Sunday, September 1, 2019

Dublin 2019 Recap

Eric & Greg @ WorldCon 77 in Dublin, Ireland
Last month, Eric and I attended Dublin 2019 (the 77th World Science-Fiction Convention) in Dublin, Ireland. This was our fifth WorldCon, and, as a result, it marks the fourth anniversary of Rocket Stack Rank.

The Hugo Awards


Our function at Rocket Stack Rank is to make it easier for people to find good short fiction and other information that could help them make informed nominations for the Hugos and other awards. We are not here to tell people how to vote. For that reason, we didn't offer suggestions for the final vote--not even a "this is how we're voting" post. For the same reason, we aren't going to reevaluate the stories that actually won the awards. We offer our congratulations to all the winners.


Best Fanzine finalists. We're seated behind George R.R. Martin.
Rocket Stack Rank itself was a nominee for Best Fanzine, finishing 6 out of 6 but beating No Award. We weren't sure what to expect since we've had kind of a lazy year in terms of special articles, but we were proud just to be nominated. In particular, we enjoy the extra events and attention that come with being a finalist, and we thank our loyal fans who nominated and voted for us. You folks make it all worthwhile!

We offer our congratulations to Best Fanzine winner Lady Business, and to all the other finalists.

A Quiet Business Meeting

For the first time in four years, we didn't have anything that particularly drew us to the Business Meeting, so we didn't go. From the live blog, it seems that they had thoughtful debates and made wise decisions. Of possible note, since we've talked about it before, the effort to repeal 5-of-6 failed. 

Rocket Stack Rank

Wild Rovers

Given the time and expense to get to Dublin from Seattle, we made a three-week trip out of it. Skip this section (go to "WorldCon Panels") if you're not interested in our travels outside the Con.

Edinburgh, Scotland and the Fringe

Eric & Greg @ Edinburgh Festival Fringe
We started off by exploring Edinburgh, Scotland for a week. Edinburgh turns out to be a cool medieval city built on hills (actually volcanic plugs), which gives it a peculiar three-dimensional feel. You can be walking along a densely packed street, look to the side at a gap between buildings, and realize there's a cross-street two or three stories below you. The entrance to a building may be on the fourth or fifth floor.

By coincidence, we were there during the famous Fringe Festival. (Not to be confused with the Festival of the Fringe in "Dying of the Light," by George R.R. Martin, which would have been more interesting but much more expensive to get to.) This arts festival is loaded with inexpensive hour-long shows (literally thousands of stand-up comedy acts, improv comedy, cabaret acts, musicals, plays, spoken word, etc.), we averaged two a day, and we enjoyed every bit of it. Highly recommended.

Dublin Before the Convention

We got to Dublin several days ahead of the convention to give us time for sight-seeing so we could devote our full attention to the convention once it started. It's a pretty city with lots of history. We came away with a much better understanding of the Irish Revolution.

Iceland After the Convention

Eric & Greg @ Seljalandsfoss, south coast of Iceland
We usually fly to Europe with Icelandair because they offer good deals from Seattle with a free multi-day layover in Reykjavik. By a happy coincidence, my nephew and his fiancee (from Tennessee) decided to have a destination wedding in Iceland the week after WorldCon. So we skipped the last half-day of the convention and stopped over in Iceland for four days, where we saw icebergs calving into a lagoon from a glacier, spectacular waterfalls, and a wedding held right on the rift between the North American and Eurasian plates.

WorldCon Panels

At the convention, we didn't expect to meet a lot of our fans since we neglected to post an article explaining where we'd be. (Sorry about that!) Happily, a number of you found us anyway, and we had a good time chatting with old and new friends.

In particular, it was great to meet long-time fan and faithful-commenter June and her partner, Simon, who're both involved with CoNZealand.

Stroll with the Stars

As is our usual habit, we attended all the "Stroll with the Stars" events in the mornings, and had a good time chatting with authors and editors as well as other fans. The early-rising kind, at least. Usually the people leading these strolls tell us things about the city we're in, but this time we got stories about Fionn mac Cumhaill  (pronounced "Finn MacCool"), who turns out to be a sort of Irish Paul Bunyan. It was definitely Irish history as you've never heard it before!

New Fanzines

Joe Siclari, John Coxon, Philippa Ryder, Greg, Phoebe Wagner
Greg was on the "Fanzines Now!" panel, and that was the only panel we participated in this year. This panel was a discussion about the state of fanzines today. We had a good mix of people doing online fanzines (Rocket Stack Rank, Journey Planet, and Nerds of a Feather Flock Together) as well as Joe Siclari, who runs the Fanac History Project.

As usual for fanzine panels, the audience included lots of people involved with the traditional paper-based fanzines. Somewhat to our surprise, they were broadly supportive of modern online efforts. Joe remarked at one point that he had thought he'd be the conservative one on the panel, but he found himself standing up for the idea that "a blog is a fanzine, even if it only has one contributor, and even if no one ever comments on it."

New Ideas

We got some nice feedback about things we might do to make Rocket Stack Rank a better fanzine. We're still thinking about some of them, but one very obvious one is to write more articles.

The Losers' Party

Hugo Losers' Party @ Guiness Storehouse
Attending George R.R. Martin's famous "Hugo Losers' Party" is always one of the best perks of being a finalist, even though it's usually loud and crowded. This year, it apparently came with its own controversy

We were among the people who waited for the shuttles and ended up boarding an actual bus, so doubtless one of the ones CoNZealand rented. We sat right at the front, so we were among the first people off the bus. Apparently that means we got into the party, but almost no one else on the bus did owing to strict limitations on how many people could be inside at one time.

Even with those limitations, we can attest that it was still loud and crowded, but nothing like what we saw in Helsinki, where I think attendance was limited only by the laws of physics.


We had a good time, and we're glad we went. We're tentatively planning to attend ConNZealand, but that will depend on a variety of factors.

Finally, here's a table of the 2019 Hugo Award finalists for short fiction, with the winners highlighted in red. Using the floating toolbar to highlight by awards, year's best anthologies, and prolific reviewers, we see the following (click links to highlight the stories):
  • πŸ†Awards: 11 of the 18 are Locus finalists. 9 of the 18 are Nebula finalists. Overlap with the Locus Award is not a big surprise since there are 30 Locus finalists, but sharing half of the Nebula finalists seems unusual. It's also notable that 6 of the 18 overlap with the World Fantasy Award, because there are only 10 World Fantasy finalists (Novella, Short Fiction).
  • πŸ“™Year's Best: 7 of the 18 are in Jonathan Strahan's anthology, the most out of the four year's best anthologies.
  • πŸ‘Reviewers: 9 of the 18 were recommended by Rich Horton (and 2 others made it into his year's best anthology, so maybe that's 11 of the 18). 7 of the 18 were recommended by RSR (none of the short stories, though two were honorable mention).

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Thanks for the report. Glad you had a good time at Worldcon and your other travels!

  2. It was lovely to have meet both of you in person at Dublin. Glad you enjoyed the rest of your holiday in Iceland and got home safely.