Eurocon 2004


By Radi Radev

The European Science Fiction Convention Eurocon 2004
was held from the 5th till 8th August in the city of
Plovdiv. This convention was first created in 1972 in
Triest, Italy. This year it took place in Bulgaria for
the first time.

There were over 360 Bulgarian and about 200 foreign
participants from 17 countries at the event – among
them SF writers, publishers, translators, journalists
and, of course, fans.

Eurocon 2004 was held under the patronage of Plamen
Panajotov – vice-premier of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The main organisers of Eurocon were: Ivan Krumov –
owner of the specialised SF publishing House Kuasar,
Yuri Ilkov – the publisher of Terra Fantastica
magazine and winner of Eurocon for number one fan,
Fantastica Foundation, the municipality of Plovdiv,
the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of
Culture, Club for Science Fiction and heuristics Ivan
Efremov, Club for science fiction – Earthsea, Club for
ecoculture and fantastic art – Uibrobia, Tolkien Club
– Rin Ennor, Society Words, Bulgarian Federation for
electronic sports, Valinor Paladium Ltd.

The greatest person to be present at the festival
undoubtedly was the writer Robert Sheckley. Apart from
him there were Ian Watson – a writer from UK, Andrzei
Sapkowski – the best selling Polish fantasy writer;
Patrick J. Gyger – the director of Maison d’Aillieurs,
a Swiss museum housing one of the world’s largest
collections of Science Fiction. Mr. Gyger also
presently serves as artistic director of the Festival
International de Science-Fiction Utopiales,
Nantes/France/. At Eurocon 2004, also took part was
Roberto Quaglia – one of the most promising Italian
Science Fiction writers.

Unfortunately, the world famous Russian SF&F writer
and winner of many prizes like Strannik/Wanderer/,
Interpresscon, Eurocon 2003 and Aelita, Sergey
Lukyanenko did not visit the Eurocon, although he had
previously confirmed his participation and his name
was on the agenda. However, Eric Simon – one of the
most famous German SF writers, whose works were
published in the former Soviet Union and other
so-called ‘Eastern block’ countries (in the time of
communism!) came to the event to the greatest pleasure
of all participants and fans.

The various activities on Eurocon were held in the
halls of the City House of Culture, Plovdiv.
Sometimes, the activities were on three at the same
time and it was hard to choose which one exactly to
visit.

No doubt the most interesting and exciting event was
the meeting with Robert Sheckley, held on Saturday,
7th August. The second most interesting event was the
meeting with Patrick J. Gyger – the director of Maison
d’Aillieurs – the museum housing one of the world’s
largest collections of Science Fiction. I should not
forget to mention the fact that the first European
performance of the movie ‘I, Robot’, inspired by the
short stories of the immortal Isaac Asimov took place
at Eurocon 2004.

Another thing that attracted the attention was the
nominations for Eurocon 2004. A voting was organised
but the results had not come out at the time this
present article was written. The participants had the
opportunity to see the presentations of Eurocon 2005
and Worldcon 2005.

Lecturers at the festival were Alexander Alexandrov,
Prof. Alexander Nedelikovich, Atanas Slavov, Dr.
Dimitar Kabaivanov, Georgi Ivanov, Grigor Gachev,
Ilina Konakchieva, Ilian Iliev, Ivailo Ivanov, Ivan
Atanasov, Ivan Ivanov, Ivan Popov, Liza Moroz, Dr.
Lachezar Filipov, Lyubomir Nicolov, Martin Kadinov,
Silvia Rasheva, Todor Yalamov, Yuri Ilkov and Zdravko
Georgiev.

It is interesting that at least half of the time, the
participants separated to made contacts between or to
create contacts.

I want to finish my report with the words of Agop
Melkonyan
/ the second most famous Bulgarian SF writer
after Lyuben Dilov/, said at the Meeting with young
Bulgarian SF writers:

‘Write something. If it is liked by at least one more
man except you, then it has been worth writing it! No
man can write for everyone. Write for yourself.’

On July 23, 2006 Agop Melkonian died of cancer at age 57.

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