The European Science Fiction Convention begins streaming online 2-4 October, as an adaption to the COVID-19 social gathering issues an in-person convention would represent.
Among over seventy participants, the convention features guests of honour: renowned Croatian scientists and science promoter Ivica Puljak, Croatian author and psychologist Ivana Dela and British author Adrian Tchaikovsky. Nearly all of the programming will be performed in English.
From 2 – 4 October 2020 many fans of fiction, literature and science from around the world will connect and watch the programme to be streamed for three days from a studio in Rijeka, Croatia as part of Futuricon – The European Science Fiction Convention 2020 – Eurocon. Futuricon takes place as a broad upgrade to the 23rd annual Rikon, hosted by the „3. zmaj“ association, which won the honour of organizing the European convention two years ago in Amiens in France.
The event was originally intended to host around 1500 people from all over Europe, but this unconventional year has seen the organizers shift the programming into a virtual environment. Organizing an online event presents new challenges, but also new opportunities for reaching an even more diverse global audience and participants.
Through 3 days of virtual programming, all registered members will be able to use any device with an internet connection and watch nearly 90 programming items in the form of lectures, panels, literary, convention and other presentations, creative workshops, quizzes and more.
The programme starts on Friday, 2 October at 5 PM and lasts until 11 PM, continues on Saturday, 3 October at 2 PM until 11 PM, and on Sunday, 4 October the programme begins at noon and ends at 5 PM. All stated times are CET, i.e. Central European (Summer) Time, presently at UTC+2.
Even though the programme will be accessible only to registered members with paid memberships, the official opening ceremony (2 October at 5 PM), Artefakt Award and ESFS Awards Ceremony (3 October at 9 PM) and closing ceremony (4 October at 5 PM) will be fully public, freely accessible and streamed via Youtube.
In order to fully enjoy a TV-like experience, the organizers are creating a studio where parts of the programme will be performed live in fron of cameras. The studio will also accommodate a limited number of local viewers in person in accordance with standing epidemiological protective measures.
Out of nearly 90 programming items, those performed by the Futuricon guests of honour are of special interest. Acclaimed and award-winning British author Adrian Tchaikovsky will present his life and work, as well as talk about his many creative and geeky interests with the convention’s other literary guest of honour, award-winning Croatian author and psychologist Ivana Dela?. She will also participate in several panel discussions – about history as inspiration for fiction and about non-anglophone fantastic literature. The special guest trio is completed by renowned Croatian scientist and promoter of science Ivica Puljak who will present his life and work, hold a lecture titled „The End“, described as the simultaneously most optimistic and most pessimistic lecture ever“, and he will participate in a panel discussion on myths and fake news.
The local Artefakt Award, awarded to the best Croatian works of speculative fiction literature published in the previous calendar year will be awarded at a special ceremony. As this is the annual Eurocon – European Science Fiction Convention, the traditional European Science Fiction Society Awards, where each European country has the opportunity to present their nominations and vote for an array of categories,will also be awarded. The European Science Fiction Convention is held annually, the first one in 1972, mostly in different locations across Europe. The last time it was in Croatia was in Zagreb in 2012, however, until now, it has never been held online.
Detailed information and the convention programme can be found at www.futuricon.eu. Tickets are available online at a price of 10 euro and online sales conclude on Friday, 2 October at noon (CET). Local visitors who come to the venue in person will be able to purchase their tickets in cash and be granted access to all of the virtual programming as well. There will also be a public Discord server used for social purposes, details to be revealed via social networks and the Futuricon website.
Futuricon is made possible with the support of the City of Rijeka and the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. The organizers extend special thanks to the City of Rijeka for granting access to RiHub which serves as the studio.
Editor’s Note: While the COVID-19 pandemic takes away our opportunities to attend live events in person, it also opens to the door for experiences from far away that we might not have gotten to experience at all. We enthusiastically applaud Eurocon’s tactical accomodation in this regard, and we wish them a successful convention.