Honorary President: John Brunner
B. Wilkinson, 17 Mimosa, 29 Avenue Road, Tottenham, N15 5JF,Great Britain
Until I went there I had wondered why the Gdansk fans were so keen on giving foreign fans a guided tour of Gdansk before the con. As Piotr Cholewa and I spent 30 minutes in the pitch black trying to find the steelworkers holiday camp where the con was being held I began to realise. The north coast of Poland in late November is not the most hospitable place to be wandering around in in the dark, and the con probably didn't want frozen corpses discovered in the road...
The con was based around a role-playing game set on one of theStarWars military ships. That said, although some events took place within this theme, others certainly didn't, and there was an art show, book stalls and other usual con items. Set pieces within the theme included the opening ceremony roll call, the trial of Han Solo, and a treasure hunt style game. Pieces outside the theme included the fandom forum for upcoming events and Polish SF prizes, a weapons display and a science talk.
In keeping with the military theme the con number badge was an imitation military tag – I lost mine on the second day and was much surprised when it turned up later. I had been told that we would be court martialled if we lost our badges, but in the event nothing happened. There was also a souvenir badge, in the usual Polish style.
In daylight and a stiff "bracing" breeze the Southern Balticcoast was quite attractive. I twice walked down to the coast, once with fans from Katowice, the other time with fans from Bialystok. The second time the wind was much lower, one of our group went paddling, and it was possible to see why it made an attractive summer resort.
Hall space was lacking, and the main events took place in the entrance hall. Another smaller area with a (dry) fountain was used as the art show and bookroom, while the refectory was used for meals only. Food was also served in the bar for those not taking set meals. Accommodation was mainly in double rooms, but there was also a large room as crash space – the barracks, so attendance costs could vary from no meals and a piece of floor, to full meals and a room. All attendees have the choice of prices and conditions. Next year Nordcon will also be Polcon (the national convention), but the year after the convention will be even bigger. Gdansk celebrates 1,000 years in 1996, and the Gdanski Klub Fantaskyki intends running an international SF con then.
Like Ansible we have the equivalent of electronic fanzines inthe German SF-Net too. Fandom-A-Week (no translation required!) is a weekly fanzine and the electronic version of this old fashioned duplicator produced (not enchanted) fanzine is much cheaper to produce, as most of the usual subscription-money is needed for postage.
If Dave Langford agrees I would post an electronic copy of Ansible in the SF-Net. This is run in Fido Technology which means it is a hobby-based net by computer-fans, for computer-fans, with a love of Science Fiction. There is no host computer, just about 300 fans in Austria, Germany and Switzerland running Bulletin Board Systems on their private computers for the fun of it. Most Systems spread the SF-Net besides Fido, Trek-Net (there are at least four different ones, an American, a British, a German one and a Trek File Distribution Net sponsored by Paramount) and a lot of other special-interest based networks. There is a link between Fido and the Internet but this is rather complicated. Since mail-transfer is going via the US and there is no permanent line the transmission can take some days.
In Germany Internet-access is not so widespread as in Great Britain. Private Fido is quite strong and more international oriented minds use CompuServe which is quite cheap (compared to a private Internet account) and fairly quick. My monthly CompuServe bill is about 9 US$. Also, the user-interface is quite friendly.
I am now on e-mail at bjw[at].cix.compulink.co,uk. If you wish tosend me any information please feel free to use e-mail.
I also intend making this newsletter available by e-mail (on a list) and for downloading. I am making arrangements for it to be available on Bulletin Boards in Germany and Italy, please tell me if you wish to place it on a local board.
There is an SF fan e-mail directory, but it is very heavily US and Scandinavian biased. There are two ways we can deal with this 1: swamp them, 2: compete with them.
Seriously, the directory is at: 74007.3342[at]compuserve.com (c/o John Lorentz), do contribute to it, or perhaps there IS a place for a European directory. Anyone interested out there?
Czechoslovak fandom has recently produced a who's who in their SF community directory. (Kdo je kdo v ceske a slovenske sciencefiction). An A5 book with 84 pages, it lists people by what they are (author, illustrator, organizer, fan, editor), what they have published, which SF cons they have been to, their favourite authors, and their address and 'phone number. The work also starts with a fairly comprehensive history and chronology of Czech and Slovak fandom, and ends with details of clubs, fanzines and awards.
It's an impressive piece of work, the like of which I haven't seen before. One copy has been placed in the Science Fiction Foundation library at Liverpool University. Copies are available from: Nova vina, Letecka 6, 161 00 Praha 6, Czech Republic. (ISBN 80-901103-4-7) I can see no price on the copy in front of me, so either send them what you think would realistically suit, or send an enquiry enclosing an international reply coupon.
The latest re Octocon next year is that it will probably be back in the Royal Marine – despite the problems this year. Unless Octocon wants to go really big the Royal Marine is the best hotel around Dublin.
The ISFA is having a few problems, Brendan Ryder agreed to act as Administrator, and try to get a committee together. So for the next three months the ISFA address is the Ryders, namely 30 Beverly Downs, Knocklyon Road, Templeogue, Dublin 16.
Despite this glitch things are likely to get moving again soon. A lot is happening as a result of the ISFA's existence, namely the conventions Octocon and Timewarp, Albedo One magazine, Aeon Press, The Infinity Effect (radio show, monthly on a local Dublin radio station), Mascon Productions (sf videos and film making) and the Star Trek fan club Starbase Ireland.
All of these came about directly as a result of the ISFA coming into being in 1988/1989. And all of these groups take good people away to run them, leaving fewer for the ISFA. There are only about 3,500,000 people in the whole country!
(Edited from text from Brendan Ryder. Thanks Brendan!)
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 'til31/12/94. Contact: FreiCon eV. c/o Thomas Schmidt, Carl-Kistner-Str. 3,79115 Freiburg i Br., Germany. (tel. 0761/47527 fax: FreiCon-Fax:0761-36119)
Francon '95 (Francophone SF convention): 27-30 April, Maisond'Ailleurs, Yverdon les Bains, Switzerland. 50 SFs 'til 15/9/94, then 75SFs. Contact: Francon'95, c/o Amis de la Maison d'Ailleurs, Case postale 74- CH 1400 Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.
Aelita: Late April/early May, Ekaterinburg, Russia. Contact: Radiantclub, Igor G Khalymbadza, Gastello 28B-15, 6200023 Ekaterinburg, Russia.(There may be problems, check before going.)
Kontur'94: 26-28 May, Bialystok, Poland. SF con with panels etc. +live action role playing. Contact: Polcon, Podlaskie TowartzystwoMilosnikow Fantastyki, ul. Piastowska 11a, 15-207, Bialystok, Poland.
* Finncon: 16-18 June, Jyvaeskylae, Finland. SF con. Free entry. GOHVonda McIntyre & Bruce Sterling. Otto Maekelae, Cygnaeuksenkatu 7 E46, FIN-40100 Jyvaeskylae, Finland. (tel. +358 41 613 847 / e-mailotto[at]jyu.fi)
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: AndreiTzemenko, Borzenko 25-45, 334514 Kertch, Ukraine. Or just turn up...
8th SF days NRW: 1-2 July, Duesseldorf, Germany. Theme: religion. 30DM 'til 31/12/94, then 35DM. Contact: Heinrich Sporck, Am Sonnenberg 38,D-44879 Bochum 5, FRG. (tel. 49-234-461390)
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.
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. œ20.Contact: Evolution, 13 Linfield Gardens, Hampstead, London, NW3 6PX, UK
Eurocon '96: Provisionally Bulgaria, date and exact place not yetknown.
Gdansk millennium con.
Millennium: 27 December-2 January 2000, N Europe. Contact: MalcolmReid, 55 Cedarwood Ave, Newton Mearns, Glasgow, G77 5LP, UK.