Worldcon 75

Worldcon is the biggest and oldest annual Sci-fi convention in the world. This year the 75th Worldcon was hosted in Helsinki. It is the first time the convention is held in Northern Europe: Most times it has been hosted in US. Having it in Finland is really a once-a-lifetime experience, and it was really cool, too. I mean, I've been on LUG exhibits over 20 times, I think more than 50 days overall, and this was the most dedicated audience I've had honour to have. This wasn't our LUG Palikkatakomo's most impressive display, no, we only had two builders, me and our current chairman Sami Kattelus who organized our participation; So no big modular cityscapes nor impressive fortresses nor intelligent robots nor wacky GBCs; just my character builds, 37 in total, and Samppu's highly functional Star Wars models, nine of them. But I dare to say that these were suitable for audience, which consisted mostly of Sci-fi/Fantasy nuts.

I mean, when I have my Discworld models on regular exhibit with Finnish audience, maybe three or four people per day recognizes them. But here we had lot of people admiring them with their bright eyes; including lot of American and English ladies aged 50 to 70 going: "They're just like I imagined them! Look, the Librarian! And that Luggage!" I think my most popular creations were the aforementioned Librarian and Luggage, and build of Sir Terry Pratchett himself, not yet published here but visible on the photos. Porco Rosso's Savoia S-21 seaplane got surprisingly lot attention, which was nice, as it is rather important build to me.

I also got lot of really good questions and had several interesting conversations. Now, you get these on regular shows, too: But on Worldcon there was a collective understanding on some issues artists take as granted but not everyone does, so I didn't get asked whether these are real sets, nor how many parts there are, nor didn't heard the old bad argument of "Everything was better in the past when we had one 2x4 brick that fed our IMAGINATION expect that it was stuck behind the radiator and we died of typhoid fever at the age of 29". Okay, I overstated a bit, but you hear that a lot when talking about the hobby with commoners...

I rather told them about the process, the time it takes, gave examples of odd piece uses and gave some tricks. Actually one of the most frequent questions were "what part is the tongue of The Luggage". But, surprisingly, the most common questions was "Can I take photos?" and always in English. I have nothing against people photographing my models on public exhibits, no, it's flattering. Finnish audience takes this as a granted, too. It's not a problem, but it's fascinating that people actually ask. It's polite, and nice way to break the ice with the exhibitor. This time I also tried to say "Hello" or "Terve" to everyone that stopped on our booth. I probably should do that on every exhibit, but on most, like Model Expo (Which is actually just a add-on of Kid's Expo), audience consist mostly of kids aged 5-11 and their parents and they're quite busy with their kids. But this audience was more approachable. Just for some statistics: On Wednesday, Tuesday and Friday it was maybe 30% Finnish, and on Saturday and Sunday around 50%-50%. I think people travelling abroad bought membership for whole con and Finnish fans bought day passes for days they weren't working.
Due to sort of misunderstanding I though I would have an opportunity to held a lecture of some sort, so I wrote up a few thoughts about the creative process of building. I might edit it to publishable form and post it here later. It was not kept, but maybe writing it in English helped me to talk about the hobby during the five days.

What else did I do? I attended three lectures. "Historical Sci-Fi in China" was quite niche one, but interesting in it own way. Did you know that there isn't lot of historical Chinese Sci-fi? Well, there isn't. The others included Ian Stewart, The Science Quest, who has co-written Science of Discworld books with Sir Terry Pratchett and Jack Cohen. The lectures were "Distinguishing a duck from a rabbit", about neuroscience and illusions, and "Humour in Sci-fi and Fantasy" which is self-explanatory. There were around one thousand of these panels, and they were mostly full. I only took part on three because I think it was just such cool sitting on our booth talking to people about my own work...

I also got interviewed shortly on Swedish podcast Fandompodden; it was on English. I can probably find it at their page later, the full thing should be in English. What else... I played three games of Magic the Gathering with one of our recruited deputies, Arttu, who owns most of deck (I bought a card though. Gearshift Ace, a dwarf pilot who looks like Porco Rosso. It was 30 cents. Quite fitting, eh?). I lost twice and won once, the enemy deck included lot of grasshoppers. These were played between seven and half past nine at night, and there were probably five visitors at our booth during them. I also went to watch Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, which was cool and exciting film (it begins with a getaway chase sequence with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Bellbottoms song which I've known to be one of the coolest songs in the universe since I was seven and we went to Norway by car and recorded this cassette with songs chosen by all family members, and this Bellbottoms was one by my father, a record store seller by profession for ten years; It's awesome song by great band. String sections and everything. Nothing to do with Worldcon, though.)

I didn't buy any souvenirs from the con. I had all the used Discworld books they had on sale (But hey I bough Equal Rites softcover today for 1,5€ from excellent Bonus Kirppis at Tampere, and now I only lack Mort, Guards! Guards!, Witched Abroad, Maskerade, Truth, Hat Full of Sky and I Shall Wear Midnight) and they didn't have any Porco Rosso posters (what a shame). There would have been a bunch of English Bionicle comics and Mad Max DVD box set, but I passed them.

Some interesting people I met:

- Kurt Baty, an AFOL from Texas
- James Shields, an Irish AFOL who had built model of hosting hall of Worldcon 2019 in Dublin
- Jan Woznika, an AFOL of LUGPol
- Lady that gave me "Porco Rosso Savoia S-21" sticker she had bought from Ghibli Museum - thanks!
- Kylo Ren (maybe a 8-year-old girl in cosplay) and her gang (Yoda beanie girl, Flareon plushie girl, Doctor Eggman junior, Beyblade lad). They investigated our creations VERY precisely.
- Eduardo Serradilla, who wrote and article about my Savoia S-21 on eldiario.es
- Vesa Lehtimäki, well known from is breathtaking photos

James Shields and his Convention Centre Dublin.

Spotted on the audience:

- 2 Discworld T-shirts
- One YUP T-shirt
- One Rakkauden Wappuradio T-shirt
- One Teekkari Cap
- One Discworld cosplay (Tiffany)
- One Nausicaä (Manga!) cosplay (Nausicaä)

MOCs on display (me)

- Admiral Ackbar bust
- Furiosa
- Mad Max
- Cohen the Barbarian
- Captain Carrot
- Sergeant Detritus
- Commander Vimes
- Sergeant Colon
- Corporal Nobbs
- Sergeant Littlebottom
- Granny Weatherwax
- Nanny Ogg
- Sir Terry Pratchett (Not yet published online)
- Mustrum Ridcully
- The Dean
- The Bursar
- The Lecturer on Recent Runes
- The Chair of Indefinite Studies (Not yet published online)
- The Luggage
- Rincewind
- The Librarian
- Susan Sto Helit
- Lu-Tze
- Savoia S-21
- Porco Rosso
- Charuka&Chikuku
- Kurotowa
- Kushana
- Nausicaä
- Mito
- Yupa
- Dedede
- Robin
- Palutena
- Zero Suit Samus
- Power Suit Samus


- X-Wing Starfighter
- Naboo Starfighter
- Three speeder bikes
- Probe Droid
- E-Web blaster cannon
- Imperial Shuttle
- TIE Interceptor
- Star Destoryer

Thanks to:

- Organisers of the con (Tablecloths and chairs with back rests and everything)
- Samppu
- our deputies during the long days: Arttu, Tuulia, Tuuli and Ree.

Trade hall, just behind a wall.


Unknown said...

Great to meet you at Worldcon75! Thanks for sharing your amazing builds, and also thanks for telling me about Pii Poo. I *may* have spent much of my last day there..!

Unknown said...
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