The Atonova event was held in the Culture Center in Turku on Saturday. The room was packed: there were about 40 persons present in the audience. Some of them were attending the STK writer’s course that same weekend, but quite a few came just to see the awards event.
The program started with a couple of presentations: Liisa Rantalaiho talked about “garden gnomes” (character development in sf) and Markku Soikkeli gave a presentation on religion and time travel in science fiction.
Three members of the Nova preliminary jury gave some insight into this year’s competition and some general feedback about the competition entries. After that (and a brief coffee break), it was time to announce the winners of the competition and the results of the Atorox award.
The first prize in the Nova competition went to Johanna Nordling for her short story, Hukkuneet äänet (“Drowned voices”). Unfortunately, the winner wasn’t there to pick up the prize.
There were a few strong contestants for the Atorox award this year (speculated on by for example Ben Roimola on Enhörningen web site and Petri Laine in Usva 2/2005). The award went to Tero Niemi and Anne Salminen for Matka Reformaan (“Journey to Reforma”), published in their short story collection Nimbus ja tähdet (and one of their stories I wished on my Usva coverage would get translated into English).
The traditional after-hours party was held in Cosmic Comic Café. The Atonova pub gatherings tend to be a bit different from normal findom meetings in that the discussions circle around writing and reading (Finnish) sf more than usual. Also, there are people present who don’t visit the normal events that often. My general feeling of the buzz was that most were satisfied with the results this year.
All in all, this year’s Atonova was very succesful. The presentations were professional and entertaining, and I found it very interesting to hear about the background and inside workings of the Nova competition. The place was just big enough to hold the event comfortably, and the fun fen made sure the event was entertaining well after the official part had ended.
Although I still feel that on those years there is a Finncon, the Atorox award should be presented there, if the organizers want to keep making the event better, the Atonova event has potential to develop into a minicon worth attending in the future.
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