PROGRESS REPORT 0

Preliminary Announcement

[Click here for Progress Report 1]

[Click here for Progress Report 2]

The 2nd International Week of Science and Science Fiction

19 - 25th May 2003 in Timisoara, Romania

This web announcement has been donated by the Science & SF Concatenation


Introduction

Welcome to Progress Report 0, the preliminary announcement for the 2nd International Week of Science and Science Fiction produced particularly for those who will need time to prepare for the event and for prospective visitors to Romania to place this in their diary. Prospective Romanian participants may wish to note the dates and take steps to arrange either to stay with friends in Timisoara as part of their annual holiday or visit that week as part of their business.

What is an International Week of Science and SF? Well, quite simply it is a gathering of some 60 or so SF fans from several countries for a week of socialising, exotic science and SF. The gathering is small, deliberately so, so as to ensure the week has an intimate quality and that what resources are available are brought to bear effectively. One of the benefits is that it is more relaxed with less of the running around and losing people that can happen at some other events. Those attending are invariably dedicated SF enthusiasts and a few are those most active on the both the western and eastern European SF scene. As they say: it is not size that counts, but what you do with it.

What happens during the International Week of Science and SF? The Monday to Friday consists of a light daytime tourist programme for those participants visiting Romania from abroad. The tourist programme is run by the local SF group - the H G Wells Society - who provide translators and guides and are the event's principal local SF sponsors. The daytime also provides opportunities for Eastern European fanzine editors to record interviews with the participating authors. The weekday early evening consists of a couple of hours of SF programming (typically a talk or a film) for both Romanian and visiting participants before socialising in a nearby bar cum cafe. Saturday and Sunday sees far more programming more like a small single stream convention with both daytime and evening programming. The programme will be bilingual in English and Romanian.

This is the '2nd' such week? Yes it is. A similar week of activities was conducted in 1999 with Robert Sheckley and Roberto Quaglia together with Tony Chester as the fan guest and some 50 fans. Check out Roberto's review on this site. In all seven countries were represented. In addition the Timisoara H. G. Wells SF group has been involved in Anglo-Romanian Science and SF Cultural Exchange projects virtually every year since 1994 both in Romania and the United Kingdom. The bottom line is that such an event has already been successfully run and the organisers have nearly a decade of experience in working together. This event will actively build on that experience. (And if that does not frighten you then be assured that it completely terrifies us!)

What will happen in May 2003? Read on....

Guest participants

We are delighted to report that the following have agreed to support the event and join with us in Timisoara:-

Ian Watson. Ian is an English writer who is well known both in the UK and US. He has written well over a score of SF books from The Embedding (1973) and The Jonah Kit (1975) to Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (1993) and Oracle (1997). He is very much a writer's writer who is not afraid to tackle a number of the genre's styles from space opera to new wave, and has written non-SF too. Ian worked with Stanley Kubrick on the screen story for the recent Spielberg film A.I... He has attended numerous SF conventions both in the UK and on mainland Europe, and is decidedly fun to have around.

Danut Ungureanu. Danut is a Romanian artist and writer. He has had many short stories published in Romanian SF magazines and some have been brought together in a collection of shorts Monroe pe o curba inchisa (Marylin Monro on a Closed Curve) (1993). Danut is an active member of the Bucharest SF community.

Vince Docherty Vince is from Scotland and has been active in UK fandom for over two decades. He is a veritable powerhouse of enthusiasm and organisational ability. This he ably demonstrated while co-chairing the 1995 Worldcon in Glasgow, while his tenacity is actively illustrated with his leading the UK bid to hold the 2005 Worldcon. The organisers are pleased to welcome him as the fan guest at this somewhat smaller, but no less international an SF event. On the science fact side, Vince has a degree in applied chemistry which he followed up with some quantum mechanics research for the electro-optics industry. He currently works in information technology. Importantly he has long been interested in all things astronomical.

Roberto Quaglia Roberto is from Italy but is no stranger to Timisoara or Romania. Nor is he a stranger to western European fandom. He is one of a select few to have been published both in the west and in Romania. More importantly his unique perspective on life and the universe is a pleasure to witness and, as European SF players know, no international SF event in Romania would be complete without him. The organisers are extremely pleased that he has again decided to accept the role of Toastmaster for the week.

H. G. Wells If Mary Shelley is the mother of modern SF then H.G. Wells can be considered to be the proverbial father of English SF. His landmark book The War of the Worlds (1898) is one of the key all-time first contact stories, while his novels The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr Moreau(1896) and The Invisible Man (1897) must be the most three famous SF novels written in succession of the entire history of the genre. A well known socialist (in the western as opposed to Romanian sense of the term) H.G. has also written a score of non-fiction books. Unfortunately, due to entropy, H.G. will not be with us for the entire weekend, however he will make an appearance and a speech has been promised! It is a distinguished honour for us to have H. G. Wells as our Ghost of Honour, and an appropriate one as the local sponsors of the International week, the resident SF group, is known as the H. G. Wells Society. Need we say more?

Timisoara

One of the attractions of the International week of SF has to be Timisoara itself. It is a remarkable city in many ways. Its city centre is most beautiful with a Mediterranean feel: delightful old buildings surrounding squares all in the middle of giant a circle of parks. Its cathedrals are striking. Its local beer is excellent. What more could one want? Well SF is the genre of breaking new ground, forging ahead, meeting new cultures and looking to the future. This Timisoara did in 1989 and 1990 when it led Romania to democracy. Situated 30 km from Hungary and 20 km from Serbia, it is a city benefiting from a number of cultures and packed with history and myth. It is an ideal venue for an SF event as well as an unspoiled tourist destination for those attending from other countries.

The Romanian Writers' Association

The Week's organisers are privileged to report that the Timisoara Branch of the Romanian Writers' Association have offered to once again support the event by providing a programme venue. Their splendid oak-panelled hall is one hundred yards from the hotel accommodating the western participants and, importantly, just two hundred yards from Timisoara's restaurant and cafe-bar quarter.

What's next?

We will be giving you more information about the above guests, others attending, sites to visit in Timisoara, programme news, survival tips and how to register in future progress reports (though there is a some brief information below for prospective western registrants). Progress Report One will be issued in the summer 2002. Progress Report 2 will come out around Christmas/New Year 2002, and Progress Report 3 will come out at Easter 2003. The SF e-zine Concatenation - whose editors have been active on the European SF scene for a couple of decades now - has kindly to agreed to donate web space for an English electronic version of the Progress Reports, so keep your eye on www.concatenation.org For the time being if anglo-phone westerners contemplating attending want to be e-mailed PR 1 please contact: info AT concatenation DOT org.

Meanwhile, as mentoned above, you can check out Roberto Quaglia's review on this site.

Registration: If you think at this stage (before August 2002) you are almost certain to want to attend then do send us your postal address (see 'contact' at the bottom of the page). This will provisionally secure you a place and we will be able to send you hard copies including maps of where we will be staying with Progress Report 3. All those on the provisionally secure list of registrants will be asked to confirm their intent to attend sometime around the end of 2002. Only those on the final confirmed list of registrants will be sent travel details and provided with tickets to a number of events associated with the international week. (Confidentiality: Participants' postal details will only be used for Anglo-Romanian Science and SF Cultural Exchange purposes and will not be passed on to anyone else.)

NOTE:Concatenation has only agreed to pass on/process registrations from those outside of Romania. Romanians will have a postal address and an e-mail address to which they can apply for registration from the late summer of 2002. The International Week's organisers are also considering having an agent in Hungary given that country's proximity to, and historic links with, Timisoara.

Registration fee. There is no registration fee for the International Week as such! However non-Eastern European participants (those whose nations' currencies are not restricted on the World market) will be asked to buy a ticket to the event's Farewell Banquet on the Sunday evening. The banquet cost of 20 / $37 will cover your own banquet ticket and a little extra to enable the organisers to invite those who have donated resources enabling the week to happen to attend. The banquet registration will be required on arrival and can be paid in or $. And even the organisers will be buying a ticket, though not of course the special guests of honour. If at the end of the week you feel that you have had excellent value for your meal then small donations in western currency would be welcome (but not required). Separately, any spare Romanian currency western visitors may be stuck with at the week's end will be used by the local H.G.Wells group to thank local sponsors.

Western visitors to Romania from the west will find that the International Week in Romania comparatively inexpensive. The most expensive part will be the western-standard hotel which will cost about 25 a night with breakfast. (Rooms will have a bathroom en suite, TV etc.) Evening meals in Timisoara's town centre will cost about 5 (including beer or Romanian wine (which is excellent)). We suspect that western visitors will find that 250 should more than cover all your core accommodation, meal, drinking and any taxi costs you are likely to incur for the entire week. Eastern European participants staying with friends or in student accommodation will get away with far far less. The H. G. Wells group will also be investigating a range of cheaper accommodation and this will be reported in future PRs.

Small Print Prospective visitors to Romania note especially. The organisers are running this event on a volunteer basis and as such can accept no liability for illness, material loss, international events with local consequences, acts of God and so forth. At the time of organising, the guests, those providing the venue and other resources have provided written assurance of their intent to participate in and/or contribute to the event. However clearly even guests can have accidents and fall ill, and the venue could be struck by some disaster - remember the dinosaurs. Therefore all participants need to be aware that the organisers can accept no liability for any misfortune and that participants are responsible for their own health and safety and safety of their possessions.

If the above seems somewhat officious, it is only a precaution in today's highly litigious world. The reality is that the organisers, the H. G. Wells Society, will be sympathetic to those with problems. For instance they will naturally provide a translator should you need to visit a doctor - indeed there is a hospital doctor as well as a dentist in the H. G. Wells society. The local organisers will also do their best within their means to make your visit trouble free. From the airport welcome provided on the Monday afternoon at the beginning of the week to getting you back to the airport the Monday of the week's end your visit to Timisoara should be a care-free experience.

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