When I think of Nantes I think of Omnes Omnibus and Scaramouche. Apparently I ought to be thinking about Utopiales, a science fiction con that starts there today, October 29, and runs through November 3.
Europa SF contributor Cristin Tamas confidently assures his readers this is the biggest SF convention anywhere:
Last year, Utopiales’s attendance was over 60.000 participants, making the Festival the biggest Earth’s science fiction event.
Utopiales is not only the biggest European SF Festival, it’s the largest SF event on Earth.
As a comparison, the “World” Anglophone conventions have between 6 to 8,000 participants at maximum.
A 60,000-person convention is nothing to sneeze at. But “the largest SF event on Earth”?
I thought Tamas, perhaps, was making some fine point. A purely literary sf convention drawing 60,000 would be unheard of. Something we Anglophonies with our so-called “World” conventions can’t imagine. And still can’t, for as Tamas explains —
The Utopiales Festival is celebrating and exploring all means of expression of science fiction, literature, film (international competition and European contest of short films), theater, comics (best album contest, exhibitions), art exhibitions, concerts, games videos, a role playing site, plus panels, discussions and debates on scientific topics.
Utopiales is a big tent sf-in-all-media convention. As big as it is, it’s not in the same league as the MCM London Comic Con (101,600 attendees) or San Diego Comic-Con International (over 130,000) — and then there’s Comiket, the semiannual Tokyo comic book fair which draws over half-a-million and is so big you could slice it into three San Diego Comic-Cons and have enough fans left over for two Dragon*Cons.