Worldcon 2019 (Dublin): An Accounting of Events with a Side of Bacon!

I am on my way home from Dublin OR have already arrived. Like science fiction, my future is fundamentally about the present. Naturally, that means Worldcon has ended along with my sadly short vacation in Dublin, Ireland, a quaint little city... Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Dublin is really cool, y'all. And since "recaps of adventures" are a thing in the science fiction community, I'm here to, well, recap my adventures. This one will be a long one, y'all. So here...we...go! The Dublin Worldcon was a bit like a dream. I pre-supported (or whatever it’s called) fairly early in the game AND bought an upgrade for my badge at the Worldcon in Finland (2017). I really wanted to go to a Worldcon in Dublin. More importantly, I wanted to support strong bids for non-U.S. Worldcons because, well, I actually take the “world” part of the name literally, and I don’t think you can have a “Worldcon” that doesn’t make an attempt to occur in various parts of the world. Read More

Worldcon 2019 (Dublin): My Schedule and Other Shenanigans

Well well. It's been a long time since I've posted here. I have been a busy bee, from moving to the northwest corner of Minnesota to a new job to writing a textbook to partly semi-producing a podcast. Yup. Busy. And that means I've neglected this blog along with a lot of other things.. Sadface. Speaking of podcasts:  The Skiffy and Fanty Show is once more a Hugo Award finalist. Ballots are submitted, so we'll find out if we're winners in about 2 weeks. Wish us luck! And since I am part of that show, I'll be at Worldcon in Dublin. As the title of this post suggests, that's what I'm here to talk about today. As it turns out, I'm on programming at Worldcon, which means some of you might have the opportunity to hear me babble about a variety of topics. With that in mind, here's my schedule for the event:
  • The use of SF in higher education 17 Aug 2019, Saturday 15:00 - 15:50, Wicklow Room-2 (CCD) Professors from different disciplines discuss the possible uses of speculative fiction as a tool for teaching. From humanities to sciences via legal studies, how have academics used SFF in the classroom in the past, and how can we dream of speculative fiction – and the technology it posits! – being used in future? Panelists:  Mary Anne Mohanraj (M), Nora E. Derrington, David DeGraff, Dr. Shaun Duke, Corry L. Lee Ph.D. (
  • Literary Beer: Dr Shaun Duke 17 Aug 2019, Saturday 17:00 - 17:50, Liffey-A (Fan Bar) (CCD) Basically, you can come talk to me while having a beer, water, or air. For 50 minutes. So please come say hello. Please!
  • Academics and acolytes: learning in SFF worlds 18 Aug 2019, Sunday 12:30 - 13:20, Odeon 4 (Point Square Dublin) Whether they’re apprenticed to an assassin, a grunt in basic training, downloading knowledge from an online academy, or learning spells from wizardly professors, characters often need to gain skills and qualifications of some kind. How and when they do this is an important element of worldbuilding and there are endless options. What does it tell us about the Discworld that wizards attend university and witches are apprentices? How does Starfleet Academy differ from the Imperial Academy? From Hogwarts to Brakebills to the Oha Coven, how does magical instruction differ? Panelists:  Dr. Shaun Duke (M), Karen Simpson Nikakis, Prof. Kenneth Schneyer, Ali Baker
  • Fan podcasts 18 Aug 2019, Sunday 15:30 - 16:20, Odeon 5 (Point Square Dublin) Podcasts have become a popular way to talk about and hear about our fannish favourites, share the latest theories and plot developments, and find new things to love. Our panelists discuss the challenges and delights of podcasting, and help you find new podcasts to check out. Panelists:  Heather Rose Jones (M), Alexandra Rowland, Dr. Shaun Duke, Jonathan Strahan, Jen Zink
I'll also be in attendance for the Hugo rehearsals and the Hugo Awards proper. I don't expect to do much more than clapping for the latter event, but you never know! Beyond these events (please come!), I'll also be hard at work on various other podcast activities throughout the convention AND some Dublin shenanigans around those days. Speaking of podcast activities:  if you're a creative type with a nifty project to talk about OR a fan with a cool blog, podcast, or other super fan thing to plug, get in touch at skiffyandfanty[at]gmail[dot]com OR via Twitter DM @SkiffyandFanty. We're interested in interviewing folks! Anywho. That's all for now. Hopefully, I can get back into this blogging thing again...soon.

The Worldcon 2017 Site Selection Process: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Recently, one of my friends confided in me that she found the process for voting for the Worldcon site complicated to the point of being off-putting.  So I decided to make a simplified template to follow for this year's site selection process.  For a far more detailed version, I strongly suggest you read Crystal Huff's excellent post on the subject.

I will update this page with when additional information (links, dates, etc.) becomes available.

1) Buy a Membership to Sasquan 2015
In order to vote for the 2017 Worldcon site, you must have a supporting or full membership to the 2015's Worldcon.

2) Wait for the Site Selection Ballot to Be Announced
The Sasquan 2015 Site Selection Ballot is currently available here.  Follow the instructions on the document to vote, especially if you plan to mail in your ballot or submit it via email.  Candidates are also listed on that document.

3) Pay Your Site Selection Ballot Fee
The fee to vote is $40 and can be paid online via Sasquan's Site Selection page (the payment system is NOW open!).  You may also pay the fee at Sasquan or via Check or Money Order (in US funds) with your paper ballot (see address below).

This fee automatically transfers into a supporting membership for the winning bid.  The winning bidder may also extend additional deals for full memberships after the selection process is over.

4) Download the Print Ballot OR Go to the Site Selection Booth During Sasquan 2015
Worldcon does not currently allow electronic voting, so all ballots must be submitted at the 2015 convention OR by mail or email.

The print ballot is available here (as noted above).

5) Submit Your Ballot
If you are not attending Sasquan 2015, then you must print, fill in, and mail your ballot to the address provided by the deadline OR email your ballot to (for those who pay their fee online).

To mail your ballot, send it to the follow address:
Worldcon 2017 Site Selection
c/o Joni Brill Dashoff
PO Box 425
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006-0425 U.S.A.

All mailed and emailed ballots must reach the site selection crew no later than August 10th, 2015 at 24:00 PDT.  Send it well in advance if you are concerned about delays.

That's it.  Pretty easy, right?

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 :)