Fantastika, Swecon 2018, is over and I have to get back to the mundane world. Before I close the chapter of this year’s con, let's do a quick con rep.
Fantastika had around 300 members and took place in an old industrial factory, Dieselverkstaden, in Stockholm.
The venue was lovely, and the taco bar just next to it is now my fave restaurant. The only thing not so good about the venue was the fact that the bar closed around the same time as the programme ended.
This year I had so many friends arriving from all over Europe for their first Swecon, Jani Ylönen, Rinna Saramäki, Rasmus and his sister Frida Häggblom, arriving from Finland, Elin Bekkebråten Sjølie and John Corrigan from Norway, Gwen Frazer-Dennison from Ireland, Katarina Eriksson from Malmö. I also met Kerstin Eksmo, a friend of a friend who I met briefly at Worldcon 75. I was thrilled to see them all and hope they had a blast!
And of course I had my large Finnish family there as well, Hanna Hakkarainen, Jukka Särkijärvi, Sari Polvinen, Sanna Kellokoski, Teemu Ahonen and my god parents Saija Kyllönen and Jukka Halme.
There were just so many good friends there, Ian Sales, Joakim Mäki, Hanna Svensson, to mention few more of my favourite people, so you can imagine my dilemma. I had to fight hard to be able to hang out with them all.
Knowing that the programme ended at 11 pm and the bar closed at 12 am, this presented me with very little options than to sacrifice a huge chunk of the programme, so that I could hang out as much as possible.
Of the program items I did attend, the group discussion "The lady doctor", hosted by my friend Sanna, stood out with a really good, constructive and positive discussion. Everyone contributed and although opinions varied, we all agreed it is time for a female actor to play the Doctor.
"Ethics of Generation ships" also turned out to be a really interesting item, about preserving a human civilization on a space ship with limited space and resources. They talked about population control, passing of knowledge to younger generations, keeping the people healthy and making a successful colony. I would recommend the TV show "The 100" to anyone who is interested in this topic.
The Guests of Honour’s programme items were very good, too. The Guests of Honour were Mike Carey, Kij Johnson and Ian Watson, and they were all very interesting and engaging people to listen to. I’ve met Ian several times before and it was really fun to have him and Cristina back in Sweden and catch up briefly in the bar.
I'd only heard of Mike from “The Girl with all the Gifts”, and didn't feel worthy to approach him since I know so little of him and neither read the book nor watched the movie... because I am terrified of zombies. Sanna informed me that he's done a lot of other stuff and I think I'll check out that out. He seemed such a genuine gentleman.
Kij I'd heard a lot of great things about from my dear friend Lucy Huntzinger, who's a friend of hers, and from friends who've read The Dream-quest of Vellitt Boe. It would have been fun to talk to Kij about Lucy and US fandom, specially now that I’m going there. Maybe another time!
The fandom program items were of course a larger part of the con for me, with me being a fandom-fan. I ended up hosting a lunch klatsch for newcomers which was fun, and a dillchips panel that was highly weird. And amusing. Then I went to the fan fund auction and accidently bought a shockingly large amount of books, which was for a good cause.
NoFF (Nordic Fan Fund) was kind enough to send me to Ireland last year, which I wanted to repay them for. But my poor purse.
Me and Anna Gomez Lagerlöf talked a bit about the change we have felt in the spirit of this year's Swecon. We can't really place our finger on what it is. The members seemed to be the same group of people as before, but somehow it felt... different. In a good way, I think.
Newer fan additions to the con and can make a huge difference in the con dynamic, but I think a lot of it has to do with the sense of familiarity you get when coming to the same venue for the second or third time, and also familiarity that many of us have from working together on a Worldcon.
Swecon is becoming this melting pot of Nordic fandom with a sprinkle of Irish, British, Polish, Estonian, American, et cetera. I love that we have so many different nationalities, and that so many come back year after year. I like to think that we are becoming a very international con.
Now it's time for me to rest, recover, and start focusing on next years Swecon Replicon in Västerås!