Posted by jukkahoo
Last weekend the annual Swecon took place in the luvverly medieval city of Linköping. This was my third Confuse (as they like to call their convention) and as the previous ones, this was a very good one. Nice location, good GoHs and pleasant atmosphere.
We took a morning flight to Arlanda on Friday and grouped with almost the whole of Finnish contingency for the train trip. Kennet and Jan came by boat and arrived earlier. Swedish trains are very comfortable and while we almost did jump to a wrong train, we eventually did manage to take the right one and arrive to our destination without losses.
Since we had time to kill before the con started, we decided to stroll the town a bit. It looked more or less the same, except Genghis Khan Mongolian Barbeque was no longer where it had been in 2008. Or 2002. Sad. Later, Sari managed to find the new location, past which we had actually walked when sightseeing. Very non-descriptively Mongolian their new look. I thought it was an upscale barbershop.
We had a lunch at Grekiskt och Gott, and it was Greek and good. Halloumi especially was tasty. Then the tragedy happened.
We went and bought few items of drinky&eaty from Hemköp and while I was marveling the efficiency of their self-service stations and the mechanics of exiting the store, I lost my credit card. My bad, I cannot blame anyone else, I just lost it. Which made he rest of the trip probably a bit less expensive (?) and traditional, as we had to use actual bills in order to pay for stuff. All this when we had actually talked about how easy it is to travel in Sweden, when you don't have to use cash or their equivalent Monopoly money.
Bit of dent this credit card business, and I was somewhat down about it, too. Hence the Friday night was an early one for us, though I did manage to have a nice chat with Britt-Louise and Wennerström and couple of other people at the lobby after I had closed the Bid's table. Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London -novels are really recommended.
All in all, Friday was a relaxed day of meeting old and new friends, having a few beers and chatting about trivial things. And witnessing the Spirit of Swecon - once again! - not-loosened upon the gathered congregation, as it was lost. Again.
Sari woke up at some god-forsaken hour, but somewhat surprisingly, I was also up before 7AM and headed for the brekkie-room, where only elderly Germans were making noises and stuffing their pockets with munchables. As I am not the most morning-person I know, pretty much the opposite, I took my own table, but Carolina had other ideas and brought with her this Ben-person. Nice chap, writes fiction.
Saturday was the big program day for me, four items of various seriousness levels. Before that, however, I went to see Sari's panel on Finding the Fantastic (Where do you find recommendations about what to read/see and information about fantastic literature, movies, tv?). Nice discussion, though I could see the trend of middle-aged men swapping stories, with a female moderator keeping them in some semblance of an order. Perhaps someone younger and of opposite sex might've given the panel a bit of variety.
The first of my own, What to read next? (It is not easy to find the good books) was (again) a nice book recommendation panel with Socialist-Simon leading the hers and Sini, Olov and yours truly telling a bit about the recent books we had read. I think it was a decent and varied selection, maybe a but thin on the SF-side (especially harder stuff), but other wise a very nice group of books.
After some loitering and book browsing (and possibly a beer), I talked about the Bid (A presentation of the work on the bid for a Worldcon in Helsinki 2017 and some thoughts about the politics involved) and how has it been trying to get the Worldcon to Helsinki. Well, tough and not always to my liking. But I hope this will be beginning of something new and interesting, not only for Finnish and Nordic fandom, but for the whole international field. If we win, of course. And even if we don't. That itself will speak volumes about the worldliness of fandom. Dozen people had lost their way and were listening my ranting. Some even asked questions. And chatted afterward!
I believe we went and had some delish sushi before my next program item Hugopanel with Puppygate (Panel discussion on the Hugo-nominated novels. Quality? Which one deserves to win and why? The nominations this year have been intensely discussed since two groups calling themselves the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies have succeeded in obtaining many nominations by telling people to nominate from a prepared list). Kisu took the lead, while we, four middle-aged men pontificated about the nominees and the sadness of puppies. Amicable chatter, which covered the bases and managed to talk about the novel nominees fairly thoroughly. Clearly too short a time and too large a topic, unlike at Archipelacon, where these two were given separate panels and more time.
The proper ending for the day was my Kuis?, which I hosted with my very own Osman, Fia Herself! People have said that the show was fun and since i was there and I had fun, I'm willing to believe them. And it was fun.
There is this BBC quiz show called Pointless, which I have for some time now thought about ripping off trying out myself and when I had this brilliant idea about outsourcing my research to outsiders at Archipelacon's Åmazing Race, I knew I had my Swecon-quiz. Pre-interviewed group of 60 people were asked a number of questions and then my quiz participants were asked these very same questions and if the contestants were able to answer correctly, with the least amount of answers by those 60 people, or better still, NO answers, they'd get little or no points. Which sort of is a good thing in a game called Pointless.
Dreaded Judge Fia was tough, but fair and the contestants smart and funny. Oh, Tobias, you sure know how to talk to a lady... If you're now damning yourself for not getting to Confuse and witnessing this spectacular, fear not, for I'm doing it again next year in Tammere. Suomeksi.
There may have been an actual evening party at De Klomp, but since I didn't hear about it, our late night was spent at the lobby with a ever larger group of people. And beer. Chatting away happily and enjoying the Swecon Spirit, which by now had found its way to the Frimuraren.
Sunday felt like an afterthought, I didn't see any programming, I bought only one book (!) and chatted with some of those I hadn't yet had time to do; Bellis, John-Henri, PatrickC osv. Then a train (thanks for the tip, Kennet!) trip to Arlanda, ribs at O'Learys and another 45 minutes in the air ("That can't be Åland already?" "Well, what else could it be?" "Yeah") and we were home. With one very happy Mogens.