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!
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.
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.)
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!