Anglo-Romanian Science & Science Fiction Cultural Exchange Re-visited

Following the fall of the Iron Curtain, between the 1990s
and the early 2000s there were the first contacts
between Eastern and Western European SF fans and authors.
In 2012 the Romanian fanzine Paradox reviewed
how the S & SF Exchange affected part of Romania's SF community.

 

Some two decades on, the year 2012 was special for members of Romania's H. G. Wells SF Society, one of the more active SF groups in Timisoara, Romania's second city and the one that has the good central European connections as it is situated close to Romania's borders with both Hungary and Serbia. It was also the city that sparked Romania's 1990 revolution, which itself was part of a wave of change following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain separating Western Europe from the (now-former) communist nations in the east. The Exchange is arguably worthy of a small footnote in the broader SF community's history as it is an example (perhaps a rare one) of the SF community reacting to international events in the world at large.

2012 was important to the H. G. Wells SF Society because that year marked the 40th anniversary of the Society's founding. And so a special edition of the Society's magazine, Paradox was produced.

The H. G. Wells SF Society's history includes many memorable ventures. Among these were its involvement with the Anglo-Romanian Science & Science Fiction Cultural Exchange. The Exchange itself saw a number of activities and these included those with members of the North West Kent SF Society (the Phoenicians, named after the pub where the group used to meet) and the Science Fact & Science Fiction Concatenation whose own team at the time substantially overlapped with NW Kent SF members.

Paradox's 40th anniversary edition contained an article on the H. G. Wells SF Society's involvement with the Anglo-Romanian Exchange. This article was originally in Romanian but has now been translated into English. So as to get a feel for the article's original layout in the Romanian magazine, we have created a PDF with the English translation approximately laid out in the style of the original together with the photographs used in the magazine. We have also taken the opportunity to add an additional page of photographs to give you a better idea of events.

The translation of the anniversary Paradox article on the Exchange is here.

 

In addition we have other material, including new archive information on the Exchange as well related articles SF2 Concatenation previously published. These relate to just some of the Exchange's key events and only a small proportion of the media coverage, some of which are lost forever (sadly including the Exchange's BBC World Service broadcasts to Hungary and Romania). Nonetheless, the below gives an idea of the Exchange's activities and its impact beyond the SF community. See the links below:-

2nd International Week (2003) of Science & SF timetable programme book (in English)

2nd International Week (2003) of Science & SF timetable programme book (in Romanian)

Romanian press article on the 2001 Eurocon and earlier Exchange activities

Hungarian press article on the 2001 Exchange activities

Hungarian and Romanian visit to Britain (2000) and western SF authors' support

Hungarian and Romanian visit to Britain (2000) Hungarian newspaper reports

Press cuttings (in Romanian) 1st International Week (1999) of Science & SF

1st International Week (1999) of Science & SF timetable programme

Robert Sheckley 1st International Week (1999) interview

Short Hungarian press cutting on the early Exchange activities (1998)

Romanian visit to Britain (1998) Cristian Lazarescu

Romanian visit to Britain (1998) Antuza Genescu

 


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