Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eurocon

If you’ve been thinking about going to Eurocon, now is the time to arrange your trip! The convention will be held in Stockholm, June 17–19, and it looks like it’s going to be one of the biggest Swedish conventions ever, with members from over 20 countries.

The convention membership fee is 40 € until the end of April, so go over to their site and join up! (If you will be under 26 when the convention starts, you get a free membership; you just need to fill the membership form and you’re all set.)

The convention will have programming from Friday noon to Sunday evening, from morning to well into the evening. GoHs are Elizabeth Bear, Ian McDonald, John-Henri Holmberg and fan GoH Jukka Halme.

There will be a group trip from Finland with programming: Båtcon, from Helsinki to Stockholm on Thursday evening and back on the Sunday evening ferry. Båtcon membership 116 € includes the trips, the Båtcon program on Thursday, dinner on Thursday, plus a 20 € coupon for the trip back. And of course the wonderfully sfnal company on the trip! Båtcon signup deadline is Monday, April 25.

There will be over 20 Finns going to the convention, so you don’t need to worry about having to go alone. So come along!

More information about going to the convention from Finland, Båtcon, where to stay, etc. can be found at <euroconiin.wordpress.com>.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sands of Sarasvati: The Play

A stage play based on Risto Isomäki’s novel The Sands of Sarasvati opens today at the Rovaniemi Theater. In the play, “actors read Isomäki’s text, think, interpret and re-imagine its message and challenge the audience to participate”.

The play that promises to give you space to think about your own relation with global warming is directed by Vihtori Rämä and also includes samples from “The Daily Sarasvati” audio play and a moving image installation during the intermission.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Tähtivaeltaja Day 2011

The Vandercon tour culminated in the Tähtivaeltaja Day minicon, held in Helsinki this Saturday. Twelwe hours of fantastical programming, starting with more serious panel discussions on new sf trends, translating sf, etc. and gradually gearing towards the more silly side of underwater nazi zombies, quiz shows, and comics karaoke.

The GoH of Vandercon, and Tähtivaeltaja Day, were of course Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. Happily discussing books, authors, writing, weird, the weird, odd (or was it the odd?), squid, mushrooms, bears, and other weird tales, Ann and Jeff had spent the week touring Finland, but were still lovely as always.

Tähtivaeltaja Day

Before Ann & Jeff’s cryo couch interview, Jukka and Juha interrupted the program for a quick announcement.

Jeff had been taunted for the whole week about having to give a repeat performance of his interpretative dance. You can see from his expression he was expecting the worst.

However, Juha started talking about the hockey team in their home town of Tallahassee. And not the one they had heard about before…

The Tallahassee Tentacles

…but the Tallahassee Tentacles! The team shirts feature a gorgeous logo designed by Ninni Aalto.

The Tallahassee Tentacles

The very familiar star players of the team.

Tähtivaeltaja Day

The Weird fiction today panel

Tähtivaeltaja Day

After navigating the maze of twisting passages to find the basement of the basement, the Domus Academica was a pretty good place for a minicon such as this. The program room was just large enough, there was enough room to hang out and talk with friends, and the bar prices were extremely wallet friendly.

The program items that I managed to catch were very good. The “sell a book” contest was once again extremely entertaining; poor Jeff had to read aloud an excerpt of a book… in Finnish. He did very well, considering. The quiz show was pretty unusual this time: you got points for correct answers, and the team with the most points actually won the game. Jeff got shanghaied into once again practicing his Finnish. In the tight match between Finland proper and the rest of Finland, the team comprising Shimo and me was victorious. And there were actual prices too. Yay us!

After a great day catching up with friends, discussing much science fiction, fandom, and plenty of other things, smoking a couple of doutniks in good company, and general merriment, it was time to say teary-eyed goodbyes, send the guests home, and go catch some sleep. A big hand to the organizers of the day—the con was a success and I had a blast! And once again huge thanks also to Ann and Jeff, tirelessly traveling to educate and entertain. You guys are the best!

The Tallahassee Tentacles

Go Tentacles!

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vandercon in Turku

A week ago, the amazing Vandercon landed in Finland. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer visited us for a tour of lectures, workshops, and fan meetings.

Fiskari / Café Antique

On the way from Helsinki to Turku we stopped at the Fiskars Village for a quick tour of the place, a cup of coffee with Kenneth, an eclectic book shop, and some gourmet chocolate. Plus a very weird (and a bit scary) cryogenic toilet…

Sunday was a rest day in the middle of all the traveling, so there wasn’t any official programming then. After arriving in Turku we had lunch, visited a museum, and had a quiet evening with a couple of friends. The plan was for the travelers to get a decent night’s sleep before spending the whole week hopping from city to city.

Tuli on irti!On Monday, before the programming started, there was time for some local activities, including a quick visit to a gym with Jeff, and visiting the Logomo exhibition center, where the guests were subjected, among other things, to the fire exhibition.

Kaffeeklatch at CaféArtThe first official programming item was a kaffeeklatch-style meet & greet at CaféArt, an excellent art café in the center of the town. A dozen local sf people were present, among them the renowned sf, horror and pulp author Boris Hurtta. The guests were interesting (as always), and the conversation flowed very easily between them and the locals. The cakes and coffee were extremely tasty.

Talk at the UniversityThe main event was a talk / multimedia show / interview, organized together with the International Institute of Popular Culture of the University of Turku. Ann and Jeff discussed their projects, and showed a lot of interesting material (many of their works are very visual, for example the Steampunk Bible, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, and of course the Weird Tales magazine, so this kind of a presentation was very well suited for the occasion), followed by an interview and a Q&A session.

DinnerAt dinner, at the viking restaurant Harald. Plenty of food, all of it good. The honey beer wasn’t bad either.

Cosmic Comic CaféThe evening continued at Cosmic Comic Café with beers and lots of itneresting and fun discussion.

On Tuesday, it was time to say goodbye (for a while), as Ann and Jeff contined their tour to Jyväskylä.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

MorfoCon in Tampere

The FSFWA “living room con” MorfoCon (Metamorphosis in sf) takes place in Tampere May 7.

The program starts at 2 with a “Pimp your monster” workshop for writers, and at 4 there will be a talk about insects as the master race in sf. Other programming will include a new issue of Kosmospenaali, gaming, and discussion.

More from FSFWA Tampere.

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Comics Finlandia 2011 to Kati Kovács and Heikki Paakkanen

The annual Comics Finlandia award for best Finnish comics album was announced today at the Tampere Kuplii comics festival. This year, there are two winners: Kati Kovács for Kuka pelkää Nenian Ahnavia? and Heikki Paakkanen for Amerikka.

The winners were selected by artist M.A. Numminen who said about the winners,
Kati Kovács’s work is close to the ideal Numminen held in his youth: strange and surprising. The improvised-looking style is also charming enough to be a winner.

Heikki Paakkanen, in his book Amerikka, creates intriguing contrasts on the United States and uses cliches to his, and the reader’s, advantage. The art is as fine as always in Paakkanen’s works, and personal enough to stand above the masses.
The award sum is 5 000 €. The Comics Finlandia award is given by the Tampere Kuplii ry. and Luova Tampere.

Press release

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Vandercon

Ann & Jeff VanderMeerAnn and Jeff VanderMeer are visiting Finland on their European tour. They will be in Turku on April 11, with a kaffeeklatsch, a public presentation at the university, and later a meeting at a pub for some beers and chatting.

From Turku, the tour continues to Jyväskylä and Tampere on Tuesday the 12th and Wednesday the 13th, respectively, with programming in Kirjailijatalo and Metso, plus pub meetings later in the evening. On Thursday, there will be a public lecture at the University of Helsinki, plus the Helsinki pub meeting afterwards.

On Friday, Ann and Jeff are the GoHs of ESCON 2011, a minicon in Espoo with the emphasis this year on writing sf (see link for details of the program).

The main event is the Tähtivaeltaja Day minicon in Helsinki on Saturday, where Ann & Jeff will also be starring as GoHs. These minicons are always a hoot, and having such great GoHs will definitely not hurt either.

Go check out the links for the Vandercon, coming soon to a city near you, and participate! And then head to Helsinki for the next weekend for Tähtivaeltaja Day! You won’t regret it!

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