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Nine Worlds 2015

The other weekend I was at the third Nine Worlds Geekfest, down in London, and I have to say I had an absolute blast. The atmosphere was as friendly and welcoming as ever, there were loads of interesting talks and activities going on, and of course plenty of cosplay!

All geek life is here!
All geek life is here!

I arrived on Saturday afternoon, and spent a few hours catching up with friends and having an excellent dinner at a local pub, The Three Magpies. However I was utterly shattered after the slog down from Cambridge in sweltering summer heat, so I decided to have an early night. After all, I had a 9am panel the next day…

The panel went really well – I met up with Sebastian de Castell in the foyer so we got some ideas flowing, and Amy Alward did an excellent job of moderating at very short notice. Since I didn’t have any more events scheduled after that, I spent the rest of the day in other panels or at the Stitch’n’Natter up on the fourth floor.

Nine Worlds has such a great mix of tracks on its schedule, from straightforward SF&F to academic talks to hands-on crafting, it’s hard to pick the stuff you want to see! This year I mainly went to the history talks, partly because my friend Max introduced me to one of the speakers, John Johnston, when I was mingling on Friday afternoon but mostly because I am of course a huge history geek 🙂

I went to two of his panels: Historical Head-canon and Favourite Historical Movies. The former was a kind of “what if?” discussion, with each historian presenting a hypothesis that is fun to talk about but too lacking in evidence to be publishable, like the idea that Claudius could have been behind the conspiracy to assassinate his predecessor Caligula. In the latter talk, each speaker talked us through a favourite movie set in the past: Hammer Horror’s 1958 Dracula, Richard Lester’s The Three/Four Musketeers and the more recent Formula 1 biopic Rush. Of course now I want to (re)watch all of them!

On Saturday evening I had dinner in the hotel restaurant with writer friends Emma and Pete Newman, Gareth Powell, Michaela Gray and Steve Aryan, then it was off upstairs for a book launch (with free wine!) and then barconning until midnight.

One disappointment this year was that there was no weekend-long dealers’ room. Instead there were a couple of permanent stalls in the atrium (notably Genki Gear, who were selling the official con t-shirt), plus a pop-up market on Sunday. Presumably this worked well for the small vendors who might not have been able to afford an all-weekend slot, but it must have been disappointing for the Saturday-only attendees.

Ooh, shiny!
Ooh, shiny!

However I did manage to snap up some goodies. I couldn’t resist buying a skein of sock yarn from Third Vault Yarns, especially when I found a lovely dark green-and-blue colourway called “Loki”. However my real find was a necklace from the neighbouring stall, Ravens Jewellery. Although the inspiration behind the designs is Game of Thrones, the one I bought has particular relevance to the project I’m working on at the moment, so I had to have it. Not that I’m going to tell you (yet) why it’s so significant – I’m cruel like that 🙂

My other treasure from the con is a Firefly-themed cushion (below), which I won at the English PEN‘s Equality Now charity auction on Sunday, after a fierce bidding war with a fellow fan. It now has pride of place in my study, next to my fox cushion which is in similar colours. (If you’re interested in the fabric, you can buy it from Spoonflower.com, which is a bit like CafePress but for fabric and paper.)

Yes sir, Cap’n Tightpants!
Yes sir, Cap’n Tightpants!

My only real complaint about the convention is the hotel, which was clearly struggling with an event of this size. In particular there were nowhere near enough bar staff, leading to long queues; fortunately geeks are pretty polite people, so no riots broke out! However I wasn’t surprised to learn that the convention will be relocating next year (venue TBC), so hopefully there will be better service as well as more circulation space. Whatever happens, I’ll be there!

 

 

 

Nine Worlds 2016 will take place in London from 12th – 14th August, and you can buy early-bird tickets now!

Comments

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Jacey Bedford

Glad you had a good time. I really like the sound of Nine Worlds as an event, but I hate that hotel with a passion, so I’m delighted to hear that it’s relocating. I will certainly put the 2016 dates in my diary. The 2012 Eastercon held there was a nightmare of: nowhere to sit and talk to friends, slow bar staff, expensive, slow-to-arrive food, loud music in the lower bar, horrible acoustics in the atrium space (and not enough chairs), programme rooms that were almost impossible to find, and wait staff at breakfast who didn’t appear to speak English. (When serving English breakfasts it’s advisable to at least learn the words: bacon, egg and sausage, even if the finer points of ‘You have run out of…’ are a bit of a mystery.) Some of the rooms were inacessible by some lifts and only accessible via others. One room could only be reached by traipsing through another. No wonder folks started calling it the Radisson Euclidean. The design seemed to be based on alien mathematical principles which didn’t work in realspace and realtime. Shortly after Eastercon 2012 I was sad to read that there had been a murder there (staff, I believe). It had a horrible atmosphere and the staff seemed unhappy.

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Anne

I have to admit that, for Eastercon 2012, I was too excited about my first novel having just come out to have noticed the hotel! However it has not been a good fit for Nine Worlds, so I’m glad they’re relocating. I did originally write more of a moan in my blog post, but I deleted it before posting and instead put my feedback into the customer survey they sent me a few days later! I got a very polite reply, but I suspect I won’t be staying there again in any case…