The things that happened in Helsinki

Worldcon.  The clue’s in the name, really. It’s blinking huge. A colossus of an event featuring hundreds of programme items and thousands of attendees. I managed to book a hotel pretty close to the convention centre and my fitness tracker still reckoned I was averaging 5-6 miles a day just walking from panel to presentation, mooching round the trade hall and racing to meet friends at the other end of the complex for coffee. Worldcon is huge, it’s exhausting. It’s wonderful.

20842165_10155896914058072_6262893274133570243_nSo, aye, I had a great time. I got to take part in one interesting panel discussion and moderate another one. I got interviewed (along with the excellent Chris Butler) for the best Twin Peaks podcast going. I got a signing slot, and I can tell you that the Dutch couple who brought a copy of The Memoirist all the way from Germany for me to autograph (thanks Remco and Zora!) meant more to me than the hundreds queuing up for Robin Hobb and George RR Martin on the adjacent tables. I really felt I’d earned that celebratory cuppa and doughnut (pictured) bought for me by my publisher after that. I saw a few cool panels too, and learned the basics of overtone singing, which may be coming to a cabaret stage near you sometime soon. And, of course, I did a little business and had some interesting conversations that hopefully will lead to some neat writing news in 2018.

But mostly? Mostly I went so I could hang out with the friends I don’t get to see often enough. So, this is a thank you to the Finnish friends and the American friends and the Swedish friends and the Canadian friends and the Polish friends, and the Austrian, Irish, Italian, Bulgarian, French, Spanish, Maltese and Portuguese friends (and, okay, to the Welsh, English and Scottish ones too, but I get to see you guys comparatively often), for being so generous with your time and company, and helping me enjoy the utterly beautiful city of Helsinki.

Next time I do a conference this big is likely to be Dublin in 2019.

You up for it?

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