Estcon 2020 was special in a number of ways. The timing of COVID-19 in Estonia was close to perfect, as the pandemic retreated from the first wave and politely held off on a second wave long enough for allow for the gathering. The farm site meant that it was easy to put extra measures in place, for example encouraging attendees to bring their own tents, which meant that beds could be allocated without needing to mix households. Although there were fewer than two dozen active cases in the country at the time, Estcon organisers made it easy to adhere to the two-by-two social distancing rules for those who wished. And finally, it didn’t rain. Not even a little.
I’ve not been camping since I was a girl and, although I bought a selection of aesthetically appealing camping gear, I didn’t actually know what I was doing. Luckily, someone I probably would have voted “least likely to know how to put up a tent” second only to me, came to my rescue. I unpacked my bags (four pretty outfits, warmer evening clothes, swimming stuff in case I fell into the lake, and three litres of lemon wine) and then packed it all up again when I realised there was no longer any room in the tent for me. Camping is complicated.
The English track of Estcon 2020 consisted of, well, me, as my Estonian continues to be bad enough that grown men beg me to stop. I did a presentation on age and aging in Star Trek and spent the rest of the conference perched on a boulder on the grass to watch the programming, which ran from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. I suspect I understood about as much of the Estonian discussion on Fermi’s Paradox as those attendees who had already started drinking, and I was almost able to follow another talk on Star Trek based on context alone. Science fiction truly is a shared language, especially when it comes to Kirk vs. Picard (Kirk all the way; you know I’m right).
Stalker Awards Winners
- Best Novel (Original): The Ghost Lantern, Joel Jans (Lummur)
- Best Novella/Novelette (Original): “The Rice People”, Jaagup Mahkra (Sidereal Time 18: Orton’s Peculiar Adventure).
- Best Short Story (Original): “Snowberry’s Blood”, Manfred Kalmsten (Sidereal Time 18: Orton’s Peculiar Adventure).
- Best Anthology (Original): Sidereal Time 18: Orton’s Peculiar Adventure, Eva Luts, ed. (Fantaasia).
- Best Novel (Translated): The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Raivo Hool (Eesti Raamat).
- Best Novella/Novelette (Translated): “The Children of Khaim”, Paolo Bacigalupi, translated by Andreas Ardu (The Tangled Lands).
- Best Short Story (Translated): “Monster”, Kirill Benediktov, translated by Veiko Belials (The Days of Wrath).
This report and more like it in the November 2020 issue of Locus.
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