Pasi Karppanen: The Finnish Fandom - All You Need to Know About It
What is this crazy Finnish fandom that seems to be bursting with energy, keeps organising free cons and is currently putting together a Worldcon? This article aims to give an overview of the Finnish fandom. The first version of this article was written way back in 1995, but it has been written, rewritten and published numerous times as different versions in Finnish sf fan magazines over the years. One of the earlier versions also served as basis for “The World of Finndom” by Jukka Halme, published in Emerald City #109 in 2004. This version of the article is the updated online version which was written and is kept up to date by Pasi Karppanen. Those of you who are interested finding more about Finnish sf writing scene may also want read another article of the same author published originally in 2003.
The origins of the Finnish fandom
The first signs of a phenomenon called sf fandom were seen in Finland during the 1950s. However, it took over two decades before fandom as we know it started to emerge. The reasons for this are various. In the 1950s, Finland was still getting back on its feet after the war, economic resources were limited, and urbanisation was only beginning. This meant there was no real chance for an organised fandom to be born.
The first Finnish science fiction convention was organised by the Student Union at Turku University in 1969. However, the starting point of Finnish fandom the way we know it today is usually seen the foundation of Turku Science Fiction Society in 1976 and the birth of its zine Spin in 1977.
Sf societies in Helsinki, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Oulu, Espoo and so on soon followed. Presently there are a dozen or so sf/f clubs spread around the country and about the same amount of more-or-less regularly published zines, plus numerous unofficial sf/f, anime, and role playing clubs and zines.
In fact, one feature that can be seen as characteristic for Finnish fandom is the fact that backbone of Finnish fandom has always been societies. They say that when an Irishman goes out to a pub, a Finn goes out and forms a society. Finland has sometimes been called the promised land of societies, and understandably so.
The Finnish sf societies, especially the ones born in the early days of Finnish fandom, were traditionally formed around a city or a town. In the days before the internet this was the best way to find like minded people. Over the years the role of town based societies has changed but the actives in them still remain the major work force when it comes doing the things that makes fandom fandom.
In fact in many cases same geographical area doesn't have only one but several societies, some of which have been born more recently. The roles of these societies, and how the activities are divided between the older and younger societies differ slightly from town to town.
What Finnish fandom lacks in pure fannish nature, however, it gains in longevity. Most Finnish sf societies have had their ups and downs over the years, and periods during which activity has been low. However, sooner or later a new generation of fans has emerged and made society their own. There are of course societies that have died and disappeared silently into history, but the oldest ones still function today. This applies to fanzines they publish as well.
There are a few exceptions to the town-based societies and their zines. The oldest one of these is the Finnish Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association and its zine Kosmoskynä (Cosmos Pen). Another is the Swedish language web-zine Enhörningen (The Unicorn). Finland is a bilingual country and we have a small minority of Swedish speaking Finns. The latest addition to the national societies is The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research, founded in 2013.
Societies focusing on some specific franchise, genre or an author have always been exceptions in Finnish fandom, and in most cases, the fans of one writer or TV franchise have grouped themselves around existing societies. There have attempts, of course, but in many cases these societies have disappeared as soon as the peak of interest has passed. The biggest and longest surviving exception in this respect is the Finnish Tolkien Society and its zine Legolas.
Finnish fans engage in similar activities as fans elsewhere, including running societies, publishing fanzines, presenting awards and organising cons and social gatherings. On the other hand, there are several features of the Finnish fandom that make it different from fandoms in other countries.
The uniqueness of the Finnish fandom
One long-standing characteristic of the Finnish fandom is the ability of Finnish fans to work co-operatively. There has never been a ”Finnish Science Fiction Association” nor will there most likely ever be. Finnish fandom is a collection of many different sf societies spread all over the country, all with their own characteristics and histories. Together they form a tight little community that has pulled together from the very beginning.
Another unique aspect of the Finnish fandom is that there has never been a big separation between science fiction and fantasy. Everybody understands the differences between genres, of course, but inside the fandom the fans and writers of science fiction and fantasy haven't been separate groups. The times seems to be changing though, and nowadays many younger fans in the fandom see themselves primarily as readers of fantasy, and science fiction is much more alien genre to them.
The lack of separation in the older generation of fans is in great extent due to the circumstances in which the Finnish fandom was born. In the late the 1970s and early the 1980s, both genres were equally marginal, and fans of science fiction and fantasy naturally teamed up. Therefore one should remember that although the most societies mentioned in this article are called science fiction societies, all of them are science fiction and fantasy societies. This applies to the fanzines and conventions as well.
As a result, the current generation of writers in Finland – again, when it comes to fandom at least – are a rather heterogeneous group. The same people write science fiction and fantasy, and in some cases drawing the line between the genres is very difficult, if not impossible. In fact, many writers consider the whole subject of drawing lines between genres restrictive and completely unnecessary.
During the last decade or so we have even seen a rise of a new term for fantastic literature in Finland: speculative fiction, or spefi for short. The term doesn't have the acceptance of all the fans, but gradually it has established itself, even outside fandom. One undeniable benefit of the term is that it is a handy way of avoiding classification problems. All works of fantastic literature can be placed under it, without having to ponder whether they are science fiction, fantasy or horror.
Another unique characteristic of the Finnish fandom is the nature of Finnish sf/f magazines. The fact is, there isn’t a single commercial sf/f magazine published in Finland. There have been attempts to publish one, but for one reason or another, they have always been cancelled after a few issues.
In their place, however, there’s a wide range of flourishing fanzines, semi-prozines, and prozines. Many of them are very slick, printed on glossy paper, and look just as good as any professional sf/f magazine, with content to match. Zines such as Portti, Tähtivaeltaja and Spin are even on sale at big bookstores. They also have a lot of library subscribers, meaning their importance is much bigger than their actual print run.
One characteristic feature for the Finnish fandom I also want to bring up and that I hold in high value personally is the equality. Women have always had a strong role in Nordic countries. This can be seen in Finnish fandom as well, and it is not a male dominated in the same sense fandoms are in some other countries. Both genders work within it side by side and there has been as many female con runners, editors-in-chief as well as sf writers than there has been male ones, perhaps more.
The logical starting point for presenting the Finnish fandom would probably be introducing Finncon, the Finnish national convention.
Finncons are big events and have been so from the very beginning. In most respects Finncons resemble any other big cons in Europe or USA, with panels, lectures and other programme, guests of honour giving speeches and autograph sessions. On Saturday night there’s the official con party with a traditional masquerade (costume contest).
The one thing that sets Finncons apart from foreign cons, however, is that they are free. Yes, that’s right. There’s no entrance fee whatsoever. Since Finncon 1989, one of the convention’s main principles has been that everyone interested should be able to attend. This way any passerby can just pop in to see what’s going on and with any luck finds the event interesting – and so a new sf/f fan is born.
”The Finncon brand”, so to speak, was created in the first Finncons held in Helsinki in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Finncons are supposed to be big events, with no entrance fee, concentrating on literature. This far most, if not all, guests of honour have been writers instead of television figures.
There’s of course a simple explanation for that. For the price of a world-class author, the most you could get from the world of audiovisual sf is “the third storm trooper from the right”. Still, the main reason is the Finnish fandom’s desire to concentrate on literature.
This has proved to be very successful. Over the years, Finncons have gotten bigger, bigger and bigger, becoming major cultural events in Finland. For over a decade already, the number of attendees at Finncons has been in the thousands instead of in the hundreds. They have also attracted more and more English speaking fans, since they have a part of their programming in English.
In 1995, Finncon was held outside Helsinki for the first time, in the town of Jyväskylä. From then on, the task of arranging Finncon has rotated from town to town. In 1999, for example, Finncon was held in Turku for the first time. In 2008, Tampere, too, became one of the towns to organise Finncons.
One interesting feature of Finnish fandom is also the fact that a bidding process, when it comes to con running, is a virtually unknown procedure here. Unlike in many other countries, the towns or con committees do not have to campaign against other towns for the permission to arrange Finncon, and the rotation is decided in mutual understanding.
This could also seen one of the secrets behind Finncon’s success. No matter where Finncon is arranged, it has always been the endeavour of the whole Finnish fandom, not only of the local fans. Finland is, after all, a small country, and it is a small wonder Finncons are such big events. The main responsibility has of course always fallen on the fans in the town hosting the con, but organising cons wouldn’t be possible without everyone doing their share.
Naturally, Finncons wouldn’t be possible without money, and over the years Finnish con organisers have become very good at gathering funds from government grants and looking for sponsors and partners.
This in turn is a result of the fact that sf/f as a literary genre has perhaps had a slightly better reputation in Finland than in some other countries. Why that is, however, would be a subject of a separate article.
There’s also been a significant amount of work being done to bridge the gap between fans and literature researchers. For example, academic meetings (more on those later) have been held together with Finncons for over a decade now.
When speaking of Finncon, it would be remiss of us not to mention the existence of another large Finnish event, Animecon. Animecon can be said to have branched out from Finncons 1999 and 2003, although anime-themed programme had also featured in previous Finncons.
Finncon X, the tenth Finncon, held in Turku in 2003, was a landmark in many respects. Not only was it also a Baltcon and Eurocon combined, it was the first time Animecon was arranged with Finncon at a larger scale.
The organism known as Animecon soon outgrew its host. For nearly ten years, Finncon was known as "Finncon-Animecon", and colourfully dressed anime and cosplay teenagers became an inseparable part of the event.
After a while the fact that Animecon had become permanently attached to Finncon raised rather audible as well as understandable grumbling among sf fans. Many older fans felt they had lost their con to anime and that Finncon and Animecon had already become too big to be organised together.
In the end, the decision was made to separate the two cons. In 2010, Finncon became merely Finncon once more, and the Finncon-Animecon held in Turku the next year – FCAC 2011 for short – was the last of its kind. This was due to the sheer size of Animecon. The general consensus is that it will be good for Animecon to continue its voyage as a separate entity.
For Finncon the separation meant considerable downsizing, making the event much more easy to organise. However, it needs to be pointed out as well that Finncon was a festival with thousands of attendees even before Animecon came along.
The year 2015 is also another landmark in the history of Finncon. For the first time since 2004, no Finncon is held in Finland. Instead, a new event called Archipelacon is organised in Mariehamn in Åland, based on the experiences gathered from Åcon (more on that later).
Archipelacon appears to be an attempt to combine the best of both Finncon and Åcon. It presents a slightly different image from Finncon, and the plan seems to be to create an event that is smaller but more internationally focused than Finncons. Archipelacon is also the first bigger sf/f con in Finland for a long time to have an entrance fee.
The latest Finncon so far has been the one held in Tampere in 2016, with the authors Jasper Fforde, Catheryne M. Valante and Anne Leinonen as the guests-of-honour. In 2017 there won't be a Finncon either, but a Worldcon 75 in Helsinki instead. The event will be a huge endeavour for the Finnish fandom as a whole.
What about 2018 then? Will there be a Finncon? There will be, this time back in Turku. The plans for Finncon 2018 are already underway, with none other than yours truly as the co-chair. I must have a few screws loose in my head...
Finncons are for the masses. They are large-scale events, fandom’s showcase to the world of mundanes. Apart from them, however, there are many smaller, informal gatherings of fans, other cons as well as parties of all sorts, video evenings, summer picnics and so forth.
In most towns with a sf/f club, there are also monthly meetings of fans. These meetings are called ”mafias” (the roots of the phrase go back to the Helsinki fandom in the 1980s) and they usually take place in a pub. The idea is that this is the place to get to know local fans if you have just moved to town.
In a way, the development of the Turku fandom is an interesting exception to this. During the last ten years, the sf/f societies’ clubhouse in Turku, Terrakoti (“Terra Home”) has become a “geek living room” of sorts, a place for especially the younger members of the Turku fandom to hang out, read magazines or books, have discussions etc. Also most of the sf/f parties in Turku take place at Terrakoti.
National book fairs are also important venues for the fandom to promote sf/f. The oldest of them is the Turku Book Fair held each autumn. From the very beginning, the Turku Science Fiction Society has had a stand at the fair and has also arranged sf/f related programme items during the fair. This has proven to be a great way to make science fiction and fantasy known outside the fandom. During the past few years, the sf/f stand at the fair has become a co-operative effort of several organisations in the Turku fandom.
In 2001, the Turku Book Fair got a rival, the Helsinki Book Fair, which quickly became the bigger of the two. People in the Helsinki fandom have also co-operated from the very beginning with the Fair organisation. For a number of years now, Helsinki fans have had their own stand at the fair, and the ”Science Fiction Sunday” is a part of the official programme.
One interesting tradition that should also be mentioned when speaking about the Finnish fandom are the annual co-operation meetings. In these meetings, representatives from all the societies around Finland report on the past year and discuss their plans for the coming year. The main reason for this is the sheer number of Finnish sf/f societies and activities. The meetings are arranged in order to help future projects, to spread information and to prevent booking future events on the same weekends.
For a number of years now, the co-operation meetings have taken place in a cabin in Tampere, with sauna and a pub night afterwards. A Sunday brunch has been added to the schedule due to the amount of topics that need to be covered. In other words, the co-operation meetings are much more than just meetings. They are also a chance for people who are active in fandom to meet each other without the hassle of a con to take care of.
One of the highlights of the summer for members of the fandom are the picnics taking place in the summer. At the moment, two national picnics are organised annually: Huviretki tienpientareelle (Roadside picnic), inspired by the book Stalker by the Strugatskys and organised in Viikinsaari, Tampere, and Suomenlinnan huviretki, a summer trip to the Suomenlinna fortress island in Helsinki. Like the co-operation meetings, the picnics offer a chance for the core fandom to meet, but they are less official and more relaxed events, with fun and catching up as the main focus.
One rather unique form of co-operation within the Finnish fandom are the sf/f researcher meetings, mentioned earlier in this article. By now, several Finnish universities have students doing their thesis research on science fiction and fantasy. The researcher meetings are oriented to these students, and they aim on one hand to share knowledge and experience among researchers, and on the other hand to prevent overlapping research.
There is a similar mechanism for preventing overlapping events. As we all know, the summer in Finland is very short, and there are only limited amount of weekends to arrange cultural events. The Finnish ConCon calendar aims to help organizers of sf cons, role playing events, comic book festivals, book fairs and so on to avoid booking their events on same weekends. There is also a Finnish conrunner con of the same name.
Sometimes small is beautiful
For many years, Finncon was the only “real” sf con for a Finnish fan. Finncon was, and still is, the biggest and most beautiful of the sf events, and it inevitably overshadowed other, smaller events. It is understandable that for many, especially younger fans, it was hard to take sf events of under a thousand participants seriously. There seemed to be no middle ground between Finncon and events of a few dozen participants.
Although Finncon still remains the flagship of the fandom, the situation described above has gradually begun to change. There is a growing number of events aimed particularly at the fandom of a certain town, with perhaps around a hundred participants instead of several thousand.
One of the oldest small-scale sf cons is Tähtivaeltajapäivä (Star Rover Day) organised in Helsinki. Details of the first Star Rover Days are shrouded in fannish mystery, but during the last decade or so it has grown considerably. On Finnish scale, Star Rover Day could probably be called a ”mini-con”, the number of attendees being only a couple of hundred instead of thousands, and the whole event lasting only one day.
On the other hand, compared with the cons held in many neighbouring countries, there’s no reason why Star Rover Day couldn’t be called a “real” con; it has already fulfilled all the criteria for one. There have been world-class guests of honour each time, panels all through the day and a con party afterwards. For many Finnish fans who grew up with the Finncons and Animecons, Star Rover Days have even been a revelation of sorts: the first small con they’ve attended.
Escon on the other hand is a similar, one day long convention held in Espoo (neighboring town of Helsinki) by the Espoo Science Fiction Society ESC. The main difference between the two conventions is that Escon is usually an even more low-profile event than Star Rover Day – for example, it doesn't have a foreign guest of honour.
Another small con is TamFan, which has been arranged semi-annually for over a decade and a half now. As the name suggests, it is held in Tampere and concentrates on fantasy. Like Star Rover Day, it is only a one-day event, but in other respects it’s a full-on mini-con.
A convention strongly resembling TamFan is Turconen, a one-day event held in Turku. The event was born in 2012 as a heavily literature-oriented counterpart for TamFan. The aim is to hold the event every other autumn in the Turku Main Library. In 2012, Turconen was a one-day event, but in 2014 the event lasted for two days because it was organised together with a Swedish-language event called Fantastik.
Turku has also given birth to a new event called Terracon. As mentioned above, the gathering place and living room for the geeks in Turku is Terrakoti. At the moment, the office is shared by six different geeky associations: two sf clubs, an anime club, a role and board gaming society, a console game club and a Swedish language association for general geekery. The idea of Terracon, held in 2014, was to create an event for everyone interested in the above-mentioned activities where the associations could reach new fans and potential new actives.
In 2015 the actives of Terrakoti, and Tutka in particular, ended up arranging another small-scale event called Aikavänkyrä (roughly translated "Wobblycon"). The event in question was originally intended as a Doctor Who seminar, but since it would have been otherwise cancelled, Tutka picked up the torch. The end result was the first Doctor Who themed minicon ever held in Finland, complete with cosplay contest and an after party at Terrakoti.
When speaking of the events organised in Turku, Atonova is also worth a mention. Until 2005, Finncon was mainly organised biannually. This meant that during the Finncon-free years, the Atorox price distributed by the Turku Science Fiction Society was awarded at the Turku Book Fair or another event. However, in 2002 the idea was born to organise a separate award event for the Atorox and Nova prizes, and thus, Atonova was born.
Due to nature of the prizes, Atonova has always placed a heavy emphasis on writing. In addition to the award ceremony, panel discussions on the theme of the event have always been a part of the Atonova programme. Since Finncon has been an annual event for a long while now, Atonova has only been organised three times, the last one of which in 2015.
As stated earlier, Finncons have got bigger and bigger over the years, some could say too big for many older hard-core fans. It seemed that many of them wanted something less crowded. Thus in 2007 a completely new kind of Finnish con was organised. The con was called Åcon, held in a hotel at the Åland islands located near the Finnish coast.
Åcon could be called the first Finnish ”relaxicon”. Therefore Åcons have been much smaller than Finncons, more closer to the Scandinavian con size to be exact. This may also explain why Åcons have managed to attract attendees from several neighbouring countries, most notably from Sweden.
Åcon is held in a hotel in the Åland islands, and its participants consist mainly of fans with a steady income which many younger fans do not have. Therefore, two years after the first Åcon, it got a sibling event of sorts, held at exactly the same time.
The con is called Econ (as in “economy class”) and it is aimed at poor sf fans. The comedic, one-evening event held at Terrakoti aims to parody real cons. Econ has had its own world-class guests of honour, such as “cardboard Darth Vader” or “a roll of toilet paper”, etc., and its programme consists of completely spontaneous panel discussions. Econ has been held seven times so far at Terrakoti, with the exception of Econ 3 which took place at an extra-low-budget ferry trip to Eurocon 2011.
To make things even more confusing, let’s add to the list one last smallish and less than serious “con” held at Terrakoti with a similar sounding name. This con is Bacon, and a major part of it consists of eating – you guessed it – the meat product of the same name, as well as watching audiovisual sf/f (usually Star Trek) and anime with related themes. Bacon themes have included, for instance, gender, race, money, friendship, etc.
Bacon was arranged for the first time in 2009, and it has been held annually ever since. It is also worth mentioning that the main thing which sets Bacon apart is that it is officially multilingual. It is organised by the Turku-based Swedish-speaking student society FUI, with the assistance of its Finnish-speaking counterpart Tutka.
Another similar, low-budget, small-scale sf event is Lokacon, arranged annually in October by the Jyväskylä sf society 42 . Lokacon has been arranged for a few years now, but the details of the event remain a mystery for the writer of this article, since he has so far failed to attend one.
Finnish sf/f awards
Every fandom has its own awards. Finnish fandom is no exception.
The most important Finnish sf/f award is undoubtedly the Atorox award which has been presented annually by the Turku Science Fiction Society since 1983. The name of the award is a tribute to the author Aarne Haapakoski and his classic robot Atorox who appeared in numerous novels in the 1940s and 1950s.
Atorox is awarded to the best Finnish science fiction or fantasy short story published in the previous year. The winner is decided by a jury comprised both of representatives from all the Finnish sf/f societies, as well as individual fans. It is usually presented at Finncon or some other major sf-related event.
The award has a significant role in the Finnish sf scene and among the Finnish sf writers. The thing is, the field of Finnish sf short story writing is a thriving one, and the number of works on the Atorox long list is usually over two hundred nowadays. This is thanks to the work done in the field and the number of Finnish sf zines and short story anthologies published annually.
The Tähtivaeltaja award (Star Rover award) is presented annually to the best sf book (novel or short story collection) published in Finland in the previous year. The book doesn’t have to be an original Finnish work; it could also (as is frequently the case) be a translation.
In 2001 the award was granted to a Finnish book for the first time: the short story collection Missä junat kääntyvät (”Where the Trains Turn”) by Pasi Jääskeläinen. So far the award has been given to a Finnish author only four times during the award’s 25-year history, last time in 2013 to Quantum Thief, a novel by Hannu Rajaniemi, a Finnish writer living in Scotland.
The aim of the award is to encourage publishers to publish better sf/f. Particularly during the first decade of the 21st century, the books recognised have tended to be literary sf/f. The winner is decided by a jury selected by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society. The first Star Rover award was given in 1986.
In 2007 the Star Rover award got a sibling of sorts, the Tähtifantasia award (Star Fantasy award), also presented by the Helsinki Science Fiction Society. The aim of the award is similar to that of the Star Rover Award, with an emphasis on fantasy. It is given annually to a translated fantasy book.
The Kosmoskynä award (Cosmos Pen award) is presented by the Finnish Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association. The award is granted as recognition of excellence in the field of sf/f in Finland. In 2001, for example, it was awarded to Johanna Sinisalo for all the PR work she has done over the years for Finnish sf/f, and in 2014, as amazing as it is, to yours truly. In some respects, the Kosmoskynä award could be seen as the Finnish equivalent of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.
The Kuvastaja award (Mirrormere award), presented annually by the Finnish Tolkien Association, was granted for the first time in 2001. The award has elements from the Star Rover and Star Fantasy awards, but it focuses on fantasy. The existence of the Kuvastaja award is also the reason why domestic fantasy is not considered for the Star Fantasy award.
Most Finnish sf/f awards are “serious awards”, with the aim of raising awareness of genre literature in the media. Then, just as there are more serious cons and less serious cons, there are more humorous sf/f awards.
A good example of this is the Jet Ace Logan award, presented by a group of people in the Helsinki fandom, also called the infamous ”Mundane Collective”. It has been presented since 2002, often during the afterparty of Star Rover Day. The prize is given, and I quote, ”to the most idiotic attempt to conquer the Earth” and ”to the most stupendous way to foil that plan”.
In 2002, for example, it was given to the movie Reign of Fire (an army of dragons with only one male) and to Will Smith (for his achievements in such films as The Independence Day and the Men In Black series). In 2005, the winners were the aliens in the new War of the Worlds movie and Mel Gibson in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs (stopping the conquest of the world with a glass of water).
Another award presented by more or less the same people in the Helsinki fandom every year is the Tuestin award (Bracer award). It’s given for Special Behind-the-Scenes work for the Finnish fandom. The concept is to remind fans about the existence of people you don’t see basking in the spotlight but whose work but whose work is crucial for the Finnish fandom.
In 2006, the Espoo Science Fiction and Fantasy Society ESC decided it was time for yet another wacky Finnish sf/f award. Eppu Apina award (Eddie The Monkey award) is an award for ”a significant Espoo-ethnic science fiction or fantasy achievement”. The first to be granted the honour was ”the marquis of Matinkylä”, Vesa Sisättö, one of the ESC’s founding members.
Another similar award is, or rather was, the Lumimies award (Snowman award) presented by the Oulu Science Fiction Society Polaris. There have been categories like ”Humanoid of the Year”, "Breeder of the Year", ”Chauvinist SF Act of the Year”, ”Disappearance of the Year” and so on. The last one could be presented to the Snowman award itself though (and it was, at least once) since the prize hasn’t been presented for a number of years now, due to Polaris's disappearance from the map of Finnish fandom.
Finnish sf/f clubs and zines
In many cases drawing lines between zines and clubs in Finland is very difficult, if not impossible. The thing is, there has never has been actual "fanzine culture" in Finland, at least in the strictest sense of the word. The zines, in almost all of the cases, have been born around a town-based club. This has, on the other hand, given the zines longevity they might not otherwise have had.
Over the years there have also been town-based sf societies that have flourished for a while but then disappeared, some of them more than once. This is the case with the town of Oulu, for example. There has been fandom activity in Oulu for decades, but so far there has been three clubs to run it.
First there was the before mentioned Oulu Science Fiction Society Polaris, with its zine Mytago, after which its place was taken by the Oulu University Science Fiction Club OYSFK. The latest incarnation, born only a few years ago, is called Oulu SF society Iku-Turso (the Eternal Turso).
This is often the case in smaller Finnish towns. If there's no university to sustain the fanbase and new people to keep the club active, several crucial persons moving away at the same time may kill the society. That has happened twice in the town of Lahti, and lately the signs of life haven’t been promising in Joensuu either.
On the other hand, lately there has also been activity in towns previously unknown on the map of Finnish fandom, such as Pori and Vaasa, and there's even rumours of something happening in Rovaniemi, way up in the north. This may very well be thanks to social media and Facebook which makes it very easy for people to connect with each other.
Besides the ones founded in late 1970s and early 1980s, there are several clubs in Finland that do not publish their own zine. Many of them are younger and came into being in the 1990s, some even later than that. As with the zines, there have been numerous obscure sf/f societies over the years. Deceased organisations have been left out of this review.
One might say that starting societies is one of the favourite activities of the Finnish fandom. Over the years, we’ve seen the birth and in some cases also the disappearance of groups like ”Ye Olde Cavaliers Scientifiction Boozing Guild”, ”The Grumpy Bald Sci-fi Fans Association” and “Señor Humidor’s Amazingly Sciencefictional Cigar Society”. Don't ask.
Most Finnish fanzines have started out very modestly, with only a few xeroxed pages. Over the years, the field of Finnish zines has undergone quite a metamorphosis. Some zines have become bigger and bigger, some have maintained their fannish appearance, and some have disappeared altogether.
Those which have ceased publication are not included in the following list. Although many zines have disappeared into history, there is still a wide range of zines being published.
The biggest of them look more like actual sf/f magazines than fanzines and could be called prozines or semiprozines. In some cases, the society itself has more or less disappeared, and all that’s left is the magazine it publishes. This is the case especially with Tampere Science Fiction Society’s zine Portti.
The following list lists Finnish zines and the clubs that publish them. Unless otherwise stated, the zines publish short stories (both domestic and translated), news, reviews, articles, illustrations, comics etc. and are published quarterly. All of them are run by volunteers, meaning none of the people behind them get paid, including illustrators, writers and editors.
Most Finnish clubs have their own pages on the Internet as well. They are mainly in Finnish, but usually there’s a summary page for non-Finnish speakers.
Tampere Science Fiction Society
Editor Raimo Nikkonen
Tampere Science Fiction Society’s Portti (Gateway) is undoubtedly the biggest and most successful Finnish sf/f zine. It is professional-looking, printed on glossy paper, over hundred pages per issue, nowadays all in colour. It has been published since 1982.
The Tampere Science Fiction Society also arranges an annual sf/f short story competition, undoubtedly the most important Finnish sf/f writing competition, with substantial cash-prizes. The competition has been arranged since 1986, and the prizes have grown bigger and bigger. Over two hundred short stories are submitted to the competition annually.
One can’t deny the fact that Portti is the most successful Finnish sf/f zine. On the other hand, it tends to be an island of sorts, and one could argue whether it is actually a part of fandom. For a number of years, the Portti competition dominated the short story writing scene, and the stories published in Portti as well as the winners of the Portti competition tended to dominate the yearly Atorox poll.
During the last few years, the situation has changed drastically, and the field of Finnish sf short stories has become much more heterogeneous. The greatest reason for this has been the growing number of publication channels, first by the advent of online magazines and later by the anthologies created by several small publishers. However, judging purely by the number of pages, Portti remains the largest sf magazine in Finland.
Helsinki Science Fiction Society
Editor Toni Jerrman
The Helsinki Science Fiction Society is one of the main forces behind Finncons and the presenter of the Tähtivaeltaja and Tähtifantasia awards. For many fans, however, the society is more known through its magazine, also called Tähtivaeltaja (Star Rover).
Tähtivaeltaja is a professional-looking sf/f magazine, printed on glossy paper, with about 100 colour pages, published since 1982. From the very beginning it has been the Finnish sf/f magazine with the most edge. One main element in Tähtivaeltaja and the Helsinki ”mafia” in general has always been a fascination with black leather and studs, and one must admit that in the early days Tähtivaeltaja looked almost as much like a punk zine as an sf/f one.
For a sf/f publication, Tähtivaeltaja also has an art direction emphasising illustrations which express considerable appreciation for the female form. Although the zine has mellowed a bit over the years and become a ”real magazine”, it hasn’t lost it’s edge altogether, and for many fans Tähtivaeltaja is still the best sf/f zine in Finland. Especially in the early days, the branch of sf/f Tähtivaeltaja took special care of was comics. In fact, many well known artists started their career in Tähtivaeltaja.
Tähtivaeltaja has also done valuable work by publishing articles on new and upcoming trends and writers in the field of sf/f for Finnish readers, often beating its foreign counterparts.
Turku Science Fiction Society
Editor Akseli Pekkarinen
Founded in 1976, the Turku Science Fiction Society is the oldest of the Finnish sf/f clubs and therefore forms the starting point for the history of the Finnish fandom. TSFS’s Spin is also the oldest of the Finnish sf/f zines. It has been published since 1977 and has had its ups and downs over the years.
As noted earlier, there’s always been a very clear distinction between fandom “generations” in Turku. This can be seen clearly in the history of TSFS. During late 1990s it went through a more or less complete blood transfusion as the old guard stepped aside and the new generation of fans took over.
For a decade or so, TSFS was probably the most active and energetic sf/f society in Finland. One proof of this were the Finncons of 1999 and 2003 in Turku. This was also a turning point for Spin, and there was a dramatic rise in its profile and quality. Spin took on the look it still has today: professional-looking, printed on glossy paper, about 40-60 pages, with colour covers.
Everything has an end, and by 2004, it was evident that the wind had gone out of the society’s sails, and the ”new generation” had in turn become ”the old guard”. During the last few years, however, it seems that history has repeated itself, with a new generation of fans starting to emerge.
Because of its long history, TSFS is also in many ways one of the cornerstones of the Finnish fandom. It presents the Atorox award, organises sf/f coverage at the Turku Book Fair and is the co-organiser of the Nova and Novice short story writing competitions. Worth mentioning is also its extensive sf/f library with over a thousand books.
At the moment there is a very clear division of labour in the Turku fandom between the two biggest sf societies: TSFS and its younger counterpart Tutka. For a number of years now, Tutka has taken care of the audiovisual entertainment and smaller projects, and TSFS handles the bigger, literary endeavours.
Women have traditionally had a big role in the Finnish fandom. One proof of that is the fact that Spin had only female editors-in-chief for over a decade.
Finnish Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association
Editor Miia Outinen
Finnish Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association's (FSFWA for short) Kosmoskynä (Cosmos Pen) has been published since 1984. It too has had its ups and downs over the years. Kosmoskynä has had numerous editors-in-chief, and each run with a new editor has had a very distinctive look.
Being a writers’ zine, Kosmoskynä has always concentrated in writing, and especially during the last decade and half, in domestic sf/f in general. There are columns and articles on writing, interviews of novelists, information about writing competitions and writers’ guides. Kosmoskynä also reviews all Finnish short stories published annually in zines. The number of the stories is currently way over fifty per year.
Like TSFS, FSFWA is one of those cases where the zine and the society that puts it out are equally important. FSFWA has a wide range of activities for writers, such as a free feedback service for members, writing courses and so on.
FSFWA also has close ties to TSFS, and for example the Nova short story writing competition, aimed at beginning writers, is one of their co-operative projects. Nova has been arranged since 2000 and has in many respects become the second most influential sf/f writing competition in Finland. In 2007 Nova got a sibling as well, Noviisi (Novice), a sf/f short story writing competition aimed at 13-17-year-olds, arranged semi-annually with TSFS and Tutka.
Editor Anne Leinonen
As the 2006 version of this article was published, Usva (Mist) held the title of the youngest Finnish sf/f zine. In the time of its creation it was also the only Finnish sf/f e-zine, one which readers could download free of charge in PDF format. It is also one of the few Finnish sf/f publications that fulfill the criteria of an actual fanzine. Usva was, and still more or less is, created by one person, author, editor and fan Anne Leinonen.
Usva has been published quarterly since 2005. Some of the issues have had 80 pages or more. It consists mostly of short stories, and during its five year run it has published hundreds of stories. The policy of Usva’s editor is to focus on diversity and publishing good stories, regardless of genre. One could say the zine has taken on the bold challenge of bridging the gap between mainstream and sf/f readers.
Even though Usva has published pure science fiction, fantasy, and everything between and around them, a big part of Usva’s image, in a way, are stories that represent a sort of “Finnish New Weird” (or, as it been since branded, “Finnish Weird”), with roots deep in realism. Some of the short stories published in Usva are sf/f only marginally and can be placed in the hazy area somewhere between sf/f and mainstream prose. Usva has also done a couple of English specials worth checking out.
Jyväskyla Science Fiction Society “42”
Editor Lasse Ranta
The Jyväskylä Science Fiction Society, 42, is one of the societies that have more social than zine activity. It burst into fandom in the early 1990s and has been very active since then.
The 42’s most important contribution to Finnish fandom has undoubtedly been being the major driving force and main organiser behind the Finncons held in Jyväskylä. The first Finncon was held in Jyväskylä in 1995 and so far the latest in 2014. One of the secrets behind the Jyväskylä Finncons is that 42 has managed to create working ties with the Jyväskylä Arts Festival.
42 also has a zine called Alienisti (Alienist), published yearly, with the new issue usually out for Finncon. Even though Alienisti can’t compete in content with some of the bigger zines, it’s a good example of suiting activity to resources. 42 also arranges its very own small-scale con called Lokacon annually in October, mentioned earlier in this article.
Legolas / Hobittilan Sanomat
The Finnish Tolkien Society
The Finnish Tolkien Society was founded long before the fantasy boom or the movie versions of The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, all the way back in 1991. Although J.R.R. Tolkien has a prominent role in the society’s activities, it is not solely for Tolkien fans, but for Finnish fantasy fans in general. Currently the Finnish Tolkien Society is the only society in Finland that is devoted purely to fantasy.
The society has put out not one but two zines: Legolas and Hobittilan Sanomat (Hobbiton Times). Of the two, Legolas is the actual zine, Hobbiton Times more like a members bulletin. Both of them look much like the zine Marvin and Escape (see below). They are A5 in size, Legolas about 40 pages, Hobbiton Times 20 or less, black and white only. Legolas is also the older of the two, published since 1991.
The Tolkien Society is a great example of a club that puts more emphasis on other activities than putting out a fancy zine. It has lots of activities of which most are concentrated around Helsinki. It also has a lot of subdivisions called “smials” all over Finland, some of which are as active as the actual society.
In 2012, a new leaf was turned in the society as the Tolkien Society decided to combine their forces with the online forum Kontu (Shire). The society’s name was also changed, and nowadays it is known as Suomen Tolkien-seura Kontu (The Finnish Tolkien Society Shire).
The society also presents the Kuvastaja (Mirrormere) award for the best domestic fantasy book published in the previous year.
Marvin – the Lehti
Helsinki University Science Fiction Club
Of all the zines in Finland, Marvin (Marvin – the Zine) is probably the one that looks most like an actual fanzine. It’s xeroxed-looking, about 30 pages long, and in A5 size, usually filled with lots of weird inside humour and other baffling bits. With Marvin you never know what to expect.
Every issue has had a different theme and layout, including pornography, religion, swords, turkeys, concrete, hot chocolate, world conquest, socialism and so on. There have been issues like ”von Märviken” with lots of ufo-related stories, for example an erotic sf story from ”Emmanuel Arse”, ”Gentlemen’s War-Marvin” and pulp-styled Marvin special ”Stupendous Stories”.
Lately, the folks behind Marvin have also begun to play around with the magazine format as well. For instance, one issue of Marvin was a “crazy scientist” wall calendar, another a sleak-looking Cosmopolitan-style magazine, the third a steampunk-themed vintage newspaper full of strange news, etc.
The Helsinki University Science Fiction Club is one of the main forces behind the Finncons in Helsinki. You pronounce HYSFK ”GooGooMuck”. Don’t ask.
Espoo Science Fiction and Fantasy Society
The Espoo Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, ESC for short, was founded in 2004. Espoo is one of the largest cities in Finland, but due its closeness to the capital, many don’t see it as more than a Helsinki suburb. ESC’s goal seems to be changing that concept and showing that even Espoo can have its own unique brand of fandom.
Many of the issues of ESC’s zine Escape have had an ”Espoo-ethnic” viewpoint. One of the articles for example stated that ”Living in Espoo is like living on Mars”. Escape looks much like Marvin, but is even more fannish in appearance. One reason for that may be that many of the fans behind Marvin and HYSFK are active in ESC as well. ESC is also behind Escon, a minicon mentioned earlier in this article.
In 2009 ESC announced that it will make changes to its strategy. Instead of merely putting out two issues of Escape per year, it started to also publish specials, some of which have resembled an actual book. The special made in 2009 was Fantastic Espoo, a travel guide to Espoo with blatantly fictional content. In 2011 ESC continued the series with Tieteiskirjailuja (roughly translated as "speculative needlework") and in 2013 with Ken vainajia muistelee, a short story collection of paranormal stories based on and inspired by Finnish folklore.
Editor Ben Roimola
Enhörningen (Unicorn) is the fanzine of Swedish-speaking Finnish fandom. It was established in 1987 by Ben Roimola, publishing short stories, articles and literary and audiovisual reviews.
Enhörningen publishes both original Swedish short stories and Finnish (and foreign) short stories translated into Swedish. Enhörningen also has excellent web pages, and one could say they are the Finnish fandom’s best showcase to the Swedish speaking world. It also serves a wider national public with news and reviews.
Enhörningen is being published infrequently, that is to say, when the editor has enough time or money to do so.
Turu Mafia Zine
Editor Tero Ykspetäjä
Turu Mafia Zine (Turku Mafia Zine) has more or less the same principle as the infamous although nowadays very inactive zine called Mundane. You can’t subscribe to it anywhere but have to be present at Turku mafia to receive your copy.
The main difference between the two zines is that Turu Mafia Zine is much more comprehensible and easier to understand for a non-insider. It consists mainly of news and other bits and pieces you can actually use.
Another thing that sets the zines apart is naturally the age. Whereas Mundane belongs to the mythical past of the Finnish fandom, the first issue of Turu Mafia Zine was published in fall 2004. The zine’s editor Tero Ykspetäjä is also rather active in documenting the events of Finnish fandom in his blog Partial Recall.
Finnish H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society
As it was stated earlier in this article, due to the small number of Finnish-speakers, societies or zines focusing only on one, clearly defined area of sf/f field, let it be a franchise or a writer, have been relatively rare in Finland.
However, there have been several attempts at niche organisations, many of which have even managed to flourish for a time. There’s been Spock’s Hut and its zine Outpost, Star Alliance and its zine Free Galaxy, and of course The Finnish Tolkien Society and Legolas. The Finnish H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, founded in 2010, is the latest attempt in this series.
At the time of the previous publication of this article in 2011, the society was only stretching its tentacles and taking its first slimy baby steps. The first issue of its zine, Nyarlathotep, since then renamed Kuiskaus pimeässä (Whisper in the Darkness), was published in that year.
For a while it appeared that this society, too, was following in the footsteps of its predecessors into an even swifter death. By 2014 its life was already hanging by a thread. However, at the moment it seems that the Finnish H.P. Lovecraft society has avoided that fate after all, and it has recently started various new co-operation projects with other sf societies in Finland. We wish the society a long life, whatever form it chooses to take. Iä Iä!
Literary horror seems to be on the rise in the Finnish fandom in general. This may be because the generation that spent its adolescence reading works of Finnish fan writers during the first "Lovecraft boom" in 1990s has now reached adulthood. One proof of this is the birth of a new horror zine called Kuolleen silmät (The Eyes of the Dead), whose first issue was published only recently. More information will be available as soon as the writer of this article manages to get hold of a copy.
In fact Finnish fandom seems to be experiencing a sort of horror revival and there's even an own smallish con purely for horror in the making. One explaing factor for this may be the fact that the writers who were at impressionable age in the time of the first Lovecraft boom in Finland in early 1990's, when Finnish fan writers started to adampt Cthulhu mythology in Finland, have now reached adulthood and have started writing their own Lovecraftian short stories.
Editor Tuomas Saloranta
Every action has a reaction, and the whole history of literature seems to be shaped by reactions, usually to the preceding literary movement. This is also the case, although on a small scale, in the Finnish sf/f scene.
One could say that one of the major trends in the Finnish fandom during the last decade has been the attempt to break or obscure the barrier between sf/f and mainstream prose as well as to steer the genre towards more literary sf. In 2010, however, a group of writers, lead by short-story writer Tuomas Saloranta, declared that they felt Finnish “speculative fiction” had already become way too ambitious and artsy.
They wanted to return to old values, shamelessly straightforward adventure stories in the footsteps of Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Rice Burroughs. This literature movement was called “Uusrahvaanomainen spekulatiivinen fiktio” (“Neo-vulgar speculative fiction” or “Neo-Pulp”), URS for short. After its birth we’ve seen the publication of several anthologies as well as an URS themed zine.
The zine was originally called Uusrahvaanomaisia tarinoita (Neo-Vulgar Stories), but the name has been changed to Kultakuoriainen (The Gold Bug) since then. Like Usva, it is being published as an e-zine and everyone interested can download it free of charge.
In 2011 the first URS paper anthology, Pimeyden reunalla (On the edge of Darkness) was published by Tutka. After that, we’ve witnessed an explosion of new sf theme anthologies by different small-scale publishers – more anthologies in a few years than during the last few decades combined!
It may well be that as a literary movement, URS has already filled it purpose; the movement and the writers gathered around it have already significantly renewed the publishing situation in Finland. At the moment Kultakuoriainen is on a hiatus due to Saloranta’s other numerous anthology and publishing projects, including his own one-man publishing house Kuoriaiskirjat. URS also has its own brand-new bar-based mafia.
The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research
As it was stated earlier in this article, the Finnish fandom has had close ties with the scholarly field. In 2013 it was decided that a separate society was needed to promote research on science fiction and fantasy and other close genres in Finland. The society was called The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (Suomen science fiction- ja fantasiatutkimuksen seura ry), FINFAR for short
Soon afterwards the first issue of Fafnir, the Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research saw its creation. Fafnir is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary academic journal published by FINFAR. The journal aims at serving as an international forum for scholarly exchange on science fiction and fantasy and for discussion on current issues on the field.
Fafnir publishes various texts ranging from peer-reviewed research articles to short overviews, essays, interviews, opinion pieces and academic book reviews on any subject suited to the paper, and it is published in electronic format four times a year.
The Science Fiction Culture Cabinet at the University of Turku
Turku University sf/f Club, Tutka (Radar) for short, is the second sf/f club in Turku and was founded in 1995. Its idea was to offer an alternative to TSFS since some people felt it had already become too heavy and bureaucratic.
For a number of years Tutka organised extremely popular video evenings, with pre-shows of sf/f series that were not yet known to the masses in Finland, most popular of them being perhaps Babylon 5.
For some years Tutka was relatively inactive. In 2008 it was taken over by a whole new crew, with visible results. At the moment, Tutka is undoubtedly the most active sf/f society in Turku. Tutka is also the main organizer of Finncon 2018.
At present, the strategy of Tutka is to function more like a club than a society and encourage its members to socialise with one another. Among other things Tutka is behind Varjomafia (“Shadow Mafia”), a weekly meeting of sf/f fans arranged at Terrakoti. Varjomafia was started by yours truly and has been arranged in Turku since 2005. Tutka also arranges parties, video evenings as well other social activities, and is involved in most events in the Turku fandom.
Tutka could be described as the closest equivalent to HYFSK in Turku because it specialises in activities that can be organised with minimal preparations and that are above all fun. For example, Tutka has had its own, tongue-in-cheek style reception during the president's ball on Finland’s Independence Day for a number of years now.
In 2012 Tutka arranged "shadow elections" at the same time with the Finnish presidential elections, with well-known sf bad guys as candidates (all strangely resembling the presidential ones). After a two round process Tutka got its very own, democratically elected Master of The Universe for the six-year term, namely General Zod. As it was stated earlier, in 2015 Tutka even tried its wings in small-scale conrunning.
Tutka also has an irregular line of publications called Kabinettikertomuksia (Cabinet Stories). The first Cabinet Stories were very fannish in appearance, but during the last ten years, the quality of the publications has become more professional, making Tutka a small-scale book publisher.
In 2006, Tutka and FSFWA published an sf/f writers’ guide, Kirjoita kosmos (”Write the Cosmos”) and in 2008 an anthology of erotic sf/f called Hekuman huipulla (”Top Desire”). Tutka’s latest publication is Spekulatiivinen Turku (”Speculative Turku”), published in 2016, a collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories taking place in Turku.
Föreningen för underliga intressen
One of the latest additions to the family of Finnish sf/f societies (although this definition changes quite rapidly) is called FUI. Its name is an abbreviation of the words ”Föreningen för underliga intressen”, roughly translated as ”Society of strange interests”.
It is also based in Turku, or to be more exact, in Åbo Akademi, the Swedish-speaking university in Turku. FUI’s idea is to offer a meeting place for all the students of Åbo Akademi with ”strange interests”, e.g. science fiction, fantasy, anime, gaming and so on.
In many respects, FUI could be called Tutka’s Swedish speaking-counterpart, and the two societies have close ties. FUI was founded in 2006 and has so far arranged several fun and fannish gatherings for its members, including Bacon, mentioned earlier in the article, and an annual sporting event consisting of throwing pieces of computer hardware.
Also, the society seems to have a strange fascination with cabbage. Again, don’t ask.
Spektre, short for ”Speculative fiction in Tampere”, represents the second generation of fandom in Tampere. There has of course been fandom activity in Tampere as long as fandom has been around, but unfortunately the Tampere fandom split more or less in two at a very early stage. One part grouped around Portti, another around the now departed sf/f zine Aikakone. With Spektre around, there’s hope the old scars can be forgotten.
Spektre has functioned for a decade now. It arranges mafias, video evenings and other informal gatherings, but has no plans whatsoever of publishing a zine. However, Spektre plays an active role in the fandom. Among other things, it hosts the fandom’s annual co-operation meetings and the Viikinsaari picnic. Spektre was also the main force behind Finncon-Animecon 2008 as well as Finncon 2012, both held in Tampere. Next time Finncon will be in Tampere in 2016.
When the first version of this article was written back in 1995, the Internet as we now know it was only beginning to take form. Since then the net and the world in general have changed considerably. Now most information exchange between Finnish sf/f societies is done online, a concept that itself would have been pure sf when the Finnish fandom began.
Considering Finland’s reputation as being at the forefront of new technology, it’s surprising that compared with many other countries, there have been only very few sf/f themed websites. Most Finnish sf/f societies and zines have their own web pages, but in almost every case they exist merely to promote the actual zine or society, not as an independent medium.
One explanation for that is tradition. During the course of the last thirty years, Finnish fan and prozines have taken the role webzines have in countries where fandom came into being more recently. Had the Finnish fandom not existed in its present form from the 1970s, there would probably be many more sf/f related websites.
In the last few years even this seems to have changed. When the first radically updated version of this article was published in 2003, there were just a couple of sf/f discussion forums in Finland. Since that time their number has practically exploded. We’ve also seen a birth of several Finnish webzines.
However, in many cases, the life-cycle of a discussion forum has been quite short. Many forums that began flourishing have disappeared quietly. At one point writers’ forums in particular multiplied rapidly, resulting to them competing with one another. This means it is very difficult to estimate which forums currently on the web will survive.
The largest, most long-lived and successful Finnish discussion forum for sf fans is without doubt Risingshadow. The forum was born as a database of fantasy novels, but it branched out quickly and became a popular, flourishing discussion forum. At the moment, Risingshadow also holds its own monthly mafia bar meetings.
In the beginning, Risingshadow was above all a forum for fantasy fans who were clearly younger than the average fandom members. As the years have passed the differences have balanced out, and although traces of this history still remain, Risingshadow works closely together with the rest of the fandom. Among other things, Risingshadow has excellent bulletin board for sf/f books being published in Finnish and other related news.
The literature database, however, is still the core of the Risingshadow website. It’s worth a mention that the forum also has an English side for non-Finnish-speakers.
So there you have it, Finnish fandom in all its glory. This was naturally only one view of it, and a different author might have given a different picture altogether.
The only way to get an absolutely accurate view is of course getting to know the Finnish fandom personally. And that is most easily done by visiting one of the Finnish cons. You didn’t think Finncon 2003 would be the last Finnish Eurocon, did you? Before that one happens, however, I suggest you to put 2017 in you calendars, since that is the year of the Finnish Worldcon. See you there!
Partly translated in 2003 by Liisa Rantalaiho. Copyedited in 2011 by Val Grimm, additional translations in 2015 by Suvi Kauppila.