Finncon lecture on the futures of living

I have shared my Finncon lecture about the science and fiction (fiction mostly) of houses and living in Slideshare (in Finnish only):

Mayra Tulevaisuuden Talo

PS. You can follow the Finncon photo stream in Flickr from here.

SF researcher meeting, Finncon08

The SF/fantasy researcher meeting takes place again in Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately I can only take part in one paper session (or so it now seems), but here is the latest program (in Finnish):

11-13 Tutustumiskierros ja käydään läpi 2 paperia (Kokkinen: “Who Gets to Enter the Sacred Center? Mircea Eliade´s Utopia Visualized in Mythic Art” & Ylimartimo: “A Beautiful Girl, Devilish Woman or Cosmic Power: The Fantastic Essence of the Snow Queen Interpreted by Fairy Tale Illustrators”)
13-14 Lounas
14-15 Käydään 2 paperia (Korpua: “Atlantis-myth in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium”, Pelkonen: “Images of Women in Power in the Dystopic World of Battlestar Galactica (2003)”)
15-16 Pyöreän pöydän jutustelu, pohjana M Polvisen paperi (“Course Outline: Proseminar for Teacher Trainees – ”Harry Potter and the Rest: Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature”)

11-13 Käydään 3 paperia (Kuusniemi: ““The Golden Path”: the Dynamic Dystopia in Frank Herbert’s Dune Chronicles”, Soikkonen: “Nothing Will Change? Dystopia and Social Commentary in C.L. Moore’s ‘Vintage Season'” & Miettinen: “Superheroes and the Question of Utopia”)
13-14 Lounas
14-15 Farah Mendlesohnin luento
15-15:30 Siirtyminen kirjoittajatapaamiseen: Tampereen yliopisto, Linna, Kalevantie 5, ls K103
15.40-17 Farah Mendlesohn & John M. Harrison: In conversation

See also CFP:

Triple booting

This is most probably yet another form of wasting time, but for some time I have wanted to have all main varieties of operating systems available in a single workstation. There is some benefit in this (e.g. comparing the performance and usability issues on identical system), but mostly I have been playing with the system just for the fun of it. Tonight I finally got Mac OS X Leopard (using the “Leo4Allv3” hackintosh installation), Ubuntu 8.04 LTS and Microsoft Vista living side-by-side in one sweet multiboot harmony, hooray Continue reading “Triple booting”

Suomi Areena panel

The panel talk in Pori was fine, I guess, even while other high-profile events taking place around same time in Pori took their toll in the audience figures. Anyways, thanks to RAY for organising the event. It was also very nice to meet and talk with Jaakko Suominen, Mika Pantzar, Sonja Kangas and others. With Laura and Luka we did little summer excursion afterwards and visited the white sands of Yyteri beaches.

Suomi Areena stage in Pori

16.07.2008 on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Speaking in Pori & in Finncon

Just a note: even while still being in holidays, I will also be doing a couple of talks — the first will be tomorrow, in “Suomi Areena” which is part of the Pori Jazz festival. I will be participating in a panel on the future of gambling / money gaming. Next week I will be in the annual science fiction & fantasy researcher meeting, and giving a talk on the fantasy and research of future homes — both of these in the Finncon 2008 event in Tampere. More: &

Banks' Matter

Just finished reading Ian M. Banks’ new Culture series novel, Matter (yes I know, it is late and I will regret this tomorrow — the damned book was 593 pages). A rather enjoyable read (I am a fan of Banks), but also a bit weird, asymmetric experience. There is a lightly entertaining layer in the book, all that stuff of superhuman cultures making intrigue within a state-of-the art space opera with rayguns, gigantic machines, and gargantuan time-scales. There is also a hard-SF style invention involved in Banks’ decision to set the main narrative into a “Shellworld”, a Dyson-sphere-like megastructure with several layers on top of each other, each effectively a world in itself, with its own planetary conditions, civilizations and even artificial suns. The “layer” is perhaps in the end the guiding metaphor for the entire novel: under the space adventure layer there is a layer of Shakespearean drama (much of narrative takes place in Renaissance era civilization, and the courtly dialogues reflect this in their language), and under this there are some philosophical, existential and even political layers of storytelling.

It is hard to go deeper into analysing the novel without spoiling the plot, but lets just say that I can understand how the final pages of the book can leave readers with mixed feelings. There is something dark and clinical under the gay surface of Culture science fiction, and in this novel raw desperation even comes to mind — the novel reads like sort of tragedy, but it is so large and mixed in its constituting parts that it is perhaps impossible to tie all strings together in an entirely convincing manner. But nuff’ said: the book is of high entertaining and even artistic quality and should be recommended. Just be warned of its length…

Iain M. Banks - Matter

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