This weekend marked a major event in the SFF calendar: the Nine Worlds Convention!
Actually, the SFF-fest that was this weekend started early. Goldsboro Books hosts an annual party to celebrate science fiction and fantasy, called Fantasy in the Court, which I attended on Thursday 11th August. I was basically too star-struck to take pictures, which in retrospect was a terrible shame! It was great speaking to so many major names in the SF and fantasy spheres. In particular, talking fantasy with AJ Smith was fun, as was meeting Jason Arnopp in person. I can’t recall attending an event with so many authors, publishers and other big names being in attendance. I’d highly recommend attending if anyone gets the opportunity.
Nine Worlds proper started in 12th August. It was actually perfect attending after Fantasy in the Court, as many of the same personnel attended both events. Nine Worlds is a celebration of all things geeky: with a truly huge number of panels covering all aspects of SF and fantasy. Topics covered included writing better fight scenes, diversity in SF and fantasy, world building, YA fiction… Whilst perhaps not endless, the list was very long indeed.
What to say about Nine Worlds? It was great! I spoke on two panels (more on that later), but attended several. Lots of interesting tips and tricks were discussed. I also got to meet even more authors: stand outs for me included Alex Lamb (author of ROBOTEER, which I reviewed last week and loved), Mark de Jager (author of INFERNAL, which I haven’t read yet, but will be shortly!) and JP Smythe (author of loads of SF titles, with my favourite being THE MACHINE). Awesome stuff.
The best part of the convention for me, though, had to be the actual panels I participated in. It was great to discuss SF and fantasy concepts with some fantastic names from the field (both those I’d read, and those I hadn’t). My first panel (and first ever, in fact) was titled “Science fiction and science fact”: held with JP Smythe, Ian Hocking, Anne Charnock, Stephanie Saulter and Adrian Tchaikovsky. We discussed giant spiders, the limits of science in stories, and book recommendations. Excellent fun!
Next up, also on Friday, was “Building Better Dreams & Nightmares”. Later in the day, in a larger room, and with a great audience, I especially enjoyed this panel. Other participants included Mark de Jager, Alex Lamb, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Maria Lewis and Angela Slatter. We had loads of fun talking about aliens, monsters, whether monsters really exist, vampires, werewolves… It was a great session and I think everyone enjoyed it.
I can’t recommended Nine Worlds enough. Great fun, with a terrific and supportive crowd.
Finally, it was great to see the paperback version of ORIGINS on sale at Nine Worlds! Although it isn’t released officially until 25th August, ORIGINS was on sale alongside the rest of THE LAZARUS WAR trilogy. (It was actually on sale at Goldsboro Books as well, but I’m not sure whether this is just because of Fantasy in the Court: I haven’t seen it in any other shops yet!)