Marcin is one of the many Polish fans making that country’s fandom a great one. He attends SF cons all over Poland regularly, collaborates with a number of fanzines and is one of the rare Polish fans who attends conventions outside Poland.
And once you see a calendar of Polish SF cons, and witness the scope and the variety of the fandom organizing them and participating in them, it becomes very clear why that is so. None can blame them. So it is doubly impressive not only that Marcin makes a point to be part of a wider SF fandom, but I love that he has started blogging about it. Almost as much as I loved passing on the GUFF administrator role to him. 🙂
For his efforts, Marcin has received the Krzysztof “Papier” Papierkowski’s Award for the best non-commercial activity in the Polish fandom in 2018. His blog, Fandom Rover, was a big part of the reason why. Amidst the blogging, writing for fanzines, organizing conventions and SF club events, traveling, editing and his Dublin Worldcon duties, Marcin answered the Famous fan questions for me.
How did you discover SF?
Some time ago I was thinking it was thanks to my uncle. When I was twelve or so he gave me The Lord of the Ringsand stated that I would probably like it. And he was totally right – I enjoyed the books immensely. I think it was after I read it when I started to look for more fantasy books. Yet now, when I’m thinking about it, I recall I enjoyed fairy tales, mythology etc. for as long as I could read. So probably the love for the genre was in me from the very beginning. What I am totally unsure is when I first read and enjoyed an SF story. It may have been one of Lem’s books that I read in primary school (Fables for Robots and Tales of Pirx the Pilot) but I am not sure whether there wasn’t something before it.
What’s the best thing about SF fandom?
I think that the best things about fandom are the openness and positivity. Since my very first convention, I felt fandom was a place for me. I met a lot of great people at cons and online, and we all share some kind of a “vibe”. Whenever I am among fans I feel like I am in a good place and I really treasure that.
What was you first convention like?
My first convention was DOJIcon 2, which I attended in March 2002. It was a one day manga & anime event. My school friend told me about fandom and she invited me to come to DOJIcon. As she was part of the concom, I somehow ended helping a little bit with the con. The convention was relatively small, I think around 150 members*. There was only one programe room and one anime room. On top of that there were people playing video games and there were some dealers. And there was “magic in the air” that made me stay in fandom.
And how did you get sucked into organizing them?
As mentioned, it seems I was sucked into organizing events from the very beginning. At DOJIcon 2, I helped just a little bit. At DOJIcon 3 (half a year later) I was part of the organization team. Afterwards, the chair resigned and we had a break and in 2004 I chaired DOJIcon 4. In the meantime, another friend asked me to join gophers for the SFF convention Imladris and thus in 2003, I visited my first SFF convention, and then the next one and the next…
What con-running job do you hate the most, and what do you love the most?
This is a tough one as it changes over time. For sure, I both love and hate chairing the cons. Being a chair is really ambiguous. I like to take care of sponsorship but not the financial parts, rather the organizational part for books, games etc. as prizes at the con. I am not sure if there is something I really hate but I know that there are things I don’t want to do, as I am simply not qualified to. That would include everything related to graphic design.
How did you decide on GUFF?
I knew I would like to run for GUFF since I learned it exists, in Zagreb back in 2012, where I met Kylie who was GUFF delegate at the time. Yet I was not really thinking a lot about it then. It was something I would do some day in the future. The next important moment was when I met you at Pyrkon 2015 and you had a talk about Fan Funds and you were convincing me to run. At this point of time, I decided I know too little about fandom outside of Poland to become a European Ambassador (as this is how I see the delegate’s role).
Then I started to visit more conventions in Europe. Volunteering at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, I met Gillian, who was a GUFF delegate in 2014 . I mentioned I would love to run for the GUFF one day, so when Gillian asked me in January of 2018 whether I want to give it a try, I decided to run for GUFF.
What surprised you the most on your GUFF trip?
Lack of spiders in Australia :). I am afraid of spiders and you know all those stories about spiders being everywhere. Fortunately, I met only one and it was in New Zealand and not Australia.
And, jokes aside, I think that the surprise was how similar fandom is. Of course, I was expecting the fandom to be similar, but I was also kind of expecting more differences. There were some differences. Some of them were really big, yet there were also so many similarities between the fandom in Australia, New Zealand and Poland. I was really shocked when during one of the conversations I learned that I share almost the same experiences, as my interlocutors, when it comes to fanzine creation.
What was the biggest take away from you GUFF trip?
Contacts and memories. During the trip, I met many extraordinary people. They made my trip what it was – and it was the greatest adventure in my fannish life. Despite spending over three weeks in Australia and New Zealand, I am do not feel that I really did proper sightseeing. I did see a lot, but I spent even more time with people and I feel that this was way more important. I always wanted to visit Australia and see a lot of its places. I did not manage to visit most of those during my trip. Yet I would definitely not exchange the trip I had for the trip I was dreaming about when I was a child. I still hope that one day I will visit Uluru and the Great Coral Barrier and a few other places. I am happy that my first journey to Oz was the GUFF trip as it gave something that I treasure way higher than sightseeing.
Check out Martin’s blog here: https://fandomrover.com/