Jukka Halme
“Conventions are facing new challenges” 
Jukka Halme, Chair of Worldcon 75
On 9 August 2017 you are going to kick off the 75th World Science Fiction Convention, the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS).
What convinced you to meet in Helsinki this year?

Worldcons are selected two years in advance, Helsinki was voted as the location for this year in Spokane, WA, in 2015. I trust that the members of that Worldcon chose us from four excellent nominees (Helsinki, Washington DC, Montréal and Shizuoka) for many different reasons, not least because Helsinki is an excellent conference city, with interesting new cuisine, nature, and a high level of technology.
You have chosen Messukeskus, the Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre, as the home for your convention. Why?
Of all possible locations in Helsinki, HECC provides us with the best infrastructure, facilities and other amenities. Location is important, as well as the excellent public transport system that the City of Helsinki has. We are very happy to have received free travel cards for all our members from the Helsinki Region Transport Authority, HSL.
What is the social and cultural resonance of your conference?
Our world is changing at ever increasing pace and science fiction is one of the many interesting ways we can extrapolate and predict our future, but also look at the way we live right now, by telling future stories and at the same time seeing ourselves in them. By looking through the eyes of an alien lifeform, artificial intelligence, or some future human, we can try to see ourselves better with that created distance. Our programme will look upon all this with several hundred hours of panels, speeches, debates and other activities.
For those delegates who cannot join you in Helsinki, can they participate remotely / via social media?
We will have a certain amount of our programming available online and our social media is very much a great deal of the convention, both before and during the event. Social media is one of our most important methods of communicating with our members, as well as the wider world.
What are currently the main challenges for WSFS as an association, as well as for the congress?
As the world is shrinking with the technological advances we're making, the science fiction community, at the very same time, is coming together, but also staying apart. Increased presence of social media, internet, and the way both our work and personal environment are becoming one and the same, conventions like these are facing new challenges in bringing people together physically, and not just via virtual reality.