My first Eurocon has been an even more amazing experience than I had expected. We arrived in Barcelona with Lucie Lukacovicova and her husband the evening before the convention, so we almost immediately jumped into the event. The first panel I saw was the Queer SF panel, to which we arrived a little late, but catching up was not a problem, and we learned about lots of interesting works. After that came my panel “Where are the aliens?” with Jonathan Cowie and Ian Whates. You can watch our discussion in the video below!
The Cross-Media panel and the Evil Females panel (including Lucie; watch it here) concluded the official Friday program for us. Saturday started with Ian Watson’s very interesting Orwell Tour around places in Barcelona marked by Orwell’s presence, and continued with the Genre Translators panel (including Lucie; unfortunately, program held in this hall was not recorded). The panelists were from the Czech Republic, Finland, China, Poland, Bulgaria and Italy, and listening to the peculiarities of translating into different languages was most interesting. Cultural context, history, grammatical gender, names bearing meaning – all of that can wreak havoc with a translation (especially if the name is something like Hodor…). My talk “Is Venus habitable?” came next. Watch it below.
Robot Companions by Carme Torras were a very interesting talk. I would recommend you watch it, alas, it was in the hall that wasn’t streamed. At least google some of the projects especially by Boston Dynamics, then. Sunday morning, I wanted to be at three places at once, so I left Euro Steampunk before the end to attend Beyond Jurassic Park. The talk had little new in store for me, but it was brilliantly structured and delivered: great fun with lots of interesting information, smoothly going from one part of a topic to another, and engaging the audience through Mentimeter polls. Great idea!
I also wanted to at three places at once in the afternoon, same as Lucie and Atlan, so each of us went to one of the program items. “Does SF prevent bad future?” was my pick, and liked the discussion, although (unsurprisingly) the question was not resolved. Then came the closing ceremony including the results of Euro SF Awards. The Czech Republic had no winners in the main categories, but the Czech Encouragement Award went to Jan Hlávka and Jana Vybíralová for their “Ledové hry” (“Ice Games”) space opera series.
Starting Monday, we’ve had time to explore Barcelona. I’m writing this at the airport, soon to leave the beautiful city (note: I was. And then an exceptionally busy week happened. No time travel involved, believe me.). I might add something more about Barcelona later. But as I have two talks and three interviews to conduct in the week after I return to the Czech Republic (not saying home, because I’ll almost immediately go to the other end of the country, and to the opposite one afterwards) (note: Already happened. Great events and great people I had the honor to interview!), and in the week after that, I’m teaching and also having my PhD exams (alas, that is still going to happen). Everything beside those things will have to wait until early December (unless I find a way how to apply the time travel).
Most of Eurocon program items can be watched here. If you’re in for some interesting talks and panels, don’t hesitate. And if you can attend the next Eurocon (in Dortmund next June), the same applies. I’ve met lots of wonderful people at this Eurocon; we went to dinner or lunch with some of them, talked with others during program breaks, en route to talks and panels… So, thank you, Lucie, Atlan, Cheryl, Kevin, Tasha, Charles, Ian and Ian, Jonathan, Pedro, Charlie, Mike, Djibril, Valeria, Cristina, Elena, Atanas, Mihaela, Klaus, and Arrate, for your great company. The people are always what makes conventions so amazing.
I’ll be registering for both the next Eurocon and Worldcon (in Helsinki in August) soon. Two more things before I conclude this post: You can still help kickstart Piracity, an anthology of pirate stories by writers from Bristol and the Caribbean, edited by Cheryl Morgan. I have just contributed with my pledge. Aaarrgh!
And the last thing: I have uploaded mobi and epub formats of Dreams From Beyond, so you can check out the anthology of Czech speculative fiction in English on any device now!