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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Helsinki in 2017: Why I Support the Bid & the Supreme Awesomeness of Finnish Care Packages

If you didn't already know, I'm a huge supporter of Helsinki's 2017 Worldcon bid.  A huge supporter.  I did the whole pre-support thing when I was in London last year, and I intend to go through the whole process of voting for Helsinki at this year's Worldcon -- well, not at the actual con, mind, but you get the idea.

I've never done anything like this before.  But in the last year-ish, I've met and talked to numerous folks from Finland or involved in the Helsinki bid (Crystal, I'm talking about you!), I've held and taken many pictures with Moomins, and I've learned about Helsinki itself.  Plus, I love Nightwish:
And more Nightwish:
Sing it, Tarja Turunen!

Anyway.  Where was I?  Oh, right, so Helsinki in 2017.  Big supporter.

So there are all kinds of reasons I want the bid to go to Helsinki:

First, the idea of a Worldcon in Helsinki just sounds amazing.  Finland is a gorgeous country.  Don't believe me?  Look for yourself.  It's gorgeous all the time.  Summer, spring, winter, whenever.  It's just gorgeous.  GORGEOUS.  And what about Helsinki?  Gorgeous.  Plus, I'm told it has great food, good public transport, cool markets, and lots of old stuff for weird old stuff lovers like me to enjoy.  If London gets to have a Worldcon because it's an awesome city, then there's no good reason Helsinki shouldn't get one, too.  Plus, they have reindeer.  And tea.  Seriously.  Why hasn't Worldcon been in Helsinki already?

Second, Helsinki is, well, different.  I've never been to Finland, let alone anywhere farther east than England.  But the idea of traveling to a new place to meet new folks who love the things that I love is nothing short of amazing.  I loved meeting non-US folks at LonCon3.  In fact, this is probably my favorite thing about conventions:  meeting new people.  And I want to meet more Finnish fans.  And I want to see what they'll bring to the Worldcon table if they win their bid.  Guaranteed, it will be awesome.

Lastly, I think of "Worldcon" in quite literal terms:  a WORLD convention.  Whether that was its purpose in the beginning is irrelevant.  I would much rather have Worldcon hit a country on all 6 of the other continents before it came back to North America -- let alone the United States.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the U.S., too, but I think the "WORLD" part of sf/f deserves more love than it gets.  These are global genres, and I think our two "world" conventions should do their best to move about the world, to bring new fandoms into the fold in a big and significant way.  Finnish fandom is important, after all, and it seems high time Finland rock the Worldcon train with some good old fashioned Finnish cool.

There are, of course, other great reasons to support Helsinki.  If you're a supporter, let me know why in the comments.

Now for the last little bit of fun:

If you were following me on Twitter, you'll have learned that I received what I'm calling a Finnish Care Package from a Helsinki in 2017 crewninja (what is their official title anyway?).  That care package included everything in the picture below:
The picture contains:
  • A booklet on Finnish customs (super cool)
  • Helsinki in 2017 Stickers
  • Helsinki in 2017 Keychain Gizmos (I think that's what they are)
  • A Tourist Guide to Helsinki
  • A Food Guide to Helsinki (ah, hell yeah!)
  • A jar of cloudberry preserves (which are very interesting, by the way)
  • A copy of Emmi Itäranta's incredible novel, Memory of Water (we interviewed her on the Skiffy and Fanty Show, by the way)
  • 3 Bags of Finnish Tea from Forsman Tea:  Lakrits Te (Svart te; Indian-Ceylon w/ licorice oil), Mustikka Superior (Musta Lehtitee; blueberry tea, though I'm not sure what the "base" is because I can't read Finnish), and Citrus Seikkailu (Vihreä Gun Powder Tee; green gun powder tea w/ lemon and orange spices).
I've already given the licorice tea a spin, and I pretty much loved it.  I'm going to review all of them over the next week, since I have a ton of Hugo Awards reading to do.  And to make things interesting, I'm going to start comparing teas to characters from Battlestar Galactica, since I drink so much damn tea and should probably be reviewing the stuff anyway.

So, there you have it.  My reasons for voting Helsinki and the nifty stuff I got in the mail.  My week totally got better :)

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  1. Wow, a care package from Finland. They really do like you!

    1. To be fair: the package came from someone in the States, not Finland itself. But the stuff apparently came from Finland, so close enough :D

  2. I want a Finnish Worldcon because I live in Finland :-)

    Forsman tea is awesome, my cupboard is full of them. :D
    Your blueberry tea is Indian-Ceylon black tea with blueberry oil and dry blueberry.
    And Citrus Seikkailu means Citrus Adventure ^^

    1. Oh! Thanks for the translation. I appreciate it. I haven't tried the blueberry yet, but the other two are currently resting in my stomach :D

      And that's a perfectly good reason to want a Finnish Worldcon. Plus, you know Finland. It's obviously awesome, right?

      Now the big question: if I come to Finland and buy 10 lbs of Forsman tea, do you think I can get through airport security with it? :P

    2. Finland is totally amazing! I've been here for ~5 years, and I'm still as madly in love with this beautiful country as when I first came here. ;-)

      Wait, you won't need a whole plane for the tea? You sure?

      It seems there is international shipping from the Forsman site. ;-)

    3. Well, it's loose leaf tea. I can't drink a cargo plane size collection of tea before it goes bad...

    4. Unless you just keep time-travelling to the day it arrived and get it fresh from there. Problem solved!

    5. That would seem to create more issues than it solves :P

    6. But it'd be so fuuuuuun!

  3. If you're going to use the "World" point in your argument, Japan and Canada are bidding against Helsinki too, so that's only good against one other bid. Despite Worldcon's efforts to encourage international participation, I still see it as being primarily owned by the American portion of the community. One of the major arguments against its 2015 bid was that it would require American members to travel overseas two years in a row. That is not an issue for 2017, so I hope they win this race.

    1. I suppose my response to that point would be: it's been in Japan and Canada before. Diversity = a good thing :).

      You're right that Worldcon remains a very American affair, though. I just don't think it should be.