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Finncon Report-2

Time, time.  There is no time.  As fast as I try to catch up on days past, present days yield their own delights, experiencing which takes--time.  

As does complaining about it.

We're in Tampere now, where there is an Arts & Crafts Cathedral of great and serene beauty.  Really, given our tastes and preferences, it might have been built with us in mind.  There Gothic arches married to folk-art derived decoration:  stone pine forests on the massive pillars, hand-carved pews, a very beautiful pulpit decorated in trees and white doves, and paintings and frescoes everywhere.

Those frescoes are a real treat.  Painted by Hugo Simberg, they are simultaneously inspiring and disturbing, celebratory and discomforting--very like religion, really, or Real Life.  Cheerful skeletons tend a garden of strange, funerary plants in The Garden of Death.  12 young boys drag a very long swag of greenery, wound with blooming roses, towards a desolate forest of barren trees.  The dome is dominated by a snake with an apple in its mouth, surrounded by hundreds of painted wings--as clear a visual depiction of Divine Grace as I can imagine.  And the Resurrection over the altar is gorgeous--the dead crawling from dark graves to join an endless procession of men and women crossing from the background into the foreground , bathed in light.  It's very naturalistic, very simple, and very moving.

We might have stayed longer, but there was a wedding announced for 4pm, and several members of our party had not had dinner.  So Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo (aka, Johanna-the-Translator) and her husband, Marianna and Pasi (con-runners extraordinaire), and an artist and his wife who had not gone to Finncon, but wanted to meet us because we all love ballads, especially "The Famous Flower of Serving Men" took us for a bite to eat before meeting Johanna Sinisalo (aka Johanna-the-Writer) and her husband and someone else for dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant.  As you may imagine, by this time, things were getting a little fuzzy in my mind, what with Con Brain and Art Bliss and tired feet and a bottle of Sicilian white.  But there was much conversation and laughter, catching up with what had happened in our lives since we had Johanna and her daughter Julia over to our house in Somerville for a cook-out after Readercon, when she won the James Tiptree Jr. Award for Troll, A Love Story.  And eventually we slipped off through the gleaming twilight to our hotel and went to bed.

So, you see, Finncon goes on, in its own inimitable fashion, with impromptu panels on High Fantasy, Classic SF, The History of Finnish Architecture, Finnish Fandom, Daily Life Among Fabric Mill Workers in Tampere, 1880-1973, and the world of Tove Jansson's Moomintrolls--the last two courtesy of Marianna and Pasi, who spent today with us.  Which I will write about tomorrow, when we're on the train to Turku.  Probably.  If I'm not sunk into Moominvalley in November, which I've never read before. 

ET fix my misteakes.  Well, it sounds like "Tulku."  To my ear, anyway.  Must be the Japanese influence.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
Moominvalley in November is wonderfully atmospheric... but I think Moominsummer Madness will always be my favorite. There's just something so perfect about a floating theater, and it has lots of Little My!
Jul. 20th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
when we're on the train to Tulku.

Oh, I wish. That's very nearly my favorite Peter Dickinson book.

But it's "Turku," darling.

(And it was Readercon in '05 with Johanna S.)
Jul. 20th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you for mentioning the Garden of Death. I had never heard of it before and find it bleakly charming.

Also, yay for reading Tove Jansson. If you haven't read her adult books, they are phenomenal as well.
Jul. 21st, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
I read The True Deceiver on the plane over. She's got a remarkable handle on isolation and anxiety and the dynamics of small, interdependent communities. She reminds me of Tolkien, too, in her ability to model finding hope and comfort in despite of existential despair. Which is very important in children's books, I think, and all too seldom found.
Jul. 21st, 2010 11:48 am (UTC)
I just read THE SUMMER BOOK, and it has gone to the top of my pile of comfort books forever.

Johanna Sinisalo has just edited THE DEDALUS BOOK OF FINNISH FANTASY . . . and guess what's on the cover!

It was truly weird to come from seeing the art for the first time, only to have her hand us a copy of the book with that painting on the cover!
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad we're grown-ups who like to read kids' books.

Edited at 2010-07-21 06:22 pm (UTC)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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