Rasmus Kaj was kind enough to jot down the recommendations given during the non-book recommendation. Here is the list of recommended non-books.
Stellar Horizons; explore the solar system from 2040, realistic physics, designed by space physists.
Terraforming Mars; you play as an organization that wants to terraform Mars. Can be played solo or competitive with common goal.
Comics & Graphic Novels
Jannah; Swedish comic by Johan Jergner-Ekervik & Frida Ulvegren. Earth is overcrowded, Jannah is a newly discovered earth-like planet, that is being developed / exploited. Lots of hallucinations / memories etc. Part 1 hard to get, part 3 not done yet, but part 2 can be read separately.
Lilly the thief; Finish comic trilogy by Janne Kukkonen. In Finnish the trilogy consists of Voro: Kolmen kuninkaan aarre, Voro 2: Tulikiven armeija and Voro 3: Jumalten hauta. The first book is translated to English, French and other languages (apparently not to Swedish, though). Fantasy comic with interesting religious stuff plus fantasy adventure.
Orbital; Belgian comic by Sylvain Runberg (writing) and Serge Pellé (illustration). Translated to English, Swedish and many other languages (apparently not to Finnish, though). Galaxian sci-fi adventures, kind of of like Valerian, but modern and more focus on the long story arc. Great aliens, concepts and so on.
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers; Japanese comic in 19 volumes by Fumi Yoshinaga. Translated at least to English and French. Alternative shogun history. A disease kills male people, interesting gender stuff happens.
Computer and console games
Chrono Trigger; japanese computer rpg. Time-travel story. Play the first two hours, they are worthwile even if you don’t play the entire very long game.
Disco Elysium; very different; dialogue heavy, more like reading a book. The game is written and designed by Estonian novelist Robert Kurvitz. Very replayable by playing with different stats. Nominally a cyber-punk detective game, but you can ignore the detective parts. Available for most platforms (even Macintosh).
Nier: Automata; kind of open world in different modes. You play robots on earth while the humans are on the moon. Great music, many different endings.
BritBox (streaming service) was talked about, seems great, but the version you can get in the nordic countries lacks Doctor Who and science fiction in general.
Cowboy Bebop (Japanese anime-tv-series from 1997–1998, available now on Netflix, 26 episodes with a proper ending) and Cowboy Bebop (US live-action version from 2021, available on Netflix, 10 episodes). The animated highly recommended. Good SF! There is also a new live action version, curiously in the special visual style of the animation, that is also good.
Peacemaker; on HBO Max. A character from the movie The Suicide Squad (which is based on characters in DC-comics) got their own show. Superheroes, but good SF as well.
Raised by wolves; on HBO Max. Weird tv series. First two episodes directed by Ridley Scott. Two androids start a new world for humans. Starts as good SF story, but flips out totally. Second season gets better? Good acting, science doesn’t make sense, explicitly religious.
Snowpiercer; on Netflix. Based on the movie with the same name, which was based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette. First 1½ season very strong, murder mystery and economic critique. Three seasons + maybe more coming (the movie is quite different, politically and otherwise).
Station Eleven; on HBO Max. Based on novel by Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel. Single season with ending.
Sweet Tooth; on Netflix. A big disease, many children are born looking partially like animals, other people die. Dark horror settings, but a kind of light fun feel-good story. Based on comic book with the same name by Canadian artist and author Jeff Lemire.
Tribes of Europa; on Netflix. German postapocalypse. Some tribes speak German and other English.
The War of the Worlds (BBC) and War of the Worlds (Fox & Canal+, available on Disney+ at least in Finland). Very different, one faithfull to the book and set in early 1900s, the other is a modern/future parallell. Interesting to compare.
Our member Bonnie (name used with permission) has asked us to pass on this message to all Åconites:
“To all the lovely people at Åcon: I got a positive COVID test result this morning. I took a test last Tuesday which was negative and I’ve had no symptoms until this morning where I have a slightly sore throat and nothing else. I have been vaccinated three times so I cross my fingers that I haven’t managed to infect anyone else at the con.
Please pass the news on to other Åconites so they can get a test if they get symptoms.”
We are planning a Friday excursion to Smakbyn, with a guided tour and a tasting of their fine liquors. There will be a bus to take us there. The tour & bus will be 47euros/person. There’s also a possibility to join “just” the bus for 10 euros and visit the Kastelholm castle & prison museum instead of Smakbyn (museum admission must be paid separately at the museum). The bus will leave at 10 and return at 13.30. https://smakbyn.ax/en/ https://www.museum.ax/vara-museer-och-sevardheter/kastelholms-slott
The art excursion has unfortunately had to be cancelled because of health reasons.
The Saturday mini-excursion will be something new. Those of you who have been to Åcon before probably remember Mercedes and her chocolaterie. Mercedes’ husband Peter Winquist is a renowned ceramist and together they have created an art garden called ”Lugn och ro” (translates in English more or less to ”Peace and quiet”). A guided tour of the garden takes 1–1 1/2 hours and costs 15 €. The guiding is done by Peter and includes coffee or tea and some of Mercedes’ chocolate goodies. No more than 22 people can attend and we need a minimum of 8 people to be able to arrange this. The excursion will leave at 10 and will return by 12.30. http://www.peter.ax
Mercedes has turned her chocolate magic towards gluten free and vegan products. All her chocolate delicacies are now free of milk, soy, gluten and egg. Mercedes does no longer have a big shop to visit, but she has a webshop and has kindly agreed to deliver orders to Åcon on Friday at 16.00 (between program items, conveniently). So, if you would like some of Mercedes new chocolates take a look at https://mercedesstudio.com/#/Products and when you email or message her your order make sure to mention that this is an order to be delivered to Åcon. You will be able to pay for your order by card at delivery. NOTE: If you are attending the art excursion you will be able to pick up and pay for your order during the excursion. NOTE 2: You must place your order by May 18th at the latest.
As there will be quite a few of us at Åcon, and the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over, we are kindly asking people to behave responsibly. We recommend taking a home test before starting your journey, just to be on the safe side! There is no mask mandate in place in Finland anymore, but if you wish to wear one to the convention, you of course can. We will be emptying the program room between each item and airing it out. Also, if you do fall ill and get a positive test result during/immediately after the convention, it would be great if you could let the con committee know – but of course we cannot force anybody do this. And, y’know, don’t show up if you’re not feeling well.
Unfortunately, our Guest of Honour, Tasha Suri, who originally agreed to come to the convention in 2020, will not be able to make it. The committee extend our thanks to Tasha for carrying the torch this far.
Assuming we can safely arrange the convention in May, our current plans are to arrange an Åcon without a Guest of Honour. The key part of Åcon – both when it comes to socialising and the program – has always been its members; together, we make the convention what it is.
If you, as May draws nearer, feel that you can’t safely attend Åcon this year, let us know and we will transfer your membership to Åcon 12 instead, no questions asked.
Welcome to ÅcOnline 2021! We will, again, be meeting in Zoom — the link will be sent a few days before the actual event on the 13th of May. Please note the times are Åland times, so UTC+3.
We have some light program for you this year. No GoH appearances this time, since we do want to save something for next year when we will be able to meet again! (Hopefully…). So the main purpose of this gathering is to see each other and to remind ourselves that the Åcon community is very much alive! In addition to the scheduled program, there will be opportunities to just hang out and chat, so grab a beverage and join us!
18.30 “Opening” & informal chat
19—19.45Book recommendations: For some, the past year has been prime time for reading! We’d like to hear recommendations based on books/comics you’ve read this year! Quick & snappy recommendations, please, so we can hear as many as possible during the time we’ve got!
20—20.45 Quiz! This year’s Åcon Quiz Covid Online Edition will have a slightly different flavour, not a battle of knowledge on genre fiction and the like, but its fans. Oh yes, dear members, a fandom quiz in the truest sense of the word. Join us for an online zoom-in (pun intended) on the people that make this tiny demilitarized get-together go round!
The first programme item for the small online Åconish event on 13 May is here! We will have the traditional Book of the Night discussion, and this year’s litterature of the late hour is Lisa Goldstein’sThe Red Magician.
Here you can read a presentation of the book by Sari Polvinen:
Most of Lisa Goldstein’s novels are more in the magical realist tradition than pure secondary world fantasies. She has written, for example, about surreal artists in Paris (The Dream Years), a dysfunctional western family in a fictional middle-eastern country (Tourists) and personal histories and secret societies (Walking the Labyrinth). While all of her work is worth reading, her most famous work is still her debut novel, The Red Magician, which won the National Book Award in 1982 and got her shortlisted for the Campbell award.
The Red Magician is holocaust fiction, a story about a young Hungarian Jewish girl Kicsi whose conservative village Rabbi refuses to listen to the warnings of a wandering magician Vörös about the impending war and genocide. It is an intriguing and beautifully written mix of fantasy, Jewish traditions and folklore, and a historical novel. As it is what we would now call middle grade/YA fiction, the lessons learned are not too subtle, but the message of healing, hope and overcoming survivor’s guilt are as important as ever.
If you want to participate in the Book of the Night discussion, now is the time to get your hands on a copy of The Red Magician. As the novel has not been reprinted in some time, your best bet is the friendly local library or a second hand book shop of your choice. The book is also easily available as an e-book or an audio book from wherever you purchase such.