Finncon 2012

You may not have heard about Finncon. No surprise there – on a world scale it’s a small con, but at the same time it’s one of the biggest SFF cons in Europe. Held for the first time in 1986, it’s a cosy con with programs in three languages (Finnish, Swedish and English). At times it has been arranged together with Animecon, which from the point of view of a SFF fan has been unfortunate, as the anime/manga/Japanese culture programs ate up most of the SFF content. Now the cons have gone their separate ways, and this years program was very satisfactory.

The only previous time I’ve attended Finncon was 2010, when there was no Animecon, and the Guests of Honor were Ellen Kushner (squee!) and Pat Cadigan. It was awesome, so awesome, and I wanted to participate in 2011 as well. Family business took precedence, however, and so this year I couldn’t miss!

My friend and I arrived at Tampere around noon on Friday, July 20th, with the sun shining on the first day of con. After getting lost a couple of times we finally found our friend’s place, where we were staying, and dumped our stuff and went to look for something to eat and then looking for the university, which was the con location.

The first panel we attended was a Sherlock Holmes panel. Yes. This was the reason I wanted to be at the con on two days instead of just the one. And it was interesting. It helped a great deal that this appeared on the blackboard:

(Panelists Sari Polvinen, Erkka Leppänen, Jussi Katajala, and Iida Simes – if you are one of these people and want me to take this picture down, I will. Same goes with all pictures featuring people.)

Under discussion were the characters, how they are presented in different adaptations, and pastiches, fanfiction and all sorts of books to do with Sherlock Holmes. Following works were recommended:

–       Study in Lavender

–       My Dearest Holmes

–       Professor Moriarty and the Hound of the D’Urbervilles

–       The House of Silk

The Emmy nominations of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were warmly applauded, and pleased muttering went on about the subject. Congratulations, guys!

On Saturday the weather refused to co-operate, so we got wet for a couple of times as we ventured out to eat, but nothing could spoil the fun of con. In the morning, before the first panel, I ran into a booth for konsulttietsivät ry. (consulting detectives association), a group for the Finnish fans of BBC Sherlock. (They’re having a second season marathon in two weeks, so I suggest you check out their website!) After this glad chance encounter, we made our way to a panel about libraries and how they choose their books. Needless to say, my ambition to become a librarian was increased. (There was also Twilight-bashing, which always cheers me up.)

Bimbo panel, one of the funniest events in the whole con, had such a long line I didn’t even try my luck, and instead visited the lecture on apocalyptic religions. Very little of it I didn’t know, but it was entertaining.

The last panel we attended was, to translate it quickly, Hunger Games, vampires, and those other phenomena, where the panel pondered on trends in YA. It was hugely entertaining, the audience participated a great deal – and Sherlock got a mention again. One of the panelists voiced the question, “What is it that makes this guy so hot?” Immediate answer came from the audience – “Brain is the new sexy!”

So there it was, my con this year. It would have gone on until Sunday, but my friend had to travel on and I was under the impression I needed to be at a family function. Turns out the latter isn’t until next week.

I’m really looking forward to next year, when the con will be held in Helsinki! As nice as it is to visit other cities, the hassle of accommodation and transport is just that – a hassle.

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