Friday, June 27, 2014

Causal Angel Preorder

Hannu Rajaniemi’s new book The Causal Angel can be preordered from the Rosebud web store. If you want to be among the first to get the book, head to the Rosebud now.

And while you’re there you can browse their sf catalog which is 20 % off until July 3.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


As many of you probably already know, there won’t be a Finncon next year. (This is just a one-year breather—there are already initial plans for 2016 and even 2017.) But 2015 won’t still be a year without a big convention in Finland. Archipelacon takes place in exactly a year: June 25–28, 2015 in Mariehamn, the capital of the Åland islands.

Archipelacon is a joint venture put together by a bunch of experienced conrunners from Finland and Sweden (with staff also from Norway and Germany). The event venue is the brand new Alandica Culture & Congress Center, and the flavor of the convention is internationally Nordic. There will be programming in Finnish and Swedish, but the majority of the program items will be in English. The Guests of Honor announced so far are Johanna Sinisalo from Finland and Karin Tidbeck from Sweden.

The con site
Mariehamn is a beautiful city with gorgeous sights, interesting museums, great shopping opportunities, and several excellent restaurants. The town is small so everything is conveniently close, and the convention will organize excursions to interesting sites outside town. (For more information, see for example Cheryl’s con report from Åcon 7 which took place in Mariehamn this year, or Åcon GoH Karen Lord’s blog post about Åland.)

Åland is quite easy to get to via Finland and Sweden, and there will be an inexpensive group travel opportunity by cruise liner to the islands. We are hoping that all of you who said you still want to come to Finland in 2015 after Helsinki lost the Worldcon bid last year will give Archipelacon some serious consideration: the more international crowd we get to the convention, the merrier!

As Archipelacon steps into the boots of Finncon for one year, the program will be of high quality, mixing serious, fannish, and fun items. The convention will also host an academic conference of the Finnish SF and Fantasy Researchers Network. There will of course also be a vendors room and a good bar on site, and the midsummer weather in Åland is usually warm enough that the con hotel’s pool bar should be put into good use.

The Archipelacon membership is 30 €, and there is also a youth membership (10 €) for people under 26. Go sign up and join the con!

If you want to have updates about the convention, you can follow @archipelacon on Twitter or sign up for an info mailing list that will keep you up to date with con-related stuff. If you’d like to take part in making Archipelacon happen, contact the organizers and let us hear from you!

Itäranta in US

Emmi Itäranta’s marvellous novel Memory of Water was published in the US this month—go check it out, it is definitely worth a look!

The novel won the Teos science fiction competition in Finland a couple of years back, and the us edition got a favorable mention in Washington Post (among other places).

Itäranta says a couple of words about the book and the writing process on the Harper Voyager blog.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tähtivaeltaja Day 2014

The Tähtivaeltaja-päivä minicon took place in Helsinki yesterday. The venue was the familiar Dubrovnik lounge & lobby, “A public living room in the middle of Helsinki” which has hosted the con before, and is an excellent place for just this sort of an event.

My day started with a train trip with Shimo. We were joined by Sippo who also happened to be heading to Helsinki for the day. Many plans were hatched on the way, although Shimo didn’t quite promise to execute our ideas regarding Finncon, duel at dawn, and rubber chickens…

In Helsinki ran into Magdalena Hai who was also heading to the event, and went to grab a quick lunch before the programming started. We did lose Shimo for a while to the lure of second-hand bookshops, but in the end everyone got to Dubrovnik safely and in time.

Steampunk: Anne Leinonen, Magdalena Hai, Markus Harju, Shimo Suntila
…which was good, since the first item was a Finnish steampunk panel which both Shimo and Magdalena were on. The panel discussed the peculiarities of steampunk in Finnish context, and during the panel there was an idea from the audience about an anthology of “höyrypunkki” stories set during the Finnish civil war. I think it might have caught on and we haven’t seen the last of it.

If that project becomes a reality, there must of course be a sequel, set later in the times of the Soviet Union, handling the issues of Finland’s relations with the big neighbour in the steampunk world. The anthology should naturally be called “Höyrypunikki”.

(Just putting the pun back into Steampunk in Finnish here. Sorry.)

Hal Duncan interviewed by Toni Jerrman
The Guest of Honor of the event was the brilliant Hal Duncan. It was great to see him again after a couple of years. At his interview he was his usual talkative and bubbly self, and Toni had quite an easy task as an interview: not that many questions were needed during the hour of their talk.

A captive audience
My program item for the day was the small publisher panel I chaired. I think it went pretty well, and I hope at least some people in the audience were inspired to buy the books put out by the many fine small presses in Finland.

Books, zines, buttons, etc. were on sale
As these events often go, I missed quite a bit of the programming, due to sitting in the bar chatting with friends, going to dinner, chatting some more, etc. There were lots of interesting items, varying from Finnish Weird to shitty heroes; from moral panic caused by comics in the 1950s to why authors love writing; from a panel analyzing movies that don’t exist to dramatic readings to a hilarious quiz show. If you weren’t there, shame. You missed a lot. Also, Toni was awarded the Arimo Kaskelotti Foundation’s Enabling Stipend for Excellence at the event. Congrats, and totally deserved!

Why does the audience want their “heroes” to be shitheads?
Petri Hiltunen, Jukka Halme, Johanna Sinisalo, Jukka Laajarinne

Some things you just can’t escape…
Kristoffer Lawson’s presentation about the audiovisual gems of Doctor Who, and spinoffs and things inspired by it was quite popular. And the fan-made fake intro sequence for the upcoming season he showed was actually pretty impressive, so I’ll link it here as well:

Of course, in addition to the quality programming, the real reason to visit a fannish minicon is to meet all the friends old and new. There was plenty of opportunity for that here; people came and went but there was always someone to talk to. And that’s what really makes fandom worth it, isn’t it?

The event was small but excellently organized. Everything ran smoothly and I’m pretty sure all the attendees had fun. So a big thank you to the Helsinki Science Fiction Society and the people who made Tähtivaeltaja Day happen!

Linkage: Raija has also written a report of the event (in Finnish), and so have Katri Alatalo and “Salainen elämä”. Henry has taken lots of nice photos.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Finncon Program Announced

This year’s Finncon has published their program schedule. The programming starts on Friday, July 11 with the traditional Hugo discussion at Kirjailijatalo, and continues until late Sunday afternoon. As usual, there’s quite a bit of programming in English as well as in Finnish.

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...