WorldCon 75: Opening Ceremonies

When the 75th anniversary of WorldCon was announced, the big question was: “Where will it be held?” There were a few options in mind, but the most popular one - the option promoted by A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin - was none other than Helsinki. Be it Martin’s influence or not, the vote indeed went to Helsinki, and so the local convention center, Messukeskus, became host to over 6,100 eager fans of science fiction and fantasy.

The convention took place from August 9th until August 13th, spanning not only Messukeskus and the surrounding facilities, but the Pasila Library as well. Upon entry, one had the option to register or check-in, allowing for the earlier registrants to skip the queue (and there were a lot of early registrants). The doors opened and the bright and cheerful hours of 09:00 on Wednesday, with the sun shining overhead to welcome visitors from all over the world - an unusual greeting from this lovely country, no?

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Scott Lynch @ WorldCon 75; photo by Jana Blomqvist

Some authors manage to grasp you by the collar and never let go, and Scott Lynch is one of those. With his stories often described as “Ocean’s Eleven, but fantasy,” Lynch has proved to be top-notch at writing exemplary characters, as well as fantastic plots and plot twists. When his name appeared on the WorldCon 75 guest list, we knew that we couldn’t let the week go by without having a few words with him.

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Robin Hobb @ WorldCon 75; photo by Jana Blomqvist

As one of the most well-known female authors working within the fantasy genre, Robin Hobb stood out on the WorldCon 75 guest list as one of the authors to whom we were most interested to speak. With the final installment of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy recently released back in May, we took a few minutes to talk to her about writing worlds, diverse characters, and more.

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THE 19TH TUSKA Festival took place at Suvilahti in Helsinki from July 1 – 3. The metal weekend was kicked off with the Tuska Heatseeker evening on Thursday, June 30, at legendary rock club Tavastia where Shiraz Lane, Lost Society and Santa Cruz played in front of a packed house and made sure everyone got into festival mood in time for Friday. 

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A Finnish author is looking to find success for his new book on India and English by collaborating with authors in that country. 

Despite rejections from both agents and publishers, the 43-year-old UK resident is going it alone in promoting his self-published ebook overseas.

Jesse Karjalainen, originally from Finland and grown up in Australia, is this week appearing on the leading publishing podcast in India.

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HEL(L)SINKI SUMMER also means another Tuska Open Air Metal Festival is around the corner. And all around Finland and the world metal heads are packing their band shirts, leather vests, black boots and -  hoping the metal gods will grant good festival weather – sunscreen to head to Helsinki for the weekend of July 1 to July 3. This will be the 19th edition of the festival, and it is again taking place at the former energy production area Suvilahti that is located very close to the city center. 

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Last autumn, the Finnish Embassy in Warsaw asked me, if I could contribute some nature-themed poems for the ‘Wiersze w Metrze’ project organized by the city of Warsaw. The aim of the project was to celebrate the diversity of languages by displaying poetry from different parts of Europe in the Warsaw subway in Polish translation.

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Faroese singer-songwriter Benjamin will perform in Finland for the first time at artArctica Festival.

FAROESE SINGER-SONGWRITER BENJAMIN will play his first ever show in Finland on February 11 as part of the artActica Festival (February 11 – 13). Time to find out a bit more about the musician that already sparked the interest of e.g. the German Rolling Stone magazine.

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The aim of this international event that spans almost the entire Arctic from Greenland to Finnish Lapland, from Iceland to Canada is to show the many sides of the Arctic.

DESPITE THE WINTERY season it’s not an arctic breeze that is sweeping over Helsinki from February 11 – 13 but art in the form of the very first artArctica Festival. During the festival, three Helsinki based artists - singer and singing pedagogy student Alicia Burns, violinist and political science student Katarina Sjöblom and musician and wilderness guide Laonikos Psimikakis-Chalkokondylis - will bring movies, exhibitions, photography, discussions, music, dance, and poetry by artists from every corner of the Arctic to Helsinki’s Sörnäinen district. The aim of this international event that spans almost the entire Arctic from Greenland to Finnish Lapland, from Iceland to Canada is to show the many sides of the Arctic.

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The Oscar nominees for Best Actress are announced by Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone during the Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California on 15 January.It's altogether fitting that a movie called "Whiplash" was the last one named Thursday when the nominations for best picture were announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

If the 87th Academy Awards line-up reflects anything, it's an industry painfully — and occasionally exhilaratingly – torqued by social, technological and creative forces it can't quite keep up with.

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