Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Di Filippo Reviews Vainonen and Krohn

DATURA lg large

Paul Di Filippo reviews two new Finnish publications from Cheeky Frawg, The Explorer and Other Stories by Jyrki Vainonen and Datura or A Delusion We All See by Leena Krohn, for Locus and quite likes them.

Monday, December 16, 2013

It Came From The North


This has been a long time coming*, but it’s finally here. It Came From the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction, edited by Desirina Boskovich and published by Cheeky Frawg. I’m very happy about how the anthology turned out: this is an excellent sampler of recent fantastic fiction from Finland. There are 13 short stories in the anthology (from such authors as Hannu Rajaniemi, Anne Leinonen, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Leena Likitalo, Maarit Verronen, Tiina Raevaara, and Jyrki Vainonen, among others) plus two excerpts from novels by Johanna Sinisalo and Leena Krohn. Sf Signal lists the table of contents in its impressive entirety.

Many of these stories are distinctly Finnish in tone (they could well be categorised as ‘Finnish Weird’), and besides that they are very good as stories by themselves, so I can warmly recommend them if you want to get a picture of what the Finnish fantastic fiction field at its best looks like. You can get the ebook anthology at your friendly neighbourhood ebook store.

*) I’m afraid I have no small part of the blame for the delays.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Free Drabble Collection

Last weekend, Shimo Suntila’s book, Sata kummaa kertomusta (“A Hundred Strange Stories”), was published. It’s a collection of one hundred drabbles (short stories of exactly a hundred words), and the material was collected from Shimo’s drabble project last year, when he wrote and published a drabble every single day of the year.

Shimo reading one of his drabbles

On Friday, there was a head start at the Turku monthly pub meeting where Shimo read a few of the stories.

The official launch party took place on Saturday, first at Shimo’s house (which was packed), and later at the pub Proffan kellari, where drinks were had and more drabbles were read (in the picture the person doing the reading is Tuomas Saloranta, the publisher).

Tuomas reads, Shimo and Arren sign the books

The collection has been a success; I understand there aren’t many copies of the first printing left, and a second one is on the way. The good news is the collection is also available as an ebook, and until the end of the week you can download the book free of charge at the Aavetaajuus webstore. So go take a look! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Krohn Nominated for Finlandia

Congratulations to Leena Krohn whose novel Hotel Sapiens is nominated for this year’s Finlandia Award—the major literary award in Finland! Krohn has won the Finlandia award before in 1992 for Mathematical Beings.

Also among the six nominees is JP Koskinen’s Ystäväni Rasputin. Koskinen is a versatile author who is familiar to this blog’s readers from then pages of sf zines. Congrats!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Iron Sky Awarded in Germany


Iron Sky has won the prize for best science fiction film in the After Dark awards at the After Dark horror festival in Germany. Congratulations!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Turku Pub Meeting Today

Oh, look, it’s November already! And a Friday! That must mean there’s a pub meeting in Turku! So welcome to Cosmic Comic Cafe today at six!

If you’re feeling hungry before that, some of us are going to Rokbar for a burger at five, and you’re welcome to join.

Also, November is an especially good month to visit Turku—the sf calendar of the month is quite full of all kinds of interesting events.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nordic Sf Studies Journal

I was going to wait until there was a website to point to, but since that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon, and the news has been out for a while, never mind. FINFAR, the Finnish society for science fiction and fantasy studies (founded this summer) will be launching an academic journal of Nordic sf research. The journal will be published online and the main language is English. It will contain peer-reviewed articles, essays, interviews, opinion pieces and academic book reviews.

The full press release contains more information about the journal and its advisory board, plus a naming contest, and can be found on Adam Roberts’ blog.

Tove Jansson Commemorated in Stamps

Tove jansson2

To commemorate Tove Jansson’s 100th anniversary she will be getting her own stamps next January. The stamps, designed by Klaus Welp, depict different sides of Tove Jansson, and also the archipelago that was very important to her.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


If you’re not going to Swecon this weekend, in Jyväskylä there is a minicon called Lokacon this Saturday. The guests of the con are authors Rjurik Davidson from Australia and Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen from Jyväskylä. The program consists of talks, discussion and a quiz, plus a sauna in the evening.

Karen Lord Comes to Åcon

Redemption in indigo

Åcon 7 has announced the Guest of Honor: Karen Lord comes to Mariehamn next May. Lord is the author of two acclaimed novels, Redemption in Indigo and The Best of All Possible Worlds, and a podcaster (she hosts the excellent SF Crossing the Gulf together with Karen Burnham). She comes from Barbados.

Åcon is a small, English-speaking, literary relaxacon. Åcon 7 takes place May 1–4, 2014 at Hotel Adlon in Mariehamn. Membership is 30 €.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sf Classification

Author Jussi Katajala is putting together a diagram of several subgenres of fantastic fiction. Not the first of its kind, but interesting anyway, and may be useful to others as well.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Finncon 2015 in Turku

Another thing that was discussed on Sunday (besides the Worldcon bid) was Finncon 2015. No longer on hold because of a possibility of a Worldcon in Finland in 2015, there’s been some initial discussion for a Finncon 2015 in Turku. We’re still in the planning and committee forming stage, but there’s definite interest in holding a Finncon here. We’ve also had lots of interest and support from the rest of the Finnish fandom, and are looking around for possible venues, so things are looking good.

Our plan is to hold a Finncon that will reach out to the international fandom, and to welcome everyone who was looking forward to coming to Finland in 2015 to come to Finncon!

There’s not much to report yet (as I said, still in the planning phase), but you can follow @finncon2015 on Twitter (and this space as well), and we’ll be sure to let you know when we have something more.

Lecture on Science Fiction Movies in Turku

Kimmo Ahonen is giving a public lecture in Turku on Monday, October 21. The topic is his PhD thesis, aliens in the 1950s science fiction movies as material for a historian studying the Cold War.

The talk takes place at Studio in the City Library main building, starting at 6 PM. It is part of the “History now” series, organised by the Turku Historical Society.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Helsinki Bids for Worldcon (Again)

The word got out a couple of hours ago, but now it is official: Helsinki is bidding again to bring Worldcon to Finland, this time going for 2017.

There was a meeting of fandom today in Turku, where lots of future plans were discussed and starting the bid was decided (so this time it wasn't a drive-by shooting decision). The bid website will be helsinkiin2017.org (once the DNS records have been updated), and you can follow the bid events on Twitter (@helsinkiin2017) and Facebook as well.

The initial press release follows.

October 13, 2013 Helsinki, Finland

Finland Bids for Worldcon in 2017

We are excited to announce that the Finnish fandom has today met and agreed to bid for Worldcon in Helsinki in 2017. Our proposed venue is the Messukeskus, Expo and Convention Centre Helsinki, and we will be bidding for the convention to take place in August, 2017.

The Chair of the bid will be Eemeli Aro with Karoliina Leikomaa acting as the Project Manager of the bid. The initial bid committee at the moment consists of Crystal Huff, Jukka Halme and Hanna Hakkarainen.

With the support of the rest of the Finnish fandom and our many friends from all over the world, we are determined to work towards bringing our corner of the world to Worldcon.

The year 2017 will also be special for the Finns: it will be the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence. We hope to celebrate it with all of you at Worldcon in Helsinki!

Eemeli Aro
Juha Autero
Tuomas Colliander
Hanna Hakkarainen
Jukka Halme
Benedict Hirvi
Crystal Huff
Tomi Junnila
Pasi Karppanen
Sanna Kellokoski
Harri Kiiskinen
Karo Leikomaa
Susanna Leppälahti
Mika Loponen
Hanne Martelius
Mitja "WuMing" Mieskolainen
Sini Neuvonen
Sari Polvinen
Ben Roimola
Mikko Seppänen
Vesa Sisättö
Shimo Suntila
Vilgot Strömsholm
Jukka Särkijärvi
Elisa Wiik
Tero Ykspetäjä 

www: http://helsinkiin2017.org
Twitter: @helsinkiin2017

Thursday, October 10, 2013

FILI Award to Leena Krohn

Leena Krohn

The Finnish Literature Society has given their annual Aleksis Kivi Fund award to Leena Krohn.

Krohn receives the cash prize of 15,000 € in recognition of her lifetime work of high quality, ethically non-compromising literature. Krohn started publishing in 1970 an is still active. The jury commends the blend of scientific rationality and surrealist fantasy in her works that also ponder serious ethical questions and cares for the state of nature.

More info is available from FILI.

An English translation of Krohn’s Datura just came out, and is available as an ebook.

Photo by Soppakanuuna on Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


DATURA lg large

Leena Krohn’s novel Datura is out in English from Cheeky Frawg. You can get the ebook from Wizard’s Tower and other quality ebook stores.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Smoffing on Sunday

Next Sunday there will be an extra co-operation meeting for Finndom (or Finnsmofcon as I’ve taken to calling them). The point of the meeting is to plan and discuss various future events and projects. So far, these include at least the initial ideas for organising a Finncon in Turku in 2015, presentation about a completely new convention concept, and discussion on possible future Worldcon bids. So, if you find yourself in Turku next weekend and want to participate in con running discussion, welcome to Turku-sali (Yo-talo A, 2. krs) at 1 PM!

More info on the event is on Facebook. If you’ll be participating, please sign up at the meeting Doodle so we know who will be there!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Diversity Talk Next Week

In Helsinki next week: South African author Suzanne van Rooyen is giving a talk called Diversity in Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. The talk examines why science fiction and fantasy is slow to evolve, why these genres are prone to white- and straight-washing, and why it is vital that young adult literature embrace diversity.

The event takes place in Arkadia International Bookshop next Tuesday, October 8, at 6 PM.

Sinisalo in German

Sinisalo Auringon ydin 190x300

Johanna Sinisalo’s new novel Auringon ydin (The Core of the Sun) has been sold for publication in Germany. How did Finland turn into the North-Korea of Europe? — the story of the alternate Eusistocratic Republic of Finland will be published by Klett-Cotta in September 2014.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Finncon 2014 Announces Hotels

Finncon2014 valas

The website of next year’s Finncon now has some info, most importantly about hotels (only in Finnish at the moment, though).

If you’re going to Finncon next summer, you should book your room quickly—Jyväskylä is hosting a big housing fare next summer at the same time as Finncon, so there will probably be a shortage of hotel rooms in the city (and the prices are already above average for Jyväskylä).

The main con hotel is Alba, located on a beautiful spot by the water, a bit away from the city centre, but only a short walking distance (about 600 meters) from the con site. The convention price is 94 €/room/night for a standard double room, 78 €/room/night for a standard single room, and 74 €/room/night for an economy single room. Superior rooms and suites with a sauna are also available. The prices include breakfast and parking.

There are more rooms in the Rantasipi Laajavuori. It is more remote—located a few kilometres away from the con site (about 5 minutes by car)—but on the other hand, it is a spa hotel so if you want to combine some extra relaxing with the convention, it might be a good choice. Prices are 92 €/room/night for a single and 102 €/room/night for a double room, including breakfast and use of the spa and gym.

A more affordable option is Gasthaus Laajis, four kilometres from the con site. Prices are 35 €/person/night in a double room, and 30 €/person/night in a 4-person room. You can add extra beds in the rooms fro 15 €/person/night, up to 8 persons. Breakfast is included in the standard prices; for extra beds breakfast is an additional 6 €. The hostel has shared bathrooms and also facilities for preparing food.

The reservation code for the con prices is FINNCON2014. The offer is valid until May 11 for Alba and Rantasipi (but it’s doubtful there will be available rooms that long). To get the special price for Laajis you must book the room by February 1.

Besides the official convention accommodation, it’s of course possible to book your room independently. There are still some vacancies in the Jyväskylä hotels, but the prices might be higher than what you’re used to. Milton is of course the traditional hotel used by Finncon attendees. I’ve got a room booked at the Alexandra (right by the railway station). The most inexpensive option (excluding hostels) is the Omena hotel, with current prices of 70 €/room/night for a double or 90 €/room/night for a four-person room (not including breakfast).

I’ve put together a Google Map where you can see the con site and the accommodation options mentioned here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kid-Friendly Mafia Tomorrow

A new sfnal activity in Turku: some families have been discussing a regular playdate for parents with small children. The goal is for the parents to be able to engage in sfnal discussion while the children play with each other.

The meetings will take place on the last Friday of the month, and the plan is to rotate the place among the participants. The first mukulamafia is tomorrow at Tomi & Hanne’s place. All interested parties are welcome. More info from Hanne.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Charles Dexter Ward Rises Again

Cdwt netti

Due to its popularity last spring, the Tikkurila theater brings back their H.P. Lovecraft play Charles Dexter Wardin tapaus this autumn. The premiere is on Saturday, November 16.

Young Aleksis Kivi Nominees

The Nuori Aleksis award (“Young Aleksis”), named after Finland’s national writer Aleksis Kivi, is an award founded by the Finnish teachers’ union, given each year to one outstanding and significant book, selected by a jury comprising senior high school students from around Finland.

This year’s shortlist has been announced and I’m happy to report that three of the six nominees are sf. Among the nominees are Teemestarin kirja (Memory of Water) by Emmi Itäranta, Unikoira (Seeing Eyes) by Marko Hautala, and Näkijän tytär (The Prophet’s Daughter) by Kristiina Vuori (more info about the nominees).

A curious thing I noticed in the announcement: the nominees are selected by a large jury of high schoolers, but from a long list (around 100 books) given to them, I guess determined by the working group administering the award. Included are novels, short story and poetry collections, plays and essays. But, even though this is an award for young people by young people, YA books are specifically excluded from eligibility. This feels very stupid to me, especially since nowadays there are (in my opinion) larger amounts of very good quality Finnish YA literature than ever before.

Finndom on Facebook

There’s a new Facebook group called Suomalainen fandom. The purpose is to share information and discuss finndom-related things (I expect the overwhelming majority of the discussions to be in Finnish).

This is a public Facebook group, so it should be possible to read the discussions without signing onto Facebook (at least for the moment). You can also follow new topic posts via an RSS feed.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tove Jansson Bio in English Next Year

A definite Tove Jansson biography Tove Jansson – Tee työtä ja rakasta, written by Dr. Tuula Karjalainen, will be published by Tammi this October. An English edition, The Life and Art of Tove Jansson, will be published next year (coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Tove Jansson) by Penguin Books. Publishing rights have also been sold to Sweden and Japan.

More info

Update: Also the Norwegian rights have been sold. Heinesen Forlag will publish the pub in Norway in 2014.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Pub Meeting Friday

This month’s Turku sf pub meeting is tomorrow (Friday the 6th) at Cosmic Comic Cafe starting at 6. Welcome!

If you had your heart set up on a Thursday meeting, today is the last Varjomafia at the Terrakoti club house before the move, also starting around 6. Should be plenty of people there, especially as today has also been open house there due to the University season start. Or, if you’re more interested in having a pint, a couple of fans from Helsinki are visiting today; text me for details (040 576 6450).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Free Tainaron Ebook Today

To support the Helsinki Worldcon bid, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s Cheeky Frawg Books if offering a free ebook edition of Leena Krohn’s short novel Tainaron, for today only (until midnight EST, ie. 7 AM Wednesday morning Finnish time). More info on Jeff’s site.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rabbit Back Out


The Rabbit Back Literature Society is the excellent debut novel by the Finnish author Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. It’s a literary mystery set in a small town where there is a secret society of writers with mysterious rituals and a strange past. The English translation of the novel will be out in November from Pushkin Press. Check it out—I’m certain you won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Regina in Turku

Regina Wang, an sf researcher and fan from China whom some of you have already met at Finncon or the Roadside picnic, is visiting Europe and will be in Turku this weekend to meet local fen. There will be a fandom meet up at Terrakoti on Saturday (the 17th), starting at 6. In traditional Terrakoti fashion, the event is BYOD and potluck.

More info about the event can be found on Facebook.

Words Without Borders

Heard via Jeff: Words Without Borders, a site that seeks to promote contemporary international literature, seeks contributors for a Finnish issue.

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings from Seattle!

I'm writing to update you on the upcoming Words Without Borders Finnish issue, to be published in summer of 2014.

I am still eagerly collecting potential pieces by contemporary Finnish authors for the issue.

We're requesting short samples of 300 to 500 words from which the pieces for publication will be chosen and complete translations will be commissioned. I'm hoping to have numerous pieces to send to WWB by October to allow plenty of time for everyone to complete their translations by June of next year. I've received a few pieces already, but many more are needed.

If you have a story you would like to submit, send it along. If you have already sent a piece, thank you! Perhaps you have some more in a desk drawer, or on your wish list? It's a good opportunity to promote your favorite authors, your own work, and Finnish literature in general.

There will be a small fee paid to both translator and author for any stories published in the magazine.

WWB prefers pieces of less than 3000 words (in English translation), and all of the stories must have never been published in English before, online or off.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to submit something. Multiple submissions are welcome.

All the best,


More information is available from Lola Rogers.

Crowdfunding Mysteries

Editors Jyrki Pitkä and Tuomas Saloranta are crowdfunding an anthology of occult detective stories, Murhamystiikkaa – okkulttisia etsivätarinoita. The goal is to raise enough funds to publish the anthology of 12 stories as paper and ebook editions. The minimum goal covers the printing and other mandatory costs, but the goal is to raise enough money to pay the writers and the editors. I hope they make it! More info about the writers, budget, and perqs on the project page.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Guests Speak About Finncon

It’s always a pleasure to read what the guests of your convention have to say about the event, and the GoHs of this year’s Finncon have been very good in this regard; they have all written something about the convention (and have good things to say, which is of course also very nice of them). So go on and check out what Aliette de Bodard, Peter Watts, and J. Pekka Mäkelä had to say.

Other foreign guests have also chimed in: here are reports by Stefan Ekman, Caitlin Sweet, and Cheryl Morgan. And there are plenty of links on the Finncon site to other reports as well.

Speaking of GoH reports, Tricia Sullivan has also written a two-part report about Åcon 6 where she was a GoH this year: part 1, part 2. I’m very glad to see she also enjoyed her stay in Finland.

Bruce Sterling in Turku Tomorrow

The Aboagora seminar (combining art and science) takes place in Turku this week. The keynote speaker for tomorrow’s public lecture is sf author Bruce Sterling. The theme of the day is Virtual worlds, and Sterling’s speech begins at 11. So if you’re interested in hearing him, head to the Sibelius museum then!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Noviisi Competition 2013

Noviisi is a short story competition for writers between 13 and 17 years of age. The maximum length of the eligible stories is 10.000 characters, and the deadline for the competition is September 1. The competition is organised by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Finland, the Turku Science Fiction Society and the Science Fiction Culture Cabinet at the University of Turku. More information.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Iron Sky Sequel Crowdfunding Successful


The crowdfunding campaign to get the Iron Sky sequel movie, Iron Sky The Coming Race, started was successful. The Indiegogo campaign managed to bring in over $180.000, $30.000 over the target. This will go towards creating a full script for the film and a clear production plan including a budget, and producing a four to five minute promo reel to help with getting further funding. The plan is to fund the whole movie independently this time.

As with the original movie, Iron Sky The Coming Race will also utilise crowdsourcing so that people who are interested can have an impact on the final movie. A project on Wreckamovie already exists, so go there and take a look if you want to participate.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tähtifantasia Award 2013

Uusi maailma coverThe Helsinki Science Fiction Society announced the seventh Tähtifantasia Award at this year’s Finncon last weekend. The award for best fantasy book translated into Finnish last year went to Uusi maailma (The Modern World)  by Steph Swainston. The novel was translated by J. Pekka Mäkelä and published by Like.

The jury commends the complex main character of the novel, and also the world building that is detailed but also questions the prevailing society. Swainston’s writing evokes powerful feelings and does not the reader off easily. The themes of the novel are responsibility, letting go of things, and the difficulty of love; Swainston ponders on the motivation and effects of the things we do and asks questions about the world, and the meaning of religions and power structures.

The jury of the award consisted of critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, writer and editor Anne Leinonen, and Risingshadow representative Osmo Määttä.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Awards at Finncon

Several awards were presented yesterday and today at Finncon.

The first prize in the short story competition organised by Finncon and Elisa Kirja went to Jenni Kauppinen for her story Jalokivihovi (“Jewel Court”). On second place was Neko Koski with Nuru-nu-kang and the third place was a tie between Mikko Arjanmaa’s Tapaus Jii (“Case Jay”) and Stina Maria Saari’s Pedot (“Beasts”).

The first prize in the Nova short story competition went to Anna Malinen for Siihen kaarna kasvakohon (“Let There Grow Bark”). On second place was Katri-Maija Karvonen with Salaperäinen kauppa (“A Mysterious Deal”) and on third Irina Seppänen with Odotussali (“Waiting Room”).

The Atorox Award for best Finnish sf short story published last year was given by the Turku Science Fiction Society. The winner is Anni Nupponen for her short story Joka ratasta pyörittää (“She Who Turns the Cog”), published in the anthology Steampunk! Koneita ja korsetteja. On second place was Wilhelmus Lyypekkiläisen kuolema (“The Death of Wilhelm of Lübeck”) by Jussi Katajala, and Kirjallinen liite kannevakuuskorvausanomukseen (“A written Addendum to the Request for Liability Insurance Compensation”) by Tero Niemi & Anne Salminen came third. Atorox is a popular award, voted by members of the Finnish fandom.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Tähtivaeltaja Short Story Competition 2013

The results of the Tähtivaeltaja short story competition were announced at Finncon today. The theme of the competition was “Tähtivaeltaja” (“Star Rover”), and the first price (400 €) went to Miikka Pörsti for his short story Raportti. Mikä johti operaatio Tähtivaeltajan epäonnistumiseen (“Report. What lead to the failure of Project Tähtivaeltaja”).

The jury commended the story, written in form of a report about an encounter with little green aliens that have arrived on Earth, on the format that is refreshingly different from a conventional short story. The tale of the destiny of an alien race on Earth contains humour but also works as an allegory without being too obvious about it.

In addition to the winner, the jury awarded two honorary mentions to Samuli Antila for his story Pelastaja (“Saviour”), and Jenni Kauppinen for Kemina Standing.

There were 83 submissions in total. The competition was organised by the Tähtivaeltaja zine and the Helsinki Science Fiction Society. In the preliminary jury were researcher Irma Hirsjärvi and writer Anne Leinonen, and in the jury editor Toni Jerrman, editor Jukka Halme, and writer Tiina Raevaara.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Iron Sky Sequel Crowdfunding

Iron Sky The Coming Race campaign logoYou remember Iron Sky, right? The guys are back, and like the first time, they have a crowdfunding campaign set up to help with the funding of the movie. This time the goal is to get the whole movie funded independently, with shooting planned to start in 2015.

There are several levels of perks for supporters (for example, an exclusive t-shirt for this campaign), so if you're a fan of the movie, go check out the campaign site and help Iron Sky 2 become reality!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Dissertation on 50s Sf Movies

Tomorrow at the University of Turku, Kimmo Ahonen defends his dissertation called “Cold War Anxieties and FantasiesAlien Invasion in American Science Fiction Films of the 1950s”. For those interested, the thesis is available on Doria (it's in Finnish, but there's an English summary starting on page 466).

Pub Meeting Today

Yes, it's Friday. The Turku pub meetings were moved to the first Friday of the month, starting this month. As it's now officially summer, the gathering is in the traditional place, Brewery Restaurant Koulu's terrace. See you there today at six!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Seminar in Turku with Sterling, Torssonen, etc.

Aboagora is an annual seminar in Turku, organized during the Turku Music Festival, with aim of promoting dialogue between arts, humanities, and sciences. The event consists of public keynote lectures and dialogues, smaller roundtable workshops as well as artistic programmes.

This year’s keynote speakers include Bruce Sterling, who needs no introduction, and among the participants is also eg. Samuli Torssonen, the man behind Star Wreck, and the Iron Sky special effects. Topics include such things as The Disappearing Human-Machine Divide, Robot Desires, and Internet communities.

There's still time to sign up for this year's event (held in August), registration is open until the end of the month. Attendance is 45 € which includes participation in all public lectures and panel discussions, plus lunch & coffee on three days.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Towel Day

Saturday is International Towel Day, and you can celebrate it in sfnal company at least in Helsinki and Turku.

In Turku, your destination for Towel Day is Cosmic Comic Cafe where there will be theme-appropriate program from 6 PM onwards. At 6, there will be a "One Man Rush Hour", and starting at 9, you will be exposed to the worst poetry in the universe. At midnight those whose intestines haven't strangled them yet can participate in the creepiest laughter in the galaxy competition. For survivors, music until the prophet Zarquon (or the closing time) arrives.

In Helsinki, you can participate in the traditional Dirk Gently's Holistic Picnic which starts at the railway station (under the departing local trains sign) at 2 PM. Bring money, the Helsinki timetable, salted peanuts and a towel. The target of the picnic will be decided by flipism. More info: 050 534 7747/Vesa Sisättö.

I haven't heard of Towel Day–specific events in Tampere (please let me know if there are any!) but as a consolation sfnal activity on Saturday you can visit Suomalainen Kirjakauppa at 2 PM to hear Saara Henriksson talk about the ecological sf anthology Huomenna tuulet voimistuvat.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Computer Throwing Thursday

This Thursday, FUI will organise their traditional computer throwing picnic. If you’re interested in participating, head to the Nummi school around 6.

Tähtivaeltaja Award 2013

The Tähtivaeltaja Award, given by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction book published in Finnish in 2012, was announced yesterday. The winner is Kiduttajan Varjo (The Shadow of the Torturer) by Gene Wolfe, published by Gummerus and translated by Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo.

The jury praises both the clarity of vision and the literary quality of the book; the far future world encompasses deep philosophical thinking, allegorical storytelling, and visions with great sense of wonder. The whole is original and extremely imaginative. The translation is excellent, and with all the neologisms invented for it manages to support the richness of the original.

The jury consisted of critic Hannu Blommila, editor Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppänen, and critic Antti Oikarinen.

The shortlist for the award was:

  • Pintakuvio (Surface Detail) by Iain M. Banks
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Teemestarin kirja by Emmi Itäranta
  • Muistoissa sininen Maa (Blue Remembered Earth) by Alastair Reynolds
  • Kiduttajan varjo (The Shadow of the Torturer) by Gene Wolfe

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Åcon 6, Day 2

Friday began with two options for an Åland excursion: there was the traditional chocolate tasting, ie. a visit to sample Mercedes’s pralines, or a real treat for hard core book lovers: a visit in a private bookstore by a local collector Gunnar Johansson. According to reports, both trips went very well. The chocolates were tasty as always (and, as usual, our group pretty much bought the store empty), and the book pilgrims seemed to be rather impressed with the dedication to books that was evident in the place. Of course, you could also skip the excursions and go for a visit in Mariehamn instead, which some people did (and found all kinds of interesting stuff—apparently, there’s a Nordic comics exhibition in Mariehamn this month, for example), and for those who opted to stay at the convention, there was a discussion and recommendations about Hugo-nominated stories. (I opted to go for a run along the beautiful Mariehamn shore. Nice scenery, but also lots of hills and plenty of stairs along the route I took, so I was rather knackered even after a relatively short run.) The first panel I saw was the Classic Cons discussion, where the panelists talked about the different conventions there are around the world (well, Europe and USA) and why you should visit them. Worldcon is of course the biggest one, but there are also many general conventions for sf, as well as some specialist conventions that have a narrower focus (Readercon, Wiscon, Smofcon, etc.). Among other topics, there was some discussion about Europe’s convention situation. Many people especially in west Europe consider the British Eastercon to be the main European convention of the year, instead of Eurocon. A big part of this is that Eurocons have varied hugely in content and quality, but that may be changing a bit now that the ESFS has a new board that may want to help develop and promote future Eurocons. Tricia Sullivan’s Guest of Honor Interview was very interesting. She talked about her personal history, growing up in the US and moving to Britain; her works, habits as a writer etc. The AV panel gave plenty of tips of tv series to watch. Most of them I knew, but a couple were new—I’m not sure if I was really enticed to actually watch the series, but the presentation gave a good idea of what I am (or am not) missing. I still say they were very wrong about a few series, but that sparked some lively conversation later in the evening. During the dinner break, we found a lovely little place, Pilsnermackan, that specialises in local foods. The lamb burger was absolutely delicious, and all the other dishes (and desserts) were liked by our dinner party as well. The “I should really love this, but…!” panel didn’t in my opinion really work as a panel—the panelists just didn’t have enough common topics that a discussion would have taken off. But there were also many examples from the audience of things most people like but the person in question doesn’t, and the program item became a discussion with everyone involved. Jukkahoo’s “Never Mind the Buzzaldrins” quiz is always entertaining. There was a new section this year which was fun but seemed to take the thing more towards an actual quiz. I think this is the first time ever that the winning team won on the basis of actually knowing more correct answers (which still wasn’t that many, despite some hilarious cryptic hints given by Jukka). Friday’s last item was the Book of the Night roundtable discussion. This year’s book, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, was a very good one at inspiring discussion. It’s a beautiful, haunting, heartbreaking book and I warmly recommend it to everyone. Thanks for making me read this! After the official program ended, people hanged out in the bar and the hotel lobby, and migrated to the room parties after the bar closed. The Helsinki Worldcon bid was visibly present and I think managed to lure more people to give them money to support (or oppose) the bid. This time there were two parties going on at the same time which turned out to be nice: there was more room for everyone to hang around, have conversations, and be able to actually breathe some air occasionally. There was beer, wine, some highly suspiciously perfume-looking pink liquid, excellent whisky, cake (no lie!) and cookies, etc. And of course lots of fun people, as always in Åcon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Åcon 6, Day 1

First day of Åcon went pretty much as expected (that is, it was great as usual). Morning started at too early o’clock at the ferry (actually, quite a few people had started already yesterday with Åbocon in Turku). Joe’s Place didn’t open early enough, so the traditional Ölcon took place at the piano bar. Not as nice a place, but they served beverages, so good enough.

Hotel Adlon is… well, hotel Adlon. We felt right at home. The program for today was actually very good. The first panel, a discussion about body and mind, was very interesting. I don’t remember if we’ve had a serious discussion to start the convention before, but it worked well. Then there was a trivia quiz with chocolate rewards. That was entertaining, and of course you can’t go wrong with chocolate.

The rest of the evening was reserved for either socialising with other members or watching the mad Australian tv series Danger 5 (which is still ongoing in the program room). The Señor Humidor’s Amazingly Sciencefictional Cigar Club gathered at the terrace. Nice Åland weather, beer, and good cigars in good company. An excellent way to spend an evening.

I won’t go into detail about the evening’s discussions. What happens in Åcon stays in Åcon (unless somebody posts about it on Facebook, of course). Although I’m sure everybody within a mile of the hotel now knows about Hiltunen’s enthusiastic admiration of the male body, but enough said about that…

Tomorrow starts with excursions, two of them: a chocolate tasting (once again, but well worth repeating) or a trip to a book collector’s private bookstore. Something for enthusiasts, definitely. Then, more good program items and hanging out with fellow Åconites.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Cosmonaut in Helsinki May 15

From Timo Vuorensola:

Premiere screening of The Cosmonaut + DJ Taphead. A science fiction themed evening celebrating the release of a modern indie scifi film The Cosmonaut, which tells a story of a cosmonaut who returns back to Earth after a successful mission, only to find out he’s the only living being on the planet.

This is the only possibility to see the film on big screen in Finland, so don’t miss this opportunity.

The evening will be topped with spaced out vibes provided by magnificent DJ Taphead.

Free entry

The event takes place in Kino Adams in Helsinki on May 15, starting at 7 PM. If you’re nearby, head over there!

More info on Facebook (FB account required).

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Sinisalo Visits Minnesota

Author Johanna Sinisalo is currently visiting the Gustavus Adoplhus College in Minnesota, as this year’s Out of Scandinavia Artist in Residence. Her week includes visiting classes and engaging with students and faculty. She will present a free public lecture titled “Finding Fresh PerspectivesThe Breakthrough of Non-realistic Genres in Finnish Contemporary Fiction” tomorrow (May 8). So if you happen to be nearby, go visit!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Management at ESFS

The European Science Fiction Society has gone through a generational shift at the Kiev Eurocon last weekend. It’s not always easy to find people to run organisations like this, and the same familiar faces have manned the posts of the organisation for quite a few years. So it’s probably a very good thing to get some fresh blood in the organisation, and this time there’s also a representative of Finland among the names.

The new board of ESFS is:

  • Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf (Sweden), chair
  • Saija Kyllönen (Finland), vice chair
  • Vanja Kranjcevic (Croatia), treasurer
  • Gareth Kavanaugh (Ireland), secretary
  • Bridget Wilkinson (UK), award administrator

The new board has promised to streamline the workings of the organisation, especially the General Meetings of ESFS (hooray!), and to develop the website (a very good thing, since the current one seems to be down altogether). I wish the new board success in their endeavours!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Finnish Sf 210 Years Old

Today marks the 210th anniversary of the first Finnish science fiction story, En dröm (“A Dream”) by Gabriel Israel Hartman, published in Åbo Tidning April 6, 1803. The story is set almost a hundred years in the future (in the year 1899 that is), and in it, scientists in the Paris National Institute discover microscopic universes when studying drops of blood with a cool new contraption, the microscope.

Enhörningen has published both the story and a short article about Hartman on its website (in Swedish, natch).

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Turku Pub Meeting Tomorrow

Tomorrow is once again the first Thursday of the month, and that means a pub meeting in Teerenpeli. Hope to see you there at six!

(Also, I’m thinking of checking out the burgers at Rokbar before the meeting. Feel free to join me there—Aurakatu 14—around five.)

Åcon Hotel Booking Deadline Extended

The deadline for booking a room at Adlon for Åcon 6 was yesterday, but since quite a few of the attendees missed that, the hotel has agreed to extend the booking deadline by a week. So go ahead and book your hotel room now if you haven't done so yet!

(And of course, if you haven't already signed up and paid your membership fee, you should also do that ASAP.)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

More Sinisalo in English

The world English rights of Johanna Sinisalo’s excellent novel Enkelten verta (The Blood of Angels) have been sold to Peter Owen, her UK publisher. The novel will also come out in French this year, from Actes Sud.

The novel, set in the very near future Finland, deals with the mystery of the global disappearance of bees, intertwined with the stories of three generations of men in a family and their relationship.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Small Blue Planet

Small Blue Planet is a new podcast, hosted by the fabulous Cheryl Morgan. In it, she will each month be spotlighting a different country, and talking about the sf scene and language of that country with guests.

The first episode is online at the Locus Roundtable blog (also available on iTunes), and it features Finland. Marianna Leikomaa and Jukka Halme are the guests, and the conversation covers the Finnish fandom, the literary scene (with author recommendations), and conventions (including, naturally, the Finnish Worldcon bid). So, if you want to get an overview of sf in Finland in the form of an entertaining conversation, look no further!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Topelius Prize to Simukka

The Topelius Prize, awarded by the youth writers’ association of Finland for the best Finnish YA book published in the previous year, has been given to Salla Simukka for her novels Jäljellä (Without a Trace) and Toisaalla (Elsewhere). The novels examine the world of the youth, the pressures of society, and finding the important things in life, be it in a dystopic world almost devoid of people or in the virtual world created for the young who are in danger of being left behind by the society.

If you would be interested in these books, reading materials in English can be requested from the literary agency.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Moominvalley Moves

The Moominvalley exhibition has opened in its new home in the Tampere Arts Museum. Fans of the exhibition were relieved to find out that the centrepiece of the exhibition, a 2-meter tall Moomin house survived the move intact. The museum is open daily (except on Mondays).

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

Merry 2013!

As it’s the first of the month, the monthly newsletter about sfnally interesting events in the Turku area is out.

Also, the pub meetings continue as usual. The first this year is on Thursday, in Teerenpeli at six. Hope to see you there!

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...