Istrakon 2015: Saturday

I hate getting to a three-day con on the second day – it always feels like I’ve missed the best part. It’s especially true of Istrakon, which has a special Friday buzz for me. I think it’s because, unlike SFeraKon, they used to have a big to do for an opening ceremony (maybe they still so, the last two years work has prevented me from finding out) with performances like live chess games and shots of local medica and biska brandies.

I hate that feeling of having to rush to do my part of the programming when I haven’t had a chance to say hi to everybody. I did manage to get some bean stew that Istrakon traditionally provides to all its members on Saturdays. It might be the first time I had some in the sixteen years of Istrakon’s existence. Istria has so much fantastic food that I would always end up at some restaurant or other, forsaking the quite tasty bean stew.

This year’s GUFF Auction was right after the lunch and a lot of fun: the audience joined our witty auctioneer Mirko Karas in fooling around in order to promoe the items that were brought for sale, like the two tiny solar power cars, weird candy eyes, dragon T-shirt and New Olreans Mardi Gras mugs.

I had the pleasure of apologizing to two lovely ladies from Kulturni front, the society that organizes Liburnicon, for failing to notice that the address I have from them is obsolete and thus not advising them about the TranSFerzala project on time. Which they are a part of. Now they know it too! They were very gracious and wonderfully nice, which I appreciate more than I can say, since the mistake was all mine.

There are no SF podcasts in Croatia. There was one, but it did not last long unfortunately. I’ve been trying to find time to do one since Jonathan Strahan told me he would love to listen to one about Croatia and European fandom (I looove The Coode Street Podcast!). I hope to find some soon, but in the meantime, every now and then, I do a panel on the topic at some Croatian con. The first one was at Rikon, where I got Croatian SF author Igor Rendic and Mirko Karas into SF Squeecast. In the past two years Mirko and Igor found more podcasts the like so they agreed to share them as my panelists.

“Three podcasts you simply have to listen to” was supposed to be a panel to which each one of us brought ONE podcast we love, to talk about. Of course, this did not happen. Each one of us has more than one to adore. Igor loves Tea & Jeopardy, as do I. (I am hoping this might turn into a invite to Emma Newman to their con some day.) It has a Whovian feel and it takes us both back to childhood when you could get into the exciting world of a scary story that also teaches you things about the world. The world of SF authors, in this case, which is its own kind of awesome.

Mirko talked about SF Squeecast, telling the story of how he learned to trust the recommendations he got from the podcasters, why he trusts them and how he handles the sheer volume they’ve added to his TBR pile. He also made me want to listen to Hey kids – Comics so very much. I talked about Writing Excuses, which made me fall in love with it via their tag line “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart!” Of course, The Coode Street Podcast, Galactic Suburbia, The Writer and the Critic, Escapedpod and Clarkesworld were also part of the conversation.

Time, as ever, went too fast, so a short coffee (Croatians call going to a coffee-shop for drinks and some conversation “going for coffee” even if there is no actual coffee involved) break and a lot of babysitting later, my five-year-old son fell asleep, exhausted, at a novel launch.

Award winning Croatian author David Kelecic launched his first novel. I love his stories, one of which you can find in last Parsek Worldcon/Eurocon 2014 edition and this novel promises to be even more fun. David wrote a story that follows a typical fantasy hero on the actual day after. What happens after you’ve saved the world and find yourself addicted to the healing potion that has saved your arse so many times but is now just one of the many problems that is not letting you deal with your PTSP? This being Croatia, with all its lovely and less lovely heritage, nothing is ever without PTSP, especially grim dark novels. I am sorely tempted to just let everything be and tune out to read the novel right now!



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