My Saturday morning was spent having coffee, walking the dog in the nearby Maksimir with my kid and doing some light reading in preparation for my panels today. It was everything a SFeraKon Saturday morning used to not be. Strange people used to call me on my mobile asking for all kinds of info at 8 am in years past. Parents and potential authors mostly, very rarely journalists. Journalists knew not to call so early in the middle of an event.
Saturday is crowd day at SFeraKon, which, in the tradition of most Croatian conventions, starts at noon, so everyone has a chance to recover from the night before. I used to love the crowd – it meant we would not be in the red come Monday and I used to hate the crowd, since I hate pushing through one to get where I am going. Luckily, in the last few years FER has given SFeraKon more space, so it is less crowded. Apparently not less warm, unseasonably cold weather notwithstanding.
I missed Srebrenka’s talk on storytelling. Even noon can be too early on a SFeraKon Saturday. This was more due to the fact that I could not get a taxi and I needed one to transport all the Empress of the Damned Housework Tea Party stuff to the venue. Hanging out in the hall at the entrance to the con, after I deposited stuff with the con, proved to be much fun – as everyone stopped and talked to me. Many gave me a hug. I started to think I might be looking like I desperately need one until Tajana Štasni, Croatia’s Cosplay Queen pointed out I was, in fact, actively asking for one.
I had a great time at the presentation of the Croatian steampunk novel about a female factory owner set in an alternate 19th century Karlovac, Japodinine muke (Japodina’s Troubles) by Ivana Delač, a Croatian author and cosplayer. Ironic, witty and with just the right amount of information on the book vs. on the process of writing the book to make me a fun, relaxed intro into my SFeraKon Saturday.
Petra Bulić had an awesome item called What Have You Read Lately That Was Good? at a great location, even though it was not a quiet one, where some book lovers shared what they loved reading in the past year or so. I was sorry to have to leave that panel to make my own, Ženska žanrovska kava (Female Genre Coffee) powered by Kavantura. Yes, there was coffee and really nice coffee, thanks to Irena Rašeta, co-owner of Kavantura cafe who organized a version of the same panel last year.
In hindsight, I should have known offering coffee in an afternoon rather than evening slot would bring in more people, but programming was tight and 30 minutes seemed plenty based on last year’s turnout. Thus, the panel felt a bit rushed, although we did catch a lucky break in that about 90% of the room had not been to a similar one before, so we got to repeat all the usual stories about Milena Benini’s research on women in Croatian SF fandom and women and awards in Croatian SF literature, the Barcelona panel on Women in SF, and other stories.
I just had time to mingle, eat and get more coffee before the Who Will Get the Hugo for Series? Panel with Milena Benini, Marko Fančović and Igor Rendić which was a lot of fun. They gave us a really big room so I felt tiny. I got from an official programming item – a serious, fun conversation on the Hugo series category and this year’s nominees – what I used to get from random conversations at SFeraKon. I take it as a sign of how much the con has grown. I am still undecided between Xuja and Laundry myself, despite a number of valid points raised at the panel. But that is material for another post.
YA & Women Who Do Things was the funnest panel of the day for me, and not only because it was one where I had managed to get there 5 minutes early, like a good moderator should. It was I think due to the awesome spirit of GoH Alwyn Hamilton and the engaging enthusiasm of blogger Rose Strong. I had a set of questions and they, along with Milena Benini, gave awesome answers about women, YA and romance. The audience was also great and unafraid to jump in, ask questions and share their favorite authors, titles and characters.
I was under the impression that I was taping the panel in its entirety to turn into a podcast, but that sooo did not happen – forgot to push play! Luckily I take notes the way some people doodle to relieve stress. Since both the panel and the audience shared a LOT of favourite books and series, here is the list of names (of books, series and authors), in order of being mentioned at the panel, more or less:
Tamora Pierce, Allana series
The Court of Fives, Kate Elliot
Voices of Dragons, Carrie Vaughn
Gospodar grijeha, Lauretta Chace
Cold Magic, Kate Elliot
Uprooted, Naomi Novik
The Finishing School, Gail Carriger
Sarah J. Maas
Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce
Jim C. Hines
Motor Girl, Terry Moor
Illuminae, Jay Kristoff
There may have been more, and if so – feel free to let me know what they were. These are all the ones I noted down before we moved the conversation to one of the SFeraKon halls. I did not get home too late nor too early – just on time to fall asleep immediately. With the SFeraKon Bulletin, a lovely little publication whose sole aim is to poke merciless fun at SFeraKon organizers, in my hands. 🙂