Honorary President John Brunner
B. Wilkinson, 17 Mimosa, 29 Avenue Road, Tottenham, N15 5JF, Great Britain
What we hadn't been warned of before we went was that the weather was usually hot, and although the convention centre had air conditioning it was still sweltering hot. It was on Sunday afternoon as we knocked back our twentieth Coca Colas straight out of the bottle that I realised that the crucial difference between the fans here and those at the Romanian fan camps was that the Germans had a fridge...
SF Days was set up by the SFCD North Rhine Westphalia group as a literary SF con, in contrast to some of the more relaxed multimedia German cons, in the way that Mexicon was in the UK. Most of the German fans were staying with friends in the immediate area, sleeping on floors, while a few of the others were staying in the Youth Hostel. The foreign fans and guests were at the nearby Ramada Hotel. Consequently Anglo-American style room parties did not take place, although fans hung around the convention centre until about midnight, particularly after the buffet on Saturday evening.
There was no bar either, but a refrigerator near the SFCD NRW table served beer, Coke, Fanta and mineral water. This was welcome in the heat. During the day a self service place downstairs served cake, salad, schnitzels, chips, coffee, and more Coke and beer at prices closer to those of a student refectory than a hotel.
The guests were Katherine Kurtz and George Alec Effinger. Their items were in English, most others were in German. Many of the fans speak good English so that foreigners weren't going to feel left out. Apart from the British, Dutch and Belgian fans also attended.
Displays showed some ornate cross-sections of space ships etc. done by German fans using computer graphics. These are well worth seeing, I hope some of their material turns up at Intersection. The convention theme was ecology and the environment. Apart from an environment display, there were themed items. The English language guests were used in these, also both Karlheinz Steinmuller and Erik Simon were heavily used by the con in these items. Unfortunately Steinmuller was ill, and managed to give his speech but was not on his panel items. Erik Simon ran an open game/simulation on the events following oil and petrol becoming ineffective as fuels. This worked well with a small group – half game, half workshop, and well prepared.
The bookroom(s) contained stalls with German books on, also Star Trek etc. merchandise, and RGP stalls. English books could be obtained not only from some of the German dealers, but also from Fantatsy Centre, who had brought a good stock of paperbacks with them. Many fewer English books get as far as Germany than get to the Netherlands or Belgium, so both the German fans and Fantasy Centre were pleased with the trade.
I saw many fewer fanzines (continental style) on sale than at the German cons I have been to before. Other amateur and semi-professional publications were late out as well. Fans were also complaining of bad corner cutting on translations of new SF books: eg. no proof reading so that shoddy translation wasn't noticed, even on occasion missing chapters. Katherine Kurtz also showed several of us a book of hers in which an advertisement page for instatnt soup had been inserted into the middle of the text, in the same typescript as the book. All reactions of one sort or another to the the recession.
The recession also prevented numbers of those who would have previously attended coming. The younger ex-DDR fans were particularly thin on the ground, but many western fans from the more far-flung areas were also absent.
The "green theme" of the con will have had something to do with it, but German fandom seemed to have changed while I had been away – and I'm not used to this in the west. The new recycling laws have bitten, and this has affected customs. There were disposable plastic cups for the drinks from the fridge, but practically no-one was using them. Back in 1991 German fandom had seemed young, there were few older fans, and many of those appeared marginal. Something has changed. Yes, the fans are three years older – but they have also "adopted" an older DDR generation of critics and writers. This is altering both sides. SF Days NRW want to do the 1999 Eurocon. This could be worth watching..
Many thanks to Sou'Wester for a donation of UKP300, this will go towards the Intersection fund.
The "Scottish Worldcon" is a Eurocon as well as a Worldcon. The programme should reflect not only a European profile, but a genuine World profile. Ideas are needed for the programme, for the fan fair, and this means YOU.
Among ideas given so far: an SF play from some Romanian fans; a display of space ship cross-section drawings from German fans; one or two other oddments.
Some things I'd like to see transferred: a Polish live action Role Playing Game; a Helion Session (Timisoara, Romania) style prepared discussion with short papers followed by an open forum; a science/political game/simulation of the type Erik Simon ran at SF Days; the Third Reich SF lecture I saw at Barcon (Berlin, 1991); Dutch multi-lingual charades.
Other really good things I've seen wouldn't graft onto a Worldcon – Slovak fighting displays; Romanian SF workshop/competitions; the intimacy of a French con.
There must be some other things worth seeing or doing around that some of you have met. Why not do a version of one, or failing that, blackmail a friend into doing it.
Anyone wanting to exhibit in any of these should contact the convention as soon as possible, even if for currency transfer reasons they have not yet been able to buy a membership. Write to the Intersection Admail address on the back of this newsletter. Your letter will be passed on.
Do write (or telephone) if you have to cancel, even very late on. This frees the space for someone else, and avoids empty display space (somebody else will always be able to spread over it and it won't have your name on it!).
(* = new or amended entry)
Parcon: 1-3 July, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. Contact: Parcon 94, Bernolakova 33, 974 05 Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. (tel. 088/64486 – eves. 'til 24.00 local time, or 088/61609 – eves. 'til 22.00 local time; fax 088/745966)
Komarinaya Plesh (Mosquito Spot): 1-31 July, Tuzla, Kertch, Crimea, USSR. Relaxcon Russian/Ukrainian style, bring your own tent, food, spoon, plate etc. Annual since 1984, now gone completely informal. Contact: Andrei Tzemenko, Borzenko 25-45, 334514 Kertch, Ukraine. Or just turn up...
7th SF days NRW: 2-3 July, Duesseldorf, Germany. Contact: Heinrich Sporck, Am Sonnenberg 38, D-44879 Bochum 5, FRG. (tel. 49-234-461390)
Bacon: 8-10 July, Cambridge, UK. GOH: Geoff Ryman & Simon Ings, att. UKP14. Contact: Bacon, 38 Scotland Rd, Chesterton, Cambridge CB4 1QG, UK. (tel. 0223-564483) email: bacon[at]derwent.co.uk
Atlantykron: end July, Romania. Camp: SF workshop come relaxcon – stress on creation rather than consumption. Contact: Sorin Repanovici, str. Mihail Sadoveanu, nr. 10, bl.10, ap.2, Loc. Cernavoda, Jud. Constanta, Romania.
Wincon: 29-31 July, Winchester. GoH: Algis Budrys, James Hogan, Norman Spinrad. UKP23. Contact: Wincon, 12 Crowsbury Close, Emsworth, Hants PO10 7TS, UK.
Intercon: 12-14 August, Oslo, Norway. GOH: Brian Aldiss, CJ Cherryh, att. UKP10. Contact: Intercon'94, Box 121, Vinderen, N-0319 Oslo, Norway. (tel. Johannes Berg +47 22 14 41 63)
Bohemiacon: 25-28 August, Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic. GOH: Harry Harrison & Wolfgang Jeschke. Contact: Bohemiacon, Miroslav Sabo Jr., Hilbertova 4, Usti nad Labem, 400 11, Czech Republic. (tel. [42 (0)47] 41711)
21 French national SF con: 1-3 Sep, Sophia-Antipolis, France. Contact: William Waechter, 56 Bd Joffre, Toulon 83100, France. (94 31 14 52) Fax 94 31 65 80
Conadian: 1-5 September, Winnipeg, Canada. (Worldcon) Contact: Conadian, Box 2430, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 4A7, Canada.
* Polcon: 22-25 September, Lublin, Poland. Polish national con. Contact: Lubelski Klub Fantastyki "Syriusz", WDK ul. Dolna Panny Marii 3, 20- 010 Lublin, Poland.
Chumatsky Shlyah: 1st weekend October, Kiev, Ukraine. Ukrainian National Convention. Contact: Alexander Vasilkovsky, Poste Restante, General PO, 252001, Kiev-1, Ukraine.
Octocon '94: 1-2 October, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. GOH: Robert Holdstock, att. UKP16. Contact: Octocon, 20 Newgrove Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4, Ireland.
Hispacon '94: 7-9 October, Burjassot, nr. Valencia, Spain. Spanish National convention. Contact: Grupo Gandiva, Apdo. Correos 70, 46120 ALBORAYA (Valencia), Spain.
Albacon'94: 21-24 October, Glasgow, UK. Contact: M Drayton, 10 Atlas Road, Springburn, Glasgow G21 4TE, UK.
WHO's 7: 29-30 October, UK. Dr Who/Blakes 7 con. Contact: Who's 7, c/o Carol Keogh, 131 Norman Road, Leytonstone, London E11 4RJ, UK.
Hansecon: 28-30 October, Luebeck, Germany. Contact: Eckhard D. Marwitz, Postfach 1524, D-W-2070 Ahrensburg, FRG. (04531) 86106
Novacon: 4-5 November, Birmingham, UK. Contact: 14 Park Street, Lye, Stourbridge, W Midlands, DY9 8SS, UK.
Armadacon: 5-6 November, Plymouth, UK. GOH: Mary Gentle, att. UKP20. Contact: Marion Pritchard, 4 Gleneagle Avenue, Mannamead, Plymouth, PL3 5HL, UK. (tel. 0752-267873)
Nordcon: 17-20 November, Hannover, Germany. 40DM. Contact: Thomas Reich, Rodelandstrasse 27, D-31832 Springe, Germany.
* ConSeal: 25-27 November, Eindhoven, Netherlands. f55 'til 1/10, then f60. GOH: Tais Teng, Bruce Sterling Contact: Richard Vermass, James Wattstraat 13, 1097 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands. Internet: richardv[at]htsa.aha.nl
* Dracon: 25-27 November, Hotel Santon, Brno, Czech Republic. One of the major Czech cons, a yearly event. Contact: Dracon, P.O. Box 36, 612 00 Brno, Czech Republic. tel(05)41218426
Nordcon: early December, Gdansk, Poland. Large Polish con, films, panels, live action role-playing, etc. Contact: Gdanski Klub Fantastyki, PO Box 76, 80-325 Gdansk 37, Poland.
* ConFusion: 8-9 April, Geraardsbergen, Belgium. 47.5DM 'til 31/12/94, then 52.5DM 'til 15/3/95, then 57.5DM. Contact: ConFusion, c/o Peter Motte, Abdijstraat 33, B-9500 Geraardsbergen, Belgium.
Confabulation: 14-17 April, London, UK. (Eastercon) Contact: Confabulation, c/o Scott, 2 Crathie Road, Vicar's Cross, Chester, CH3 5JL, UK.
* Freicon: 28-30 April, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. 50DM 'til 31/12/94. Contact: FreiCon eV. c/o Thomas Schmidt, Carl-Kistner-Str. 3, 79115 Freiburg i Br., Germany. (tel. 0761/47527 fax: FeiCon-Fax: 0761-36119)
Francon '95 (Francophone SF convention): 27-30 April, Maison d'Ailleurs, Yverdon les Bains, Switzerland. 50 SFs 'til 15/9/94, then 75 SFs. Contact: Francon'95, c/o Amis de la Maison d'Ailleurs, Case postale 74 – CH 1400 Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.
* 8th SF days NRW: 1-2 July, Duesseldorf, Germany. Theme: religion. 30 DM 'til 31/12/94, then 35DM. Contact: Heinrich Sporck, Am Sonnenberg 38, D-44879 Bochum 5, FRG. (tel. 49-234-461390)
Intersection: 24-28 August, Glasgow, UK. (Worldcon) Contact: InterSection, Admail 336, Glasgow G2 1BR, UK.
Eurocon: will be combined with Intersection.
Evolution: 5-8 April, Brighton, UK. GOH: Vernor Vinge, att. UKP20. Contact: Evolution, 13 Linfield Gardens, Hampstead, London, NW3 6PX, UK
Eurocon '96: Provisionally Bulgaria, date and exact place not yet known.
Millenium: 27 December-2 January 2000, N Europe. Contact: Malcolm Reid, 55 Cedarwood Ave, Newton Mearns, Glasgow, G77 5LP, UK.
If you see any mistakes, omissions, or corpses (except where noted) in this list please tell me. It's easy to hear when a convention has been invented, not so easy to find out that it crawled into a corner and died. I keep corpses on the list because otherwise they have a horrible tendency to reappear as zombie cons, having been copied off an outdated misprint in a list from Brazil. Please inform me of corpses and zombies.
Fans Across the World the current people involved are: Bridget Wilkinson (coordinator), Oliver gruter-Andrew (Treasurer), Jackie Gruter-Andrew (Secretary), Cyril Simsa (Czech contact), 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: Jurgen Marzi, Erik Simon, Udo Emmerich, Hermann Ritter, Sou'Wester, Roelof Goudriaan, Roger Robinson, Silviu Genescu, and others for help and information.