WorldCon 75 summary post

It seems we’ve exchanged hurricanes and mass shootings for wildfires and floods. Wherever you are, whatever has come your way, please find safety.


Welcome back to the ongoing tale of my European adventure 🙂

This instalment will be the penultimate one. Next week, I’ll cover my takeaways from the trip.

Since I’d made the decision earlier in the year to stop blogging my session notes … I didn’t take any during the whole of WorldCon (!) It was very freeing. I relaxed and enjoyed.

Something I forgot to mention in my last post is that I also enjoyed the hotel’s Sauna on Tuesday night. I had a nice, naked conversation with some Finnish ladies who were curious about all the Americans in town … but it was helpful for the cruise crud.

Wednesday, August 9, was the first day of WorldCon, and at breakfast that morning, I met up again with the Tracy’s, Heather and Bill, and their mom, Becky, who’d been my roommate on the WXR cruise. Bill was also attending WorldCon, while Heather and Becky did the tourist thing in Helsinki.

After breakfast, I strolled down the pedestrian underpass to the train station, bought my ticket at the kiosk, and caught the train to Pasila.

I want to take a moment here to express just how fabulous the Helsinki trains were. Clean, spacious, and efficient. My registration for the con included a train pass for the week, because they knew most of us would be staying in the downtown area. There are a couple of hotels in Pasila, but they were booked quickly, and blocks of rooms were reserved for those who needed accommodation (or so I understand).

The only other city train I’ve been on that comes close is Vancouver’s, but at the time I travelled on it, the number of passengers made the journey (with luggage) uncomfortable. In Helsinki, there were two main lines, the K and the I (though there were more) that ran north and between the two, one left every ten minutes.

The first day of WorldCon was a bit disappointing, to be honest, because I think the organizers underestimated the interest of casual attendance (day passes). Except for the academic stream session I attended, nearly every room was full and they were very strict about the numbers because fire regulations. I don’t blame the organizers, but it was a frustrating first day.

The convention centre did have a great food court, however, and I ended up meeting a couple of friends of fellow Sudbury Writers’ Guild member Andy Taylor at the cafe. Tim Boerger and Nina Niskanen had both attended Viable Paradise with Andy and he wanted me to connect with them. I’d actually seen Nina at WorldCon last year, but I didn’t know who she was until after her steampunk panel was over 😦

While there, I also met Lara Elena Donnelly, author of Amberlough 🙂

I also saw a number of WXR cruise mates, and fellow member of SF Canada, Su Sokol.

That evening, I met up with a group of Canadian SF fans and writers, including Su, Eric Choi, and Jane Ann McLachlan, to have dinner at Zetor.

Thursday was a more productive day. I attended sessions on the Kalevala (which I was geeky enough to be reading at the time), Nalo Hopkinson’s Guest of Honour interview (I kind of stalked her sessions throughout—I’m a fan), a presentation on the sauna, the live taping of the Coode Street podcast with Kelly Robson and Walter Jon Williams, a panel on secrets in SF that Jane Ann McLachlan was on, how to start a podcast with Howard Tayler, and the live Ditch Diggers taping.

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That night was a meet up with Writing the Other alumni and K. Tempest Bradford. We went to a Nepalese buffet that was only a block or so from the convention centre called Mero-Himal. A number of alumni had also been on the cruise, and so it was a very enjoyable evening.

Friday’s WorldCon line up included a panel on artificial intelligence, one called Building Resistance, on which where Nina Niskanen and Kameron Hurley, one on female friendship in fiction with Navah Wolfe and Amal El-Motar, another Nalo Hopkinson GoH presentation, a panel on Austalian fantasy with Juliet Marillier, more Nalo Hopkinson (I said I was stalking her), a panel on how science really happens with Eric Choi, one on weird fiction with Helen Marshal, and one on alien language in SF with David J. Peterson, creator of the languages for the Game of Thrones series.

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Friday night was the night of the Hugo Awards Ceremonies and, still suffering from cruise crud (it didn’t completely clear until I was back home), I thought I’d catch the ceremonies on YouTube from the comfort of my hotel room. They were supposed to be webcast.

As I headed out on the train, the skies grew ominously dark and by the time the train arrived back in Helsinki, it was a full-on torrential downpour. The forecast had said that the weather would hold until evening … and so I’d left my umbrella in my hotel room.

While I waited some time at the station for the rain to stop, I eventually had to make it back to the hotel and got completely soaked. I got in and changed clothes, waited until the weather cleared a bit, and then strolled around the block—with my umbrella—to a little sushi restaurant for supper.

When it was time for the Hugos webcast … I was unable to connect. When I hopped on social media to see what I could find out, it turned out that there were technical difficulties and the webcast was a no go. I watched the Twitter feed for a while and ended up calling it an early night.

Saturday began with a science panel on planets beyond the Goldilocks zone, a panel on worldbuilding without ableism with Fran Wilde and Nalo Hopkinson (yes, I know), one on maintaining your scientist character’s credibility with Karen Lord, a panel on Octavia Butler (with you-know-who), I checked out the author signings where Mary Robinette Kowal and Margaret Dunlap were at side-by-side tables, a panel on fairy tale retellings with Navah Wolfe and Karen Lord, one on bad-ass female leads in young adult, and one on crafting a fantasy tale from mythology with Juliet Marillier.

I decided to call it an early night because I’d be heading for the airport in the morning for my flight home. I had supper at a sports bar, packed, and got a good night’s sleep.

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My flight left just after 8 am. I watched the sun rise on the train (at—bleargh—5:30 am) and, after a three hour flight to Iceland, watched the sun rise again 😉 Because I was travelling back through time zones, another five and a half hour fight brought me to Toronto before noon (!)

I hung out in Toronto for five more hours as my flight home was delayed, but I was home in time to watch that night’s Game of Thrones episode and then crawl into my own lovely bed.

I spent the next day resting and catching up on the television I’d missed during the trip. I could have used the rest of the week off to resent my internal clock and fully recover from the cruise crud, but it was back to the grind on Tuesday.

And that was how my European adventure ended.

Thanks for hanging with me on this journey!

As I mentioned off the top, next week will be my lessons learned/takeaway post but, because next Saturday is the launch of Kim Fahner’s latest poetry collection, Some Other Sky, I may not get the post up until Sunday. The next week, I’ll probably dedicate some time to writerly events (including the launch) and other happenings in this writer’s life, and then I’ll be on my annual blogging hiatus for NaNoWriMo!

Holy cow! This year is disappearing!

In the meantime, dear friends, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 25-July 1, 2017

Happy Independence Day to all my friends in the US!

Here’s a new crop of informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

K.M. Weiland helps you calculate your novel’s length before writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Then, Kate hops over to Writers Helping Writers to share her three step plan for outlining a novel.

Back on her own site, Kate asks six questions to help you choose the right POV. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman unpacks the advice to follow your passion: what does that even mean?

Kathryn Craft: four times inaction can help your writing life. Writers in the Storm

Jamie Raintree extols the virtues of camp nano on Writers in the Storm.

Jami Gold explores chronic problems: writing and burnout.

Janice Hardy continues to share her process: clarifying the idea. Fiction University

Elizabeth Foster visits Writers Helping Writers to discuss overcoming negativity bias.

Susan Spann explains the truth behind popular copyright myths. Writer Unboxed

Gabriela Pereira interviews Karen Dionne for DIY MFA radio.

Emmie Mears visits Terribleminds to share what writing the Alaya Storme series taught her about mental illness: you have comrades in this trench.

Jenna Moreci: how to write antagonists and villains.

 

Eleanor Wachtel interviews Arundhati Roy about love, war, and the fragility of happiness. CBC

John Pfordresher explores the possibility that Jane Eyre was written as a secret love letter. Literary Hub

Denise Frohman – Accents.

 

Fran Wilde convenes an engineering in science fiction and fantasy round table. Tor.com

And that’s it until Thursday.

Be well until then.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 25-Oct 1, 2016

Yup. Lots of informal writerly learnings for you this week. LOTS!

K.M. Weiland answers reader questions about scenes versus chapters. Helping writers become authors. Later in the week, Kate invites Wordplayer, Usvaldo de Leon, Jr., to share his thoughts on setting up the potential for change in character arcs.

Lisa Cron guest posts on Writers Helping Writers: how your character’s misbelief drives the plot. Later in the week, Angela Ackerman provides this amazing list of resources for writers.

Karen Woodward explores C.S. Lewis’s writing advice.

Jo Eberhardt shares her lessons learned from watching Supernatural. Writer Unboxed

Kristen Lamb shows how Girl on the Train demonstrates the two elements that all great stories share.

Barbara O’Neal responds to the Merritt Tierce article I shared last week: money and the writer. Writer Unboxed

Joanna Penn interviews Toby Neal on The Creative Penn podcast.

 

Janice Hardy guest posts on Writers in the Storm: five reasons your revisions aren’t working.

Erika Robuck has a message for all of us about remembering why we started writing. Writer Unboxed

Steven Pressfield digs deeper into the reasons he writes.

Jami Gold explores how to strengthen your stakes. It’s not always about going big.

Veronica Sicoe discusses story world design and choosing the right time period.

Oren Ashkenazi lists six ways flight changes a fantasy setting. Mythcreants

Bonnie Randall guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: on balance versus burn-out.

It’s NaNoWriMo prep season! Joe Bunting shares ten catalysts that will help you win NaNoWriMo. The Write Practice

Catherine McKenzie unpacks the issue of audience limiting covers for books by women authors. Writer Unboxed

More fallout from the Lionel Shriver keynote:

Stephanie Saul reports on how campuses are teaching freshmen about cultural sensitivity and microaggression. The New York Times. This was the kind of thing that Janet Reid ranted about last week.

Liz Dwyer closes the diversity gap in young adult literature. Take part

Tshaka Armstrong discusses Luke Cage, Black Panther, and why superheroes of colour matter. Rotten Tomatoes

Jenny Kay Dupuis shares her grandmother’s residential school story in honour of Orange Shirt Day. CBC

Heidi Ulrichsen interviews Danielle Daniel about her new memoir. Sudbury.com. Later in the week, Danielle was interviewed on CBC Sudbury’s Morning North.

Carl Slaughter of File 770 interviews Kelly Robson.

Haralambi Markov reviews Charlotte Ashley’s body of short fiction. Tor.com

Fran Wilde’s characters aren’t defined by their disabilities. Natalie Zutter for Tor.com.

PW Radio interviews Nisi Shawl on her novel, Everfair, and Writing the Other.

Rachel Cordasco reflects on the Three Body trilogy. Tor.com

Margaret Atwood writes about re-envisioning Shakespeare’s The Tempest in her novel, Hag-Seed. The Guardian

Laura Miller muses on the haunting of Shirley Jackson. Literary Hub

Michelle Fazekas and Tara Butters, the showrunners behind Marvel’s Agent Carter, sell series ideas to various networks, including a series based on Wesley Chu’s Tao series. Deadline

Susan Spann explains when you should walk away from a publishing deal. Writer Unboxed

Ed Nawotka of Publishers Weekly says the publishing world needs more Canada.

Wallace Immen visits the Penguin Random House offices where curling up with a good book is encouraged. The Globe and Mail

Award news! The British Fantasy Award winners announced 🙂

The Scotia Bank Giller Shortlist is announced.

Martha Schabas reviews Hannah Moscovitch’s Bunny and the play’s exploration of the double standard of consent. The Globe and Mail

Tori Amos: Trump is disrespectful to all women. The singer/songwriter talks about her response to Audrie and Daisy, the role of storytelling in her creative process, and accountability. The Daily Beast

And here’s her LA Times piece on the same issues.

Thu-Huong Ha lists 30 words and phrases that will soon be eliminated from American English. Quartz

Author Hannah Kent dives into the Irish world of faith and fantasy. Donna Liu for The Guardian.

John Plotz writes about the influence of Ursula K. Le Guin. The Guardian

Matt Santori-Griffith interviews Greg Rucka on Wonder Woman and queer narrative. Comicosity

Entertainment Weekly shares a fan-made mash-up between Stranger Things and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Awesomesauce 🙂

Anne Perry recommends five Stephen King books you should read if you liked Stranger Things. Hodderscape

Estelle Tang talks to Sam Heughan about sweat, sheep-dipping, and Outlander spoilers. Elle

Lynette Rice of Entertainment Weekly takes a first look at Outlander’s new season. Later in the week, Lynette shares some breaking news on another actor cast for season three.

Film festival audiences say Split may be M. Night Shyamalan’s best movie yet.

 

Whew! I’m exhausted.

See you Thursday!

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