Monday, December 15, 2014

Helsinki in 2017

I'm a fairly new con goer. My first ever con of any sort was in 2012. That was Finland's biggest science fiction con or Finncon. The next year I, with two friends, gave a talk in Finncon 2013 and come November I went to World Fantasy for the first time. With that I somehow fell in with con organizers. I'm still not entirely certain how that happened. I'm not officially affiliated with any con but suddenly I have friends on pretty much most of the various con boards I know about. Most important of those being the bid to bring Worldcon to Helsinki.

The Worldcon location gets voted on two years before the actual con happens which means that the Helsinki bid gets voted on at next year's Worldcon in Spokane. And here are a few reasons why I think everyone should vote for Helsinki.

The organizers

Now I am not entirely objective about the bunch of people in charge of organizing this con and the bid associated with it since I consider many of them to be my friends. Having said that these are the people to make stuff happen. I'm fairly certain these people could put a colony on Mars within ten years if they had the budget and the inclination to put their minds to it. And most definitely they are the people to arrange an amazing convention. Pretty much everyone I've met who is officially affiliated with the bid has chaired several conventions and they are not the people for making the same mistake twice. They're well connected, persuasive and fantastic problem solvers. For the past few years they've been managing to get merchandise and Finnish traditional foods and drinks to cons all over the world. Anyone who has seen the overseas mailing fees should be impressed that they've done that and not gone bankrupt in the process. Heck, I know how they've done it and I'm impressed. The people doing the organizing are alone worth voting for the Helsinki in 2017 bid because anything they put their minds into is going to be a great time.

The audience

Last year at Loncon3 I met tons and tons of people for who it was their first Worldcon. The last time Worldcon made it into Europe was in 2005. Living as we do in a global economy any creator would do well to make sure their audience is as wide as possible. One great way to do that is to meet your potential readers face to face. And what better than to connect over your mutual love of all things science fictional/ fantastical? There are other people who would remind you that if Helsinki doesn't win Worldcon would stay in the US for seven out of eight years and while it's a good point, for me personally having a diverse audience is more important as a creator. And having diverse Worldcons is a good start for creators to make that happen.

The potential

Finland is big on the whole culture thing. If Helsinki gets the worldcon, there will be programming in multiple languages. Yes, pretty much everyone in Finland speaks at least a little English. Even both my grandmothers spoke English. They might not have had the vocabulary to have an extensive debate about philosophy but even they knew enough to give directions. There are all kinds of funds the con could get if there is programming in more than one language. And who doesn't want to hear Aliette de Bodard talk science fiction in French - whether they understand French or not.


The biggest reason I think Worldcon should come to Helsinki is Helsinki itself. My city is, in a word, amazing. Big enough to be exciting, small enough to not be unwieldy. Great transportation options and especially good for the Worldcon crowd because the city is offering everyone free public transportation for the duration. There's lots to see, including a historic fortress, a zoo with some unique species of animals, museums, art and culture galore, wonderful food and tasty water. Beyond the con itself, Helsinki is a great city. And worldcon would be a wonderful excuse to take some time to explore the wonderful place I call home.


  1. Helsinki has my vote! It sounds amazing. Plus, I would know if I managed to get there, you'd get me to all the cool stuff. Right???


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