The second day of Pyrkon started off with a bit of weird deja-vu: it was a new day, as sunny and warm as Friday. And once we walked to the venue, the lines were also there again, just like on Friday. Another huge mass of fans were waiting to register! At first glance this was just too hard to believe, it felt as if we time hopped into a weird repetition of the first day of the con! This just had to be a not very well organized line to get in! Maybe the Poles simply do not know how to run the badge system efficiently. They do. It’s just so difficult to believe that so many more people showed up. But they did.
Throughout Saturday large numbers of people milled around the con, pursuing their various interests and desires. That one of the big Poznan International Fair pavilions was reserved for vendors, making it essentially one enormous Dealer’s Room was not weird or new, even if it was quite a bit bigger than the Loncon3 one. But that RPGs had an entire pavilion of that size dedicated to them alone, with some spillover into the vendor’s one was surprising. And another one for computer gaming. And another one for LARP. And two more for various other programming items. And a big, main one for more programming. Getting the drift yet?
In all of this, there is one thing that I find to be the most impressive as well as precious beyond words (and I hope Pyrkon never looses it): the “feeling of fandom”, for lack of a better term. I hate crowds. They make me nervous and irritated and annoyed. I become rude and overwhelmed by a desire to go commune with trees, preferably somewhere without any people. Even at Loncon3, where I knew so many people, I felt the need to go find a bit of solitude. At Pyrkon the day before yesterday, it was like having science-fictional double vision of the best kind: despite the truly huge number of fans at the con, the feeling of closeness and coziness one gets at a convention of 300 remained. As I’ve tweeted already, I blame the enthusiasm and the atmosphere. And possibly magic.
Though it may just be the adrenalin of the organizers – these people have been, up until this year, running the +20000 members convention that is Pyrkon entirely on volunteer power. Any other day I would have had to say that the most impressive part of my day was hearing stories about Krsto A. Mažuranic, the grandfather of Croatian SF fandom from Joe and Gay Haldeman. But after hearing that particular piece of information, in addition to them having 70 GoHs, 12 foreign and the rest domestic, all I could do is be in awe.
(And am suddenly more forgiving of the fact that there is not a single stand of books in English for sale. So no opportunity to get autographs by Fforde, Chiang and Haldeman for me since accidentally forgot my copies at home.)
I planned to go to panels but the one on YA fiction pissed me off and then I got sidetracked by talking to people and hatching new plans, discussing fandom, browsing the stands, being stood up for an interview by the most award winning writer in SF and gawking at even more fabulous costumes. Find some better photos here.