Saturday, December 09, 2006
The second place was a tie between an old hand Harri Erkki and a new name Vesa-Pekka Herva. Third place was also a tie (and shouldn’t it really be fourth since two persons came second) between Petri Laine and J.K. Miettinen.
Anne has a report with some pictures.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
No, I don’t expect “true fantasy” from the event. But wouldn’t it be nice to actually have fantasy authors and illustrators design the thing, addressing the themes mentioned above…
Monday, November 27, 2006
Now doesn’t that look nice? That’s Hotel Adlon, where Åcon will be held. Åcon will be a hotel con, which means everything is located very conveniently under the same roof. Detailed accommodation info is now available on the convention site. You know you want to attend so go there right now and join us…
Friday, November 24, 2006
The first one is TSFS, whose party will be held tomorrow (November 25) at 6 o’clock at the TYY sauna (Rehtorinpellonkatu 4 A). There’ll be festivities, snacks, the “famous” ruffle and a sauna. This year’s theme is James Bond (quite a timing—Casino Royale opens here tonight). Quite how they plan to fit together a Bond-style casino atmosphere with gambling and martinis, a party for the whole family with children running around, Christmas stuff, and going to the sauna, I’m not sure, but I hope it works out.
Spektre will celebrate together with TYR on Friday December 1 at club Domus, starting at six. They have selected surrealism and dreams as the theme for the year. Surrealistic clothing is optional. There will be games, cookie eating contest, reading of dreams, and a present exchange—bring a small gift with you. It’s a potluck, so attendees should take something to eat with them. More info available from Maria Manki.
The Jyväskylä sf society 42 will have a Christmas party on December 16. No further information yet.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Didn’t stop the rest of us from having good and surprisingly sfnal conversation anyway. Somehow I don’t seem to be able to recall much of it afterwards (no, beer doesn’t have everything to do with that, thankyouverymuch), but there were books… and movies… and conventions… and, for some strange reason, a lot of talk about James Bond. (Which, by the way, is the theme of the Turku Christmas party on Saturday the 25th.)
The mafia zine was very short this time, due to the fact that I had too much stuff to write about (yes, there is a certain logic buried under that sentence). Main topic was a commentary on the “realist fantasy” literary manifesto of late in the Finnish fandom circles. Maybe I’ll write something about that here also (later).
Necrocomicon is in two days.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I was impressed with how knowledgeable Finnish fantasy fans were and how seriously they took books and the authors they enjoyed. I have rarely if ever been confronted by readers who knew so much about what they loved.Along with the column there are also three interviews conducted in Finland. So, go read Jeff’s words and listen to Jukka Halme, Toni Jerrman and Niko Aula (of Loki books) talk about sf.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The event is held at S-Osis (Rehtorinpellonkatu 6) and the doors open at 10 (in the morning, that is, if you can believe any comics artists are up by then). The comics-themed evening party starts at 8 at the same location; there’s a cover charge of 2 euros for those coming in after that. There will be live music, performed by Veltto Virtanen, Verde, Freakenstein, and Jumalan ruoska.
Update: If you want to get a head start, there will be pre-con-festivities on Friday night at the Cosmic Comic Café. (The comics club has an extra meeting at the same place on Thursday also, but the readers of this blog will be at the sf mafia at Bremer then—right?)
Thursday, October 26, 2006
The speakers are:
- 14:00 Leena Krohn talks about what you need fantasy for
- 14:40 Steve Aylett (interviewed by Iida Simes)
- 15:00 New weird, surrealism, magic realism; a panel discussion on current fantasy trends (Jan Hlinovsky, Hannu Blommila, Jukka Halme, Elli Leppä, Juha-Pekka Koskinen)
- 15:40 the “Kuvastaja” award for best Finnish fantasy book of the year
- 15:50 Pasi Jääskeläinen (interviewed by Kanerva Eskola)
- 16:10 Anu Holopainen (interviewed by Aleksi Kuutio)
- 16:30 J. Pekka Mäkelä (interviewed by Toni Jerrman)
- 16:50 Vesa Sisättö talks about Finnish science fiction and fantasy literature
- 17:20 How to get published; a panel discussion (Jukka Halme, Anne Leinonen, Tuomas Sorjamaa, Kimmo Lehtonen)
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Arrived in Sweden very early in the morning.Shopped at Comics Heaven and Sf Bokhandeln, and ate a very nice pub lunch.
Imagicon is well organized for a Swedish convention. Everything was in place, program items start on time, and there even are a con newsletter and helpful signs outside pointing the way to the con site.
GoH sightings. Joe Haldeman stopped being conforming after he realized people weren't going to throw hand grenades at him for being different any more. Geoff Ryman wanted to talk about sex because he thought it would be more interesting than talking about writing.
The current panelists are talking very quietly, so I'm sitting in the back, blogging instead.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
The last couple of years, the Swecon delegation from Finland has been pretty much Ben, Jukka & me (Ben and Jukka were there before that, too). We’ve had fun—and also told others here so. Maybe partly because of that, and no doubt because the Swedes came to Finncon in force this year and had a visible Swecon presence, there are now thirteen Finns going to Imagicon. That’s right, count them, thirteen! That’s quite a leap from three. The Nordic fandom is coming together, and I’m very excited about that.
See you in Stockholm!
Thursday, October 05, 2006
- zombie lemons are scary to some
- Åcon will be great and have many participants; we will probably have to fend off all the people wanting to join at the door; this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t join up right now, though
- people have strange experiences with the customs office, having tried to bring things like lightsabers or indian chief head gear into the country
- it can pay to pose as a royalty when traveling abroad (even a Finnish royalty)
- understanding the thing about the 30 euro bills can be difficult
- Sarasvatin miekka (the jolly sword and sorcery romp)
- Sarasvatin keikka (the noir crime story in the style of Donald Westlake)
- Sarasvati breikkaa (the music industry–themed YA novel)
- Sarasvatilla leikkaa (the detective story)
- Sarasvati meikkaa (the chic lit book)
- Sairas vaatii Kreikkaan (the gripping drama)
- Sarasvuo feikkaa (the cynical analysis of trendy business world)
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
So come to Bar Bremer at six to swap stories about the loot from the Book Fair, inquire about Åcon, ask about going to Swecon, or just talk about whatever else comes to mind!
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Åcon’s guest of honor will be Hal Duncan, a British author whose debut novel Vellum has gotten quite a bit of attention in the sf circles. His second novel (and the other half of “The Book of All Hours”), Ink, will be published in February. Mr. Duncan should prove a very interesting guest to meet, I think.
The membership fee of Åcon is 20 €. All paid members can join the con info and debate e-mail list (if they want) and participate in planning the convention, so it pays to pay up early (more details on how to do this to be announced quite soon, hopefully). The con web site will also be up soon.
The Åcon committee is Eemeli Aro (chair), Jukka Halme, Ben Roimola and myself.
Update 2006-10-05: Added link to the con web site.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
The speaker schedule at the sf booth is:
- 14:00 Sari Peltoniemi
- 15:00 Anne Leinonen
- 11:00 Anne Leinonen
- 11:30 Anu Holopainen
- 13:00 J. Pekka Mäkelä
- A vampire with feelings (Outi Hakola)
- The vampire: the lovely Anti-Christ (Markku Soikkeli)
- Vampires and sexuality (Tanja Sihvonen)
- The borrowed qualities of vampires in RPGs (J. Tuomas Harviainen)
Update: A few of us will be gathering at the Brewery Restaurant Koulu on Saturday evening at 7 for dinner and drinks. If you’d like to join us, contact me (phone 040 861 9326).
The con site is the student house of the Tampere university (Kauppakatu 10), and the doors open at 16:30.
(Unfortunately, the organizers scheduled the convention against another event, the Turku Book Fair.)
Friday, September 08, 2006
Finncon was remembered fondly (some memories published in the mafia fanzine too). Ideas for the Turku book fair were thrown in the air; some will probably come to fruition. Talk about Swecon (a couple of potential members) and Åcon (some new members for that too). Some wild ideas for future mafia events as well—we’ll see if anything comes out of that.
All in all a bit different evening, but a succesful one, I’d say.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
There will be fanzines: Turu Mafia Zine has some Finncon memoirs, and if you missed my one shot “FCZ” at Finncon and would like to have it, here’s your chance for that too.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
There were many awards given out during Finncon. I’ve already blogged about the Atorox award (won by Jenny Kangasvuo), as well as the Tähtivaeltaja award that went to Risto Isomäki. Other awards at the con were:
- the Kosmoskynä award was given to Liisa Rantalaiho; this life achievement award is given by the Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association in recognition of advancing Finnish science fiction literature.
- first price in the Nova short story competition went to Mari Saario for her story Keveät (“The Light Ones”). Timo Saarto was second, and Tiina Raevaara came third.
- Mari Saario also took the first prize in the Hekuma contest for writing erotic stories with a short story called Sateenkaari 2256 (“Rainbow 2256”). In this competition, M.G. Soikkeli was in the second place, and the third prize went to Jenny Kangasvuo, who also won the Atorox. It seems it’s not lonely at the top after all, but there is room for at least two.
- The Espoo science fiction society ESC announced an award for “the Espoo sf act of the year,” which was given to Vesa Sisättö
- The Jet-Ace Logan Appreciation Society named the plot in the King Kong comic book, issues 7 and 8, as the most ridiculous way to conquer the Earth (which includes giant sea creatures and mechanical animals). Also, the most stupefying way to save the Earth was in the Fifth Element, where Bruce Willis activates Milla Jovovitch by kissing her
Thursday, August 24, 2006
There was some programming, but not too much to get in the way. A couple of awards were given by The Espoo science fiction society ESC (the award is the big black gorilla, in the picture above second from the right) and the Jet Ace Logan Appreciation Society (shown below).
A couple of performances followed. Anne Leinonen and Katja Salminen read sample entries from the Hekuma erotic writing contest. There were a couple of small gems in the selection.
The Filk Freaks from Tampere had prepared customized filks for the guests of honor. Especially the first one about Ambergris and the Festival had the audience in stitches.
Eemeli Aro, a relatively recent but admirably energetic addition to the Finnish fandom, performed a mad, but funny “documentary” about science fiction fans.
A great idea (that I hope we won’t see at every con from now on) was the “mad scientist laugh contest”. I think “hysterical” describes the event very well, and some of these mad scientist–wannabes were downright scary!
People ate, drank and were merry, for they knew that tomorrow they would still have another day of Finncon left. It’s a good thing it was a very short distance from the restaurant to our hotel…
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Saturday was just packed. I went to the con site before the doors were opened to help set up the fandom table, and the site was already hot. This didn’t bode well.
The opening ceremonies. The usual stuff. Organizers talking, usually introducing the guests and thanking a lot of people. Wishing everybody a good convention, if they’re feeling especially generous. They had all that, with the Finncon head honcho Jukka Halme and the Animecon representative Kyuu Eturautti doing the talking. In addition, there were some very funny translations appearing on the screen behind them.
The two panels I had agreed to do were back-to-back right after the ceremonies. First, we talked about fanzines with Anne Leinonen moderating and Pasi Karppanen and Ben Roimola also participating. I thought we did pretty well, and got some discussion going (Ben of course was an easy target with stupid ideas like there being too many fanzines already). I produced and gave out a fanzine called FCZ, made specially for the occasion, that had some background on fanzines, short articles on zine writing by Anne and Jukka Laajarinne, plus a brief look at Finnish fanzines and an even more brief mention of a couple of foreign zines.
The other panel was about foreign cons, how they differ from Finnish ones, and why everyone should go to them, with Cheryl Morgan (moderating), Johan Anglemark and Fionna O’Sullivan. That went quite ok also, I thought, even if most of the panel was Cheryl talking about her extensive knowledge about different conventions around the world (which I think was the best way to do the item anyway). In the end, I’m still not sure we really got anybody interested in going to a con abroad. Unfortunately.
After the panels, I felt for a break, so I headed to the bar, and sat there for a while with Harri (another fan from Turku), talking with many people from several countries. A few beers were just the thing before getting on with the convention. The hallways were much too crowded, so the order of the day was either watching the program items or sitting in the bar (not that I’m complaining about that—not much, anyway).
While GoH Jeff VanderMeer was reading there was also in another room what I was told was easily one of the best panels of the day, Kulttuurit kohtaavat (“The clash of cultures”). But VanderMeer reading excerpts of his texts and answering questions from the audience was extremely entertaining, so I don’t regret going to see that instead.
By the way, there was also an auction with a twist held earlier in the same room: you could bid either to own the item, or to have it destroyed. You can see some of the results on the floor all around Jeff…
I don’t think I’ve been to this many program items at a Finncon in years. But there just were so many promising-sounding items, with interesting people on them. One such panel was “Is Ansible More Than Just an Anagram for Lesbian?” It was supposed to be about the best science fiction concepts and ideas, and trying to imagine more of them for the future. Unfortunately, it didn’t exactly stay on topic, but concentrated on science fiction inventions slowly becoming reality instead. Not a bad discussion on that, though. Hannu Rajaniemi got more than his share of questions, being the resident scientist of the panel.
After a quick revisit at the bar (I don’t think I missed anything really important this time, and had a great conversation with Jeff VanderMeer and his wife Ann there, which beat any official programming they had available) there was one of those items I’d especially waited for: the “SF/F Deadly Sins” panel with GoHs Justina Robson and Jeff VanderMeer, plus Cheryl Morgan and Stepan Chapman.
The panel didn’t disappoint, it was lively and all participants witty and funny. No grand truths were revealed, but the panelists themselves said they’d decided to play if for laughs, and they got them. On several occasions.
After seeing so many panels, I started noticing some program-fatigue. Or maybe it was just that the next item I peeked at, “the master class with the late celebrities,” just wasn’t very funny. Mike Pohjola doing his Jay Leno/Cryptkeeper bit on the stage was ok, but I left after a little while listening to him talking to Kummisetä (funny as he usually may be) “channeling Tolkien”. If doing a talk show is difficult, doing a mock–talk show that actually is funny is probably much harder, and this one just didn’t work very well, I’m afraid.
There were program items still going on, but the day had been hot and humid (especially so inside the Paasitorni building), so it was time to skip the rest of them and head back to the hotel for a shower before the evening party. Of the items I missed, I heard some very good things about the Slash/Fanfic panel, moderated by Emma London. Might have been worth watching, even though I have very little interest in fanfic, and even less for slash fanfic. More on the evening later.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
(A note to the Risingshadow folks: when you put up good articles like this, please mention the writer!)
This is suddenly sounding a lot better than a Star Trek parody full of engineering student humor.
Monday, August 21, 2006
These are the top ten short stories from last year, voted by the Finnish fandom:
- Jenny Kangasvuo: Kaikessa lihassa on tahto (Portti 2/05)
- Jenny Kangasvuo: Aalto nahan alla (Portti 4/05)
- Tero Niemi & Anne Salminen: Eräitä kevätpäiviä, eli Taivaallisen laatikon tapaus (Usva 2/05)
- Hannu Rajaniemi: Isännän ääni (Usva 3/05)
- Johanna Sinisalo: Grande Randonnée (Kädettömät kuninkaat ja muita häiritseviä tarinoita)
- Anne Leinonen: Mestariseppä (Portti 1/05)
- Natalia Laurila: Meren valtiatar (Portti 1/05)
- Boris Hurtta: Tuulinen syksy (Portti 1/05)
- Petri Salin: Talviyön uni (Finnzine 2/05)
- Boris Hurtta: Jäätalvi (Usva 1/05)
Saturday, August 19, 2006
The novel is an ecological thriller that serves as a warning of what could happen if the current trends aren’t reversed.
The award was decided by a jury that included Jukka Halme, Toni Jerrman, Anne Leinonen and Vesa Sisättö.
Friday, August 18, 2006
We had some surprise guests for the first part of the tour: the honored guests VanderMeers and Robson joined us for the walk to Paasitorni and a tour of the con site.
First stop: the Kaisaniemi park.
Sari leading the group to the restaurant Kaisaniemi.
—It’s only a model.
—Shh! Besides, it can’t be, because we went inside.
The place was still relatively quiet.
There was a special treat for the tour: we got to go up to the tower, and enjoy the view of Helsinki from there.
And it was pretty.
Sari Polvinen, our tour guide, kept us amused with historical facts and anecdotes about Helsinki.
Just a little parade we arranged in honor of our friends from abroad.
Finncon takes its security seriously, make no mistake!
The Helsinki Cathedral.
We took the ferry to Suomenlinna island, where we had a short tour of the former fortress, and then had lunch at the brewery restaurant there.
Some participants had dropped off along the way, but most made it to Suomenlinna and back to the mainland again—even after some very curious loitering (which to the untrained eye might well have looked like a mad dash to make it to an earlier boat).
We took another route back to the city center, and ended the tour there. People went on their separate ways to bookshopping, to the hotel, or just wondering around on their own. Olav, Anders and I decided to have a beer on a nearby outside pub.
Really big thanks to the local guides Sari and Otto who made the tour a success with their knowledge and personal anecdotes! I had fun and hope to do a tour like this in another place at some future con too!
After a couple of hours, we arrived at Paasitorni, unloaded the boxes, picked up Jukkahoo and headed towards the Otaniemi sauna by the sea where the guests of honor would be arriving later in the afternoon (we’d promised to help Jukka with the arrangements). Once we got there, I took to warming up the sauna; gophers brought refreshments and other necessities, and Jukka continued what I understood he’d pretty much been doing for the past few days: talking on his phone, making sure everything was progressing smoothly.
Stepan and Kia Chapman, guests of the con, were the first to arrive. After a while, Eemeli brought in the guests of honor, Jeff VanderMeer with his wife Ann, Justina Robson and Rickard Berghorn. A moment later, Ipa arrived with another foreign guest, Cheryl Morgan.
Jeff VanderMeer and Justina Robson receiving their “goodie bags”.
Hanging around, waiting for the sauna to get warm.
What would a sauna be without the ritual of barbequing sausages?
Behold the sacred sausage!
After everyone had had their chance to relax in a hot, steamy room, the guests took off to dinner. We quickly tidied the place up and headed for St Urho’s Pub where the Helsinki fandom biweekly pub meeting was just beginning.
It was pretty hot, crowded and noisy in the pub—unless you asked the locals who said it was unusually quiet (at least earlier in the evening), but I think everyone got a seat, at least for a while. People from other cities and some from Sweden started arriving, and the guests joined the crowd after their dinner.
People at St Urho’s Pub.
I left relatively early, because I was staying with friends, and didn’t want to arrive too late at my hosts’ place (where we stayed up ridiculously late, talking this and that, and drinking some very fine 18-year-old islay malt, but that’s another story), but from what I gathered everyone had a very good time at Urkki.
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