Report on the Slavcon (Slovakian Convention) 2015

Slavcon 2015

At the end of May there had been SlavCon in Bratislava again. It is a small Slovakian convention – though to the measurement of this country. Though Slovakia is a small country, they have a really active and well-organized fandom, so an event with some hundreds of people what would already be a highlight in many other countries, even much bigger ones, is considered small in Slovakia. As for myself: I am Austrian, so they are close neighbours, though there is not a lot of connection between their and my fandom, most likely the language boarder might be the main reason. Unfortunatly they had to change the location this year. The new location was in Petržalka, what may not be the best part of the town. Although they have a very interesting sight, an UFO-shaped restaurant 85 meters above the ground.

UFO-shaped Restaurant in Bratislava.
UFO-shaped Restaurant in Bratislava.

But well, the place where this year´s Slavcon took place did not look futuristic, but really dystopic. It was raining cats and dogs and due to the really bad condition of the streets with more than one hole in it, more than one of it was flooded and it was difficult to keep the feet dry. And was also also not that easy to find the entry.

The Location of Slavcon 2015.

I have been preregistered this time and due to the fact that Slovakia is in the Eurozone just like Austria, the bank transfer had worked out easily without fees. I paid eleven Euro for three days, what I consider a really good price. – Though I have been there just one day, but I would have paid more for just Saturday at the door. Inside it had been smaller than it used to be, but there were still some interesting fair stands. Though I hardly understand a single word of Slovak, I nevertheless like looking at the covers of their books, and of course see fannish jewellery and such.

Fair Stand at Slavcon.
Fair Stand at Slavcon.

Unfortunatly they did not have food at the convention, just a coffee bar. What a pity! Last year they grilled mouth-watering food outside, though many foreigners may be irritated by the piles of meat that are actually eaten. – But if you are a kind of person who eats anything that smells good and looks delicious, Slovakia is most likely a good place to visit! O.K., they also had another bar where they sold beer and kofola, a kind of Eastern European interpretation of a coke. In my point of view it somehow tastes like liquid bubble gum, but people who grew up with it seem to love it. But one could get food at a close-by bar, though as I mentioned it was raining cats and dogs, so it had not been wise to go out without an umbrella, even just for a few meters. Therefore I had also not been too keen to enjoy myself being in the world in the medieval camp outside this time. What else? – Well, you have to consider that it is a national convention, they are all not much used to foreign guests. But the Slovakian fans are open-minded, and I have been told whenever a group of a serious size would decide to come over, building up an English program line would definitly not be a problem. What I in fact love about fandom so much is that noone had ever been hostile. When I come to a another country, strangers who find out that I am a foreigner always … just got a little curious and started a polite chat. Most Slovakians (and there are always also Czech) speak English quite well, a lot of them also German, what is my mother tongue. But meanwhile I also know a few people in Slovakia, so I can have an easy talk here and there. Even photos of a baby who had been born between the last time we have met were shown to me by a fellow fan. I already feel somehow home. A very interesting contact I had were two brothers, Rastislav and Róbert Blažek. Rastislav was the director of a horror movie with the title Socialistický Zombi Mord and Róbert translated the movie into German – and as a native speaker, I helped a bit with the subtitels. In fact I have never met them before, I just saw the movie on a previous convention and asked via facebook if I could probably buy a subtitled version. And this is how it goes in fandom!

From left to right: Róbert Blažek, Nina Horvath, Rastislav Blažek.
From left to right: Róbert Blažek, Nina Horvath, Rastislav Blažek.

As a part of the program, I have seen Laeg Mortemir, a young singer who performs fantasy topics, very often in a funny way, and plays the guitar or the concertina while singing. The auditorium obviously loved him, especially the young girls where giggling and making soap bubbles during the show. (By the way: He is blonde and has long hair. He can sing. He is slim and young. So there the behaviour of the female teens is quite natural, I guess …) I did not understand a word, but music is in fact an universal language.

This year´s location was in fact not perfect. But there is no reason to complain, the organizers already know it. They could not make it at the location they used to and did the best they could not to chancel the event. And in my point of view it would have been a pity not having a SlavCon in 2015, as it is not only about the convention itself, but also offering fans a possiblity to keep in touch.

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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