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I spent the weekend at Finncon the largest fantasy and sci-fi related convention in Finland. I went to a lot of interesting panels, writer interviews and even danced some para-para (a japanese dance). During the weekend I lost a lot of money, mostly on books and the con t-shirt. What I most liked though were the quests of honor at the con: Alastair Reynolds, George R.R. Martin and Adam Roberts. Each one was a very interesting speaker and Adam Roberts even managed to be funny, even though he was invited for being an academic, if I’m correct.  I thought I’d write shortly about these three and why you should read their books. All three were just names to me before the con, but managed to get me interested through their appearances.

Adam Robert's speech windows commercial totally unintentional

First Adam Roberts. He works at the University of London and does academic stuff there writing sci-fi on the side or whatever one might call his books. Probably not how he would describe his job but he did mention that being an academic isn’t a very hard job, or is atleast relaxed. It was occasionally hard to know when Roberts wasn’t making a joke since he was tongue in cheek most of the time. Perhaps because his books don’t sell that well he doesn’t have to worry about keeping his sales up. He mentioned himself that the reason for that is that he writes such depressing books. I quess putting the climax of his novel in the middle, making the rest of the novel a huge anti-climax doesn’t help either(I think this is in his newest book: Yellow Blue Tibia). Its rather hard to recommend the man’s books since I haven’t read any of them but he would likely answer even a critical email about his book gladly(he seemed nice and wondered himself why his books turn out so depressing). If you have the chance to see Adam Roberts live somewhere I wholeheartedly recommend doing so, he’s rather funny and charismatic as well( married and has kids though, just in case a woman might somehow read my blog, shudder).

Naruto

I quess Alastair Reynolds should go next. I only saw him at one panel, which didn’t last all that long what with the microphones being dead for the first 15 minutes. I did manage to catch his kaffeeklatch though and eagerly listened as he answered questions from people who had actually read his books. He was interesting to listen to as well. I gathered that he writes rather a lot of space-opera. There was a short story of his on the convention leaflet and I enjoyed that one very much. In the story a technician aboard a space ship has to wear his deceased friend’s space suit. Scientific stuff blended with interesting characters and thought provoking as well. Judging from the short story I’ll be checking his work out as well.

George R.R. Martin being the oldest of the three goes last, but not least. I’d heard of his series A Song of Ice and Fire before but hadn’t read a single one of his novels before going to the con. I bought the first part of the series: A Game of Thrones after hearing him talk at a number of places around Kaapelitehdas (where the con took place). I’m at page 149 now and took a break from reading to write this piece. One of the best scenes so far just took place. I’ve been reading with a lot of excitement since you really have an idea what’s going to happen next and Martin writes in a very holding fashion, its a page-turner alright. R.R. Martin was one of the most interesting talkers at Finncon as well. Especially hearing about his background as a writer for television was an eye-opener. A Song of Ice and Fire is for a television series by HBO, so that’s something to look forward as well. Think I’ll finish the books first though. I believe I’ll post something on Game of Thrones once I finish it. I know I haven’t been updating very regularly but this is merely because my weekends have been rather full and there’s been short vacations and stuff.

No doubt being a sharp reader who notices things you’re wondering about the Naruto above (not Alastair Reynolds cosplaying) and these pretty ladies from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess are doing related to this post. Well, animecon was going on at the same time so Kaapelitehdas was pretty much taken over by creatures from all kinds of anime series. The girls below and especially the one cosplaying Midna deserve a mention though. Midna looked even better live and a lot of time must’ve went into making that suit.

That's what I call cosplay

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I know I wrote in my about section that I wouldn’t be writing about music but I have to make an exception since I had such a nice experience on Wednesday. The name of the duo was of course Vermillion Lies. They played at Kerubin Kuppila. I don’t know how to describe their music. The duo consists of two sisters, Zoe and Kim. They came all the way from Canada to play for us, and some other places in Finland and Russia. They both sing while one of them plays guitar and the other plays some weird drum kind of thing. During the gig they took the weirdest of things from a big box they had with them. Of course the crowd had to ask what’s in the box before we found out what exactly would be played during the next song. The things included a sort of grill, a dancing marionette that made a nice cloppity-clop sort of sound. At one point they played a washing board.

The lyrics were quite different from song to song. The first song in the set was about two sisters, a true story they said, who were tied together by the ends of their long hair. Then one of them met a man, who then cut their hair in two. One song was about the galaxy, which in the song appeared as quite a sexy place. If you’re interested you can go to their myspace to listen to their music yourself or even download their albums here. They’re all over the Internet so if you do like their music there’s a twitter to follow, Facebook group to join, live feeds to follow, blog to read and a website where you can find most of the aforementioned as well.

Recently I’ve been in closer correspondence with Indie-gamedevelopers after starting to review games for Uljas, the student magazine of Joensuu. They’ve been kind enough to send review copies of their games and been very polite and nice in doing so. Especially ACE-Team whose game Zeno Clash I reviewed. I haven’t asked any bigger game studios for review copies so I don’t know how they’d respond to a query. The same goes for Vermillion Lies. I’d call them Indie as well. They were wonderfull on stage and were kind enough to talk a little after the gig as well. What I’d like to say is: Hurray for Indie-games and indie-music!

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Deadwood

Deadwood poker

As a big fan of westerns I had to check out HBO:s series Deadwood. I’ve watched the first season and started watching it again now. So I thought I’d post some thought on it. The first thing that trikes you is how grimy and dirty the characters look. You feel that this must be pretty close to what the people in a mining town would’ve looked like. What people do is also pretty disgusting. Like it probably was in reality as well. In the second episode one guy pisses on the corner of a bar and chats with a couple of guys passing at the same. The series seems so gritty and real on the outside already.

Settling the deal

Then there’s what the people in the series do. The meanest motherfucker in the series is Al Swerington, the owner of the bar/brothel Gem. He’s basicly the leader of the town (that does change later in the series), but in the beginning he’s the crime boss in town. Making crooked deals with a rich guy from town, murdering anyone he pleases and then getting rid of the body by giving it to the towns pigs. Besides him all other character also have their own number of flaws. Calamity Jane is a chronic drunk. Wild Bill is no hero and like in history he gets shot in the back by some idiot he angered. My favorite character in the movie though is Seth Bullock. He used to be the sheriff in Montana but came to Deadwood with a friend of his to form a hardware store.

Bullock and Trenchmouth

Bullock is your typical western hero. Trying to do the right and honest thing. He instantly gets cross with Swerington and there’s a great tension between them. All the badass characters in the movie are incredibly pissed all the time. Everyone seems to listen very carefully to who they’re talking to and think at the same time: “Is this fuck insulting me?” Bullock especially. He even walks extremely tensely. Hands on his sides, probably in fists as well and shoulders held closely. My favorite scene in the series is when gets in a fight with this extremely tough indian. What’s great about the fight is how real it seems. No fancy moves, just a fight to the death. The most disgusting character in the series is the hotelkeeper. The man reeks of dishonesty miles away. He makes me feel physically revulsed.

whores!

Later in the series what’s great is that even though most people in Deadwood seem to hate each others guts they have to try to get along nontheless. Especially when legislation arrives to town and the guys you don’t like can’t be murdered anymore. The series seems to be about civilization arriving to the town. The episode where the city officials are chosen is a good example of this. Bullock naturally becomes sheriff and the hotel keeper is chosen to be major(so Swerington and other big guys can bully him around). If you want a gritty and realistic western series Deadwood is for you.

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So you’ve just clicked the link leading to this blog and what you are most likely thinking is whether there’s anything interesting to read here. Below this post are a couple of opinions on Slumdog Millionaire which you may or may not agree with, if you have watched the movie of course and are able to form an opinion on it. But this post is about this blog. As it says below the header what you’ll be seeing on this blog are opinions on games, movies and literature. Once I get the blogging machine going there might be some humour as well, very black and dry, but humour nontheless.

If you are interested please read my thoughts on Slumdog Millionaire. I’ll enjoy any comments you make and try to answer them as quickly as possible. If you enjoy this enough you can bookmark this blog and perhaps return later for some more opinions.

I’ll have to approve your comments before they appear to prevent spam, but a comment from a username once approved will from then on appear instantly.

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