Francesca Kühlers

Our American team member recommends a German fantasy classic and is eager to delve into her very first convention – on the organizing side, no less. Please meet Francesca:

Please introduce yourself briefly.

Hi. My name is Francesca, I’m from the US and have lived in Berlin for almost 10 years with my husband and two children. I am a translator and former language teacher.

I’ve loved SF/F since I was a kid (first fandom: the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey). That was when the public internet was very young – AOL and the like. I played in some email-based text RPGs as a dragon rider. Wrote quite a bit of fanfiction, too. Proudest moment lately: I filmed a space shanty for the Lady Astronaut series in 2021, which also had the author laughing in tears.

Ever since I found out my favorite book, The Neverending Story, was a translation when I was 11, I’ve been interested in translation. If I can make it possible for readers* not only to understand the content of a story in translation, but to fall in love/get lost in another world; if I can describe it as enchantingly as in the original language…. that’s what I want to be able to do. And the rest is history!

Why are you a part of MetropolCon?

I didn’t get interested in cons until my kids were really little, and I couldn’t imagine going to any of them yet. Then came Corona. Now the kids are still pretty little. Luckily I don’t have to go anywhere, the con will be coming to me! So I’m doing rather fine with con-kid balance. This will be my first con and I’ll be involved in the organization right away, it’ll be quite an experience!

I’m so looking forward to introducing my favorite authors to my great adopted city, meeting new people and making contacts. Literary translation is still the big someday dream.

It’s Saturday night at a con: where can people find you?

I’m sitting in the bar with my new best friends. We talk about favorite books, or craft beer, or the general injustice of the world. We filk something together.

Afterwards, much later than planned, I sneak back home and try not to wake the kids.

What do you wish for the future of fantasy and science fiction, especially in Germany?

Inclusivity. I wish that every person could see themselves as the main character in several books. Really everyone. I have a few invisible disabilities myself that I hardly ever see in fantasy, and so do numerous others.

Best fictional sidekick of all time?

Falkor. Because who, pray tell, wouldn’t want to be a flying luck dragon?

Or Zoe Washburne from Firefly. Sexy AF, badass AF, and happily married to the super talented yet goofy pilot. What’s not to love?

You win a week in a fantastic world of your choice: where to?

Perilin, the night forest of Fantastica in The Neverending Story. I’m definitely consistent with something like that.

Well, Pern would work too. Or Ankh-Morpork.

One work of speculative fiction (book/movie/series/game …) that you would recommend to all of us?

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk. Anything they write. Also a great person.

Also great: the Rivers of London series, Ben Aaronovitch.

The Neverending Story, for anyone who’s made it through life so far without reading it. English translation by Ralph Manheim also highly recommended. And for those who already know Ende’s most famous work, but not his book Momo: Find Momo and read it!

Last but not least: it would be silly if I forgot to mention the Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal. Not only the books, but MRK’s fan discord, the Lady Astronaut Club, has helped me make it to the next day so many times over the past 3 years. (By the way, the first two books are also available in German 😉 )