Category Archives: Events

Thieves prosper again!

Hi everyone!

I’m sick and therefore excused from tonight’s party, which means I have the time to let you know that I got my hands on The Republic of Thieves two days ago and finished it last night!

Republic of ThievesI’m not going to into details here – suffice to say there were lots of things that required a brief break to absorb and then it took another moment to squeal before getting back to reading. There’s also the fact that because of school and social obligations, I speed-read it through in two sessions, all put together 16 hours of intense reading. Towards the end I lost track of details, but am now working my way through at a slower pace, looking around and musing at the details and their implications and speculating about what is to come. I missed Locke and Jean. So much.

Another reason, the one that has nothing to do with lack of sleep, for rereading is this: there is going to be a read-along! Sign up for it, if you feel like talking about these things – I think this is going to be an excellent opportunity to get my thoughts about the book into order! Find out more about the read-along in, for example, here!

I will at some point try and collect some thoughts that I had during and in the middle of the first read – actually, such a list exists, because I wrote one during spare moments at school. It’s already up on tumblr, but I’ll post it here sometime, perhaps after the read-along.

Can we declare this month Republic of Thieves month? Or the next 30 days? Because you’re unlikely to get much else out of me! My housemates were duly informed that I would be unsociable, and especially one of them has been very understanding – whenever I emerged to get tea or to eat or to just have a polite chat with him, he would first ask how it was going and then usher me back into my room, telling me to “go read!” I wanted to share this because it was extremely sweet of him not to mind my unsociableness and then listen to my commentary.

I will now get back on tumblr and the appropriate tags – the conversation is slowly starting to flow, as more people finish the book – and will be back later this month to discuss the book in earnest!

Oh, and if anyone is interested in what books I’ve read since the last monthly post, let me know! I can at the very least put up a list of the books, even if I have no prepared commentary on them!

See you again soon, guys!

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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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New Main Library of University of Helsinki – The First Impression

As I’ve already said a couple of times, I’m excited that school is starting again. A huge part of it has been the fact that – yes, you read the title, you know already – we have a new main library! There used to be several smaller libraries scattered around the central campus, but now there’s only this new beauty and the National Library. As fond as I was of the little ones and the student library, now that I have seen the new system I’m ready to fall head over heels.

For better researched info, visit Kay’s blog and see what she says. I’m here just to enthuse.

First of all, this is the entrance on Fabianinkatu. (All pictures taken today by yours truly!)

It’s just so beautiful. The student library next door looks like some sort of license office.

Before visiting the library myself I ran into a friend who told me she got lost twice during the twenty minutes she spent in the building. I don’t know how she managed that – I found everything I wanted (fifth floor, modern languages and arts). There’s a multitude of floors, and I only visited a few of them.

The fifth floor, my future home, has an awesome view! You can see Ateneum and the second biggest movie theatre!

There’s all sort of nooks and corners for reading, and a lot of table space for working. For once I feel I could actually pack my laptop and go there to write an essay. You know – as all the reference material could actually fit on the table!

And the check-out machines. Oh gods. They read the barcode on your library card. That’s nothing out of the ordinary, of course. But wait! There’s more! There’s no barcodes on the books, no chips that you can see, sometimes not even titles on covers, nothing. You just plunk it on the machine, and it knows which book it is! I just want to keep checking out books because it’s beyond awesome. A friend of mine then informed me that in Turku (an old University town) this kind of technology is used in every library. Don’t know why Helsinki is so far behind – I want this everywhere! Magic!

So that’s it for now. I didn’t do a very extensive exploration of the place, as it’s huge and we were getting impatient after having been around Uni for two hours already, but I’ll be going back and perhaps building a nest.

Lectures start tomorrow. Getting restless with excitement!

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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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