Austrian fan and author, Nina Horvath, took a chance on visiting the Zagreb Eurocon in 2012 after an inspiring talk by Dave Lally somewhere in Austria. I love the fact that she had made contact with me, Croatian and European fandom at the con we named Kontakt. Nina has since done a lot, moved, won TAFF and become an ambassador of European fandom to North America and a person who has, other than Dave Lally, possibly visited the most continental European SF conventions.
1. How did you discover SF?
Actually, very early: I was kindergarten-age. I have a brother a few years older, so I just joined him watching Star Trek. Reading was actually not my thing, which may sound unusual as it is known that I read a lot these days and also write a big amount of book reviews. But I loved to listen to the stories my Mum read to me and the books became longer with as I became older, so at some point, I needed to read on my own to satisfy my reading needs.
The library had two shelves for children my age. The shelf for girls as the target group has mostly place on a boarder school, what was a perfect nightmare for me. Some detective stories which were okay and a lot of stories about horses. Horses? I never developed a special bond to those animals. So I was straying towards the boys’ shelf and it was like: „Hey, a space adventure, like Captain Kirk does! Of course I need to read this!“
2. What’s the best thing about SF fandom for you?
I spend a lot of time alone, I love reading books, also in audio version, TV-shows and movies. Of course, also day-dreaming and writing. I love to live in my own little world, but fandom brings those worlds of fantasy and meeting real people together.
3. What was you first convention like?
I actually did not start with conventions on science-fiction, but on manga. There is simply a lack of other conventions in Austria. It was called Aninite, as the name suggests, fans met for a night to watch fansubbed anime movies. I liked it! It has since become a huge convention.
4. How did you get sucked into organizing them?
I never did! I was a gopher many years ago in anime fandom, but well… There are manga and anime with a science-fiction, horror or fantasy, but the fandom itself is quite different from SF fandom. And you have to consider that the number of conventions in Austria is limited, some are also basically a fan meetings and the bigger ones deal with comics. Later, I found a much more interesting way to contribute: I visit cons abroad! Sometimes I also contribute to panels and talks.
5. You won TAFF. What was your favorite thing about it? Do you talk about fan funds when you visit national cons?
The most favourite thing about TAFF was a good balance between serious and fun. On the one hand, I appeared in public at SF conventions, saying a few words at the Opening Ceremony, discussing the role of women in fandom on a panel and, of course, as a highlight, I had an active role in the Awarding Ceremony of the Hugos.
There were also private talks, I had a very interesting guided tour by fannish people working for the Computer History Museum. There was also a very personal and serious talk which I remember most vividly, about what it was like to be a person of colour in American fandom which I had when someone gave me a ride back to my host‘s house from a club meeting. It is important to educate yourself and broaden your horizons.
On the other side, especially on a trip like this, there are times when you just need to have some fun, to party, relax, and cuddle some cats. I did all of it, of course!
6. What are your fandom plans for the future?
Well, actually I want to keep doing what I already am: I want to read speculative fiction, especially originally written in my mother tongue, German. I am going to write stories, book reviews and reports. I want to visit as many SF conventions as possible and meet and get to know other SF fans or see and hang out with the ones I already know again. The latest news is that I founded a publishing house on my own!