I’ve blogged before about volunteering my crafting skills for the Finnish fandom’s bid to bring Worldcon to Helsinki in 2017. (Find posts with the Helsinki in 2017 tag, or peek at my Helsinki in 2017 album in Flickr.)
The site selection voting for the 2017 Worldcon has been open for a while now. Husband and I filled and mailed our ballots yesterday.
My reasons for choosing Helsinki, in a nutshell, are as follows:
- 2017 is Finland’s centennial year as an independent nation. Hosting a Worldcon would make our celebratory year even more awesome, and I bet it would be a great year to visit, culture-wise.
- Helsinki is international, clean, quiet, and well maintained with excellent public transit (which will be free for con attendees!) and magical, light summer nights*. Practically everyone speaks English, and the Swedish-language signs help in navigating the town.**
- I’ve been to numerous cons in Finland in the decade-plus before moving to the States. Every single one was run smoothly and professionally. Not only that, the Helsinki in 2017 bid team has more than a few experienced conrunners in it.
- Worldcon needs more “world” in it! (See voting instructions in 7 languages at the bid site.)
The bid chair Eemeli Aro says it perfectly in his cover letter for the official bid paperwork:
“If selected, Helsinki in 2017 would be the northernmost Worldcon ever, the first Worldcon in continental Europe since 1990, and the fourth ever held in a country that doesn’t hold English as its native tongue. We believe it’s time for this, that it’s time to put more world into Worldcon, and to give European fans a chance to participate in a way we’ve not been able to before.” [original emphasis]
I proudly voted for the bid, and would love to see the con in Helsinki!
And I’m not the only one. To pick a few I’m excited about:
- According to author Ann Leckie, a Helsinki Worldcon would be “hella fabulous.”
- Author Elizabeth Bear goes into more detail, saying, for example,
“For one thing, it’ll be nice to have a Worldcon someplace where it’s not hotter than the surface of Mercury* during the summer months. For another, the free hotel breakfasts in Northern Europe have to be seen to be believed. This is a twenty-five dollar buffet in the U.S–and some of them serve tea (the meal, not the drink, though they also have the drink) as well. That stretches your congoing food budget!
“Additionally, there’s the little mater [sic] of the venue. Helsinki is a beautiful, fascinating city full of culture and history and very fine public transportation. If, like me, you have a tendency to sneak out of the con and sightsee a little, there is plenty there to view.
“I’ve have heard some concern about the language issue. There is no language issue.
“If one of your languages is English (I’m going to assume, since you’re reading this) you will have no issues at all navigating. (It’s sort of a running joke with my agent and I that while my books sell very well in the Nordic countries as imports, we can’t get a translation deal there. Because everyone speaks English…”
- Author Kate Elliot is for Helsinki in 2017.
- Editor Ellen Datlow encourages you to vote for Helsinki.
- George R.R. Martin briefly chimes in as well.
- Linguist David J. Peterson, who created the Dothraki language for HBO’s Game of Thrones series, supports Helsinki.
How to add your voice:
- Sasquan’s Site Selection Instructions at this year’s Worldcon site, with links for the online payment system and downloading the ballot
- Voting instructions at Crystal Huff’s blog
Lastly, a few Helsinki links for the curious:
- A Quick Guide to Helsinki by Mel, a New Zealander living in Finland, with city walks, places to visit, cultural sites, markets, daytrips and more from the point of view of an English speaker learning the city.
- Author George R.R. Martin’s recap of his Finncon 2009 experience and his reasons for backing the 2015 Helsinki Worldcon bid.
- Creative commons licensed photos of Helsinki in Flickr. Gorgeous shots!
- John Kovalic (of the Munchkin illustrator fame) reports on his experience as guest of honor at the biggest role-playing con in Finland, Ropecon, back in 2004. I had the pleasure of seeing him talk at the con. Even though held in Espoo, not Helsinki, Kovalic covers some of his experiences as a visitor to the greater Helsinki area which might be useful.
- Randall Munroe’s book What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Situations gives Helsinki as one of the safest places to wait out hypothetical supersonic winds created by a hypothetical stop in Earth’s rotation. 🙂
* Well, -ish. Helsinki is too far south for “proper” midnight sun in August. Sunset will probably be around 10 p.m., but that’s something, too.
**Swedish is our second official language; English is the unofficial third.
Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.