Book recommendations

Here is a list of books, graphic novels and zines recommended during the ÅcOnline Book recommendations programme item. The links go mostly to Wikipedia. Enjoy!

Prågram for ÅcOnline 2021

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—19.45 Book 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!

21—21.45 BotN Discussion about this year’s Book of the Night (Lisa Goldstein: The Red Magician).

Chatting etc

Book of the Night for May 13th

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’s The 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.

Åcon 11 postponed to 2022

Dear members, fellow Åconites,

In a move that will, unfortunately, surprise few of you, due to the still ongoing pandemic and the measures taken to slow its spread, we are yet again postponing Åcon 11. It will take place in 2022, having yet again travelled in time to welcome you at a more auspicious date.

While we have high hopes for a normalisation during 2021, given the fact that we have a working vaccine, our conclusion is that the chances of the situation having stabilised in May seem very slim indeed. We need to spare everyone involved the unnecessary work and costs. Adlon, our hotel, will take another financial hit. We need to let them know and plan. We want to avoid our members paying for non-refundable travel at a time when the committee doesn’t believe it will be possible to arrange a convention.

Fortunately, we have few costs we can’t recoup. Åcon 11 will still take place. It will just have to be in 2022 instead. The same convention, the same members, the same Guest of Honour. The Ascension Day weekend next year is 26 May to 29 May. We hope that you’ll remain a member of the convention and that we will see each other next year, but if this doesn’t work for you and you want your membership refunded, please let us know at acon-shop@fandom.fi.

If you have booked a hotel room at Adlon, please contact the hotel to cancel your booking.

As for the immediate future, we will arrange for something small to take place online on 13 May 2021. It’s not the same thing. The same thing, however, remains out of our grasp for the time being, and our plans now are intended to allow us to briefly come together, albeit at a distance. We will reach out to you with more details.

Take care, have patience and support those in need of support.

This, too, shall pass. Eventually.

Johan Jönsson, for the Åcon committee

You might like this

Here are some things that came up during the Squee panel at the digital beta Åcon and also during other discussions.

Virtual Åcon this Saturday!

This Saturday, June 13th, we are doing a small, digital get-together, a virtual Åcon, a kind of beta version of the real Åcon 11. Our Guest of Honour, Tasha Suri, will read and do a short Q&A, we’ll hang out, do a panel and a quiz, and discuss the Book of the Night, Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue.

We will be using YouTube for the GoH talk/reading and Zoom for the rest of the programme items and general socialising. The YouTube part will be open to everyone and can be reached through the link in the programme below. The programme items on Zoom will be for members only and all members have been emailed the Zoom link.

The programme is as follows:
(Note: the times are in Finnish local time, that means starting time is 14:00 in Sweden and 1PM in the UK.)
15:00–15:10 Opening
15.30-16.30 GoH talk/reading (available to members and everyone else too through YouTube)
17:00–18:00 Quiz
18:30–19:30 Squee!
20:00–21:00 Book of the Night

In between, we socialise over Zoom.