Honorary President John Brunner
B. Wilkinson, 17 Mimosa, 29 Avenue Road, Tottenham, N15 5JF, Great Britain
Helicon was probaly the most internationalist con ever held in the British Isles (just...), even if others have out done it in numbers of nationalities. The lessons of Confiction had been (fairly) well learned, although this was no slavish imitation.
Apart from the ubiquitous Brits there were fans from: Belgium, Canada, the Channel Islands, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Ukraine, and the USA. (This does not include nationalities living in Britain at present, and even so I've probably missed some).
The largest groups (again apart from the natives) were: Germans, Romanians, Dutch, and US fen, in approximately that order, it was also pleasant to see smaller groups from our neighbours France, Belgium and Spain, while the most difficult journey awards must, as ever, go to the Russians and Ukrainians (though the Jersey fog did its best).
The large group of Romanian fans became sufficiently well known of round the island that when one of them lost his passport the police contacted us before doing anything else...
Germans, US fen, Romanians, Dutch, Canadians, Poles, Norwegians, and Russians all helped to run the convention – even more nationalities than at Confiction, programme participants came from many other nationalities as well.
The atmosphere was as international as at Confiction, and while not everthing ran perfectly (the non-English language programming failed, partly through lack of interest, partly through lack of publicity), the policy of placing non-English native speakers on "normal" programme items, thus giving a wider range of views, rather than placing mainland Europeans in a "Euroghetto" in the main worked.
Another thing that worked was the language ribbons, although here again enthusiasm had been underestimated, Romanian ran out of ribbon almost instantly, German shortly after, leaving fluent speakers with diminutive spots ("is that supposed to be orange or red?"). Also none of the Eurocon subcommittee had thought that Japanese might be in demand... To be used again. (After all, these are ribbons Tim can't collect.)
The guests fitted in well, and the look on Larry's face when he heard his name being read out for Best SF Promoter was well worth seeing. He tried to demolish the stage on the way up. It won.
While not perfect Helicon did much to exorcise the ghost of Conspiracy. It proved that British fans can work with others, can create an international atmosphere of Confiction type, and should be able to repeat this success with Intersection. (But try not to leave it so late next time...)
Hall of Fame Awards
Best Author – Iain Banks (UK)
Best Artist – Jim Burns (UK)
Best Magazine – Anticipatia (Romania)
Best Promoter – Larry van der Putte (Netherlands)
Best Publisher – Phantom Press (Poland)
The recipients were selected by the European Science Fiction Society meeting from nominations from the countries concerned.
Iain Banks and Jim Burns are well known to British readers, Iain for his "Culture" novels (and his mainstream work), Jim for his book covers and convention art show paintings.
The Romanian SF magazine Anticipatia originally started in 1955, was closed down in 1974 and reopened after the revolution with the long expected issue 467.
Larry van der Putte is all too well known among British fans for getting memberships of Beneluxcons with bribes of cubes of Dutch cheese. Seriously, he has done a tremendous amount to foster contact with the little known offshore island.
Phantom Press is a post 1990 Polish publisher, publishing good translations of worthwhile SF in a scene where all too many publishers print abysmal translations of appalling SF... (cont. over)
The other awards are the "minor" awards.
The Spirit of Dedication Awards are voted for by fans at the convention. There were no entries for the media award, but ballots were available for the other two awards.
The two winners were:
Best Artwork on Display – Gilles Francescano (France)
Best Fanzine on Display – BEM (Spain)
Best New Artist/Writer Awards are nominated for each country. These were:
Sue Thomas (UK)
Fons Boelanders (Blegium)
Radoslaw Dylis (Poland)
Josef Zarnay (Slovakia)
Vasily Zvyagintsev (Russia)
Ludmilla Kozinets (Ukraine)
Alexandru Ungureanu (Romania)
Cato Sture (Norway)
G Nagy Pal (Hungary)
Paolo Brera (Italy)
Paco Roca (Spain)
Jean Pierre Planque (France)
Two special awards were also given to the "Most Friendly Alien"(s). These were presented to Polish fans Piotr Cholewa and Piotr Rak who always seem to end up working on a convention regardless of where it is held – at Helicon they were on a Green Room shift. ...but then I need hardly introduce them...
It was election year for many things and people. The next Eastercon was won by Confabulation... the next Eurocon was won by Romania, it will be run in late May in Timisoara... John Jarrold became President of World SF... Bridget Wilkinson became Chairman of the European Science Fiction Society... Wiktor Bukato became Vice-Chairman... Jurgen Marzi became Treasurer... Leonid Kouritz didn't join in this game of musical chairs and remained Secretary, but will become responsible for much of the fundraising (he's got the good ideas). If you want to get involved in ESFS – and an ordinary membership scheme is being worked out – please contact the FATW address (it's not official, but it'll work!).
Malpertuis, 18 rue des Eperonniers, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Fantask, Copenhagen – big, professional with mailorder (ask international information for address).
Cosmos 2000, 17 rue de l'Arc de Triomphe, 75017 Paris, France
FNAC Montparnasse, 136 rue de Rennes, Paris, France
FNAC Forum, 1 rue Pierre Lescot, Paris, France. (Very good SF department, including some English language)
Ailleurs, 28 rue Pharon, 31000 Toulouse, France
Brentano's, 37 avenue de l'Opera, 75002, Paris, France. (Tel. 42 61 52 50). (Brentano's is launching an SF club – 50 francs for life membership).
Tea and Tattered Pages, 24 rue Mayet 75006, Paris Metro Duroc, Paris, France. (Tel. 40 65 94 35). Second hand bookshop with an SF section.
Avalon, Paleet, Karl Johan 71-43, Oslo (street address)
Avalon, PB 6729, St. Olavs Plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway (mail order) (tel. 47 22-11 61 60 & 22-11 61 61) (fax 47 22-11 61 65)
The shop holds 4000 SF/fantasy titles in stock, also comics, RPGs, wargames (- many fans including Heidi Lyshol work there)
SF-Bokhandeln, Stockholm – fan run, well informed. (ask international information for address)
There must be more SF bookshops out there than just these, please send me addresses (and any changes of address) so I can update this list.
I am trying to keep it up to date and will be able to print it off separately as required when it has become too large to be published here in one piece. (Fat chance!) In the meanwhile I'll print it occasionally when I've got new information.
Fans Across the World the current people involved are: Bridget Wilkinson (coordinator), Fiona Anderson (Treasurer), Cyril Simsa (Czech contact), Maureen Speller, Roger Robinson, Rob Meades, James Steel (artist) and Piotr Cholewa. Volunteers urgently sought, also offers of money, books, addresses, overseas conventions, and other news. Thanks to: all of the people listed in the April issue and a few hundred others all of whom I've forgotten too. Please write your name in here, I've got no time to, the computer's crashed twice already this evening...