I think it's fair to say that when I started this blog back in 2008, I never expected that a few years later I'd be attending a book launch in the sumptuous surroundings of the Finnish Ambassador's residence in Kensington Palace Gardens.
Yet that is exactly how I spent last Friday evening, celebrating the release of Hannu Rajaniemi's debut SF novel The Quantum Thief
with a variety of people from the genre publishing world and various scientific sectors (Rajaniemi is certainly well-connected). I chatted for a while with Jon, Simon and Darren from Gollancz, before we all sat for the speeches. The Finnish Ambassador gave a short, humorous speech, before Simon from Gollancz took to the podium to say a few words (below right), followed eventually by Rajaniemi himself. In a nice personal touch, Rajaniemi's mother also stood up and said a few words, as well as playing a youthfully exuberant recording Rajaniemi made of a story he wrote during his childhood.
After the speeches, more wine was consumed and genre conversation resumed. No doubt the ambassador's residence has played host to a number of important conversations in the past, though I bet the merits of the first Tron film have never previously been discussed beneath those extravagant chandeliers. I was fortunate to grab a few minutes with Hannu to have my picture taken (above left) and exchange a few pleasantries.
My recollections of what followed after leaving are somewhat disjointed (there was lots
of free wine), though I recall ending up in a gay bar with Jon and Darren from Gollancz, Dave Bradley from SFX, and Dave's boss Stuart from Future Publishing. The less said about that, the better I think. ;)
Anyway, a great night. Next stop on the genre debauchery trail...the Gollancz annual party in a couple of weeks.
Thanks for posting this, I am a proud Finn :). I got my piece delivered by Amazon.co.uk and I hope the book lives up the high expectations!
Wow, I didn't even know there were any SF writers coming from here
Looks like it was a lot of fun and the setting is very impressive. I don't think I've ever been inside an embassy before.
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