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.

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