On the last day of any con I start to be a bit worn out. Not so at Pyrkon but this might be a consequence of sharing a room with someone who is as much a morning person as I am. That was a really refreshing change in pace for me – thank you, Irena! Sunday went by a lot faster than any other day – it constantly felt as if I had just arrived and the con could not possibly be finishing so soon! There was yet more programming to go to, and the costumes were still there, numerous, exuberant, lovingly done and even more lovingly worn as well as much appreciated. I expected their number to be lessened on the day after the big cosplay contest, but obviously costuming at Pyrkon is much more than just the cosplay contest.
While taking a leisurely walk through Poznan to the con – and I saw some lovely parks I want to take some time in next year! – I received a call from their press office to let me know the interviewee who went missing the day before had some 10 minutes for me if I were interested. I hope the chairs, whom I was supposed to be interviewing at the same time, will forgive me picking Ted Chiang over them. It was short and sweet and I hope to have an audio version up soon.
At various times during the weekend I would end up at the press room chatting with volunteers working there. It was a lovely experience – they were warm and friendly and chatty, as well as a way to see the inner workings of the local con-runners. Of whom I have only words of praise. From what I’ve seen, the Pyrkon con-runners are well-organized, very enduring, can function exceedingly well on very little sleep, adrenalin and sheer will power. They are also able bounce back and juggle with surprising skill when they run into problems. It was a simple and natural progression to suggest they might consider bidding for a Worldcon some day. Fact is, they could probably fit one into two of their ten pavilions. Obviously, they would need to volunteer somewhere first and since I do not see the Polish traveling en masse to Sasquan, I told them how to vote in site selection. I hope they all do. 🙂
Lunch was reserved for a bit of fanfunderry – me and Nina Horvath, the Austrian fan who’s won TAFF this year had a chat and a lunch. Creative places as con are, we may have come up with a cool new twist of a not entirely new concept. I am very exited but don’t want to even say it out loud, let alone write about it, lest I jinx it. Just keeping my fingers crossed. I love it when stuff like that pops up at cons, ideas that are not necessarily new but old ones that could not be made reality. Often it feels like trying to push a square peg into a triangle hole and then, at a con, something shifts, magic happens and suddenly an angle comes into existence which can make it all fall perfectly into place. Best feeling in the world! Right next to closing a successful SF convention.
My Sunday talk on Croatian SF scene and literature was well attended and there were even questions from the audience. Polish fandom is huge and varied, I’ve been told they have more 100 events in a year. And I thought many SF cons in a year were a Croatian thing! I was a bit comforted when it was pointed out Poland had 38 and Croatia only 4 million people. Still. A large local fandom, however, makes Polish fandom not only self sufficient but pretty self-involved. Not many Polish fans get about outside of Poland and their knowledge of traditional fandom and its customs seems pretty limited. I focused my talk on the differences in our two fandoms, Polish and Croatian, showing off mostly how Croatians do things and pointing out all the traditions the late but great Krsto A. Mažuranic set up in Croatian fandom.
I was very sorry to have had the bad lack of getting a time slot for that talk that clashed with the English tour of Poznan. My friends went and spent an excellent couple of hours with a guide named Marek, who according to them is the best tourist guide in the universe and a worthy attraction of the Poznan-Pyrkon phenomenon all by himself!, and GoHs Jasper Fforde, Jason Morningstar and Joe Haldeman, accompanied by his lovely wife Gay.
Later that day, Croatian screenwriter, Irena Krcelic presented Space Lab, a fun Croatian SF TV show for kids that also had a fair number of people in the audience, considering the fact it was a last minute alternate item held late on the Sunday afternoon. It is always great fun watching Irena talk about her work and especially when it is all about the scientific experiments kids can learn watching the TV show about Heklanac, a green little crochet robot, and the two mischievous children who are trying to help him fix his broken rocket so he can go back to his planet.
Not bringing the car to the con on Sunday morning was a mistake, as it took us quite a while to go get it and unpack the stand. I was amazed at how quickly and efficiently the vendor’s hall was taken down. A little disappointed, too, as I was hoping to do some last-minute shopping after Irena’s talk. In the evening we went – finally – to a Polish restaurant for dinner and tired some local dishes. The food at Pyrkon was also awesome, but they did not bother much with stews, other than the žurek soup (a stew with sour cream and sausages), which was excellent but hardly representative of an entire country’s cuisine. The rest, however tasty, was mainly burgers and other fast food items. And beer. Lots and lots of beer. (I know who in Croatian fandom just started preparing for next year and there are more than a few British fans would have an awesome time here, too!)
There was a lot of programming in English: not only the one entire stream they placed in the hall called “Anglojezyczna” but also on the main stage and in some other rooms. Media is prevalent at Pyrkon rather than literature but the focus, as much as I could see, was on costumes first and everything else second. The literary track, however, was anything but non-existent, as I have heard tell of other media cons where writers are ignored. Not so here. In this, Pyrkon was so very much my kind of fandom that I felt I had the best of both worlds, literature and media. And they inspired me to push for an organizer’s cosplay at SFeraKon, the first one ever. I cannot not adore any con that makes my own a better and more interesting one. Tomorrow, I will be gushing about Pyrkon at the Tuesday SFera meeting, in two weeks at SFerakon 2015 and in exactly three, at SRP. And in April 2016 I am hoping to be in Poznan again. Possibly even in costume.