Sunday, 16 August 2015

ConFuse 2015

This month I've attended the annual national Swedish science fiction convention (Swecon) ConFuse. It took place in Frimis (the free mason-hotel) in Linköping and was arranged by Linköpingsfandom (or as I like to call them; The Illuminati). Frimis was a beautiful venue with slightly gothic architecture in the bar and dealers room. It had pilars, chrystal chandeliers and huge old oil paintings, mixed with 70's interior design. Perfect hideout for Illuminati, I'd say.

ConFuse had three excellent Guests of Honour (GoHs), Kristina Hård, Madeline Ashby and Ben Aaronovitch, three very lovely authors. Kristina has written Himalayabreven, Alba and Kleptomania and is coming out with the second book in the Kleptomania-series (Snösommar) the 6th of november,  which I am eagerly looking forward to. "Remember, remember, the 6th of november..."

I haven't read Madelines books but I intend to. She's written (among other things) iD and vN, two sf-novels about artificial intelligence. I love AI-themes, and she seems like a brilliant person.

Ben Aaronovitch has been writing for a while about Peter Grant, a police officer in London who deals with supernatural crimes. I've read the first book, Rivers of London, and loved it. It's funny, mysterious and totally brittish, which pleases an anglofilian like me.

 I'd somehow agreed to be in four programme items; "Fandom and social medias", "Meet and Greet - Conventions and fandom for newcomers", "Conventions then and now" and the following group discussion. To start from the beginning I think I should say that the con really started at home, with me spending the better part of the vacation at my parents house preparing for these panels/discussions. I even made bingo cards for all the newcomers so they could have some fun with the new expressions and stuff.

The week before ConFuse I managed to sign up for two more programme items; as a helper in Bellis NoFF-auction and as a judge in Jukka Halmes Game Show that was a rip off totally original show called Pointless. My friend Tobias said I was trying to take over Swecon. You don't know how true that is... Mouahahaha. In the future, it will be called Fiacon and there will be massage chairs and dillchips everywhere.

The trainride to Linköping offered a lot of familiar faces. Not only did I meet my friends Therese Norén and Marie Engfors on the station, when I got on the train I managed to get the seat just behind Hanna Svensson, my friend and co-blogger for our tv-series blog Onda Cirkeln. What are the odds for that?

I blame Illuminati.

I also met Hannas friend Mia, who was about to attend her first con. I had my first opportunity to introduce the concept of fandom to a newcomer so I immediately handed out a bingo card to her, and offered them some dillchips. As one does.

Getting to the con was easy, and there I met almost everyone I know in Swedish and Finnish fandom, and also said hello to two old friends from Luleå university (Hi Björn! Hi Nils-Erik!) who simultainously, but not together, had decided to come to Swecon, because they had heard about it from me.

I got to introduce my dear friends from Malmöfandom to my fellow Swedish fans. I was so proud to be in Swecon with not only Simon and Calle, but also Tobias, Frida, Camilla, Ingrid, Karolin and Helen. Malmöfandom is growing and becoming a big group not only at pub meetings but at cons, too! (I should count Johan Jönsson to Malmöfandom too, but I think his heart is still with Upsalafandom. Nah, I'm counting him too. Upsala can't have him. Sorry guys.)

Frida Rosengren, Helen Ekeroth, Tobias Jarl, me, Camilla Svedén and Ingrid Thulin.

The con started with an short opening ceremony where Jonas Wissting, the Illuminati leader, introduced the Guests of Honour, and explained that he had forgot The Spirit of Swecon at home™. This is a thing that happens a lot at Swedish cons. (The forgetting-the-spirit-thing.) It's nice to have traditions, and we are proud of ours. AT LEAST WE HAVE SPIRIT, OKAAY! ;)

The first item of the programme was Madeline Ashby's GoH-speach, which I attended. It was about her work as a consulting futurist and author. Very intriguing. She tells her stories from a marginalized PoV, illuminating issues of the poor, the outcasts, different groups of people, which I think is a good approach and something that's important in litterature. We already know the PoV of the white heterosexual male, we need other voices too.

After that I prepared for my panel at 8 pm. It was a great panel to start with. It was just me and my friends, chatting about social media and fandom, which I hope was enjoyable for others too. Although I had some points of mine that I never got to make, and Johan held a seven minute monologue in the beginning that was interesting but perhaps a bit too long. ;) Me and Anna argued that fandom is a community that thrives on social media, where we connect and create and spread the word about what we do. Johan held the PoV that social media is great, but the text culture that we are a part of need more space to flourish. We need the fanzines.

Me and a couple of friends continued the discussion in the bar, and Alexander Hallberg said the brilliant thing: "Fanzines are mostly you holding a monologue about what you like, but in social media you can hold a conversation about it with someone else."

Fanzines are great (and sure, you can send in your own texts and that could be construed as conversation) but I think fandom not only will survive the online phenomenon that is twitter and facebook, but that social media works really well for us.

After the Social Media-panel I listened to Marianna Leikomaa interviewing Ben Aaronovitch. (Marianna, you have such a great english accent!) Ben talked about his time on Doctor Who, and about Peter Grant and the studios asking for a white actor to play Peter in a movie, saying that Ben should see it as a "raceless" movie. Yeah. No.

Ben seems to be a funny and relaxed guy, even if he doesn't like cats. (I had a moment to talk to him in the Green room and ended up having a long conversation about cats and dogs.) I've read Rivers of London and found it really good, now I want to read the other books too.

Thus ended the first day of programming. At night in the bar, I had a blast. Dave Lally had been kind enough to bring me a doctor who-scarf (you know, those really long ones) so I wore it and it was beautiful. I also invented the concept tandem-scarf since the scarf was big enough to fit two necks easily.

Saturday was the big day for me. Me and Karolin had a lovely breakfast at our hotel where two elderly citizens asked us if we were on a school trip. (Naw!) Then we headed to the Green Room where Karolin helped me to cut out bingo cards. At 11, me and Eva Norman held an introduction to fandom and conventions, which went great. I even had two newcomers tweeting me about it. I'm so happy, it was fun! I want to do it again.

Björn Hedblom posted this on instagram too. As you can see, it's all about t-shirts.

After a sushi lunch with Malmöfandom, Norrlandsfandom and Hanna, we listened to "Telling Stories in Different Media". They talked a lot about writing for games, which was interesting even though I don't play that much.

From left to right: Thomas Årnfelt, Alexander Hallberg, Jessica Elgenstierna, Ben Aaronovitch and Tobias Bodlund
Ben explained that he finds it easy to write for comis since he doesn't have to describe word by word what happens in the story, the artist can co-create the story. For example, he could write "And then an accident happened" and the artist would create some sort of accident.

I also went to see "AI and Robotics: A look into the future" where Patrick Doherty held a talk about what artificial intelligence is and what we can do in robotics today. I found it fascinating and a bit scary. But at the end I was mostly irritated because he talked about 5 minutes too long, and seemed to argue that we should not be afraid of giving A.I. weaponry, and that the laws of robotics could be in the way if we were to defeat terrorism.

In the evening I was a part of the "Conventions today and tomorrow" panel with Saija Kyllönen, Johan Anglemark, Eva Holmström and Anna Davour, moderated by Karl-Johan Norén. Before the panel we had somewhat different ideas about what kind of stuff that we should or should not discuss but it in the end I think it went spendidly, even though I was told that I relied too much on my papers and looked at them too much. It a big thing for me to be able to talk without loosing my trail of thought, and I overcame my nervousness and talked a lot. I think I did the best I could.

I have voiced my opinions so many times on the mailing list about what we can do to introduce newcomers to fandom, and felt that I had many things to say. I hope people don't think I talked too much though. I talked about the importance of letting new fans set their mark on fandom too, and the importance of telling people what it is that we do, that set us apart from other fandoms.

Afterwards I held a group discussion about cons, and was joined by Joakim Mäki, a fairly new fan that's a part of Umeåfandom, David Lally, Herman Ellingsen and Lars-Olov Strandberg. Lars-Olov is one of the oldest fans in Sweden. In fact, he had been to the first Swedish con in Lund in 1956, and even was the Guest of Honour in the 2005 Worldcon (!!!). He made some interesting reflections about how it was in fandom then and how it is now. "Now a days, there a lot more women. It makes it more interesting."  Bless you, Lars-Olov. And Go Women! When I told him that I'm doing a mini-con in Malmö this october, he just lit up and got really excited about it. There hasn't been anything in Malmö since the 60's, so he was very glad and decided to come and hang with us. This is the beauty of fandom. It doesn't matter if you are 90 or 19, we're all just as enthusiastic.

After participating in three items, I had developed a bit of an headache and a sore throath to I went to the bar to have some tea. I hung out with Joakim Mäki, Hanna and Mia, and Mias boyfriend Daniel. Joakim is a really nice fellow, and he comes from Kiruna in norrbotten, my home county. I'm glad to see that fandom is spreading up north to my hood. There were more fans from Umeåfandom attending and they all seem to be really nice and fun to hang out with. The puns were flying all over the place. (And you know how I like puuunnss!) I have promised to come to a pub meeting next time I'm in Umeå. My brother lives there so I'm there sometimes.

Jukka's height is only exceeded by the height of his character. 
In the evening, I joined Quiz with Jukka Halme, and we did a Pointless-show. Jukka was the host and I was his Osman (the judge). It was really fun! I'm a big fan of Pointless, and also of Jukka Halme. He is a great entertainer and his quizzes and game shows should never be missed. If you don't know what Pointless is, I recommend you watch it on youtube. It's more fun than Jeopardy or The Weakest Link. The host Armstrong and his sidekick Osman has this dry, witty sense of humour that's so typically brittish. I'm already working on new ideas for next time!

The last item of the day, and my sixth and final appearance in the programme was the NoFF-auction with Bellis. It was a very fun show too, but it was a bit hard to come up with ways to sell the Science Fiction Magazines. I managed to bid too, and bought Anna Davours fanzine "Nålpistol" from 2005, among other things. 

Afterwards I hang out in the bar for the rest of the evening, talking to the Wester brothers, Tobias, Camilla, Frida and Mr Lally himself. Håkan Wester asked me for tips on how to build your own fandom group from the scratch, as we have done in Malmö, and I was happy to talk about it. He then went on to form Västerås-fandom. Yay! \o/

The final day of Swecon started with the Ancillary Panel, with Tommy Persson, Olov Livendahl, Saija Kyllönen and Thomas Cronholm. It was about Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, the novel that won the Hugo last year, and rightly so.

It is a great book, and the panel seemed to agree about that too. At first glance, the gender issue was the focus, but Tommy explained that on the second reading of it, he found that it actually was about colonization.

Tommy seems to have realized that he should have read the book before the panel. He makes up for it by quickly browsing through it before the panel.
It makes us think about what gender is. Some naturally assume that, for example, the people in the military are men. By changing everyone's pronoun to a female pronoun, it challenges assumptions about what defines men and women. I asked the panel to compare it to Left Hand of Darkness, where Ursula LeGuin consequently used "He" as the gender pronoun. Olov said that he thinks if we want to raise the issue of equality, it's better to use the gender pronoun that isn't the norm. I completely agree. Saija said that she would've liked it better if Leckie used "they" instead of he or she, and I think that could work too. My guess is that this will be the next thing tried.

Afterwards I attented the Troll panel with Kristina Hård, Oskar Källner, Carolina Gomez Lagerlöf (Moderator), Anna Vintersvärd and Rasmus Kaj. It's always nice to listen to authors talk about folk lore and mythology, and is talk of this becoming the nordic fantasy genre, nordic weird.

At noon, the Swecon bid happened. There were two competing Swecon bids. Bellis wanted to do a Motorcon, which would be a month long, with 34 Guests of Honour, and a big dead dog-concert with Motörhead. The membership would cost about 100 000 SEK (but not to worry, it could be paid in small installments). The other bid was Fantastica, at Dieselverkstan in Stockholm. It won, despite the allure of Motorcon. :D

Then the winner of the Alvar Prize was announced. Maria Nygård won, which was awesome. She's done so much for Swedish fandom and without her, I'm not sure I would've found my way to fandom in the first place. After being nominated three years in a row, and even having a bunch of friends making a campain video for her, it was time for her to win.

Then Lars-Olov Strandberg got to receive an lifetime achievement award, and we sang a song about him, written by Karl-Johan Norén. It was a really wonderful celebration of this grand master of Swedish fandom.

 After that, I spent some time in the Alvarfonden Second hand book shop, where it was cosy and I felt like Giles from Buffy. "I need to consult my books." Selling books for Alvarfonden is a great way to meet new people, and just hang out and relax.

The last two items of this years Swecon was Animating locations and Therese Norén's Metafiction in Supernatural.

Johan Jönsson moderated the panel, and Jenny Milewski, Kristina Hård and Ben Aaronovitch talked about the places they write about. Jenny Milewski had a lot of fun stuff to say about writing horror stories in student halls and IKEA. She said that you should think about what potential the places has, and showed a fun book about a company that looks exactly like IKEA were they have explored the potential of being trapped, when you exit a room, you enter the same room again, with escalators moving the wrong way and stuff like that.

Even though I haven't seen much of Supernatural, I was drawn to the Metafiction in Supernatural-talk because I know Therese and she's a very enthusiastic and engaging person to listen to. It was really interesting. More of this, please! Metafiction is such a fun thing to play around with. 

Another person who uses metafiction is Jasper Fforde, who has written books about Thursday Next were the characters from Austens books come to life. Coincidentally, Jasper Fforde is the Guest of Honour at next years Finncon, and guess who's going there? Meeeeeeeeeeeee.

The closing ceremony was framed by Karl-Johan Noréns beautiful filk about Linköping saving fandom. It was a lovely way to end Swecon. I could try to summarize the weekend in a few words, but I wouldn't do it better than Madeline Ashby so I leave it to her:

Dead Dog was a blast too! I spent time with new and old friends. I talked to Markus Sköld, one of the authors in the Swedish anthology Waiting for the machines to fall asleep, I talked to the lovely Sini Neuvonen and GoH Kristina Hård, I managed to do some NoFF-Smoffing with the Finnish NoFF-candidate Mikko Seppänen and Korppi Susi. (Yes, NoFF-smoffing is a word, and now I just have to make sure I become the NoFF-candidate next year.)

As you can see below, me and Olov has started a new tradition - to take dead dog pics together from every Swecon we both attend. I hope we'll be doing it for many years.

Olov and me at ConFuse 2015

Me and Olov at Kontrast 2012
At the end of the evening, when the pub closed, the song Closing Time got stuck in my head. Me and a small company moved on to another pub were we talked about tv-shows, family traits and a bunch of other things I don't remember. I showed everyone my favourite opening of all time, from Warehouse 13. But it was from the wrong season, sadly, so I had to show them another one of the openings. (Thanks to everyone for being patient with me, and not strangling me.) And then I tried to explain the Warehouses, and failed. But Johan Anglemark succeeded in explaining it in a way that everyone could understand:

And finally, I had to fall back to my hotel room, since I was dead tired. But I managed a final tweet before I fell asleep.

I am ever so gracious.

Thank you to the Illuminati Linköpingfandom for arranging this lovely event. Thanks to the Guests of Honour for being amazing, thanks to everyone who attended and helped making this a wonderful weekend.  Until next time!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Why everyone should watch Sense8

I've recently had my mind blown by a new TV show called "Sense8", about a cluster of eight people from all over the world who are telepathically connected. They can feel what the others feel, talk to each other, visit each other and access each others knowledge and capabilities.

The concept in itself is a great starting point for an entertaining show: "How do we live our lives when we are simultaneously living seven other lives?" But the thing about Sense8 is that it does so much more than just entertain. It has  characters with great depth and substance, and the show makes you feel for them deeply. And, by letting the characters share each others lives and emotions, it also makes them (and consequently you) challenges issues greater than ourselves like gender, culture, ethnicity, sexuality and identity.

Amanita and Nomi.

How would you live your life if you have the experiences of a lesbian trans-woman, a straight white male, a straight white woman, an African man, a German gangster, a Korean businesswoman, a gay Mexican actor and an Indian woman? If you were both straight, gay, trans, man, woman, a person of colour, white, poor, rich, famous or a nobody?

It asks important questions like: Are we obligated to honour our parents, even when they fail us? Do we make the choices in our lives, or do the choices make us? How do we deal with problems?


In the end, Sense8 has a strong message.

The character Jonas Maliki says: "Killing is easy when you don't feel anything", meaning that the ability to feel empathy is what we should hold on to.

I don't think we talk enought about empathy, or the lack thereof.

I wish more people could put themselves in my shoes, to feel what I feel when I talk about sexism. I wish more people could open their minds to different world views and realize that we don't have to fear what is different, and that we're not that different anyway.

I think everyone should watch Sense8.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Women, do we really need them?

Parris McBride spoke at Archipelacon about life in fandom in the seventies, and jokingly said she's educated a whole generation of fans on how to speak to women. People laughed, and I did too, but I think it's funny and sad because it's true. They even had panels where they discussed questions like "Women, do we really need them...?" (I don't remember if the panel was about fandom or SFF.)

Fandom is a great community with a lot of open minded people. We've read and seen fantastic stories and dream of things out of this world.

Fandom also has a problem with racism and sexism, as most communities has. Some people will always be jerks. But we have a code of conduct to tell us that conventions are supposed to be a safe haven for everyone. And at the same time. every day, all year, every year, there's this social construction telling us we're different kinds of people. Masculine and feminine. Women and men. People from different cultures, religion and ethnicity. Heterosexuals and homosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered and queer. It takes some getting used to, to see past these things.

I'm going to tell you a secret about how to do get past it.

You have to realize, there is no spoon.

But what does it mean?

It means, don't see the social construct. It isn't what we're made of, it's what society makes us. See the person behind it. Yeah, I might be a woman, but I'm not defined by my gender and I would like to be seen for and treated as the person I am, thank you very much!

I've often been told that I'm pretty. I've been told I should wear more make up to make my "lovely eyes" shine. I've been told I should wear dresses and skirts and clothes that compliments my body. I'm being told that I should think about how I behave in front of young men, that I'm a warm and hugging person which easily can confuse young men into thinking I'm feeling more for them than I do.

I've had it up to here with people telling me how I should or should not behave, dress or how I should live my life. Also, I'm getting pretty tired of people not understanding what a huge problem objectification is. People, mostly men, rolling their eyes and cursingly telling me I'm one of those "feminist".  Like wanting people to treat you as a person, treat you the same way as they would treat their male friends, is a bad thing.

Hey, here's an idea. For every time you give a woman a compliment, give the same compliment to two of your male friends, and you'll see how strange it sounds.

"You have a nice ass in those jeans, buddy."
"Yeah dude, I think you would look great in a flowery dress, rolling in the wind."
Try catcalling one or two of them, just for fun.

See how degrading it is?

I think the more empathic you are, the more you can feel what other people feel, the more you can understand this. And everyone's not cut out to be an empath, but they can still learn.

A while ago I had a long discussion with people on Facebook who was distraught to be told that they were objectifying women. They're just being nice guys, they said, and if this is the kind of world where they can't give women compliments about their looks, they don't want to be a part of it.

Well, if this is the kind of world were I have to put up with men being entitled to objectify me, I don't want to be a part of it either.

Back to fandom, again. Sorry, I derailed a bit.

Fandom's my tribe, my people. We're all different, but maybe more alike than you think. I am a socially awkward nerd who likes to watch Star Trek, who likes robots and timetravel and maybe you're just like me.

Try to realize, there is no spoon.

Sunday, 5 July 2015


Last week, I embarked on a great and marvelous adventure. I set my sails to Mariehamn, Åland, to attend Archipelacon, a convention created by nordic fandom, mostly from Finland and Sweden.

I've been looking forward to this convention ever since the worldcon last year in London, where I first heard about it and immediately decided to become a member. I heard that the Guests of Honour would include George R R Martin and Malmö-based author Karin Tidbeck. Both authors are amazingly good with words, I've read and loved all of their work. The other Guests of Honour were Johanna Sinisalo, the finnish author of "Not before sundown" (and writer of Iron Sky). The fan Guest of Honour was Parris McBride, who also happens to be GRRM's wife. Gary K Wolfe, also a long time fan, was the academic guest of honour. This was a really impressive list of GoH:s, but it wasn't just that, that made me want to go. I also wanted to hang out with the finnish fandom that I'd met in London. Who would say no to a four day long party with the finnish fandom!?

The journey

Since I live so far away from Åland, and the ferry from Stockholm left around 7 am, I decided to travel up to Stockholm the day before the con started, so I could arrive to Åland with the rest of the fans by thursday noon. So, the adventure started on wednesday morning with me and my friend Frida (she taged along for her first convention!) taking a plane from Malmö, spending the day sightseeing in Stockholm. We saw Gamla stan, SF-bokhandeln, ate some really delicious sushi and ice cream, and Frida found a store that had her nickname (Farraw) on it.

Since we were in Stockholm a day early, I had ordered my loyal subject the Stockholm fans to come to a pre-con-party. And so they did.

Bellis, Pebbles, Karl-Johan, Herman, Henrick, Karl-Johan, Hulda, Therese, Michael and Tommy met me at Monks, and later we were joined by the amusing brittish author Ian Watson and the lovely spanish translator Cristina Macia whom I met last month at Fantasticon in Denmark. It was a happy reunion, and a great way to kick off our Week of Fun with Fandom!

Henrick and me, on the way to the con, traveling by ferry to Åland.
Early thursday morning, slightly hung over and dead tired, we huddled off  to Värtahamnen and to the Baltic Princess. Me and my friends managed to get a few more hours of sleep in our cabin on the ferry and 5-6 hours later, we arrived at Mariehamn, checked in to our hotel Arkipelag and rushed over to the registery.

First impressions

Some things struck me during the con as unusally well organized. First of, the committee of the con seemed happy and relaxed, the registration went by in a flash and we got beautiful and well thought out programme and badges. The venue was spacious, with a high ceiling, glass doors to let the sun in, and the first floor had long stands of books and a chocolate stand. It was all centered around a lounge and a veranda (next to the sea) were fans met, drank beer and hung out.

The hotel where I slept was in crawling distance, the food market and the mainstreet was just around the corner, the bar at the venue was full of tasty Åland-beer (yum, Stallhagen Delikat and Baltic Porter!) and the staff was professional and good, and they selled easy-to-carry sandwishes. Never once did I go hungry, thirsty, or got lost from my friends, or had issues with noisy areas. And that is really, really good, since I have a hearing disability and can't really cope with noise. They could not have chosen a better spot.

The programme items

The convention started with an orchestra playing a song from Skyrim, and then Johan Anglemark and Sari Polvinen opened the convention ceremoniously with the guests of honour on stage. It was short and to the point. I didn't recognize the melody from Skyrim since I'm not a gamer, but I liked it all the same anyway. Frida was ecstatic. The ceremony took place in the main auditorium, which was a huge room and I felt sure everyone of us would fit in there if we wanted to. That meant that the most popular programme items would never have queues, unlike the worldcon London where we queued most of the time. As a Swede, I should be fairly used to queuing but it's really boring and I don't want to waste time waiting. When there's only four days of con I want to make the most of it.

Some memorable items on thursday's programme was "Nordic Weird" with Karin Tidbeck and Johanna Sinisalo. They talked about what genre they write, and what started their writing careers. Both agreed that neither of them have actively thought of them as weird fiction writers. Johannas readers mostly don't even find her by seeking out SF or fantasy. Karin said she just don't care about what genre she writes, and just focuses on seeing were the story goes. Karin started writing at a very young age, influenced by Tove Jansson, and Johannas writing career started while she was very active in finnish fandom. It was a good panel and I especially liked Karin's speech about what she wants to explore as a writer. The idea that reality is very thin, and that something lurks in the shadows and in the cracks, shaped her as an author and as a human being. It tickles my imagination.

The moderator Jukka Halme (who's name you all should know by now because I'm his number one fan) asked if their genre could be a sort of Janssonian fiction, and if there's something in the water that makes nordic countries write about this kind of things. Karins response came quickly: "It's the pickled fish."  And Johanna: "The light summers and dark nights." Karin also explained that other countries are drawn to her fiction because of the melancholy thing, which seems to be an aphrodisiac. Take heed, Nordic authors!

Another memorable thing on thursday was the orchestra playing songs from different sf-movies, which was ah-maaa-zing! More of that, please!

Quinsonitus playing Deep Space Opera. Photo taken by Henry Söderlund.

On friday, I went to four panels and sat for an hour in the Alvarfonden second hand bookshop-room, selling books and chatting with people.

The program items I saw was "Worlds of Water" which was a presentation about the Viking Age in Åland, "Life in fandom" with George R R Martin, Parris McBride, Gary K Wolf and Johan Anglemark as a moderator, "Zombies, Necrophiles and Spiraling Penises" by Torill Kornfeldt, and last but not least "Mad Scientists" with Torill, Anna Davour and Helena Kiel. I'm kind of shocked that I went to so few items, and in retrospect I'm sure I've missed a lot but I had a great time on the veranda, drinking beer and hanging out with my friends.

Bellis, Henrick, Johan, me, Frida and Marie-Louise. Picture belongs to Luke Smith.

The programme item about the Viking Age was really interresting, and the archeaologist Kristin Ilves was a good speaker. She talked about geomythology and explained that the nordic mythology of Ragnarök, and the fimbulwinter leading up to it, can be the result of an extreme weather phenomenon that happened around 536-545, and that early writings tell about some kind of meteor striking the earth, causing a blue sun and really cold summers. Readings indicate that sulfuric acid is found in the Greenland ice from that time, also indicating that there might have been some kind of volcanic eruption some years earlier.

Life in fandom was really awesome.I love these meta-panels about panels and life in fandom, and how the community has evolved over the years. Parris and George talked about how they met in a sauna in a convention in the seventies, which was cute and amusing. George also said an interesting thing about how fandom's been in the pasts that I hadn't thought about: When your family buy you books for christmas, they would mostly get it wrong since they don't really get you and sff. But in fandom in the sixties, seventies and eighties mostly all fans had read the same books and had great discussions about them. This was like your second family. That sort of thing is hard to do nowadays that the genre has expanded. But as common denominators go, nowadays you can be sure that you will find someone to talk to about your favourite tv-shows. And I still feel like fandom is my OTF.

It was interesting to hear about Parris experience as a woman in fandom in the early days when women wasn't that well represented in conventions. She had do endure sitting in a panel about "Women in sf - do we really need them?" for seven years. Archaic. She made a joke about helping to socialize a generation of fans who didn't really know how to talk to women. (Sometimes, I feel that way too. But that's something I'll save for another post.)

After that, Torill held an awe-inspiring and crazy presentation about the way animals and amphibians behave, mate and are designed. She's done this presentation before in swedish and the rumour of how fun it was had already spread to Finland, making it insanely popular. We completely filled the room, the floor, and people stood against the wall and in the doorframe. We were so many fans that we almost couldn't close the door. I talked to my mum the other day, telling her about Torill and her plans to go to Sibirien and visit the russian scientist whom wants to create mammoths, and mum was like: "Someone should make a movie about her life." I'm agreeing with mum, and adding "someone should give her the nobel prize, just because."

Mad scientists; Torill Kornfeldt, Anna Davour and Helena Kiel.

The last panel of friday was held by the awesome swedish scientists and fans Torill, Åka and Helena. They were funny and clever about the way scientists are depicted in films and litterature. Helena made the conclusion from Dante's Peak and Tremors that geologists are the sexy ones. Torill was unhappy with the biologists in Prometheus, whom seemed to be slightly to naive for their occupation. They also asked and answered very important questions:

"What would it be like if mad linguists ruled the world?"
"Just look at"

I LOL:ed. A lot. :D

On saturday, I listened to Maria Turtschaninoff, Kristina Hård, Petri Hiltunen and Johanna Sinisalo talk about "Trolls in nordic SFF". They all have different takes on the troll mythology, some have beautiful trolls (more like faeries), some have ugly ones, some trolls like treasure, some are more like seducers. The authors all consulted books, historic texts and nordic folk lore which gave them inspiration for their trolls. Sinisalo and Hiltunen often refer to their work as "troll punk" which I totally loved. (I must learn finnish so I can read Hiltunens graphic novels!) They talked a bit about tropes with trolls, that they've been used as cautionary tales for young women so they won't follow a beautiful stranger into the woods, or so they won't think the grass is greener on the other side. It has also been used as a way to talk about postpartum depression, as a way to relate to having children and becoming estranged to them. In the age of christianity, the devil took the place of the trolls, and so the cautionary tales lived on. The authors today often use mythological creatures as a metaphore for cultural and ethnic differences, and Petri Hiltunen explained that he's bringing evil trolls to the mix as a metaphore for greedy business men. Fascinating indeed!

Another item on my list for friday was at the library in Mariehamn, which was open for the public. What a great idea to show the public what we do and make it possible for them to sample a bit of our culture and happenings. A good way to find new fans, too!

In the library I listened to Torill (again, I seem to be stalking her!) talking about "Reality's Jurassic Park"and about extinct animals and what they have meant for us and for the nature. She talked about the passenger pidgeon and the auroch, and the thought of creating mammoths again through elephants to help the Sibirian tundra grow colder, which will help the environment. Torill was brilliant as always, and made everyone laugh, and also made us think about the world we live in and how we treat it.

Later on I listened to the english version of "Karin Tidbeck's guest of honour interview", where I made an awkward attempt of asking a audience question to Karin but then realized I hadn't thought it through, so noone could understand what I was asking. Afterwards, I hid in my hotel room for a while so I could sulk it out in private and go "OMG I'm so awkward!" until I got over it. I didn't remember anything that was said in that panel, due to the sheer trauma of the embarrasment, so I went to the one in swedish on sunday. Where I sat quietly.

The sunday interview I really, really liked, since it went deeper into the books and Johan Jönsson and Karin had such a funny, relaxed style. Karin joked a lot about the fact that she doesn't like her books being labeled dystopian, but then accidently said that they were dystopian and had to rectify it by calling it antiutopian.

Karin explained more about creating her novel "Amatka", and that she really liked the idea of a world reacting to language. Of course, then she had to clean out all kinds of metaphorical language, parables and stuff like that, which was a difficult job. There are so many interesting things said in that interview, but I'm going to have to narrow it down to one thing I want to highlight as very good: she wants to write about people whom suffer from mental illness, because these people exist in the world, and she wants them to have a part in it in her books. That was great, since I feel very strongly about the issue and feel that we need to hear these peoples voices and break the stigma that surrounds it. After all, depression is something about 50 % of human kind suffers from, it is a huge part of the human condition.

But now I'm getting ahead of myself. Lastly, on saturday, I sat in Alvarfondens second hand bookshop again, this time for two hours. It was a great way to meet new people, one of whom was Alexander Hallberg, Sveroks chairman and fellow nerd. We talked about creating associations (unifications?) and bringing people together, something we're both passionate about. And I sold some books, too.

On sunday, I went to two more panels except Karins interview, and then there was the closing ceremony. It all went by too quickly! *sobs*

The second item of the sunday programme was the panel "Translators and writers", moderated by the lovely Johanna Vainikainen, whom have the most soothing and pleasing voice and a relaxed and nice contact with her panel members. Listening to her moderating the panel was a joy in itself. The authors and translators were really good speakers too, Ian Watson and Cristina Macia make a fine pair and are funny to listen to. They are married, and like to tease and joke with each other, which is really entertaining to watch. Tanya Tynjala is a peruvian author and translator, but speaks and has translated to french too. Also in the panel was Karin Tidbeck and J. Pekka Mäkelä, both sf author, and also translators. Karin has translated her short stories collection Jagannath. I learned much about translating, about how different it can be from translator to translator depending on the publishing company, the pay, the amount of work and the level of collaboration with the author. And there are different styles of translators too. They had a good discussion about if a translator should translate word for word, or though for thought? Can there be nuances where the translator interpret the book, in the spirit of the author? Cristina felt the translators job is not to rewrite the book, and she has a more direct word for word approach. Tanya said her goal is to make the english reader feel the same as the spanish reader, to try to feel the voice.  Both had good points to make on the subject.

Cheryl Morgan, Tanya Tynjala, Ian Watson and Nini Neuvonen.

The discussion continued in next panel, "Science fiction and fantasy translated into english" were Cheryl Morgan took the helm of moderating Ian, Tanya and also Sini Neuvonen for an hour and a half. The panel was very informative about different translated works, and Cheryl Morgan mentioned she will post a list of the books mentioned, so I will try to get a hold of it and link it to this post. They talked a lot about the struggle of getting books translated, and mentioned "Finnish weird"; a impressing initiative made by the Finns, where they had fans translating their favourite Finnish writers. After that panel, I ran to the finnish bookstand and bought the magazine.

One point made about translated work is that the english speaking population has a tendency not to read translated work as there is so much written in their own language, and Cheryl Morgan asked the question "How do we encourage people to read translated work?" The question remains unanswered, but the panel gave a lot of good book tips which hopefully will help build some bridges.

The closing ceremony was a very fine thing, filled with applauds, hugs, and the guests of honour gave their thanks and said that they were really impressed with what the Archipelacon concom had done. GRRM encouraged everyone there to vote for Helsinki in 2017, and said that if they win the bid, he would be there in 2017 along with Connie Willis, Scott Lynch and the rest of the gang.

(I have voted, have you? Ask me how!)

The Finns are really good at this stuff, and I am thoroughly amazed by them all. I have made so many new acquaintances this weekend, and have gotten to know the Finns I met at Worldcon a bit more, and I miss them all terribly already, along with my fellow swedish fans.

The parties

Ah, the parties, What can be said about the parties? The parties were great! The Åland summer is very much like the summers in northern part of Sweden with the never dying light and the silence. Only, not as quiet... We had a pool! And karaokee! And I've even heard rumours about skinny dipping. Dammit guys, next time you have to tell me! ;)

"Look, the book matches the pool!"

The nights where bright and full of warmth from infrared heating. And full of mad scientist-laughter, Brotherhoods without banners, pool parties, singing, fezzes... Just an amazing buzz of people.

There were some really enthusiastic people singing Queen-songs in the karaokee-corner, and there were Jukka Halme and his evil gang, taunting me with the song "spiderpig" because I was scared of a humongously big evil spider of doom that hung in a fine thread from the ceiling. Jukka Särkijärvi and I stood shaking of shock and terror, hugging for comfort, until Karl-Johan Norén saved the day by smashing the spider with a pad. A brave man, that Karl-Johan, risking his life against the beast to save us.

We heard the drums in the distance, and saw Cthulu rising before us, from his watery grave.
We had a standing joke about me and Frida. The second day, when I had introduced her to a bunch of people, Frida was saying how she felt I was very much like Barney Stinson in "How I met your mother" with "Haaaaaave you met Ted?" and she was Ted. Not a bad comparison. (Although I'm not fixated on suits and getting laid.) But I do like magic. Frida mingled and got to know people and had a great time. It warmed my heart to see my best friend getting to know all these amazing people in my life and enjoying their company and the con too. Frida says that my hobby is to collect people, and I think the best thing about collecting people is when you're able to bring them together, and when they like each other as much as you like them all... it's like magic.

Another funny thing is when someone came up to me and accidently called me Frida. (That's how much they liked her. I'm starting to get jealous of her.) Later, Torill accidently called me Frida, and then I myself accidently called Frida Fia. (That was really weird.) Suddenly I had an identity crisis, which I confessed to having on twitter. That caught the attention of Tero Ykspetäjä, and all weekend long he enabled this crisis by said "Hello Frida!" to me. Thanks for that, Tero. Really. I'm gonna send my therapists bill to you. :P

Evil Tero!

I had a really great time, to which I owe many thanks to my very wonderful, understanding and good-for-waking-me-up-before-I-overslept-room mate Anna Bark Persson, and to our gang of Frida, Maria, Markus, Nahal, Veronica, Arina, Kristina, Hanna and Jan. We had a lovely dinner on sunday at Dino's were we squeezed together in a small booth and talked about the convention and other things. We also think we have figured out what killed the auroch. (Smoking is bad for you! What do you think, Torill? Could the aurochs have been nicotine addicts?)

I have made some big promises during this con, and all of them I intend to keep. I made a solemn vow to learn finnish when Jukka Särkijärvi started learning swedish, and to make a convention in Malmö the year after Nahal does one in Uppsala. Seems like a good plan. About learning finnish: I've actually downloaded an app and spent the better part of this weekend trying to learn words. Olisi. Jollekin.Työskennellä. Maito.

They say that learning another language is good for the brain, and prevents getting alzeimers, so I'm being healthy too. (And also it is good when wanting to read finnish sf-litterature).

There have been a lot of fans from different countries at this convention. But I started thinking, maybe, we're all from the same country; the fandom country. We speak the language of SF but have different dialects, and we don't let that hinder us from connecting and making friends. Frida's soon traveling to Japan for an exchange year, and will be seeking out the japanese fandom. The brittish fan Luke Smith has begun to learn swedish. Some Finns are talking about coming to Swecon and I'm definitly going to Finncon next year. And maybe Åcon. And maybe Eurocon in Spain, which will be in november 2016, hosted by the lovely Ian and Cristina! (Maybe I'll have to learn spanish too.)

There are so many things to be said about this convention, and I could talk about it for ages, but I think I'll just end this here before it become a novel. My very last words will be  an echo of Jukka Halme's eternal wisdom: Fandom is love.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Blygsamt skryt

Jag vill passa på att uppmärksamma er, kära läsare, på lite nyheter som kommit ut på Alvarfondens hemsida.

Om ni inte vill klicka vidare kan jag klippa ut lite meningar...

"Den ideella Stiftelsen Alvar Appeltoffts Minnesfond (SAAM) är mest känd i fandom för det stipendium som delas ut varje år till minne av den legendariske science fiction-fanen Alvar Appeltofft, som gick bort 1976. Alvarpriset, som det populärt kallas, betraktas allmänt som svensk SF-fandoms mest betydelsefulla och består av ett konstverk och en penningsumma (för närvarande 2 100 kr).

Stipendiet utdelas "för omfattande och betydelsefullt ideellt arbete av bestående värde inom svensk science fiction-fandom", och mottagaren utses varje år efter en rådgivande allmän omröstning inom svensk SF-fandom. Stipendiet för 2014 kommer att utdelas på kongressen Swecon 2015/Confuse, 7-9 augusti 2015 i Linköping.

SAAM utlyser den rådgivande omröstningen om Alvarpriset för 2014 och sätter - efter att ha granskat nomineringarna från fandom - på röstsedeln upp Sofia Karlsson och Maria Nygård som kandidater. Omröstningen pågår till kl. 12.00 lördagen 8 augusti [...]"

Jag är otroligt stolt över att bli nominerad till detta och vill tacka er som har nominerat mig! Jag känner verkligen att min kärlek till svensk fandom är besvarad! :)

Det är också en stor ära att få vara nominerad med Maria, som är en väldigt viktig person inom svensk fandom! Faktum är det är tack vare Maria som jag hittat till fandom från första början!

Dels så skapade hon där jag registrerade denna blogg, och därigenom fann jag Socialistsimon. Vi bildade bokcirkel 2009, 2011 åkte vi på vår första kongress tillsammans, sen startade vi Malmöfandom efter att ha varit på Kontrast 2012, som Maria var med och arrangerade.

Dels så tipsade Maria också mig om Catahya där jag också annonserade ut att jag letade bokcirkelmedlemmar. Jag fick napp från Frida, som numera är min medskribent här på bloggen under namnet Farraw. Frida är min bästa vän, och om det inte vore för Maria hade vi kanske aldrig träffats!

Maria och jag har båda ett starkt engagemang för SF och fantasy samt att sammanföra människor, plus att vi delar ett stort tv-serie-intresse. Vi brukar ha diskussioner om hur mycket vi hatar Oliver Queen från Arrow, det är kul. :)

Så, med andra ord, vem som än vinner så kommer jag bli jätteglad. :)

Monday, 15 June 2015

Game of Thrones - eftersnack! *spoileralert*

Denna säsong har varit väldigt kritiserad av många, som långsam, tråkig, sexistisk. Det har varit våldtäkter och barnamord, etc etc. Personligen tycker jag det har varit en himla bra säsong.

Vi fick se en fortsättning på Sansas story, vi fick se Jaime och Bronn teama upp, Arya bli fulländad mördare, Cerseis fall from grace var mycket snyggt gjort (mer om mina tankar kring nakenhet senare!), Danys styre börjar långsamt kollapsa. På många sätt gjorde tv-serien ett bättre jobb att berätta historien än boken, den genade på vissa ställen där boken dröjt onödigt länge, och den belönade oss med Danys och Tyrions tete-a-tete.

Jag tänkte ta upp tre saker som jag tänkt på medan jag sett denna säsong (mer kanske kommer i ett senare avsnitt!)

Först och främst - Sansa

Let me be very very clear here.

Jag är inte ett stort fan av våldsscener. Jag vågar inte se skräck eller zombiefilmer, och spolar alltid förbi tortyr och extremt våld. Våldet i GoT är jäkligt brutalt. Knivar genom huvud, ögon, amputationer av händer och penisar, flådda människor, totalt krossade skallar, inälvor som rasar ut. Jag tror de visat det mesta. Och jag brukar oftast försöka spola förbi det.

Våldtäktsscener är ett helt eget kapitel, en helt egen ring i helvetet. Vägrar se det. No fucking way. 
Det är obehagligt på så många fler sätt, för att det också visar hur underlägsna kvinnor är. Det gör oss till redskap att användas när man behöver motivera en man. När man använder kvinnovåld som en plotdevice för att en man ska hämnas så tar man också oftast ifrån kvinnan eller offret sin egen agency. Hon behöver en stark man som räddar henne. (Snark, boring. Jag slutade se Downton Abbey halvvägs igenom den beryktade scenen i köket.)

Det som får mig att se denna serie är inte dramatiska effekter och våld, utan att man har genuina karaktärer som utvecklas genom sina individuella resor. Våldet är legitimt så länge det ska göra att det händer något med individen som tvingar den att hantera det och växa, åt något håll. 

Jaime Lannister mister tillfälligt sin förmåga att slåss, och måste lära sig att förlita sig på andra människor (Brienne) vilket gör honom mer mänsklig, och visar också att han har en hjärna. Theon mister sin penis och sitt mod, och förvandlas till en svag människa som överlever genom att göra vad än hans sadistiska herre ber honom om.

Sansa och Arya växte upp snabbt när hela världen vände sig emot dem, dödade deras föräldrar och bröder. De har lärt sig att spela spelet; you win or you die. Dvs för att överleva måste man lära sig ta hand om sig själv. I Aryas fall blir hon mordisk. I Sansas fall börjar hon lära sig att manipulera och utnyttja sin skönhet och status. 

Vad vill man uppnå med scenen Sansa våldtas? Dels berättar man en historia om en vidrig, sadistisk man, och när denna man gifter sig känns det som en våldtäkt är en scen som är karaktäristisk för denne. Dels berättar man en historia om en kvinna som börjat lära sig att "spela spelet".

Sansa är inte naiv, hon har sett vad mycket hemskheter män kan göra, och hon vet att Ramsay Bolton är en sadistisk jävel. Boltons dödade hennes familj, och ändå så går hon med på att gifta sig med honom. Man skulle kunna säga att Littlefinger manipulerar henne, men jag väljer att tro att Sansa gör detta för att hon spelar spelet. Hon vill uppnå något, en ohelig allians där hon övertygar sig själv om att hon kan vira honom runt lillfingret, även om det kostar henne smärta. Och sen visar det sig att hon överskattade sin förmåga, Ramsay var för knäpp för att hon skulle klara av honom, men vi har två säsonger till på gång och jag hoppas att hon kommer till den punkten där hon - ingen man som hämnas henne - ger honom vad han förtjänar.

Folk klagar på "Men det hände inte i böckerna!" Men Sansas storyline hade inte progressat längre än the Eyre. Vi vet inte vad som väntar henne, vi vet bara att hon inte kan stanna i the Eyre och gömma sig serien igenom. Detta känns som en trolig utveckling för Sansa, allt eftersom hon lär sig utnyttja sin status. 

Stannis vs Boltons 
Det blev inte uppgörelsen som jag räknat med, det blev ett ganska surt slut på Stannis historia. Först så offrar han sitt barn för att vinna, sen så deserterar halva armén och lämnar dem oundvikligt i underläge, sen så hänger sig hans fru, och sen så dödar Brienne honom (go Brienne!). 

Jag kunde se att det skulle sluta så för Stannis, det kändes rätt så oundvikligt. Men jag hade velat se en bättre face-off mellan nya Evil-Stannis och Evil-Bolton, och gärna på ett sätt som skruvar på förväntningarna. Det som jag älskar med George R R Martin är hur alla människor har sin beskärda del mörker och ljus, och just när man har lärt sig hata en karaktär (The Hound) så blir han mänsklig, eller så visar det sig att ens favorit *host* Jorah Mormont *host* är en jäkla sell out. Sen finns det komplicerade karaktärer som Littlefinger och Varys vars gameplan jag fortfarande inte vet. Är de onda? Är de goda? Vad ääär de?!

Vad som är lite tråkigt med Ramsay Bolton och hans far är att de är rent igenom onda och dåliga och vi vill bara att de ska dö. De behöver en motivation, något som gör att vi engagerar oss i dem. Ge Ramsay Bolton en sorglig(are) bakgrund, låt det vara så att han blivit som han är för att han själv blivit torterad av sin far, eller någon annan som han är fullkomligt livrädd för. Låt honom få visa att han också har varit ett offer, och låt honom få en chans att åtminstone överväga att välja en annan väg.

Eller ge hans far en humanare sida, där han slutligen får nog och dräper sin son för att han helt enkelt är för hemsk. Om äldre herr Bolton tar sitt ansvar och sedan står upp mot Stannis, två män som dödat sina egna barn, skulle det kunna ha blivit en intressant avslutning. Skulle vi kanske slutat hata Bolton för allt han gjort mot the Starks och heja på honom? Och vore det inte häftigt om storyn gått till detta oväntade avslut?

Sist av allt - nakenheten 
Ska man höja upp kvinnokroppen till något dunkelt och heligt, något som måste skylas. Är det skamligt när kvinnor vill visa hud? Är det slampigt? En naken kropp är en naken kropp. Den är en manlig kropp, den är en kvinnlig kropp. Det är dom vi föds med, använder var dag. De ser olika ut. Game of Thrones är inte rädda för att använda kroppen, visa den på display, gång på gång på gång tills vi tröttnar och säger "jaja, vad är det för skillnad på när man visar en naken mansbringa och en kvinnas bröst?" Den visar oss att kvinnokroppen ser ut på olika sätt, tonar ner sexigheten som vi matas med varje dag och visar den oretuscherade sanningen.

Kanske är detta ett sätt att normalisera kvinnokroppen? Eller tänker jag helt jäkla fel nu? 

And discuss!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Mer Arrow trashtalk!

Nu kan jag inte hålla mig längre utan måste även jag ge mig in i Arrow-debatten.

Spoilervarning för säsong tre nedan!

Arrow handlar om Oliver Queen, en rikemansson och playboy som kommer hem till Starling City som en förändrad man 5 år efter en båtolycka där hans far och vänner drunknat. Man har trott att han drunknade med dem, men han mötte ett annat öde. Han strandades på en öde ö som använts som fängelse för de mest farliga människorna i Kina, och räddades av en av de farligaste fångarna som lärde honom att överleva och försvara sig själv.

Olivers far rentvådde sitt dåliga samvete innan han dog, och berättade att Queen industries framgångssaga berodde mycket på att han direkt eller indirekt deltagit i korruption och våld. Farsan ålägger sonen med ett uppdrag; han måste överleva och ställa allt till rätta. Detta leder till seriens inledande monolog där Oliver meddelar att han har ett enda mål: att rädda sin stad.

Med den utgångspunkten fastnar tyvärr serien i The Chronic Hero Syndrome, en trope som missbrukas å det grövsta för att rättfärdiga allt Oliver gör för att ta hand om dom problem som han ser att staden har. Oliver åsidosätter sig själv totalt för att rädda alla andra i Starling City, och allt eftersom serien löper på sker det en slags glidning där Oliver rättfärdigar sitt allt mer otrevliga beteende med att han gör det för "the greater good".

Oliver ljuger ständigt för sin familj om vad han sysslar med om nätterna, för att "skydda dem". Till och med förbi den punkt där man egentligen tycker han borde ha berättat sin hemlighet, troligtvis för att han har någon slags envis ovilja till att släppa in folk. Den stoiska mannen. Bleh.

Oliver Queen säger sig älska Felicity men vägrar dejta henne för att han "genom att vara med henne utsätter henne för fara". Jo, för så länge de inte är ihop så är hon utom fara och det faktum att de ändå spenderar ohemult mycket tid tillsammans i Arrow Cave och bekämpar brottslingar tillsammans är inte farligt för henne? Makes no sense!

Och det bästa - Oliver Queen låter alla tro att han är död i fem år medan han springer runt och tränar sig till att bli en supersoldat som kan rädda Starling City från korruption och våld. Han vill inget hellre än att berätta för de nära och kära att han är vid liv, men då "utsätter han dem för fara".

Oliver Queen behandlar alla kvinnor i sitt liv som skit. Han är otrogen mot Laurel med hennes syster Sara. Han berättar inte för Laurel att Sara lever. Han blir förbannad på Laurel när hon gör exakt samma sak som han själv, blir en vigilante. Han har inga betänkligheter mot att utsätta sina vänner Roy och Digg för fara, men så fort Laurel tar på sig masken blir han grinig.

Det leder oss osökt in på ett annat problem: Varför känns det som dem som skrivit manus till Arrow hatar kvinnor?

Anna i In Another Library har skrivit mer om varför Arrow är en så misogyn serie i inlägget "Arrow suger som vanligt".

Inte nog med att Oliver är en douchebag, nu har också Laurel börjat bete sig på samma sätt. Vildvittra har skrivit mer om det i sitt inlägg "Nu gnäller jag på Arrow igen".

Att vara självuppoffrande är inte ens en särskilt fin egenskap, vilket innebär att Oliver Queen är ca den mest osympatiska karaktären i hela serien.

Nu kan jag inte komma på något vettigt sätt att avsluta detta inlägg, så jag säger bara: BLEEEEE.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Fantastic Fantasticon

I live in Malmö, which is 30 kilometers from the Danish capital Copenhagen. It takes about 20 minutes to travel over the Sound to with train. Oddly enough, I haven't been to Copenhagen more than about 10 times.

I know what you're thinking. It's a DISGRACE. Or maybe you weren't thinking it, but I was. I've been missing out on all the fun stuff going on in Copenhagen fandom. But to my defence, I wasn't aware of fandom at all before 2011.

The weekend 30-31 th of May, the Danish fandom had their annual sf-convention. And this year - I went!

Me and Pebbles!

The Friday Pub Meeting

First, we had a friday warm up pub meeting at Café Asta (which is at the hotel Fy og Bi) were I met some of the danish fans, the Guests of Honour and my swedish friends Johan Anglemark, Pebbles Ambrose Karlsson, Gunnar, Tommy and Michael. We sat in a lovely patio outside in the sun, which unfortunately wasn't so warm. We moved inside, and had a lovely evening. I talked to Niels Dahlgaard and Jesper Rugård whom I've met before at Kontrast and/or Loncon 2014. I met some new cool people; Claes, Bente, Jeppe, Tue, and Andreas. I talked to Ian Watson, brittish sf-writer and one of the Guest of Honour this year, whom I soon discovered was really funny (and wasn't gonna forget that the danes invaded his country!).

One of my biggest fears in going over the Sound was that every danish person would refuse to speak english to me (I can't understand much danish, but everyone else in Skåne does) but they were all very understaning and kind enough to speak english to me. Some of them even admitted that they don't understand swedish all that well either.

I went home to Malmö very late that night, and missed the first panel of saturday due to tiredness. But it was fun so it was worth it!


The Fantasticon program had three tracks on saturday and two on sunday, and were a fun mixture of interviews, panel discussions, presentations and movies. Guests of Honour (GoH) were the aforementioned brittish writer Ian Watson and also the american (Sorry, US:ian) writer Pat Cadigan, two funny and warm hearted persons with many interesting things to say. Ian was accompanied by his wife Cristina Macia, who's translated "A song of Ice and Fire" from english to spanish.

I went to four panels on saturday.

First, I listened to Ola Wikander, a swedish writer, translator and theology doctor, whom was interviewed by Jesper Rugård. I know Ola from many swedish sf-conferences and from Skåne-events, and have listened to him many times before. One thing I like about him is his unconventional ideas and sparkling enthusiasm. He has indirectly helped me dare to try different styles of writing without map or world creation.

Niels Dahlgaard and Ian Watson

After that, I listened to Niels Dahlgaards GoH-Interveiw with Ian Watson and listened to him talk about his books, which I am sorry to say I have never read (but will!). He told us the story about how he got to work with Stanley Kubrick on "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" (I loved the movie, Ian!) and fascinated us with some inside information about his experiences from that (sorry, not telling).

After that I listened to Cristina Macia, spanish translator of "A Song of Ice and Fire", who was on a panel with the danish translators Poul Bratbjer Hansen and Anders Michelsen. It was a fun discussion about how to translate the strange family names, how much Cristina loves to write war scenes (or not) "Did you know there's no word for coat of arms in spanish!" and I learned that the danes and norwegians and swedes actually compare notes from time to time. Almost cheating, don't you think? ;)

The last panel of saturday was about expatriate writers. Since neither Watson, Cadigan or Lucas Bale or Niahm Brown live and write in the country were they're from, they talked about their experiences of being expatriate writers. It was a really interesting panel for me, since I'm almost an expatriate myself. Northern and southern Sweden are like two different countries language, mentality wise and landscape wise. Norrbotten has vast ancient forest, lakes, high mountains, silence, midnight sun, moss and lichen, mooses, bears and reindeers. Skåne's more vibrant, crowded, flowery, filled with yellow rapsmarks, purple and white cherry trees, red poppies, wild boars and venison. (This is some great material for epic fantasy books.) I would love to write something where I could incorporate my experience about changing scenery and different worlds in my own works.

I asked the panel members about it and if they incorporate that in their books. Lucas Bale quickly explained that he's using his experience as being in a foreing and strange country very much since his books are about being isolated (and made a joke about needing some therapy now, sorry for that Lucas!). Pat thought the question was interesting since she's experienced something similar moving from New York to Massachusetts, and feel more at home now in the UK than she ever did in Massachusetts, London being more like the New England millieu and mind set.

Michael Pargman and Johan Anglemark

On saturday evening, we went to Fy og Bi Hotel and Restaurant again for the conference dinner. It really is a really lovely place, with an orange pattio that had almost a hispanic feel to it. Unfortunately, we were about 50 persons in about 40 square meters, and I got really tired of the noise so I went home early after dinner.


On sunday, I went to four panels. First I listened to Pat Cadigan being interviewed by Lars Ahn Pedersen, where she openheartedly spoke about her illness and how she got started as a writer, while working full time as a hallmark card writer with a young baby at home. I'm sad to say I've never read Pats books, but now that I've listened to her talk about them, I have to read them. She got a Hugo in 2013 for "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi" a book set in space about people turning into beings more adapted for space. The book has allusions to today's trans struggling with being accepted and the whole concept sounds really interesting. Also, she was a Heinlein fangirl, and I can really relate to that!

Thorbjorn Haugaard Eriksen, Pebbles Karlsson Ambrose, Jesper Rugård (moderator)

Then I heard Pebbels and Thorbjorn Haugaard Eriksen talk about mental illness and using this experience in writing. Pebbles said that her experience of mental illness included falling down the social ladder. At first she was a successful career woman, and then as she fell ill people started distancing from her and stigmatization followed. Now she wants to write a story about how people are more than they seem, more than a diagnosis, and how you shouldn't catagorize people. It was touching and personal, and I felt a sense of learning something important. In my work as an personal administrator of sick benefits I often help people who suffer from mental illness and I always want to learn more about how it is to live with these different illnesses. I know there's a stigma around these people and I want to help raise awareness of what these guys go through and have to deal with, and how to best help them.

The third panel that day was "Writing in other peoples universes" were Ian Watson and Pat Cadigan spoke about writing Warhammer 40K, Wildcards, novelizations, being in anthologies  and being a part of someone elses fantasy world. Ian said: "I had a 10 year old come up to me and say 'I loved the scene with the dude who got his head torn of. I almost vomited.'" Aye, there's something to be proud of, Ian!

I have read only one Warhammer book and that was "Horus Rising" by Dan Abnett, but the way Watson described his contribution to the series, I really want to read his books. They are "Inquisitor", "Harlequin", "Chaos child" and "Space Marine".

Pat talked about writing the "Making of  Lost in Space" and working with film studios. Not the easiest job in the world. She also mentioned working on Wild cards, where she created some amazing characters whom got the attention of Roger Zelazny among others, who have reused her characters in novellas of his own. Wild Cards is something I wasn't aware of at all but seems to be a science fiction and superhero anthology series in a shared universe. (Now I want to read these too! My list is getting to long...)

The last and final panel of the convention was "Biotechnology and science fiction" where the futurist Klaus Mogensen and professor Richard Ipsen talked about the recent breakthroughs in science which was considered science fiction a few years ago. They talked about was possible direction science fiction can take today, and what they would like to hear or read about. They talked about body swaps, home brewing biological weapons, GMO and food supply. It was really interesting!

The panels were really good, the panelist well informed and funny and the people I met were really nice.

Malmö hearts Copenhagen!

If you have the time and opportunity I can really recommend visiting Copenhagenfandom on one of their pub nights, they are a cool and nice group whom I hope to meet again soon.  And if you're a member of danish fandom, and want to know more about Malmöfandom, I suggest you read our new blog Malmöfandom (which is in english, for your convenience) or maybe you can join our group Malmöfandom on Facebook. Or follow us on Twitter. :)

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Who's Fia?

Hi! My name is Fia! I'm 30 years old and come from the northern part of Sweden called Norrbotten.

I moved down to the southern part (Skåne) in 2008. I live in Malmö, which is 30 kilometers from the Danish capital Copenhagen. It takes about 20 minutes to travel over the Sound to Denmark with train.

I started this blog in 2008 while I was fairly new to Skåne and mostly read books since I didn't know anyone. Later on I reached out to the book blog- and sf-community asking if anyone would like to start a SF-book circle with me.

Best. Move. Ever.

I ended up meeting my best friend Frida, who's also my co-blogger 'Farraw'. And I got to meet Simon, Calle, and Frida R. I think Calle was the one who mentioned this big conference happening in Stockholm in juni 2011; Eurocon. So, we went, checked it out, absolutely loved it and was completely bitten by the fandom bug.

The next year I went to Kontrast, Swecon 2012, and after that me and Simon started Malmöfandom, which now is a fairly big group with regular pub meetings, writer circles and book circles. I'm still shocked to have been able to be apart of creating this Malmö-group. I just love how easy it is to make people come together nowadays. My big dream is to create a sf-conference here in Malmö. Hopefully we will be able to create some event soon.

When I'm not blogging, going to sf-conferences, reading, watching tv-series or playing board games, I'm working full time as a personal administrator.

Facts about Fia:
1) I'm a crazy cat lady, and have two cats named Aska and Sota. They are 11 years old.
2) I'm hard of hearing, and have hearing aids on both sides.
3) My favourite films are Inception, Mad Max Fury Road and Star Trek The Voyage Home.
4) Favourite writers are Connie Willis, Nene Ormes, Karin Tidbeck, Kristina Hård, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin and Robert A. Heinlein. (Among others.)
5) I'm completely tone deaf but like to write filks.
6) I'm currently (since 1998) working on a master piece sf book that will never ever, ever be published.
7) I'm on twitter as @feeejay and @malmöfandom
8) I love to watch Teen Wolf, Sleepy Hollow, most of the Marvel and DC-series, Game of Thrones, am a big fan of Joss Whedons works, and Battlestar Galactica and X-files.
9) If I were to move to another country, I would love to live in Scotland.
10) Am often told I look like Scarlett Johanson. I can live with this. ;)

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Emma Approved

Efter den stora succén med Lizzie Bennet Diaries gick företaget Pemberley Digital vidare med en adaption av klassikern "Emma". Först, en liten *spoiler alert*, har ni inte sett filmerna eller läst boken bör ni göra det först. 

Emma handlar om en rik och bortskämd överklassdam som är övertygad om att hon vet vad som är bäst för sig själv och alla andra, men egentligen inte har så god insikt som hon tror. Alla runt om henne är charmerade av hennes rappa tunga och godhjärtade natur, förutom mr Knightley, en vän till familjen som sett henne växa upp och känner henne ut och in. Knightley ser saker för vad de är och försöker ge välmenad kritik till Emma då hennes bristande självinsikt är på väg att skada andra.

Hur för man över denna historia till nutid? Jo, genom att göra en webbserie om en livsstils- och relationskonsult och hennes företagspartner så klart! 

Emma är uppvuxen med pengar och van vid att alltid få sin vilja fram. Manipulativ, även om hon menar väl. Alex är en snäll och omtänksam kille med båda fötterna på jorden. Deras familjer har varit tajta i många år, deras syskon John och Isabella är till och med gifta med varandra och har barn. Tillsammans driver Emma och Alex företaget Emma Approved, ett livsstils- och eventföretag där Emma är livssstilskonsult och Alex Knightley sköter ekonomin ("book keeping a.k.a. boring stuff", som Emma säger). 

När Emma (som är självsäker på gränsen till övermodig efter 19/19 framgångsrika matchningar) beslutar sig för att dokumentera sin fortsatta framgång går Alex motvilligt med på att Emma installerar webbkameror och dokumenterar deras verksamhet. Men när Emma tror att den 20:e matchningen ska gå smidigt i mål visar det sig att bruden, Emmas bästa vän Annie Taylor, börjar få kalla fötter. Annie ska gifta sig med Ryan Weston, men något gör att hon tvekar, och Emma bestämmer sig för att "hjälpa" sin väninna inse att hon bör gifta sig med Weston. Emmas metoder innebär ofta "kreativa lösningar" och Alex bromsar henne då han känner att hennes idéer är skadliga för andra eller för firman, och utgör på så sätt även seriens voice of reason. 

Alex Knightley ordnar också en assistent till Emma, en tafatt nyexad tjej vid namn Harriet Smith, som länge följt Emmas livsstilsblogg och ser upp till henne. Emma är övertygad om att hon kan hjälpa alla till ett bättre liv, och när hon träffar Harriet beslutar hon sig för att även förbättra Harriet Smiths liv. *domedagsljud*

Och ni vet vad som händer sen, eller hur?

Ett mer perfekt upplägg för en modern Emma har jag svårt att se. Bokens Emma och Knightley tillhör överklassen, och översatt till modernt sammanhang utgörs deras makt och inflytande över andra av att de har ett framgångsrikt företag med olika klienter som de hjälper, och förstås Harriet som assistent.

Medan Lizzie Bennets Diaries ibland känns krystad med sina "accomplished women" och sociala klasser, så har man i Emma Approved antagit en mer modern syn på fulländning. Karaktärerna drivs av att de vill ha bra karriärer, goda kontakter, man pratar mer om självförtroende och att förverkliga sig själv, och medan Emma i boken är svartsjuk på Jane Fairfax för att hon sjunger och skriver så bra, så är seriens Emma avundsjuk för att hon inte är lika socialt medveten och engagerad i miljö- och människorättsfrågor som Jane. Och Maddy Bates späder omedvetet på denna avund genom att berätta om hennes och Janes mailkorrespondens.

De har alla yrken som passar dem superbra, och intressen som för deras excentriska sidor till ljuset på ett naturligt sätt. Ms Bates är fortfarande en babblig, glad kvinna som bor med sin döva mamma, men i Emma Approved driver hon en liten firma, gör fruktkonserver och mailar med sin brorsdotter som bor i Oxford.

Andra karaktärer som fått en make over är Anne Taylor som går från guvernör till bästis och Elton som går från präst till politiker. Vilket passar rätt så bra, med tanke på att politikerna tagit över prästernas roll att diktera hur vi borde leva våra liv.

Många gillade inte Emma Approved lika mycket som Lizzie Bennets Diaries, och tyckte karaktären Emma var genuint osympatisk. Men då har man egentligen inte problem med serien, utan med premisserna för adaptionen.  Gillar man inte Emma så är det kanske svårt att uppskatta denna serie, då Emmas bristande självinsikt är själva grundstommen för serien.

I mina ögon är den fullkomligt lysande gjord. Jane Austen själv skrev att hon i Emma skulle skapa en karaktär som ingen annan än hon tyckte om, men jag älskar verkligen Emma  e f t e r s o m  hon är så full av fel.  Jag gillar också hennes självsäkerhet, och den vänskap och familjaritet som Emma och Alex har, vilket man ser gång på gång i serien.

Yeah, right.
 Oh, och sist av allt? Kemin mellan Emma och Alex är helt underbar, hela serien igenom. Deras gnabb är roligt, sött och skådespelarna lyckas med små ögonkast och leenden ge diskreta antydningar till att de kanske gillar varandra mer än de säger. När serien väl knyter ihop den tråden så blev åtminstone jag övertygad. De spelar verkligen bra.

*googely eyes*

(Jag tyckte de spelade så bra att jag blev mer och mer övertygad om att skådespelarna hade en thing för varandra på riktigt, and guess what? De blev tillsammans under inspelningen. Hur gulligt är inte det?!)

This relationship is Fia Approved.