Warsaw = Excellent, Finland and VanderCon to Follow…

NOTE: VanderCon in Finland starts this weekend, and ends back in Helsinki a week later after a hellaciously fun road trip. All the details can be found on the VanderCon website—check it out.

A long couple of days in Poland this past weekend, but very good ones. Had a great night at the Paradox Cafe, a wonderful Warsaw location for SF and Fantasy fans to talk about great books. Also had a great panel discussion at one of Warsaw’s biggest bookstores, and back-to-back three of the best interviewers in a long time–great questions. Got to see the old town, and some other areas. Had a couple of excellent meals.

The Polish TV morning show I did was a blast. They put makeup on me–like painting a bear. The woman who does the weather was very helpful and led me to the studio after the face-painting. Says to me: “Aww, now you look pretty. You’ve always wanted to look pretty, haven’t you.” “Yes. I have always wanted to look pretty.” Then I went on and did three minutes of Finch schtick, gave the makeup woman, whose 12-year-old reads F/SF a copy of the Polish F&SF mag, said not to let her son read Finch, and was gone….

Things I learned in Poland: There’s a huge palm tree in a Warsaw square done as a kind of Banksy joke, the Paradox Club poses the question of why SF/F fans elsewhere don’t have such an awesome meeting place, that according to the photographer for a newpaper article I have few useful mannerisms, and that SF/F fans everywhere are equally nice and knowledgeable. Many thanks to Konrad Walewski for setting it up, and it was great to meet long-time friends like Jan, meet my translator Robert Walis, and make so many new friends.

More when I have time, but my friend and writer Neil Williamson was with and he’s already done a blog post on it. Have also had a lovely time in Amsterdam with Erin, Riley, and Travis.


Video interview

Photos and more


  1. Robert WaliÅ› says

    It was great meeting you, Jeff! I’m glad we had a chance to talk on Saturday.

    The TV interview indeed was a blast – the funniest thing was that the guy you talked to usually does religious programs and is known to be very conservative. When he asked you to promote “Finch” in 30 seconds and you said that everyone who loves dark fantasy, sex & violence should read it, I almost choked on my breakfast. The guy’s face – priceless :)

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says

    OMG–that’s hilarious. Of course, I muffed the line. I meant to add a bit more and end with “of course, there’s also a bit of sex and violence, if you don’t mind some real-life thrown in.”

  3. says

    Well, I unfortunately couldn’t be in Warsaw that weekend, but on the Monday morning I got up earlier as usual, trying not to wake my wife up, turned on the TV, and waited… And what I saw was unbelievable. I remember that “sex&violence” was mentioned last, but I think that guy in studio could understand onle that words… this interview, for me, is the best proof that Polish National TV is a disaster. But I am happy You enjoyed Poland.

  4. Robert WaliÅ› says

    Well, “Kawa czy herbata” is pure chaos. They’re switching from topic to topic at light speed. Before Jeff came in they were talking about gardening tips, cooking and traveling, and covered all those topics in 10 minutes :)

    It’s a pity Jeff couldn’t be on “Dzien Dobry TVN” – a similiar program on Poland’s most popular private TV station. It’s done in a much more professional and relaxed fashion. And everyone gets at least 10-15 minutes to talk about their thing. Oh well, maybe next time ;)

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Well, most people seemed to think it was fine, so no worries. There was supposed to be a translator doing voice-over so it would’ve been longer in the sense of more question asked.

  6. says

    Well, it’s a shame (not really, but sometimes…) I don’t own a TV set. From your remarks it seems like “Kawa czy herbata” slipped into MontyPythonesque kind of “How to win a Nobel Prize in 3 easy steps” programme. Sounds great.