Wow. We are living in surreal times. Yet at the end there seems to be some hope that people are fighting back against the nonsense and winning.

If one good thing comes out of 2017 is that everyone learns to treat everyone with respect and not take advantage of each other.

For me it was not that bad. Things that I planned happened. I need to fight the anxiety I feel sometimes.

Some great people left us. They include Mary Tyler Moore, John Hurt, Chuck Berry, Colin Dexter, Don Rickles, Tim Pigott-Smith, Chris Cornell, Roger Moore, Gregg Allman, Adam West, Michael Nyqvist, Martin Landau, George Romero, June Foray, Brian Aldiss, Richard Anderson, Jerry Pournelle, Len Wien, Harry Dean Stanton, Hugh Hefner, Roy Dotrice, Fats Domino, Robert Guillaume, John Hillerman, Della Reese, Jim Nabors, Sue Grafton, Susan Caspar, Bernie Wrightson , Ed Bryant, Larry Smith, Chuck Barris, Rose Maire, Tommy Castilllo, and the 58 victims of the Las Vegas shooting.

New rules and a loss of interest reduced the Puppy influence on the Hugos this year, and it was . N.K. Jemsin became the third person to win back to back Hugos for Best Novel for The Obelisk Gate.

Worldcon 75 was fun. It was a truly international con. There were over 7,000 members from 60 countries. I did two panels, one on reviewing and another on Doctor Who. It was one of the bigger Masquerades for a non-US Worldcon. Helsinki was a fun city to have a Worldcon.

NASFiC 2017 was small but powerful. San Juan was a great place for a convention. I got to see old San Juan and Aercibo. I also ran registration for the con. It was a challenge but it was a success and I saw the programming I wanted to see. I wasalso on panels, one on fanzines, and one on the fannish way of life. Puerto Rico was great place to go and I hope it recovers from Irma as quickly as they can and get the help it needs.

I worked on AFO 2017 again. This time I worked on panel programming. I went over panel suggestions with the rest of the panel team. During the con, I kept track of panel attendance on my shifts. My new panel, SF Anime Features, went extremely well. People seemed to connect with the films. I am still thinking on what to do next year panel wise.

I did one day of Megacon since it conflicted with the Fringe Festival and the previous week was OASIS. There were not as many guests I wanted to see this year.

Spooky Empire was interesting this year with its focus on 80s films. I went to Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall Q&A session and it was fun. I also saw a
good documentary on Disney’s Haunted Mansion.

Necronomicon was great. I ran a dealers table for the third year in a row. I go to some panels on anime. After a tight race my team won trivia again.

As usual there were great genre films. The Last Jedi gave us a new and different Star Wars story. DC finally got its act together with Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman. Our favorite Amazon got the film she deserved. Justice League was uneven but seems to be going in a good direction. Lego Batman examined the nature of the DC icon. Logan gave us a satisfactory ending to life of one of the most iconic Marvel heroes. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 looked at our hero’s families. There was a good mix of drama and humor in Thor: Raganarok. Get Out was a Science Fiction thriller that looks at race. Spider-Man: Homecoming finally did Spider-Man right. It Comes at Night looked at the pre-conceived ideas behind the apocalypse. Colossal gave us a story about toxicrelationship mixed with kaiju. Albion: The Enchanted Stallion was a great family fantasy independent film. Love Witch was a fun romp reminiscent of 70s Horror. War of the Planet of the Apes gave us an incredible conclusion to Caesar’s story. We got a sequel to the classic Blade Runner that is trying to ask some big questions and gives an entrancing world to look at.

It was cool that the Academy nominated Arrival for Best Picture. Moonlight deserved the top prize. Hidden Figures showed the contributions made by African American women to the space program. Lion showed the journey to find one’s identity. Jackie told the story of a woman dealing with the death of her husband while the world watches. There were some great documentary features. 13th showed how people use the law to hurt others. I am Not Your Negro combines the beautiful words of James Baldwin with powerful images. The winner O.J. Made in America closely examined on of the most sensation trial of the last century. Oscar Animation Feature finalist, My Life as Zucchini shows that animation can be used for serious subjects.

There a few things I hope to see get Oscar nominations. The Florida Project showed the plight of people living on the edge of financial disaster and how children deal with it. Ladybird showed the trial and tribulation of high school senior. Dunkirk conveyed the tension of rescuing the British Army from France. The Darkest Hour showed how Winston Churchill made the challenging decisions of the war. Molly’s Game showed how a woman succeeds by her wits and does not allow others to dictate her life. Ghost Story was a beautiful surreal existentialist story about a man who died and as a ghost looks like he a sheet over his head. I hope Get Out get a nomination for screenplay, picture, and director. I am looking forward too Shape of Water and The Post.

This was the year of anime in the theaters. One Piece: Gold gave us a caper picture with Luffy and the gang. The Japanese blockbuster your name appears to be a sweet romance and became a lot more. Sword Art Online considered augmented reality, moved the characters along, and setup a third season. In This Corner of the World took us to a town near Hiroshima during World War 2 and how people lived during this time. There were other films based on other shows, with more to come next year. Now we can see anime as come on TV and wait a few months to see it in a theater.

Sadly, Ghost in the Shell was a disappointment. There were some good recreations from the original film but the whole was odd. It wanted to be something but it could not stick to landing.

Coco is the animated film to beat this year. It is a story about family and finding your true desire. My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea was a fun animated film about high school. DC’s Batman vs. Two Face (done in Batman 66 style) was a fitting end to Adam West portrayal of Batman.

Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape was a documentary of the history of the cassette tape. It was spellbinding. Atomic Blonde was powerful action film with a fun soundtrack. Dawson City: Frozen Time was a documentary of a Canadian town that became the last stop for films.

I caught up on some classics this year including Singing in the Rain, Being There, Talk to Her, The Devils, The King of Comedy, It Happened One Night, After Hours, Stalker, The Apartment, and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. I also re watched Citizen Kane, Porco Russo, The Princess Bride, and The Castle of Cagliostro.

Mostly stayed with the same shows this year Once Upon a Time, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELDGotham, The Inhumans, and Iron Fist were interesting messes. The Defenders gave us an interesting Marvel team. The Punisher was engaging. The Walking Dead started the war against Negan. Orphan Black wrapped up but at a busy time for me and I need to watch the last season. Mr. Robot had a great year taking the story to a new place. Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events was great take on the books and I hope they do they whole series. Black Mirror returned with strong episodes like “USS Callister”, “Hang the DJ”, “Metalhead” and “Black Museum” Stranger Things continued the story and had a great three-way conclusion. Doctor Who came back with Bill Potts and it was a romp. We know patiently for a new era of Doctor Who. Shada came back as combination of live footage and animation. American Gods did a good job of adapting the classic novel. Star Trek: Discovery give an interesting look at the Trek universe. TheOrville is a great homage to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Powerless was a great look at the DC Universe but sadly it did not last. Legion was a very arty look at Marvel/X-Men world. Jenna Coleman was terrific as Victoria. Feud: Bette and Joan showed the dark side of Hollywood. The People vs. OJ Simpson did good job bringing the story of that trail to life. Rick and Morty was one the great shows of Adult Swim (and Rick is not a good guy). Ken Burns and his team looked at a painful part of America history in The Vietnam War.

This was a very slow year for anime. I only saw one new show Little Witch Academia that was fun and I hope there is more. Space Battleship Yamato finally got an English dub on Funimation. There was a new season of The Eccentric Family with more fun and excitement with our favorite takuni family. We got some new cyclists in a new season of Yowapeda. Toonami brought dubs of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Lupin III: Part 4, Gundam: Unicorn, and the second season Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans. Toonami also brought back the spectacular Outlaw Star.

The only new comics I got into was Paper Girls and Monstress. Somehow in the middle of the year I lost track of most of the comics I was following except Saga. I need to re-evaluate what I will be reading next year.

N.K. Jemisin conclude her trilogy about geomancers (people who can manipulate the earth) with The Stone Sky and it satisfactory ending. Iam Providence by Nick Mamatas was a great look at a fandom in a novel. Infomacracy by Malka Older showed a new way of government in a thriller. James S.A. Corey’s Babylon’s Ashes and Persepolis Rising ratchet the action in the Expanse. The latter book puts our heroes in a tight spot. United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas was new take on Japan winning World War II. Glen Wheldon looked at the World’s Finest in Superman: The Unauthorized Biography and The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture. Yoon Ha Lee gave us a new look at warfare in Ninefox Gambit. The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson took us on a trip using Lovecraft images. Everfaire by Nisi Shawl showed an alternate Africa that avoided the pain and the plunder. Star Are Legion by Kameron Hurley gives us a world of women in space with action and intrigue. Ian MacDonald went back to the Moon in Luna: Wolf Moon. Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer took us to a complicated future where religion is worked by experts and one boy can change the world. A Close and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers is about a young girl surviving on her own with the help of an AI. Blood of Angels by Johanna Sinisalo looks a bee colony death with a SF twist. The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinsalo postulates an alternate world where the welfare state has overreach and forbids spicy foods. New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson shows a world dealing with our mistakes and how we can fix ours. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer is about Rachel a scavenger surviving in an apocalyptic world of fantastic creatures. Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi looks at how an interstellar empire deals with the loss of its faster than light capability. Walkaway by Cory Doctorow gives us an alternate to the typical apocalypse. Instead of running away from something, we run to something which is better. The House of Binding Thornes gives my favorite character Madeline a new lease on life. Autonomous by Annalee Newitz is about a drug pirate who gives cheap drugs to those who cannot afford it and the robot who tasked to hunt her. Zoe Quinn teaches how to deal and fight with cyber-bulling in Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate. Mara Wilson gave us some insight in her essay collection Where Am I Now: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame. Nat Sagaloff gave us a look into the life of Harlan Ellison in A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison. Steven Warren Hill and his team gave us Red White Who: The Story of Doctor Who in America.

I checked out some novelettes in the Lady Business recommendation spread sheet.

I after doing 10 miles a day during Lent, my bike riding went down. I need to fix that.

Again I will work on balancing fan writing, reading, media watching, and con work.

To see what have I been reading check here. Note after February the site will be here. Hopefully I will make some corrections and update in the coming week.

As always, thanks to those who made the year as fun as it was.  This I list would be long and I would forget someone.

2018 looks scary and hopeful. Let us all look out for each other. Take care.

Helsinki Day Ten Worldcon 75 Day Five
The day started out with Sunday mass that had a few fans attending. I considered going to an earlier mass but there were no masses earlier then 9:30AM.

I checked out the Volunteer Lounge and got soem more hours recorded and got my T-Shirt. I also signed up to work for closing ceremonies. Then I went to panels. I picked my copy WOOF, a collection of fanzines assembled at Worldcon which I contribute to. On my way out I saw my fellow Doctor Who panelist Fiona Moore. We talked about Doctor Who, The Prisoner, and Battlestar Galactica. On my way out of the Exhibition Hall, I got some travel advice from representatives from the tourism bureau.

At closing ceremonies I was working to help with the presentation. The job I got was to give the hand held microphones to those who needed them on stage. I was hanging on stage right ready to hand off the microphones. The room was packed for the event.
After Closing Ceremonies, I turned in my volunteer sheet. I bumped into members of my Australian tour group who were heading out to dinner. Someone cancelled out on their reservation so I could joined them. It was a very nice restaurant and I got to try reindeer meat which was good. I decided to pass on the Dead Dog party due to schedule and get some rest before heading out to the airport.

It was a great Worldcon. There were some problems but they adapted and solved those problems. A great job by the convention team and staff.

Today I am in the air for 12 hours to get home.

Helsinki Day Nine Worldcon 75 Day Four
I took care of some business. I supported the New Zealand in 2020 bid and upgraded my membership to attending for Dublin 2019 An Irish Worldcon.

Then I went to panels and the got ready for Masquerade. I was working the check in desk. The Masquerade had 25 entries and there were very good costumes. Here is a sample.
Intermisison was an acapella group Sassafrass that includes new John W. Camobell Award winner Ada Palmer.
There were also some great hall costumes.

The panels I attended

  • Guest of Honor Interview:John-Henri Holmberg

  • Science Fiction Gone Wrong

  • Octavia Butler

  • Iron Sky: The Coming Race and Renate's Story

Today some panels and prepare to head home.

Helsinki Day Eight Worldcon 75 Day Three
More about the picture later I hopig it is what will show up when it is linked to Facebook and Twitter.

I started out the day Stroll with the Stars with Walter Jon Williams. It was agood walk talking to Lawrence Schonen about language. We saw the demolition of the old Pasila Rail station which Walter Jon Williams posed in front off.
Then I checked out the Dealers Room and got all the Timothy Zahn books I could so I could get them signed at Necronomicon and sold for OASIS Charity and regular funds. I also got a Poul Anderson novel The Devil's Game that seemed interesting. Then I did some panels and I got a signature for my souvenier book from Guest of Honor Johanna Sinisalo.

I also got to meet some podcasters I have been following. I meet Ana Grillo of Fangirl Happy Hour and  Book Smugglers blog and her partner Thea  James(Book Smugglers) at a meet up. It was fun we discussed stuff like Star Wars and Kameron Hurley's Stars are Legion. I also met Alexandra Pierce from Galactic Suburbia. This was really great since I sent The Moon is Harsh Mistress in the interest of Australia-American fan relations. She had Stranger in a Strange Land but it took 2 years due accessibility issues and wanted to read The Moon is Harsh Mistress. So I asked her that if I could send her a copy and she said yes and did a fair review of it.

Panels I went to:

  • Guest of Honor Presentation: Nalo Hopkinson

  • Building Resistance

I was on the panel for The Future of Doctor Who. I got some laughs for saying I did not thik we had anything to talk about it. It was a fun and engaging panel. There was a sensative moment when a woman fan discussed her issues with a woman Doctor. Fiona Moore, our moderator, handle it well.

Then I went to the Hugos. Since the panel i was on was late in the day I wore my suit all day since I would not have time to change. There was line.
It was a really fun ceremony hosted by Karen Lord. I was surprised a few times but all the winners were great works and individuals. I need to thank Jack Purcell for taking my Hugo picture this year. I checkout the party area and talked to some people and then got a late sandwich at the Holiday Inn restaurant and talked a bit. Then head back to the hotel.

Some cosplay pics.

Today Masquerade and panels.

Helsinki Day Seven Worldcon 75 Day Two
The day started with a line. The convention center did nt open its door until 9AM.
I worked a bit at the info desk before going to the Worldcon Businsess Meeting. I had cosigned a resoultion to extend the Hugo eligibilty for the film your name, a very good anime feature film that a very limited release in 2016. Fortunately no one challenged the resolution and it passed. No if we can get it on the ballot next year.

Then I went to some panels. I was able to go to all of my panels. I did go a little ealry to make sure I got in. I did a 2 hour shift  at a registration. It was busy but not as busy as the first day.

I was on the Reviewing 101 panel with John Clute, a renowed reviewer in the field and contributer of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. It was intimating but I answered the questions and contributed. We had a reasonable audience. We did not shut down the room but there were a lot of people.

I went to Clipping concert. They have an album that is a Hugo finalist. It was fun and the crowd was energized.

I checked out the art show. It was small but mighty. They even had Hi-Def monitor showing a slide show of more art.

I got to see a lot people and catch up a bit and got some cosplay pics. I dropped by the party area and then headed out.

Panels I went to:

  • Guest of Honor Interview: Nalo Hopkinson

  • Guest of Honor Presentation: Walter Jon Williams

  • Guest of Honor Interview: Johanna Sinisalo

Today the Hugos, and I am doing a panel on The Future of Doctor Who (I wonder what will talk about).

Helsinki Day Six Worldcon 75 Day One
My Worldcon day started early. I went to registration for orientation at 8:30AM. Then I waited near the at the door memberships line to sell some memberships friends who could not make it. In two hours I pullled it off.

Then I pulled a 4 hour shiift at registration. It was a challenge but it went well. The system was easy to use and we had support from our fellow volunteers. One of the people I registered remembered me from the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) a few years back. Apparently she had a problem with her computer and I loaned her mine to do her presentation and she apprecaited that.

After that I went to Opening Ceremony and it was packed. The ceremony was fun and great to see all the guests. Then I did a two more panels. I also voted for site selection, checkout the dealers room, and dropped off my contribution to WOOF ( a fanzine which is a collection of fanzines). I saw a few people I knew and got some cosplay pics.
Panels attended:

  • Opening Ceremonies

  • A live recording of the Tea and Jeopard podcast with George R.R. Martin as the guest

  • Anime and Manga for SFF Fans

I also saw a class on traditional Finnish dances done in the con's dance hall. Very interesting though after standing for 4 hours I wanted to sit.

Yes it is crowded. I barely got in for the anime panel and I got cut off for a the flash fiction competition. I just heard the con is working the problem.

Today I am doing on a panel on reviewing and going to Guest of Honor panels.

Helsinki Day Five
I tried to to go on bike tour of a scale model of the Solar System but I get there late and I missed it. It was long shot since the person in charge told they might nothave a bike my size. I got some riding and walking out of it. On the way I saw a cool skate park.
Then I got to the Messukeskus, the Helsinki convention center and started to volunteer for seven hours at the Move In/Move Out (MIMO) desk. I got people their staff badges and directed them where they needed to go. It was not a bad job and it was great place to see people. I also got to talk to some local fans and asked them about anime fandom and cons in Finland.
Then I got some food, went to my hotel, took care of some business. I then went to Worldcon 75 Kareoke party. It was fun seeing some of the staff I meet doing some great songs.
Today, I get to get up early for registration orientation and working two shifts (4 hours) and covering the con.

Helsinki Day Four
The day was a bit unusual. I wanted to checkout where the convention center was. It was a slow go since it rained alot in the morning an early afternoon. I did checkout the central train station, Rautatieasema and figured out how to get tickets and understand how the mass transit system works. I took a tram ride and later when the weather cleared up I took a bike ride to the convention center. I did about 15 km (9 miles) on the bicycle.

I wanted to checkout the modern art musuem Kiasama but it was closed on Monday. I had an orange and water in front of it. I saw this bus with the IKEA logo painted on it. A few minuted later a couple asked me if I saw the IKEA bus. They explained to me that IKEA provides a bus service to take people to the store. This was nice of IKEA.

On the way back, I saw a funny sign in front of a bar that made me laugh.
Today, maybe a tour of the Solar System and volunteering at the con.

Helsinki Day Three
The day was going to be busy. When I booked the con hotel, I could not get Friday and Saturday night booked in that hotel. I had to book another hotel for the first 2 days and then go to con hotel.

Thanks to the con progress report I found a Catholic Church that did an English mass. It was St. Henrik Cathedral. It was a small cathedral. I also got there using Helsinki rent a bike system similar to th one used in a lot of cities including Orlando.
When I got back I moved out and went to the Scandic Grand Marina.  While I waited to check in, I updated the blog.  Once I got into my room, I set up and just relaxed. They day was overcast and it was drizzling. During a break in the weather, I decided to grab a rent a bike and tried to the check the convention center. On the way I found the Colombian embassy which is an office buidling near the Portuguese embassy.

I did not make it to the convention center becuase then it started to rain. I stayed under an overpass until it settled down and then went back to hotel. According to the bike I rode 11.8 km (about 7.2 mi). I felt pretty good particular since I really slacked off biking last month.

Today I may checkout the city via bike and do some con prep.

Helsinki Day Two
The day started out doing the bus sight seeing tour. This was a great way to see the city, even though I think the bus' English recording was out synch with the tour at times. After the tour, I walked over the National Musuem (see below)
The musuem covers all of Finnish history, from the Pre-Historic times to the present day (at least for now). They had artifacts from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Age. The Medieval exhibit has a staute to my family's name sake.
This year is the Centennial for Finland. The musuem had a special photo exhibit covering 100 years of Finnish history. The pictures were great but the one that got me was the shot below. It was looking at a prosperity that Finland was growing into in 1930. What got me was the boy had a Mickey Mouse doll. I did not know Disney had merch that early in Mickey's career.

After the museum, I decided to check out the Sibelius Monument made for the composer Jean Sibelius. This reminded me of the gold statue of Struass in Vienna. Its cool when an artist gets a  memorial. The second picture is under the monument.
Then I went to the Temppeliaukio Church aka Rock Church. The chruch is built in solid rock. I really got to give it to the archietcts and builders, it looks beuatiful. Iam not clear which denomination uses it, but I hope they do not do a lot of kneeling. The floor is solid without any carpet.
I started on the way back. On the way I took a pciture of the Parliament House which had a lot of construction going around it. I decided to save a little badnwidth that day and I did all my navigation by map and I was able to get around OK and did not get lost.
One interesting thing I saw before the bus tour. This sign fordibs the use of drones near Senate Square. It interesting that use of drones has become so common that its use has to be restricted. Voice actor Ruben Langdon use his drone get footage of places in Japan and was cool to get a top view of places like the Ghibli Museum.
Today I will go to church, move into the long term hotel and do some biking.


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