Parcon/Fenixcon 2013 in Brno (Czech Republic) – from the perspective of an Austrian

Last month was Fenixcon in Brno (the Czech Republic) – as a special highlight it was also Parcon this year, the big event for the Czechoslovak fandom.

The auditorium at the opening ceremony
The auditorium at the opening ceremony

It was the first time I have been to the Czech Republic to a convention – as I am Austrian, I am also not the average visitor …

Of course I also used the chance to see some of the sights of the beautiful city of Brno. So I have been there one day before – and was very surprised to get an invitation to the organizer´s meeting in the evening! – As I had a lot of questions in advance, they had my e-mail and mobile phone number.

Basically, I came to Brno to meet other fans, so this was not a chance I wanted to miss. We met in a bar – but it was hard to find. I have been told later on that the name of the bar, “Na Blbym místě” means anything like “the wrong place”. But it finally worked out and it was pretty nice and fun. Unfortunatly I had to leave around midnight, as I had caught a really bad cold and wanted to be fit for the convention the next day.

Of course I had been recognized on the Fenixcon and I have been guided around in the location, the Hotel Slovan. (As it had already been booked up, I slept in a nearby hotel.)

Fans socializing at Parcon 2013
Fans socializing at Parcon 2013

In fact the convention wasn´t that big. On room with fair stands, three lecture rooms and the hotel bar. But everywhere people and everybody was in such a great mood! Certainly the convention – that is also called “slipper con” by some of the fans, as one can walk in slippers from the hotel room to the convention – was a highlight of the whole year for many of the visitors.

Fair stand at Fenixcon
Fair stand

In the evening I had my own panel. I made a little power point presentation and narrated about my adventures at conventions in different countries. I held my panel in English, but nevertheless had a translator. The translator was really amazing, he did not know what I was going to tell, nevertheless he translated in … well, I would call it “warp speed”! It was so amazing for me, especially as my mother tongue – German – is so different from the Czech.

Fenixcon panel
Before my panel – right to me is my translator

People cooked themselves a cup of tea on my panel, but well, I guess this is their usual way to relax during the program. Anyhow, I have been intruduced to the trustee of the Karel-Čapek-Awards afterwards – (Remember: Karel Čapek was a Czech author is is most famous for inventing the word “robot“ for a human-like machine) – who also listened to my panel and she seemed to be interested in our fandom. And yes, this was also a convention for networking: There are many authors, illustrators, publishers and other active members of fandom. I was very happy that I have been introduced to many interesting people what made it easy to have nice chats. I also met some fans I have met before again – I have been to Slovakian cons already three times, so I have known more fans from this country before. There were a lot of Slovakians this time, funny how also a woman in riot gear with a frying pan with the Slovakian blazon on it. When I was asking about it, the answer was a question to me: “Do you know Captain America?” – Well, sure … Ah, I see, this was Captain Slovakia!

Unfortunatly I did not see much of the program due to the language boarder. Of course someone like me peeps into the opening and the awarding ceremony, but without understanding a single word …

Costume competion

As it was a meeting shortly before christmas, fans drank quite much, especially as it wasn´t far into bed in the hotel room. The Czech Republic is famous for its delicious beer, but of course it was not only that. For me the event had finally been great – somehow exotic in my point of view, but I got to know so many interesting people and it is not an experience I would like to miss!

Nina Horvath

Nina Horvath has studied at the University of Vienna. Her mother tongue is German. She is a keen author of short stories and published over two dozens in zines and anthologies. Her favourite genre is science-fiction. She had also been editor of the short story collections "Die Schattenuhr", "Metamorphosen - Auf den Spuren H.P. Lovecrafts" and "Darwins Schildkröte". In 2012 she won the awards "Vincent Preis" for the best horror anthology and the "Deutscher Phantastik Preis" for the best fantastic short story. (This one was also 3rd at the "DSFP" for the best science-fiction story.)

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  1. Hi one and all-well done Nina in getting (the two of you I assume) to yet another SF Con! Yes there was actually a small display at a UK Con (amongst many displays for other Cons that many people know that I do)for the Brno Con (and thats even tho it was unlikely that anyone from UK would actually go). Why? because unlike some Cons, the dates and city and venue were actually listed-well in advance! A lesson there Con organisers (esp Spain).

    I do look forward to seeing many fan friends at either or both of the following in August: Worldcon 2014/”Loncon3″/Excel/London (Thu 14-Mon 18) [4700 already booked and rising]; Eurocon 2014/”Shamrokon”/Doubletree-by-Hilton(ex Burlington)Hotel/Dublin (Fri 22-Mon 25).
    Also pl note (1) the very 1st Luxembourg Con-“Luxcon”/Tetange ( in March, (2) the 65th UK NatSFCon/Eastercon (“Satellite4”) Glasgow Scotland Thu 17-Mon 21 (Sir Terry Pratchett is a guest subject to his health) and finally (3) “SciFiLondon 13″ (mostly media)Sun 27 May-Mon 5 May .
    All words in ” ” can be googled for more data. v best wishes Dave L

  2. In total we were five Austrians this time! Markus already joked that I have become a travelling agent for my landsmen. (A travelling agent who gets all information in advance, finds the cheapest safe way to travel – this time a bus, but very modern, with a touchscreen on each seat and a stewardess who served free coffee – and that cheaper than the train. In such situations, I really love life! – But nevertheless someone who never finds the right way on her own …) You have done something really good to me, to persuade me coming to Eurocon 2012 in Zagreb, as I got to know my own neighbours there. I never thought of going to a Slovakian or Czech convention before, although it is so easy to get there from Vienna! But meanwhile, I have been to three Slovakian and one Czech con and I wouldn´t like to miss this experience.

    The Fenixcon/Parcon was really well organized, much info in advance, so I agree with you! It was also in the city center of Brno (very nice for tourists!) and not in some suburb. (This happens for many events – you see the preview and that it is a well-known and georgeous city and then, it finally turns out that …)

    I guess we will meet each other at Eurocon 2014 again!

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