Some SF cons are great, some are so-so, but Rikon is always awesome. It might be a great job the organizers are doing, or it might be just me, never having any expectations or having just the ones that are always met: to see and chat with people I love while at the same time always having the option to go see something good on the program.
Well, the thing I saw most on the program this year was workshops. The moment of madness I experienced a month before SFeraKon this year, reared its weird head sometime in the middle of September as well. Thus, at this year’s Rikon, I held a two-day writing workshop Cyberpunk rules! and it was a lot of fun. There was a bit of a mix up as not everyone (not!) reading the program book realized that the workshop was in two parts but that proved not to be too big of a problem
I made inspiration packages for the workshop (on the bus on my way to Rijeka of course, because why would I have done so earlier and on time?) which were in turn inspired by the ones Australian author Kaaron Warren had so thoughtfully gifted me for GUFF years ago. (If you haven’t read her, do, she is as awesome a writer as she is a person). They were a complete success, as was the workshop, and the stories everyone came up with I am certain will be awesome to read.
Getting a taxi in Rijeka is sometimes a bit of a bother and that is why I prefer accommodation near the venue, which tends to sell out quickly. This year I found a new place and was surprised to discover it had a hot tub, so I may have spent a disproportionate amount of time there rather than at the con. Still, I did not miss Srebrenka and her Women Who Flew to the Sky storytelling showcase, which was fun and funny and instructional.
Saturday was filled with workshops, not only mine, but also a freestyle one with Guest of Honour Gareth L. Powell, whose Embers of War now has a Croatian edition. And I own a signed copy of it, as someone bought the only English copy about an hour before I came to the store. (And no, I do not want to know who you are.) In between programming, I ate at the con bar (lovely hamburgers) and also got author Vesna Kurilić and Gorana Druzeta sing Bad moon rising for me & me alone. Looooved it, thank you. <3 <3 It is one of my favourite songs, and was one of the highlights of the presentations of Vesna’s award winning werewolf novel Izazov krvi.
The 3. Zmaj association, who are the organizers of Rikon, also present the Artefakt Award for best Croatian works published in the genre of speculative fiction. This year, in the short story category, the award went to Vanja Spirin “Divine Orco”, in the novella category the award went to Torpo Monianto, for the story “The Ballton Triple Mystery”, and in the novel category, the winner was Milena Benini for her awesome The Venetian Falcon.
The YA award, awarded in collaboration with the reading clubs of the Rijeka City Library, went to Nives Madunić Barišić for the novel Hairy Love: Detective Melkior’s 4th Case. This year, a completely new award category was introduced: the Artefakt for best picture book, and the youngest jury awarded it to Tamara Bakran and Marseli Hajdinjak for the Babasova and the Queen’s Tree picture book.
Rikon might be the only con where I do not forget to cast my vote in the cosplay contest (at other cons I seem to miss it somehow or I misplace the voting stickers). This year, I loved the group cosplay by @azdajacreations and @sonjathehobbit so much I gave them all of my stickers, my husband’s and my kid’s and I may have made a friend or two give them a vote or three. The were Fiona from Shrek, and they were awesome. Take a look. They also won in at least three categories.
Sunday at Rikon is reserved for kids, and my kid goes enthusiastically every year, because ninjas and swords and LARPs. I also love it because it leaves me free to for the Sunday morning coffee with SFera people, an almost tradition that I love. We spent the time until the bus ride to Zagreb visiting the Rijeka Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art where the exhibition We’re not like them opened on Friday, about the same time as Rikon.
I loved the exhibition, even though it is not a happy one. I was especially delighted by an exhibit about inclusion/exclusion that was the artist’s wedding video, she, a Greek, having married a Macedonian. It was feminist and bittersweet and really, really great. Her name is Fotini Gouseti and the installation is called Renkonto.
The whole exhibition is well worth a visit, if you are nearby. I went for the weird erotic wallpaper (which was everything but that, by Lana Čmajčanin – Balkangreuel – Balkan Cruelty installation) and stayed for the awesome exhibits like Blue Blood by Mirna Kutleša and the I love Germany; installation by Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša.
The exhibition is part of Rijeka 2020 and in that year, Rijeka and Rikon will also host Eurocon under the name Futuricon. I can hardly wait and have booked accommodation already. Yes, the hot tub one.