Events: Helsinki Book Fair 2012

Let me warn you. There will be some light fangirling in this post.

And as usual – if any of the people in the pictures want me to take them down, just drop me a line and I will!

This weekend was the time for the annual Helsinki Book Fair. The event is a four-day one, but Kay and I only explored on Friday. The Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre in Pasila was full of books, authors and all sorts of societies – and previous experience suggested it’d take time to get through all the second-hand book stalls. It did.

Second-hand book heaven.

We also sat down for a couple of panels. The first one was all about newbie Finnish SFF writers, and we heard all sorts of interesting things about Emmi Itäranta’s Teemestarin kirja and Jenny Kangasvuo’s Sudenveri. (Teemestarin kirja is a dystopia, where clean water has become an expensive commodity. The title approximately translates to “Tea Master’s Book”. Sudenveri is about werewolves, power, and, I gather, family. Approximate title translation would be “Wolf’s Blood”.) I have read neither of the books, but I’ve been eyeing particularly Sudenveri, and listening to the author got me even more interested.

Jenny Kangasvuo, Johanna Sinisalo and Emmi Itäranta.

After some extensive browsing and me bouncing with impatience it was time for the science fiction panel! The first half hour was spent with SF veteran Vesa Sisättö and – here starts the fangirling – Hannu Rajaniemi, the author of The Quantum Thief and now The Fractal Prince. The stage was designed and manned by the students of a local art high school, and after the gents had spoken their bit about the planet Mars and stories located there, the girls asked some questions about the SF fandom and being an SF author. I was vastly entertained!

Vesa Sisättö and Hannu Rajaniemi.

After Sisättö and Rajaniemi the stage was taken by author Saara Henriksson and the translator of Sergei Lukyanenko’s Night Watch books, Arto Konttinen. There was unfortunately very little about translating and more about the book and the fantasy genre in general, but Konttinen was such a fun guy I enjoyed the conversation immensely.

Saara Henriksson and Arto Konttinen.

From the SF panel we sauntered to a publisher stand, where Rajaniemi was once again interviewed. There was interesting information about quantum space that I didn’t really understand, and gentleman thieves and space. After the interview we formed a surprisingly short line and – squee! – got books signed! I’m very awkward with people I don’t know, but managed to squeak out some enthusing without seeming completely rabid and got my Fractal Prince signed.

“To Veera with thanks.” SQUEE!

It remains a mystery as to why I seemed to be the only one with A) the book in English and B) the new book.

My little fangirl heart was bursting with joy for the rest of the day. If you haven’t read The Quantum Thief, you should. If you’ve read that but not yet gotten to The Fractal Prince, wait no longer, because it’s even better than the first one!

This be the end of fangirling. And this post. More about Rajaniemi’s latest in the end of month post!


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