My toes are finally touching the ground again after the beautiful madness that was Worldcon 75. It was such such a joy to see thousands of people to whom literature, my kind of literature, mattered.
I had several projects going on which came out at Worldcon:
- The Heart of the Forest, a steampunk short story with queer themes published in Cosmos Pen
- New Yorkin levottomat kuolleet, a short story (1950s and zombies) in the Finnish urban fantasy anthology Meliwas ja muita kaupunkeja
- an English translation of the runner-up of the Atorox competition: Solmuntekijä / The Knotmaker by Aleksi Kuutio, published in Spin
- I was in charge of proofreading and translating most of the Spin English Specials. Yes, there were two issues – a regular one and a short story extra.
All of these turned out happily in the end. On top of all that, I’d decided to cosplay, because one can’t have too many projects, right?
It’s all still rather hazy (probably due to indulging in energy drinks), but I’ll list some highlights day by day. The cosplay will get a follow-up post, because otherwise Jarlaxle will steal all the sparkle out of this one.
Wednesday: Song and Poetry and Tears of Joy
The SFF Poetry Open Mic was amazing. I’ve never enjoyed an open mic event so much. Neither had I participated before. I don’t know what possessed me. And yet I found the experience enjoyable (on top of terrifying).
The ultimate highlight of the day was the concert by Another Castle and Riverside Castle, the geekiest women’s choirs in Helsinki and Turku, respectively. I’m so proud of my friends in Riverside Castle! You were incredible. All of the songs were great, but Dragonborn was the one that made me cry.
Thursday: Sparkle, Mythology and Public Shamanism
I decided to put on my cosplay for a test run. I cosplayed Jarlaxle Baenre, mercenary and opportunist extraordinaire (from the Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore). As many of you have noticed, I’ve been blogging about the series and its ups and downs for some time now, and my teenage obsession with drow may have made a comeback. This meant I got to the con late, because it took me three hours to get ready…
And it was totally worth it! So many people wanted a photograph or were otherwise delighted by seeing a drow at the con that I didn’t feel at all bad about not seeing that much of the programme. Still, I managed to listen to the European Myths and History in SF and Fantasy panel, which was quite good. I had to remove my hat, though, lest it obstruct the view. Alas.
I met a lot of friends on Thursday, and certain kind people went with me to the city centre to hunt for tights and gloves to fix the parts of the costume which couldn’t hold up a whole day at the con. We ended up sitting at the centre of Helsinki, drinking cider and eating strawberries, with me in Jarlaxle makeup and a beanie. A drunk passerby thought I was a shaman. I found out you can remove a binder in public and stay semi-decent.
Friday: Waging War with Dragons & Finding and Losing My Voice
This was the first traditional con day for me: lots of programme and too much shopping! I got there early and managed to see the Fantasy Warfare Not Based on Medieval Methods panel, which was really entertaining and thought-provoking. If you change the rules of the world (adding dragons and magic etc.), what does that actually mean in terms of warfare?
The High Fantasy: Is it Still Relevant? panel was also very good and expertly moderated. Scott Lynch fanboying on Robin Hobb was adorable. I understand completely, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my cool either!
After that I took part in a Reading Your Work Aloud workshop, mostly because I felt unusually reckless and brave. The open mic event also made me realise practise was needed. The workshop was good fun and the advice was excellent, though 45 minutes was sadly too short a time to really get into it. Still, there were many pointers I’ll keep in mind.
In the evening, I ventured to the Meliwas urban fantasy anthology launch with a friend. Unfortunately, we took the train to the wrong direction and were an hour late… Still, many nice folks were met, author’s copies collected, and remarkably delicious cider was drunk. Sadly, I lost my voice sometime during the course of the evening and had to return to our accommodation to look for it.
Saturday: Cosplay, Cosplay, Panic, Cosplay!
This was Masquerade Day, the Grand Day of Cosplay. I had literally no time for anything except rehearsals, getting into costume and strolling about the con, striking ridiculous poses as needed. It delighted me how many Finns recognised Jarlaxle immediately and ran to me to fanboy over him. Salvatore knowledge is still strong here, I see.
Then there was the Masquerade. I was so nervous. I don’t do these things. But once I was talked into it, I came up with a silly skit at 7 in the morning, and we spent our time backstage going over it ridiculously many times. I can’t really recall much of the actual event; I remember going through dagger drills and prancing about backstage in order to keep it together. I’ve blacked out the stage part, I only remember listening behind the curtains to the huge noise coming from thousands of people, and then I was pushed forward and someone said ”Go”. I’ve been told it was a success. And people got my joke, so that was good. Also I won a workmanship award for ”Most Magical Items”, which was very appropriate, if I may say so.
A photo post will follow.
Sunday: Fights, Assassins and Assyriology
On Sunday, the Writing Fight Scenes that Work panel gave me a lot of food for thought. Things like intent, expectation, mindset, rules and so on. I’ve paid attention to many of the things they talked about unconsciously in my writing, but now I want to go over a certain manuscript and see how the fight scenes are actually framed. Very inspiring stuff!
Then I went to the Samovar tea party to meet the editors of the magazine. They published my short story Wither and Blossom earlier this year, and I wanted to go and say hi. They were very nice and said lovely things about my writing, which of course made me more than happy.
This was also the day I got to collect my custom-made jewellery made by Team Cooleiform, a group of students of Assyriology. I’d ordered a pendant with the text ”the liquid light of language”, a quote from Vellum by Hal Duncan, written in Sumerian cuneiform. They also told me how to read it out in Akkadian, and a bit of how the writing systems works, which was fascinating. Indeed the coolest thing ever!
And I have to mention the excellent Assassin’s Creed cosplayers. I may have fangirled shamelessly at them, because they’d done my ultimate favourites – Edward Kenway, Revelations Ezio and even Sophia Sartor! Old Ezio is the character for me. The costumes were excellent. Sadly, I had no rum for Edward.
Although con coma was settling in, I felt like I could’ve gone on for a couple of days more at least. I loved the enthusiasm from everyone, I loved the international atmosphere, I loved being surrounded by new and old friends. Now I’m sorely tempted by Dublin in 2019…