Janet Johnston, Brother Guy Consolmagno, Vatican Observatory, Astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren

Janet Johnston at Worldcon in Helsinki

By Janet Johnston

I just returned from Worldcon 2017 in Helsinki, Finland.  It was the second largest Worldcon ever and it was wild! The crowd was so big the Program Committee had to scramble to engage extra space for the over 10,000 registrants.

Worldcon Panel, Janet Johnston, Helsinki
The crowd at one of Janet’s panels

I was on the agenda as the speaker/moderator for five panels that were attended by hundreds of fans.  Then I realized that I had also been designated as the moderator for the panel with biggest draw — the Guest of Honor.

The Big  Surprise

I was expecting to talk on panels with a maximum of 30 people in attendance but, boy, did I get surprised. There were a couple of hundred people at the “Right Stuff” panel and hundreds at the “Generation Ships Morality” panel. The other three panels had standing room only.

Janet with Brother Guy Consolmagno and Astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren
Janet with Astronaut GOH, Dr. Kjell Lindgren, and Brother Guy Consolmagno, head of the Vatican Observatory

Also, David Clements got sick at the last minute and I ended up moderating some of the other hard SF panels I was on without any warning.

The photo at right is small but there I am with  Astronaut GOH, Dr. Kjell Lindgren, and Brother Guy Consolmagno, the head of the Vatican Observatory. We were on “The Right Stuff” panel discussion of what it takes for space exploration.

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