lullula: (White peacock)
[personal profile] lullula
I know I literally only just put up my Eastercon report (so late, I am sobbing), but now I’m posting another con report! This time in a reasonable time frame!

So, Nine Worlds Geek Fest, it was a bit of alright.

This was a multimedia, multi-track convention that went on down in Heathrow in the Radisson and Renaissance hotels. It was its first year, so before I went I was pretty unsure of how it would work out and how having SO MUCH going on would work with however many attendees it attracted.

The short answer – it all worked out really well!

The longer answer, is under the cut!

I went with Mum this time (which is nice since she missed Eastercon!), and we travelled down on the Thursday. We had no trouble getting there, or to our Travelodge (which has improved on previous Eastercons by HAVING FREE WIFI!). I promptly (hAha) wrote an essay for my current OU course and we got ready for the con the next day.

And by promptly, I’m sure you all know I mean I was still writing that fucking thing by the time the con itself started – so unfortunately I missed the beginning of the con! I’m still bummed about that, but Mum and I eventually arrived at the Renaissance and checked in. It was super fantastically easy! A case of walking up to the desk, giving our names and then walking away with a badge and a goodie bag!

Unlike other cons I’ve been to, Nine Worlds marked off the day(s) you were there for, and then let you loose with sharpies to write your own name. I actually think this is a really good idea, because it lets you put down what you want people to call you rather than just whatever name you pay/register with. Also y’know, you can add your Twitter or Tumblr or whatever as well, and that’s neat! I imagine if you wanted, you could put down preferred pronouns? But it would involve people squinting at your badge, so maybe not.

Programme and badge looked like this:

And no, unfortunately, they didn’t have glitter pens. That was me adding glitter eyeliner (which was a theme for this con! ALL THE GLITTER).

After having a brief look around the Vendors’ Room, it was time for a programme stuff!

Legal Regulation of Robots - a talk by Lillian Edwards on the complications of classifying and writing laws for more robots. Very interesting! I think it’ll be very interesting to watch how the next 5 or 10 years work out in terms of robots and how the law views them.

Fictional Vampires, Real World Problems - this was more of a seminar, I guess? Ollie (who is so super cute, gosh) introduced the topic, threw out a couple of questions, and then Hell erupted and vociferous fans all told each other exactly how they thought vampires live. It was kind of amazing, and we managed to cover a lot of topics, highlights including:
  • Would a vampire feed a human a specific diet if it affected the taste of the blood? (Like a foie-gras farm but with humans)
  • If vampires were part of the mainstream world, how would employment work? Would we quickly end up with a society where vampires were CEOs and shit because they have ALL THE EXPERIENCE? Would we have to change our employment model? Is it fair to only give vampires night shifts and unsocial hours?
  • If they do hate the Sun, do they all live in places where you get a constant night? (A la 30 Days of Night)
  • No, seriously, do they slosh if they drink too much?
  • What are they drinking? Blood or life force?
    And we didn’t include this but maybe we should have…
  • Just why ARE they so dreamy? *siiigh*

    Writing Fantastic London - a creative writing workshop by Tony Keen, around the topic of London as a fantastical setting. It was a really neat talk, mostly running through the books on his list (which I would type up, if anyone wants? I assume someone’s already posted it somewhere though). There was then some time to think up, discuss and write ideas around the topic. Mum busied herself writing Bedlam (see last entry!), whereas I wrote like, 5 lines inspired by a Welcome to Night Vale esque London. It was gonna involve blood fountains. Uh, let’s move on…

    ETA here are links to Tony Keen's reading list for this panel, with fantastic recs and rousources and also a link to the story that Mum wrote. :)

    After that panel, we went back to the Travelodge (via Dominoes! Mmmm, over priced pizzaaaa).

    The morning of Saturday, we had intended to get up nice and early, which we sort of managed? I decided to spend the day in an Angel from Night Vale closet cosplay:

    HA I look kinda dumb in that photo, but I think I looked pretty cool! It was a subtle look, at least compared to my original make up: Sooooo many eyes. 7 eyes was too much to get on a bus with, I decided, so I went with the three on my forehead!

    Anyway, we actually decided to drive along to the con, and got there in time for:
    Aliens, Mummies, Monsters and Mermaids - a talk by Paolo Viscardi on the various aliens, mummies, monsters and mermaids that have turned up around the world, and how NONE OF THEM are aliens, mummies, monsters or mermaids. I really enjoyed it! Paolo is a very good speaker, and it was fascinating to see some of the things that have turned up and the hype and buzz that can surround things.

    It’s Not Just Pretty White Boys: Problematic Issues in Fanfic - I think this was actually the first panel I went to! A group were meant to be talking about issues in fanfic, but it started with a lack of representation in canon? I don’t really know why, but it was kind of interesting. This is about the only thing I remember over the whole weekend as having been problematic for me – in discussing the lack of POC in fanfic, some of the panel managed to be pretty othering. I think it was a case of meaning well, but still, white privilege needs to be checked a little harder next time, and if there is going to be discussion about the sea of beige which makes up most fanwork, perhaps white people shouldn’t preach. Still, the discussion about the fetishizing of gay sex was interesting as well the talk around the heterosexist nature of a lot of fic.

    Owning the Servers: AO3 and OTW in a post-‘50 Shades’ world - a talk by Lucy Pearson about the beginnings of, the aim and current running of the Organisation of Transformative Works. I hadn’t really known the proper beginnings of the OTW, despite being on LJ during Stikethrough ’07, and seeing the purges of It was really fascinating to see what the organisation does, its aims and how AO3 began and now works. I really appreciate AO3, and knowing more about the OTW now, I am incredibly glad that they exist!

    At this point, Mum and I left the con to go for a very nice dinner with my big brother, in a Richmond pup. Guuuys, I’ve never seen Richmond park before! It’s so pretty!
    Anyway, here's me and Matthew at the pub:

    As it happened, we didn’t spend too long together, so we managed to get back to the con for more programme stuff! I’d wiped off my angel makeup to go out for dinner, so I redid it, but slightly different:

    Neat, huh?

    Unfortunately the door to the fanfic room was locked when I tried to sneak in to the fanon panel, so I missed that )= For a while, Mum and I hung out in the singalong, and sang… along…

    After that I intended to go to Wonder Women! A docu about the untold story of American superheroines, but there more cool people were going to a fanfic panel, so I went to that too!

    The Joy of Writing Sex - yes, FList, I was wondering what I was doing there as well, since I don’t actually write? But, lmao, if I ever do, I shall feel more confident about it! This panel was pretty cool and filled with useful advice about how to write sex scenes. Maybe one day I’ll use that advice in more than just a commenting-on-fic way!

    After that, I headed down to the Queer Disco and boogie’d down very hard. So hard, you guys, you’ve never seen so much boogie.

    And so, Sunday! This was the day I subtly dressed like a space explorer from the 60’s or something (you know, silver dress, holographic leggings, silver boots, that’s 60’s, right?). It was unfortunately the last day of the con! )=

    Putting The Fem in Slash: Queer Female Visibility in Fanfic - Another panel talk on favourite fem pairings, who should be slashed, crossovers, etc. It was kind of early in the morning, so I confess I was still a little out of it, haha. It was really good though! Lots of recs!

    Infrared Astronomy, and the Herschel Space Observatory - a talk by Dave Clements. It was set up as two separate talks which linked together. I’m not so sure I understood a huge deal about the infrared astronomy – except that we have CIB (Cosmic Infrared Background?) and that by looking at that, we can see many things which are invisible to an optical telescope – for example we can look through dust clouds! So that’s really cool. The HSO talk was more on the results from Herschel, and that was also fascinating. Overall I really enjoyed the talk, and the chance to grab 10,000 Herschel pens, haha.

    It’s Not Fanfic, It’s Literature - a panel discussing the perception of fanfic and whether it is or is not literature following in the tradition of rewriting older stories/myths. Interesting! There wasn’t a great deal skewed towards the kind of fanfic I would write – that is, short pieces of fluff with no authorial intent for them to stand as literature. Personally, I think self-definition is an important aspect of this, although it’s often seen that publication lends credence to what would otherwise be called fanfic and not literature. Very interesting!

    Pair of Fangs: age and family within the vampire mythos - two talks given by Ollie, one about family links – both to birth family and to blood family, and children vampires. I think they were both pretty light – that is, not an in depth academic discussion of the theories and ideas behind the concepts, rather examples of each and what the general tendency is within literature. Personally, I enjoyed them both a great deal, and I felt that at the end of the con, they both struck the right tone. I also enjoyed the discussion afterwards! And Ollie was a super sweetheart who gave me a True Blood bottle! Squee.

    Alternative Media: Non-Text Fanworks - another sort of mini-talk thing, by four different fans. We had some talk on podfics, photo-manips, needlework, interactive story telling and amigurumi. It was really interesting to hear how other people engage with fandom, and oh my god, you guys, the needlework! So talented and beautiful!

    And that was my last programme item of the day, really.

    Mum and I dipped into the singalong, and took part in an impromptu Dr Horrible re-enactment (with TWO Dr Horribles! That was fun. We left pretty soon after.

    I had a really fun time at the con, and I can’t wait to go back next year. I have some last bullet points, which I guess can be seen as feedback?

    Positive things:
  • The determined inclusivity – Nine Worlds didn’t shy away from shouting about the fact that the con is for everyone, and harassment wouldn’t be tolerated.
  • Longer panel times – so often an hour can feel rushed and you get the impression there is much more to be said, so 75 minutes did work well.
  • The variety of topics covered! It reminded me of Worldcon in its scope, and I was pleased there was so much to choose from! Especially as some of it wasn’t particularly sci-fi/geek oriented.
  • Each stream had its own room, which I thought was a fantastic idea.
  • The friendly and welcoming atmosphere – everyone seemed so happy to be there, and it was a very positive atmosphere!

    Negative things:
  • This may just be me, but omg I couldn’t figure out where the elevators were in the Ren?? Like, I missed a couple of panels until I found them. Maybe if the Renaissance is used again, could there be a sign? For those of us who are super incompetent?
  • I know people work Fridays, so maybe the con couldn’t have begun before it did, but I do feel like Saturday was PACKED with content, and then it petered out on Sunday. I don’t know if there’s a way to try and spread things more evenly, but it wouldn’t have been a bad idea, especially considering it’s quite expensive (or I think so? I don’t have a lot of money), it was a shame it fizzled out so much of Sunday evening.
  • I don’t feel like there was a proper beginning or end to the con, which is a shame. I’m not saying we need a super long opening and closing ceremony, but perhaps an official SOMETHING might be a good way to go? I think a last feedback and official closing thing might not be a bad thing to consider.
  • I seriously hate how far the con hotels are from reasonable food options (and from home, haha, it's like 6 or 7 hour drive) – by the Travelodge is a small community so you can get food there, but it’s either a £2.40 bus ride or 30/40 minute walk away, and if you don’t want to subsist on McDonalds or Co-Op food, that is an issue. There is no easy fix, and I’ve been moaning about it since the first Heathrow Eastercon, so I in no way blame Nine Worlds for this, but it’s still irritating!

    Finally, check out my swag:
  • Date: 2013-08-17 09:27 am (UTC)
    swisstone: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] swisstone
    Thanks for the kind words about Writing Fantastic London.


    lullula: (Default)

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