Celsius in the Streets of Avilés

28th August 2014 1 comment4071 views

The third Celsius 232 (= Fahrenheit 451) SFF & Horror Festival in Avilés starred internationally Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Tim Powers, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Lauren Oliver, Moscow Metroman Dmitry Glukhovsky, and ever vivacious Joe Abercrombie—as well as a host of leading Spanish writers. (From the 30th of July to the 2nd of August 2014.) Patrick Rothfuss certainly amazed a couple of his young Spanish fans, who weren’t able to pitch their tent on the flagstones beside the signing tent, by inviting them to dump their huge backpacks in his hotel then taking them out for dinner. Respect!
Signing queues were sizeable, with Brandon Sanderson’s limited by ticket because he spends one minute and ten seconds with each fan so that they don’t feel rushed.


Tim Powers merited a steampunk escort, of Guapo and Guapa (I mean me and Cristina), which is my excuse for the following photos… But permit me to mention first that after I serenaded Tim (prior, that morning, to even tasting a robust malty Voll-Damm brewed in Barcelona), Tim proceeded to sing modestly and softly the whole of Beethoven‘s Ode to Joy in perfect German.



The steampunk gear was from El Costurero Real (the Royal Seamster) of Barcelona, an emporium to buy from or to hire from by post very reasonably, which also does medieval and fantasy attire.

At the espicha on the Saturday night an even greater transformation occured to mathematician Pep Burillo who is Chair of our Eurocon in Barcelona in 2016.


An espicha is a bibulous celebration, traditional in Asturias, when the spigot in a gargantuan barrel of cider is opened to fill hundreds or thousands of bottles. Empty barrels are useful for dining in, as at Tierra Astur restaurant.

Tierra Astur

IW Tierra Ast

On the terrace outside Tierra Astur, someone closed my eyes (see the calming hand on my shoulder), but it was Adrian who emptied the bottle of cider.

Outside T.Astur

Elena Garcia Martinez transformed herself into Maleficent from Disney’s 2014 film, here sheltered from rain by Pabblo Villar Indignado, the maker of my Cthulhu walking stick.


Dratted Rain! Using my magical powers (not by sacrificing Tim Powers) I did succeed in protecting the Asturian beanfeast for 300 people in the street from inundation, but an interview in Spanish in the park behind the House of Culture caused me cursedly to lose concentration upon the clouds. Apologies to Maléfica, who regularly transforms publisher Alejo Cuervo‘s very tall and patient son Iñigo into the Game of Thrones White Walker within a mere 4 hours. Do admire Elena and Pabblo’s Vin Studios FX.

I was sorry not to spend some time with Dmitri but, as soon as I met Dmitri, Diego and Jorge Ivan and Joe Abercrombie rushed the Russian away into the night for spiritual reasons, in the sense of whisky.

As usual at a Celsius festival, the Children of Mary Shelley group performed drama, music, and poetry at midnight in the local cemetery, La Carriona (no actual connection with carrion—and it was also pure coincidence that during the festival Tim Powers launched the Spanish edition of his newest novel Hide Me Among the Graves).



In the street I happened to meet Lord Byron:


as well as a strolling swain:


One has to look a bit stern and pompous for steampunk, I think.

Other shows by Los Hijos de Mary Shelley happened in the House of Culture, in the Palacio Valdés theatre, and in La Botica Indiana, which is the West Indian/Mexican equivalent of an Irish pub in the centre of Avilés, full of period photos and artefacts (and which serves Newcastle Brown Ale, by the way). A Botica is where you went in the Caribbean and Central America a hundred years ago to have your medicines made up and stock up on useful stuff.
I launched the Spanish “Best of Me” (different from the English “Best of Me” from PS Publishing)—an ebook for which we had signing cards for fans, a code on the back to download. Spanish SFF fans call themselves frikis but, since abanico is Spanish for the type of fan which you waft, I tried for the best of both worlds:

Marte fan

This account is hopelessly inadequate to express the richness of Celsius232, but now I’m off to 3 conventions in the UK and Ireland, where different beers will wage war for my neurons of memory.

1 Comment

  1. Hi, Ian! I hope you got a message I sent you a couple of weeks ago — Celsius was a fine time, very much because you and Cristina were there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.