Posted by jukkahoo
As book fairs go, this year's Helsinki one was OK, maybe even good. Lots to see (and far, FAR too much of the good thing ie. books to buy), especially people. Perhaps not as many as a month ago in Turku (that was fun, but then again, I was there for mere three  hours!), but good nevertheless.
As expected, SciFi-Sunday was the Place To Be for any discerning fan. The programming was fast-paced and over before you noticed. I'm supposed to be writing a longer summary of this for Alienisti but here are some thoughts of mine:
I saw Jonathan Carroll at 1PM at Helsngin Sanomat stage, where he was interviewd by Jukka Petäjä. I had heard earlier that Carroll's previous interview had been real stinker and though Petäjä's wasn't in any way bad, it wasn't very good either. Carroll was never really comfortable with the questions and in some cases he actually had some dry answers which veered close to being obnoxious and/or rude. On the whole, "ihan kiva".
The REAL SciFi-Sunday started at 2PM, when Vesa Sisättö lead his entourage of fourty-two (or some such horribly large crowd) people on stage to talk about SF/F magazines and forums. A good show with some minor quibbles. Perhaps a bit more livelier performance by the panelists could've generated a modicum of response from the audience? Ben took home the first blood with his callous commentry, but it was really Toni Jerrman Show from there onward: statesman-like answers, sir!
And then it was Carroll, again. And apparently the same interviewer as few days before or so I was told. She had some good questions at first, but when it started to go wrong, it took a nosedive. Ipa had told me to ask a question at some point ("have them [as in many!] ready", she whispered), but when she finally run out of her own questions(?), she turned into the astonished audience, desperately looking for help.
I had realised earlier, that I really didn't need to know anything more about Jonathan Carroll the Man, "Just the books, Ma'am", as Joe Friday was fond of saying (in paraphrasing). I'm told over and over again, that he's not a people-person, doesn't like large crowds and more or less isn't comfortable in public. OK, fine. Let the man be in peace, fercrissakes!
The following interview was nothing like the one before. I was truly sorry to miss most of this one, since both the interviewer (whose name escapes me at the moment, but she is superbly funny in Stan Staanila's show... erm, ditto)and the author, Johanna Hildebradt, were excellent. I even managed to get her Norwegian! But I really had to rush to an appointment and to be Frank and Ernest, I find the idea of paleofiction not a cup of my tea. I did like Björn Kurtén somewhat, but I have never been interested in this particular brach of speculative fiction. My bad. The small portion I heared was very good interview-wise. More this!
Hiltunen-free Praedor session with Ville Vuorela was a good show. Not only was Ville good, so was Aleksi Kuutio as the interviewer. Twenty minutes went by in a hurry, with nice info acquired by the audience. Perhaps Ville could've been a bit more verbose, but this was not a serious drawback in any way. He did put his feet way up his mouth though and he is sorry, too. I didn't mind terribly, as I do realise the Flame Mountain productions are an effort of enthusiastic spirit of having fun, more than a serious attempt at creating memorable movie magic, but still I was a bit taken a back by the abruptness of Ville's comment. Which he apparently didn't mean to. Consider yourself forgiven, I'm certain Petri won't bear grudge. A finger will do.
I cannot really comment on the next interview too much, I think this'll have to suffice.
Marko had some problems with Anu Holopainen. He didn't seem to be all that comfortable with the subject and it was clear to see that he had couple of really arkward moments when he seemed to lose his train of thought, which lead to stammering and a loss of words. Holopainen seems like a very nice person and I guess I'll just have to read one of her newer books. I read her first book and more or less savaged it in Tähtivaeltaja (in 1996). I just had to introduce myself to her and she didn't seem to mind meeting her Nemesis of Old!
Stendec Blommila was supreme, as usual. Risto Isomäki had interesting and thoughtful things to say, whereas Hauta showed why he is simply the BEST sf-interviewer in the whole wide world.
Addenda: Kuvastaja-palkinto (Mirrormere) was once more awarded by the Finnish Tolkien Society. This year the wildly oscillating bust went to Ilkka Auer and his first novel, Lumen ja jään maa: Sysilouhien sukua. I have had the book now for about six months and apparently I really should read the thing! Congrats!
The last panel was about publishing and a very good panel it could've been too, if only they would have had more time or a more determined moderator. Unkind as this seems, but Marko was again a bit off-pace. He was way better than with Holopainen, but still there was a lot he should and could've done in order to make this one a memorable one. A good crowd, with representation from Kirjava, Karisto, Loki and Like. Patricia McKillip in Finnish, hooray!
All in all, a very nice programming. A nice boost of scientifictioness to warm the proverbial cuckoldes of the heart, while the world turns white or the colour slush and there really isn't all that much to do. Next year, again?
In other news: Monta apuraha-anomusta Finncon 2006:n nimissä lähti tänään liikkeelle. Toivottavasti rahaa on tulossa, muuten voi vielä käydä ohrasesti ja jäädä homma tekemättä. Sanotaanko että muutama kymmenen tuhatta euroa ei esiinny ainakaan meikäläisen takataskussa.