Nine Worlds is a new and very different convention in the UK to many of its predecessors that have been around for a long time. Rather than focusing on a particular genre TV show, or medium such as comics, it covers everything. There were over 30 different tracks and I was co-running the podcast track with Barry Nugent from Geek Syndicate. A quick look at my inbox shows a couple of hundred emails sent by Barry or me, to the organisers, moderators and panellists. We had two panels each day and as this was the first year of doing a podcast track, we both wanted to be there to make sure the panels went well and we were on hand throughout to help with any issues. For example not being able to get into the room on Friday or the microphones not being switched on. A quick chat with the organisers and every issue was resolved quickly, so I have to take my hat off to them for all of their help and everything went according to plan.
The highlight of the podcast track for me was the two panels we had on Saturday. The first Democratisation of Podcasting and New Media was totally fascinating and Scott’s interesting presentation laid out the evolution of media. He showed how the world has changed from a place where we receive the news from a few limited outlets to what we have today, where individuals, other than journalists, are creating the news and reporting on it, sometimes live from the scene. After that was the First Annual Podcaster Games, where two teams of three podcasters went head to head to test their geeky knowledge. The quiz covered all areas from TV to comics to film and everything in between. We had buzzers, we had trophies, we had lots of angst and two brilliant Games Masters who ran the quiz (Gavin and Dan from the Sidekickcast) who took no cheek from the contestants. Some of whom were cocky to begin with but that soon faded when the questions fell outside their normal wheelhouse. The quiz was a lot of fun, we had a lot of laughs and everyone in the audience had a great time. The winning team went home proudly holding their trophies aloft.
So on all three mornings of the convention I was busy, but on Saturday afternoon I sat on a panel about Likeable Bad Guys from All the Books track. I think it went fairly well, everyone generally agreed with one another so there wasn’t any controversy. I was very nervous, didn’t ramble too much and managed not to offend anyone or puke, so overall it was great.
Saturday night I also did my first public reading as part of the New Voices segment on the All the Books track. I read part of chapter 1 from Battlemage, which is out next year from Orbit books. I was horrendously nervous, felt very sick beforehand, stumbled a couple of times during my reading, but I didn’t rush and got through it without too many mistakes. I think it went well and the crowd of fifty plus people seemed to like it. I had friends and supporters in the crowd which helped too. At this point several people have read my book, but this was the first time I’d essentially shown other people how I interpret it, how I see and hear the characters and the rhythm of the sentences and dialogue in my head.
I managed to find time to go to a few other panels, one on Writing LGBTQ+ Characters in SFF, and one about writing the inhuman, where four writers talked about what makes a character inhuman and how they get into that mind space.
There were a lot of friends at the convention that I wanted to spend time with but I didn’t have enough hours in the day to talk to many of them. They were busy and I was either busy organising panels, going to a panel, grabbing something to eat or running from one place to another. Thankfully at my next convention, Fantasycon in September, I’m not running anything and am not appearing on any panels so I will hopefully have more time to catch up with people I missed at Nine Worlds.
Overall Nine Worlds is the most inclusive convention I’ve ever been to. Everyone was made to feel welcome and the organisers went out of their way to accommodate everyone from every walk of life. There was a lot going on, dare I say perhaps too much, because while it was nice to have so much choice it meant I missed a great deal because so many things were happening at the same time. Other conventions suffer from having too narrow a focus, so I sometimes find I’m only interested in 25% of the available panels whereas with over 30 tracks it was the opposite. I guess it’s trial and error, finding which tracks prove popular and which don’t and then adjusting the tracks for the following year accordingly.
The date is already set for Nine Worlds 2015 and tickets are on sale. I’ve no idea if I’m going to be there yet, simply because 2015 is going to be very busy for me with book 1 coming out, editing book 2 and writing book 3. I suspect I will be at a few conventions but I’ll decide a little closer to the time.