Worldcon 75 (Helsinki) & the Edinburgh Book Festival
 Worldcon 75 in Helsinki was amazing, just bloody amazing. It was one of the best attended Worldcons ever. The general aura of the con was jubilant. Helsinki is very easy on the eyes, but I didn't take many pics. When you're a Guest of Honour at a Worldcon, you don't get much breathing room. It wasn't only the many panels and events I was on, but I gave a couple of interviews practically every day of the con. I didn't get to any events I wasn't on. On con Thursday, I was so busy that the only reason I ate at all was because Juha (my official con “handler,” who described himself as my “designated Finn”) filled his knapsack with apples, water and food bars and offered me one whenever I began to look wan. I finally managed to grab a plate of hot food that evening at the very crowded Hugo Losers' Party hosted by George R. R. Martin (thanks, George!). Understand, I'm not complaining. It was five days of headlong fun. Farah and Edward had created a display about me and my work that just about took my breath away. (The mermaid soft sculpture in the photo is a gift I made for Farah last year. The twin-headed catmaid doll the mermaid is holding represents Farah's two cats.) They even made a puzzle of covers of my books. I'm afraid I don't remember the name of the artist who created the mermaid family on one of the posters. There was also a kids' activity area where they could make "Carnival" masks. Farah and Edward have promised to send me the posters and the puzzle. 

This is me presenting the Hugo Award for Best Novelette. I believe the photograph was taken by one of the Worldcon photographers, but I haven't been able to find out the person's name yet.

The headgear I'm wearing is a gele. Someone who knows what they're doing can fold and tie one from a single rectangle of fabric. I've been practising, but the art of gele-tying is a cross between origami and higher physics. So I cheated and bought a pre-tied one. The gown is from Pinup Girl Clothing. They carry vintage-look clothing, and their sizes go up to extreme buxom.

So many good memories and eyeball kicks from the Hugo Award ceremony. Toastmaster Karen Lord acquitted herself with grace and humour. Perhaps the most hilarious memory from the ceremony is Ursula Venon's “Whale Fall” acceptance speech. I really hope there'll be a transcript of that.

And I met an astronaut! Kjell Lindgren was at the con. I finally was able to ask someone who'd actually been upstairs what the vertigo effects are. And yep, I'm never going into space. I get vertigo if I even think about vertigo. Urp...

After Worldcon, I was off to the Edinburgh Book Festival. I'd been invited by author Ken Macleod, who curated science fiction events at the festival this year. I took part in an evening of performances and readings, and was on a panel on science fiction and utopia. It was my first time visiting Scotland. I really enjoyed my brief stay. Edinburgh apparently comes alive in August; there's a massive book festival, a massive theatre festival, a gin festival... And so many different accents! It seems as though almost everyone who lives in Edinburgh is from somewhere else, and of course even those who are originally local sound like a “different” accent to me because I don't hear it daily. The hotel was right on the Book Festival route. Our room an actual apartment; fridge, stove, oven, etc, including pots and pans and cooking utensils. It's all very compact; the washing machine and the dryer are the same machine, as are the oven and the microwave.

It's a minute-long walk to the closest crossroads, from where you can see Edinburgh Castle up on a cliff:   My first thought after my initial gasp at its grandeur? “I guess this isn't earthquake country.” That thing is right at the edge of the cliff. I didn't ramble much beyond the area of the book festival. I was tired from Worldcon, getting over the con lurgy, jet-lagged, and watching my budget. But there was plenty to see and do at the festival and in the surrounding area. Some random pics are below. The produce here is pretty good, except the bananas. Everywhere we go, they're force-ripened and fluorescent green. Then they get overripe, so they're simultaneously force-ripe and overripe. And fluorescent green. With brown spots. Even the mangoes are in better shape. Now I'm back home. (I will draw a discreet curtain over the hell of prolonged travel, missed connections, suspicious customs officers with weird questions and lost luggage that characterised the trip out and back.) I've been mostly avoiding my to-do list for the past couple of days, but it's time to get back at it. 

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