Last night we went out for dinner with Charlie Stross and Feòrag. I am going to be very evil and tell you that Charlie has some great projects in the pipeline. Also, if you think the prospects of a Trump presidency are awful, be grateful that you don’t live in the world of the Laundry Files.
We got a bit of a lie-in this morning as the first panel I needed to be at wasn’t until 11:45. Barcelona was still waking up as we took the short walk to the convention center. The panel was on weird fiction. It featured Johanna Sinisalo, Karin Tidbeck, Haralambi Markov and Ángel Luis Sucasas. I didn’t know Ángel before this, but he’s a very interesting guy. He talked about using interactive fiction techniques as a means of weirding out the readers. He also has a friend who uses VR to help reform people convicted of hate crimes by requiring them to spend time in a virtual environment in the body of one of the types of people they hate.
The others are hopefully all well known to you and were their usual brilliant selves.
Kevin and I then headed out to see La Sagrada Familia which is absolutely jaw-dropping when seen in person. Photos don’t do it justice, though of course we have many and will post them in due course. We also successfully navigated the Barcelona metro system which turns out to be very clearly signed.
Back at the convention we attended a panel on promoting European SF. The main item of interest to come out of this is that Helen Marshall (on behalf of Anglia Ruskin University), assisted by folks at Leeds University and by Strange Horizons are looking at a possible online magazine dedicated to translated SF&F. The project is in very early days at the moment, but I’ll keep an eye on it and update you as and when I know more.
Unfortunately the panel got a bit bogged down. It is very true that awards and “best of” anthologies are useful ways of showcasing work. It is not necessary to spend ages in pointless discussions about whether these really identify the “best” stories, because we all know that’s a subjective question.
And then, far too early, it was time for the Closing Ceremonies. There were some fun video clips. Cristina managed to make thanking all of the con staff entertaining (though a rolling slide with all of the names on might have helped her out). The ESFS Awards were presented.
The ESFS Awards ceremony is a difficult problem. There isn’t really time in the schedule for a separate awards ceremony, given that Saturday night is usually given over to national awards. I have seen awards ceremonies that go on for ever. This year they went to the opposite extreme and just read out the names of the winners very quickly. There wasn’t even a slide with their names on. The full list of winners is available here.
I am particularly pleased with the win for Tom Crosshill. I think I first met him at the very first Finncon I attended. Irma and I can now say, “I knew him when…” I saw that he’s gone on Facebook slightly perplexed as to why he deserved such an honor when Europe has so many fine writers, which is typically modest of him. But the ESFS awards work in interesting ways. They are voted on by the delegates (2 from each country) after presentations made by nominators at the Business Meeting. A good speech can sway the voters.
In Tom’s case a long-time Latvian fan called Imants (whom I knew from previous Eurocons) had made a great speech about how much harder it is for someone from a small and little-known country to attain recognition. Tom, of course, has three Nebula nominations behind him already. I’m very pleased for him and look forward to more great fiction in future.
I’d also like to highlight Sophia Rhei’s win for children’s fiction. She has this great series featuring the young Moriarty and a whole host of other Victorian personalities, both real and fictional. It sounds very much like Kim Newman for kids. Or possibly fun kids books that parents who are Kim Newman fans will love to read to them. The books are not yet available in English, but the publishers tell me that they have rough drafts of translations are are looking for a publisher. I could tell that this was out of my league. I hope someone big in the UK or USA picks them up.
After that all we had left to do was eat tapas and drink beer. Huge thanks to Croatians for organizing an impromptu dead dog tonight because the official one isn’t until tomorrow afternoon by which time many of us will have left.
And now, packing. Farewell Barcelona, it has been brief but hugely enjoyable.