Worldcon 75 from a first-timer’s perspective

I’ve had quite a busy autumn, so this update comes somewhat late as the con was held almost two months ago already. In the meantime I’ve moved to Kajaani in northern Finland to begin Game Development studies at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences. I’ve also set up this new site and a blog to replace my two previous online projects. So, the Worldcon, for those who don’t know, is the world’s biggest science fiction convention held annually since the 1930’s. Worldcon and the coinciding Hugo Awards gala (“the Academy Awards of science fiction”) is an annual event, held usually in a new location every year. Due to the recent popularity of fantasy the con also has a strong fantasy influence. Indeed, the biggest guest name was probably George R. R. Martin, whose work has become immensely popular internationally.

Worldcon 75 was held on the beginning of August in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, in the Messukeskus convention center in Pasila. The location was secured thanks to the tireless lobbing of finnish fans (and some outside help as well). The timing in 2017 is indeed quite fortunate, as Finland celebrates it’s 100th year of independence. Worldcon 75 is already regarded as one of the biggest Worldcons so far (though I doubt the claim of quests from 6 000 different countries!). As a first-timer I was generally satisfied with the event’s volunteer-powered organization. The biggest and only inconvenience for me was the sheer multitude of people attending the con. However, limiting the sale of day passes seemed to make the situation more manageable to the organizers.

The panels were fun (the queing wasn’t), but personally the most interesting part was the five-day film festival in the auditorium 201. The film festival included some short horror movies, which seems to be an art form of it’s own. Martin wasn’t the only high profile quest, as the guests of honour also included other writers from Finland and abroad. There was also the Swedish astronaut Kjell Lindgren, who participated in some of the panel talks. Next year’s Worldcon, Worldcon 76, will be held in San José, California. As fun as the Worldcon was from a first-timer’s perspective, the travel distance might cause some difficulties with a student’s budget. However, in 2019 the Worldcon 77 comes back to Europe and will be held Dublin.