Monday, July 28, 2014

Tove Jansson Commemorative Coin

To celebrate Tove Jansson’s 100th birthday, Mint of Finland is releasing a commemorative two euro coin designed after her self-portrait. It looks gorgeous.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Finnish Horror Con in the Works

From a seemingly innocuous Facebook conversation thread an idea was born: there are clearly people who would like to see a Finnish convention dedicated to horror. If you are one of these people, there’s a Facebook group for discussing the plans further.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gender in Finnish SF Awards, 2014 Edition

Back in 2009, I blogged about the gender distribution of Finnish short sf awards. Some years have passed, and the conversation popped up at this year’s Finncon, so I figured it was time to update the chart. Without further ado, here are the updated results of winners and top 3 in the major Finnish short sf awards.

 “m” and “w” indicate the winner, “t3m” and “t3w” how many men and women were in the top 3. A couple of top 3 results from the Portti competition are missing (will try to track them down later). For the winner, ½ means a woman–man team won, and ? signifies a pseudonym that haven’t publicly revealed their gender.

The Atorox Award is an annual popular award open to all members of fandom, and the winner is selected from all the Finnish sf short stories published in the previous year. The last time I noted that while there are almost an equal number of men and women who have won the award, the trend was towards more women winning. This situation seems to have swung back a bit, since four of the winners in the last five years were men, and men also have had a small majority of the top 3 positions.

In the juried Portti and Nova short story competitions, women continue to rule. Although after the last time there have been two male winners of Nova, the competition as a whole has been really strongly dominated by women. And looking at Portti in the 2000s, the winners are divided pretty equally, but there’s a clear majority of women in the top 3 placements. It may be worth noting that both competitions use pseudonymous entries, so the juries don’t know who the writer is (therefore a regocnizable gender or name isn’t an issue, except of course that some better–known writers have quite distinctive styles and because of that probably aren’t quite that anonymous).

I think the following points are also worth re-quoting from my original post: I don’t have any statistics about how many texts have been submitted to the competitions by men and by women, or what is the distribution of men and women of all published stories (eligible for Atorox). Also I don’t know the gender distribution of either the competition juries or the Atorox voters, so I can’t even venture a guess about if these are at all relevant. Another thing I haven’t looked at is whether the types of texts that win prizes have changed (between science fiction and fantasy, for example).

Itäranta in Spain

Emmi Itäranta’s novel Teemestarin kirja has been published in Spain as La Memoria del Agua. I’m hoping this helps the wonderful book find many new readers. There’s an interview with Emmi in El Periódico where (I presume) she talks a bit about the book.

The book has also been published in the U.S and UK, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and in the Arabic region.

Tähtifantasia & Tähtivaeltaja Awards 2014

The Tähtifantasia Award is given annually to the best translated fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year. This year’s award was announced at Finncon.
The winner of the award was the short story collection Kanelipuodit ja muita kertomuksia by Bruno Schulz, published by Basam Books. The collection includes all the short stories written by Schulz.
The jury commended the poetic, metaphorical language of Schulz that creates a wondrous reality where the living merges with the inanimate, dreams with consciousness, the mind with the outside reality. Humans are a part of the whole that is constantly changing. Schulz was mentioned to be a predecessor of the weird fiction born in the early 20th century, a style of fantasy that also comes close to horror and science fiction. His influence can be seen in the works of many new weird writers.
The award jury comprised critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, author and editor Anne Leinonen and the representative Osmo Määttä.

Another Helsinki Science Fiction Society award, the Tähtivaeltaja Award for best science fiction book published in Finnish last year, was announced earlier this year. The winner was Sokeanäkö (Blindsight) by Peter Watts, published in Finland by Gummerus.
The jury described the book as having fascinatingly strange and diverse characters, and wondrous scientific inventions. Sokeanäkö is masterfully constructed and offers startling visions about the significance of consciousness, the forming of identity, the structures of awareness, and the evolution of the human race.
The award jury was: critic Hannu Blommila, editor Toni Jerrman, critic Elli Leppä, and critic Antti Oikarinen.

Nova Competition 2014

The results of the Nova short story competition for new writers were announced at Finncon. The first prize went to Tuukka Tenhunen for his short story “Ugrilainen tapaus” (“The Ugric Incident”). The competition was organized for the 15th time this yeard, with a record amount of 198 short stories participating. The competition jury comprised author Magdalena Hai, last year’s winner Anna Malinen, book blogger Hanna Matilainen, sf writer Tarja Sipiläinen, and the editor of the Kosmoskynä zine Juri Timonen.

The top three this year was as follows:

  1. Tuukka Tenhunen: Ugrilainen tapaus (200 €)
  2. Anu Korpinen: Tähden hauta (100 €)
  3. Taru Hautala: Jo joutui armas eilinen (50 €)
photo: Magdalena Hai

Kosmoskynä Award to Pasi Karppanen

The Finnish Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association occasionally gives a Kosmoskynä (“Cosmos Pen”) award to a person who has benefited Finnish science fiction literature in a commendable way. This year at Finncon the award was given to Pasi Karppanen for his work in reinvigorating the association in the early 2000s. He had a hand in breathing new life to the association zine Kosmoskynä, and starting new competitions and other activities. He was also the editor of the Kosmoskynä zine for several years.


Atorox Award 2014

The Atorox Award for best Finnish sf short story published last year was traditionally announced at Finncon this weekend. This year’s winner is Jussi Katajala for his short story Mare Nostrum, published in the Osuuskumma eco-sf anthology Huomenna tuulet voimistuvat.

The top three this year was:

  1. Jussi Katajala: Mare Nostrum (Huomenna tuulet voimistuvat, Osuuskumma)
  2. Shimo Suntila: Milla ja Meri (Portti 2/2013)
  3. Miikka Pörsti: Raportti. Mikä johti operaatio Tähtivaeltajan epäonnistumiseen? (Tähtivaeltaja 4/2013)

Two observations: this was the first year since 2000 with an all-male top three for Atorox. Also, this was the second year in a row that the winner was published in an Osuuskumma anthology. As Osuuskumma is only two years old, it remains to be seen whether the trend continues, but I think it’s obvious (not just from these results but when looking at published short fiction in Finland in general) that there’s been a major shift from publishing mostly in fanzines to getting a lot of new stories published in anthologies.

Congratulations to the winner and runner-ups!

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...