Antuza Genescu reports on one of the most eastern of European SF conventions of 1999.
A French-type SF convention, of all things, held in Romania.
The SF club in Iasi is Quasar and it is one of the oldest clubs in Romania (the other old Romanian groups are: Henri Coanda in Craiova (south of the country), Solaris in Bucharest and H.G.Wells in Timisoara (which itself has links with the NW Kent SF Society, Phoenicians).
Quasar organised the Quasar Days to celebrate their 20th anniversarry. It was a three-day convention that took place at the local French Cultural Centre: this institution has helped them a lot. They offered the space and some financial support. I believe it was thanks to this institution that they were able to invite the French writer Philippe Curval as a guest of honour. He gave several talks. The discussions were all in French so I am not able to report in detail on these. The people from Iasi who deserve being cited for their works and other activity include Lucian Merisca and George Ceausu. Lucian is a writer, his book Stories from the Exterrior has just come out. George himself is a writer too in addition to being Quasar's President ever since it was founded. Lucian is also noted for being Dan Merisca brother, a respected writer and promoter. Unfortuantely Dan died in 1991 but his memory lived on at Quasar Days.
Among the most interesting items in the programme were the five short plays presented in French, adapted after five short stories by Richard Matheson. The actors were Romanian French-speaking students from Iasi and the director was Benoit Vitse. Their French was very good, their acting good and Philippe Curval was really impressed.
It has to be said that the whole environment was French (French books, French posters, French speaking people and even a few French people), so for Romania it was a real cross-cultural event.
Alexandru Mironov (the former Romanian Minister of Youth and Sport) was present too. He has his own SF TV show andasked me to give a very short interview about the SF clubs in Timisoara, which I did. I was pleased to mention Timisoara’s connection with the N W Kent SF Society, Concatenation and the Anglo-Romanian Science & SF Cultural Exchange, not forgetting the forth-coming visitation from the UK to see the eclipse. These days Star Trek is on the Romanian National Television again and before each episode Alexandru Mironov speaks for about ten minutes or more about all sorts of things about science and fiction and science fiction. One of these broadcasts was live from Quasar days and dedicated to the Quasar 20-year anniversary and to Philippe Curval's presence among the fans who came to Iasi.
The author Ion Hobana was present there too and he launched his latest book, written jointly with a foreign author. However The Dreamers' Triumph is not science fiction but Ion Hobana is famous and very appreciated for his SF books and activity in the SF movement.
There was a book presentation on Saturday morning. The Nemira Publishing House from Bucharest came with some books but there was no one there to speak about them. Sedona (Timisoara’s SF publishing House) was also present with Roberto R. Grant’s (Romanian writer Voicu Bugariu's pseudonym) The God of Apathy, and Mircea Pora’s Nowhere. The former title is a kind of utopia, a future Romania in which the gypsies have taken the power and the Romanians are despised, while the latter book is a collection of stories and short stories that are not strictly SF, but certainly speculative fiction.
I think I missed the most interesting discussion about non-government organisations and how to obtain money because of the TV interview I gave. C’est la vie as the French say.
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