Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Cora's Adventures at WorldCon 75 in Helsinki, Finland

Entrance to the Messukeskus convention center.

As regular visitors of this site will know, I was away at WorldCon 75 in Helsinki last week. The con took place at the Messukeskus convention centre, which you can see above.

It's a nice venue. However, the sheer number of SFF fans who descended upon Helsinki, 7323 altogether according to the WorldCon 75 team, proved to be too much for the convention centre. Queuing for panels was a frequent experience and sales of day passes had to be limited after the first day.

Queuing for panels
However, even if you failed to get into a popular panel (which happened to me only once), there was still plenty to see at WorldCon 75, such as this blacksmith presentation outside the Messukeskus convention center.

Blacksmith presentation and shop
Inside the trade and exhibition hall, there was plenty to see and buy as well:

Signposts inside the exhibition hall
Mad Max and Terry Pratchett characters from Lego inside the exhibition hall
Terry Pratchett character from Lego on display in the exhibition hall, including a Lego figurine of Sir Terry himself.

I didn't get to watch a Hugo Awards ceremony live, because it clashed with one of my panels. So I followed the announcements of the winners via Twitter, while having dinner at the hotel restaurant. However, there were plenty of Hugo Awards past and present to see at WorldCon 75.

Hugo Award trophies on display
Display model of a 2017 Hugo Award
I was also a programme participant and so I was on four different panels, on subjects ranging from alien language in science fiction and machine translation to book blogs and how to adapt the Hugo Awards to an increasingly digital world. I even moderated one of the panels, which was a first for me.

The Digital Hugo panel, featuring (from left to right) myself, 2017 Hugo administrator Nicholas Whyte and our moderator Kristina Knaving.
On the evening before the convention opened, there was also a reception for convention staff and programme participants at Helsinki's beautiful city hall.

Reception at Helsinki City Hall. 
All in all, I had a great time at WorldCon 75 in Helsinki and am already looking forward to the 2019 WorldCon, which will be in Dublin, Ireland.


  1. That looks brilliant, Cora. Thanks for sharing! (Were there any Moomins?)

    1. Oh, there were plenty of Moomins. Not so much at the con (though there were some), but everywhere else in Helsinki. There was a Moomin Café, a Moomin gift shop and the tram stop closest to my hotel was Tove Jansson Park.