A Short Look at Baltic Fandom
(Edited by Pasi Karppanen)
(Cosmos Pen 2/2003)




This is a short summary of fandom in different Baltic Sea states. It reflects rather the current state of things than the entire history. The article was originally published in Cosmos Pen 2/2003, Kosmoskynä's English Eurocon-Baltcon special.




DENMARK

Fandom born: 1974 (Science Fiction Cirklen & Dansk Science Fiction Selskab)
 
First con organized: Science Fiction Festival (1975)
 
Most important current sf cons: Dancon is organized by SFC once a year, but not with a lot of visitors. A bigger festival, Fabula, has been held three times (1977, 1980, 1996) with international guests and more than a thousand visitors each time. Several big annual gaming conventions, including Viking-Con in Copenhagen and Fastaval in Aarhus.
 
Other activities: Various meetings (official and unofficial) in the different societies. Also, e.g. Videnskabscafeen (science café) together with SFC. There is a writers' club (unofficial) originating from SFC. Various internet activities.
 
Sf/f awards: SFC-prisen (the SFC prize). Awarded in 2002 to Niels Søndergaard and Ole C. Christensen for the sf comic book "Dimensionsdetektiven" ("The Dimensional Detective"), Henrik Llambias for the novel "A.P.O.L.L.O.N." and Palle Juul Holm for a lifelong achievement in the science fiction genre.
 
Most important sf/f clubs etc.: SFC (oldest sf club in Denmark, national), Trekkies (biggest sf club in Denmark, national), scifan.dk (SFC and Trekkies), 'Fantastik' (general club for the fantastic genres, new one, name may change), various local Tolkien clubs, e.g. Bri. Also numerous RPG and Star Wars clubs.
 
Sf/f magazines and fanzines: Proxima (SFC), Novum (SFC), Subspace (Trekkies), "Athelas" (magazine of the old Tolkien club Imladris) , "Pipeurten" (the magazine of a current Tolkien club Bri, 4 times a year). Phantazm (webzine), "Ravnen" (an RPG magazine that existed on the Internet, but is supposedly dead now).
 
Professional writers: Svend Åge Madsen, Inge Eriksen, Erwin Neutzsky-Wulff, Bo Rand Jørgensen (3-4 novels), Lene Kaaberbøl (fantasy, e.g. "Skammerens datter", also in English), Kenneth Bøgh-Andersen (fantasy, e.g. "Erik Menneskesøn"), Sally Altschuler (some children/youth-sf), Bernhard Ribbeck ("Isen omkring Øerne" etc.), Michael Toubro (several sf-novels and short stories), Niels E. Nielsen, Brian Roland Larsen, H.H. Løyche.
 
Non-professionals: Johan Springborg, Klaus Æ. Mogensen, Bernhard Ribbeck, Flemming R. Rasch, Richard Ipsen, Niels Dalgaard, Stig W. Jørgensen, Olav M.J. Christiansen (all part of fandom).
 
Olav M.J. Christiansen

 



 
ESTONIA
 
Fandom born: 1996 (sf2001 mailing list)
 
First con organized: Estcon '98, Tõrvaaugu (1998)
 
Most important current sf cons: Estcon, the annual Estonian national con, every July, approximately 50-60 attendees.
 
Other activities: The regular meetings of local fandom in Tallinn and Tartu. People from Tallinn meet every last friday of the month in a pub called Kloostri Ait, Fans from Tartu meet every second friday of the month in a pub Labürint.
 
Sf/f awards: Annual Stalker awards (many different categories: best translated novel, best translated short story collection or anthology, best translated story, best domestic book, best domestic novella/novelette, best domestic short story)
 
Most important sf/f clubs etc.: Estonian Science Fiction Association (established in 1995, organizes the annual Estcon and annual Stalker awards)
 
Sf/f magazines and fanzines: Not any publication in a magazine form, but some anthology series which can perhaps be considered as a periodical publications (they publish domestic and translated short fiction, some articles, and book reviews). "Mardus" (Eidolon) (established in 1991, editor Mario Kivistik, biannual). "Täheaeg" (Sidereal Time) (established in 1991, after a long hiatus again from 2002, editor Raul Sulbi, biannual).
 
Webzines, websites etc.: Algernon (webzine for news, and domestic short fiction, editors: Juhan Habicht, Jüri Kallas, Ants Miller, Kristjan Sander, Raul Sulbi, Taavi Tuvikene, Katariina Täht), Ulmekirjanduse BAAS (book, short fiction reviews archive where everyone can submit one's reviews, also interviews with Estonian authors, editors etc., maintained by Andri Riid)
 
Novelists: Matt Barker, Indrek Hargla, Tiit Tarlap, Siim Veskimees
Short story writers: Matt Barker, Veiko Belials, Lew R. Berg, Abel Cain, Indrek Hargla, Märt Laur, Karen Orlau, Kristjan Sander, Marek Simpson, Tiit Tarlap, Andre Trinity, Maniakkide Tänav, Veikko Vangonen, Siim Veskimees
 
Raul Sulbi
 



 
FINLAND
 
Fandom born: 1976 (Turku Science Fiction Society)
 
First con organized: KingCon, Helsinki (1982)
 
Most important current sf cons: Finncon, the Finnish national con, 12 times in two years, nowdays annually, approximately 30005000 attendees
 
Sf/f awards: Atorox (award for best domestic sf/f story), Tähtivaeltaja award (Star Rover) (for best sf/f book), Kuvastaja (Mirrormere) (for best domestic fantasy book), Kosmoskynä award (Cosmos Pen) (for achievements in the field of Finnish sf/f)
 
Other similar awards and / or events: Portti sf/f writing competition, Nova sf/f writing competition, both annual.
 
Most important sf/f clubs etc.: Turku Science Fiction Society, Helsinki Science Fiction Association, Tampere Science Fiction Society, Helsinki University Science Fiction Club, Jyväskylä Science Fiction Association 42, Oulu University Science Fiction Club, Spektre (Tampere sf/f society) Finnish Tolkien Society, Finnish Science Fiction Writers Association, Tähtiallianssi ("Star Alliance", Finnish Star Wars society), Enhörningen
 
Sf/f magazines and fanzines: Portti ("Gateway"), Spin, Tähtivaeltaja ("Star Rover"), Finnzine, Kosmoskynä ("Cosmos Pen") Alienisti ("Alienist"), Legolas, Marvin, Vapaa Galaksi ("Free Galaxy"), Arczine. All semiprozines, or fanzines, no commercial sf/f magazines.
 
Webzines, websites etc.: Kalaksikukko ("Galaxy Rooster"), Aikakone ("Time Machine"),  Enhörningen ("Unicorn", in Swedish) Babek Nabel ("Free Thought", web discussion forum), Risingshadow (web discussion forum)
 
Novelists: Boris Hurtta, Risto Isomäki, Leena Krohn, Kimmo Lehtonen, Johanna Sinisalo, Juha K. Tapio, Maarit Verronen, Sari Peltoniemi
 
Short story writers: Boris Hurtta, Pasi Jääskeläinen, Petri Laine, Atro Lahtela, Anne Leinonen, Tero Niemi & Anne Salminen, Antti Oikarinen, A.C. Ross, Mari Saario, Petri Salin, Katja Salminen, Johanna Sinisalo, M.G. Soikkeli
 
Pasi Karppanen

 


GERMANY
 
Fandom born: West-German fandom was born in the early 1950's. The first German sf club (and still existing), the "Science Fiction Club Deutschland e.V." was founded in 1955.
 
First con organized: According to historians of German fandom, the first German
sf-cons took place in the fifties. In 1969 the was even a WorldCon in Heidelberg!
Most important current sf cons: "Dort.Con" in Dortmund (www.dortcon.de), takes place every two years, "ElsterCon" in Leipzig, very good con with international guests, ColoniaCon, in Cologne, also takes place every two years. Addition to them there are also some small cons arranged by German sf clubs.
 
Other activities: Big fantasy fandom, a lot of rolepaying activities, as well as Star Trek and Star Wars fans.
 
Sf/f awards: Deutscher Science Fiction Preis DSFP (German sf award, the most important of the German sf awards for German sf, the winner is selected by a jury of the members of the SFCD), Kurd-Lasswitz-Preis (prize for german sf and international sf published in Germany, only the German sf professionals are allowed to vote), Wetzlarer Phantastik-Preis (award for phantastic literature from the German town Wetzlar that has an own library only dedicated only for sf). Addition to that there also some internet awards (for example Deutscher Phantastik Preis) but their importance is much smaller.
 
Most important sf/f clubs etc.: SFCD e.V. : Science Fiction Club Deutschland (the oldest German sf club, founded 1955), Perry Rhodan FanZentrale: PRFZ (a club for the fans of the german series Perry Rhodan), ACD: Atlan Club Deutschland (a small fannish club, founded ca. 1981), PRBCBS: Perry Rhodan Briefclub Bullys Schreibtisch (a small fannish club, founded 1978, FOLLOW - Fellowship of the Lords of the Land of Wonder (a fantasy and roleplaying club). Also numerous Star Trek clubs.
 
Sf/f magazines and fanzines: phantastisch! (published quartely, national and international authors), Nova (published quartely, national and international authors), Fandom Observer (monthly infozine, print and online version). Addition to that lot of smaller zines.
 
Webzines, websites etc.: SF-Fan.de (www.sf-fan.de, the number one German sf site, founded 1997, news, reviews, stories,), Phantastik.de (www.phantastik.de, newssite with reviews and more), Alien Contact (www.alien-contact.de, an internet magazine)
 
Novelists and  short story writers: Andreas Eschbach (the most famous one, has also been published in France, Japan, Italy and soon also in the USA), Michael Marrak (soon also in France), Marcus Hammerschmitt, Barbara Slawig, H.D. Klein, Birgit Rabisch, Wolfgang Jeschke, Wolfgang Hohlbein (mostly fantasy), Andreas Gruber (Austrian), Oliver Henkel  Addition to that there also the authors of some novelette series like Perry Rhodan: Robert Feldhoff, Arndt Ellmer, Rainer Castor, Manfred Weinland, Michael Marcus Thurner, Achim Mehnert, Uschi Zietsch, Leo Lukas and many more.

Florian Breitsameter 




LATVIA
 
Fandom born: 2000 (Latvian Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy founded after two attempts in 1990 and 1994. Note: Despite the absence of an organized fandom, science fiction was also extremely popular with readers during the Soviet regime (while fantasy was oppressed) and was a common topic of conversation for young people.)
 
Most important current sf cons: Latcon, a small gathering of local speculative fiction activists, is held most winters. In addition, monthly gatherings with lectures and discussions are organized some seasons.
 
Other activities: Lots and lots of RPG gaming among society members.
Sf/f awards: None, though a speculative fiction competition has been organized in the past by Imants Belogrivs, owner of the only Latvian sf/f-only publishing house Hekate.
 
Most important sf/f clubs: The Latvian Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy (www.lffb.org), ILT Drakons (www.sanctuary.lv)
 
Sf/f magazines and fanzines: Magazine "Pukis" ("Dragon") has seen several editions published, but is currently on hold pending volunteers for editorial work.
 
Webzines, websites: http://www.lffb.org is probably the most notable Latvian sf/f website online. It hosts material posted by society members, featuring short stories, scientific articles, RPG session descriptions and other material.
 
Novelists, short story writers: No novelists of Latvian nationality are known (except
for Skuju Fridis, a romance-writer of the 1920's who actually wrote a novel of Latvia bombing Moscow in all-out war), but several Russian-writing sf/f novelists are currently in residence in Latvia, including Nikolai Gudanec and Dalia Truskinovska. Vladimir Mihailov also lived in Latvia, but has now left.
 
Toms Kreicbergs



 
LITHUANIA
 
Fandom born: 1979 (first club "Dorado" organized)
 
First con organized: 1990
 
Most important current sf cons: Lituanicon (annual)
 
Other activities: Smaller cons, RPG, field games and game-cans, fanzines, club activity, web pages.
 
Sf/f awards: "The best Lithuanian fiction" (for sf and fantasy publications)
 
Most important sf/f clubs etc.: "Dorado" (Vilnius), "Feniksas" (Kaunas), "Legionas" (Warhammer game club)
 
Sf/f magazines and fanzines: Fanzines: Dorado Raganos ("Dorado witches"),
"Fenikso plunksna" ("feather of phoenix")
 
Novelists: Gintautas Ivanickas (first novel "Laumes menuo" (Laume's moon) published in 2003)
 
Short story writers: Justinas Zhilinskas, Gediminas Kulikauskas, Gintautas Ivanickas, Ruta Klovaste, Herta Matulionyte
 
Lina Kulikauskiene



 
NORWAY
 
Fandom born: First fanzine published December 1954, by Roar O. Ringdahl and Cato Lindberg.
 
First con organized: Norcon 1, Oslo, 1975
 
Most important current sf cons: Norcon, Shadowcon
 
Sf/f awards: The Norcon Prize for the best sf novel), Norsk Fandoms Ærespris (Honorary Prize of Norwegian Fandom), Fanzineprisen (Fanzine Award, to the deserving fanzine or fan editor of the year)
 
Most important sf/f clubs etc.: Aniara, Arthedain, Foreningen Feil Planet, Xenadu, VIP'S
 
Sf/f magazines and fanzines: Ácin Dambágin, Algernon, Kretsen, Libri Seclvsi
Novelists: Jon Bing, Andreas Bull-Hansen, Tor-Åge Bringsværd, Elin Brodin, Ingar Knudtsen, Øyvind Myhre, Hans Sande
 
Short story writers: Tor-Åge Bringsværd, Ingar Knudtsen, Øyvind Myhre, Martin Bull-Gudmundsen
 
Audun Lindholm




POLAND
 
Fandom born: Originally around 1975. After that it took a while and finally in 1981 two sf/f societies were formed, PSMF (Polskie Stowarzyszenie Miloników Fantastyki ("Polish Science Fiction Society" or "Polish Science Fiction Fans Society") and SKF (Slaski Klub Fantastyki) - Silesian Science Fiction Club
 
First con organized: Eurocon in Poznan in 1976.
 
Most important current sf cons: PolCon - Polish National Convention, one of the oldest (from 1985), NordCon - Con taking place in December, on the coast of Baltic Sea, quite popular, ArraCon, Teleport (the newest con made by GKF and portal "Nowa Gildia"), Krakon ( this convention has assambled hundreds persons but has been in decline for the last two years and now its importance is much lesser but a lot of people remeber it as  a big and important con), PyrCon, Bachanalia Fantstyczne
 
Other activities: Authors events, conferences about sf/f and rpg. Also lots of activities relating to role playing, including "Orkon" (a larp event in summer, "Flamberg" (previously "Gladion"), "Poland by night" (vampire larps organized in the biggest polish cities). Quite important in Polish fandom are also the strategy games (for example Warhammer) and various card games.  They have their own fans, clubs, competitions and also convention, StrategiCon. Latest addition to Polish fandom is the anime fandom. They appeared in 90's. In the last 3-4 years  their activities have increased every year.
 
Sf/f awards: Janusz A. Zajdel Award ("Polish Hugo" - the winner is selected by general ballot of PolCon members), SLAKFA (award given by the oldest sf/f society still in existence- SKF)
 
Most important sf/f clubs etc.: SKF - Slaski Klub Fantastyki (Slask), GKF - Gdanski Klub Fantstyki (Gdansk), Ad Astra (Zielona Gora), Fremen (Elblag), Szedar (Wroclaw), Ubik (Bialystok). Addition to that there are lot of smaller, less important clubs. In every big city there is at least one club, icluding rpg and strategy games clubs. There are also clubs in smaller cities.
 
Sf/f magazines and fanzines: The oldest, the most popular and still the most imprtant magazine is "Nowa Fantastyka" which has been published for 20 years. In 80's it was the first and only sf/f magazine in Poland. In 90's has appeared more magazines - "Science Fiction" - second important magazine, mainly Polish authors (plus some Russians), "SFinks" and the last year was published two new magazines "SFera" and "Fantasy Click" (they are not as good as the others although they have their readers).
 
Webzines: "Esensja" (www.esensja.pl/), "Fahrenheit" (www.fahrenheit.eisp.pl/)
 
Websites: Nowa Gildia - www.gildia.com (the biggest, the most often visited portal in Poland), Valkiria - www.valkiria.net, Poltergeist.- rpg.info.pl/
 
Novelists and short story writers: Andrzej Sapkowski, Feliks W. Kres, Ewa Bialolecka, Jacek Dukaj, Andrzej Pilipiuk, Rafal A. Ziemkiewicz, Andrzej Ziemianski, Adam Hollanek (deceased), Janusz A. Zajdel (deceased)
 
The most well-known author associated with sf in people's minds is of course the world-famous science fiction writer and philosopher, Stanislaw Lem ("Solaris"), although no longer active as a novelist.
 
Edyta Mul-Palka




 
SWEDEN
 
Fandom born: 1949 (the first sf club, founded by Dénis Lindbohm, Malmö).
First con organized: Luncon, Lund (1956).
 
Most important current sf cons: Swecon, Swedish national con, held every year, with 80-250 attendees, so far held in Stockholm, Linköping and Uppsala (the 2003 Swecon is in Uppsala, mid August). There are 2-3 cons every year (eg three in 2003).
 
Other activities: An bimonthly APA (fanzine distribution organisation) named SFF (Sveriges Fanzine Förening), different mailing lists (of which Sverifandom is the biggest; there is also the SKRIVA list for writers), the Alvar Appeltofft Memorial Foundation, several fan funds (ie travel funds for bringing fans to conventions); the SF-Bokhandeln bookstore, which now exists in both Stockholm and Gothenburg.
 
Sf/f awards: The yearly Alvar Appeltofft Memorial Award (an sf fan activity award), the SFF Poll (for fanzine activities).
 
Other similar awards and/or events: The last five years have had a big Fantasy festival in the Old Town of Stockholm in late August; a yearly short-story writing competition, presented during Swecon; the clubs have their regular meetings, and there are several series of local pub meetings.
 
Most important sf/f clubs: Skandinavisk Förening för Science Fiction, Stockholm; Europeisk Förening för Science Fiction, Uppsala; Linköpings Science Fiction Förening, Linköping; Sigma Terra Corps, Stockholm; Club Cosmos, Gothenburg; Sveriges Fanzine Förening (no specific location). There's also half a dozen Tolkien groups, three Star Trek clubs, A B5 club, and countless Role Playing groups (which shouldn't count).
 
Sf/ magazines and fanzines: Jules Verne Magasinet, DAST Magazine (for Detective, Agent, Science fiction and Thriller stories); some of near semipro status: Minotauren, Mitrania, SF-Forum; fanzines tend to be irregular but most of them are distributed through Sveriges Fanzine Förening (SFF); some fanzines are clubzines, like Spektra SF of SFSF or Månblad Alfa of LSFF; some are now also done electronically (like the sf newsletter Science Fiction Journalen).
 
Webzines, websites: There are too many. One can go to "SF-Fandom i Norden" (SF Fandom in the Nordic Region) at www.lysator.liu.se/~unicorn/fandom/diverse.html, and find most links there; site maintained by Hans Persson.
 
Novelists: Sven Christer Swahn, Lars Gustafsson, Kristoffer Leandoer, Christina Brönnestam, Per Jorner, Karolina Bjällerstedt Mickos, Lars Jacobsson, Bertil Falk, and others; some of "the old guard" haven't written novels for quite some time, but include Bertil Mårtensson, Sam J Lundwall, Dénis Lindbohm and Börje Crona.
 
Short story writers: Most of the above mentioned, plus Rickard Berghorn, Peter Fisk, Gabriel Nilsson, Ahrvid Engholm, Cecilia Stesser, Bo Stenfors, and others.
 
Ahrvid Engholm

 



Originally published in Cosmos Pen 2/2003. All rights reserved.