This was the second year I’ve attended the Nine Worlds Geekfest in London. The event is only in its third year so it is still a relatively new event compared to some. Even so I think it is leaps and bounds ahead of others in terms of it being the most inclusive and open event I’ve attended. The organisers work incredibly hard to make sure everyone feels safe and they have very clear policies around acceptable behaviour.
There were a few issues at the event, but I want to make it clear that it was not the fault of the organisers but the venue itself. Others have detailed it elsewhere but briefly, the staff and service at the hotel was a very mixed bag. I encountered excellent service and very helpful and friendly staff on reception and at breakfast, and yet terrible service in the restaurant (twice) and at the bar. As a result of many similar complaints by attendees next year’s event will not be held at the same hotel.
Once again this year I was involved in organising the podcasting track. Without blowing my own trumpet I think it all went very well. Big thanks to my fellow track organisers, Scott Grandison and Barry Nugent, of Geek Syndicate fame. All of the panels were very well attended and I think it is worth highlighting our keynote talk by Allen Stroud which was fascinating and insightful. It was on “The State of the Playground: the modern experience of fantasy and science fiction across media” and at the end of his talk he sat down, turned his chair around and it moved into discussion between everyone in the room. The 2nd Annual Podcaster Games was so much fun and Alasdair Stuart, Anne Louise and Marguerite Kenner went home with the coveted Golden Microphone trophies. If you ask them really nicely they might show you, but you can’t touch it!
The rest of my convention seemed to go by in a blur. I spent a lot of time hanging out with fellow members of TeamMushens, as well as attending panels on the book track and popping along to the SRFC brunch on Sunday morning which was sponsored by Orbit books who supplied all the goodies. This included some Battlemage cupcakes which tasted delicious! I also did a reading at the New Voices panel on Saturday night alongside all around good egg, Pete Newman. On Saturday we even managed to squeeze in a Warhammer 40K roleplay for a few hours which was so much fun.
There were a lot of late nights. Conversations about books, films and geek TV shows. There was also plenty of beer. Sadly the event inevitably came to a close and I left feeling exhausted, bereft after being around so many cool and interesting people, but happier for having spent time with them. Roll on the next convention which for me will be Fantasycon in October and then SLEDGE LIT in November. But before then I’ll be doing a northern and southern book signing and launch for Battlemage. Details are coming very soon.