I just came home from the first sf con ever held on the island of Åland. (Spelled with an "a" having a ring on the top, a weird character existing in the Nordic languages.) It was a reasonably good con, and a con that re-introduced the concept of room parties! We had a couple of pretty wild and late room parties. (Like, somebody living two stairs down could hear our room party...) You see, most cons in the Nordic region *aren't* held on hotels. And if you have no hotel, you can't have room parties. (The latest hotel con in Sweden was Nasacon 2000, seven years ago, a thing that I BTW was co-organiser of.) Åcon was on Hotel Adlon in Mariehamn, the "capital" of the semi-independent region of Åland. It is the islands situated between Sweden and Finland, and they have "home rule" within the Finnish republic (similar to that Greenland has home rule under the Danish Crown). One point is for instance that Åland has a permanent status within the EU as a territory to and from which you can buy taxfree booze! Åland should perhaps "really" belong to Sweden (they are 99% Swedish speaking), but I think most Stockholmers would mind not having this taxfree booze heaven... (BTW, the Finns too can buy cheap booze on the ferries to Åland. Everybody benefits from the present status of Åland, so keep it that way. Cheers!) Åcon was actually an idea by the Finns. They though: there are these strange little islands in the Baltic that most of us haven't been to, so why not make a con there? And it's close to Sweden, so we can get some Swedish fen atttending too. (And we can have GREAT parties from the taxfree bheer.) Said and done: Åcon was on. The con had about 75 attendees, mostly Finns but also ca 20 Swedes, 2 Norwegians, one Dane and Scottish GoH writer Hal Duncan (who I out of sheer stupidity named "Ian" several times; I tend to think that Scots are named Ian, like Ian Sorensen; BTW Mr Duncan was very friendly and socialised with the fans very much - a swell chap, that Ian...!). The con actually started on Thursday, but I arrived Friday. My trip there costed me approx two dollars. The local ferry company Viking Line had a special offer where you could take a "cruise" for about four dollars. I took that but skipped the return ticket. (A regular - non cruise - ticket would have costed me ca 20 dollars.) As soon as I arrived I had money problems. They have these strange things called "euros" there. The Swedish Åcon agent Anders Reuterswärd helped me to exchange some money that helped me through the con. The program was intentionally very laid back. I got the impression that Jukka Halme (grand guy of Finnish fandom) was partially program responsible. Every second hour or so he disturbed people with announcing a progam item. Nothing (almost) started until 02 PM, so it was relaxed. I was in two things: a panel about alternate history (eg What If Sweden which ruled Finland for 600 years had still ruled Finland) and a quiz show where I suprised myself by actually knowing some of the answers (the Swedes won that quiz; we always win, eg in ice-hockey). There was surprisingly little talk about the Historically Huge Event named the Eurovision Song Contest, which Finland hosted only the week before (since hell froze over, ie Finland won the damn thing). But I found a soul mate in one the Finnish fans who confessed to being a great fan of Bad Music. (Which I am too. Go to the club Sunkit every first Monday of the month and learn more.) The program was very light, as said, but the few things I heard were interesting. I have totally forgotten what they talked about, but it was decent. I had some problems with where to stay. I'm too poor to actually stay in the hotel (though the rates, as I understand, were very human - aliens had different rates...). I actually brought along a tent, and stayed in a camping site ca one mile from the hotel (at least one night). I was a bit inspired by the underrated and forgotten book Fallen Angels (by Larry Niven, Jerry Puornelle and Michael Flynn) where they mention that the entire worldcon in 2008 takes place in a tent... (It's a very god book: the greenhouse effect doesn't exist and sf fandom is a progressive underground force. Read it! Available for free from the Baen web site.) I actually helped Åcon with their promotion. There was an article in a local paper based on something I E-mailed them. However, they spelled my name Ahrvid Engblom... The bastards. In the article I said "it's written in the stars" if there are any local Åland fans. But at least one local Åland sf fan turned up, a nice girl named Katarina. Otherwise, as I said in the beginning, Åcon had very good room parties. We don't see them too often in Nordic fandom but here we had them! There was at least one *big* party every night (Friday room 211, Saturday room 416: 15-20 people attending, ie almost 1/3 of the con). One of the parties is said to have going on until 09 AM (I left 5-6). Very, very nice! One bad thing for me is that I lost my "Palm Pilot", ie electronic date book and organiser. And it is a model from 2000, not very up to date and worth much today (and besides, you can actually USE it without the docking station). I asked around and looked around for it a lot - but it didn't turn up. (My hope is that someone will realise it's worth almost nothing and turn it in. I left my name and adress at the hotel reception.) But outside this little glitch, I had a wonderful con. I came back to Stockholm on a ferry ticket left over from the Danish guy Olav (who went home by other means) which means the return trip cost me nothing. But... But... I bought some tax free bheer on the way home and the ferry terminal was 5-6 km from where I live and the Stockholm subway tickets are now so expensive you need a morgage on your house and it took me 2,5 hours to walk my bheer home (without it I'd do it in 40-45 minutes). But that was my own choice. I can't complain.
Otherwise, Åcon was very good! --AhrvidPs. For Åcon, I published a special English issue of my small, very fannish zine Yngvi, with an English translation of "Noff is just two pricks from Oink-oink or: The Fight at OK Hokey" (relating to certain fan fund scandals in Nordic fandom - a piece that might seem controversial, but nobody strangled me...I might post it here, if you promise not to strangle...me).
Pps. Also sent as CC: to selcted people. BTW, do you have the E-ddress to Ian...I mean Hal Duncan?
-- ahrvid@xxxxxxxxxxxx/ahrvid@xxxxxxxxxxx/tel 073-68622[53+mercersdag] Pangram för 29 sv bokstäver: Yxskaftbud, ge vår wczonmö iqhjälp! Novelltävling, info http://www.skriva.bravewriting.com - gå med! ----- SKRIVA - sf, fantasy och skräck * Äldsta svenska skrivarlistangrundad 1997 * Info http://www.skriva.bravenet.com eller skriva- request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx för listkommandon (ex subject: subscribe).