Sunday, September 23, 2007

Eurocon, Day Two (cont’d)

Spent a large part of the afternoon sitting at the tables outside the con building, largely because the air inside got progressively worse (some said the building has a mold problem which might explain why I’ve got flu symptoms all of a sudden). Had fun chatting with a lot of people. The Checks have the most insane and fascinating inventions. In addition to beer baths they’ve invented beer trucks that have taps coming out directly from the tank and the coolest restaurant: every table has their own beer tap, so when you want another beer, you just draw it yourself. In addition, they’ve got a scoreboard showing the real-time tally of which table has drunk the most beer. This would be deadly to try in Finland.

The masquerade was ok, but nothing to write home about. And then there were the Eurocon awards, plus a bunch of others. The problem with these award ceremonies is that there are way too many categories of awards nobody really cares about given to people most haven’t heard of. This means the ceremony itself should be made much more entertaining to generate interest. Also I think the whole awards would benefit from a complete rethinking. Take, for example, the “best author” category: what’s the point of having a dozen nominees for the award from different European countries—published only in their own language, so that it’s impossible for the voters to read any of their works? The result now is that most end up voting for their neighbors and buddies whose names they might at least recognize. Ben and I cornered Mr. “Five Cheeks Bally,” current chairman of ESFS, with our thoughts, and he agreed everything may not be running as well as it should, but I’m not sure he really got it how broken the system looks from a relative outsider’s (I’ve taken part in some of the ESFS proceedings in 2003, 2005, and now this year) standpoint.

There was a band playing this evening: Press Play on Tape. They specialize on music from and inspired by computer and video games. The Russians also informed that they were throwing a vodka party this evening. Naturally we went there. They had quite a selection of vodkas plus some light snacks, and soon the room was filled with people chatting away cheerfully, as roomfuls of people who have just sampled quite a selection of vodkas tend to do. A good party!

The party was still going strong when we (the remaining Finns + Tommy, an honorary Finn now) wandered back to our hotel. The Finnish room party is still on, but I think I’ve had enough for a day. Good night!

Next: Sunday

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