Convention Review

The 2017 Eurocon – Dortmund, Germany

The 2017 Eurocon was held in Dortmund
16th - 18th June and was the fourth time Germany has hosted the event


The 2017 Eurocon took place in Dortmund, and by common agreement it was a very friendly and successful occasion.

Everything was determinedly bilingual in German and English. The programme had 23 items in German, 24 bilingual, and an amazing 41 in English. The programme book and the souvenir short story book were both 50:50.

The guests were: Dave Hutchinson (UK) author of Europe in Autumn that was shortlisted for the 2015 Arthur C Clark (book) Award; Autun Purser (UK but living in Germany) a very good artist; author Aleksandar Ziljak (Croatia); and author Andreas Eschbach (Germany). Ian Watson and Cristina Macia were there, luxuriating in not being in charge of anything after their wonderful efforts for Barcelona (last year’s Eurocon).

367 physically attended.  An analysis of those pre-registered showed 211 Germans and 101 non Germans. Of these, the largest numbers were from UK (31), Poland (7) and then Ireland (5). The following countries were also represented: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine. The actual number attending including walk-ins was 367. Unlike some recent Eurocons the gender split was very unbalanced, approximately 85% male, while the average age was probably 45.

The programme had 25 author readings, plus 8 interviews and Kaffeeklatsches. There was a lot of science (10 items), especially space science, and 8 items on films and music. These included interesting talks on Metropolis, Nosferatu and the 1960s TV series Raumpatrouille Orion. There were also three items based on language, basically lamenting the fact that US/UK authors were translated into other languages and published but almost nothing went the other way.

The setting was a 1950s college and culture centre just outside the city centre which ticked all the boxes for a good Eurocon location. There was a large theatre, rooms for panels, plenty of room for the large number of dealers, and a licensed coffee bar in which to hang out.

The Thursday before the con was Corpus Christi, a public holiday in Germany, so the college was closed for four days and available for the con. The biggest and oldest science fiction club in Germany is the SFCD (Science Fiction Club Deutschland) and their big national con was combined with the Eurocon: the Eurocon therefore provided an excelent international opportunity to present Germany's own SF awards and so the SFCD Awards were presented.

The European SF Society (ESFS) meetings duly took place. There were no changes to the officers and no rule changes were made. The Awards were chosen and will appear on their website.

Dortmund has been the host of a previous Eurocon in 1999 and used to be an industrial and mining city in the Ruhr which obviously sustained very severe damage during the war. Apart from the churches, there are very few pre 1945 buildings. There is a good public transport system with trams which go underground to cross the city centre.

On the Monday I crossed an item off my bucket list by finally riding on the Wuppertal Schwebebahn. This is a late nineteenth century suspended monorail which follows the winding river through this linear city, situated in a steep sided valley. On two previous occasions I have gone there only to find it wasn’t working. I strongly recommend a visit.

In 2018 the Eurocon will be at Amiens in northern France from 19th to 22nd of July. In 2019 it will be at Titancon in Belfast between 22nd and 24th of August. For 2020 Rijeka in Croatia, is considering a bid.

Jim Walker


Elsewhere on this site we have reviews of German SF before 1945 and German SF since 1945 and some German SF classics.


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