The first day of the annual science fiction convention was filled with decent panel discussions, odd generation gap-related moments and running into friends in the halls.
Indeed, the biggest (and free) covention provided a good show this year as well.
Missed the opening ceremonies, on account of not taking the very first train in the morning and started the day with a trio of gaming-related presentations. Attraction of MMOs was all talk, without any samples on the screen, and as a complete newbie in the subject, quite a few of the nuances of the games discussed (especially Uru) were not immediately obvious. Obeyed rule #2 (don’t forget to drink) and missed the first half of the presentation on Eve online. The science fiction game seemed interesting, a massively multiplayer take on Elite can’t be all bad. The panel on scriptwriting for videogames was packed with finnish luminaries of the niche, and hence the level of discussion was both topical and high. Hideo Kojima’s MGS-series (especially the last part) got righteously trashed. I kinda expected an example or two on the state of the art of gamewriting, but none materialized.
Wandering the halls of Tamperetalo inbetween presentations was more than a little bit challenging initially. The building was just absolutely packed with kids attending the co-located Animecon. Most of the participants were in more or less full cosplay regalia, and I couldn’t but feel sorry for those in the warmest clothes (like the guys dressed as bears – for them the 26C weather must have been even harsher than most of the others).
Originally I planned on having lunch around two, but managed not to find anybody to eat with, and decided to follow through the entire day and have a dinner only. Hence, slowly ambled to the most interesting session amongst the ten or so available. Tits Ahoy! concentrated on the dubious female images and characters of movies and comics. And true to form, a lot of the pictures presented contained people in seriously impractical, but seriously revealing garb.
Panel on translating comics was interesting, even though I don’t really read any in finnish. The sample sentences given proved that the work is far from trivial. And sometimes requires an iron stomach to withstand the relentless assault of cliches from every direction.
Running in parallel with the more traditional shows was a set of more scientific presentations – the one on house of the future strayed from underneath the subject immediately, but was interesting enough to warrant sitting the full time. Though the style, where the slides were pretty much read aloud verbatim, started to grate in minutes.
For the the last session of the day I chose a panel on translating fantasy literature, a topic that actually carries weight these days with a couple of interesting players in the game. The finnish market is no longer totally filled with mass market fantasies and D&D-novelizations – publishers like Vaskikirjat and Kirjava have introduced quality to the market overflowing with nothing but quantity. Vaskikirjat was the only publisher present in the panel, and the one man company gave good insight into the dynamics of the industry – thus far their books have been chosen from the classic (and reasonably priced) end of the market, but even still the numbers needed to break even per book are rather high. The Tähtivaeltaja-award won with I Am Legend ought to help, though.
Had dinner in Coyote on Hämeenkatu, on the way to the hotel. Despite an odd delay in providing the tuna-steak burger the dinner was good indeed.
The official evening program was held in Telakka. Spent the evening outside. Indoors the temperature reached towards unbearable numbers (unofficially: above 50C), and the warm dusk was much better experienced outdoors.
Didn’t take any pictures, spent very little cash at vendors’ booths (Hannun Basaarissa was pretty much the only thing bought today).