Convention Review


The 2014 Eurocon – Dublin, Ireland

The 2014 Eurocon was held in one of Europe's most western
countries and dominated by those from the rest of the British Isles and
N. America due to Worldcon in London (Britain) the previous week.

 

The 2015 Eurocon was held in Dublin from the 22nd to the 24th of August. The decision to separate the Eurocon from a European Worldcon and to run it one week later was amply justified with a large attendance at both events. The Eurocon had 1,050 pre-bookings, of whom 759 turned up, and 206 walk-ins on the day, giving a total attendance of 965 warm bodies. The general atmosphere was very positive both in London and Dublin.

The Con took place at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel, some 20 minutes south of the centre of Dublin. Although it was a good way out, there were several restaurants and a Spar within a 10 minute walk. It was a good Con venue, the hotel pulled out all the stops, their functions manager got a standing ovation at the Closing Ceremony!

The Con had seven streams with tracks devoted to ghost stories, LARPING, costuming, filk, comics and science. There was not much hard sf, but it was still fun. The Guests of Honour were Poland's Andrez (Blood of Elves) Sapkowski, now writing the swords and sorcery 'Witcher' series, Ireland's illustrator Jim Fitzpatrick, Sweden's translator Ylva Spangberg, America's book and comic writer Michael Carroll, and Ireland's writer and filker Seanan McGuire (a.k.a. Mira -- Parasite -- Grant). Sheridan Le Fanu (a Dublin resident) was the Ghost of Honour.

Most of the usual suspects (Eurocon regulars) were there, Roberto Quaglia (Italy), Frank Roger, Frank Beckers and Peter de Weerdt (Belgium), Boris Sidyuk and Alexandr Vasilkovsky (Ukraine), Carlos Suchowolski (Spain) and many others. There was also a full-sized wooden TARDIS, built by John Harold and first deployed at Britain's Loncon3 Worldcon days earlier. It, and a very full van load of tech equipment, were brought to Dublin by Martin Hoare.

The new European SF Society(ESFS) team of officers has settled down well with meetings kept to time. There were two very good presentations for Eurocon 2016: one for Wroclaw, Poland, and one for Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won. Wroclaw's date unfortunately coincided with the 2016 Worldcon and there may have been a feeling that Poland had already hosted three Eurocons while Spain had not run any so far. All the Awards are on the ESFS website. I was very pleased to see Dave Lally winning the Best Promoter of Science Fiction Award, he's certainly put the work in over the years!

For me one of the highlights was John Vaughan's Vault of Horror where John Vaughan deconstructed the Irish horror film Rawhead Rex a supernatural shocker that could give Plan 9 a run for its money.

Another innovation was a second Dead Dog party held at noon on the Monday the day after the event in a big bar in downtown Dublin. This was attended by many of the Eurocon goers and went on all afternoon. A big success.

I also treasure seeing an agitated argument between a Spaniard and a Belgian about Nietzsche and Wittgenstein at the first Dead Dog party and not forgetting an American telling me quite seriously that one answer to the high cost of railways in the Republic would be trains with on-board nuclear power plants. A. E. van Vogt lives!

Jim Walker

 

See also over on the Autumn 2014 seasonal news page items on the 2014 Eurocon and the European SF Society business meetings.

 


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