LONDON CALLING pt. 4 – Sunday at Nine Worlds

I only actually made one panel on the Sunday at Nine Worlds – “The Limitations Of A Strong Female Character” at 10am, where a panel of six (well, five and a moderator) discussed the difference between a “Strong Female Character” (i.e. a female who is physically strong, good at fighting etc) and a strong female character (i.e. a well-rounded and complex female character who may or may not be good at fighting but has her own agency and motivations and is basically a fully-realised person). There was much talk about how, too often, SFCs are basically reduced to being a stereotypical male character – physical tough, emotionally remote and so on – in a female body. The new Ghostbusters was obviously mentioned, but also the more recent development of Sansa Stark in the GoT TV series, as well as a whole bunch of others (the most intriguing one to my mind that I haven’t read is Baru Cormorant, who apparently fights her nation’s conquerers from within its own system – I’ll have to check that out).

Side-and-almost-completely-unrelated note: Tom Holt has written a hell of a lot of books, hasn’t he? (I didn’t know he was also K.J. Parker)

I really wanted to get to the “Tricking The Reader” panel at 11.45 but unfortunately actually checking out of my hotel room got in the way. Luckily I could dump everything in my car, but the Novotel could have also stored my luggage until I was actually ready to leave, which could have been really useful.

The next couple of hours after I’d checked out I spent mainly chilling out, writing a few more words of my current WIP, and checking out the vendors’ expo in the basement. It wasn’t huge but there were some good stalls there, including one selling cut acrylic necklaces (I got my wife one with a stegosaurus and a speech bubble reading “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”). Then at 2pm it was time for my final action of the convention: book signing at the Forbidden Planet stall!

Wearing glasses because contacts until 3am will knacker your eyes. Still had someone telling me I looked very different with glasses on. MY HAIR IS AS TALL AS THE REST OF MY FACE HOW CAN GLASSES MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

That guy sitting next to me is Gav Thorpe, current Black Library author for Games Workshop as well as a freelancer. I met him back in October 2015 at Nottingham Writers’ Club Scifi Evening, and I can confirm that he is an all-around Good Bloke. He was also involved in developing and writing about the various GW games I played as a teenager, which is kind of cool.

With the signings done, it was time to bid farewell to everyone I could find whom I knew, and begin to make my way back to Nottingham. It was also time to reflect on the convention as a whole, which was actually pretty easy.

I loved it, again.

I think that last year’s event may have had slightly more sessions that I was REALLY interested in, and there was more choice because of the different scheduling. However, this year’s scheduling meant that although you still of course couldn’t attend everything you had less of a problem of “I have to leave this one early to make the next one” or “I can either eat or make the next session I want to go to”. The venue worked better as well: better rooms in general, everywhere had microphones, the corridors were wider and so less crowded when moving from place to place. And on a purely personal note, I had a massive blast DJing: probably the most fun I’ve ever had doing it, which was a big boost to my opinion of the event in general.

I will be returning next year, and I urge you to as well. One thing that has come out of this year’s is the news that they made a massive shortfall in money (to the tune of nearly £20,000, or so I heard). Obviously that’s not the sort of thing that can be absorbed two years in a row, so I’m really hoping that the support for it grows even further next year because this is genuinely a wonderful experience run by wonderful people.

Also, if they get me back for the Bifrost Disco I might just be able to get you to dance to something atrocious like this…


MIKE BROOKS – Drowning Pool vs Psy: Let The Gangnam Hit The Floor

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