Eurocon in Dortmund

Lots of space, music, great people, and some munchkins. In one word, this year’s Eurocon has been: amazing. It might lead to some more translations between various European languages. Also… I saw a sloth directly above me. Video included.

We arrived the day before the convention with my friend Petra Štarková, so we attended both the pre- and post-con gatherings and the con itself. The program was interesting and well-organized, and I liked the popular science, film and literature talks, musical items and panels a lot – but like it tends to be, meeting other attendees was even better. We sampled local specialties (although I’d avoided currywurst), agreed on a translation of a few Czech stories for a Bulgarian-language podcast, maybe an exchange of a few translations between Czech and Dutch (via English), talked spaceflight, art, marine biology, planetary protection, steampunk, future conventions, vampires, wars, libraries, and finally played Munchkins…

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Munchkin, AKA how D&D would look if the characters were less heroic and funnier. You start as a human with no class: pretty much a real-life situation.

As to the program, if you couldn’t attend and would like to see some items: Most of the talks/panels were being recorded, including my talk about subsurface oceans of icy moons, but as far as I know, it’s still unclear whether they’ll appear on YouTube (but the Friday evening show is there). What you can do right now, though, is look at the beautiful illustrations by Autun Purser, one of the GoHs at the convention. His main job is deep sea biology, and some of the pictures are focused on this topic too. There’s also artwork inspired by the Czech movie Ikarie XB-1!

Saturday’s main program was concluded by the ESFS Awards ceremony, and I’m proud to say that the Chrysalis Award for the Czech Republic went to Hanuš Seiner, whose stories have recently appeared in Strange Horizons and Tor.com.

Chrysalis Awards for Miro Švercel (Slovakia) and Hanuš Seiner (Czechia).
Chrysalis Awards for Miro Švercel (Slovakia) and Hanuš Seiner (Czechia).

On Sunday, I visited the Dortmund zoo (which I can heartily recommend) and nearly got stuck there forever when I saw an adorable two-toed sloth circling above my head. I’m not sloth-immune at all; that’s my kryptonite! Luckily, I managed to escape after shooting only a few videos and a couple dozen photographs.

It's a trap! You get so entranced by the adorable animal that it takes a lot of willpower to leave...
It’s a trap! You get so entranced by the adorable sloth that it takes a lot of willpower to leave…

Then, after Alexander Žiljak’s talk about Nosferatu (aka “the film that wouldn’t die”), it was time for the closing ceremony. Amiens, France, has received the flag for 2018. The year after that, we can look forward to (most likely) a Worldcon in Dublin and Eurocon in Belfast shortly thereafter. Long live Ireland! (If only they had whisky instead of whiskey… I’m thinking in the lines of Laphroaig, Oban or Lagavulin. Unfortunately, Scottish Isle of Islay doesn’t seem like an ideal convention site. Basically the only thing you can do there is visit distilleries and do tastings. Which is great, of course, but not really compatible with any other kind of programme.)

Finally, I brought souvenirs from Dortmund: green bananas, violet sweet potatoes, and a couple of canvases. No regional specialties, since I’m not a fan of currywurst.

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In other news, EWASS still has a half of the program to go. So far, I spent most of my time at the exoplanet session, and in the second half, I plan to visit sessions on IR spectroscopy, general relativity, astronomy education and other topics. I’ll try to write at least one summary of the conference here!

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