Next week, I'm heading off to Stockholm for Eurocon 2011 (http://eurocon2011.se/) and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm giving a reading at 12.30 on Saturday, and shall be on two panels -- Myths in sf and fantasy (Sunday at noon) and Men, women and neuters in sf and fantasy (Sunday at 16.00). I'm looking forward to it.
I love Stockholm. I first visited it 13 or 14 years ago, back when I was still teaching early mediaeval history. I went to see the viking trading post of Birka and the burial mounds and runestones at Uppsala, all of which I loved. But I discovered something else, too. Old Stockholm looks like Merafi. I had had no idea. I first created Merafi around 1989: an amalgam of several lost mediaeval and early modern cities -- Paris (which lost its 16th century layer to Napoleon), Coventry (destroyed during WW2), Leicester (a victim of city planners), Lyons, York, Rouen, Chester, with their ancient hearts besieged by modern life. I hadn't seen Stockholm back then, I hadn't even seen pictures. And yet there I stood, in 1997 or so, in the heart of a city I felt I already knew, a city that made me feel welcome and happy, a city loved by those who live there (as far as I can tell). I am so excited to be going back. Thank you, Sweden, for having such a perfect city at your core. I'm so looking forward to seeing it again. And after the con, I'm travelling on to Oslo, a city I have not yet visited and which I really want to see.