Thursday, September 18, 2008

Escon 2008

The Espoo sf club ESC will organize a sf convention called Escon 2008 on October 8 at the Kino Tapiola in Espoo. The event will concentrate on YA sf, both reading and writing. Among the speakers are Ilkka Auer, Petri Hiltunen, and Anne Leinonen.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


A couple of weeks ago Jukkahoo, Juha T., and I traveled to the Czech Republic to attend Parcon, their natcon, held in the city of Plzeň. The whole trip was a lot of fun, the convention was small but nice, the locals welcoming, and the Guests of Honor great. The city was surprisingly pretty (and a curious mixture of old Europe and Soviet-era eastern block styles), plus it had great pubs, nice (and unbelievably inexpensive) restaurants, and a 24 hours cigar shop—what more could you want! (Well, maybe besides having a common language with the locals…) I would have written a longer report, but Jukkahoo already said pretty much everything I would have in his excellent report, so go read that one instead. I’m just going to post a couple of pictures.

But first I want to say hi to all the people I met at the con, like Marta (hope to catch up with you again sometime when you’re not totally tied up with organizing duties), Jan, Jolana, Frederic, and all the others whose names I can’t reproduce here (either because of my lousy memory for names, or because I haven’t got a clue how to spell them—sorry about that). And especially big hi and thanks to Peter (without him and all his help this trip probably wouldn’t have happened) and Teresa (who graciously helped Jukka and me to indulge in our fancy and took us to a walking trip to Plzeň-by-night to find some cigars)! And of course hi to Ann, Jeff, and Hal—it was so great to meet and spend time with all of you again! (And sorry to the organizers for making Hal miss his speech by hijacking him to the bar…) Last, but not least, thanks to my traveling companions Jukka and Juha—had a blast, must do this again!

Gray and brown 3-store concrete building, with a taller part in the back
The con site, a local school of transportation (I think). We stayed at the school dorm, which was conveniently located in the tall building attached to the school.

A door in the hallway, blocked with iron bars, some writing in Czech on it.
The hallway didn’t look too promising at first, but once we got to our room, it turned out to be perfectly fine.

A football field and a lot of small buildings behind it, lots of trees
…and the view wasn’t too shabby either.

The terrace of a white country-style restaurant building
We realized we hadn’t eaten much of anything in the last ten hours. Luckily the restaurant, Knight Lochoty, was just on the other side of the street. After a lot of confusion and gesture language, we managed to order food and beers. Which were pretty good. We never found out if the knight actually had any historical significance.

Juha and Peter sitting, Ann and Jeff drawing beers from the tap in the middle of the table
The PUB. Here’s your table, there’s your tap—when you’re leaving, pay your bill with your table number. Ingenious! And extremely good beer too!

Piles of books stacked on the table, all with Edward Miller covers
I think it’s fair to say we were all envious when we saw the amount of good sf published in Czech for sale at the con.

A guy using an excercise bike on the stage, two women holding stuff over his head
The opening ceremony. Don’t ask—I haven’t got a clue. It was all in Czech. But the locals laughed, so it must have been funny.

The guests sitting behind a long table, people queuing up to get their signatures
Signature Session. That’s Ian R. MacLeod, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Hal Duncan, and Edward Miller. Quite an impressive lineup for a convention this size, not located near to where any of them live.

The wall of a big gym hall filled with fantasy paintings
The art show.

Jukka standing in a shabby elevator, with walls covered in carpeting, bright lights, and ominous metal doors
The elevator of Doom. Wall-to-wall carpeting (and I don’t mean just on the floor), shabby lights on the ceiling, thick metal doors that went CLANG when you closed them… we used the stairs a lot.

9 persons crammed around a pub table, toasting with their beers
At The PUB again. Our international (pictured here, an American, a Brit, a Frenchman, a Czech, an Italian—who’s really a Scot—and a beer of another Scot, plus three Finns) gathering was a great company to spend an evening with. Lots of fun was had. Lots of beer was drunk (when we arrived, the scoreboard showed all of the top 10 having at least 14 pints’ head start on us. When we left, we were at the fourth place—on the nationwide score).

Five people in traditional garments singing folk songs, and another person juggling beside them
The entertainment. As Jukka said, the minstrels were really pretty good. But the room was very hot.

Two people browsing a table that has dozens of assorted liquor bottles on it
The Sunday morning breakfast buffet. The Czechs were coy with their offerings. I think they just wanted someone to eat their pickled sausages before they told anyone they might have some baguettes left too.

A plate with two pickled sausages and some sauerkraut on it, being eaten. Plus two slices of bread
Lucky for them, Juha was there, and feeling peckish after a night’s drinking.

German, British, Irish, and Finnish fandom sitting at a long table
Chatting with assorted Eurofandom before heading back home again.

Head on to my Flickr set if you want to see more Parcon pictures.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Turku Meetings This Week

This Thursday is again the first of the month, so if you happen to be in the Turku area, welcome to the monthly sf pub meeting at Bar Bremer (Uudenmaankatu 1) at six to talk sf (and other stuff) over food and beer!

If you’re not that keen on going to a pub, the University sf club Tutka has an open night at their club office Terrakoti (Yo-talo A, 2nd floor), also on Thursday. It’s mainly aimed at new university students, but they say everyone is welcome to stop by. They will be present from six a’clock onwards.

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...