Yesterday was mainly a travel day, and I slept most of the way from Turku to Mariemamn, thereby saving myself from buying duty-free booze on the ferry. We did, however, have a small amount of programming in the evening. Tricia Sullivan and I, with expert help from Markku Soikkeli, did a panel on “Body and Mind” in which we talked a lot about false dualisms, the complexity of biological organisms, the lack of scientific basis for ideas of “uploading” minds to silicon, and the political minefields that result from “nature v personal choice” arguments. Judging from the feedback I have got, it went down very well. Kisu is threatening to have a philosophy panel on Thursday evening every year.
I had a bad case of time zone fail this morning and almost missed the bus to the chocolate tasting. Thankfully I did make it, and Mercedes was wonderful as ever. I refer you to last year’s con report for a more detailed description of what these excursions are like.
We’d hardly got back when I had another panel. This one was about “Classic Conventions”. I now owe several beers to Crystal Huff as I co-opted her onto the panel to talk about ReaderCon and other US events. Thanks also to my colleagues, Carolina Gomez Lagerlöf and Tommy Persson. Hopefully we entertained.
I skipped Tricia’s GoH interview because I very much wanted to get to the Maritime Museum and they close at 16:00. Mariehamn has a glorious maritime history, having once been home to the biggest fleet of windjammers in the world. The Pommern is still here and I had a good look around her. I have so much respect for the crews of such ships, and especially for Wilhelmina Widborn who served as a cook and steward on the Pommern for many years. According to the museum, she rounded Cape Horn eight times, and survived being torpedoed, during her career.
Also in the museum is one of only two genuine Jolly Roger flags in existence. This one was captured from Barbary pirates around 200 years ago and brought home to Mariehamn by the crew. I’ll have a photo of it up eventually.
And now, dinner beckons. There is a fine restaurant called Nordic Blues, which makes sushi with local fish. I went there last year with Cat Valente’s husband, Dmitry. The plan is to go back today.
For further Åcon reportage, check out Tero’s blog.