The ESFS Awards are the annual awards awarded by the European Science Fiction Society and voted on at that year’s Eurocon. I wish I could say they were like the Hugos, but they are nowhere nearly as popular or widely known. Europe being Europe, language will get in the way. While this brings diversity and fresh perspective in abundance, it also brings the impossibility of ever reading or seeing or experiencing everything that exists out there on the European scene, if it is not translated into a language one can speak. Or read.
This is true of fandoms, as well. It takes money and time to connect on a European level and this is not always easy to do. This is why I love Eurocons so much. They are special cons whose flavour varies wildly but each and every one I’ve ever been to has been a special adventure I would not trade for anything.
Keeping up with the nominations for ESFS Awards takes special effort, just like the connecting at European level. In some European countries – like Croatia or Poland, to name but two – SF conventions are numerous. And rather scarce in others, Austria springs to mind!. On top of that, there are many clubs still not operating as much online as they are in real life. (I have been wondering how the virus has impacted these).
On top of all that, the tradition of a national convention – that single, largest one in a country where all the fans gather on a national level – is something a lot of European fandoms simply do not have. For example, in Croatia, there are bigger SF cons, smaller ones, party-oriented ones, quiz -highlighting ones, but fans will mostly go to all of them domestically and love some parts better than others. But no con will not exclude the wide interests of genre fans have and practice. And thus none would presume to be the national one.
All of this comes into play with the ESFS Award nominations. The awards these are voted awards – delegates present at the business meeting of a Eurocon vote for the winners based on the presentations which are shown at con. But how does one get so many clubs and cons to agree on one national nominee? After deciding to take a more active part in the ESFS and its awards, Croatian fandom came up with a procedure for producing the nominations.
Every year, one SF club/society takes the lead and is the one who sends the nominations in. This year it is 3. Zmaj, the people behind Futuricon, this year’s Eurocon. They are responsible for not only sending in the Croatian nominations but also for collecting them. An invitation to all the clubs and societies goes out and all the Croatian nominations are gathered. From these internal nominations, the year’s reigning society, as it were, composes the national list of nominees which is then sent to Eurocon. I know what the SFera nominations were for this year but can hardly wait to see what the national list looks like.