I’ll be heading down to Hammersmith’s Novotel London West hotel tomorrow for Nine Worlds Geekfest, an annual genre-convention that eschews big media stars in favour of academics. It tries to appeal to a wider audience, those that may not be comfortable coming to any other convention. And that tries to accommodate people’s needs, however diverse. And, frankly, could teach many bigger shows a thing or 78. It is also panel-focussed (followed by bar-focused) with more programming than any other show its size.
Tickets still available — here are just a few of the 200-plus events happening over the weekend. They should give a flavour…
The Nine Worlds Fountain Pen Meetup Friday 11:45 AM
Come hang out with your fellow geeks around fountain pens and inks. Chat inks, colours and different fountain pen & stationery makers. Come try out pens and paper around drinks and nibbles. Wondering what the fuss is about? Have you never used a fountain pen, or was the last time you did so at school or university? We swear there’s a lot more to pens than school blue! Come see us, we will have pens for beginners and inks of all colours to try. Aliette de Bodard
Ace Representation Friday 11:45 AM
A panel discussing how asexual people are portrayed in media (when they are). Jessica Meats, Nat Titman, Mikayla Micomonaco, Miss Mairi White, Eleanor Hollindrake.
The only toilet in Thedas: practical considerations in fantasy worlds, Friday 1145am
Inspired by the observation that only one character in Dragon Age (Merrill) has anything resembling a toilet or wash room, this panel discusses the place of the mundane in fantasy settings. Covering discussions on whether and when you should have characters going to the loo or doing their washing, dealing with periods in the wasteland, maintenance on armour and weapons, remembering to eat – anything practical that’s often overlooked. Fallout has toilets and Skyrim has hammers to repair your armour, but Dragon Age doesn’t – why? Such things are often left out in the name of pace or dramatic relevance, but if they have a place in life, it has a place in drama (or video games), and leaving these things out changes the text. Dr Ro Smith, Sarah Gordon, Phil Dyson, Angela Cleland
Toxicity in Fandom: 2 Friday 11.45am
Following last years debut, we’re going to have a look at this again. There’s been lots happening, especially surrounding The Last Jedi and Black Panther, so we’ve formed a new panel, with different voices, to tackle this subject again. Ollie
“Overfond of the comforts of home” Friday 11:45 AM
An analysis and breakdown of the problems in English fantasy fiction’s centring of white middle-class comfort as the moral ideal. A presentation analysing celebrated influential English fantasy works (namely The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Dr Who) and how the authors’ placement of moral value onto unchanging detached middle-class English idealism is not only alienating marginalised audiences but also tacitly promoting ideas with serious consequences for their audiences. Jesse Panic
Cats in fantasy and science fiction Friday 11:45 AM
The symbolism, the use of cat mythology and folklore, and their relationships to real cat psychology and physiology. Mx Laura Campbell, Ms Ginger Lee Thomason, Nickey Barnard, Arthur Boff
The Hamilton Phenomenon Friday 11:45 AM
How did Hamilton blow up, why do people love it, what does it mean for theatre more widely? Is its context in London very different to in the US? Emily January, Russell A Smith, Jane Hanmer, Quizzy Rascals, Genevieve Cogman, Rebecca Bellovin
Putting The Punk back into Cyberpunk Friday 11:45 AM
Looking at the genre/setting of cyberpunk, and examining how something that wants, at heart, to be countercultural and dismantling/critiquing the society we have, yet still continues to be predominantly white, cis, het and able, and rife with appropriation and misogyny even as it sees a resurgence. We’ll talk about whether, and how, we can reclaim it to tell more interesting stories that reflect its ethos of counterculture and dismantling of systems of power. Maki Yamazaki, Mr Jeremy Szal, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, Harriet Hutchinson, Mr Simon Potthast
Crafters Unite – a craft meetup Friday 11:45 AM
A craft space for any and all crafters to get together for a chat, to show off their work and bring and swap supplies. Miss Judith Taylor, Jane Barnett
Sexuality in Bioware, Friday, 11:45 AM
Sexuality in Bioware video games, including Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Emily Marlow, Avery Delany
I mean how is a person to choose? Avery Delany’s panel last year on Queer Coding In Disney was astounding but Bioware leaves me cold, I know a little about toxicity in fandom and would like to know more… aside from direct experience of course. The comforts of home seems right up my street, and I fell for Hamilton on its arrival in the UK. And I do love a fountain pen.
Find out what I choose tomorrow. And this is just an hour’s worth. The only place I ever feel this conflicted is at San Diego. At least for Nine Worlds I can get there in half an hour on the bus.