Finncon Day 1 – Hugos, Beer & Burgers

Friday began with more academic papers, which I will write about eventually, but not when I have so few braincells as I have right now. That was mainly a result of the rest of the day. I had to leave around noon to get to the main convention site. I was a bit miffed about this because it meant that I missed the papers on android women and M. John Harrison’s Light, but I was needed on the panel about this year’s Hugo Award nominees.

Actually we talked almost exclusively about the novels and short stories. There was a surprising amount of agreement. The panel (Tommy Persson, Marianna Leikomaa & Jukka Halme) agreed with me that the novel list was very poor, and that the short stories were all very good in their own ways but appealed to very different audiences. We also touched briefly on Novelette to note that “The Girl Thing Who Went Out For Sushi” is brilliant and you should all read it.

After that I inhaled some food and went to see Peter Watts being interviewed. Peter ingratiated himself with the locals immediately by saying that he wanted to stay here having sauna for the rest of his life. He’s Canadian; I’m sure he’ll be able to handle the Finnish winter.

Around 16:00 I finally managed to get into my hotel room. The Holiday Inn here is a very nice, modern hotel with pretty much everything you expect from such things, and free wifi. It is about 5 minutes walk from the con site. Note that his is not the site, or the Holiday Inn, that are the proposed Worldcon venue, but if the other Holiday Inn is as nice as this one you’ll all be very pleased when you get here.

Back at the convention, Aliette was interviewed by Tom Crosshill, and I met the contingent of Russian fans who have come over to make friends here. I have since purchased a membership in the St. Petersburg Eurocon (2015), and I see that Joe Abercrombie is a Guest of Honor. They also have some chap called Jukka Halme, who is getting to be a GoH at half the cons I go to these days. This is what you call targeted marketing: our Russian friends are appealing to British and Finnish fans, which I think is a pretty smart move.

For the evening Tero had promised to take me in search of the fabled Stallhagen Blueberry Ale. This is a seasonal concoction made by the craft brewery from Åland (see my Åcon 5 report when I visited their facilities). The beer will only be available for a few months this summer, so if we wanted to try it we had to do so now. An expedition was assembled, and the beer successfully found. It was quite nice, and did indeed have a blueberry tang to it. For UK beer fans, Martin Easterbrook was with us, and might be persuaded to give a verdict. However, the pub where we found it didn’t have very good food so we moved on.

Tero got us a table at Stones Gastopub. People, if (when) you come to Helsinki for Worldcon, you have to eat here. They were quite busy and it took a long time for our food to arrive, but when it did it was amazing. I’ve been to a few high-end burger joints in my time, but this one is the best so far. Everyone else in the party seemed happy too. Tero finally got to try their moose sausage, and Johan gave his seal of approval to their vegetarian option. The beer was good too. Our waiter (who had the Arrows of Chaos symbol tattooed on each elbow) recommended that I try Aventinus. I’d not had a dark wheat beer before. Now I want to do so regularly.

Back at the hotel, I got waylaid by Irma who had a bottle of Balvenie Doublewood. This was probably not a good idea, but I had some anyway because it is one of my favorite whiskies. But that’s why you didn’t get this blog last night.

2 thoughts on “Finncon Day 1 – Hugos, Beer & Burgers

  1. The Blueberry Ale is best described as pleasant but subtle. Several people could not detect the flavour. It is not as powerful as some Belgian fruit beers, which I find a bit overpowering.

    I do recommend the Moose sausages.

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