2020 was a strange and difficult year. Everyone faced some challenges. I am aware, I was the lucky one and did not face things that overwhelmed me. Yet in this post I want to summarize 2020 in purely fannish topics and not go into other matters.
Fan Funds at the beginning
At the beginning of the year I was busy with Fan Funds. I was working a bit on the European Fan Fund (EFF) and a bit more on GUFF southbound race. Alison Scott won the latter and already made the virtual GUFF trip. She became the European administrator taking over the duties from me. Yet she still did not have the chance to travel to Australia. I am keeping my fingers crossed to make itpossible soon. As for the EFF I was hoping to be able to have the first delegate attending to Eurocon in Rijeka. It did not happen as because of the pandemic I postponed the race. I am not sure whether it will be possible to run it this year for the Fiuggi Eurocon. Yet I hope we will manage to have the race for 2022 Eurocon in Luxembourg.
As we all know, most of the cons got cancelled/postponed/moved online. In the last twelve months I visited only one in-person event. It was ZjAva in February 2020. I planned visiting KONgres as well but I did not manage to do so. Then, for the rest of the year I was attending virtual cons. I even summarized my thoughts in the post before. The good side is that I visited eighteen online cons. This brings me to total of nineteen conventions in the year. It is quite a lot.
It is hard to believe it was less than a year ago. I miss in-person conventions so much.
Despite my initial fears, I like the online approach to conventing. I must admit though that close to the end of the year I became a bit tired. The very good side of the online cons is that it allowed me to visit many more foreign events than I used to. Let me brag a bit and summarize the number of cons per country:
– USA – 7
– Poland – 5
– Croatia – 2
– Ireland – 1
– New Zealand – 1
– UK – 1
– Hard to define – 1
The last on the list is SMOFcon 37 ¼ – it is hard to assign it to any particular country. Most of the cons were in fact international. Cons in Poland are exception but two had international programme participants. Possibility to meet fans from other countries is the bright side of the need to move online.
I was sure I will not manage to attend New Zealand Worldcon but I did. I also managed to attend NASFiC and I wanted to check this con for a few years.
You can read more about the cons I visited in 2020 in the blog history.
The first ever virtual Worldcon.
In 2020 I joined the team for two international events. First one is Smofcon Europe that is planned for December 2021 in Lisboa, Portugal. I am excited about this perspective. So far, I attended only two SMOFCons and I liked them. Being the member of the team for another one is a great pleasure, honour, and responsibility. Finally, I also joined the Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon bid team. I am going to concentrate on the bid presence at the conventions. I just started to work on that and I hope I will manage to do a good work.
It may be a paradox but due to the fact we were not able to meet in person, I managed to strengthen some bonds. In an ordinary year I was able to visit a very limited number of cons outside of Poland. This year, as I mentioned earlier, the number was higher. Apart from the cons, I managed to meet fans on other occasions. A few times I attended the (virtual) London First Thursday meetings. They were fun and I had time to talk to friends and make some new ones. I should also mention that I attended two of the Anna Raftery’s TAFF report meetings. Anna along with John Coxon made a great work there. I also participated in some online filking organized by Karl-Johan Norén. At those filk circles I had my first chance to listen to Cecilia Eng singing live. I appreciated her work before and was excited to hear her performing live. On top of that I managed to visit some more fannish gatherings (both regular and the ad-hoc ones). Some of them were organized by Liz Danforth – a great person and an artist. I met her thanks to those meetings and I am happy that I got this opportunity.
I did not take any screenshots during meetings. yet the Zoom application that was broadly used on conventions was also a great tool for other kind of fannish meetings.
On a local scale weekly meetings of the Krakowska Sieć Fantastyki moved online. Most were quite small (as they used to be in person) but I believe that two or three were way more popular. One of them had over fifty participants.
I must admit that all those virtual sessions with people were a bright moments in this difficult year. Being able to talk to people, comment on SF-related topics and real world problems was important. I cannot even try to imagine how difficult this year would be without the possibility to meet remotely.
I usually play RPG weekly with a group of friends in Krakow. We had to move online and I was positively surprised how well it went. I still prefer playing in person but we were able to continue our weekly meetings where we play and talk. Sometimes we talk for too long and then do not have enough time to play but it is still fun. When it comes to RPG, despite the pandemic I managed to travel with another group of friends for a week. We make such excursions every year. Considering low infection levels at the selected time frame we did it in 2020 too.
I was honoured by two organizations this year. Firstly, Darius Hupov invited me as a special guest for the Galactic Imaginarium Film Festival. It was a nice event. I do not usually visit film festivals so it was a new experience to me. Śląski Klub Fantastyki (Silesian SFF Club) shortlisted me to their award – Śląkfa in the Fan of the Year category. I did not won the Award but being shortlisted was awesome. I felt so thrilled and happy.
As a TGIFF guest I received a nice pack of souvenirs.
When 2020 was getting close to an end, I decided I want to revive the fanzine DOJI. It was the one with which I started my fannish adventure. I am not sure when I will manage to publish the new issue but the work is ongoing. I hope it will be available relatively soon. The more I was thinking about fanzines, the more I wanted to write. DOJI is directed to M&A fans and most of my writings were not well suited to it so I decided to create another zin. I have not yet selected the name but I have a strong candidate. The content of the first issue is largely done and I even managed to draw a cover. I am not good at drawing but I hope what I produced would fit you.
When it comes to fanzines, I also started to read more fanwriting. Thanks to Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer I got some issues of their Banana Wings. I must admit it is a great reading and their covers are way better than the one I created for my zin. It is thanks to BW that I made my New Year’s Resolution to read more of the fanwriting in 2021. I have some fanzines and Fan Funds’ Trip Reports waiting for my attention so there is plenty to read for me.
Hopes for 2021
I hope that 2021 will be a good year for fandom. I wish us all to be able to meet again in person. I also hope some of the virtual meetings will stay as they pose a great option to keep in touch with friends we can rarely see in person. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for 2021 to be a good year.
P.S. It seems I managed to post here a bit more often than once every two weeks 🙂