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.

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...