Finncon ( 5th – 7th of July, Helsinki) is the acronym of the Finnish National SF&F Convention. Finncon is the largest science fiction convention in Finland and one of the largest SF conventions in Europe. Finncon is unique among SF conventions because it has no participation/membership fee, and is funded primarily on various cultural grants as well as income from traders. The event is organised annually in different cities in Finland.
The first Finncon was held in 1986 in Helsinki and the Guest of Honour was Brian Aldiss.
Finncon 2013’s theme was “Opposing forces” :
“Whether in vintage pulp space invasion fiction or modern tales of cultural conflicts, the grist of fantastic and science fiction is born when two opposing forces collide. Since the early days of oral storytelling, conflicts and arguments have been the beating heart of all fiction. Conflict is nearly always born of an opposing force that rises to challenge an existing status quo. Science fiction offers the perfect platform for discussing the great questions of humanity: human rights, world view conflicts, the wish for immortality – From Gilgamesh to Avatar, fantastic fiction has offered its tellers and audience a possibility to see our world from a new view limited only by our imagination.”
Aliette de Bodard
Once again, Finncon had the coolest Guests of Honor from the hottest spots of the science fiction heavens: Aliette de Bodard (France), author of the Hugo and Nebula winning novelette “The Jaguar House, in Shadow and the “Obsidian and Blood” trilogy, Peter Watts (Canada), the author of the aquatic science fiction series “Rifters” and the first contact novel “Blindsight”, J. Pekka Mäkelä the grand old man of Finnish science fiction, known both from his science fiction novels such as “391” and “Nedut”, as well as his translations of Philip K. Dick and China Miéville, and his upcoming translation of Watts’ “Blindsight” and and the swedish scholar Stefan Ekman.
Finfar 2013, Finncon’s academic conference, gathered together the foremost experts and students of fantasy and science fiction for two days at the University of Helsinki. The guest scholar this year was Dr. Stefan Ekman from the University of Lund, Sweden. Ekman’s research focuses on fantasy, and he has worked as a scholar, teacher, researcher, and the leader of IAFA’s (International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts) Fantasy Division. Other commentators this year were Irma Hirsjärvi, Liisa Rantalaiho and Markku Soikkeli from the University of Tampere, Merja Polvinen and Paula Arvas from the University of Helsinki and Sofia Sjö from Åbo Akademi.
The Short Story Workshop was coordinated by Aliette de Bodard and Tom Crosshill. This writers’ workshop was arranged in co-operation with the The Finnish Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, was aimed at writing short prose and included a short lecture and a text analysis session. A couple of short stories, some 500 to 1,000 words in length, written in English, had been discussed.
The Art Exhibition from the Kaapelitehdas Gallery made the opposing forces of the theme visible. Four different artists have been invited to create their own worlds : Hannele Kivilahti (Finland), Petra Nordlund (Finland), Vesa Lehtimäki (Finland) and the croatian Miljenko Horvatić.
In addition to the exhibition the gallery had offered a small taste of another art form with the short trailer of a forthcoming Finnish SF movie. The art exhibition has been set up with support from Painotalo Miktor Oy.
Center : Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf (Sweden), Chairperson of the European Science Fiction & Fantasy Society with the SF&F writer Tanya Tynjälä (left).