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August 29, 2008


J. Ahlroth

Great story, thanks!

Hate to be so boring as to talk of books, actually, but - did Hal Duncan say anything about his upcoming Escape from Hell?


Travel broadens the mind as I also found last week: who would have thought that Vellum could be found on the reduced-price rack at (the tiny) Aarhus airport in Denmark?

They also had a little Japanese garden attached to the terminal building (or hut). Sweet...


really, really sorry i was late to the party, and we didn't get to meet. i arrived in plzen late saturday and could not contact the vandermeers (apparently, some mistake in the phone number i had). we encountered jeff, ann and ian the next morning. and had a beer with hal, ian and the vandermeers that night. and the next morning, we kidnapped the vandermeers all the way to romania :)


Great conrep. Very interesting to hear how the trip went. Travelling=good. Travelling to sf-cons=supergood! :)

Jan Vaněk jr.

I left a long comment yesterday, but since I tried (horror of horrors!) to include links, Typepad keeps swallowing it even after I removed HREF tags and kept just URLs. So once more, keeping just the few most important. If they ever fall out of the moderation queue... well, it will be a mess; the first one has clickable links but this one has latest edited version of text.


There are some misunderstandings in the post. Together with further comments (damn this tiny textarea), in order of appearance:

Pardubice is in Eastern Bohemia.

The Laser-books (spelled sic) New Weird line covers by Edward Miller can be seen at

Yup, Zličín is a southwestern suburb of Prague where the metro ends so the bus terminal for that direction is located there. And the bus company belongs to an expansive enterpreneur, something like Czech pint-sized Richard Branson. The Praha-Plzeň line (similarly as the original one to Brno; being longer, there you get a whole film - dubbed with English subtitles!) is ideally suited for buses, it's close and connected by a new highway. Decades neglected railways, which can't cherry-pick just the lucrative routes, aren't able to compete. They indeed claim WiFi in (some of?) the buses, though I've read complaints it's not too reliable.

Actually, "U rytíře Lochoty" mean "At Knight Lochota('s)" - we have almost as complicated declination as you :-)

The PUB is supposed to stand for Pilsner Unique Bar (and they look for franchisees abroad :-)

As for Czech Conans, Leonard Medek is probably the best while Vlado Ríša (formerly writing as Richard D. Evans) by far the trashiest. There's a Conan Society (which used to have some contacts with Finland, see the end of its Nemedian News 9/99), but the website is in a zombie state.

Kofola is a revived 60es thing, the aftertaste comes from licorice. I don't like it either.

This is a really ugly mistake: while there's not much love lost between the organizer of the huge, media/teenager-slanted
in Chotěboř (meaning "Fantasy Festival" - you know, "con" is too slangy to reach audience properly or something; this is the event that was the 2002 Eurocon) and the "dinosaurs" in the Parcon crowd, I don't think anybody ever went against the Parcon date. FF has been using the week around national holidays on 5-6 July. While it may draw away a part of the just-one-con-per-summer audience, the point is that he keeps bidding for Parcon (even after leaving the Czechoslovak Fandom formally in a huff), wanting to make it one more program track in his "multipack" concept, and achieve its ultimate validation that way. He loscot the 2009 Parcon to Plzeň Revisited only after a very tight and acrimonious vote (decided on that club coordination meeting).

Let me stress again that hardly anything except Pratchett gets over the 10 000 copies. The 1988 translation of Dune (legend says, delayed a. o. because the censors didn't like a villain called Vladimir) had print run of exactly 100 000, probably a record even for that time; still, this meant that it remained in shops for years (and who knows how many were pulped in the chaos of early 1990es).

"Čtyřka" literally means... the one-word noun for "letter four", or something like that. (I told this to the organisers - there was even a report of somebody having problem identifying which toilets were which; they promise to learn better). Virtuální čajovna, i. e. "virtual tea-room" (there was a "stone tea-room" next door, teas and even a water pipe having become a feature at Czech and Slovak cons) was a kind of loosely-structured talk program between the GoH besedas.

In the delayed program, the liquor was for "christening" of Vlado Ríša's new Conan book.

And finally, both é in Czech words are actually ě (háček/caron, not acute accent).


Hello Jan! Thanks for the corrections, I feel like I need to apologize for my mistakes, which I think are mostly due to some misunderstandings and lingustial lazyness (especially the caron, which I just couldn't be bothered to dig up, my bad!).

I could've sworn I heard more than a few times that Pardubice was in Slovakia! Stoopid mistake.

Re: Laser. My copy of the New Weird just says Laser, but since everybody kept saying "Laser books", I (again, the lazy person here) didn't bother to check the fine print, which says Laser-books.

I had links to various places too, but for some reason Typepad acted out really bad when I tried to post this thing. All the links were lost as well, including the one to Lochoty. And PUB. Where I actually did see the real name, but after Typepad-problems, I sort of missed correcting it.

Ah, Licorice! That explains Kofola's "taste".

Thanks for the mention of the vote, I actually remember now hearing about it. However, I also heard in a personal conversation about the little friction there is between traditional fandom and the more younger media-fandom, which led me write thus. I guess my poorly stated point was, that even though we (Finns or Czechs alike) arrange these co-operation meetings, we're still occasionally unable to co-operate fully.

About the number of copies I plead to insufficient note taking. And don't get me started on the numbers... We spent a relatively fun and liquid hour sharing the finer points of numerology and which language has more weird translations for common English words. Number 4 was the clincher, none of us Finns was able to pronounce it anywhere near as it should be. I blame the booze AND the background noise.

Replacing the names program rooms have is an age old /t/r/a/d/t/i/t/i/o/n/ foolish thing, which organisers seem to ponder about every time a con is planned. At least the locals were able to deduce the right place by just looking at the numbers.

Now I realise the "tea-room" thing which had bothered me a bit during the con, after hearing about those from Peter. And water pipe. Beseda was a questionmark until I looked my dictionary which translates it as "speech" or "sermon". More like a Guest of Honour speech then than really a Kaffeeklatsch.

Makes perfect sense the liquor distribution, as I do remember seeing the cover of one of those Conan-books on display during the number.

I hope I didn't give too bad an impression to the Czech fandom with my report about us Finns and/or the level of our understanding? I might have catched few of those misunderstandings if the Typepad hadn't acted out and if I'd written this somewhere else than my blog. I tend to... be a bit sloppy with it. Sorry about that.


Jussi, Hal mentioned suffering from a substantial writer's block, even though he hates the term, calling it something like "an excuse for lazy people".

Hal sanoi, että hän on kirjoittanut kirjaan uusiksi ja jos hän voisi, niin hän kirjoittaisi koko homman _vielä_ kerran (etenkin alun), mutta kaiken järjen mukaan hänen pitäisi päästää irti tekstistä ja antaa MonkeyBrainin julkaista kirja. Peukut pystyyn.


Very sad to have missed you too, Horia! I was looking for that a lot. Let's have a rain check.

You know, Jeff & Ann were talking quite a lot about your kidnapping plans and travel arrangements at the con. At some point it almost seemed like they were a bit scared of the prospect! But were probably secretly REALLY looking forward to it.


raincheck it is, jukka! maybe next year, somewhere in europe? :)
the vandermeers have had a fabulous time in romania and you'll see that their fears were completely legitimate :)

Jan Vaněk jr.

No problem, I just can't resist correcting inaccuracies in matters Czech (I just learned that there's a British sex-with-vampires series whose author thought it great idea to set it in Moravia; wonder how THAT looks :-)

Laser... well, it's a long story; they got re-incorporated around 2000 but kept the short logo and I think it better to err on the side of formal correctness.

I guess the Pardubice thing must have been a conflation of explaining that Parcons are called after their starts there and that Czechoslovakia was one country by then and so was the fandom; no Czech or Slovak would say such a thing any more than you would for example explain that Helsinki is in Lapland.

The point was taken, but such a mistake about FF could not be let stand. I guess fan feuds are an inevitable part of fandom beyond some size or age (and stressing the media angle on might have been my work, again somewhat misleading in the necessary brevity), but we're not that far yet so as to openly sabotage each other's efforts.

Clearly, tourist dictionaries aren't always reliable. The English one I have here suggests a. o. "confabulation" (?!), but "chat, talk, forum" are quite close to the main meaning. The term "Kaffeeklatsch" (or kaféklač :-) has been imported to a few Czech and Slovak cons in recent years, but not this Parcon.

No, I think the impression you give is all right. Just standard losses in translation, that's inevitable. BTW one Czech Parcon report by a young girl says "After the talk about Finnish fandom I made a principal mistake when I admitted to a friend that I was ashamed to speak English to the Finnish fan who had given it. Since that moment he kept taunting me with that and surely will yet again" - there may be something in your assessment of our national character :-)


J. Ahlroth

Kiitos Jukka updatesta. Siistiä. Ja peukut joo.


10 points question: would you agree to have this translated into Romanian, as a Parcon-report to be published in a print zine? if yes, please contact me!


Hi, Jukka
Nice report, thanks for that :-)
(that one from report) :-)

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