Friday, August 31, 2012

Worldcon Dreams

Apparently there is now a bid for a Worldcon in Helsinki in 2015. And it’s open for people who want to be pre-supporters (20 €) or friends of the bid (80 €).

Unlike the Wårldcon bid, this one isn’t a hoax but a real bid, although I don’t think anybody—not even Eemeli—really expects it to have any chance of winning. Maybe it will serve as an exercise for the future, though (I know there are at least a handful of people who really do want to organize a Worldcon in Finland, and a couple of them might even have some idea what that would really mean), or at least as a fun project.

At the moment, the bid committee consists of Eemeli Aro, Jukka Halme, and Kristoffer Lawson. Eemeli is currently at the Chicago Worldcon, so if you’re there and this interests you, I’m sure he’d be happy to discuss this further.

Kalevala Exhibition in Turku


There’s an exhibition of the art of the gorgeous Kalevala graphic novel by Kristian Huitula in Turun Sarjakuvakauppa on September. The official opening ceremony is today, 5 PM to 7 PM.

The exhibition tour continues also in libraries around Finland. If you’re interested in the book, there is an English-language edition that is available at least in Sarjakuvakauppa, as well as the publisher’s web shop and in Bookplus.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sinisalo on Weird Fiction Review

There are three posts up on Weird Fiction Review that are about Johanna Sinisalo: There’s an interview of Johanna by Adam Mills, an essay by Johanna called Weird and Proud of It, and also an excerpt of Johanna’s Finlandia and Tiptree Award–winning novel Troll, A Love Story. Recommended!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Making of Iron Sky

The Helsinki Art Museum will feature an exhibition of the Making of Iron Sky (September 28 to January 20):

The exhibition showcases material from the making of the film, from costumes to storyboards to scale models. Production: Helsinki Art Museum and Blind Spot Pictures

(via Enhörningen)

Games Exhibition in Turku

The Turku Castle is currently featuring an exhibition of strategy and role playing games. Shortshort Competition

The site has announced a shortshort fiction competition. The theme of the competition is ”shadow rising”, and the deadline is at the end of the year. The winning stories will be published in Usva, and there will be some book prizes as well.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ernest Cline Visits Finland

Ernest Cline, the author of the excellent Ready Player One, will visit Helsinki in the beginning of September. There will be an extra pub meeting at St. Urho’s Pub on Tuesday, September 4 where fen have a chance to meet with the author from around 7 PM.

The Finnish translation of Ready Player One has just come out, translated by J. Pekka Mäkelä. The book is an excellently entertaining read, especially if you grew up in the 80s or have an interest in either pop culture or computer games. (I don’t care much for games, but was completely hooked by the book and enjoyed it very much). Highly recommended!

Arts Council Grants to Writers

The Arts Council of Finland has given out its annual grants to writers, among them some familiar names. Congratulations to Timo Parvela (5-year grant), Tiina Raevaara (1 year), and Maria Turtschaninoff (1 year) for getting support to continue writing more fantastic fiction!

Friday, August 17, 2012

R.I.P. Harry Harrison

Harry Harrison

On Wednesday, we were saddened to learn of the passing of Harry Harrison, 87. Harrison was an SFWA Grand Master, inductee of the SF Hall of Fame, and Worldcon Guest of Honor. In addition, he was a co-founder of the World SF organization (a forum where writers from the West and the East could meet discuss their work). He also had a small but significant role in the Finnish fandom.

The Finnish “First Fandom” has been named Dinosaurs, after their US counterpart. The Finnish Dinosaurs consist of founding members of the first Finnish sf-society, Turun Science Fiction Seura, and their generation, plus one person from abroad: Harry Harrison. There was a good reason behind including him among the Finnish Dinosaurs.

Harry Harrison had an influential role in the formation of the Finnish science fiction fandom. Harrison had met Finnish fen in Sweden and later in Helsinki at King-Con in 1982. During these meetings he gave valuable advice on how to organize science fiction societies and conventions; he also advised on how to avoid schisms inside fandom. Accordingly, Leena Peltonen, a translator, editor, critic and chief editor of the Aikakone fanzine, brought with her the official Dinosaur badge to Harry Harrison, when he was an author guest of the Jyväskylä Arts Festivals in July 2005.

Several of the Finnish fen met Harry in Helsinki, Jyväskylä, or Copenhagen at different cons. He is widely remembered as an approachable, kind, funny, and intelligent person with whom lengthy conversations were had, in a civilized manner over glasses of red wine. It came as quite a surprise to him when the young generation, especially the women, proved to be ardent fans of the Stainless Steel Rat.

Harry Harrison & Jyväskylä Fen

Several of Harry Harrison’s works have been translated into Finnish:

  • Aikakoneen saaga (The Technicolor Time Machine) 
  • Avaruuslääkäri (Spaceship Medic) 
  • Bill – Linnunradan sankari (Bill, the Galactic Hero) 
  • Bill – Linnunradan sankari robottiorjien planeetalla (Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Robot Slaves)
  • Kuoleman planeetta (Deathworld 1)
  • Ruostumaton Teräsrotta (The Stainless Steel Rat)
  • Ruostumaton Teräsrotta pelastaa maailman (The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World)
  • Ruostumaton Teräsrotta presidentiksi (The Stainless Steel Rat for President)
  • Ruostumaton Teräsrotta syntyy (The Stainless Steel Rat Is Born)
  • Ruostumaton Teräsrotta tahtoo sinut (The Stainless Steelrat Wants You)
  • Ruostumattoman Teräsrotan paluu (The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge)
  • Tilaa! Tilaa! (Make Room! Make Room!)
  • Bill - Linnunradan sankari mauttoman mielihyvän planeetalla (Bill, The Galactic Hero on the Planet of Tasteless Pleasures, with David Bischoff)
  • Bill - Linnunradan sankari zombievampyyrien planeetalla (Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Zombie Vampires, with Jack C. Haldeman)
  • Bill - Linnunradan sankari pullotettujen aivojen planeetalla (Bill, The Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains, with Robert Sheckley)
  • Stonehenge - Atlantiksen tuho (Stonehenge: Where Atlantis Died, with Leon E. Stover)

(This post was authored together with Liisa Rantalaiho and Irma Hirsjärvi. Photos by Joanna Kurki. Bibliography from Jussi Vainikainen’s sf resource site.)

Harry Harrison & Ipa

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Anne Leinonen Interviewed

Over at International Speculative Fiction, Cheryl Morgan interviews Finnish author Anne Leinonen. The interview is focused on Anne and Eija Lappalainen’s award-winning YA book Routasisarukset, and the attempts to get Finnish fantastic fiction translated to other languages.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Picnic

The traditional Dirk Gently’s Holistic Picnic takes place next Saturday (August 18). The gathering is at the Helsinki railway station, under the departing local trains sign, at 2 PM. Free attendance; you’ll need some money, the Helsinki trains timetable, and salted peanuts. The destination will be determined using the Helsinki maps in the phone book and flipping a coin. For more information, contact Vesa Sisättö, tel. 050 534 7747.

050 534 7747

Frankenstein & Space Monster

The Turku kirjakahvila puts on a series of outdoor movie shows this autumn. On Wednesday, September 5 they’ll be showing the movie Frankenstein Meets the Spacemonster from 1955.

New Sf on Finnish Tv

Hubotit - melkein ihmisiä

There will be a couple of new sf series on Finnish television. The first, a Swedish series called Hubotit - melkein ihmisiä (Äkta människor, or “real people”) starts this Thursday on Yle 2. In the series mankind has developed very humanlike robots, and the series handles the issues society will have as a consequence.

The new J.J. Abrams series Alcatraz starts on Sub September 2. The premise is that in 1963 Alcatraz really wasn’t closed down because of the reasons publicly stated, but instead all the prisoners and guards just vanished without a trace, and now they return in modern-day San Francisco.

On Mondays, starting September 3, Mtv3 will show Better off Ted, a comedy series about a guy working in a very weird r&d department, and who also can break the fourth wall and control events in the series.

Also on September 3 will start an interesting series called Misfits (Yle 2). It centers around a group of delinquents that end up having superpowers (but do not instantly become heroes as a result). I’ve seen some of the series, and Heroes it isn’t. Recommended.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fantasy Feast 2012

This weekend, the Turku Science Fiction Society hosted the Fantasy Feast, a pseudo-medieval, fantasy-themed gathering held in the Tippsund campground.

Fantasiapidot 2012

The Fantasy Feast is a long-standing tradition (the first Feast was held in 1991, and this was the ninth time it was organized). The recipe has remained pretty much unchanged since the beginning: people dress in loosely medieval style, fantasy-inspired garbs, gather together in a remote location, and spend the weekend playing games, socializing, eating a feast, sitting in a sauna, playing (and listening to) music, and in general just having fun.

Fantasiapidot 2012

Although the people organizing the Feast are new (I don’t think many—if not most—of the organizers this year were even born during the first Feast), the spirit of the happening was the same. A lot of effort had gone into the arrangements this year: there was the traditional tournament (with inventive games to play), the battle of the bards (I only visited one day, so I missed that), and the feast itself, but also lots of programming for the kids (there seem to be more children attending every time—which is not surprising since there are many people who’ve attended the Feast from the beginning, and quite a few of those have children nowadays), and also a “ritual” calling the spirits of the forest (which tied into the earlier events and contests during the weekend). Plus a wonderful twist in the best costume competition: instead of costume photographs, gorgeous drawings were made of the contestants. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph these, but you can see some of the works of these very talented artists (who were also organizing the event) on their website.

Fantasiapidot 2012

The feast seemed to me somewhat smaller than in the days of yore, but maybe this was just because so many of the attendees were kids; I think the number of attendees was all in all not that different. Although I’m not that interested in the fantasy setting and dressing up (and in all the fighting with foam weapons going about—in my days we had steel swords, but considering how many kids there were it’s probably best the times have changed) any more, it was very nice to see lots of old friends, some of whom I haven’t talked to in a few years. And it was of course fun to see the next generation run around and enjoy themselves (both the figurative one—the organizers—and the literal one—I attended the Feast with my daughter) at the event. A big thank you to the organizers and here’s hoping the tradition continues!

More photos from the event

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Jääskeläinen Gets Translated

Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen announced on his blog a while ago that he has sold the English rights for his debut novel Lumikko ja yhdeksän muuta to British Pushkin Press, and the novel will be published in English sometime in the future. Yay!

Finncon Parity?

Since quite a few people nowadays seem to be interested in such things: there are no panel parity or other such gender equality programs in effect in Finncons, but I’ve previously claimed the con is pretty equal, or in fact has more women participating in program items than men. I thought I’d do a quick count to see if my assumption was correct.

As counted from the published program book, this year’s Finncon program participants included 73 women and 69 men (not all program items listed all participants, and there may have been changes, but this was as close as I could get from online documentation). 

Oh, and looking at an earlier Finncon in 2010 (2011 was combined with Animecon, and I think looking at a science fiction convention is more interesting; also 2010 was an interesting year for me since I was one of the organizers), there were 71 women and 58 men in the program. So I don’t think my quip that if we were to strive for panel parity, we’d have to drop quite a few interesting women from the program was totally unfounded.

Looking more closely at this year’s figures, one can make some other observations, though. In the science programming, there were 10 men to only 2 women participating in the program items. So that might be something to pay attention to in the future. On the other hand, in the program items where writers discussed writing sf, there were 32 women and 11 men. So I think it’s fair to say that women writers aren’t discriminated against at Finncon (not that I’ve heard such claims in Finnish conventions).

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...