Worldcon 75 Helsinki: Day Four

By The Literate Programmer, Fri 18 August 2017, modified Sun 20 August 2017, in category Worldcon '17

Finland, Helsinki, Worldcon

Thoughtful panels and other worlds

This day started off with a workshop on writing better convention reports, where basically the first thing I heard was how the style of con reports I'm writing is boring. Oops. They are mostly ways for me to remember things better, but I think I'll try to do things differently starting with the next event I attend. For this Worldcon, I'll finish the way I started. Åka Davour, a science journalist, lead the workshop and did so very well, I thought.

The next panel I saw was very interesting, I thought. Talking about Mental Illness in SFF, the panel got quite personal, as several of the panelists spoke of their own experiences with mental illnesses and how they and their families cope. Of course, they also talked about the way that it's represented in SFF and there were a bunch of things to criticise. Afterwards, I asked a few extra questions, which got some good answers and possibly inspired one of the authors to focus a bit more on the people around someone with mental illness. Inspiring an author feels good, lemme tell you. :)

After the previous day's panel on Asian fandoms, I attended a panel specifically about SF in Japan, hoping to get some recommendations for books from Japanese authors that I'd be able to read. I didn't get many of those, but a more in-depth view of Japanese fandom isn't uninteresting either. I think I'd have gained more, if I'd come from a country with a strong organised fandom to compare to, but fandom here is basically non-existent. Anime/Manga fandom has a long-standing convention and Fantasy Basel has recently sprung up, but both of the events are more expo-style, rather than fannish conventions.

Of course, it might just be that there is organised fandom and I've never heard of it, but they certainly don't advertise any cons...

I got lucky to attend Built Upon The Shoulders Of Giants, simply because George R.R. Martin's presence attracted a lot of people. He didn't end up speaking a whole lot, and unfortunately, I don't end up absorbing a lot. I had some sort of low and almost fell asleep during the panel.

Meaningful choices and funny stories

Walking over to the next panel seems to be just what I needed though and I'm ready to listen to Meaningful Choices in Interactive Fiction. Presented by Mary Duffy from Choice Of Games, it was an in-depth look at interactive fiction, which is a genre of games I'd not had a lot of contact with, previously.

While I was far more awake for the Folklore and Myth in the Fantastic panel than for Built Upon, I didn't take a lot away from it. It's not even that the panel was bad, just not as informative as I'd hoped.

Tall Technical Tales wasn't informative, either. But it was a whole lot of fun. Kjell Lindgren1, Helen Pennington and Guy Consolmagno2 told hilarious, outrageous stories of things (almost) going horribly wrong. Particularly Pennington's presentation was so deadpan it was incredible.

Almost last but not least, I attended a panel on Gaming and "Regular" Fandom and how they might intersect. With some of the panelists unfortunately missing and a tiny audience, it turned from a panel into an open discussion, which was rather fascinating and very very cool.

I was then again lucky enough to get into the Masquerade at the half-time show, where I got to listen to Sassafrass singing about norse myths and fandom. I'd been super impressed by Ada Palmer the day before and that appreciation just kept deepening. She does so many things so well despite any hurdles in her way, I can't help but wonder if she isn't hiding a time turner or three somewhere.

  1. Actual astronaut. 

  2. aka "The Observer from the Vatican", director of the Vatican Observatory