It has been a few days now since I returned home from Worldcon in Helsinki. Worldcon 75 to be precise. But for me it was Worldcon 1. I’ve been to national cons in Sweden, to Archipelacon in Åland, and to two Fantasycons in the UK, but this was my first worldcon.
It’s a massive experience. I arrive Thursday afternoon as I had other commitments before the con which meant I missed the first one and a half days, but I still got so much out from the con during the three and a half days I was there.
I went to a few panels and got to listen to some really interesting people. Met a lot of old friends – and made some new as well. All in all an unforgettable event. Well organised, friendly, and generally lovely on so many levels.
I took part in three sessions as well. The first one was a discussion group about Nordic SF&F publishing and cooperation possibilities. Very good discussion, with good input from people outside the Nordic countries as well.
Then I had two panels, the first one being Saturday morning. Me, Cheryl Morgan, Gillian Pollack, Jo Walton, and Scott Lynch talked about gender stereotypes in fantasy fiction and especially about how those aren’t true in “real life history” once you start to research it. I must admit I was a bit nervous because we had been given a huge room – that got totally crowded. But all went well, and I at least learned a lot from me fellow panellists and hope that my contribution added something as well.
The last panel was on Sunday afternoon, and I thought it might be somewhat less crowded but I was mistaken. Several people couldn’t get in so once again a “full house”. This discussion was moderated by Heather Rose Jones and included myself, Jacey Bedford, Jo Walton (again) and Angus Watson. We talked about using real history as a world building tool. Advantages, dangers, examples, and that kind of stuff. We had great fun, and I think the audience enjoyed it too. We got some really good questions at least and I take that as an indication that everyone felt involved.
Arrived home past midnight on Sunday, totally knackered – but with a smile all across my face.
All in all a tremendous time. Lots of inspiration received, and many great moments. Don’t know if I will make next Worldcon, but Dublin 2019 is already marked in my calendar. For me it will be a little bit like going home, so it is bound to be something extra.