We have been back from Europe for a week now, and my brain is still adjusting. You know when you start a lawnmower up for the first time in the spring after it’s been sitting in the garage all winter? That hesitant sputtering? Yeah, that’s what it feels like, even though I came back from Worldcon with a bunch of new ideas and motivation. But on Monday, the kids will be back in school, and things will be back to normal.

I didn’t do any official panels or programming at Worldcon. I attended the Hugo reception as an acceptor for my friend Scott Andrews, who couldn’t make it to Finland this year. Alas, Scott didn’t win (my friend Kat calls him “the Susan Lucci of the Semiprozine category”),and I didn’t have to hold a speech in front of a few thousand people.

The rest of Worldcon was basically just hanging out, meeting up with friends, and sightseeing in and around Helsinki, which is a nice place full of impossibly attractive people. Like I said on Facebook–you know when you see that boy or girl on the street that would have been the hottest thing in your high school by a wide margin? Helsinki has one of those every fifteen yards. And they all dress like they just stepped out of an A&F catalog, too. Even the ones in the sloppy outfits look like they spent about half an hour putting together just the right sort of sloppy look. Robin and I concluded that there’s a Finnish facial type that looks model-esque to North American eyes.

This was also the first trip we’ve taken together where we were both equally disadvantaged in the language department, because neither of us spoke the primary language. We usually end up traveling to places where one of us is in reasonably good command of the language, but we were both uncomprehending illiterates in Finland. The one assist I got was the bilingual signage–I could make sense of the Swedish signs. But Finnish isn’t related to Germanic or Romance languages at all, so even with German, Dutch, English, and Spanish between us, we couldn’t even guess at most of the Finnish words. Luckily, most of the Finns spoke good to excellent English, so we weren’t reduced to pointing at pictures.

We combined Worldcon with a visit to Germany and some sightseeing in the Netherlands and the UK, so this was our one big trip this year. I know some writers who are on the road far more than I am, but I don’t know how they do it. Not only do I not get anything written while I’m traveling, it also takes me a good while to get back to my regular work routine after the trip. But we’re back, the laundry is done, the luggage is stored, and I have stuff to write, so back to work I go.

1 Comment

Santeri Vidal · September 5, 2017 at 9:29 pm

Nice article! I would’ve loved meeting you at worldcon but couldn’t find you on programme. I was one of the organisers there. Could you give some highlights at con and off con,v since it would be so nice to hear more what you did here and enjoyed.

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