GUFF all the way to Helsinki

In which I would love to persuade you to throw a vote my way in the GUFF race, and help me get to the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) next year…


What’s GUFF?

GUFF is the Get-Up&Over (or Get Under)-Fan-Fund, an extremely cool fund which sends a southern hemisphere fan to European conventions, and a European fan to southern hemisphere conventions, on alternating years. It’s run by fans for fans. The trip across the world can be a tricky and expensive one, but it’s so amazing to get people together from the other side of the globe to eat, drink, and enjoy all things SFF together.

Last year the fund sent Jukka Halme to Contact in Brisbane and the year before, Gillian Polack to Loncon – during which she got to (and I cannot emphasise the importance of this enough) HUG DAVID TENNANT. Oh, and do some other SFFish stuff sure sure but seriously, there is photographic evidence of her with the tenth Doctor so I assume all her life goals are now complete.* The GUFF delegate often gets to go to several conventions in the region in the time they have. It’s a wonderful chance to get out from behind our computers and meet each other. This year, it’s a northbound race with the winner getting to go to Worldcon in Helsinki in August. I’m really excited to see that Helsinki is shaping up to be a truly international, welcoming Worldcon, and a genuine chance for fans from around the globe to interact.

So how does this work? Well, you SFF fans out there have voting rights – so you get to decide which one of the nominees for the year gets to go. Anyone active in fandom is eligible to vote on payment of a small contribution to the Fund (which is partly how it pays for the trip): GBP6, EUR7, AUD10, NZD10 (or the equivalent in other currencies) to the fund. You can find voting instructions and details about the preferential counting system and such here on the official race page.

So hello, I’m nominated to go! If you’ve read this far you may be pondering whether the prospect of sending me (or one of the other candidates**) to Finland is worth forking out a tenner or so. I mean, it totally is, because FINLAND. WORLDCON. How brilliant is that? Ahem. More seriously, voting and donating is a really cool thing to do, because you’re helping keep the fund alive and active. And it’s a great fund. A waggy dog of a fund. It helps bring our geographically disparate communities together in our shared love of the genre, and in 2016 (which is a murderous shithole of a year, let’s face it) I know I feel pretty warmly toward doing things that make me feel good about community and positivity. So maybe you’re doing OK and you’ve been to a lot of cons and you’d like to pay forward toward someone else’s great experience. Maybe you’ve never been to a con and you’d really like to – this time round you might be a generous awesome person helping send someone on the trip of a lifetime; next time, perhaps you’ll put yourself up for nomination and do a bit of lifetime-memory-creating of your own. Or maybe you just want a say on who turns up in Finland and tries not to make a goose of themselves. Whatever the reason, if you’re intending to vote you’re very clearly a cool, sexy, intelligent person with really good hair.

Now, why should you vote for me?

If you haven’t hung out here or on my social media before, my bio page will tell you a bit about me. (It’s only a small proportion lies. I really did want to be a zookeeper.) And there is a short pitch we all wrote which you’ll find on the ballot paper here.

But, some elaboration. My pitch on the ballot was only allowed to be 100 words and you know I bled to write anything that short (I’ve probably cracked 100 on footnotes alone in this blog post) and yet still, mine is the only one containing dumb jokes, which probably tells you something. I will not pretend I am not the least experienced of the candidates, all of whom have lots of convention-related creds that I lack. What I am is dumb and silly and I will represent Australian fandom by way of being dumb and silly around sophisticated European fans, and bribing people with Tim Tams. (Speaking of bribes: Timtams for anyone finding me at Helsinki! Forget clothing changes, my suitcase will be stuffed with chocolate goodness.)

To further expand on my little pitch, no I’m not kidding about the Princess Bride, and if you’ve never tried the 3 TimTams in a minute challenge, no it’s not easy, no, seriously, I can see you there thinking it’s 3 biscuits and a whole minute, how hard can it be? Well it can be bloody impossible is what it can be.

First one: easy, down treat, 10 seconds, 15 max.

Second: huh, hey, you know, my mouth’s starting to feel a bit rich and gluggy, haha, no worries, still stacks of time, just work up a bit more saliva and there it goes, still have 25 seconds left, no probl—


Time’s up.

OK I got a bit sidetracked again. Hmm, reasons to vote for me. Hey maybe you’re going and you want to meet up! I would love to meet you! I only went to my first convention – Supernova – a few years ago, so I’m basically a convention baby. But I’ve got at least 3 next year and I’ll hope to squish in a couple more. Sidebar: UK/European peeps, tell me about what else is happening in the general temporal vicinity of Worldcon, as I’d hate to get all the way over there and only manage one. I should say, I’m going to find the money to go to Helsinki regardless, so whether or not I am the GUFF delegate I will be there to hang out with you and have a drink or a chocolate of your choice!

The main reason I would love to be the GUFF delegate is that I really do love other people, and other fans specifically, but… I’m also pretty shy. My main fear is getting all the way over there and then being too nervous to introduce myself to anyone and basically just smearing my back against the perimeter walls all week.*** When I was persuading myself to apply for this opportunity it was with half an eye on tricking/forcing myself into having an actual role and accompanying responsibilities so that I couldn’t just lurk. Once I’ve overcome that initial barrier I never shut up, so give me a job and I’m fine. So, yanno, I’ll be there either way, but unless you’re really fond of walls you’ve got a much better shot of interacting with me if I’m in delegate mode. J

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re willing to put in a vote you are cool and sexy and awesome, but if you’re willing to vote for me you’re just objectively even better, and songs will be sung in your honour one day.

In all seriousness, thank you for reading this far. Spending money, even a small sum, to send someone you may never even have met to another country is a really generous and kind thing to do. I would love you to vote but if you can’t or don’t want to, no worries at all. You’re rad just the way you are. 🙂


*  Naturally if you know Gillian you know she has many more ambitious goals than this but she is also cleverer and more accomplished than me and I can’t think any bigger than David Tennant, OK?

** To the extent that I’m here persuading you I will be upfront in saying I have a strong preference for it being me.

*** Anyone doubting my sincerity on this point should ask how I did at the opening mixer for Hardcopy, the professional development program I did in 2014. It was at an art gallery and I literally pretended to study art for a frankly ridiculous amount of time because I was too shy to insert myself into any of the little groups that had formed.

4 thoughts on “GUFF all the way to Helsinki

    • I’ve never been to Scandanavia at all so I’m very excited about the trip. Don’t think I have much of a chance at GUFF given the higher profile of some of the other candidates but I’m still looking forward to getting to my first Worldcon!


  1. Reblogged this on Leife Shallcross and commented:
    Full disclosure – I totally nominated Sam, coz she’s lovely and will do a great job. My good friend Donna Hanson has also been nominated as well, and if you’re voting, either of these lovely people will make a great job of it.


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