maanantai 14. elokuuta 2017

Worldcon 75- Memory to last a lifetime

First things first- this is a very special episode of Suomi-Rivendell-Asgard. I mainly write in Finnish, since most of my audience has been so far finnish people. But, as the Worldcon is a very global convention and I met a lot of new people from all around the world, I am writing my Worldcon wrap-up blog post in english. This will most likely not be a permanent change; while I would love to have audience from all corners of the Earth, I do not trust my English enough to do this much blogging as I have done and keep my domestic audience with me as well. And I apologize for all the typos, grammar errors and weird idioms in the text in advance. Let's begin.

 So, I just came home from Worldcon 75. It has been a historical con in many ways. This was the first Worldcon in Finland ever! It had a massive number of new attendees! And, of course, it was my first Worldcon ever. I have been waiting for this con ever since we won the bid and it changed from dream to reality. I bought my membership, and then I just waited. But I kinda forgot that the Worldcon was coming. Not that it suprised me, but I did not feel excitment or anxiety- until I realized the con was starting in three days. I became super distressed and nervous about it. I had nightmares about Worldcon and how I lost everything there! What it would be like? Would I like it, or would it be too different or unfamiliar and would I feel totally lost all the time? In the end, I was very glad to realize that all those fears vanished in few moments after I stepped to the convention floor. Let's take this journey day-by-day, and see what Worldcon 75 was all about for me.

Tuesday 8th- the Reception at City Hall

Yeah, that did not help my nervousness at all. I was one of those who got the invitation to the reception at Helsinki City Hall at Tuesday. Dressed in my smart casuals, I arrived at the City Hall with no familiar face in sight. I met some people who seemed to be as nervous or bewildered as me, but kept their cool much better. I was visibly nervous. Why am I here with all these vaguely famous-looking people? I'm so glad I met first two of my Good Companions for Worldcon 75- Helmi and Janimal, who were about as nervous as I was and that helped. We could now continue panicking together, cracking jokes and guessing the identities of people there. Wine helped us to get ourselves together, and we managed to befriend few folks there- of which one was Ian Watson, great British writer of science fiction, including numerous books and tales in Warhammer 40 000 universe! He was super nice, even if I fangasmed all around him. A gentleman in any sense of the word. The party ended soon, and we three wandered to the Helsinki night, some of us slightly drunk, and all very excited for the week to follow.

Me, Helmi & Janimal 

Wednesday 9th- First day we will never forget

And then came the fabled first day. After I *finaly* managed to get to the Messukeskus convention hall, I was surprised at the registeration already! I had heard about SDCC and other cons having gift bags for registered members, but the contents of this "swag bag" managed to surprise me: Few ribbons (oh yeah, I got addicted to the ribbon collecting IMMEDIATELY), restaurant guide, beautiful souvenir book,collection of Finnish short stories, program guide and Helsinki City Travel Card that saved me a lot of money. I soon found my way to the trade hall, and started spending my money and met up with my friends from yesterday. We wandered around, while lot of folks wanted to take pictures of Janimal as Star-Lord and Helmi as Wonder Woman. I spotted George R. R. Martin, and asked him for a photo but he had no time for one. I went to a seriously over-crowded panel, which I left soon because I started to feel faint staying there. The over-crowded panels were a problem at Wednesday, but I was glad that the staff started fixing the problems very soon. Every other panel after that went nicely for me. Best was the koffeeklatch with Ian Watson. He had ton of fun stories about
'cons in eastern europe, about his writing process and how the guy who played Darth Vader was kind of a dick. On a coffee break we met Joe from Australia (Hi Joe!) who was really nice guy, telling us about Australian history and asking about finnish history in return.

Ian Watson
Joe and Janimal making new friends!

We had a ton of fun making a video about Wonder Woman getting man-splained by Star-Lord and The Doctor with Claudia from Germany who needed one for a trophy hunt, took some more pictures for just us and then headed our way to the first parties of the con- Welcome to Finland and New Zealand bid party. Finland's table was full of finnish delicacies like rye chips and liquorice, and NZ had kiwi fruit drinks and cupcakes, that ran out soon. We had more than few drinks, and after that we left for home. We laughed all the way from Messukeskus to train to our own stupid jokes, and I'm pretty sure we caused public disturbance in the local train when our tired, yet excited minds served jokes after jokes even from seemingly small things (I apparently became Helmi's replacement-husband for nitpicking bag-carrying for the con!) and then we drived to Espoo in Janimal's car, after some detours. I had never laughed at con that much in my life. First day was behind use, and I had maked new friends, lost a small fortune on toys and books, and partied with people all around the world. Worldcon did not hold any brakes for the first day, and there were three more to go...

Thursday 10th- All the meetups!

It was time to put some costumes on. I had both DC Comics and Marvel fan meetings on Thursday, so I needed to switch costumes midday! Day started with a panel called Superheroes and Supervillains for Modern Time by Camilla Linde, Siobhan Murphy and Anna Wu, moderated by Patrik Centerwall. It was pretty good panel, even if one of the panelists answered each question really lengthy and kinda out of context. Then was the time for DC Comics meet, and my Guy Gardner Green Lantern costume (of which you can find pretty good picture over here). DC Comics fan meet was super fun. I usually have not that many people (basically one) friends who I can talk about minutia of DC superheroes and why I love them so much, and I was so happy that everyone was just as fanatically opinionated about them! Favorite characters, movies, TV-series and particular comic book runs were discussed very thoroughly in under one hour. We did not agree on anything (how come you people don't like Supergirl season 2?) but I had hell of a time. After that, it was time for a quick costume change. Bye bye Green Lantern, hello S.H.I.E.L.D field Officer A.Timonen! Marvel meet had more people, and I felt at the start little bit lost, but good luck some of the attendees were quick to pick up the discussion topics if I failed to give one. I am immensely grateful for those folks, and Marvel meetup was super fun as well.

DC Comics Meetup
And at the evening, we had a new parties- Ireland bid party had nice spread of candies, cookies and chips, but the "winner" of that evening was Chinese Fandom Fan Party, that had amazing table full of coctail food, wine and champagne for the guests! They gave a nice speech and the feel of that room was amazing; everyone had a ton of fun. We met Joe again, and he bought us a round of beers. I met nice british couple who were going to Tampere after the con, and I offered them some tips for what to see in the city, and they offered me a beer as well! This level of generosity was overwhelming for me, and I felt kinda bad that I had no opportunity to return the favor later. We laughed away to the night with our drinks (free vodka coupons from irish table, huzzah!), ending the second day of Worldcon for me in very joyous times.

Chinese Fandom Fan Party

Friday 11th- Programs!

Friday's costume was Silent Bob, but I don't think no one took pictures of it. Including me. But that was not important, since the theme of the day was fixing Janne's Boss costume and running from one panel to another, and hanging around with the gang. First was Ex_Machina and Feminism by Andrew M. Butler , which was interesting dissection of the Alex Garland's movie Ex_Machina (which is great, btw) and how the different literary sources influenced it's story- mostly Ovid's Metamorphosis tale of Pygmalion and Charles Perrault's folktale Bluebeard. It offered no direct answers, but it showcased both the good and very problematic elements of the movie very well, even if I'm slightly on a different opinion on how the movie was "supposed" to be understood.  After that I went to the Rick & Morty fan meet, which was hosted by my friend Tiira, and that was fun little pause after all the serious talk. Though since some of the folks there had not seen the new episodes (especially Pickle Rick) I couldn't gush over the brilliance of the newest episode (seriously it was the best thing ever). That was followed by the best panel in Worldcon 75 that I attended: Golems and Flying Carpets: On drawing inspiration from Middle Eastern and Asian story-telling tradition, mythologies and religions, without fallling into the trap of orientalism and imperialism, by Nahal Ghanbari, Giti Chandra and Cenk Gokce. With a name and description like that, I was not prepared how much the audience-me included- would laught at that panel. The panelists were great and fun, they had really good points about various themes and ideas and their occasional rants about NCIS ( Cenk's phone started ringing "Not now, tovarisch Putin!") or Avatar ("blue painted white man saves the day!") were both fun and true as hell. But they also dropped some good examples, mainly Kamala Khan from Marvel comics and believe me, this was not the last time I would hear Kamala used as positive example of something in this con!

What the slide says.
From left: Gokce, Ghanbari & Chandra.

After that I went to the Praedor, the Finnish Fantasy Franchise presentation by Ville Vuorela. It was a very good presentation, even if I knew some of the stuff already. It was too bad that there were only few non-finnish people there, because Praedor could take the world by storm if given a chance. I had not heard about Praedor movie being once on a table, and I immediately started vision in my head how I would make one. Praedor movie needs to happen! After that, it was party time again, this time hosted by New Zealand again and also by France, who are bidding for 2023 Worldcon in Nice, France. I got addicted to kiwi juice and to corsican sausages, ate way too much candy and tasted the Pokemon coctail, which was actually really damn good drink.  We met with Rilla and Riaa, friends from cosplaycircles and Alan, who I met during the DC and Marvel meetups. Alan and I had a lot talk about, everything from our respectable action figure collections and how damn good Mask of the Phantasm was. After a while, we left for Janimal's home to fix their suits and try to get some sleep before Saturday. I also saw George R. R. Martin for second time, and asked for a photo but he had no time for one.

Helmi, Janne & Alan
Rilla, Daniel & Janimal. And arms of Riia.

 Saturday 12th- So long, and thanks for all the memories

And lo, it is ther last day for me. I know the con continued for one day more, but I had other duties to attend to back home. Me, Janimal and Janne arrived at Messukeskus early, since Janimal had to attend his masquerade info program at 10:00. I went to see a panel Girl Power! Cool comics written by women by Fionnuala Murphy, CE Murphy and Julie McGalliard. They talked about the difficulties faced by female comic writers, especially how Twitter has been a tool to attack female creators. They showcased cool creators like Fiona Staples, Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda (who won Hugo award for their work on Monstress, congratulations!) and Willow G. Wilson, writer of Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel (see, I told you!). It was a really good panel and we had few laughs there as well. After that, I went to queue for 40 Years of Star Wars-panel with Janne, and good thing we did because that line filled up FAST. Panelists Katja Kontturi, Jussi Alroth, "Evil Ivo", John Coxon and moderator Nikki Ebright offered really good points about Star Wars, it's place in pop culture and what elements that have been circling around in the franchise. It was too bad I didn't see any of the panelists after that, or we did have enough time for questions because I wanted to ask them about the whole "love is the driving force of light side" thing that to me is the heart of the Star Wars mythos. It was really good panel still, and I only wished that it could have continued for couple of hours more.

Katja Kontturi & Jussi Alroth
Evil Ivo and John Coxon (no, John, Jaws was the first summer blockbuster!)

That I think was the officially last panel or program that I attended at Worldcon 75. We fixed Janne's armor again, and then we just chilled around, took some photos of each other. We also had some sorta serious talks, and it kinda showed that the week had been long and we had really become more friends during that time. Juri showed his drone, we took a final tour of the venue and Janimal, Janne and Helmi walked me off to the train station were we said our goodbyes, and I left for Tampere. Worldcon 75 was over for me. 

Helmi, Sanna and Janimal- makeoveeeer!

Oof, the loot I carried home was heavy and priceless:

This amazing Witch King of Angmar with his Fell Steed, bought from Headhunter Store! Thanks, Dean!

Ultimate Captain America WW2-Marvel Select figure from jonny. He sold it to me for bit too small price, so I bought him a coffee later.

Shaun of the Dead and The Producers-dvd's, both really hard to come by!

Green Arrow: Longbow Hunters, Lex Luthor- Unofficial Autobiography, Giant Days vol 4 and Salmiakki Fiction comic books! It's not a con without comic books!

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein from flea market, just one euro!

Worldcon 75 T-Shirt, as expected!

But what I really loved was all this free stuff! Souvenir Book itself was a great read, I got Polish Weird collection for free as well and the Giants at the End of the World -colletion of Finnish Weird loooks very promising little book. I have stuff to read through for a quite while here!

But the best thing in the Worldcon- in addition to great program, global atmosphere, meeting fellow fandom members from all around the world- was hanging around with my gang, the many times mentioned Helmi, Janimal and Janne. There were many I could thank for this con being a awesome experience (For example, jonny, Alex, Alan, Ira, Joe, Patrick & Jackie, Claudia, Jussi, Petri, Jaakko, etc etc  ) but these three wonderful people were the ones who walked me off to the train and I spend most of the time laughing, wandering and being confused together with. Thank you.


I fell instantly in love with Worldcon. This is the con I have always wanted to go- global, full of variaton, nice people and interesting programmes to see for days! I had previously held Ropecon as my favorite convention, but Worldcon surpassed even that. I will definitely go to Dublin for Worldcon 77 (congratulations!) and if possible, to New Zealand in 2020. And if possible, I would love to go there with these same amazing, fun, crazy people I had a pleasure to enjoy Worldcon 75 with. Thank you to you all, this has been a experience that I will remember for a lifetime.

Atte Timonen

Ps. Most of the pictures I took are available behind this link: Skädäm!

Pps. Tampere 2032!

2 kommenttia:

  1. Hey, thanks so much for the shout out in your blog! I loved being on that panel and I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)