I finally went back. I always expected, but didn’t know when I was ready. This felt like a good time for it.
My first proper fandom experience sinceWorldcon 75 was Vinter 2018, a small local con in Uppsala. It’s a completely new idea, made possible by the co-operation between local fandom and Uppsala University’s Adult learning portion Uppsala Vuxenskolan, which is more or less like Työväen/kansalaisopisto in Finland. Offering function room for a small, but well-organised two-day con with a singular program track and a Guest Elizabeth Hand. I think there was one book discussion taking place simultaneously with the actual programming, to which I actually planned to go, but since there were only four Swedes participating, I thought that it’d be better for them to have their chat in Swedish, without me being a simple listening student. Then again, I think I managed to talk about The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe with several people during con.
My trip was a quick there and back, as I flew over to Arlanda in Saturday (that’s 45 minutes of air time) and found myself in Uppsala at around 1,30PM, checked-in to my room at hotel Svava (very nice) and headed to the con location, which was just around the corner from Svava (which in itself was like a stone throw away from Railway station). All in all, everything was very much right in the middle of the Uppsala downtown. Most efficiently located.
I met most of the usual suspects, some who seemed slightly surprised to see me , but in a friendly way, I hope. Zoomed in and found Linnéa and spent a very relaxing hour chatting with her and visiting dignitaries (Néa was taking care or Registration at the same time).
And then I went and saw some programming.
I saw more programming during Vinter than I saw during W75. Or couple of previous Swecons. Or Finncons. This retirement might be a really Good Idea.
A very nice chat between eminently perspicacious John-Henri Holmberg and the always most sagacious Clute. They were supposedly talking about criticism, but as it happens, they touched multiple areas of interest, criticism included, being very erudite, intelligent and mostly entertaining. As were the panelists of Remembering Ursula: aforementioned odd couple, Liz Hand, and the moderating presence of Jessica Elgenstierna. Before that, Johan Anglemark made certain that Liz needed to think before answering to the Guest of Honour interview questions.
And I bought a few books, because. Managed to find an OffuttI didn’t already own and a mysterious Sword & Sorcery novel (“in the tradition of Conan”) Tark and the Golden Tide! And some missing Blaylocks, always recommended. Alvarfondenis always well worth perusing through. It is also a great place to just take a breather when you feel like you’ve had enough social activity for a change and you just want to let your mind wander and be a Finn. I also learned the Mysteries of the Packing, when Vinter was all over and it was time to get the books back to secretive Strovreta.
There was no official Saturday get-to-gether, since they had opted out for Friday pub evening and Sunday Dead Dog. Hence, I joined a group of lovely Swedes and experienced the tastes of Asia in Ai, a very nice Japanese restaurang. Some really tasty sashimi and satisfying bentobox. It was a very nice dinner, where English and Swedish flowed rather freely hither, thither and yon. There were many a moment during the weekend, when I was “forced” to listen and speak the local dialect. Most of the time it was fine, and then there was someone who spoke too fast, or too skånish, or too quietly, but more often than not, I was able to decipher their roligt rhymes. It’s the speaking portion that was more troublesome again, but I think this was the Swedish con I’ve uttered pretty much as much Swedish as English. 50/60. Jajjamensan!
There were few Guinnesses at O’Neills after the dinner, with more fen and chatting, which was very good. I retired at the midnight hour.
I made the classic mistake of thinking that since it is dark outside, there are these flimsy seethru curtains and I am tired, that I wouldn’t need to get up from bed and draw the actual curtains to get a good night sleep. Wrong. Slept like a baby when I finally realised the err of my ways.
Sunday was more quiet that Saturday, but fun nonetheless. Saw more programming, bought a few books, and talked to so many people, old friends and new acquaintances. And to top it all up: I was asked to join a panel, since the token male was claimed by the seasonal flu.
We talked about The Last Jedi with Jessica an Sara Bergmark Elfgren, with Britt-Loiuse Viklund moderating. We all had something to say, being more or less enthusiastic (Jessica most, Sara least, and me middling) about the latest Star Wars film. There is a certain major problem with the idea of trying to make the franchise more adult, as it has always been a fairly black hat /white hat -territory and a fairytale in space.
It all ends at some point. Preferably with a pint. As it did this time as well. I joined a bunch of people at the Bishops Arms, has a lovely cheeseburger and a couple of beers, managed to scare Jeff VanderMeer, and then head out to Arlanda, where the Arlanda WiFi Curse hit me again (three hours of free wifi, my arse...). Made it to Helsinki before midnight (only an hour late) and was greeted by some happy heelers and a lovely chauffeur ( I gave her your greetings, Johan!)
Tack, Vinter 2018! This was fun, let’s do it again?