‘‘When Science Turned into Horror’’ panel, Carolina Gomez Lagerlöf
catches the Spirit of Swecon

For reasons of epidemiological microbiol­ogy there were no 2022 Swecon bids, but the minicon Ökon was happening anyway on August 13-14, 2022 and was upgraded to be the 2022 Swecon. Due to (partial) double booking, Ökon 3 had to move to the same site as last year’s Swecon, an old diesel workshop (Dieselverkstan) turned into an event venue just east of Stockholm. Friday had an informal warm-up in the Tolkien Society clubhouse, after which a hundred fen gathered for the con on Saturday and Sunday. There was a big freebie box of the classic Linqvist SF paperbacks from the early 1970s as a nice treat for attendees. Ah, sweet nostalgia!

There were two program tracks, both in Swed­ish, since few foreigners were expected (there was one Norwegian, and one from the UK). Guests of honour were local writers Torill Kornfeldt and Boel Bermann. The event began with chair Carolina Gomez Lagerlöf opening the bottle to release the Spirit of Swecon, which at the end was caught again and bottled up for next year. Random program notes….

In Bermann’s guest-of-honour interview we learned that she was a very prolific short story writer, offering about 90 stories on her web site. The ‘‘When Science Turned into Horror’’ panel sounded very pessimistic, besieged as we are by war, viruses, fossil fumes, and what have you – but the sun was blazing bright through the weekend. It was sweaty. A panel debating that ‘‘Fandom Is A-Changing’’ discussed virtual conventions, which we’ve seen a lot – perhaps not all that successful. A professor, Jesper Stage, dissed the idea of generation starships in a lec­ture, pointing out that since they’d be unable to recycle 100% of resources, they’d dry up. An­other professor, Martin Rundkvist, lectured on the subject of ‘‘Chivalrous knights in the age of steam’’ (on medieval nostalgia among Swedish nobility) and author Anna Jakobsson Lund talked about her special genre ‘‘Sawmill fantasy,’’ with magic among the sawmills of Sweden’s northern east coast.

Other panels covered human-like robots, how to revive the mammoth, animals as main characters, writing for children, new Swedish SF/F/H, the Hugo Awards, dangerous plants like the Triffids, French comics – well, there were about 30 program items in all, and your intrepid reporter didn’t attend them all. There were GoH kaffeeklatsches, a few huckster tables, and an auction. Oskar Källner received the fan activity Alvar Award during a special ceremony, and towards the end we sat down to watch slides from previous cons, earlier the specialty of fandom giant Lars-Olov Strandberg (1929-2018) and quite fun due to the audience comments flying around. If the undersigned may add one thing, it’s that SF cons nowadays don’t have enough fannish fun – silly games, quizzes, and such. But generally, attendees seemed to have a good time nonetheless.

The next Swecon is also the 2023 Eurocon, Konflikt, to be held June 8-11, 2023 in Uppsala. For more information, see <eurocon2023.se>. It should be easy to get there as Uppsala uses the same airport as Stockholm (Arlanda is in between the cities), and viruses should be just an unpleas­ant memory – and let’s hope that goes for a certain warring dictator in the east, too.

Ahrvid Engholm

This report and more like it in the October 2022 issue of Locus.

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