So at the weekend I was at Nineworlds, a new, multi-strand Con at Heathrow. https://nineworlds.co.uk/ The program was absolutely packed and a bit of a labyrinth to manoeuvre through, I only really got to grips with it once I'd downloaded the Lanyrd App. Because there was so much going on I missed out a lot on some things (too many choices) but overall we thought this was probably a good thing. Better to have too much going on, than too little.
I arrived early Friday evening, about 7pm and the Con was in full swing. Good that I missed the queues to register though. My itinerary looked like this:
Just a Minute - with Paul Cornell, Adam Christopher, Helen Keen, Gary Rusell (who won) and Adrian Tchaikovsky. This was a lot of fun and a good start to the Con for me.
I planned to go to new voices but got distracted by lots of beer and wine and authors in the bar (with Jonathan L Howard & Anne Lyle).
The next day was feeling slightly worse for wear, but recovered somewhat after a cooked breakfast. The first thing on the agenda was to go to Paul Cornell's signing where I picked up a copy of London Falling strange that only one other person in the queue ahead of me, or not so strange due to the early time? (10am).
Then I went to The future of technology& society - Hosted by science comedienne Helen Keen with Cory Doctorow, Lilian Edwards, Helen Keen & Charles Stross. This was really interesting, a packed room, lots of discussion about open rights etc.
Next up was Keynote: The current state of gaming culture - Leigh Alexander. Which I enjoyed less but was OK. Not really aimed at people who hadn't grown up in the 90's I think. Seemed to be a bit more about 90's music than 90's gaming without really any appreciation for what happened before the 90's. Still there were flashes of interest in the talk despite this.
After managing to get a spot of lunch at the local co-op (the hotel prices were stupidly expensive, they'd already applied a hoover to my wallet for the drinks on Friday) I headed off for a scary but useful critique session on one of my stories with the T-party.
After the mauling I caught the second half of The Infected - Diseases of the Cultural Body - Panel with Dr Julia Gog, Helen Keen, Will Porter & James Vaughan and at this point it looked like Helen Keen was on all the interesting stuff!
A quick stop at the signing table to grab a copy of the second David Tallerman book, Crown Thief and then to a talk on Cyberpunk which seemed to have far too many panellists and turned a little bit into the Charlie Stross show. After he berated a fellow panellist (whose name I'm not sure of) for saying that SF is "inspirational" by saying that this was propaganda and a political statement I lost interest and left - this was the only panel I walked on the whole weekend.
The to the Gin Appreciation with the Steampunk crowd, hugely entertaining and 3 glasses of gin to boot.
More drinks with friends, old and new, and a buffet dinner in the hotel to recharge batteries. Then to the new voices session with Catherine Banner, Zen Cho, Paul Cornell, Laure Eve, Benedict Jacka, Francis Knight, Snorri Krisjansson, Den Patrick, Tom Pollock & Tade Thompson. Zen Cho, Snorri Krisjansson & Tom Pollock were especially good performances.
Night cap then to bed after watching the Alien (from Alien, Aliens etc.) dancing.
The next day was an even later and slow start for me.
First up was Laurie Penny talking about Cybersexism. This was supposed to be a book launch but it didn't come off but Laurie read out a long section and then chatted and answered questions. Really interesting session.
After that I went to Nightmare Fuel: How to Scare your Audience for Fun and Profit - Ben Aaronovitch, Will Hill, Kim Newman& Jonathan Oliver. Being a big fan of Kim Newman this was a no-brainer and the panel didn't disappoint.
Next was The Evolution of Blake’s 7 – Ben Aaronovitch, Alastair Lock, John Medany, Andrew Mark Sewell & James Swallow. Which talked about how the new radio show was made. Interesting insight into radio and TV and how to write a reboot. Plus we got a free copy of one of the shows which was a bonus.
Last event for me was attending the Pod Delusion live podcast where we explored Spock's emotions, the weight of yarn, invisible gorillas and the incomplete genome of the universe. A really good session and fitting end to the Con.
Of course just a list of what talks I attended doesn't really give you an appreciation of just "being at the con" which is half the fun. Watching the cosplayers, talking to old friends, making new friends. Glancing into the weird world of Brony (from a distance), hearing about what other stuff was happening from people who'd gone to different stuff. Buying 12 new books, chatting with Robert Rankin who was hidden away in the basement! spotting Chris Barrie and so much more.
Nineworlds was one of the best cons I've been to and I will definitely be returning next year.
Of course being a Con I did buy some books:
control point by Myke Cole - not my usual fare but may be worth a shot
Theft of swords by Michael J
Sullivan - even less my usual bag, may rot on the shelf or go to a
2nd hand (from a really good 2nd hand stall):
the house on the borderlands by William Hope Hodgson
web between the worlds by Charles Sheffield (a childhood favourite author
and a book by him I've not read)
London falling by Paul Cornell - strangely there was only 1 other person getting a book signed at the same time, I would have assumed that Cornell would have been huge...
The alchemist of souls by
Anne Lyle - we spoke to Anne and she said that her signing was before most
people arrived and so hardly anyone turned up, so we bought a copy
Alice on Mars by Robert Rankin - Rankin was hidden away with the Steampunkers in the basement, I managed to have a long chat with him whilst he signed my book, I was the only person in the room, apart from the other stallholders at the time
And God created zombies by Andrew Hook
Myth-understandings Edited by Ian Whates
Shoes, ships and cadavers Edited by Ian Whates (he was running a store and we got chatting and then bought some books)
A glass of shadow by Liz Williams (A recommendation by Ian