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Category Archives: Diversity in SFF

Cover of Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng. Purple cover with Queen Mab central. There’s been a bit of a theme in the books I’ve been reading recently. All have been set in or around the Victorian era.

Jeanette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun is an absorbing Gothic Fantasy, capturing the feel of Stoker and Bronte. Highly recommended, and you can find the rest of my review on SFFWorld.

Cover of One Cog Turning by Anthony Laken. Main colour deep blue with golden/copper cogs featured in each corner.Anthony Laken’s One Cog Turning is a fab, true to form Steampunk adventure with all the lovable rogues you’d want to find, yet with a delicious twist. Click to read my review on SFFWORLD.

A new SFF based site focusing on the written word aspect of the genre, covering events, reviews, interviews and potentially anything summoned at the crossroads of SF and SFF.

House On The Borderlands.

Jo Zebedee was kind enough to allow me to interview her for House On The Borderland.

Read my Interview with Jo Zebedee

Nine Worlds – Part Three.(Seriously a Duology?  Bah… good things come in threes.)

Where am I?

Geekery Awesomeness must wait til next year

Geekery Awesomeness has ended.

“YOUR IN A ROOM!”

I am no longer at Nine Worlds, sadly. For me it was a little less shiny this year. (Did you over do it this year guys?) I decided to explore outside my usual workshop and panel interests. While it impacted on my experience as a whole I gained other perspectives. Nine Worlds 2015 was still all of the things the convention tries to be.

Best bits:

Very popular show, that there Knightmare Live.

Very popular show, that there Knightmare Live. Not the best of views from the back rows though!

Knightmare Live.

Remember the TV show? Yes, there’s a stage show. Made all the better by the Nine Worlds Crowd.

IT IS NOT A SATCHEL!

…moving on…

 

Cosplay:

Elven beauty

This has to be the best way to make sure you get use out of a wedding dress!

Canary.

I don’t do cosplay, but wow do some people excel, spend hours (or the canny ones, mere moments) it is this mix of panels and cosplay which sets Nine Worlds apart from all other cons I have been to. Furiosa, Agent Carter, Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man – and ‘his’ Ghostbuster, Canary, so many that I didn’t know (sorry I can’t watch, read, listen to all the things!)

 

Panel:

Lemon Cakes and Courtesy: in defence of Lady Sansa Stark. Yes there are other people out there, real people, that ‘get’ Sansa, who see the Game of Thrones world through the most complex perspective of an 11 year old. Honestly people, it’s so not the same as the wisdom and life-skills you have as an adult. There wasn’t another panel going to come close.

Workshop:

Are books really the best medium? Really, really?

Are books really the best medium? Really, really?

The Creative Writing Track mixed nicely with All of The Books in previous years, for anyone wanting to improve their writing techniques while having fun, you should be here. You should already have 2016 tickets booked.

The generosity and all round niceness of The T-Party, along with the excellence of the Podcasting gang won the day this year, Future Tech filled in perfectly.

People

As always it’s the people who make Nine Worlds. Not the hotel service, not the niggly lack of air con in the rooms, the little grumbles which only bubble up midst hangover recovery, or on the last day. People who talk, who say hi! And those bloggers, podcasters and illustrious authors who understand “fan” rambles when they strike.

The Morningstar AwardGemmell Awards.

Raven Armoury

Raven Armoury create The Legend Award prize. They also make these stunning skeletons!

I was pleased to see these being presented at Nine Worlds, an award which in many many ways adopts the same ‘we are all equal’ approach as the event itself. Voters do not have to be a member of a group or pay to vote, and are very much a global award. These prizes encapsulate the level work in fantasy, truly exquisite in the crafted quality.

 

The niggles.*

The vendors area was a disappointment, this year, the kid friendly/tween aspect too, seemed to be a side thought.  Over all? It was good, but last year was better. For the ‘niggly’ me, a lot was missing for an event which is supposed to cater for all the people, no matter who you are. Perhaps Nine Worlds is shifting a little to offer more of a niche?  It must be extraordinarily hard to gather something for everyone, and cover all the things, to balance all the needs of those things. Just don’t wander too far out of orbit Nine Worlds, please, you are port for many people with diverse interests, in a genre with just as much random unique offerings.

After all, the third in the series doesn’t always live up to the first.

*Niggles that did not ruin my weekend.

Will I be there next year? Maybe.

Blog round up:

http://rhube.co.uk/wp/2015/08/11/nine-worlds-nine-worlds-it-was-better-than-ever/

http://breyahs.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/nine-worlds-my-thoughts-and-experiences.html

http://www.foxspirit.co.uk/not-the-fox-news-nine-worlds-2015/

http://ashinyworld.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/dancing-in-rain.html

 

 

 

Geekery Awesomeness is Nigh.

Geekery Awesomeness is nigh.

There are less than two weeks to go, and yes, you’re just a little bit excited.  You have your ticket, (you do, right?) you’ve got your name down for those extra special limited attendance workshops. You’ve memorised the programme by heart, consumed the convention’s anti-harrassment policy, become addicted to the Twitter feed but…now what?

The event itself can be overwhelming if you “don’t do crowds” or you like to know your environment. I wasn’t kidding though, the Nine Worlds organisers think of everything, and what little they miss the panellists and volunteers catch. It doesn’t matter if this is your first time or you this is your third expedition to the vast wonderfulness that is Nine Worlds, there is always something you miss, a costume part you forget, meals, the last train home.

However if you missed part one, don’t panic, it’s here.

At the Convention…

  1. Have a very good breakfast. – Take snacks – Food queues are HUGE or there is a long wait at all the places in and around the hotel. (There’s a Maccy D’s 5 minutes away & a pub too.) Once you start weaving from room to room for panels, workshops and fun, food is a forgotten thing anyhow until you hear an odd growling noise and no, it’s not coming from the passing Ewok.
  2. Bring a bottle of water. – There’s plenty of water available – refill at the tables. Coffee queues are HUGE, water queues are not.
  3. Q. I don’t know what to wear! A.Comfortable Stuff.

    1. Shoes. There will be much walking, and possibly some standing if you’ve decided to go to all the popular panels.
    2. Clothes. Not all cosplay is comfy, and we all make sacrifices to our idols, but the right T-shirt is also an enviable thing.*
    3. Backpack. For the freebies, hand outs, All The Shiny Things from the vendors area, oh and carrying that bottle of water. (Guys, remember, books are heavy.)
  4. Arrive early to register. Did I mention the scale of this convention…?
    Go on, smile!

    Go on, smile!

    No, I don’t keep repeating it to terrify you. It’s a big hotel and you don’t realise just how many people are all in one place. Loads of stuff happens over lots of floors, in lots of places. Random portals pop up all over the place.** Explore the hotel if you don’t like the idea of “I don’t know what I am doing.” Double bonus if you don’t like queues, or being lost in corridors straight out of that odd dream you had after eating the wizened pizza you found at the back of the fridge.

  5. Don’t be afraid of the stairs. Lifts are busy, (slower) and best left for those that need them. Burn those alcohol/cake/Big Mac calories off. Save on gym fees!
  6. Coffee addict? I mentioned the queues, right? I take a flask of tea. But I’m weird and I don’t work without tea. I*need* my tea.
    What’s a little fallout’ indeed!

    What’s a little fallout’ indeed!

    A lot of the panels don’t run for the full allotted time. Plan a sneak attack on the coffee while it’s quieter, or if you booked the hotel, refill in your room.(But don’t forget to pack the instant coffee!) Perhaps some mobile N’grath or Deekin Scalesinger will spring up this year to solve all our caffeine related problems and sell much needed beverages to the queues for refreshment.

    Aladdin's lamp, iddy biddy living space. Very poor coffee.

    Aladdin’s lamp, iddy biddy living space. Very poor coffee.

    Just don’t buy from the guy cosplaying as the Bartertown water merchant. Or. Anyone offering you a tatty looking lamp.

  7. HEED THE COMMUNICATION CODE, COWBOY.  Last year it was badges and lanyards. (Don’t point that camera at me!)  These things are here to help and protect you as well as others. With so many people, from so many different walks of life, it’s obvious that not everyone wants the same thing. The Nine Worlds tokens are the currency of “I love your costume”. You don’t need to say a word and say loads at the same time! Nor do you need to fear being mobbed, unless that’s your thing.
  8. Respect other hotel guests. Yep, whooping from the second floor balcony because the most awesome cosplay has just stole the show is great. But not so much for that chap in room 213 who has a flight at 2am.
  9. Don’t Mob Your Hero.  (Especially uncool in the toilets.) Sqqquuueee!  Look! Mwhahaha! That person whom I have stalked across the internet foreverz. Cosplayer, agent, comic book creator, game designer, podcaster or author, give them space. There are things organised just so you can meet them. There’s also several bars.
  10. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. Please please please please… Some panels are about listening, some are about playing a board game, others learning how a thing is done. Don’t be the one to die of shame when your phone rings. More importantly don’t pretend it’s not yours when it does ring. WE KNOW! The shifty-eye thing gives it away. (That and the noise.) If you use the glowy tech to make notes, turn the sound off. Ta-dah!
  11. HAVE LOTS OF FUN.  It’s not hard to do, cosplay competitions, quizzes, Twitter stories, parties, gaming, and the sharing with those that didn’t make it.(Use this, it works! -> #NineWorlds ) You’ll make friends that you might not see ’til next year. That’s what the internet’s for, right?
  1. BOOK TICKETS FOR NEXT YEAR!

If you take nothing from this other than “How will I survive without coffee?” then you know just how well organised this event is. The only complaint this tea drinker can find is the queue for coffee.

You are in safe hands. See you at Nine Worlds!

 

*Also a conversation starter.
**Rumoured to be used by gophers and volunteers with expert precision.

It’s nearly August. That means it’s nearly Nine Worlds – geekery greatness over a whole weekend. Year three of this pangalatic mash of fabulous creativity and fandom and the peeps are already excited. The grand announcements have begun, who’s who on what panel along with the plans for evening frivolity and excitement of the partying style…

Are you going too?Nine Worlds 2015

You don’t have to be a writer to attend Nine Worlds. You don’t need to have made a blockbuster movie. Your resume does not have to list endless gaming productions. All you need to be is you. If you read a bit or watch the Syfy channel, know the script of Alien off by heart or have secret underground cave filled with graphic novels, catch a podcast here and there or happened to have finished Destiny without sleep, it doesn’t matter. You’ll fit right in. From Dr Who to Super Natural, Animie to Steampunk, Game of Thrones to Star Trek, whatever your “geek” is, it’s covered here. Whoever you are, where ever you are from, whatever speculative, SFF genre thing is YOUR thing. It’s here.

Don’t be the one stuck at home following on Twitter, wishing. Plan ahead! Be a part of it. Don’t be put off by the immensity, by the worry of crowds. There are safe spaces too.

So – Part one of the non-pocket sized guide if your thinking about going.

Before July starts…

 

  1. Buy tickets early. Daft as this sounds…it’s cheaper. (There is another price rise imminent!) I know you don’t know what you’re doing in the next ten minutes, let along the next ten months – but money saved on tickets can be spent on great stuff in the vendor’s area. Oh and MAKE USE OF THE INSTALMENTS OPTION!
  2. Book the hotel. This year they’re in the Raddisson Blu Edwardian, Heathrow.  The inhabitants of Nine Worlds party hard into the night and taxis are expensive.  (Even more expensive when it’s raining!) There are oodles of hotels nearby, including Premier Inn, Ibis and Travelodge. Check sites like Lastminute for cheap options.
  3. Volunteer. If the tickets and hotel refuse to fit the bank balance and you have the skills. Donate your time and help make the event run smooth.
  4. Cosplaying? Get making! I’ve seen groups and individuals have a blast and there’s nothing better than discovering others who love the same film, book, graphic novel, game as you. It’s a great icebreaker.
  5. Keep an eye on Twitter, Facebook and the Nine Worlds website. There are some events that must be booked. These. Sell. Out. Fast. You got that, right? The one-to-ones, the how-tos with your idol. The once in a solar eclipse opportunities sell out very fast. Oh… and each track has it’s own twitter feed. Start here: @London_Geekfest
  6. Download the draft Programme.* (Not yet…soon!) Get excited, but don’t plan anything yet! It’s only a draft.
  7. Get Digital.* (Soon) Use their software that’s there to Keep It Simple. Take time to figure it out. I’m a paper first person, but getting to grips with the event planning software means you won’t accidentally miss that one panel you HAVE to see because you found something else that looked interesting. (What do you mean there are three pages of stuff to do on to Saturday?)
  8. Did you take your eye off the website? Ticket only swordfighting, did you miss it? That make your own shiny-thingy, you missed that too? A chance to meet your very most favouritist person who made that thing you like mostist… not going to miss that are ya?
  9. Clear a shelf. Book hauls & goodie bags, exchanges, prizes, shiny things you buy … you WILL need the space. Do this after following step 1. (And don’t fill it with other stuff you collect between now and August!)

Part Two…coming soon.

(*Knowing my luck they won’t do a draft programme, or a digital planning app thing this time, but there will be something equally as helpful, no-doubt. )