News From Eurocon

This year’s Eurocon is taking place in Kiev this weekend. I didn’t make it, the whole thing got to be far too difficult and expensive. But a lot of people I know are there, and there appears to have been something of a revolution. For as long as I can remember, the European Science Fiction Society has been run by the same small group of people. Now we have a new committee. They are as follows:

  • Chair: Carolina Gomez-Lagerlöf (Sweden)
  • Vice-chair: Saija Kyllönen (Finland)
  • Secretary: Gareth Kavanagh (Ireland)
  • Treasurer: Vanja Kranjcevic (Croatia)
  • Awards administrator: Bridget Wilkinson (UK)

That’s a much more diverse group than before, and one I expect to be a lot more open and proactive. Carolina should be known to most Worldcon and Eastercon regulars, and she chaired a very successful Eurocon in Stockholm a few years ago which revitalized Swedish fandom.

The other piece of news I have is that the 2015 Eurocon will be in St. Petersburg over the weekend April 23-25. (2014 is in Dublin the weekend after the London Worldcon).

Given the reaction I got when I reported that the Russians were bidding, I’m expecting people to start demanding that we boycott the convention because of Russia’s attitudes towards QUILTBAG folk. Before you say anything, I want you to take a look at this website.

OK, I know most of you won’t have clicked through. That’s the English-language version of the website for Coming Out, the St. Petersburg LGBT organization. They do exist. They haven’t been banned. Earlier this month they celebrated the city’s first ever Week of Transgender Visibility. Their report on the event says:

On March 31 – the International Day of Transgender Visibility – a mass rally was planned to draw attention of the public and law enforcement authorities to the problem of discrimination against transgender and transsexual people and other gender minorities. 9 administrative districts of St. Petersburg refused Coming Out permission to carry out the rally. One of the refusals referred to the “propaganda” law, despite the Russian Supreme Court’s decision of October 2012, which stated that rallies in support of LGBT rights are not to be considered propaganda.

This is the first case of the “propaganda” law being used against transgender people.”Coming Out” intends to challenge the administration’s ban in the city and national courts and, if necessary, the European Court of Human Rights.

I note that St. Petersburg has 18 administrative districts, so a full half of them gave permission for the rally, and they have the support of the Russian Supreme Court. I don’t know the details of this “propaganda” law, but it sounds very much like the UK’s notorious Section 28. I can just imagine what British fans would have said if there had been calls to boycott the 1995 Wordcon because of that. Obviously it is tough for QUILTBAG people in Russia right now, but that means people like the folks who run Coming Out need our support and encouragement.

And, you know, that could be quite a year for the Baltic. Eurocon in St. Petersburg followed by Worldcon in Helsinki.

12 thoughts on “News From Eurocon

  1. Well, if I’m still alive in 2015 and can cobble the dosh together, I will try to go. Basically, I agree with the points you’re making that we should support the people trying to bring light into that environment. AND St Petersburg IS a truly gorgeous city and I have friends there I’d like to see again.

    You really think Hesingiin 2015 is a go-er?

    1. It’s very hard to say, as I can’t go to US cons these days so I can’t gauge feelings. But there’s definitely a lot of anti-sentiment to both Spokane and Orlando.

    1. As well as the visa, Pertersburg prices are VERY high. This will be one time when the travel in & out will be the least expensive item in the budget.

        1. Train packages from Helsinki are available for around 200 € including travel & 2 hotel nights. (There may be packages for longer stays as well.)

          When we visited St. Petersburg a couple of years ago we found several places to eat that were nice, the food was ok, and the prices were quite reasonable. I’m sure that the prices go up when you go on culinary excursions, but you don’t necessarily need a large budget for food.

  2. And according to my rather shaky interpretation of this LJ entry (and after cross-referencing with this not quite complete list of nominations on Europa SF), the ESFS Award winners are as follows:

    European Grandmaster
    Terry Pratchett (UK)
    Iain Banks (UK)

    Hall of Fame

    Author: Andrei Valentinov (Ukraine)

    Artist: Nikolai Redka (Ukraine)

    Translator: Patrice and Viktoriya Lajoie (France)

    Promoter: Istvan Burger (Hungary)

    Publisher: Shiko (Ukraine)

    Magazine: SFX (UK)

    Spirit of Dedication

    Performance: “Vash Vikhod”(?) (Your Move), “Raido” theatre (Ukraine)

    Website: (Romania)

    Illustrator: Katerina Bachilo (Russia)

    Fanzine: Fandango (Ukraine)

    Encouragement Awards

    Stefan Cernohuby (Austria)
    Ioana Visan (Romania)
    Aleksandra Davydova (Russia)
    Leonid Kaganov (Russia)
    Livia Hlavackova (Slovakia)
    Boris Georgiev (Georgia)
    Julia Novakova (Czech Republic)
    Oleg Silin (Ukraine)
    Martin Vavpotic (Slovenia)
    Anton Lik (Belarus)

    Honorary Awards

    Harry Harrison (in memoriam)
    Boris Strugatsky (in memoriam)

  3. I hope that turns out to be the case. Will evoke my droits de parentage to attach myself to the group.

Comments are closed.