"So, what is Parcon?", asks the uninitiated fan from Lesser Knowledge. Glad you asked, I'll try to answer.
Czechs are known as nearly-as-lucky-but-not-quite-as-lucky-
The most famous Czech speculative fiction author is a toss between two names: Karel Čapek and Franz Kafka. The first gave us newts, the second cockroaches. There was someone who gave Prague golems, too. Little is known about the fandom, but it exist and has been organising cconvetions for quite some time now.
The annual Czech (and Slovak, as they do things together, even if Czeckoslovakia is no more) SF-con is called PARCON, which probably takes its name from the first ever such convention, which was held in the city of PARdubice. Subsequent conventions have been called Parcons, which is quite OK, as otherwise there might've been cons like Olocon, Bracon, Košcon, Šumcon, Banská Byscon, Ústí nad Labcon, Spišská Nová Vescon and my personal favourite: Brandýs nad Labcon.
By using the same principle as the original 1987 con-organisers, this years ccould be called Plzcon. As in Plzeň, or if you like to call it by the German name, Pilsen. Which of course is the home of famous Pilsener, such as Urquell and Staropramen. Very nice.
But, I digress. Parcon 2008 will be held in Plzeň from 22nd to 24th of August and it looks like a very nice little convention indeed. Interesting topic (New Weird, fancy me liking this one...), interesting Guests of Honour (Jeff [and Ann] VanderMeer, Les Edwards and a list of others, who the organisers haven't confirmed yet (Ian R. MacLeod, China Miéville, Steph Swainston). In Czech Republic, where beer costs practically nothing, there are taps on your restaurant table and counters on the wall! Not to mention cheapo accomodation: 200 local
dollars korunas/night, which puts you back something like... €8. As said, cheap. Should be good and I'm sorely tempted.
Anyone else interested? Quick trip to former Eastern Europe (Plzeň is of course over ten longitudes west from Helsinki, while the most western part of Czech is more western than Sweden), few cool, refreshing draughts from the "horses mouth" (there could be a pub by that name somewhere, why not Plzeň?) and fun SF with local fen (who really do look like cross between Helsinki-fandom and TeroY) and Guests. Should be pretty cheap also. OK, has to be pretty cheap. My budget does not allow me to do anything other than Really Cheap Tripping, but then again, where does one spend money in a foreign con? Accomodation, some travel, food, beer and
cheap souveniers. All these more or less peanuts to us westerners.
I'm seriously considering this one.