Sunday, April 29, 2007

Reserve Your Finncon Accommodation Now

If you’re going to Finncon 2007 (and why wouldn’t you be?), it’s time to reserve your accommodation. There will be other seminars in Jyväskylä at the time of the convention, and there will be a shortage of available hotel capacity.

The convention has quotas and special rates at a couple of hotels (Amis, Rentukka & Hostel Laajari), ranging from 17 €/person/night upwards, but if you want to take advantage of those, you’ll have to act before May 20. Better yet, do it now in case the quotas will be filled by then!

There will also be low-cost accommodation organized by the convention (bring your own sleeping bag) for those who don’t want to spring for a hotel room.

More info available on the con site.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Finncon Wants You

The Jyväskylä Finncon is looking for volunteers. The largest sf event in Scandinavia is organized entirely with volunteer effort, and everybody is welcome to help.

The organizers promise everybody a lot of experience in organizing large events, an opportunity to meet Finnish and international fandom, and of course an invitation to the dead dog party at the end of the convention. There are also free t-shirts and lunches to those doing a lot of work for the con.

All the volunteers get thorough orientation and tasks suitable for their skills—previous experience is not required. If you are interested, contact the organizers and tell them about yourself.

Finncon 2007 is July 14–15; volunteers are needed on con days, and also already on Friday.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

ParaCon in Tampere in May

As the “Kupittaa section” of the sf writers association moved to Tampere, so did their minicon tradition (unfortunately for all of us in Turku). ParaCon is a parasite-themed minicon that will be held in the newly founded “Kaleva section” of FSFWA on May 26.

There will be a presentation of parasites in art, a new issue of the Kosmospenaali fanzine (that accepts parasite-themed texts until May 18), a movie, and discussion.

More information about the event available from Markku Soikkeli.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tove Jansson up for Eisners

Tove Jansson is one of the nominees for the 2007 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (the “comic book Oscars”) thanks to the Drawn & Quarterly hardback collection Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip Book One. The collection is up for the award in two categories, Best publication for a younger audience, and Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips.

The results will be announced on July 27 at the San Diego Comic Con. (Thanks to Jeff VanderMeer for the tip.)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

SF Researchers’ Meeting: Call for Papers

The Finnish researchers of the fantastic organize their 8th seminar at the Jyväskylä Finncon this July. The seminar will be held on Thursday and Friday (Jyly 13–14), and will conclude with a round table discussion on the themes on Friday.

From the press release:

Research material may include literature, movies, TV-series and any other cultural product in the wide field of science fiction and fantasy.

The aim of the seminar is to promote Finnish multidisciplinary research of science fiction and fantasy and to enhance the internationalization of the Finnish research network. Teachers of the seminar are researcher Irma Hirsjärvi (University of Jyväskylä), professor Frans Mäyrä (University of Tampere), professor Liisa Rantalaiho (University of Tampere) and researcher Markku Soikkeli (University of Tampere).

The deadline of an abstract of 500 words is 1.6.2007. It should be sent by e-mail, preferably in Word or RTF format to the address markku.soikkeli@uta.fi You will receive a message about the acceptance of your paper and further info by 15.6. For the seminar we wish to receive a presentation of 4–8 pages of your research. If the number of participants allows, papers can also be accepted outside the theme.

The organizers are the Finnish Network of Fantasy Researchers, Spekula, Research Centre for Contemporary Culture, and Finncon 2007.

Zombies Walk in Helsinki

Zombie Walk, where people dress up as the living dead and walk through a city, comes to Helsinki. On the same day as the Tähtivaeltaja Day minicon. Coincidence…?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Get Your Finncon T-shirt

SF/F robotFinncon 2008 is making a bunch of t-shirts to advertise the first time Finncon goes to Tampere. And you can order yours too!

The shirt features a sf/f robot by Pekka Manninen, and is available in black. (Well, purple, red, or dark green if you insist; black or red for the ladyfit model.) Available in many sizes, and in standard (10 €) or ladyfit (12 €). Postage not included—but the shirts can be delivered too if someone is going the right way (Åcon, for example).

The shirt can be ordered from Marianna Leikomaa.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Keep on Voting: GUFF

Johan in Helsinki, looking appreciativeNow that JETS has been taken care of (I hope you remembered to vote), it’s time to send another Nordic fan to the far corners of the Earth. The GUFF 2007 race is on.

GUFF (Going Under Fan Fund) was created in 1979 to provide funds to enable fans from Europe and Australasia to visit each other’s conventions. This year’s winner will visit  Convergence 2 in Melbourne in June.

I’ve voted for Johan Anglemark from Uppsala, and I suggest you do the same. Johan is a longtime fan who does the usual fanac (conrunning, fanzines, etc.). He is active in Nordic fandom, attending and organizing Snorfcons, going to cons, and making Finns feel welcome when visiting Swedish conventions.1) He’s well read, smart, and a great guy to sit down and have a beer and conversation with, be it sf books or any other of the numerous subjects he’s knowledgeable about. And one shouldn’t forget to mention he’s “charming, intelligent, and youthful”.2)

So send in your vote (details on the GUFF info page, as well as a PDF fanzine with interviews of all the candidates) by this Monday at midnight. And say hi to Johan when you see him—you can very likely do that at a Finncon.3) Also, another Swedish fan, Åka Davour, is running, and since she’s a very nice and intelligent person and an active fan, put her in the ballot too.

1) And he was one of Jukka’s nominators in the JETS race, so I think it’s only fair we Finns now support him.

2) But best not call him “attractive, godlike, and dazzling” so as not to embarrass him. (Did I get it right, Johan?)

3) Especially after this; now he just doesn’t dare not come…

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Send Jukkahoo to Japan

Jukka the interviewerIt’s time to vote in JETS, if you haven’t already!

The Japanese Expeditionary Travel Scholarship is a special fund created to assist a European science fiction fan, elected by popular vote of other European fans, to travel to and attend Nippon 2007, the Yokohama Worldcon. That fan should be Jukka Halme from Finland.

Why Jukka? He has been active in most aspects of fandom in Finland for a couple of decades: fanzines (writing for many Finnish zines, as well as illustrating and editing), conventions (attending and running—including chairing the largest-ever Finncon last year), PR (reading and recommending fiction for publication, speaking of sf to the public at large, editing sf fiction and non-fiction works), etc. He’s a true fan with a great interest in fandom, as well as an expert on sf literature.

Who can vote? Any European sf fan who has been active in fandom before 2005 (or who attended Interaction).

How to vote? Go to the JETS site and follow the instructions. Basically, you contribute to the fund (minimum 6 euros when you send the payment by PayPal), and send your vote via e-mail to the administrators. (Johan Anglemark has posted a text-version of the ballot on the Swedish fandom forum—you can copy it to your e-mail from there.)

Act now! The deadline for voting is this Friday (April 13) at midnight (GMT). So, send your vote in now! If you need help with PayPal, contact me and I’ll help you with that. No. Excuses. Vote. Now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Book Your Åcon Trip & Hotel

Åcon is approaching, and the deadline for travel and hotel booking is upon us. So, if you haven’t already, act now!

The deadline for the hotel room special offer is this Friday. Reserve your rooms now. Also, Friday is the last day to reserve the special-price cruise through the convention.

Åcon will be special—do not miss it!

Update: The deadline has been extended to Sunday.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Buffy Fans Gather

The Finnish fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer gather for the fifth time at FinBuffy on June 9 in Jyväskylä to meet, hang out, test their trivia skills, etc.. More info on the FinBuffy website.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Usva Competition Winners

The short story competition “Arjen outous” (“strangeness of the mundane”) winners have been announced. The competition was organized by the Usva e-zine, and it has four winners because each member of the jury picked an individual winner from the entries.

The winners are:

  • Rat Masterson, by Tuula Hautala (picked by Petri Laine)
  • Vetehinen, by Jussi Katajala (picked by Boris Hurtta)
  • Puitten Juuret, by Juri Nummelin (picked by Liisa Rantalaiho)
  • Pohjavirtoja, by Katariina Juntunen (picked by Petri Salin and Irma Hirsjärvi)

Congratulations to the winners! The winning stories plus other selected entries will be published in the Usva issue 2/2007.

Friday, April 06, 2007

April Mafia Thoughts

Quite a good turnout tonight, even if some of the regulars were missing. Some things I jotted down during the evening (some of these were actually jotted down by others, but I’m shamelessly stealing their bits):

  • Swedish horror stories always seem to follow the same pattern
  • we started to compare our roots, but stopped almost immediately, after both Kaisa and Harri told they can trace their lineage back to people that lived in Turku in the 16th century
  • politics (beyond Ben’s ridiculous fears) was discussed
  • hedgehogs rule—and swear
  • send Jukkahoo to Japan (and back, please)
  • Paris Hiltunen really is Hitler’s brain (don’t ask)
  • Mafia zine drank itself under the table

Tonight’s zine (drank itself under the table) contains the Finland part of Juliette Woods and Damien Warman’s GUFF report of their trip to Finland. A highly recommended piece of fanwriting (which you can get if you subscribe to Banana Wings also, or—if you live in Finland—in Spin sometime in the future too).

Also, we had a long discussion with Pasi about the future of the Turku fandom (and the Uni sf club in particular) which I hope will also be followed with some concrete results in the near future.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tähtivaeltaja Hits 100 Issues

Tähtivaeltaja, Finland’s premier sf zine, started appearing 25 years ago (as Time & Space for the first few issues), an the 100th issue just came out. That’s quite a feat, and what makes it even more amazing is that it’s been edited by the same guy, Toni Jerrman, basically the whole time!

Tähtivaeltaja has never been content to just tread water, but instead it’s been constantly improving and looking for new things (and telling all about them too). Its main emphasis is and has been science fiction, but horror, comics, rock music, and different subcultures have also been strongly represented. Nowadays the zine doesn’t contain nearly as many accounts of people drinking booze or Toni raving about crappy gigs of bands nobody has ever heard of1) as it used to, but the zine is no less interesting. Tähtivaeltaja is the place to look for for information about new and interesting writers, upcoming trends in science fiction and fantasy, and informed book reviews.

The 100th issue is no exception to the usual quality. There are interviews of Jeff VanderMeer and Warren Ellis, a translated short story by Alastair Reynolds, the winning entry for last year’s erotic short story competition by Mari Saario, and a comic by Petri Hiltunen—in addition to the normal mix of news, reviews and columns, of course. As an additional bonus, attached to the issue is a 40-page Jeff VanderMeer chapbook about the King Squid. Excellent reading, as always!

Congratulations to Toni for the milestone! I’m looking forward to reading the next 100 issues.

1 By the way, one of those unknown bands he used to go on and on about way back when was The 69 Eyes—which I think quite a few have since come to know…

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Tähtivaeltaja Award Nominees

The Tähtivaeltaja award is given annually to the best science fiction book published in Finland during the previous year—it can be a novel or a short story collection; a translation or an original Finnish work. Tähtivaeltaja-award is given by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society which is also behind the Tähtivaeltaja semiprozine. Of the sf books published the previous year five best books are selected for the short list. The winner is chosen by a jury of experts.

The nominees for the best science fiction book published in  Finland in 2006 are:

  • Steve Aylett: Atomi (Atom)
  • Stepan Chapman: Troikka (The Troika)
  • Benoît Duteurtre: Tyttö ja tupakka (La petite fille et la cigarette/The Little Girl and the Cigarette)
  • Michel Houellebecq: Mahdollinen saari (La possibilité d'une ile/The Possibility of an Island)
  • J. Pekka Mäkelä: Alshain (an original Finnish novel)

The winner will be announced in May at the Tähtivaeltaja day minicon.

(Thanks to Toni Jerrman for the info.)

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