Archipelacon – Day 2

As I predicted, I spent most of the morning in my hotel room doing panel prep of various sorts. I think my academic paper is now more or less done. I have one panel still to prepare for, which I’ll get done tonight.

Today I saw a couple of panels about fandom. Firstly George, Parris and Gary talked about their life in fandom. Also Parris was joined by Edward James, Crystal Huff and Michael Lee to talk about Anglo-American fandom. Much apologizing for Puppies was done. Personally I feel that a bit of apologizing for other people might have been appropriate as well. I have spent a great deal of time being told that I’m “not part of our community”. Because I have a stubborn streak, and Kevin’s support, I stuck it out and finally won a Hugo or two. Torgersen and Correia claim to have suffered a small amount of rudeness, as a result of which they are now making like professional soccer players rolling around on the ground clutching various tender parts of their anatomy and screaming for an ambulance. Them I have no sympathy for, but while few people are as thin-skinned as them I don’t think that everyone is as thick-skinned as me either.

The bottom line is that we have won the Culture War. Everyone is a fan now, and we have to accept that, or get left behind.

Today also saw Johanna Sinisalo’s Guest of Honour speech. She certainly seems to have been a precocious child. She could read well at 2.5 years old, and at five, having discovered that books were written by people, resolved to become an author. One of the first SF-related books she read was Comet in Moominland. Being a smart kid, she worried that comets might actually strike the Earth, and asked her father if this was possible. As she tells it, “Then he made a very serious mistake”. Her father, perhaps hoping to reassure her, told her that this Tove Jansson person was a woman, and that women knew nothing about such things. Little Johanna immediately resolved to prove him wrong, and to see to it that women were never again told that there were things they could not do.

Johanna also read us a short passage from the novel she currently has in translation. It is set in a near future Finland where an authoritarian government has banned all “dangerous” drugs except chilis. Naturally everyone turns to the burn to get their endorphin rush. Apparently she and her husband had a lot of fun researching this book.

Today’s first piece of really good news is that the Finnish government has awarded Johanna a five-year arts grant to allow her to write more books. She now earns more than I do just for being an author, quite independent of any money she might get from publishers. I am absolutely delighted for her.

The other piece of really good news was, of course, the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. We celebrated by having a Diversity in YA presentation from Suzanne von Rooyen, and an LGBT panel featuring Suzanne, Dirk Weger and myself. More on those shortly.