Visited Finncon again briefly today.
The crowds were as thick as yesterday, when the organizers apparently had to turn away lots of people due to hovering close to the fire hazard limits.
Like yesterday, spent most of the time listening to panel discussions.
First up was one about alternate histories, and it was quite a good session. Occasionally the participants got stuck on a subject (like “what would have happened if Hitler had won WWII“), but most of the time the discussion was free-flowing and filled with pointers to more or less interesting novels of the genre. Noted a couple of books I’ll have to look up in the future, but nothing truly earth-shattering came up. uchronia.net, the grand seam of alternate history-ore didn’t come up in the session, but was conveniently included in the program-booklet.
Second session was Starbuck is a woman?, a panel about how science fiction-franchises have been updated (mainly in television and movies). The new (and much-improved) Battlestar Galactica was the lead item, but by no means the only one discussed (King Kong kept cropping up at an unbvelievable frequency). Updates were noted to be mainly good things – bringing old series to the mainline by making them more realistic (and occasionally darker). The final topic “update another show” got the panelists jamming on how to bring Knight Rider to the 21st century, and sadly eg. Sapphire and Steel was left almost untouched (“like, the invisible enemies in the new show could be even MORE invisible with the aid of ILM”). Learned that J.M. Straczynski (of Babylon 5-fame) has attempted to reboot Star Trek and that the ever-green Robin of Sherwood is being considered for a remake.
The costume play-crowd was even more numerous than yesterday, and the organizers had put up special routing to get the queues to the “group cosplay”-session in kosher shape. Managed to sneak through and briefly visit the dealers’ floor, while listening to shouted advice to the dressed-up kids. Bought a short story collection from Johanna Sinisalo, J. Pekka Mäkelä’s first novel (a bargain at six euros, I presume), and old translation of Michael Swanwick’s Iron Dragon’s Daughter and finally (and unexpectedly) a kids book: Walter Moers’ 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear.
Was a good con, though the huge crowds of anime-persuasion seemed to be irkful to the panelists as well. Nothing wrong with them, obviously, but the sheer number must have been a surprise for everybody. A big chunk of the attendees had worked out their dresses meticulously, and as such the area was full of characters (and critters) from comics, tv-shows and movies. Didn’t bring a camera – would have felt like a dirty quasi-old man snapping photos without being able to hide behind a badge (and anyway, the S3 would have been a hindrance in some of the thickest crowds). There were lots of people with cameras, and the crop of the con has been collected in (at least) flickr, with the finncon-tag.
So, Paasitorni sure was a lot more packed than I expected – when Finncon returns to Helsinki, it’s time to split from the Animecon-collaboration, introduce non-trivially priced tickets (which would exclude random passers-by, which is not good) or look for a bigger venue. I’m betting on the last option. But it’ll take a detour at least once, since the next one will be in Jyväskylä next summer (no link yet).
Browsed through the history of previous cons during a lull in the activity, and noted that since becoming aware of the even back in the late eighties I’ve missed only one that has been organized in Helsinki (the one back in 2000). And am definitely looking forward to the next one (and may even consider a trip to the countryside next year if the timing works out OK).