I'm back from Ishbiliya-Con 2007, Spain's national convention, Hispacon, held this year in Seville. The one thing I miss at Spanish conventions compared to American conventions are the parties at night.
That's because conventions in Spain are usually held in a cultural center, not a hotel, and people are scattered around the city in different lodgings, so there are no room parties. Sometimes a group of friends manages to converge on the same bar or restaurant in the evening, but it's just not the same. I think this weakens Spanish fandom, since a lot of business occurs spontaneously during unstructured, open social settings.
Besides, Spaniards are extremely good at partying. It's a big lost opportunity.
Literature dominated this year's Hispacon, as usual, since every other person seemed to be involved in writing, publishing, reviewing, or editing. No costumes -- but, as usual, there were a lot of black tee-shirts with messages of some sort printed on them. It's the Spanish fannish uniform.
I came back with a stack of books, and I'm especially eager to read two.
One is the Ishbiliya-Con 2007 Anthology put together by this year's convention organizer, the Three Cultures Foundation, with an emphasis on Arab writers. It turned out the foundation's coordinator, Dario Marimón, is not only a science fiction fan, he's fluent in Arabic and has spent years hunting down genre writers, some of them forgotten in their own countries and others quite famous, and he was delighted to have a chance to bring them to Spanish-language readers.
The other book is the first novel by Daniel Mares, Spain's best genre humorist, called Madrid. Set several centuries in the future in Madrid, it involves a serial killer and a diplomatic incident that might result in interplanetary warfare and the end of the world, but more importantly, Madrid and Barcelona are facing each other in a championship soccer match. The novel takes place during the game, and its opening and closing words are the common soccer fan chant, printed in big, bold letters: "¡Hijooos de pu-ta!" (Sons of bitches!)
By the way, the convention logo shows flying saucers over the Seville skyline, including the emblematic Golden Tower, built in the 1220 A.D. to guard the city's port during the reign of the Almohade Muslims.