From 7th-9th August this year I’m going to be at Nine Worlds in London, the self-proclaimed ‘London Geekfest.’ I have never been to a convention before, ever. Why? Because from what I’ve seen, most of them in this country consist mainly of ‘turn up, queue, pay to have your picture taken with an actor/listen to an actor talk’. Which is fine, but that’s not something that particularly interests me. I’m not an actor, I have no aspirations to be an actor, and I’m not massively interested in the physical processes of creating a TV show.
Nine Worlds is different.
The thing that drew me to Nine Worlds was that when I looked at their site to see what they had in 2014, there was a veritable plethora of panels and discussions on a whole host of different topics, or ‘tracks’ as they refer to them. They had people appearing and talking, but often these would be creators – writers – or experts in the field. This was what interested me. I mean, let’s just take one example from last year, the A Song Of Ice And Fire track. Their events covered other authors talking about their opinions of the world and its depth of creation, and killing off beloved characters… but it also featured workshops on how to braid your hair like in the TV series, using linguistic software to identify how Martin gives characters their own identities through the choice of language they use, and representatives of the Sex Workers’ Open University giving their opinions on the depictions of sex work in the books. That’s just ONE TRACK, and I haven’t even mentioned everything they did.
What makes this even more exciting for me is that, quite apart from being there, I WILL BE INVOLVED. A paltry two months after my debut novel was released I will be taking part in a convention and contributing. I find that somewhat exciting! As to what I’ll be talking about?
On Saturday morning, at some point between 9-9.45am (I don’t know exactly when yet) I’ll be giving a short, solo talk on Bisexual Erasure (no, not anything to do with the band). We live in a heteronormative society, but even if that view is challenged people all too often assume that the only alternative to heterosexuality is homosexuality, and bisexualism (and its related -isms, if they’re even acknowledged) are relegated to ‘phases’, or people who identify as such are dismissed as promiscuous and inevitably unfaithful. I’ll be hoping to challenge those viewpoints in this talk.
On Sunday morning at 10am I’ll be participating in a panel on ‘Disability & The Apocalypse’, discussing the roles of and challenges faced by disabled people in a post-apocalyptic environment. As someone who is registered disabled due to hearing impairment, and is shortsighted and colourblind (plus has difficult recognising faces, and has some autistic character traits) I’m often conscious that I am simply less capable than much of the population in many ways. I’ll be looking forward to discussing these issues with others in this panel.
I hope to see some of you there! I should, at least, be fairly recognisable.