Ian Watson (and H.G. Wells) in Timisoara
I’ve just been a guest at The 2nd International Week of Science Fact and Fiction at Timisoara, Romania (19th to 25th May), both as myself and as the Ghost of Honour of H.G. Wells, for which purpose the wardrobe department of the local opera house provided an ancient suit with tails, but fortunately no mothballs nor moths. By sheer chance a brass band struck up outside as Bertie Wells manifested himself.
The week-long event was steered by the Concatenation crowd and by local fans with what a newspaper described as German punctuality mixed with British humour – things actually happened when advertised. As well as Romanians and Hungarians, several British fans attended, not least Vince Doherty as Fan GoH hot-foot from Nigeria (but looking very cool, perhaps because of the Fan), there was a Danish Spaniard in the soup, and Italian Roberto Quaglia presided throughout with splendid surrealism. Searing sunshine, requiring much resort to the lovely local beers, alternated with occasional thunder and lightning. Guided tours of Timisoara (gorgeous architecture in need of much heritage fund restoration before it crumbles further) disclosed that it was the first city anywhere to have electric street lightning and that non-Eucildean geometry was first devised there, not to mention that it was a major shipping port although very far from the sea. Romanian TV boggled viewers nationwide with its coverage. More Brit fans should go to events like this. Such fun. So many new friends.