We had dinner at a really nice Persian restaurant. The only (little) complaint I have is that I ordered the spicy cource, and it wasn’t. But otherwise it was really tasty and reasonably priced. Yum.

The evening continued at a local pub, and afterwards – after the Norwegians, and a bit later, the Swedes, had dropped out of the game, in an Irish pub (which had the music selection of anything but. I’ve never really liked Duran Duran, but Wild Boys played at full volume with the full bar dancing is quite uplifting). After which (at around 3 a.m. local time) it was time to retire for the day. Photos to follow, maybe, if I find a place with a Wi-Fi connection.

Things I’ve learned about Denmark so far:
  • “en øl til” gets you a long way
  • this stupid backwater country doesn’t accept credit cards in pubs and many shops — be sure to carry enough cash or have generous local friends

Next: A Glorious Day of Smoffing

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Goin’ Snorfin’

Snorfcon is this weekend. I’m really looking forward to this “No books—No movies—No GoHs—Only smofs” event. There will be twenty-ish members from the Nordic countries (sadly, only two from Finland), and the program looks like a lot of fun: “Fanacs anonymous”, “dark, quiet and smoke-filled backrooms”, “to pay or not to pay” (I guess it is obvious where the Finns stand on this when looking at the attendance), “If I ran the zoo-con” etc.

(By the way, after all these years it still sucks not being able to buy duty-free while flying abroad. I’m old-fashioned that way. Oh well, all part of being one merry union. At least I don’t have to exchange currency thanks to the euro. Oh wait… dammit Danes, get with the program!)

Monday, October 25, 2004

Political Animal Farm

No, I’m not going to start running political commentaries here. But I thought I’d note that there were a few (at least a little) sfnal candidates on this year’s municipal elections (held yesterday). Not everyone I’d hoped to see get elected did, though. But in the new Turku city council there is Ville Niinistö, who has occasionally been seen hanging around the fandom circles (and sometimes, the other way around). And in the neighboring town of Piikkiö, former TSFS activist and amateur writer Mari Saario got into the council.

Bubbling under in the ”almost-made-the-cut” crowd in Turku was Jaana Gustafsson, who years ago was the chairman of TSFS, and in Helsinki, Leena Krohn, author of several quite sfnal books (correction: same name, different person).

Interestingly, all of the above represent the Finnish Green League. Is the future really this green? Or maybe just the future of political science fiction in Finland.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Herding Sheep

New management for the Turku Science Fiction Society was selected in the society's meeting today. Also the plan of action and budget for next year were presented. Next year will be a kind of a leap year (there won't be a Finncon, nor Fantasiapidot, and not many local fen seem to be that interested in the worldcon either), but there are a few local events planned for 2005, and they include some brand new ideas, which is very nice. For a few years now, it has seemed to me that the local sf activities have stagnated to mostly sitsis and other parties with always the same people, same location, same music etcetera. So I'm very glad to see things evolving once again.

Maybe this has something to do with new people at the helm. Maarit Lamminen was selected as the chair (although she's handled the task since last Spring, after Shimo Suntila, chairman and editor for many years, resigned his post). A good choice, since I think Maarit has already stepped up and proved herself up to the task. Also the society's fanzine Spin will get a new editor next year. Johanna Ahonen was today officially announced as the new editor. Will look forward to the new Spin on things also.

Once again, not many people showed up for the meeting. Often, I've wondered if it is at all possible to get members of our different societies to be more active and take part in things, or at least to show up and speak their mind about who should run the society and how it should be run. Or if we should even try, for that matter. Maybe we should just be content that we can do what we like, without other people butting in with their opinions. But I'm afraid that will eventually lead to the societies withering and dying for lack of new blood. Even though some new people were chosen for the board last year and again this year, they had all either been on the board previously, or were already active in some other local society. So no really new faces, I'm afraid. But maybe the new leadership will succeed in promoting the sf activities and perhaps inspiring new people to come abroad. And so, here's the brave new TSFS inner circle:

The new board poses at the sf society's clubhouse.
From the left: Janna Jokela, Maarit Lamminen, Kirsi Saaros, Leila Paananen, Katja Rosvall, Johanna Ahonen and Tomi Junnila. Missing from the picture are Tytti Korhonen and Elina Keskitalo.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Lahti Gets Plundered. Again.

The Lahti fandom has moved to Turku (a while ago, actually). Or a significant portion, anyway. Including Pasi Karppanen, who is the current editor of STk's fanzine Kosmoskynä, and who had a significant role in rebirthing the Lahti fandom a couple of years ago after the previous generation had moved to Helsinki way back when. Visited Suvi [Allén, an active member of TSFS] and Pasi's housewarming party today. Nice folks, lots of stuff in the apartment...

Friday, October 08, 2004

Another Fun Evening

Yesterday saw the second gathering of the brave new Turku mafia. There was quite a nice turnout (11 persons) and a couple of new faces, which is always a delight. (Hi to Matti, Katja and Aatu!)

Topics discussed included (but were not limited to) the educational aspects of tentacles, whether making a good PKD movie necessitates throwing away the good PKD book, Ford Prefect's freckles and the current status of the Lahti fandom. Greetings were sent to Helsinki (which had a concomitant mafia evening). A couple of fanzines were browsed (most interest generated Emerald City which had in the latest issue an article about the Finnish sf fandom).

The next gathering will be on November 4th. Be there!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Book Fair

The Turku Book Fair was held this weekend. The fair is an annual event aimed at the public. That is, it isn't just for publishers shopping for things to buy and agents and authors trying to sell themselves to the publishers. Of course, there is that too, but mainly it is an event for the book lovers to meet their favorite authors, see what's new in the market and shop at the second hand bookstores that come from all around Finland to take part in the fair.
A general view of the Book Fair
This year the fair seemed to draw a little smaller crowd than previous years. Or it might just be that most visitors just went to the main hall where the bookstores and publishers were – it was quite crowded in there. In the halls where they had the concomitant science fair and the second hand bookstores, you could actually walk around and browse the items on sale without having to push and shove to get at the tables. Which was nice.
Science Fiction and Fantasy in Finland booth
The local science fiction society had put up a booth, which I think this year was a bit on the anemic side, but managed to draw in people nevertheless – althought most of them seemed only interested in the buttons that were sold there. There were also some sf books for sale (both from publishers and from individual collections) and a small photo exhibition of Fantasiapidot (a pseudo-medieval feast that was held in July).
The Finnish Fantasy Panel
There were a couple of items of sf programming this year. One was a discussion about the state of current Finnish fantasy literature. I was unable to listen to it (just popped in for a quick photo). Unfortunately, as it seemed rather interesting.
Alastair Reynolds
This year, we also had a guest author, Alastair Reynolds, whose second book, Kuilukaupunki (Chasm City) was just published in Finnish. Like was kind enough to bring Mr. Reynolds to visit the book fair to talk a bit about his book and meet the local people.
The Space Opera Panel
There was also a panel discussion about modern space opera. Among others, topics covered included everyone's favorite space operas, different definitions of the term (modern or otherwise) and several theories about why the Earth always seems to be blown up or otherwise dealt away with in space operas.

After hours
Inka, Kanerva and Paavo in the pub Old Bank
The evening was continued in a local pub. It was nice to see a few persons outside Turku attend also. (Kanerva from Jyväskylä (center) with her friend Inka (left) and Paavo from Oulu portrayed here.)
Jouni and J-P listening to Alastair Reynolds in Old Bank
Alastair Reynolds also popped in to meet local fen. He's an extremely nice fellow, and a very interesting person to have a chat with. Even though he had had a very long day (several, in fact), he seemed genuinely happy to see local sf people and have a couple of beers with them. If you ever have an opportunity to meet Mr. Reynolds, I warmly suggest you seize it. You won't regret it.
Tuukka, Johanna, Suvi and Maarit in Old Bank
Local fandom.
More people sitting at the pub

* * *

Nothing much happened on Sunday. Spent a couple of hours at the sf booth, mainly talking to people. Went around the fair a couple of times managing not to buy almost anything. With a couple of exceptions worth mentioning. Finally got Valtaistuinpeli (A Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin. It's published in Finnish by Kirjava, a small press founded by Satu and Jan Hlinovsky. It's their first book (of many, I hope). I've been meaning to buy it for some time now, but until now never got around to it. Satu and Jan are very nice people, and I'm happy to support them. And since the book is very well spoken of by many, I'm actually anticipating getting to read it, too. I'd very much like to like a fantasy book, but unfortunately it doesn't happen very often. Maybe this is the occasion.

Another purchase that I can't wait to get my eyes on was Nimbus ja tähdet, a story collection by Tero Niemi and Anne Salminen. It's the first book by writers who won the Atorox prize last year and came in second this year (these two short stories are included in the collection along with several others), so I have quite high hopes for this one. The book is published by Atena, and is also a first for them in the field of science fiction. Go buy it so hopefully it is not the last. A big minus for Atena for not bringing the authors to the book fair ("They're coming to Helsinki..." – you'd think that being from Jyväskylä would help the publisher to be a little less Helsinki-centered), but kudos for them for publishing the book in the first place.

All in all, a fun event once again. If you missed it, you can try the one in Helsinki at the end of the month.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Making Your Own Fandom

Venja being 'held' by Darth Maul
Maul Junior, also known as Venja Suntila, age two weeks. Is this the one who brings balance to the Force?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Alastair Reynolds at Book Fair

Alastair Reynolds appears at the Turku Book Fair next weekend. (October 1–3). He can be seen on Saturday at noon (stage A) and again at 15:45 (The New Coming of Space Opera, Seminar room 4). Other programming of interest includes: Where Finnish fantasy is going (Saturday 13:00, Seminar Room 4). A discussion about E-books and electronic publishing in Finland just might be interesting too. (Friday 15:30, Auditorium 1).

Finnish science fiction and fantasy fandom (in Turku, anyway) has a stand in hall C (C39 b). Stop by if you happen to be at the fair.

Update: If you're one of those unfortunates who happen to live in the Helsinki region and are thus unable to attend the book fair, according to Babek Nabel Mr. Reynolds will visit the Arabianranta library on monday October 4 at 17:00. He will be interviewed by Antti Mäkinen.

AnarCon 2004 Next Saturday

AnarCon is a mini con for people interested in political science fiction. It is held in Turku next Saturday (September 25th).

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Tamfan04 Approaching

Tamfan, a biennial fantasy convention in Tampere, is held next weekend. This year's GoH is Sari Peltoniemi, who just came in fifth on this year's Atorox awards.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to attend, but hope you'll have a good time there.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Atonova 2004, part 3

Part 1 Part 2

Maarit, Anne and Petri at CCC
Afterwards, the event continued in Cosmic Comic café.

Jenny, Pasi, Saara and Sari at CCC

Anne with her Atorox
Congratulations to the 2004 Atorox winner!

And thanks to the organizers of this event. Much fun was had by all.

Others: M. G. Soikkeli has a report of the event with some pictures.

Atonova 2004, part 2

Atonova 2004, part 1

Kirsi and Markku announcing the Nova results
The Nova results were announced by competition secretary Kirsi Saaros and member of the jury Markku Soikkeli.

Jenny Kangasvuo
This year's winner, Jenny Kangasvuo.

Mari Saario
Mari Saario (second place. )

Miina Supinen
Miina Supinen (third place).

Panelists gathered at the table
After the awards ceremony, there was a very interesting panel discussion about the competitions, writing and sf in general. Members of the panel were (from the left): Sari Peltoniemi, Pasi Karppanen, Anne Leinonen, Petri Laine and Jenny Kangasvuo.

Next: after the ceremony

Atonova 2004, part 1

Atonova 2004 took place yesterday in Turun kirjakahvila. At the event, the Atorox award for the best Finnish sf short story published last year, and the Nova short story competition winners were announced.

A View of the audience at Kirjakahvila
About 30 persons gathered in Kirjakahvila for the Atonova event.

The prize is a statue of the head of the robot Atorox
The coveted Atorox prize.

Hanne and Maarit announcing the results
The Atorox winners were announced by Hanne Martelius (the Atorox organizer for the year) and Maarit Lamminen (acting head of TSFS).

Anne Leinonen was awarded with an Atorox statue and a big bouqet of flowers.
The author of the best Finnish sf short story published in 2003: Anne Leinonen.

Boris Hurtta
Boris Hurtta, a long time contributor to Finnish sf literature, took third place, losing only by one vote to the second place.

Petri Laine
Petri Laine (fourth place).

Sari Peltoniemi
Sari Peltoniemi (fifth place).

Next: the Nova competition

Atorox 2004 Results

Atorox winners were also announced yesterday. Atorox is a prize given to the previous year's best Finnish sf story, voted by members of Finnish sf societies – a sort of Finnish short story Hugo. This year, the prize went to Anne Leinonen for her short story Valkeita lankoja, which also won the Portti short story competition.

The top ten for short stories published in 2003 is:
  1. Valkeita lankoja by Anne Leinonen (Portti 4/03)
  2. Kuten ihmiset tekevät by Tero Niemi and Anne Salminen (Spin 3/03)
  3. Seikkailujen junat by Boris Hurtta (Portti 1/03)
  4. Taivaan kaikki värit by Petri Laine (Portti 4/03)
  5. Kultainen omenaby Sari Peltoniemi (Portti 2/03)
  6. Originaalit by Hannele Hakala (Portti 2/02)
  7. Komposti by Mari Saario (Portti 3/03)
  8. Uurnajaiset by Juha-Pekka Koskinen (Portti 3/03)
  9. (tie) Sonian laiva by Carita Forsgren (Portti 1/03) and
    Orfeus, Orfeus by Katja Salminen (Portti 2/03)
As you can see, this year's results were heavily nominated by Portti, although it was delightful to see a short story published in Spin in the top 10 – for the first time in a really long time, if I remember correctly.

Nova 2004 Results

The prizes for Nova 2004 were given out last night at Atonova. Nova is a short story competition organized by Turku Science Fiction Society and The Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association.

The Nova 2004 winners are:
  1. Vaativat arvet; tai, Kertomus saumoistani by Jenny Kangasvuo
  2. Karhunkaataja, kaskenpolttaja by Mari Saario
  3. Alkumereen by Miina Supinen
  4. Hermokytkös by Noora Huhtanen
  5. Tarina yöstä, tarina yhdestä ainoasta päivästä by Sanja Malinen
  6. Mettä makeampaa by Mari Saario
  7. Torni by J. K. Miettinen
  8. Jäätynyt by Hanne Martelius
  9. Huuru by Katja Salminen
  10. Muuri by Petri Laine

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Snorfcon, here we come

Just got word that Snorfcon accommodation is arranged. If everything goes according to plans, Denmark calls in October.

Turku is back!

After a few years' pause, the mafia (regular or semi-regular sf fandom meetings) resumed in Turku on September 2nd. Local fen gathered in Bremer for drinks, food and fannish chatting.

Ben has some pictures of the evening. Funny how I somehow always manage to seem more tired and drunk in pictures than in real life (I hope).

It was agreed to meet again next month, and on the first Thursday on every month. Here's hoping the tradition will last!

* * *

PS Some people stubbornly insist that the fandom meetings in Turku – unlike all the rest of Finland – should not be called mafia. Fine, don't call them that. A "mafia" by any other name is still fine with me.

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This is my blog for occasional commenting on (mainly Finnish) fandom and fannish thing. Mainly this is for sharing pictures from fandom events with friends.

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