225 thoughts on “Time for Comments 9/1

  1. @JJ They’ve got at least a half-dozen, or more, Americans on the concom — including one of the the two Con Chairs. They knew.

    I believe the American co-chair is in China at the moment so won’t be able to address the issue in any meaningful way. She probably has access to Twitter if you want to get her attention.

    She’s been involved in Worldcon and other international conventions for long enough it’s possible she’s forgotten what it’s like to be a newbie to European conventions.

    If your used to the distance it might not feel very far.

  2. Tasha Turner: I believe the American co-chair is in China at the moment so won’t be able to address the issue in any meaningful way. She probably has access to Twitter if you want to get her attention.

    Yeah, what happened to her was pretty awful. I tossed a little bit of help her way. I was very glad that she was able to get it fixed for a lot less than $6,000.

    At this point, it’s all pretty much water under the bridge. Helsinki won the bid, the con is going ahead, and individuals will just need to figure out whether the distances are enough of an issue for them to decide that it’s too much to deal with, in terms of whether they go to the con. Hopefully the people who would be most affected, because of accessibility needs, can be accommodated at the onsite hotel.

    At this point, 11 months out, they’ve already got more than 2,750 paid Attending Memberships. I have no idea how many memberships they need to make their budget work, but I imagine that the con will do just fine — especially since they don’t appear to have the need to guarantee a certain number of hotel nights (and thus won’t have to pay the difference out of their funds, if that quota isn’t met).

  3. The situation with the ant colony trapped in the former nuclear bunker reminds me of Silverberg’s “Hawksbill Station“, where political dissidents caught by a repressive future government are sent on a one-way trip into the Precambrian past (Trilobite World). No way to go back, very limited resources, and only one gender (male) is ever sent to Hawksbill.

    (The Silverberg bibliography at the bottom of that Wikipedia article is woefully inadequate.)

  4. Whoa. That Silverberg novel reminds me of some of Kage Baker’s novels. I really need to read more Silverberg. Also, I think one of the Sad Puppies picks from 2015 had a similar thing going, but probably a lot more nuggety.

  5. Worldcon 75 hotel page does have a link to the HSL Journey Planner (reittiopas) that I used. The con also provided estimates about transit times on the hotel listings (and I think were a bit conservative for the transit time estimates).

    Official Helsinki tourist site Visit Helsinki has a list and a very useful map of all hotels, apartment hotels and hostels in Helsinki and Helsinki region that you can take a look at. And tons of other information about Helsinki.

    Tripadvisor and other sites like that have lists and maps of hotels that can be very helpful.

    People, you know how to google, right? 😉

  6. Terhi: Worldcon 75 hotel page does have a link to the HSL Journey Planner (reittiopas) that I used. The con also provided estimates about transit times on the hotel listings (and I think were a bit conservative for the transit time estimates).

    Remember that the Reittiopas time estimates assume that your train or tram will be there right when you arrive at the stop. Depending on the day and time, if you just miss one, it can be 6 to 20 minutes before the next one arrives.

    Terhi: People, you know how to google, right?

    I’m just pointing out here that the primary issue is not whether people have the ability and the motivation to Google for hotels in Helsinki.

  7. Oh, say, kathodus, I forgot about that thing I told you about the other day… if you go to this page and click on the envelope icon to contact me and send me your e-mail address, I’ll, uh, send you that thing.

  8. @JJ:

    Yeah, what happened to her was pretty awful.

    And certainly nothing one would wish on a genuinely nice person like Crystal, if anyone.

    A couple of tips to avoid such causes for distress, from yr. humble correspondent who grew up in an airline family and seems to end up flying a lot:

    1. If you absolutely, positively need to do a trip using multiple airlines in succession, leave many hours between connecting-airline flights. Give yourself a 6-hour layover at the point of changeover from Airline A to Airline B. Relax. Read a book.

    2. If it’s even remotely possible you’re going to miss a connection on Airline B because of delays occasioned by Airline A, do whatever it takes to reschedule your flight on Airline B before that flight’s departure time. Like, this might be the one time in your life you can justify the exorbitant rates for a seat-back telephone call while Airline A is in the air, to call Airline B and say ‘I think I’ll not make my flight and need to reschedule. Right now.’ Why? Because what you paid Airline B for is the right to deprive someone else of a seat, and if they cannot offer it to someone else, they’re going to take the position they earned your money.

    (By contrast, if flight #1 on Airline A is running long and prevents you from making flight #2 on Airline A, then you’re not going to have to eat the cost of a missed connection. See the difference?)

    3. Sometimes as an exception to the above, airlines might smile on you, especially if you have frequent-flyer status and it’s a non-discount airline. If it’s a discount airline (like Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA) or one just now emerging from bankruptcy (like Delta), or you bought an excursion fare ticket, etc., don’t expect them to bend the rules out of pity or any other reason.

  9. I’m really sorry to hear what happened to Crystal.

    I’ve had the missed connection problem a few times and never had a problem to reschedule the flight. Once I even got lucky and got a food voucher and a 50 EUR off coupon for my next flight. However, when I realised there might be a problem before departure or in the air, I contacted the gate agent or a flight attendant about this right away. I mostly fly KLM, because they’re always helpful. However, if you’re flying via Amsterdam Schiphol, you need at least 90 minutes of transit time, because with less you can easily get into scheduling conflicts.

  10. Cora: if you’re flying via Amsterdam Schiphol, you need at least 90 minutes of transit time, because with less you can easily get into scheduling conflicts.

    Yeah, I always insist on at least a 2-hour layover at Chicago O’Hare. I have never had an on-time arrival there, and I was stuck overnight once with no hotel room, having to try to get a bit of a nap in a chair in the terminal.

    If I need to make a sequence of flights on different carriers, I will usually use Orbitz. They’re a bit of a pain about some things — but your connections are linked together in Sabre, and the gate agent will check your luggage through to the endpoint of the last flight in the sequence. Orbitz’ computer will also adjust your other flights in the schedule when the airlines change departure or arrival time on one of them. And if I think there’s a possibility I might not make a connecting flight, I’ll go to the gate agent for that airline before boarding the prior flight, and ask them if I can be shifted to a later flight.

    Booking sequential flights through different airlines can be a really dicey proposition.

  11. I haven’t flown internationally since I was 17. I don’t think I’ve flown domestically since 9/11. I suspect my experience will be a bit different this time. My husband has flown domestically and internationally so I’ll be traveling with someone with a clue although he’s frequently oblivious to life around him due to head in book syndrome.

    This should be fun.

  12. @JJ:

    Yeah, I always insist on at least a 2-hour layover at Chicago O’Hare. I have never had an on-time arrival there, and I was stuck overnight once with no hotel room, having to try to get a bit of a nap in a chair in the terminal.

    OMG JJ, I just did an overnight at O’Hare in mid-July! It wasn’t a connection issue, though, but electrical storms delaying everything in and out. Since it affected pretty much all flights, the cots were very oversubscribed and even benches were hard to come by.

    Not on the Fun end of my various adventures and misadventures.

  13. Goddamn O’Hare gave us the worst flying experience of our lives. Not just the fact that their TSA guys were actually surly goons (pretty much the only time this has happened to us), but that after we moved our asses, luggage, and baby across a creative obstacle course of corridors and stairs to get to another terminal in a very short interval, the flight was delayed. They wouldn’t say when, just that it was delayed, and we were afraid to leave the gate, and there was no food where we were. We figured we’d eat on the plane, and (more important) feed Sarah, who we were bringing home from China.

    The delay went on and on, never with any word of when. Eight fucking hours later, we finally got on the goddamned plane, and were informed that there was no food, and no hot water. I held Sarah while she cried. She cried until she finally just ran out and stopped, looking no happier. I cried too. Way to show our infant that her new parents couldn’t even fucking feed her.

    We finally got home, after even more nonsense (couldn’t get the car seat to attach, so I held her on my lap all the way home from the airport in Virginia), and were so glad to make it. “This is your new home!” I said. Natasha came in to see what was up, and I said, “And this is our cat.” Sarah looked at the cat and shrieked for fifteen minutes, and for the first time, we wondered if we’d bitten off more than we could chew. Had she seen a cat before? Had she seen an animal?

    Next morning, everything was fine. She wanted to go where the cat was, and the cat wanted to be somewhere else. All was as it should be.

    Goddamn O’Hare anyway.

  14. @Kip W: Jumping Jeebus! That’s maybe the worst airport experience I’ve ever heard! My sympathies.

    I got lucky the last time I flew out of O’Hare. I’d forgetten my driver’s license and TSA did a great job of getting me ID’d and on the plane. I’m going to guess you were flying Untied (sic). They are notoriously awful in every way. This has their stink on it.

  15. I just read Our Wombat’s Castle Hangnail, and found it delightful, but it doesn’t fit with what I thought the Mythopoeic Award was aiming at.

    This may just be evidence of how long it’s been since I paid significant attention to that award or the society that presents it/

  16. @John A Arkansawyer, I usually do okay with United, which I fly a lot because I live near their Newark hub. My most recent horror experience was with American at JFK. JFK is as bad as O’Hare or worse. I was heading out on a trip to Argentina with the women’s choir I sing with (our first road trip), and took the 9pm flight on American with three others rather than the 4pm flight on Aerolinneas Argentinas with the larger group. Well, they kept delaying us bit by bit, and hinting that we would be boarding soon, so that we would be induced to stand up and get in line. They would usually not call out a delay – we would just notice it on the board. The same happened with the gate change. I didn’t mention the gate change? Yeah. Then the board would show a time of 9:50, say, and they would update it to 10:00 when it was already 10:15. That happened several times. Then it moved to 12:00. A few minutes later it jumped to 12:00 noon the next day. Arrgh. No announcements that any of us could make out.

    We were fortunate to be four people and in funds, so we found a nearby hotel – not the cheapest, because a bunch of large international flights had canceled earlier. Weather for those, mechanical for us. Naturally, it being an international flight, we had checked our bags, and those were not accessible. I had fortunately followed advice and put one day’s clothes and my meds in my carryon, but didn’t have a toothbrush or other toiletries. Now I know to put those in the carryon, too. A lot of people didn’t know to do that, and/or slept in the airport, so the eventual flight was a tiny bit niffy.

    Well, we got back to the airport at 10 the next day, already aware of another hour of delay, and went back through security, then had breakfast. The plane actually boarded only somewhat late, but then they counted noses and realized that two checked bags belonged to no-shows. Thus began three hours of gate hold while they rifled the hold looking for those bags. Arrgh. We finally got to Buenos Aires at 3 in the morning, 18 hours late.

    The trip back was great, though. Fucking JFK.

  17. jonesnori/Lenore Jones on September 3, 2016 at 11:04 am said:
    My parents had stories about dealing with American in Texas – boarding regular passengers before the preboarding passengers had even gotten to the plane (the agent having taken my father’s cane away, which he needed for balance). And the adjoining gate numbers at DFW, which were in two different (but neighboring) terminals, with no escalator or elevator to get down to the tram level, only stairs. Which my father had trouble with, because balance.

  18. @P J Evans, that’s horrible! They should not have taken the cane. That’s a medical appliance and an exception to the rules. Only stairs is on the airport. That’s really bad.

  19. Hello, Worldcon 75 Co-Chair Jukka Halme here.

    I’d like to thank Terhi (and others) for addressing a number of issues here and giving answers we should have on our website. We have every intention of adding more information there about Helsinki, hotels, traveling, eating, parties etc. This will take time and effort, but I believe we’ll have more than a fair amount of this info available before the end of 2016. Comments and questions are always welcomed, especially if they come directly to us, via email (info@worldcon.fi) or various SoMe channels.

    We apologise for any miscommunication, but I’m afraid I have to beg to differ with, or at least comment on, some of the claims raised here.

    When bidding, we did mention that there was a hotel attached to the Helsinki Exhibition and Congress Center Messukeskus. We were always clear to point out, however, that it is the only hotel close to Messukeskus and that most people would have to find accommodation somewhere else, namely Downtown area. This fact was never hidden, obfuscated or covered up. We apologise that this information did not reach everyone, but the bid never hid this fact.

    As to traveling to the convention site from the centre of Helsinki, I cannot even remember how many times we explained the various ways of reaching Messukeskus. It takes five minutes to travel by train from the Helsinki Central Railway station to Pasila, and back. And those trains leave every other minute during day.

    Trams are slower, but will make the same trip in 20-25 minutes or so. Adding walking time from and to the hotel makes it more or less what Terhi states in one of her many messages. As we said on our bid FAQ: “There are about 40 hotels within 20 minutes’ travel by public transport”.

    On Twitter, Mark Gerrits made this nice map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1Iiu0EwyuGmmRYsmNY-IlnDJ5T4k Helsinki does have a fair number of other hotels besdes the ones shown here, but these should be the ones we have blocked rooms.

    Walking distance from the Central Railway station to Messukeskus is 2,5 miles or 4 kilometers. It would take me forever, or about 45 minutes and I’m a slow walker.

    I understand that not everyone is Finnish, or even European, and have ways different from us. I know, shocking. “Si fueris Romae” and all that.

    It’s a big world, and we really would like to bring a piece of that world to Worldcon with our little convention here in Helsinki next year. I welcome you all: Tervetuloa!

  20. For those who are still trying to reserve a room, Worldcon75 has now posted the correct Group Discount Code for the Hilton hotels, and there are still allocated rooms available:
    G1WORA

    (Although I was able to get a less-expensive rate quote at this hotel using my HHonors rewards signin and no group discount code, so if you want a room at one of the Hiltons, try registering for the HHonors program or signing in before checking room rates using the group code).

  21. Transplanted response from the new 09/03 Thread “Worldcon 75 Chair Responds”

    So, this was my experience booking my hotel room for my stay in Helsinki for the 75th Worldcon.

    I received an email on Thursday September 01, 2016 at 11:08 am cst, letting me know that hotel reservation were now open for the dates of August 08-13, 2017.

    Now I was aware of Helsinki’s hotel limitations, with regards to their being only ONE hotel that is actually attached to the convention center, as I had read Helsinki’s bid proposal prior to voting for them in 2015 for the site selection.

    No problem I thought as I am always quick to make my hotel reservations the day that reservations are opened.

    The Early Bird Gets The Worm. Right!

    WRONG!

    The email that I received on Thursday morning stated,
    “Rooms at the onsite Holiday Inn are not included in the information on the website at this time. We are holding those rooms in reserve for members with accessibility or mobility needs, and those bookings must be requested from our Member Services Accessibility Team, so they cannot be simply booked online.”

    WHAT?

    This information was not apart of the pre-bid package, as far as I am aware of. But, I could be wrong and I could have easily have read that bit and it did not register at the time.

    I am not in anyway trying to make a statement that my needs should come before another Worldcon member who has accessibility or mobility needs. But to hold the hotel’s entire room block for Worldcon members with accessibility or mobility needs is a bit much.

    I could see maybe holding 1/3 of the rooms, BUT ALL OF THEM! This does not sit well with me.

    So what I did was I made a reservation for the dates of August 8-13 2017, at that hotel which is attached to the convention center (The Holiday Inn), but my reservation is a regular one and not apart of the Worldcon convention block, at the discounted rate.

    6 Night Stay – for an estimated total of 1463.00 euros after taxes
    or
    244.00 euros per night

    Maybe I will get lucky and break my leg between now and then and qualify for one of the convention block rooms at the discounted rate.

    Such is life.

    No matter what I am excited and looking forward to Worldcon next year in Helsinki.

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