Monday 27 June 2016

It's Åcan, not Åcannot

Two days before Åcon 8 happened, I fell and broke my ribs (which I don't recommend doing if you're going to a con). But, since I am a very dedicated fan, it wasn't going to stop me from going. It's Åcan, not Åcannot, after all.

The first stretch of the road to Åcon was taking the train to Uppsala.  I was quite immovable, but got a lot of help from strangers on the train. In Uppsala I meet up with Nahal Ghanbari, Anna Bark Persson and later next morning, Maria Nygård. Whenever we four are together, good things happen. We're currently plotting evil schemes planning Kontur while simultaniously running the Swedish tv-series blog Onda Cirkeln with Hanna Svensson and Frida Otterhag (but Frida is AWOL in Japan). We actually kinda signed on to do both of them while in Åland in 2015, so if you're ever in Åland and get an idea -- just go with it, it's probably the best idea in the world!

Thursday morning we took the ferry over to Åland. At the bus we met up with Johan and Linnéa Anglemark, Åka and Ante Davour, Jessica and Tony Elgenstierna, who're mostly all of them in on our Kontur-schemes. We spent the better part of the boat trip to Åland talking about committée-stuff. As one does.

When we got to Åland, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and the sea glistened in the sunlight. It was a good start, and it got even lovelier during the weekend.

The hotel had a nice porch where we sat outside in the sun and drank beer for most of the weekend.
Since Åcon's a semi-relaxacon this means it has a very light program track with a lot of time between items to just hang out, read, explore Åland and drink beer. This suits me very nicely, and worked well with broken ribs.

The first program item was the Guest of Honour speech, where Zen Cho talked about the cloud of ignorance and how accepting that you don't know everything can be a good thing. It was a really good speech and set a good tone for the whole con. Meeting Zen Cho was great, I was immediately star-struck when I saw her at Loncon in the panel with Mary Robinette Kowal about regency fantasy, and I'd read and loved Sorcerer to The Crown. She has a lot of spirit and a contagious laughter.

Tommy Persson and Sari Polvinen had a book-duel, next, which consisted of Sari taking the side of character-driven books and Tommy the side of books with a structure. None of these things are exclusive, yet they can of course lead to very different books. Tommy and Sari landed in the diplomatic consensus that "a good book is a good book", which is all the consensus you need, sometimes.

Early Friday morning I attended Crystal's Impostor Syndrome Workshop. I felt like an Impostor for saying I have Impostor Syndrome (which probably means I have it). It was such a great workshop, Kudos to Crystal for making time for this!

Friday early afternoon I participated in "Marvel's female superheroes" with Kisu Leikomaa, Elisa Wiik and Nahal. Some great things were said. I had a lot of fun and was pleased with the result. I had planned to be in one more program item during the weekend (Wibbley Wobbley Timey Wimey) but ended up in a couple of game shows too, which often happens when Jukka Halme is involved.

The first gameshow I participated was later that Friday, when my team fought against Zen Chos team in "Never Mind the Buzzaldrins" which was a game show where we had to guess the movie from the poster. This seemed easy enough. Except the posters where Polish and very, very artsy (read: had absolutely no connection to the movies). I, Rachel Monte and Tobias Bodlund were named team Amoeba, but quickly renamed ourselves Team Bad Ass. The other team consisted of Zen, Shimo and Merja Polvinen (I think). Their team-name escaped my memory, but not their inevitable victory.

The lovely Candy assisted the game-show host Jukka, and he was a real cutie. I sang to his honour by switching the word "Carrie" to "Candy" in Europes song. It sounded horrible. I'm going to have to make it into a filk.

Saturday meant that I was going to host my first ever panel: "Wibbley Wobbley Timey Wimey". I have always felt the urge Not To Moderate a panel. I really don't think I'm suited for being a moderator. It's just not my thing. But... A while back I wrote something on Facebook a long the lines of "Someone should host  time travel panel! I want to talk about time travel!" So, of course Sini Neuvonen contacted me and asked me to host one on Åland. (Be careful what you wish for!)

I thought that - if I'm ever going to host a panel about anything, it should be time-travel, so I accepted. I recruited Åka, Shimo and Tommy, and prepared a bunch of themes;

* Why do we need temporal mechanics?
* Destiny-schmestiny
* The Blast from the Past
* Are you my mommy?

I thought the panel went ok. I'd prepaired for it months ahead, sent out questions to the panelists and was not very stressed about it at all. Afterwards I had a lot of people come up to me and say they liked it. I hope there will be a next time!

Me and Hanna Svensson, posing with out Time Travel-t-shirts!
There were a "Romance and fantasy"-panel with Zen, Kisu, Tommy and Merja as a moderator. I'm full of admiration of Merja, she's indeed marvellous. Her Brittish accent is very good too!  Tommy quickly stated that he was the token male, and laughter ensued. It was a good panel! I really liked it!

It was followed by "History and writing" with Zen, Shimo, Vesa Sisättö, Petri Hiltunen and Sari Polvinen. It too was a great panel and they even got in a few good points about appropriation too.

The last item of Saturday was the game show "Just a Speculative Fiction Minute" and I was, again, recruited as a contestant. It was improv and that's not really my strong suit so I got out of my comfort zone real quick. It was set up so that I'd get a title and the audience would shout some directives, a theme, a genre and some elements and then I had to review or explain the story as if it was a real book. And in 60 seconds. The first time I got horror and it really, really went bad. I went about it all wrong, trying to tell the horror story instead of getting laughs. I got a few sympathetic laughs, and went with a different approach for the next few ones.

The last one was about a Russian cabaret, Swedish Sharkballs and Vulcanos, and I made up a story about Vulcans in a Russian Cabaret that was hated by the audience (that was Vulcans too), and how they showed their dislike by giving the actors the "Vulcan-Nooooo!" and then sinking them into shark tanks. Thankfully people laughed.

Mikael Teern and Johan Jönsson. Micke seems to be Johan's body guard here. He was making some kind of jedi wave, I think.

The Saturday party was a blast too. So many good friends together at one place is almost always a guaranteed fun night, but I can't stress how lovely it is to be among this exact crowd. Swedish and Finnish Fandom are the best.

Ben Roimola and his wife (sorry, your name escapes me) came up to me and said that I'd been very funny on the game shows, and I was very thankful to them for saying that, even though I felt it couldn't be true (my impostor syndrome acting up). Then Mikko Seppänen and Elisa had read my blog post about the crazy Legend of Tomorrow-theory, and we had a fun talk about that, one fellow tv-addict to another. Then we started talking about Star Trek, and Petri quoted one of the first movie, and I quoted another, and Mikko quoted another, and so on and so forth until one of the persons listening said that it felt like being on a carusel and then getting thrown off and seeing it spinning out of control.

Talking about the beauty of Star Trek is one of those small moments that adds up to the feeling of how much I belong in fandom. Having a program where people are allowed to discuss regency fantasy and romance fantasy in a serious way, is another. I've been called a fake geek girl for liking romance, but here no one judged me. I have gotten used to not even being given the time of the day when talking about Star Trek, but these people not only listen, they accept that I'm every bit as much of a Trekkie as them. They take me seriously. And I love them for it.

Also they're really funny!
My good friend and fellow punster Tero, whom obliged me when I just had to take a pic of him and tweet "The night is dark and full of Tero's". 

I totally loved the con, I loved the program, I loved the people and the atmosphere. It suited me very well. I loved the game shows, even though I felt a bit awkward at times. (And I would go up there again!)

This is just one of the many reasons I'm working on Worldcon 75. Finnish Fandom has been involved in the three greatest cons I've been too, Loncon, Archipelacon and Åcon. We need more people to meet the Finnish fandom and and experience the Finnish cons.

I'm gonna go to Finncon this weekend. I expect it to be an awesome con, too.

Thursday 23 June 2016

Fantastika 2016

I was thrilled when Carolina Gomez Lagerlöf announced that they were doing Fantastika at Dieselverkstaden again. I never attended Fantastika in 2013. I would have loved to, but due to circumstances, I couldn't.

This time, I was there working for three different conventions; LunCon 2016 that I'm hosting this fall, Kontur which I'm on the concom for next May, and the big Worldcon 75 which I'm on staff for. You're probably wondering if I'm mad, doing all of these constuff at the same time. The answer is yes.

I packed all my flyers, con-t-shirts and went.

Join us, and together we shall rule fandom as readers and fans!

I met up with my Finnish friends at the Central Station in Stockholm and went out for lunch at the lovely Rice-restaurant near Dramaten. I ate all the watermelons. And the sushi. And ice cream with salt licorice. So good! I met a new Finnish fan, Linn Gröndahl, and we bonded on the bus over our disabilities. She was a cool and awesome person!

Then we went to Dieselverkstaden.

My first thought was that it was a really nice and big venue, suited for all purposes. Throughout the weekend, though, I started noticing stuff I felt was a bit off, like the Dealer's room was a bit hidden, the accustics were horrible (concrete walls are not good for large gatherings!) and the Bistro was horribly noisy.

First item was Merlin, the man, the myth, the magic wih Rhuddem Gwelin. An excellent talk about the different versions of the myth and how it changed by christianity. Morgana became an evil sorceress, Guinevere became an adulteress and Nimue became evil. I really loved the talk, and it was fascinating to hear how the story changed with the different times. I loved that Rhuddem was so much in love with Colin Morgan (I am too!). This talk could easily have been in a bigger room, as it was filled to the brim.

Then, I met the lovely Therese Norén who'd emailed me the week before; "Hey, I have a gift for you. Remind me to give it to you at Fantastika." I'd been like: "GIFT? What gift? Am I getting a gift? I wonder what it is? Probably dillchips? Can't you tell me? Giiift! Tell me now? I wanna now! GIFT!"
And she was like: "It's a gift."

Very mysterious.

It turned out to be A WHOLE BOX OF SUPERNATURAL. I almost cried.

Then Eva Norman told me that they had made sure the Gopher Hole had dillcrisps. And incidently, Luke Smith also informed me that he had bought and eated dillcrisps. I congratulated Luke, and congratulated myself since the dillcrisp-fenomenon is becoming rather large in Sverifandom.

Maria Turtschaninoff's Guest of Honour interview with my friend Nahal Ghanbari was another good item. Maria is truly a gifted writer with such creativity and love for stories!

Later on, I had my first own item; The open mic from 21 until 22. Unfortunaly, we had almost noone in the audience. I went to the sofa groups outside and asked a few members to come and listen, which they obligedly did.

A.R. Yngve

A.R. Yngve talked about "Frank and the Robot", Tobias talked about Laird Barron, Tora Greve talked about Sture Lönnerstrand and Calle Werner talked about Peter Nilssons books. We finished early, and I tried, valiantly, to fill the time with bad puns -- I even made an unprepaired talk about conspiracies, but in the end we closed down early. (Not without us making some Luncon-advertisement of course, since me, Calle and Tobias are all a part of the Luncon committee.)

Most of the other members of the con were at the panel about the big Fannish Feud around Feminac. I would have loved to gone to, too! I was actually told by Lena Jonsson, one of the participants in the panel, that they had created the panel mostly because of my suggesion, so it was a shame I wasn't able to go. 

I was a bit disappointed, honestly. The thing about Swecon is that I love it. I want to see it all. I want to talk to everyone. Be everywhere.

I was uplifted by Jukka Halmes quiz. Jukka is the funniest guy I know, and I'm his biggest fan. He had the same kind of quiz in Åcon (which I shall have to write about soon), and me and Tobias Bodlund had been among the contestants then. This time we were in the audience, smirking about how we remembered all the answers. (Only I didn't remember much, really.)

Tobias Jarl: "Can it be... The Exorcist?" (How on earth did he see that in that pic?)

Tobias Jarl impressed me with his skill of associating pics with movies. This picture above was from the movie poster to the Exorcist. Noone but Tobias got that. Later, Ian Sales won the respect and awe of Finnish Fandom by scoring high on the fourfield-questions that were quite impossible. (Although I got the Jukka-thing!) Ian Sales is an excellent guy!

After the programs ended, people seemed to wander of somewhere and I went to bed early. At two o'clock in the morning Nahal and Anna stumbled in. I sad up, very confused, and tried to understand what was going on. Anna tried to explain repeatedly but I sounded like a deaf and confused grandmother. "T-shirt? What are you doing? Where are you going? What are you doing? What t-shirt? What are you saying?"

Then I put the hearing aids on.

The next morning, I became increasingly suspicious that the program-team had a grudge against me when my next program item "First time at an SF-convention?" had almost no audience either. This time I went to the Dealers room and got Swedish Zombie-Jonny and his friends to listen. Later Jonny came up and said to me and Eva that he really appreciated the presentation, which made me really glad. And at the dead dog party on Sunday I talked to Jörgen Jörälv who'd been to my item at Confuse. I was told he really appreciated it, and the bingo was great too, so that made me happy again. Have to do that bingo again!

I sat a while in the dealer's room on saturday, talking to people about Worldcon, Luncon and Kontur. And Älvsbyn. But the dealer' room had bad air and the accustics were really bad, so I had to leave early. I went to the hotel room, had a shower and that picked me up a bit. Though, as I was drying my hair I almost had a heart attack because Johan Jönsson walked in on me. (He'd gotten the key from Anna to get her USB-stick before a panel). Luckily I was wearing a towel.

The Appropriation and exotification panel was awesome. Nahal and Anna Ceras Erlandsson talked the most, and had interesting things to say from their unique perspectives. Nahal mentioned Castle in the air which featured a persian carpet salesman, and how she loved the book but later re-read only to discover how the culture is depicted as a horrible and dirty place, and how absurd it was that the carpet sales man decides to move to the western country which he felt what  nicer because it has greens, even though the western country was at war. Because of course it's more important to have clean and green cities than being safe from war...

Anna Bark Persson and Anna Gustafsson Chen where also in the panel, which should have been named Nahal and the Annas with the double surnames.

After that I felt a bit over-tired and went to talk to a lot of friends at the restaurant Bistro. We sang silly songs and talked about fandom. Tobias Jarl and a few others where being intellectual. Me and Hanna Hakkarainen just showed each other pics of cute cats and babies. Then my brain just stopped working, I started to lose words and couldn't concentrate, so I went outside for fresh air. I found a spot under the hut on the other side of the road, so I sat there and was joined by Adam Thorp for a while.

I started noticing more and more how my tired brain got worse as the weekend progressed, I had headaches, got tired quickly and couldn't focus, couldn't join the conversations. It probably was due to the fact that the venue had concrete walls and the sound was too noisy for my poor ears. I'm afraid I became quite boring at times.

Because of that tiredness I missed Nordic Fantasy AND Feminist SF in the 70s and today. Such a bummer! 

The big thing me and my Kontur-committée friends have been waiting for happened later that evening: The vote for next Swecon!  We had secured four Guests of Honour already, Ann Leckie, Kameron Hurley, Saladin Ahmed and Siri Pettersen, and we couldn't wait to tell people about them.

We won the bid, so next Swecon will be named Kontur, and will be in Uppsala the 26th til 28th of May. We're so excited about it! Make sure you come!

The first thing that went through my head after we won was "Yes, we get to do the Swecon!" The second thing that went through my head afer we won was "OMG, WE'RE DOING A SWECON!" *panic* 

And then there was the Alvar Prize. I was nominated for the second time, and competed against Håkan Wester, a very nice and pleasant fellow who's done a great job with Västeråsfandom.

I had not counted on me winning, but apparently everyone else had. I had thought that I might win, but my utmost concern was wether or not I would cry if I did.

I have a tendency to be emotional. It's really embarrassing. I won a phone once at a big convention for my school, and when I got up to receive it I started crying a bit. It was very embarrasing. (This is why I can't ever get married, I would just weep and be a mess.) So I'd tried to steel myself against being too emotional, and I succeeded. Perhaps a bit too well. I was like "OK, let's get this over and done with!" I wish I had prepared a speech and maybe some good pun. Such a wasted opportunity.

Anyways, thanks again to all of you whom voted for me. I am so happy to have so many dear friends in fandom, who seem to think that I'm doing something right! Love you all!

My third item was Generations of fans  with Caroline Mullan, Mats Linder and Luke Smith. It was a nice panel, but again, there were few in the audience. I can't really understand why the item was placed against another fandom item (International fandom). I would have loved to hear that too. Why, oh why! Anyways, stuff was said, nothing controversial (other than when a member of the audience blurted out that we talked too much and that it should be a dialogue, not a monologue. We had a dialogue, but not with the audience. That's not what panels are for, that's what discussion circles are for.)

Caroline mentioned how some fannish stuff like Mushroom in the morning (?)-jokes can be a bit off putting and how much that saddened her. Some in-jokes can be off putting, but rather than stopping with them all together, we must work to le people in on the joke. My immediate thought was that my dillcrisp-joke is becoming like that, and I would love for that to be a thing in Sverifandom.

Luke Smith and me!

Talking with Caroline and Luke, I got increasingly curious about the British fandom. Lately a lot of British fans have started to come to our cons. This is so nice! Later me and Nahal found out Nnedi Okorafor is coming to Eastercon in 2018, and so we must go!

One of the funniest things all weekend was the NoFF auction at Saturday night. The bright and brilliant friend of mine,  Hanna Svensson, made up hilariously funny stuff on the go, and the interaction between her, Bellis and Johan Anglemark was lovely. I laughed so hard I cried.

At Saturday's party, the best part was Johan Jönsson reading aloud the Swedish translation of Star Wars 4, with empathy.

The second best part was the discussion we had about how Sverifandom would look in 2050. "There will probably be panels discussing how dillcrisp affected Swedish fandom." It's important to make your mark on fandom, and mine is apparently the importance of using microphones, and dillcrisps.

Sunday I got up early to listen to Maria Turtchaninoff's Worldbuilding-talk which was great! I had spent the week reading Anaché and Maresi; fascinating storys with good characterizations, interesting and unique worlds and a fresh take on gender and feminism.

Me and the Onda Cirkeln-members had our tv-series panel which was awesome fun. (Let's do that again, shall we!) Then we went out for lunch with our friends Sara and Marie. Then I just mingled, sold memberships for Kontur, talked to people about Worldcon and fangirled over Gilman.

The convention ended on a high note. The choir Gléowine sang songs from LoT and GoT beautifully, and I sat next to the polish fan Marcin, a nice fella'! We enjoyed the closing ceremony tremendously. I had goosebumps.

The dead dog party was lovely as ever. I sat outside, mostly, where it was less noisy. Me, Jukka Särkijärvi and Tobias Bodlund plotted a take over of Denmark. Later in the evening the ideas for Kontur started sprouting, and we decided upon making a game show for Kontur (and I, at least, decided that Jukka Halme must be one of the contestants, schhhh, don't tell him!) and then Tobias got a phone call from his friend Anna whom asked: "Do you want to go swimming, we have a car?" He was somewhat reluctant. Ian Sales added: "Look on the bright side, at least she didn't say 'Do you want to go swimming, we have a cow.'" Tobias stated that he'd go swimming if the car was amphibious, and Ian Sales then added that HE would go swimming if the cow was amphibious. Hilarity ensued.

Later in the night we found our way to the hotel lobby where me and Ian Sales showed pictures of our cats (this is the greeting ritual of the crazy cat people). I talked a bit to Markus Olausson too, and Luke was a bit tired.

"Paint me like one of your french girls."

On that note, the tale of the Swecon 2016 must end. We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun. The program I thought was a bit disappointing (probably because I missed everything), the venue was a bit hard on the ears, but the con was well-arranged, the Green room was nice, and Swecon's always the most anticipated time of the year for me, because I get to meet all my friends.

But, there's another story to be told of Fantastika, a parallell story about a very confused hotel staff.

Me and Anna Bark Persson booked a hotel room together in January. Being roomies with Anna's always a good plan. I put her to sleep by munching on dillcrisps and she wakes me up early so I don't miss anything of importance. Maria Nygård later joined in May, I contacted the hotel again and booked an extra bed for three nights.

The day before the con Anna texted and said she would not be staying the last night because she had to work on monday. Maria would be leaving on Sunday too, so I was going to have the twin room by myself the last night. I remebered that Jukka Särkijärvi had been searching for a place to stay from Sunday til Monday, so now I had a bed to offer, and became the lady in shining tiara and saved the day.

I contacted the hotel and asked them to remove the spare bed since it was only the two of us staying the last day. They where confused since I hadn't payed for it (which they never told me to do) but it was easy to fix and I got the spare for two nights, and was going to pay at the desk in the morning. 

The day of the con, Maria fell ill with the flu. (Poor Maria, she really wanted to come.)

I felt sorry for the hotel staff too, when I once again contacted them about the spare bed, this time cancelling it all together. They were beginning to be rather confused by me ordering and cancelling spare beds at this point. 

Then on Sunday morning, Linn came and asked if she could leave the bag in my hotel room for the last night, since she was taking an early boat Monday morning. Sure, I said, but where are you going to sleep? I don't have to sleep, she said, I'm going up early. Yeah, I said, I think you should try to sleep for a few hours. *using my motherly voice* Linn said okay.

Thus we were three sharing the room the last night.

I went back and asked for an extra bed, again, and they said they would put it up there for one night. So now we had three people sharing a room for the last night after all.

But when we got up to sleep after the dead dog party, there was no extra bed.

I called down and they had to start looking for an extra bed at two in the morning. They finally found one and said "have it for free, since we messed up".

Admittedly, I can see how they might have been confused about the whole extra bed situation. And that's how you play Confuse-a-hotel.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Dark Orbit

Dark Orbit av Carolyn Ives Gilman är en av de absolut bästa böckerna jag läst i år! Det är en first-contact-historia som är originell och spännande.

I en avlägsen galax finns federationen Twenty Planets, och där bor Sara Callicot som är en av dem som val att spendera sitt liv genom att utforskar rymden. Hon färdas genom en ljusstråle genom rymden tar så lång tid som ljuset tar att nå till platsen, därför är det ett ensamt liv. Sara har nu lämnat sin familj, alla sina vänner och hela sitt liv bakom sig för en av de längsta resorna någonsin -- hon ska resa 58 ljusår bort till en outforskad planet som heter Iris. Hennes svepskäl är att studera besättningens team-arbete men hennes riktiga agenda är att skydda Thora Lassiter, en släkting till hennes uppdragsgivare, som hamnat mitt i en stor politisk skandal där hon blandat sig med rebeller och gjort uppror på Orem och nu skickats till Iris som straff. Thora har enligt ryktena blivit galen, men när Sara möter henne blir de snabbt vänner. Sen, när Sara och Thora och en grupp forskare reser ner till planeten för att utforska ytan, försvinner plötsligt Thora. Sara försöker desperat ta reda på vad som hänt henne. Under tiden så upptäcker Thora att det finns liv på planeten, varelser som får henne att ifrågasätta allt hon kommit till att ta för sanning.

Det som jag gillade med denna bok var att den bygger på nya och fräscha idéer om hur liv på andra planeter ser ut, och presenterar perspektiv från både ursprungsbefolkning och rymdfarare. Den bjuder på filosofiska diskussioner om vad verklighet är, intressanta diskussioner kring handikapp och förmågor, och ifrågasätter våra förutfattade meningar. Den påminner om Contact och Interstellar, två filmer som också tar sig ut på djupt vatten och vågar diskutera helt galna koncept om rymdresor och verklighet.

Läs, läs, läs!

(And I'm sorry, I'll translate this review to English soon! No time now.)

Sunday 29 May 2016

The Magicians

I finished The Magicians by Lev Grossman last night. It took me quite a long while to read it, and I have some mixed feelings about it, but mostly good ones. Especially about the ending, which left me wanting more.

The Magicians is about Quentin Coldwater, who finds himself drafted to Brakehills University, a school for Magicians in learning. Q's been feeling depressed lately. Feeling like he doesn't belong. His friends make fun of him for being sucked up in the Fillory books, which -- to be honest -- are kids books. Fillory is a magical place with fairy creatures (very much like Narnia), a place that draws the three Chatwin siblings in and sends them on adventures. Q wished he could escape to Fillory, instead of being stuck in the real world in upstate New York. Then he stumbles upon Brakehills, finds out that magic is real, and finally starting to feel like he's whole again. But he soon finds out that the magical world is a dangerous and hard one, even more so than the mundane world, and everything can turn to shit within the blink of an eye,

Someone described The Magicians as Harry Potter for grown-ups, and that's just what it is. While Harry Potter has a filter of sparkle and twinkle, a sense of wonder, the Magicians has a filter of car exhaust and dirty back alleys. It's original in that sense, makes it feel real. When the magicians are everyday people, it gives the story-telling an edge, or a bit of kitchen sink-realism if you will.

The narrative is a bit uneven, though. It starts out as an exciting tale of discovery, and slumps into the every day school life, and further on looses a bit of steam before the big reveal. It lost me about half way through before I dedicated myself to finishing it and got drawn in again. For those without patience, bear through -- it's worth it. Some might not notice the slump as much as me, but that's because I'm easily distracted.

The big finale was lovely, and the aftermath intriguing. I'll definitely keep reading Lev Grossman's Magician-story.

Saturday 28 May 2016

I'm doing something :D

There's a lot going on at the moment. I'm currently overloaded at work, and at the same time working on three conventions, two blogs, and trying to read as much as I can. Convention-season's soon upon us. Fantasticon, Fantastika, Finncon. And in between, some well needed vacation.

I'm going to spend next weekend writing in a cottage in Småland, will hopefully have time to blog about Åcon 8 then. For now, let's just stick with this:

Saturday 16 April 2016

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey

Spoilers for Doctor Who season six.

In my swedish blog Onda Cirkeln (that I have with five of my friends) I dedicated a post to crazy conspiracies and epic ships. I talked about Legends of Tomorrow, which is quickly becoming one of my fave series. It's here:  Galna konspirationsteorier och episka ships

For those of you who don't know Swedish: I am talking about Rip Hunter's lineage. I've got this crazy theory that he's related to Sara Lance. Don't worry, it's not a spoiler, it's nothing else than my imagination... Oooor is it?

DC's Legends of Tomorrow -- "Blood Ties" -- Image LGN103A_0257b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary and Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Now I've got more fuel to the flame. Bear with me.

Rip Hunter is played by Arthur Darvill, which many of you recognize as Amy Ponds boyfriend Rory Williams in Doctor Who.



The woman behind Arthur Darvill is Alex Kingston, playing River Song, a mysterious time traveller that turns out to be Amy and Rorys daughter, Melody Pond.

Alex Kingston is also playing Sara Lance mother Dinah Lance i Arrow.
Arrow -- "Heir to the Demon" -- Image AR213b_0293b -- Pictured (L-R): Caity Lotz as Sara Lance, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, and Alex Kingston as Dinah Lance -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Sooooo...  In Doctor Who  Arthur Darvill's character is the father of Alex Kingston's character . In Arrow Alex Kingston's character is the mother of  Caity Lotz's character (Sara Lance).

Then Caity Lotz's character  HAVE TO BE the mother of Arthur Darvill's character  in Legends Of Tomorrow.

Case closed.

No, I'll never give this crazy theory up.

Sunday 3 April 2016

Because you're still objectifying me

I am a woman of 168 centimeters in height, and approximently 70 kilos. I have a round face, small jaw, crooked teeth, bad hearing, glasses and hearing aids. I have got a lot of scars and bruises, on the inside and outside.

I have arthritis in my left collarbone, and the sole of my left foot is afflicted with another illness. I've been told my kind of arthritic disease could affect my other joints, causing loss of function. My spine could get affected. I am constantly tired.

I've always been an independent person. I moved away from my childhood hometown the week I graduated from high school, in 2003. I was 19. I got my drivers licence that same week.

I studied for four years in a university, got a magister degree in political science 2007 when I was 23. I then packed my bags and moved 1600 kilometers to the south. I left my whole family and all my friends and started a new life.

I got a job in a government agency at 24, and I've been working for seven years within a very complex system in a position that's kind of tough. I am being told I am an exceptional administrator. I own an apartment. I have two cats. I am turning 32 years old this year, and am thinking about starting an pension savings account. But the pension agency thinks I don't need to yet. I'm thinking of joining a car pool company.

I am a capable, independent woman who knows her own mind. I have opinions on all kinds of matters. My parents call me for advice on all sorts of things, I sometimes feel like I am taking care of them, instead of the other way around. I almost never ask anyone for help, I always try to do things on my own. I like it that way.

Suffice to say, I'm an adult.

Personalitywise, I am a down-to-earth, pragmatical person. I like the quiet life. I don't care for late night parties, make up and I hate skirts and dresses. I am probably one of the least glamorous person you'll ever meet. I'm not really concerned with my appearance and most of the time I'm direct and to-the-point.

I have ambitions.

In my spare time I run an association with some friends, that I started in 2012. I'm currently chairing my second con in Skåne, while simulaniously working on another committée in Uppsala. I'm travelling a lot, Japan, Barcelona, Finland, England, Scotland, Gran Canaria. I'd like to go to the US, and to Scotland, again. I like castles and being out in the nature.

My goal in life is to read as many books as I can, watch great movies and shows, hang out with my friends and have great convention adventures. I'm not in a relationship, and I don't like to date. I love my life and am happy alone.

Why am I telling you this?

Because, all my experiences in life tell me that most guys never seem to care about what kind of person I am.

I am constantly being told I look pretty. I am being told I should be flattered. I am being catcalled. I am being told I should smile more. I am being told I too will meet a nice guy some day. I am being told I would look good in a flowery dress that billows around me. I am being told by strangers that "I have that certain something".

If I meet a guy and am nice to him, he will in most cases take this as encouragement to pursue a relationship (because why else would one want to spend time with me?).

Because, as long as you think I am beautiful, I am worthy of your attention.

Being judged by your looks is degrading. Being an object instead of a person makes one feel slightly unimportant in this world.

And I am important.

Monday 28 March 2016

The Just City

I just read Jo Walton's The Just City, about a group of Platonists whom come together and create a the city Platon imagined as "the just city". They become the masters of the city, and over time they collect young children of ten years of age and begin to educate them in the ways of Platon. With time, they chose which children to be philosophers, and give them golden pins. There is many other different metal pins with different meanings, and it's suppose to represent the soul of the wearer. The iron pin is given to the workers, and the silver pins to others. Everyone is given different chores, and as they reach adulthood they are paired with another of the same caste/class, and they become married for a day. Any children of the marriage are given up to the city, to be cared for as a group by the people of the city, because families are viewed as injust. Sexual relations outside the marriage is considered injust too, as one should love all citizens equally.

It's a mindboggling philosophical experiment, giving modern context to the ancient philosophers ideas. Would Platons Just City be just? Would the humans in the city strive for excellence?

At the same time it has a strong feminist approach, showing the ways women have been treated through time, analyzing what it means to be woman in a world ruled by men and then giving them agency to be their best selves. It does not shy away from womens hardship. It shows rape,  psychological scarring, post partum depression, as well as women failing, women succeeding, women feeling lust or envy. It does all these things, and more, and still I get the feeling the author's not trying to write on our noses, but just has this curiosity and thirst for discussion.

Walton has created this unique setting where gods and robots, time travel and mystical divine intervention coexists,  The main characters are the gods Apollo and Athena, one reborn as a human and one disguised as one, and the women Maia and Simmea, of different times but with equal interest in philosophy, and the Platonistic world. We also get to meet Sokrates.  And robots.

I haven't read anything like this, and I'm not sure I ever will. It's wonderful and great. Read it!

Friday 25 March 2016

These hearing aids aren't just for show A.k.a. This message speaks volumes.

In July 2014 I wrote this post in Swedish after attending Swecon 2014, the Steampunk festival, in Gävle, Sweden.

I was asked to be on the program, which made me simultaneously very happy and very nervous. I’d never been on a panel before and didn't know if I actually had something sensible to say. And, of course, there's my hearing disability to be nervous about.

I was worried that I would mishear the audience questions, or mishear what my fellow panel members would say, or that I would get too tired and have a hard time concentrating during the panels. This might seem silly, but as a HoH (hard of hearing) person, you get fairly use to hearing the wrong thing, answering the wrong thing, and seeming a bit confused. People don’t see the hearing aids, they don’t see what you can and can’t hear, and I think many just assume you’re a little bit slow.

It's not a question of me being slow, dumb or unintelligent. 

I was born with a sensorineural hearing disability, caused by a damage in my inner ear. I don’t have the needed amount of hearing cells, and the ones I have are not functioning as they should. It's inoperable. I can’t use a cochlear implant. The only thing that helps are hearing aids.

Different from a conductive hearing loss which affects all frequencies, my hearing loss means I have more difficulties hearing certain frequencies, and that sound gets distorted, even with a hearing aid. Which means that I have to process sound and figure out what it means. 

The normal speaking tone is around 60 decibels. I can pick up mosts frequencies as low as 45-55 decibels. Birds chirping and people whispering is almost silence to me. I am never going to be a sneaky ninja. I could never really participate in a whispering game. Heck, even sounds in the normal speaking range is going to fall of my registry. Some consonants are very hard. In Swedish, such words as juni or juli are a huge challenge for me.

Every time I listen to someone talk, or try to participate in a conversation, I have to focus, concentrate really hard, and translate the distorted sound into words that make sense to me. I have to figure out how to fill in the gaps. This makes me tired all the time, and being tired makes it even harder to listen. Imagine if someone took away every third word in this text. Reading this might then be a very tough nut to crack! Welcome to my everyday conversation.

My brain is constantly working overtime trying to interpret sounds through my damaged inner ear. And it takes a lot of brainpower. But despite my best efforts, and hearing aids in both sides, the sounds gets distorted, or they just fall away. I usually hear about 80-90 % of what's being said with hearing aids.

On a good day.

When it's peaceful and quiet around me.

When the person talking to me is right in front of me. Like, right next to me.

Needless to say, in noisy environments like cons and such, my hearing aids and my ability to concentrate will be put to the test. It's a real struggle, one I always lose in the end since I get too tired. And it sucks.

As a kid, having the disability-talk was hard, and I was afraid my friends would stop coming around if I was too demanding or troublesome. I get that it's tiring to have to think about how you stand when you speak to me, and to talk slowly and clearly. So I dealt with it in a joking matter, my way of solving the problem without even having to explain myself. I told my friends I was a spy and the hearing aids were my spy gear. When someone said something I didn't hear, I blamed my in-ear-spy-device.

"These hearing aids aren't just for show" has gotten to be my adult-joking-thing. I like to make jokes about my condition to help people remember it.

The problem is, it's not working any more. I really need my friends to understand how this disability affects me, like every day. And I really need those of you who arrange cons to learn what to do to make things easier for me and others with hearing disabilities. It's difficult for me to talk about it since I've spent my whole life trying to Not Be A Nuisance, but this is my reality and it doesn't go away.

First of all, it's a social handicap. It's a communication obstacle. I'm having trouble following conversations since I mishear words.

As disabled, you develop strategies to be able to make the most of social gatherings. If I do go out on the town, I usually take off my hearing aids (they don't help much anyway if I'm in a noisy environment). If I'm in a coffeeshop with friends, I sit in the middle of the room so everybody is equally close to me. I also try to ask questions, summarize and confirm that I’ve heard right, and that way I catch up if I miss a few words.

My hearing disability often results in me double checking instructions, to make sure I got them right. I ask and ask again, and sometimes I have to cut in while people are talking and ask them to repeat themselves. I constantly worry about being rude, disrupting my friends like that, but if I don’t catch the phrase while it’s said, the rest of the sentence may be gibberish too. I’m constantly feeling like a socially awkward penguin because of this.

It’s also demanding for my friends, whom have to accommodate my special needs. They have to be sure to include me in conversations and make sure that I hear them. I am constantly missing the punch line in jokes, and sometimes when asked if they can repeat the word, I am told that it’s not important or “I’ll repeat it later”, which inadvertently makes me feel outside and less important. I know it’s not easy for them, and it’s sure not easy for me.

Secondly, it’s exhausting to have to concentrate so hard all the time.

I avoid noisy environments like discos, concerts, pubs, games. Sometimes I choose to attend these things, like cons, but I always know that there will come a time when I pay for the effort with physical and mental exhaustion. (All my spoons and then some.)

What can you do to help?

In social situations: 

Face me when talking.
Repeat or double check that I’ve got the important information.
Help me sit in the center so I can hear everyone.
Speak clearly, and if I ask you to repeat yourself, try to raise your voice just a tad, but mostly speak slower and more clearly.
If you have a induction loop in a facility, use it.
Microphones should always be used, and if an audience microphone is available, use it too.
Alternatively, have the moderator repeat the questions.

When I’m at conventions, I always sit in the front row. If I’m in a panel I prefer to sit in the middle. This is what works for me -- if you don’t know what works for someone else, try asking!

And how did it go at the Steampunkfestival?

Some panels went just fine, if I was placed in the center and didn’t get an audience question. Some panels worked less fine if the moderator forgot to repeat the audience question before someone answered it.

In one panel, I got an audience question and waited for the moderator to repeat it. My silence was interpreted as confusion or not having a good answer, so other panel members answered instead, while I looked like a question mark. I felt really stupid.

I had a slight problem understanding the guests of honour too. One spoke really fast, and one stuttered. It can’t be helped, I get that. People talk the way they talk. I chose to attend other program items.

One panel I listened to did NOT work at all, though. The moderator asked the audience (without using the microphone) if he could skip using the microphone. I misheard him and thought he meant “Do I really have to use the mic?” so I said yes.

When he then put the mic down and started to talk I thought he just chose to ignore me and I got really upset. I stayed and tried to listen, but got so bleedingly tired that I started crying. When the panel was over, I stepped up and said a few harsh words and then I stormed out. Not my finest moment. But I think this illustrates the importance of microphones.

Which only goes to show what NOT to do during conventions (or in general):

Avoid asking if you can be excused from using microphones. It only makes HoH (hard of hearing) people feel like a nuisance. We don’t want to make a big thing out of it. We want to have every possible help we can get without having to beg for it. And some people, like me, have a hard time asking for help.

Think about how you stand in position to the hard of hearing-person. Think about how the sound travels. Make sure you stand fairly close and facing the person.

When someone asks you to repeat what you said, don’t repeat it in the exact same tone. Take it a bit more clearly and slowly, and maybe a bit louder but no yelling. Yelling is rude.

I usually miss the first words of the sentence if the talker is turning to me or stuttering at the start, and if I lose the start I often don’t understand the context. So repeating the key words is helpful.

These tips are helpful when making accommodations for people with my kind of hearing disability. But please do remember, not all hearing problems work the same.

If you’re unsure of how to help, ask, do not assume. Don’t be scared of asking me about my hearing disability, I’m glad to see people taking an interest in how to help me. I know not everyone feels this way, though, and I’m not always up for the discussion. I suggest you proceed with caution and respect when you have questions.

I hope these tips can help people understand the ways sensorineural hearing loss works, and that social exclusion and mental and physical exhaustion is a big part of it. I hope future convention committees can take this under consideration.

Sunday 21 February 2016

Connie Willis: The Oxford Time Travel-series

Jag har älskat Connie Willis ända sen jag läste Blackout/Allclear, de senaste böckerna i tidsrese-serien Oxford Time Travels. Det som gör Willis så bra är att hon tar sig tid att beskriva olika eror i historien och hur människorna var på den tiden. Miljöbeskrivningar får en att känna som om man vore där, och karaktärer är engagerande och otroligt realistiska. Samtidigt är tidsrese-delen väldigt intressant gjort. Sex år senare har jag återstiftat bekantskapen med Connie Willis och läst de två första böckerna i (den ytterst fristående) serien. Doomsday Book och To Say Nothing of the Dog.

"Doomsday book" börjar i Oxford, år 2054. De tidsresande historiker gör sig klara för att fira jul. Alla utom Kivrin Engle, det vill säga. Kivrin är på väg att resa till 1300-talets Oxford. Århundradet har dock blivit rankat som en 10:a och anses för farlig för de tidsresande historikerna, men eftersom Basingame (chefen för fakulteten) har gått på julledighet och Gilchrist, vikarierande fakultetschef, inte bryr sig om riskerna finns det ingen som har befogenhet att stoppa dem.

Professor Dunworthy och doktorn Mary Ahrens försöker prata Gilchrist och Kivrin ur det, utan att lyckas. Tidsresan stressas igenom, och medan de väntar på dataresultatet insjuknar tidsrese-teknikern Badri hastigt i en mystisk sjukdom. Badri försöker i sin feberyra säga att någonting inte gått som det ska, men blir snabbt okontaktbar. Runt om dem på universitetet bryter en epidemi ut och hela universitetet sätts i karantän. Gilchrist stänger ner labbet för julen och alla tekniker som skulle kunna tyda datan för att verifiera att Kivrin hamnat där hon ska har gått på julledighet och vägrar gå in i karantän-området.

Under tiden som epidemin sprider sig 2054 så landar Kivrin på fel plats i medeltiden, och insjuknar i samma epidemi som rasar på universitetsområdet. Dunworthy, sjuk av oro, försöker desperat att hämta hem henne, men vet inte att hon hamnat 28 år fel, i 1348. Det år digerdöden kom till Oxford. Parallellerna mellan digerdödens framfart och epidemin i Oxford skapar en dramatisk kamp mot klockan.

Doomsday book innehåller intressanta detaljer om livet och människorna i 1300-talets England.  Det står snabbt tydligt att verkligheten såg väldigt annorlunda ut jämfört med de föreställningar Oxford-historikerna haft. Kivrin upptäcker att hon inte förstår språket, att hennes klänning med bjärta blå färger inte passar in och att stanken är värre än hon trott. Steg för steg lär sig Kivrin mer om medeltiden (och genom henne, även läsaren) genom att visa dessa små detaljer som samtidigt förankrar en fast i miljön och får den att kännas realistisk.

Vi får lära känna den medeltida familjen som Kivrin bor hos, lilla Agnes som älskar sin hund, hennes storasyster Rosamund som ska bli bortgift med en gammal gubbe, den elaka farmorn Imeyne och mamman Eliwys. När pesten kommer till Oxford är man så väl investerad i familjens öde att varje dödsfall känns hjärtslitande. Kivrin försöker att förutse pestens framfart genom att använda statistik och sannolikhet, men boken visar att i realiteten så funkar det inte att resonera så, för det alltid finns oanade konsekvenser man inte kan värja sig mot.

En av mina favoritkaraktärer i 2054 är trettonåringen Colin "a nice boy, very bright, though he has the most wretched vocabolary. Everything is either apocalyptic or necrotic.". När karantänen slår till är han fast med historikerna på universitetet och blir till oväntad hjälp för Dunworthy. Colins ungdomliga fascination för tidsresor speglar mitt eget intresse för genrén, och hans relation till Dunworthy precis som Kivrins relation till Agnes är rörande familjär.

Historia har aldrig varit så intressant som när den läses i skönlitteratur med engagerande karaktärer. Visst finns det säkert historiska felaktigheter, jag vet till exempel att Willis fick kritik för att hon i Blackout/Allclear använde sig av en tunnelbanestation som inte fanns än - men det är för mig inte livsviktigt att precis alla detaljer blir rätt, så länge det viktiga stämmer.

Min enda reservation mot boken är att det känns som om Willis överanvänder förvirringsursäkten för att skapa spänning. Badris tendens att feberyra och inte svara på frågor om vad som är fel med tidsrese-släppet bidrar till ovisshet och spänning, men det upprepas för många gånger, även med Kivrin i medeltiden. Jag skulle inte säga att Willis håller på informationen för länge, men hon är väldigt glad för att använda förvirringstropen, inte bara i Doomsday book utan även i "To Say Nothing of the Dog". Men det tjänar historierna väl, så jag tillåter det.

I den andra boken "To Say Nothing of the Dog" är året 2057. Vi möter Ned Henry som är med i ett projekt för att restaurera Coventrys katedral. Hans uppdrag är att lokalisera en vas åt Lady Shrapnell, projektets överhuvud. Men vasen visar sig vara synnerligen svår att hitta, och Ned skickas kors och tvärt genom historien i åtskilliga dagar tills han drabbas av time-lag, med klara symtom som svårighet att tolka ljud, överdriven sentimentalitet och hallucinationer.

Ned värvas till ett livsviktigt uppdrag i den viktorianska eran, men är så snurrig så att han inte uppfattar uppdraget och hamnar konstant i situationer där han riskerar att ändra historians förlopp radikalt med potentiellt fatala konsekvenser för utgången av andra världskriget. I sann Willis-anda.

To Say Nothing of the Dog skildrar den viktorianska eran, med samma detaljrikedom och lärorika berättarteknik som Doomsday Book. Till exempel får Ned lära sig att det är ett stort etikettbrott att prata om graviditeter - allt som har med sex att göra var så tabu att man inte låtsades om det. Boken har dock en mycket lättsammare ton än Doomsday Book, samt en romantisk sidohistoria vilket passar väl ihop med den viktorianska miljön.

Även om boken är lättsammare så är den även mer teoretisk. Många tycker Connie Willis böcker innehåller för mycket historia och för lite science fiction, men denna bok väger upp det genom att utforska reglerna kring tidsresorna och "nätet", den teknik man åker genom tiden med.

Den resonerar kring vad som är möjligt, berättar mer om mekaniken med kritiska punkter, crisis points, i historien dit man inte kan åka eftersom de händelser som skedde då hade för stor påverkan på historien och minsta ändring till historien riskerar att förändra framtiden. Samtidigt så etablerar den tidskontinuumet som en slags entitet som arbetar för att motverka de paradoxer och "incongruities" (motsägelser) som skulle kunna uppstå genom att den orsakar "slippage" (glidning) för tidsresenärerna vilket gör att de hamnar i en annan tid eller en annan plats, och därför inte har en påverkan på historien. Det går dock att ändra historien, och många av karaktärerna orsakar diskrepanser som de försöker rätta till, med varierande resultat.

Tidsresehistorier som dessa har en slående likheter med fantasy; ödesbestämda händelser. Precis som fantasy ofta beblandar sig med profetior beblandar ju sig tidsresor med saker som kommer att ha hända, eftersom de redan har hänt. Men trots att profetian eller ödet vill uppfyllas, så kan ju många saker gå fel och ödet behöver ibland hjälp på traven. Det är intressant att se hur historier hanterar detta, och vad som händer när man ändrar historien. (Tidsrese-sf är lite av en favoritgenre hos mig, om det inte framgått.)

På ett sätt är det smärtsamt tydligt att dessa böcker är över 20 år gamla. Framtiden - så som Willis såg den 1991 - hade inga smartphones! Det fanns bärbara telefoner, så kallade handhelds, och det fanns vidders, videokameror. En kan ju tänka sig att Willis borde ha förutspått hur tekniken skulle utvecklas, men det är nog svårare än man tror. I Willis fiktiva framtid utrotades också katter 2004, vilket känns rätt skrattretande. Att en stor pandemi inträffade 2010 känns dock mindre skrattretande.

Dessa böcker, samt Blackout/All Clear, kan jag varmt rekommendera till alla anglofiler, historieälskare och tidsreseälskare. De är lättillgängliga, ofta humoristiska och rörande. Willis fortsätter att vara en av mina absoluta favoriter, och jag vill verkligen understryka hur bra hon är:

"Though she has published fewer solo-authored novels than any of them, Connie Willis has won more major SF awards than Philip K. Dick, Arthur C- Clarke and Isaac Asimov combined." - Adam Roberts, introduction to Doomsday Book.

Kvinnor inom SF, you guys. Det finns många bra kvinnliga sf-författare, men tyvärr är de kvinnor och därför får de ingen uppmärksamhet. Låt oss ändra på det? Läs Connie Willis!

Wednesday 27 January 2016

The X Files Classics Volume 1

Efter att ha kikat på nya Arkiv X-miniserien och färdigställt ett blogginlägg om den på Onda Cirkeln  har jag även återstiftat bekantskapen med en gammal vän; de första grafiska Arkiv X-novellerna av författaren Stefan Petrucha och illustratören Charlie Adlard. Novellerna har nämligen släppts i samlingsutgåva 2013 med omslag av Sam Shearon, och efter ett besök på SF-bokhandeln idag är den nu i min ägo. Visst är den vacker!

Detta album innehåller alltså samma noveller som jag läste 1995 och 1996, och som jag fortfarande efter cirka 20 år har väldigt fina minnen av.

Jag kan säkert säga att det är få serier som påverkat mig så pass mycket som Arkiv X. (Skrev bland annat historier om "CBI", Childrens Bureau of Investigation. Episka mästerverk förstås, men jag måste ha förlagt dem någonstans för jag hittade det inte bland mina andra konstnärlig alster.

Novellerna som gjorde starkast intryck på mig var "The Silent Cities of The Mind" där en forskare blir kannibal och börjar äta människor, som han sedan hävdar att han ärvt minnen från, och "Trepanning Opera" om en man som hade en nära döden-upplevelse som ung, och därefter inte är säker på om han bara drömmer att han lever, eller om han lever på riktigt.

Dessa är väldigt välskrivna historier med vackra illustrationer, som håller än idag. Novellerna har samma ifrågasättande narrativ som tv-serien, och samma mystik. Den citerade Lovecraft och ställde djupt existentiella frågor, blickade inåt på människan men även utåt mot rymden, och fick mig som 11-12-åring att börja tänka stora tankar om mänskligheten, universum, vår existens och vad som finns där ute. Arkiv X är utom tvekan medskyldiga (tillsammans med Star Trek The Next Generation samt David Eddings "Sagan om Belgarion") till att jag har utvecklat ett sånt stort intresse för fantastik.

Idag när jag återupptäckte novellerna gladdes jag över hur de grafiska novellerna faktiskt håller efter 20 år, men också över hur roliga Mulder och Scully är. De är rena rama oneliner-maskinerna. Varför hade jag glömt bort det? Also, är ganska säker på att mina brorsor spelade Doom, så detta drog verkligen mig tillbaka till 90-talet ännu mer. Ah, those where the days...

Sunday 3 January 2016

Reading Year Review

I thought I'd pick up my old Reading Year Review, but make it in English this year. These are all the books, anthologies and comics I've read in 2015 (latest reads at the top):

Starlin, Pérez, Lim - Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet
Samuel R. Delany - Babel 17
Katharine Kerr - The Bristling Wood
Katharine Kerr - Darkspell
Kass Morgan - Day 21
Kass Morgan - The 100
Nalo Hopkinson - The Brown Girl in the Ring
Katharine Kerr - Daggerspell
Zen Cho - The Sorcerer To the Crown
Elisabeth Östnäs - Sagan om Turid, Kungadottern
Thomas Årnfelt - Incidenten i Böhmen
Katherine Addison - The Goblin Emperor
Neil Gaiman - The Book of Magic
Johanna Sinisalo - Bara sedan solen sjunkit
Marlen Haushofer - Väggen
James Edward Austen Leigh - Jane Austen, En levnadsteckning
Jane Austen och en annan dam - Sanditon
Karen Lord - Best of all possible worlds
G Willow Wilson - Ms Marvel #1
Taiye Selasi - Komma och gå
Kelly Link - Stranger things happen
Diane Setterfield - Den trettonde historien
Jo Walton - My real children
Carol Rifka Brunt - Låt vargarna komma

Novels: 19
Graphic novels: 3
Anthologies: 1
Short story collections: 0

The Genres:YA: 3
Classic: 1
Literary fiction: 3
Fantasy: 12
Science fiction: 6
Biographies: 1

English: 15
Swedish: 9

Authors nationality:
American: 9
Brittish: 5
Canadian: 1
Austrian: 1
Barbadian: 1
Swedish: 2
Malaysian: 1
Finnish: 1

Male writers: 5
Female writers: 19

The Three Best: 
Zen Cho - The Sorcerer To the Crown
Elisabeth Östnäs - Sagan om Turid, Kungadottern
Karen Lord - Best of all possible worlds

The Big No: 
Kass Morgan. Just watch the series "The 100" and forget about reading the books. 

Only 24 books read this year, although most of them really good, and written by women. This has clearly not been the best reading year. Somehow I get distracted. I spent my time doing things I love, like blogging about tv-series at Onda Cirkeln, planning conventions and spending time with friends and family.

What are my plans for 2016's reading?
I wish I could just get to it and start reading all my unread books. I have a whole book case of them, and it's kinda starting to stress me out. I've come to realize that I won't start working off my unread pile unless I restrict my reading, so I've made a new rule for 2016 - I'm only allowed read the books I already own. And I'm not allowed to buy more books.
I've made a slight adjustment to this rule, though, since I have so many series to start reading. If I'm to have any pleasure of my reading, and feel encouranged to read books that are part of series, I need to be able to follow through on those series, meaning I'm allowed to buy sequels in series I'm reading.

So, hopefully this will make my unread bookpiles slightly less stressful. I'm not hoping for miracles, but it would be nice to clear of atleast one shelf of books.