Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Turku Christmas Party, Forum, Finncon

The Turku sf society will organize a Christmas party on Thursday this week (December 10). The place is the TYY sauna (at Yo-talo), the party starts at six. There will be some food, drink, programming (quiz, ruffle, etc.), and a sauna. There was information about this on the TSFS web site, but it has been removed for some reason (Update: it’s back now). The info is available on their Google calendar however so you can find the details there.

The Terrakoti societies have opened a joint forum where you can discuss things about the societies (no RSS feeds that I could find, though, so following it would require remembering to visit the forum at least for now). It also has a subforum related to Finncon 2011 matters (including a discussion about potential GoHs—requires registering though).

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Turku This Week

The last pub meeting of the year is this Thursday, Kultainen Hirvi at 6. Everybody who wishes to talk sf over a beer (or a glass of wine, or juice) is welcome!

Things to talk about: where to have the pub meetings next year; also agreeing on the next sfnal lunch meeting. Plus a new issue of my fanzine, free for all who show up.

There’s now a Facebook group for all who wish to be informed of these informal sf gatherings in the Turku area (mafia meetings, lunches, etc.). Join the “Turun mafia” group if you’re interested!

On Friday, the Turku University sf club will arrange a “Little Christmas” party at Terrakoti. Starts at 5, non-alcoholic punch is on the house. Bring your own drinks, food, and holiday cheer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Writing About Writing

The “Kirjoita kirjoittamisesta” writing competition (“Write about writing”) results have been announced. The competition had two categories, short stories and columns.

The short story category had a total of four winners: Kirjoituskilpailu (“Writing competition”, a story about two neighbors who challenge each other to a writing competition) by Mira Karppelin, Todellinen kirjoittaminen (“True writing”, a futuristic tale of a world where the writer and the writing equipment have merged) by Jaana Lehtiö, Luuranko (“Skeleton”, a Poe-style pastiche about a writer) by Klaus Ollikainen, and Niin oli kirjoitettu (“So it was written”, a short story about a young man who, while writing an essay about a famous writer, starts writing poetry to impress the opposite sex.) by Niko Peltonen.

The column category winner was Vesa A. Korhonen for his text, Kolumnin kirjoittamisen sietämätön keveys (“The unbearable lightness of writing a column”, a humoristic pondering on writing a good column).

While I think the idea for the competition was a good one, especially the winner of the non-fiction category sounds a bit off-putting. Columns about writing columns almost always tend to be irritating navel gazing with no substance, and the awful, clichéd title doesn’t make things any better. That said, since the text was deemed the best by the judges, I have to admit I look forward to reading it and having my preconceptions proved wrong!

The competition was organized by the Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association and the Usva web zine. The judges were Kosmoskynä editor Pasi Karppanen and Usva Editor Anne Leinonen. The winners were awarded cash prizes of 50 euros, and the texts will be published in future issues of Kosmoskynä and Usva.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Iron Sky Gets British Stealth Money

On their blog the good folks behind Star Wreck and Iron Sky let us know the British Stealth Media Group will be handling the world sales of Iron Sky so the guys making the movie can concentrate on, well, making the movie. Currently there are distribution deals in place for Finland, UK, Norway and Poland. Stealth will also be funding the film with a sum between a half million and one million euros. This brings the budget over 5 million euros, making it one of the most expensive Finnish film productions. Quite a leap from making Star Wreck on a shoestring budget!

Two Fantasy Books Nominated for Finlandia Junior

The nominees for the Finlandia Junior award for best Finnish children’s or YA book have been announced. Two of the nominees are fantastic fiction: Omenmean vallanhaltija (“The ruler of Omenmea”) by Siiri Enoranta tells a tale of morality, friendship, and a dangerous trip on a six-legged steed. Arra. Legender från Lavora (“Arra. Legends from Lavora”) by Maria Turtschaninoff is a story of a young girl that can only speak with water, fire, and wind, who learns to control the nature and finds out that power can be abused.

The Finlandia Junior award comes with a cash prize of 30 000 euros. The winner will be announced on November 24.

Pub Meeting on Thursday

The second-to-last pub meeting of the year is tomorrow, in Kultainen Hirvi at six. Come meet other fen in the Turku area and discuss all things sf over a beer (or cider, or soda, or coffee)!

There will be fanzines and if you’re interested to see what a Worldcon program book looks like, I’ll bring the latest one over. There will also be a new issue of my free fanzine. This issue contains news and reports of recent and upcoming fandom events, as well as book reviews, the start of a fictional travel guide, plus an excellent article about the movie District 9. You get a copy by showing up.

Kuvastaja Award 2009

This is a bit late, but better late than never, I guess. The 2009 Kuvastaja award for the best Finnish fantasy book was announced October 25 at the Helsinki book fair. The winner is Nainen ja Kuningas (“The Womand and The King”) by Anni Nupponen. The jury lauded the original, beautiful language of the book and the colorful world the story is set in. The story handles the theme of responsibility that comes with power and asks if you can avoid it by declining the power.

This was the first time a self-published book has won the award. The availability of the book is not good, but the Vaskikirjat small press has announced their intention of bringing the winner back in print.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Blood for TSFS

The Turku Science Fiction Society today selected a new board for the next year. The new chairman of the society is Milla Aalto, and with her on the board are Julia Tamminen, Fanny Viitaharju, Aleksi Laine, Pasi Karppanen, Kari Pahula, Leila Paananen, Ida Busk, Camilla Kantola, and Antti Oksanen.

The society had recently announced a problem with finding new active fen, but the situation is clearly improving. There are many new names in the board, and a few of the new people are young (some still in high school) and new to fandom. Hopefully this means a lot of new ideas and enthusiasm for the society (but not at the expense of ignoring those who have been active for a longer time) for years to come. Welcome to fandom!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Swecon Is Go

We’re in Stockholm for Imagicon 2, this year’s Swecon. There is a good-sized delegation of Finns here (12, plus 2 children), including a couple of first timers which is always great. The ferry trip was fun as usual, and there was time in Stockholm for a really thorough breakfast, some shopping (did manage to do almost no impulse shopping at SF bokhandeln and Comics Heaven, and discovered that Uppsala’s famous English Bookshop now has a store in Stockholm as well), and a really nice Swedish meal at a pub. Then it was time to go see the convention for a few hours, although arriving in Sweden at way too early an hour (wakeup call at 5:30) took its toll on the Friday evening festivities.

Imagicon seemed again to have a better handle on organizing things than the average Swecon—there even were guide signs from the metro station to the local library/culture center where the convention is held. Everything was in place when we arrived, registration went smoothly and the printed program booklet and badges awaited the members.

Imagicon 2, a view from the hallway. Tables with lots of books for sale

The culture center is not very big but is quite well suited for hosting a small, cozy convention. There are a couple of rooms for programming, a hallway where the vendors are (not many of those, the Alvarfondet book sales tables take up most of the space) and there’s also a cafe/bar that offers some vegetarian dishes and a very attractively priced selection of beers (some ciders too).

Six persons sitting around a round table drinking beer and talking

There was some programming on the first day, but I didn’t see much of it; instead the evening was well spent meeting friends and chatting in the bar. Today I plan to go see at least the GoH speeches and interviews, and there were a couple of other program items too that seemed interesting. Plus also Jukka’s “Never mind the Buzzaldrins” quiz, lifted from Åcon, and is of course a must. The beer is not expensive and the books sold at the con are even cheaper, so this looks to be shaping into a great little convention.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Åcon Hotel Prizes Announced

The Åcon 4 hotel info page has been updated with this year’s prices and info on room reservation. The prices are about the same as before (150 €/person for three nights in a double room, with discounts for an extra person or for staying just for two nights).

This year there is also a cheaper accommodation alternative officially available, at the hostel-style building next door (with breakfast at the Adlon still included). I suspect these will go quickly, so if you want to attend the most fun convention in the Nordic, but save some money, act fast!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sf Comics Antho Looking for Submissions

The Turku Comics Society’s comics anthology for next year fill feature science fiction as its theme. The publisher is looking for sf comics, 1–8 pages long, b&w. Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2010.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Book Fair And Turku Thoughts

The Turku International Book Fair was this weekend and, as usual, much of it was spent meeting friends and talking about different fandom-related things.

The Turku science fiction societies’ display booth (it used to be the “Finnish science fiction” booth, but this year just the local societies were invited) looked very nice. It was at a new location (in the hall with the second-hand book stores, where it felt, at least to me, more at home than in the big hall with the publishers, book stores, etc.) and very well organized. There weren’t too many things there so everything was on display where you could actually read the info posters and browse the products. And the sofa plus table were great, creating a cozy space to sit down for a moment, rest, and talk to people.

I don’t think I’ve ever spent so little time browsing the book stores as this year (I mainly grabbed a few small press books here and there and skipped the rest), but there seemed to be so much to do on the one day I spent at the fair this year, and I kept bumping into people I knew and stopping for a chat. This year I was also involved in one program item: a panel discussion about the future of books I put together. We discussed mainly e-books and their impact on writing, publishing, and reading books. The discussion went very well and we had a few positive comments from the audience afterwards. There was also considerable interest in the e-book readers we bought with us: after the discussion many people came to see and try them out and ask many questions.

The book fair always brings friends from across the country to Turku, and this year was no exception. Suffice it to say that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights were spent eating well, smoffing (hopefully something concrete will follow in the near future), and drinking bheer. Thanks everybody for the great company, you know who you are!

A meeting of the Finncon association was held on Saturday, where the agenda was to iron out some bugs found in the association’s rules and make some modifications to accommodate things that were discovered not to work so well. I think we have it now; there will be a second meeting in December where the new rules will (hopefully) be ratified.

On Saturday there was a big town hall–style meeting about the future of the different sf societies in Turku. Three societies were represented: TSFS, The Turku University sf club, and the Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association. The societies have a problem with active members: too few people are doing too much, and they are getting burnt out. There were many members of the active fandom from Turku and other cities too, and I think a lot of good discussion was had.

In my opinion it seemed the local societies had realized the problem very well and had quite rational a perspective on it—a lot of the time it seemed others were commenting and suggesting things the actives themselves already knew to be true. But perhaps it sometimes helps to have somebody “from the outside” say things out loud.

Maybe the biggest issue that was singled out was that quite a few people were active in many societies at the same time. It is of course always easiest to recruit new people from friends that are already active, but this creates two problems that were discussed: first, if you’re active in two or three societies, it often means you’re able to only give half or one third to those activities each, thus lessening the amount of actives they have (providing that a replacement could have been found to take care of some of the tasks). Admittedly, one third of a very active person’s effort can be a lot, but even in those cases the years tend to add up and the person might gafiate a lot sooner because all the activities just require too much time and energy. The second problem is that when different societies are doing projects together, if you have a few people who are active in all of them, there’s a danger that they will just try to work things out between themselves and forget to tell the others, thus accidentally shutting out even those who are active in only one society.

One of the things many people pointed out was that since this was a meeting of the Turku societies, the FSFWA shouldn’t have been there in the first place since it is supposed to be a national association. In recent years, it has gravitated more and more towards Turku, found new actives there and organized a lot of events, but at some cost of activities elsewhere. It was recommended that for the next year the association will concentrate on extending its reach outside Turku and finding actives in other cities. That would make it easier to function on the national level and also would tax less the people in Turku. A very good first sign of this is that the association’s meeting where next year’s things will be decided will be held outside of Turku (October 24 in Helsinki).

The role of different societies (besides FSFWA) was also discussed and I think there were many good points about each finding their own focus and concentrating better on it. You can still do cooperation where advantageous, of course, but by finding “your own thing” the different societies might better attract different kinds of people to their ranks.

A lot was talked about communication and distribution of information. This seems to be one of the biggest problems with the societies. People hang out together and talk about stuff, but they are lacking official channels and information isn’t forwarded to all people (this is something that has also popped out in conversation several times earlier, even concerning communication within the board of one society, not just between different societies). I hope the actives found at least some suggestions useful and are able to do something about this—they seemed very aware of the problem, so the will to fix it will hopefully also be found.

Another part of communication that was criticized (and rightly so) by the “ordinary” members was informing the members and the public about the dealings of the societies. There isn’t a lot of information about what the board members are doing, and the e-mail lists are too silent. (A good example was the starting time of the meeting: it apparently was changed in face-to-face planning between local people, but nobody else planning to attend wasn’t informed until the new time almost by accident came up in e-mail conversation a couple of days earlier.) This is something I’ve seen also on the Finncon 2011 planning list: there is virtually no traffic there so if you don’t hang out at the club house it’s very difficult to participate. There was talk about some upcoming fancy information portal, but what it will be and when it will materialize remains to be seen. In the meantime, it was suggested the e-mail lists be used more, but this is one of the things I don’t think very likely to happen.

All in all I think the meeting was productive. One of the biggest fears beforehand, that there won’t be enough people to form the boards of all the societies next year, was in my opinion alleviated effectively: there seemed to be some interest in the matter and I don’t think this will be a big problem if the current boards don’t shut out the people willing to participate. And besides, the TSFS “emergency plan B” didn’t actually sound half bad—something along those lines should perhaps be considered for promoting into part of a working plan A. It even generated some outside interest of participation after the meeting.

I think calling together this open meeting to discuss things was an excellent idea. The critical next step is to think hard about all that was said and be prepared to actually effect change, even if it means doing things a bit differently from what comes naturally to you. I really hope we will see this happen!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Åcon Announces Geoff Ryman as GoH

Closeup of Geoff Ryman speaking into the microphoneÅcon 4 has announced their Guest of Honor is British author Geoff Ryman. This is very good news—Ryman is an excellent writer (Air is one of the best books I’ve read in years) and also a wonderful and engaging speaker. As Åcons tend to be very fun conventions where it’s extremely easy to meet and chat not only with other fen, but also the guest, this is a convention you don’t want to miss!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Star Wreck on Amazon

The Finnish fan-made Star Trek (and B5) spoof Star Wreck is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. (Of course the movie was originally distributed as a Creative Commons–licensed download, so you can also find it on many download sites and get it for free, but if you want to support the creators and maybe have a sequel some day, buy the dvd.)

My feelings about the product itself are somewhat mixed, but I still think it’s a wonderful example of what a bunch of dedicated fans can do, and I know many people who like the movie very much, so I recommend checking it out for yourself.

October Mafia

The October meeting is next week (Thursday October 1). Jaana Gustafsson has kindly offered to host the event, so it will be held at her house (Vanha Hämeentie 102). You can get there with bus nr 28; get off at the Kotimäenkatu stop, the yellow house opposite the bus stop.

Jaana and Wenla have promised to bake something to eat, and there will be coffee and tea. Bring your own drinks, and you can also bring things to eat.

Thanks for Jaana and Wenla for having us, see you there!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thesis on Pullman in Tampere

The comparative literature licentiate thesis of Maria Ihonen, MA, on “Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials as a fantastic, possible, and intertextual world” will be examined on Thursday, September 24 at the University of Tampere (details behind the link, in Finnish).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hannu Rajaniemi in StarShipSofa

The very enjoyable science fiction podcast StarShipSofa features in its “Aural Delights” No 98 issue (September 2) the short story His Master’s Voice by Hannu Rajaniemi. Recommended!

The issue also has a poem, an opinion piece about supporting zines, and a piece of flash fiction.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Tamfan 2009

Tamfan, the fantasy minicon in Tampere, will be organized this year on Saturday, September 26 at the old library building in Tampere. This year the GoH is Anu Holopainen. The event will have some programming, a vendors room, a second hand sf sale, a dinner at the Viking restaurant Harald and an after party at the pub Kahdet Kasvot.

Tamfan is organized by the Smial Morel. The program starts at noon; there is no membership fee.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Rise of Women

There’s been a lot of discussion about women in the world of written sf (and especially the lack of books by women in the Hugo awards). Cheryl Morgan has written about this on several occasions, and on a comment on her blog Ipa asked about the rise of women in the Finnish sf competitions.

Out of curiosity, I compiled some data about the two main Finnish sf short story competitions (Portti and Nova), and the Atorox award. I have to say I was a bit surprised by the results.

Chart of award data distribution between men and women in Atorox, Portti and Nova
The Winners and top 3 placements by men and women for three major Finnish sf awards. “m” and “w” indicate the winner, “t3m” and “t3w” how many men and women were in the top 3.

The Atorox Award

Awarded annually to the best Finnish sf short story published the previous year. Popular award (voted by juries of sf societies, but pretty much anybody interested can vote). Awarded since 1983.

I had a gut feeling that the Atorox winners have been divided quite equally between men and women. And the data supports this: the prize has been won by a man 10 times and by a woman 14 times. (Two times a man/woman team has won, and once the winner was a pseudonym who hasn’t chosen to publicly reveal their identity, so I’ve marked them as “unknown”.) But looking at the distribution of these wins over time there is a clear trend towards women: during the last ten years, a man has won the Atorox only once, and that was ten years ago (the two team wins are also from the previous years, though).

Even more revealing is looking at the top 3, which I think tells a bit more about the general situation than just the winners. Overall, men have placed 44 times in the top three in the Atorox awards, and women 34 times (counting a team win and also a tie as ½ places). When looking at the first ten years of the award, only once were there more women in top three than men (and that one was Johanna Sinisalo finishing first, second and third with her short stories, so that tells more of her excellence than the abundance of women writing stories that year). The latest ten years show a different picture: only in 2000 there were more men than women in the top three, from 2001 to 2005 men and women were tied, and since 2006 there have been more women than men in the Atorox top 3.

Portti Competition

The Portti zine has organized a short story competition since 1986. I don't have full data available, so I’ve only looked at the winners. There too I see a trend: in the early years the competition was dominated by men, but lately women have been stronger (since 2003 four wins by a woman, only two by a man).

The Portti competition is juried, and the jury doesn’t know the name of the writer when reading the stories, so there shouldn’t be any bias based on name recognition in the results. If memory server, the jury stayed much the same in the early years, but went through some changes in the early 2000s—if one believes men and women write different types of stories, one could of course say the new jurors prefer stories written by women and this explains at least a part of the balance shift towards women winners.

Nova Competition

Another juried short story competition is Nova, organized by the FSFWA and TSFS. Nova is a much newer competition (it started in 2000) and is targeted at new writers. Many of the Nova winners have since had success in other competitions and awards as well, including this year’s Atorox winner Mari Saario and the 2007 winner Jenny Kangasvuo.

The Nova competition has been criticized in some circles (at least half-jokingly) as a “women’s competition” where you can only succeed by writing feminist, sentimental fantasy where women are the center of the story. I haven’t paid much attention to these opinions (which often seem to be complaints about, “they don’t like my stories even though they are great” in disguise), but looking at the Nova statistics, the competition has never been won by a man (once there was a tie for the winner), and only twice has the top three not had a majority of women.

At first this might be seen as supporting the conspiracy theory, but on the other hand, 1) the jury doesn’t know who the writers are when judging the texts, so there isn’t a knowing conspiracy to award women, 2) the jury has changed over the years many times so it isn’t the matter of the same people always awarding similar texts, and 3) the Nova competition isn’t alone in this trend, it is just more pronounced there.


I don’t think here is enough data here to draw any definite conclusions. For example, 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). I’d like to know, though, and at least the latter would be possible to calculate, although it would take some effort. 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).

One thing is certain by looking at the numbers, though: at the moment, women are much more succesful than men as sf short story writers in Finland. Since 2001 a man hasn’t won the Atorox or Nova even once, and Portti only twice. In Atorox and Nova, there have been more men than women in top 3 only once. Why this is so might make an interesting discussion.

The data was compiled using the Nova web pages and Jussi Vainikainen’s excellent sf resources (Portti and Atorox).

Zombie Walk Oulu

Zombie Walk is an event where people dress as the living dead and walk through the city. The fourth Zombie Walk in Oulu takes place on September 19, and the theme of the walk is “dead and living dead celebrities”. The walk starts from Rotuaari at 6, everybody interested is welcome to join the forces of the living dead.

Thursday Mafia Report

There was quite a crowd in Hirvi last night—apparently lots of folks watching the football game. We managed to find a table where all fit well enough, though (and far enough from the tv not to be disturbed by the sports or the sports fans). A nice amount of people attended, including one first-timer (and hopefully a new regular). Talked quite a bit about the line between hard and soft science fiction, the guests of next year’s Finncon, the book fair and possible programming for it, and other important things like pets, food, and so on.

There was some talk about possible meeting places nearer the city center (have to go and check some new places out once they open, although I think Hirvi worked pretty well even with the sports crowd), and a new sfnal activity was also invented: we decided to occasionally (about once a month, at least in the beginning) start having “sf lunches” at different places in town. More on this later, but if you’re interested in joining, drop me a note and I’ll inform you when the lunches start.

Next month’s mafia will be a special occasion, but more details later on that as well.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Pat Cadigan GoH of Finncon 2010

Pat CadiganA piece of Finncon news I’m very happy about: Pat Cadigan will be a Guest of Honor of Finncon 2010! Cadigan has been writing science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, etc. for 30 years, and is also active in promoting science fiction and fandom, and otherwise doing good in the world. A worthy GoH in other words, plus a wonderful speaker.

The Finncon 2010 GoH lineup is looking very good: Ellen Kushner, Pat Cadigan, Sari Peltoniemi, and Liisa Rantalaiho.

DaimonCon in October

The FSFWA Tampere section will organize DaimonCon, a minicon about the graven images in sf, in October. There will be a introduction about “hard sf and religion” by Markku Soikkeli, discussion about the topic, and a movie, a “classic of messianic science fiction,” Silent Running. An issue of the Kosmospenaali fanzine will also be published at the event (if you want to contribute, contact Soikkeli).

Saturday, October 10, 4 PM to 9 PM
Katajikonkatu 1 H 31
More info from Markku Soikkeli

PS If you are planning on going to Tampere to see the Ender’s Game play, the Spektre folks are going on the previous night (October 9), so this would be a good opportunity to do both on the same trip. Contact Päivi Itäpuro for details.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Pub Meeting on Thursday

The monthly Turku pub meeting is on Thursday, in Kultainen hirvi, from 6 PM onwards. Talk about interesting books & movies, other sf phenomenons, and other interesting stuff, accompanied by a couple of beers. Welcome!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Linkage: Future of FSFWA

There’s an interesting discussion going on on the FSFWA forum about the future of the society, how to find new people to do the work that needs doing, and what the most important functions of the association that need preserving are. If you have an opinion on the matter (or just want to hear what others say), head over there.

Going to Swecon

Imagicon 2, this year’s Swecon (foreign GoHs Liz Williams and Graham Joyce), is held October 16–18 in Stockholm. A bunch of us Finns are going there, and our agent Ben Roimola has arranged a group trip with accommodation.

We’re leaving from Turku by ferry Thursday (Oct 15) evening and return to Turku on the Sunday evening ferry. The cost of the trip including a cabin on the ferries plus two nights at a hotel near the con site will be about 119 € (depending a bit on how many people will attend).

If you’re interested in joining us for a fun trip to a fun convention, contact Ben for details! (And remember to pay the convention membership fee before the 1st of September and you’ll save 5 €).

Open House at Terrakoti

Terrakoti, the club house of the Turku sf societies, has an open house next week (coinciding with the new student events of the university). Aimed primarily at new students, but others are also welcome to go see what the societies are doing and get to know the people there.

From Monday August 31 to Wednesday September 2, Yo-talo A (2nd floor).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Story Night in Lempäälä

Tonight in the Villa Hakkari summer theater: a Story Night filled with “animal tales”. One of the speakers is Finncon 2010 GoH Sari Peltoniemi.

Ender’s Game: The Play

Three people stanging before a planet image on the Ender posterLegioonateatteri, an indie theater group from Tampere, is performing a play based on Ender’s Game. The play ENDER—kuolleiden puolustaja (“Ender, speaker for the dead”) will, despite the peculiar naming, be based on the first Ender book. The première will be on September 6 at Legioonateatteri in Nekala, Tampere.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shortshorts from Soikkeli

Markku Soikkeli, one of the most skilled and interesting sf writers in Finland, has taken a cue from Bruce Holland Rogers and is offering three new short short stories a month for a small price of 10 €/year, which can be paid either to him or “to a non-governmental organization” (unspecified). The stories will be from 200 to 500 words each and they will be sent to subscribers by e-mail. Recommended!

More information from Markku himself.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Linkage: Sinisalo, Finncon

Johanna Sinisalo was interviewed on the Nebula Awards site about her recent nominee novelette “Baby Doll” (via @Sini74 on Twitter).

Cheryl also linked to this, and in a comment there was a link to another recent interview with Johanna, by a reading group that had been reading Troll.

Jukkahoo has posted some notes on this year’s Finncon, as well as thoughts on the nature and future of the convention (as well as that of the cooperation with Animecon). Couldn’t agree more with his points.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hirvi Mafia

As mentioned earlier, the Turku fandom pub meetings have moved to the restaurant Kultainen Hirvi. Today was the August meeting, and it was a pretty succesful one. A nice bunch of people, good food, lots of drinks, and good conversation. Especially the big space opera vs. "stylish fantastic" discussion, plus a lot of book tips traded. Also, some talk about the coming Roadside Picnic and arranging rides (on Saturday, at least two cars coming from Turku). There were not one, but two new issues of my Turu Mafia Zine today (the former came out at Finncon, so not everyone had seen it yet). The weather was warm, so we sat mostly outside on the terrace. Everybody present seemed pretty happy with the place, so that will be our venue for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pub Meeting Tomorrow in Kultainen Hirvi

After a discussion on the TSFS discussion list (everybody is welcome to join the list, you don’t have to be a member of TSFS), it was decided to move the monthly Turku pub meetings to the restaurant Kultainen Hirvi for now. Bremer has been quite full lately, so it was time to try something new. The meeting will be held at the usual time, tomorrow (the first Thursday) at six. Everybody interested in meeting other fen and discussing sf (among other things) is welcome!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Finnish Anime Conventions

Jussi Nikander has written a short history of Finnish anime conventions along with some speculation about their future now that the co-operation of Finncon and Animecon is winding down.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lars-Olov Strandberg 80 Years

The “grandfather of Swedish fandom” Lars-Olov Strandberg celebrated his 80th birthday last weekend in Stockholm. He’s been active in the Swedish fandom since the 1950s, been one of the founders of the Scandinavian SF Association and the Tolkien society Forodrim, and has served in many fannish organizations over the decades. He still goes to conventions and does his photo show at Swecons (the place to see the Swedish fen in their youth in funny clothes). Many Finns who’ve attended Swecons remember the friendly guy who came to greet all then new people—including us foreigners—and make sure everything was ok and they were having fun.

The birthday celebration was an open house at Forodrim’s clubhouse, which was packed with friends, relatives and fen of all ages. The occasion was merry, the food good and the speeches admirably short. In a manner very characteristic of him, I think Lars-Olov spent equal time conversing with old friends and playing with the smallest kids.

Lars-Olov holding an A4-sized card with a photo and lots of signatures
I brought him greetings from the Finnish fandom: a congratulations card about 50 people had signed at Finncon (with a picture taken at the dead dog). Everyone who signed also donated a little money, so in total we gave 100 euros to Rädda barnen (Save the children), Lars-Olov’s preferred charity.

Congratulations once again, Lars-Olov, thanks for the nice party, and here’s to the next 80 years!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Mind Meld

The SF Signal science fiction site’s Mind Meld column ran a series of posts on the non-anglo science fiction scene. Part four is now online, and it has a contribution from Jukkahoo, as well as one from myself. I recommend the whole of the series (linked from the last part), not only for the other Finns who appear in the earlier parts, but because it is a very interesting look into the world of sf.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

George R.R. Martin Signing in Turku

George R.R. Martin, Guest of Honor of Finncon held last weekend, will be signing books in Akateeminen bookstore in Turku today at 6 PM. So head there if you want an autograph and didn’t get one at Finncon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Marika Riikonen wins Tähtivaeltaja competition

The winner of the second Tähtivaeltaja short story competition is Marika Riikonen from Tampere for her story Terveisiä älylliseltä elämältä, a story set on an alien planet, about curiosity, responsibility and growth. The jury commended the cultural description, dramatic consistency and the touching ending.

The top results are:

  1. Terveisiä älylliseltä elämältä, by Marika Riikonen
  2. Innamoramento, by Petri Laine
  3. Minne yksikään herrasmies ei ole ennen mennyt, by Terhi Tarkiainen
  4. Mummo kuoli saunan lauteille, by Harri Erkki
  5. Jos tähdet voisivat todistaa, by Mirka Ulanto

The competition theme was space science fiction. There were 63 entries in the competition, and the award was picked by a preliminary jury of researcher Irma Hirsjärvi and author Anne Leinonen, and a jury of editor Toni Jerrman, editor Jukka Halme, and author Tiina Raevaara.

Tähtifantasia Award 2009

The Tähtifantasia award for best translated fantasy in 2008 was given to Ellen Kushner for her novel Thomas Riiminiekka (Thomas the Rhymer), published in Finnish by Vaskikirjat.

The novel talks about the power of words and speech. The jury commends Kushner’s characters as exceptionally well-rounded, feeling persons. The story uses point-of-view technics to bring multiple voices into a discussion about songs, stories, love and how language brings meaning to life.

The award is given by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society and the jury consisted of critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, author and editor Anne Leinonen, and Risingshadow representative Osmo Määttä.

You can meet Ellen Kushner next year when she will be the Guest of Honor of Finncon 2010.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mari Saario Wins Atorox

The Atorox award for the best Finnish short story published last year was just announced at Finncon. This year’s winner is Mari Saario’s Kenkänaula, published in Portti 1/2008.

This year’s top ten is:
  1. Kenkänaula, Mari Saario (Portti 1/2008)
  2. Gliesen lapset, Tiina Raevaara (Portti 3/2008)
  3. Oksia, puita, kuolleitten luita, Katja Salminen (Usva 4/2008)
  4. Talven portti, Niilo Sevänen (Spin 3/2007)
  5. Käenmuna, Jenny Kangasvuo (Hekuman huipulla)
  6. Farared Finnen saaga, Mike Pohjola (Usva 3/2008)
  7. Kutsuvat sitä kuolemaksi, Anne Leinonen  (Portti 3/2008)
  8. Peniskuiskaajat, Tuomas Saloranta (Hekuman huipulla)
  9. Kausin taivas, Tytti Heikkinen (Portti 2/2008)
  10. Uhanalaiset, Christine Thorel (Portti 2/2008)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Barbecuing Fandom

On Thursday, instead of the normal pub meeting, fandom in Turku gathered for a barbecue. There was plenty of food and drinks, brought by everyone, the weather was perfect, and everybody had fun. Kudos to Jukka T. for the idea—sorry you had to miss it yourself. But everybody pretty much agreed we’ll have to do this again next summer, so those who missed it this time can hopefully attend then.

People sitting at a table and standing in the garden, eating and drinking

Friday, July 03, 2009

Cultural Grants for Zines

The Ministry of Education has announced their annual grants for cultural publications. Among the magazines receiving grants are Tähtivaeltaja (Helsinki Science Fiction Society, 17 000 €), Sarjainfo (Finnish comics society, 13 000 €), Kosmoskynä (Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association, 800 €), Portti (Tampere Science Fiction Society, 15 000 €), and Spin (Turku Science Fiction Society, 3 000 €).

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Exclusive Reynolds in Tähtivaeltaja

Tähtivaeltaja 2/2009 cover image: a dark-haired woman holding her throat, light coming out of her eyesThe new issue of the Tähtivaeltaja zine appeared in my mailbox a couple of days ago, and it contains a very curious item: an exclusive Alastair Reynolds short story not available anywhere else—even the author doesn’t have a copy any more.

As Reynolds himself wrote a while ago,
After several pints too many in a Helsinki bar, [the editor of Tähtivaeltaja] Toni and I came up with the idea of translating a story of mine into his native language, and then destroying all copies of the original english-language version—including mine. So that’s what we’re going to do, as soon as Toni has a good translation in hand. So I’ll have a story that exists in Finnish, and Finnish only, and if I want to read it again, I’ll need to pay someone to translate it back into English. Of course the fact that it’s Finnish, not exactly a language everyone can dip into with the greatest of ease, only adds to the fun.
The story in question is Pandoran lipas (Pandora’s Box, translated by Toni Jerrman) and it appears in the 2/2009 issue of Tähtivaeltaja. It’s a story about a journalist chasing a scoop on Titan and stumbling on a strange tale about an alien artifact, multiple timelines and a large corporation conspiracy. Definitely worth reading (but as said, only available in Finnish).

If you’re interested in owning a copy of this very special publication, you can order the issue from Toni by sending 10 € ($15) to him to:

Toni Jerrman
Itämerenkatu 22 B 21
00180 Helsinki

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ellen Kushner GoH of Finncon 2010

Finncon 2010 has announced that the first Guest of Honor of the con is Ellen Kushner. Kushner is an American fantasist, writer, performer and storyteller. She has her own radio show Sound & Spirit on PRI, and is also a popular teacher and lecturer.

Kushner has won several awards for her novels, including the Locus Award, the World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award. Her novel Thomas the Rhymer was published in Finnish last year by Vaskikirjat (as Thomas Riiminiekka).

Finncon 2010 will be held July 17–18 in Jyväskylä. The web site for the convention will be opened soon, meanwhile more information is available by e-mail.

Barbecuing Mafia Tomorrow

Tomorrow (the first Thursday in July) instead of the traditional pub meeting, the Turku fandom meeting will be a barbecue at our place (Pampinkuja 4 E 16).

The grill will be on at six, bring your own food and drink (there will be some beer and grill sausages on the house; if you announce in advance you’re coming I know better how much to get).

A package has just arrived from Helsinki, so you can also get your Finncon program book in advance tomorrow.

How to get there: take the 50–54 bus from the marketplace; after the Hirvensalo bridge the bus turns left to Moikoinen; the fifth stop is ours.

Everybody in fandom is welcome to barbecue and have sfnal conversation! For more information contact me by e-mail or call, 040 576 6450.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Finncon 2009 Program

The Finncon program has been published (more or less—it has been living in a wiki, and the final version should be appearing any moment now).

Collected here is a listing of the program items that will be held in English. This should be final, but if I spot changes later on, I’ll update them here. Duration of the items is one hour unless specified otherwise.

  • 15.00 Science in Science Fiction (Pannuhalli)
    How much is enough science in science fiction? And how much is TOO much? Tommy Persson (chair), Toni Jerrman, Alastair Reynolds, Johan Jönsson, J. Pekka Mäkelä
  • 16.00 Adam Roberts Interview (Valssaamo)
  • 17.00 On Writing: The GoHs are interviewed on writing (Merikaapelihalli)
  • 18.?? (after the opening ceremony) George R.R. Martin GoH Speech (Merikaapelihalli)
  • 11.00 The New Breed—Modern Vampire Mythos (Pannuhalli)
    Ever since Anne Rice introduced vampire Lestat to the unsuspecting audience, the children of the night have transformed from blood-thirsty Balkan nobility into something a bit more… sexier and about as blood-thirsty. Tanja Sihvonen (chair), George R.R. Martin, Tarja Rainio, Päivi Väätänen
  • 14.00–15.30 George R.R. Martin GoH Interview (Merikaapelihalli)
  • 15.00 Alastair Reynolds Speaks and Reads (Valssaamo)
  • 16.00 Hugo 2009 Discussion (Turbiinisali)
    The panel of experts say what they think about the current crop of the Hugo Award nominees. Marianna Leikomaa (chair), Ben Roimola, Tommy Persson, Cheryl Morgan, Adam Roberts
  • 17.00–18.30 Adam Roberts Speech (Turbiinisali)
  • 18.00 Alastair Reynolds GoH Interview (Pannuhalli)
  • 11.00 Journey into Space (Turbiinisali)
    Have space, will travel. A serious discussion about possibilities, fantasies and realites of the space travel. Alastair Reynolds, Antti Oikarinen
  • 12.00 Big Is Better But Small Is Beautiful (Pannuhalli)
    Does fantasy have to be big and epic? Is there room for something less grandeur? General preconception of fantasy still tends to veer toward the door stopping bulky pseudo medieval mammoth, but that is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Jukka Halme (chair), George R.R. Martin, Johan Anglemark, Markku Soikkeli, Cheryl Morgan
  • 13.00–15.00 Researchers’ Field-Trips to SF (Watti-Kela)
    SF Research in Finland: A Report from the FINFAR Meeting. Merja Polvinen; The Rise of Post-Pulp: Jack Vance's Dying Earth Series. Mika Loponen; others TBA
  • 14.00 Book Talk (Turbiinisali)
    What to read when all the translated books have been read? Jukka Halme (chair), Cheryl Morgan, Hannu Blommila, Marianna Leikomaa
  • 15.00 Book Then, Book Now, Book in the Future (Valssaamo)
    Book is a book, except when it’s not. The future of book is the question: will there still be books as we know them now? Is the electronic version The Way or is there a third alternative? Jukka Halme (chair), Tommy Persson, Johan Jönsson, Alastair Reynolds, Juhani Hinkkanen
  • 16.00 Doctor Who (Valssaamo)
    Travel with the Timelord through time and space. Kristoffer Lawson.
  • 17.00 George R.R. Martin Reading (Merikaapelihalli)
In addition there will also be kaffeeklatch sessions with the GoHs—inquire at the info desk if you want some face time with them at the convention.

Update July 7: Minor corrections to program participants
Update July 1: Researchers’s Field-Trips to SF added (Sunday)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Eurocon 2011 Web Site Opens

The Stockholm Eurocon 2011 now has a real web site open. There’s preliminary info (in English) about the event there, plus instructions on how to join the convention (membership is 35 €/£30).

(I’m the Finnish agent for the convention, so if you prefer, you can also pay the membership fee to me.)

Fan News from Denmark

Knud Larn, the Danish fan many know from Snorfcons and the Copenhagen Eurocon, has started Fan News Denmark, a newsblog about Danish fandom, in English.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tie Wins Tähtivaeltaja Award

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has awarded Cormac McCarthy’s novel Tie (Road, 2006) the Tähtivaeltaja award for the best science fiction book published in Finnish in 2008.

The jury appreciated the novel’s strong emotional experience that makes the reader fear for the characters, the fragility of the characters, and the desperate world view that has sense of wonder and haunts the reader after finishing the book, as well as the compact style and magnificent language. There are multiple levels and themes in the book: it is a story of hope—albeit a very weak hope—but can also be read as a metaphorical description of the Western culture and its inhumanity, as well as a symbol of life that wanders through ashes to pass the torch to the next generation.

The jury consisted of critic Hannu Blommila, editor Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and journalist Vesa Sisättö.

Fandom on Radio

The YleX radio station talks about sf and fandom on Thursday June 18, at 11:20. The program will also be available in Yle Areena after that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finnish Sf Film Funding

This from the Iron Sky blog: The Finnish Film Foundation has decided to give 800 000 € worth of funding to Iron Sky. Yay! Other projects getting funding include a film adaptation of Risto Isomäki’s Sands of Sarasvati, and also something called Zombie Cruise, “a film about zombies on the Finnish–Swedish ferry”. (Obviously the makers have just watched the people on the morning after the cruise and got the idea from there.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Pub Meeting Tomorrow

The barbecue mafia planned for this week has unfortunately been cancelled due to illness. My alternative suggestion is to go to the normal meeting place, Bar Bremer. Tomorrow at six, that is. Barbecuing will be tried again next month. More info on that later.

Update: after discussion on the TSFS mailing list, the restaurant Kultainen Hirvi was decided as the meeting place for tomorrow.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sandman Lilius Cancels Finncon Appearance

Finncon 2009 reports that unfortunately Irmelin Sandman Lilius is unable to appear as a GoH due to family reasons. Sad news indeed.

Åcon Punch Out and Play

A while ago, a package arrived from Jeff. “Your mission—should you choose to accept it—is to take this Star Wars: Punch Out and Play! book and play around with it.” As I was about to leave for Åcon I decided to take the book along.

The characters in a tight formation (on a bar table)

So, besides drinking beer and talking to friends about science fiction I spent parts of the convention walking around with a bunch of paper dolls cardboard action figures, looking even sillier than usual trying to arrange them in interesting positions while explaining to passers-by that Jeff made me do it.

Yoda standing on Marianna’s laptop keyboard, trying to decipher information on the screen

On the last day of the convention I visited the museum ship Pommern that was conveniently docked nearby. The con Guest of Honor Steph Swainston was also there, and got to play too.

Steph sitting on the Pommern deck putting together the Yoda figure

The Jedi seemed to take to the ship like naturals. I had a hard time convincing them that it was time to go because the con was over and it was time to go home.

The Leia figure behind a thick rope in the front, the deck stretching out behind her

Without further ado, I present to you the Star Wars: Punch Out and Play Åland Adventure, a photo journey of various Jedi, Sith, and other assorted folks in Åland.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back from Åcon

Åcon 3 is succesfully over and I’m back home. Despite the very sparse programming, there really wasn’t much down time at the convention for blogging and such stuff, so there haven’t been regular updates. Will try to post some thought on the convention later. Meanwhile, here are the things I posted on Twitter on Friday and Saturday:

These are the ongoing twitterings of the sf convention Åcon, its four-day mission to drink strange new bheers. To seek out new books and sfnal conversations. To boldly smof where no one has smoffed before.


  • 08:34 At breakfast. #
  • 09:50 Åbout to go on a tour to Stållhågen Brewery. #
  • 13:02 Back from the brewery. Burp. #
  • 14:15 Today's surprise hit is the ice cream the lobby bar sells. #
  • 18:00 The Gothenburg fen arrived and presented Åcon with Tentakelpriset for bridging caps in fandom, awarded in June 2010. #
  • 18:49 The state of Swedish science fiction (or rather the lack of it) is being lamented. #
  • 19:10 Marianna waxing lyrical about current sf & f in Finland. #
  • 19:45 3 panelists with laptops - I wonder if anyone notices me mentioning they abandoned the topic quite a while ago, talking about how to start writing instead
  • 19:50 As soon as I had tweeted the previous comment, Ben (not with a laptop) got the panel a bit more back on track. #
  • 22:23 Jukka's quiz show starting by designating the volunteers to compete and delivering various instruments that make noise. #
  • 03:09 Bar closed a while ago; crowd migrated to room party. Nobody painted green yet but there's always tomorrow. #


  • 14:42 The Finncon association meeting v. productive. #
  • 15:17 The copyright panel got much more interesting after getting the mandatory Mickey Mouse and copyright companies gripe over with. #
  • 16:09 GoH is doing wonderful things. #
  • 21:33 Will find out what "Sci Fi Babble" means. #
  • 21:34 Skipped the banquet, but the alternative meal was very good, and accompanied by very entertaining conversation. #
  • 21:35 Hmm, seems to be "Sci Fi Babbel," actually. No wiser yet, though. #
  • 21:51 In scifi båbbel the audience gets to vote whether the competitors are being boring. Should be included in regular panels as well! #
  • 01:57 Great game show, good chats in the bar. Room party. @JohanJ being painted green. There are pictures. #
  • 02:32 The post-midnight Incredible Hulk photo shoot. #
  • 03:41 Need... sleep... must... leave... room... party... #

Friday, May 22, 2009

Eurocon 2011 Announces Fan GoH

This just in here at Åcon: Eurocon 2011, held in Stockholm, announced that their fan Guest of Honor is none other than Jukka Halme from Helsinki, Finland. Congratulations, Jukka! (I think it’s safe to guess we’ll be hearing more of this from him. And more. And then some more…)

Åcon Twittering

Twitterings from yesterday:
  • 07:19 On the way to #åcon3 #fb #
  • 09:54 Dissecting Star Trek at Ölcon. #åcon3 #
  • 16:35 Arrived in Mariehamn. In true relaxcon manner there are no badges. Some promised for tomorrow though. #åcon3 #fb #
  • 18:38 The convention is åpen. #åcon3 #
  • 18:40 People were instructed to use the hash tag #åcon3 when tweeting about the con. #
  • 18:53 Innovative sf panel with Steph Swainston & others is about to begin. #åcon3 #
  • 21:47 Tragic setback - seems nobody remembered to make sure the bar stays open later the first night. Lobby bar to the rescue! #åcon3 #
  • 23:41 Only Finns left, hanging out in the bar. #åcon3 #
  • 23:47 Found the Swedes. Lots of conversations going on all around. #åcon3 #
See what others are saying on Twitter. Risingshadow also has a topic abot Åcon (in Finnish, though).

Åcon 3 Is Go

Once again we’re here in Mariehamn for Åcon. The convention is traditionally relaxed—the program book doesn’t have starting times for the program items (which were announced at the beginning but changed several times on later occasions), and so on. The con started about half an hour late, but considering the boat was over an hour behind schedule you could say we started early. And everyone is having fun as usual. The GoH Steph Swainston is very nice (and has good taste in whisky), the weather is fine (so far; the forecast is not all that promising), the new Adlon terrace is very comfy, and of course there are many fen to see and talk to.

There were some minor setbacks (no badges until tomorrow, the bar didn’t get the message of staying open late already today), but nothing serious. And this time we’re prepared for the very early cleaning staff at the hotel (last year they started knocking on doors, wanting to clean the rooms around 8 in the morning): there was a workshop where people could customize their own “Do not disturb” signs (the rooms don’t have those). So we should be all set for tomorrow.

Åcon 3 Opening Panel
The only real program item for today: a panel discussion of innovation in sf. From the left: Jesper, Jarmo, Dr. Pasinen and Steph Swainston

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rajaniemi Sturgeon Finalist

Hannu Rajaniemi’s short story His Master’s Voice, published in Interzone 218, is a finalist for this year’s Sturgeon award for best short story of last year. Congratulations, Hannu!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Finncon Accommodation

Need a room for Finncon? The con site has accommodation information including a link you can use to book a room in the official con hotel (Holiday Inn Helsinki City West, only a few hundred meters from the con site) for a special price of 70 €/night. (If you don’t care about breakfast, you can book the room directly, although that only saves you a couple of euros per night so probably not worth it.)

Another very good hotel within walking distance (about 1 km) is the Radisson SAS Seaside. There’s currently a special price for “S-kortti” (a Finnish store chain membership card) holders: you can book a room online for just 55 €/night at the hotel (Offer expires on May 15).

A good inexpensive alternative are the two Omena hotels in Helsinki. The rooms are about 60 €/night, but up to four people can stay in the same room (if you don’t mind it being a little cramped, of course) with no extra cost, so it’s a very good deal.

There are also links to a couple of nearby hostels on the Finncon accommodation page.

I’ve put together a map where you can see the location of these hotels in relation to the con site.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Migrating Mafia

This week’s Turku fandom pub meeting (which is tomorrow) takes place in a different location than normally. We decided to change the venue for the summer (Bremer has been quite full lately), and so the venue varies for the next three times. This month we’re going to the pub/restaurant Kultainen Hirvi (Itäinen pitkäkatu 12–14).

Hope to see you there tomorrow at six!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Conklaavi 2009

The Turku University gaming club Tyrmä organizes the Conklaavi gaming convention on May 9–10 at T-Talo. The convention, held for the 11th time this year, has programming for role-players, strategy, board, and miniature gamers, collecting card gamers and LARPers. Day passes are 6 €, or 10 € for 2 days.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bacon II on Sunday

The Åbo Akademi sf society FUI will organize Bacon II, their second microcon, this Sunday at 4 PM in Terrakoti (Yo-talo A, 2nd floor).

The theme is “the radiant future,” and programming consists mainly of watching movies (contact Vilgot Strömsholm for discussion about the program).

Bacon and vegetarian food will be served at cost. Please contact Lisa Nylund in advance if you’re going so they know how much food to prepare.

via Enhörningen

Tutka Blood Drive

The Turku University sf club encourages its members (others are welcome to participate too) to donate blood on Monday the 27th. The plan is to meet at the market place (kauppatori) at 5 PM and go from there to the local donor centre of the Red Cross Blood Service.

More info from the club board.

Finland Swedish Tolkien Society Founded

Enhörningen informs us that the Swedish-speaking Tolkien fans of Finland have assembled and formed a smial (a sub-association) of the Finnish Tolkien Society. They call themselves “Lindon, Finlands Svenska Tolkien-sällskap”. The activities will, at least at first, be electronic. The linked Enhö forum is probably the best way to stay informed for now.

Last Day for Åcon Ferry Booking

If you’re thinking of coming to Åcon but haven’t signed up yet, do it now—today is the last day you can book the very inexpensive ferry trip there and back.

Note: it’s still possible to attend the convention even if you miss today’s booking deadline: you’ll just have to take care of the travel booking by yourself.

See you there!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sign up for Åcon

The Sign-up form for Åcon is now online. You register for the convention and book the ferry travel on the same form. The deadline for booking is April 20, so go there and sign up now!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Brewery Visit at Åcon

Åcon 3 announced they are organizing a visit to the Stallhage brewery on Friday. So if you’re interested, head on to the info page and sign up.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Pub Meeting Tomorrow

Welcome again to the Turku sf pub meeting tomorrow! As usual, we meet in Bar Bremer at six. There was talk last time to try to relocate to the cabinet of the pub (long room near the Uudenmaankatu exit) it that is available—look for us there if we’re not at the usual spot.

Proposed topics for discussion: we’ve been thinking about visits to alternative locations for the pub meetings (just for a change), so come if you have an opinion. Also, I’d welcome talk about this year’s Nebula-nominated short stories and Atorox nominees. A new issue of Turu Mafia Zine will be published.

Finncon 2009 Blog

Finncon 2009 has started a blog in English, so head there if you want to be kept current on what’s happening.

Unfortunately the RSS feed isn’t working yet, but I’m sure that will be fixed shortly.

Edit 2009-04-02 The feeds are now in order.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Researching the Fantastic—Call for Papers

A seminar of science fiction and fantasy research will take place in connection with Finncon for the 10th time this year. The call for papers is enclosed:

The 10th Seminar of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research in Finland
Department of English, University of Helsinki
Thursday 9th and Friday 10th July, 2009

The 10th Seminar of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research in Finland will take place in Helsinki in connection with Finncon 2009. We wish to invite papers on the general theme of “journey”. Voyaging is one of the foundational motifs of science fiction and fantasy. What does a journey teach us, or what does it teach about us? Does the journey bring us face to face with otherness? This seminar invites proposals that explore, for example, the journey as a narrative and/or ideological model, inner journeys as well as external journeys, time-travels or travels represented at various times in the history of literature.

This year the seminar will also give special attention to questions of research methodology in general, as well as questions that concern research into genre literature in particular.

The proposed papers may be work towards a Pro Gradu or a PhD dissertation, or be drafts for articles or essays either in Finnish or in English. Proposals concerning issues other than our specified themes are also welcome and will be accommodated if at all possible.

The aim of the seminar is to promote Finnish multidisciplinary research on science fiction and fantasy and to enhance the international contacts of the Finnish research network.

Our international guest speaker is Professor Adam Roberts (Royal Holloway, University of London), author of Science Fiction (2000) in the Routledge New Critical Idioms series, and of Yellow Blue Tibia (2009), which is his latest novel. Also partaking in the seminar are Professor Bo Pettersson (University of Helsinki), Professor Liisa Rantalaiho (University of Tampere), Professor Frans Mäyrä (University of Tampere), Dr Irma Hirsjärvi (University of Jyväskylä), Dr Markku Soikkeli (University of Tampere) and Dr Merja Polvinen (University of Helsinki).

In addition to the two-day workshop the researchers’ meeting also includes plenty of academic programming over Saturday and Sunday during the Finncon event.

Please send a 500-word abstract in Word or RTF format to merja.polvinen@helsinki.fi by the 16th of April 2009. You will be notified of the outcome of your proposal by the 1st of May. For the seminar we wish to receive a research paper of c. 2000–3000 words.

Organizers: FINFAR – Finnish Network of Fantasy Research, University of Helsinki Department of English and Finncon 2009 (http://2009.finncon.org/).
Coordinator: Merja Polvinen.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Helsinki Book Fair

Looks like I’m going to have to drag my butt to Helsinki next October—Hal Duncan announced today he will be attending the Helsinki Book Fair, courtesy of the good folks at Like Publishing. Looking forward to a rematch between Hal and Juha T…

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Sands of Sarasvati Wins Comics Finlandia

This was announced today: The Sands of Sarasvati, an sf graphic novel by Petri Tolppanen and Jussi Kaakinen, based on the Finlandia nominated novel by Risto Isomäki, was awarded the second annual Comics Finlandia award for best graphic novel/comics album published last year. Congratulations! I’m very happy about this since I think it is a great piece of work.

Sf Audio Drama on Sunday

Petri Salin’s sf audio drama Kryogenesis will be on Radio Vega on Sunday 9:30 9:03 (replay on Monday 18:03). The story is set after “the fifth climate war,” when the arctic glaciers are melting and the continents are drowning, and a possible solution for the problem may be worse than the problem itself.

via Enhörningen

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Finncon Gets Grants, Researcher Guest

Finncon 2009 has received funding from the Ministry of Education (6 000 €) and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland (1 500 €). Yay!

In addition, the University of Helsinki has decided to sponsor the researchers’ meeting, and with their support Finncon will be bringing author and critic Adam Roberts to Finland to participate in the research workshop (and naturally the rest of Finncon too). Congratulations, and looking forward to Finncon even more than before!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Finnish NoFF Delegate Announced

Senja Hirsjärvi is this year’s Finnish NoFF (Nordic Fan Fund) delegate. Senja has been active in fandom for several years, and has had a hand in a few Finncons, including many in Jyväskylä and this year in Helsinki. Senja was also one of the people behind the Finnish room party at Interaction. Senja will be traveling to Imagicon 2 in Stockholm in October.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Atorox 2009 Nominees

The nominees for the Atorox award have been announced. There are 25 short stories in total, of which fandom votes the winner.

The short stories selected for the long list were published in:
  • Usva (10 nominations)
  • Portti (8 nominations)
  • Hekuman huipulla anthology (3 nominations)
  • Spin (2 nominations)
  • Taivaalta pudonnut eläintarha (1 nomination)
  • Alienisti (1 nomination)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tähtifantasia Award Nominees Announced

The Tähtifantasia award (for best fantasy translated in Finnish last year) nominees have been announced. They are:
The winner will be decided by a jury that comprises critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, author and editor Anne Leinonen and Risingshadow.net representative Osmo Määttä. The award will be given at Finncon in July.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

DarwinCon in Tampere in April

From the announcement on the FSFWA blog:

DarwinCon, a minicon in Tampere on Saturday, April 18. Topic: evolution theory in science fiction, how evolution is understood in sf, is there a similar conflict between nature and culture in fantastical and alternate histories, is there a better “winner species” than the Shrike? A movie (“Mongol” from Kazakhstan) will also be shown.

The Kosmospenaali fanzine will be published at the event and accepts submissions until April 14.

Free admission.

Terrakoti Spring Party

In case you’re not going to be in Jyväskylä next weekend, the Turku sf clubhouse Terrakoti has a spring party on Saturday, combined with the 4-year anniversary of the shadow mafia meetings. No admission, bring something for the party buffet (and your own drinks). Pajama party theme.

Details on the TSFS site

Monday, March 09, 2009

Dr. Fandom

Next Saturday, Irma Hirsjärvi will defend her PhD Dissertation at the University of Jyväskylä. The topic of the thesis is the Finnish sf fandom, called ”Faniuden siirtymiä” (“Mediations of Fandom”). Fandom is invited to witness the occasion in Villa Rana, the Blomstedt hall, at noon. There will be coffee and cake later. The opponent is professor emerita Liisa Rantalaiho.

Congratulations to Ipa for a mighty achievement!

(PS If anybody going from the Turku area needs a ride there and back on Sunday, contact me.)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sinisalo Interview

The Finnish sf site Risingshadow has published an interview with Johanna Sinisalo on their English site. Johanna talks about her Nebula nomination for Baby Doll:
It’s a tremendous honour, one of the top achievements of my whole life. When I was an aspiring writer and an active Worldcon-attending sf fan, I remember dreaming of a Nebula or Hugo nomination—but then I said to myself that it is futile to dream of something that far out and impossible…
Update 2009-04-26: There’s also a guest blog post by Johanna on the Nebula awards site.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Planetarium Excursion on Saturday

Some Turku fen are going to check out the new planetarium at the Tuorla Observatorium on Saturday, March 6. The planetarium show is at 4 PM, and the price is 5 € per person.

Everybody is welcome to come along. If you’re interested, contact Harri Miekka. Also, if you need a ride there or have questions, come to the Turku pub meeting tomorrow to discuss the trip.

Pub Meeting Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the first Thursday of March, which means you’re all welcome to meet and chat about science fiction at Bar Bremer after six (the pub seems to be more crowded nowadays, so it’s advisable to be there not too late).

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Symposium on the Grotesque in Tampere

On Friday March 6 there will be a free seminar at the University of Tampere. From the description:
The symposium focuses on a common theme named in the title: How are ideas of the “grotesque” and the “unnatural” manifested in literary materials and visual representations from different ages, and how can these concepts be approached as phenomena of a particularly linguistic nature? What is the significance of this kind of work, and in what ways does it enhance our critical understanding? The initiative explores questions such as these and seeks to attract responses from a wide variety of theoretical angles:
  • the horrifying, mysterious, abnormal, or subversive in literature
  • horror, mystery, gothic, and sci-fi literatures as generic fictions
  • studying the form of strange or broken bodies and natures
  • the grotesque and the unnatural as aesthetic experience (and vice versa)
  • the grotesque and the unnatural as linguistic discourse (and vice versa)
  • tradition and change of the concepts in and as translation

Monday, March 02, 2009

Linkage: Make Co-operation Meeting Better

On the Babek Nabel co-operation meeting thread the organizers ask for opinions on what people would like to do at future meetings and what would the optimal scheduling be. So if you have an opinion, head there and let yourself be heard.

Irmelin Sandman Lilius GoH at Finncon

Finncon 2009’s Finnish Guest of Honor is the renowned fantasy author Irmelin Sandman Lilius. She’s written children’s books as well as books for aduls, and received numerous Swedish and Finnish literary awards. Her works have been translated into numerous languages.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Greetings from Tampere

The annual co-operation planning & smoffing event of the Finnish fandom was held on Saturday in Tampere. Despite the lack of sauna this year, the event was fun as always. This year there was extra smoffing: more people stayed for the evening, and today morning those of us that got out of bed in time met for a brunch and some additional smoffing—will have to make a habit of that in the future—before heading back home.

There was a lot of talk about the Finncon association, and some decisions were made to make the association more efficient in the future. I think (and others I talked to seemed to agree) that we’ll probably also have to change the association’s general meeting in the coming years: in the current format I think it took up too much time (that could have been used by watching more Horst videos—no, scratch that plan on second thought).

Some upcoming events announced at the meeting:

  • Terrakoti (Turku clubhouse) spring party, March 14 (will not necessarily be a pyjama party)
  • Usva winter camp (discussions about writing & sf, movies, etc.), Ristiina, March 20–22
  • Tampere kuplii comics convention in Tampere, March 27–29
  • Jyväskylä book fair, March 27–29
  • ESC (Espoo sf society) 5-year anniversary pub meeting, March 30
  • BaCon 2, a minicon organized by FUI (the Åbo Akademi society of peculiar interests), sometime in April; illegal fireworks will not be organized in conjunction with BaCon
  • Vappu party in Turku, April 30
  • Conklaavi role playing convention in Turku, May 9–10
  • Åcon 3, Mariehamn, May 21–24 (GoH: Steph Swainston)
  • HySFK table-top hockey championship games, some time in the spring in Helsinki
  • ESC summer picnic probably on June 6; possible themes include searching for world’s smallest giant monkeys or underwater nazi zombies
  • Helsinki Suomenlinna picnic some time in June; exact date not decided
  • Usva summer camp (a writers’ workshop, plus more general sf programming on the weekend), Ristiina, July 23–26
  • Fantasy Feast (pseudo-medieval weekend), Taivassalo, July 24–26
  • the roadside picnic in Tampere, August 8
  • TamFan, Smial Morel’s fantasy minicon, September 26
  • Turku book fair, October 2–4
  • Helsinki book fair, October 22–25
  • the 20th anniversary of the Jyväskylä sf society 42, December
Miscellaneous announcements:
  • Portti-kirjat will publish a R.E. Howard short story anthology this year
  • the Finnish Film Foundation seems to be enthusiastic about the prospect of a Finnish movie with nazis on the Moon
  • a Finnish ninja musical is being planned
  • The Nova short story competition is arranged for the 10th time this year
  • The Noviisi short story competition for young writers arranged for the second time, this time nationwide
  • Risingshadow.net advertized now more science fiction discussion than ever; the site wants to cooperate with everyone; the site has been visited 8 000 000 times since the relaunch a couple of years ago; there are about 400 active members (median age 20)
  • The Helsinki university sf club has moved to a new clubhouse, shared with (among others) the Helsinki university assasins’ society—so if you get an invitation to the housewarming party, I guess you’d better attend
  • The Finnish Tolkien Society’s zine Legolas is back on schedule; four issues will be published this year. New editor: Mixu Lauronen
  • The Finnish NOFF delegate for this year has been selected, but wasn’t announced yet, because the previous delegate Marianna was on a work trip; over 250 € was raised at the NOFF auction
  • The Finnish anime societies have also started regular cooperation meetings—this year they also held the meeting in Tampere, and actually on the same day as our meeting
  • Swecon comes to Stockholm again this year (Imagicon 2, October 16–18)—people were encouraged to attend because Swecons are fun. More info from agent Ben Roimola
  • Irma Hirsjärvi will defend her thesis on the Finnish fandom at the University of Jyväskylä in a couple of weeks (March 14). Congratulations, Ipa!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Johanna Sinisalo Nominated for Nebula

Science Fiction Awards Watch has the nominees for the Nebulas. And on the list is Johanna Sinisalo’s excellent novelette Baby Doll, which has appeared in the SFWA European Hall of Fame anthology (and other places too). Congratulations, Johanna!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tähtivaeltaja Award Nominees Announced

The nominees for the Tähtivaeltaja award (for best science fiction book published in Finnish last year—both original works and translations) were announced today. Toni Jerrman, the chairman of the jury, notes that the selection process was difficult this time: so many good sf books were published in 2008 that some excellent ones were left out of the list. This is a very good thing, and so is also that there are two original Finnish books on the short list, he adds.

The nominees are:
The winner will be selected by a jury comprising journalist Hannu Blommila, critic Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and journalist Vesa Sisättö. The results will be announced in late spring.

Finlandia Award Nominees 2018

The Finlandia Award nominees for this year have been announced, and there are a couple of familiar sfnal names in the mix. Magdalena Hai’s K...