Monday, May 31, 2010

Sands of Sarasvati Movie

Noted this in Babeknabel: a 50 000 € development grant has been given by the Finnish Film Foundation to a production company First Floor Productions for developing a movie based on Risto Isomäki’s Comics Finlandia-awarded graphic novel Sands of Sarasvati. The movie is to be directed by Aku Louhimies. I hope we’ll see something come of this one day.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tiina Raevaara Online

The literary journal Books From Finland has published Tiina Raevaara’s short story My Creator, My Creation online. Tiina Raevaara is a doctor of genetics and a science writer who has published a novel and a short story collection. The story has been originally published in Finnish in her collection En tunne sinua vierelläni (“I can’t feel you beside me”). 

From the journal introduction:

The world of the short story “Luojani, luomani” is strongly gendered. Its narrator is an artifical female intelligence, who is always switched off at night, a kind of gynoid whose self resides within a hard case. The man is her creator and her owner, and men rule the technical world which the literate machine dazzles with her achievements. But for the man she is merely a saleable, unfeeling object, devoid of any tangible selfhood.

This story, lent wings by its quotations from Dante’s Divina Commedia, remains intriguingly open at the end, as Raevaara’s short stories generally do. Their atmospheres are a call to empathy, so strongly do they depict the power of the unconscious to give voice to that which has been silenced.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Linkage: Finnish Sf Reviews

On Babeknabel, Toni has started a thread for interesting sf reviews in Finnish newspapers and magazines. So head over there to keep current on what’s being said about sf books (in Finnish, of course).

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stross on Rajaniemi

Charlie Stross on what should be on the next year’s Hugo novel shortlist:
Second on the block is “The Quantum Thief” by newcomer Hannu Rajaniemi, due from Gollancz in the UK this September. —— if you dropped Greg Egan’s hard physics chops into a rebooted Finnish version of Al Reynolds with the writing talent of a Ted Chiang you’d begin to get a rough approximation of the scale of his talent —— I think Hannu’s going to revolutionize hard SF when he hits his stride. Hard to admit, but I think he’s better at this stuff than I am. And “The Quantum Thief” is the best first SF novel I’ve read in many years.
(Sidenote: Gummerus will publish The Quantum Thief in Finnish in spring 2011.)

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Johanna Sinisalo Interview on SF Signal

Johanna Sinisalo talks about her short story Bear’s Bride and how it ended up in Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling’s anthology The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People in an interview by the SF signal.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Picnic

This Saturday (May 29) the Helsinki university sf club organizes their traditional event, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Picnic. The picnic starts at the Helsinki railway station at 2 PM (near the departing local trains sign). You need money, a Helsinki time table, and salted peanuts. The picnic spot will be randomly drawn using the phone book map and flipism. If the weather is bad, the nearest bar will be designated as the randomly selected spot.
“Of course I will explain to you again why the trip to the Bahamas was so vitally necessary” said Dirk Gently soothingly. “Nothing could give me greater pleasure. I believe, as you know, Mrs Sauskind, in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.”
— Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Åcon 4 Underway, with Chocolate

Åcon, our little convention in Mariehamn, Åland, is arranged for the fourth time this year. The first day of the convention started traditionally very early with a ferry trip to Mariehamn (from Turku and Stockholm, in Finland and Sweden, respectively), with all the eating, shopping, and chatting in the bar that are customary in these situations.

Lots of people gathered around bar tables, chatting

The Thursday program was light, with introductions, people getting to know each other, a “do not disturb” sign workshop (inspired by previous experience of the very efficient hotel cleaning staff at work at early hours) and a very nice presentation by our Guest of Honor, Geoff Ryman, about some very impressive old sf movies (with lots of samples). There was also a movie showing (Frau im Mond by Fritz Lang from 1929, although not in its entirety, to the disappointment of many). And of course a lot of drinking beer and chatting with other fen in the bar and the lounge.

People going aroud the program room saying hi to people they haven’t met before Saying hi to strangers

This morning before the official program started some of us took and excursion to a local chocolaterie, Chocolaterie Amorina.

Entering the shop

We got a presentation about how chocolate is made, what kinds of differences there are in different kinds of beans, ways of making it, etc.

The hosts talking about chocolate The hosts of the chocolaterie introducing us to the world of chocolate

A plate with six pieces of chocolate and six different pralines, along with a cup of hot chocolate The taste of paradise

The world of chocolate is quite complicated, and the characterizations for different kinds of chocolate—not to mention the pralines—seems to have a lot of common with wine tasting, both in the multitude of different tastes found in chocolate, and also in that you clearly need some practice to appreciate the really fine chocolates properly. If you visit Mariehamn, be sure to visit the Amorina!

Chocolaterie Amorina The chocolatier Mercedes Urbano-Winqvist makes all her pralines by hand

Sitting at the table decorated with cacao beans, sampling the selection

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Inexpensive Finncon Accommodation

The Scandic hotel chain currently has a summer offer where if you book a room for at least two consecutive nights, the prices start at 55 €/night/room. This is valid also for the Jyväskylä Scandic during Finncon (use the booking code EAR), so if you don’t have a room yet (and don’t necessarily want to stay at the officially recommended con hotels), this is a very inexpensive opportunity. The hotel is a bit farther than the Milton and Sokos hotels, but still only a very walkable distance away (this is Jyväskylä after all).

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Linkage: Sf in Media, Wreckers Make Opera

The Swedish-speaking newspaper Östra Nyland interviews Ben about sf and Fandom in Finland, and his sf hobby in particular.

The Wreckamovie community, founded by the people behind the Star Wreck and Iron Sky movie projects, has been tasked by the Savonlinna Opera Festival to create a crowdsourced opera production to be premiered at the festival in 2012. (Probably, sadly, won’t be a space opera, though.)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Beastly Bride

Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling’s new anthology, The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People, features a short story Bear’s Bride by Johanna Sinisalo, one of the most acclaimed Finnish sf writers. She is in good company: the anthology also has stories by Lucius Shepherd, Jane Yolen, Tanith Lee, Peter S. Beagle, Jeffrey Ford, and others, with “selected decorations by Charles Vess”. Green Man Review writes about Johanna’s story,
Johanna Sinisalo explores the roots of Finnish myth in “Bear’s Bride,” employing ancient traditional verses so seamlessly that until I read the author’s note I assumed she herself had composed them for the story. After reading said note, I found the story beginning to ring in my recollection with heightened mythic resonances. With that awareness in place going in, a good coming-of-age tale, set among a Finnish ur-tribe, may just refine itself to greatness. The “Mythically Correct” Award in this collection goes to Sinisalo, hands down.

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Sf Detective Novels

The io9 blog lists the top 10 sf detective novels of all time. What has this to do with Finland? Well, on the list are both Tea From an Empty Cup, by this year’s Finncon GoH Pat Cadigan, and Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan who will be GoH at Finncon next year.

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