The SFFN press team was invited to the third edition of Nine Worlds Geekfest, on Saturday the 8th of August, 2015.
Every convention has its own atmosphere, based on the programme and events. In a place like the UK, where conventions are part of everyday life, you need to stand out from the crowd, or risk becoming just a bit part player. That’s where unusual tracks make all the difference. Don’t get me wrong, just because you have an original track doesn’t mean you’ll be successful – people aren’t so easily swayed. It may work the first time, but if dust stirring is all you’re after, then forget it.
But here is where Nine Worlds has really come into its own. The tracks are truly original, as they were three years ago, last year and again this time around. Each cycle has brought more aspects of geekdom to explore, analyse and debate, which the fans have loved.
So, let me walk you through our day at Nine Worlds.
Registration was smooth and within a few minutes, we had our press passes and goodie bags (a copy of Starburst magazine, and free books from Gollancz and Hodder & Stoughton). Registration for attendees included a badge and a pronoun system. The badge, featuring a lanyard coloured red, yellow or blue, is a handy indicator for showing if the wearer wants to be talked to or not; the pronoun pins help understand how the person wants to be addressed: he, she, they, zie, sie, hir, co, ey; or you could even write in your own pronoun.
Schedules in hand, we tried to pop in to as many of the events as we could, sometimes just to make an appointment for an interview with the panelists at a different time; there were also welcome familiar faces from other conventions. Given we could only be there for the Saturday, not for the first time in our lives, we found ourselves wishing we had Professor McGonagall’s Time Turner.
Due to schedule restrictions, this year’s con didn’t have a dealers’ room for the three days, but only a pop-up market on the Sunday, with a couple of exceptions: convention regulars Genki Gear (tee-shirt makers with the Official 2015 9WG tees) and Forbidden Planet, the geeky superstore also hosting the con’s book signings).
Below is a list of the tracks – given the number, you’ll hopefully understand how hard it was for us having one body each only, and not being able to bilocate (or even trilocate):
A Song of Ice and Fire, Academia, All of the Books, Monsterclass workshops, Fikas/Anime (Fikas is a Swedish word for coffee and cake with a friend), Apocalypse, Comics, Creative Writing, The 9Dice Game Lounge, Doctor Who, Fanfic, Food and Drink, Future Tech, Geek Feminism, Here be Dragons (International New Genre Film Festival), History, LARP, LGBTQAI, Podcasting, Race and Culture, Religion/Skepticism (deliberately spelt with a K, in case you’re wondering), Social Gaming, Star Trek, Storygasm, Supernatural, Tolkien, Video Games Culture, Whedon, Yarn Craft, YA.
Together with over 2,000 other people, we came across some particularly gorgeous cosplayers. There was even an official booth where you could be photographed against a green screen, for added special effects. Take a look at our gallery below to see some of the best costumes we managed to photograph – the amount of detail and inventiveness was astounding.
We bumped into numerous writers throughout the day too, some of whom we managed to nab for a relaxing chat – look out for ones with Gareth L Powell, Dave Hutchinson and Den Patrick in the next couple of weeks.
We also had a great chat with Siân Fever and Clara Jackson, organisers of the Geek Feminism track – read the interview on the network soon. And speaking of organisers, we sneaked into a quiet room with Eric Schultz, one of the three founders of the con. If you want to discover the origins of 9WG, you should definitely watch the interview with him (out soon).
The evening saw us attending the Gemmell Awards and, let me tell you, meeting the legendary Stan Nicholls and talking to him made my evening. I actually told him about how I used Orcs to improve my English … along with a dictionary that was bigger than his book – he appreciated the struggle. We will be interviewing Stan in the near future, as we look forward to the November release of a new entry in the Orcs series through Newcon Press.
After the awards, we concluded our evening with a glass of wine at the book launch for Legends II, a second collection of Fantasy stories in memory of David Gemmell, published by Newcon Press.
It was a full, busy day, as it always is when you cover a con, but very much worth it. Nine Worlds has promised and delivered, and we are already looking forward to seeing how it will evolve next year.