Thursday, January 29, 2009

Festival of Living Literature

On February 14 there will be a Festival of living literature in Tampere (in Sampola).

The Tampere fandom organizations (Spektre, smial Morel, FSFWA Tampere, Tampere Science Fiction Society, and the Risingshadow and Kontu net communities) will take part in the event with a joint table to introduce themselves and tell people about their activities. There will also be a couple of panel discussions with sfnal topics, and among the participants are Risto Isomäki, Johanna Sinisalo, Maarit Verronen, and Tiina Raevaara. There will also be a fandom party in the evening at Telakka.

The event is free, so go take a look if you’re in Tampere that day! If you want to have more information or help out with the table, contact Liisa Rantalaiho.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

YA And Quality

Sari Peltoniemi wrote in Grafomania about her irritation with using the term “young adult” as a pejorative, often meaning naïve literature that aims purely for entertainment value (the post is not fantastic fiction–specific, but I’m linking here because a significant portion of YA fiction can be classified as sf). I have to admit that my first impression when I hear something classified as YA is also that the narrative probably is rather straightforward and the themes rather simple. On the other hand, even if that is the case (and of course it’s not for all YA literature), what’s wrong with that? And furthermore, paraphrasing Jukka’s comment on the subject, “and most of the rest of literature isn’t like this?”

The Grafomania post has generated quite a few comments, so head over there if you want to take part in the discussion!

(As a sidenote, I’m writing reviews of a couple of YA books at the moment. I enjoyed both very much, and promise to avoid characterizing them as “young-adult-ish”.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sf Writers’ Blog: Planning

The earlier discussion on the FSFWA forum has produced a plan for the sf writing groupblog. The idea is to get Finnish sf fen and writers to take turns blogging about writing, sf, and other things they find interesting.

The plan was just posted on the forum—comments are welcome! (The most current version, which is at the moment the same but can be updated in the future, is also available.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Finnish Sf Starting Package

Anne has in her blog a getting started book list for reading Finnish fantastic fiction. The list was gathered at the Jyväskylä pub meeting a couple of days ago. The list comprises almost exclusively books by young writers, published in the last few years (for example, Leena Krohn is missing from it), but it’s a good starting point for what’s being written at the moment.

(The list is of books in Finnish. If you want to see what’s available in English, I posted some examples a while ago in Jeff’s blog, including some links to online texts.)

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Link: Baby Doll

An English translation of Johanna Sinisalo’s short story Baby Doll appears (as mentioned here before) in the Year’s Best SF 13 collection, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. The book is online with HarperCollins Browse Inside. No way (that I see) to point to a specific page inside the book, but just select “Chapter 1” from the table of contents (or search for “Baby Doll”). The story is creepy (especially if you have small children) but excellent, so go take a look (and of course if you like the story you can support the publisher by buying the book).

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Fanac Meeting in Turku

The Science Fiction Culture Cabinet at the University of Turku and the Turku Anime Society will organize an info-sharing and getting-to-know-each-other meeting on Saturday January 24. The meeting is open for everybody interested in science fiction, fantasy, anime, RPGs, comics, peculiar movies, etc.

The first part of the event is held at Turku-sali (Yo-talo A) and starts at 2 PM with introductions by the local associations and the next Turku Finncon project. At about 6 the happening moves to the TYY sauna, and the rest of the evening is informal: meeting people, nibbles and coffee, and sauna. More info from Kati Oksanen.

I’m also participating in the event—I’ll be talking about the Finncon association. Come say hi if you’re in the vicinity!

PS later in the night I hear there will be birthday cake at the Tutka clubhouse—the little club I started way back when turns 14 on the 25th.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

TSFS Exhibition at the Turku Library

The new main library of the Turku city library is finally fully up and running. And one of the first exhibitions in their brand new exhibition venue? Sf and fandom in the Turku area!

The themes of the exhibition, which opened today, are the Fantasy Feast (pseudo-medieval festival organized by TSFS), the TSFS fanzine Spin, and a photo exhibition of the Turku fandom activities. The exhibitors are TSFS and Tutka (who for some reason don’t have any information about the event on their web sites at the moment—note to the societies: this is a great achievement which you definitely should advertise).

There will also be an sf event linked to the exhibition. On January 30 to February 1, there will be a theme weekend at the library to introduce sf and fandom to the visitors. Friday is meant for kids, with fun activities, book discussion and recommendations, young author interviews and children’s fantasy short films. Saturday is “Fandom Saturday,” with the emphasis on fandom-related presentations and discussions. Sunday is dedicated to Finnish Swedish-speaking fanac.

The exhibition is open until the end of February. So go take a look—I certainly plan to!

Correction: the exhibition is the first put up by a fan or hobby group, not the first overall (but the third).

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Calendar: Tampere kuplii 3

Just a quick note: the third Tampere kuplii comics festival will (according to the announcement in Kvaak) be held this year on the weekend of March 27–29. More info when it becomes available (the web site still has last year’s info).

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Atorox 2009 Eligibility

There’s a discussion going on on the FSFWA forum about this year’s Atorox award, especially the eligibility of stories published on the net. According to one comment, stories that have been self-published on the net wouldn’t be eligible to participate in the Atorox voting. This doesn’t seem like a good idea to me, although I understand the fear (if not think it’s justified) that self-publishing on the net is so easy that the total amount of eligible stories would grow too much. But a better way (in my opinion) to handle this would be for example to require that stories published on the net outside the “usual” venues need to be submitted to the Atorox administrator to be taken into consideration.

You could (if necessary) go further and demand someone else than the author submits the story. That way, at least two persons think it‘s worthy of Atorox consideration. Or think about other ways. But I don’t think that just the medium a story is published on should affect the eligibility (self-published on paper is good according to my understanding of the current rules).

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

More Linkage: Platforms for Discussion

Sari chimes in on the discussion about why and how to make sf discussions on the net more lively with a good and thoughtful post. I find myself mostly agreeing with what she is saying: the discussion is inevitably fragmenting to different forums, blogs, etc. and the best strategy is to go with it instead of trying to fight against the current.

I think the only way to get the often-coveted “one really good fandom forum” for all discussion (even if you supposed you could get enough people to agree what “good” in this context means) would be to take away all other means of communication (other forums, blogs, mailing lists, etc.). And since this isn’t happening, it’s probably not very realistic to try to get any central hub for all fandom discussion artificially going. Not that I object people trying, mind you.

Sidenote 1: One possible (technical) solution for merging blogging and more forum-like discussion than just blog comments might be a LiveJournal-type platform where you could set up topics as communities where people could post their thoughts and commenting would work in a bit more structured manner than on the usual blog. (No, I don’t think LiveJournal is going away despite the current panicking about some layoffs in their US office – on the other hand, I would personally prefer something else, since following LiveJournal discussions with the rudimentary tools they give you is a pain.)

So, all the different blogs and forums probably are here to stay at least for now, until someone comes up with something new people will go with. This is not totally unrelated to what’s going on with fanzines. Every now an then some wide-eyed idealist proposes joining forces to produce one big, really good zine. But since doing your own thing the way you like is more fun, people will keep doing that instead. (Yes, I’m doing that too.)

Sidenote 2: You can make your life following discussions going on in blogs much easier by using a RSS feed aggregator. It will collect the posts from the blogs you want to follow and present them to you in one interface, in chronological order. Simple and easy. If you don’t want to experiment with installing new programs and learning to use them, Google Reader is a good option to test drive using feeds without having to install any of the stuff yourself. It’s almost like having your personal forum where the people you want to read write about stuff they think is interesting.

Linkage

A couple of links to interesting discussions:

There’s an active discussion going on on the FSFWA forum about the activities and future of the association. It’s a long thread but Kati’s message might be a good starting point for the current issues being discussed.

Usva is asking for ideas for the future of the zine. If you read the zine and have an opinion on how it should develop further, go pitch in. (If you’re not reading Usva, there’s no better time to start than now.)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What Makes a Short Story

Interesting discussion on Anne’s blog on what makes an award-winning short story, a good short story, and whether these are related.

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Atorox Nomination Starting

It’s time again to compile the list of short stories eligible for the Atorox award. The story needs to be Finnish, and published during last year either in Finnish or Swedish.

The current list can be found on the TSFS Atorox web page, and additions and corrections should be sent to the Atorox administrator Katja Rosvall.

The FSFWA forum has a thread for discussing eligible stories.

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