Nine Worlds – Sunday

At long last, the end is in sight.

The Sunday of Nine Worlds is always a bittersweet affair, since although the convention is still going it’s already started to lose attendees, and the sad business of checking out interferes with your ability to go to stuff. I was also tired from DJing the Bifrost until the small hours and then getting up to get breakfast. However, I made sure that I made it to the 10am talk “Space Is An Ocean: Spaceship Design Considerations For Writers”.

This was given by the excellent Nick Bradbeer, a naval architect who managed to expertly balance information with humour as he talked about the considerations for naval ships and then in what way those could be extrapolated to create spaceships that would feel realistic in the mind of a reader. He covered several very interesting points, of which I thought the most fascinating was about fighters ships in space: why are they there? After all, fighters at sea have a distinct tactical purpose, as they can fly much faster than ships can sail and operate in a different medium. However, fighter ships in space are in the same medium as capital ships, and there’s no reason why they should be able to fly any faster. Of course, you can have reasons to have fighter ships – two examples he gave were if long-range sensors weren’t good, so they’d act as scouts, and also if capital ships were excellent at killing each other in warfare but had poor defence against smaller ships, so the big ships would stay back from each other and launch clouds of fighters or bombers – but you need to have thought through why.

Unfortunately I had to bail on the talk before he got to the promised addendum about airships for steampunk, as I needed to go and officially check out of the hotel before I appeared on the “Nine Worlds Podcast – Live”. However, on the way out I was lucky enough to briefly run into Claire North/Kate Griffin/Catherine Webb, who (as Kate Griffin) wrote the Urban Magic and Magicals Anonymous series, and whom as well as being a brilliant author and probably capable of kicking your arse via escrima is also one of the nicest people ever.

So anyway, Nine Worlds Podcast Live: indeed we were live, or at least three-quarters of us were: Misha, who’d co-ordinated the excellent Bifrost Cabaret and Disco the night before, was basically (and quite understandably) a semi-ambulatory hangover by this point thanks to too much alcohol and not enough sleep. However, Matt (a Nine Worlds crewer who is the podcast’s other host), myself and Jeannette Ng (whose debut novel Under The Pendulum Sun is coming out later this year) were all able to form cohesive and consecutive sentences. We hadn’t discussed beforehand what the topics of conversation were going to be and Matt decided to ask us about convention stories and roleplaying, which proved slightly unfortunate as neither Jeannette nor I have been to many conventions, and I’ve never really done any roleplaying (Jeannette does LARP, but not the tabletop sort). We did however hear stories about Matt’s goblin underpants helmet in something he played, we all talked about cats, and I shared my story of being the world’s worst mutant in the only role-play game I ever have played, a very simple X-Men one at Nine Worlds two years ago where I repeatedly catastrophically failed all dice rolls and finished by fatally phasing my head into a wall.

The last part of Nine Worlds for me was a talk on “Different Techniques of POV and the effect they have on the reader” by AC Macklin who has conveniently provided all the slides she used for it here. There was an awful lot of technical language, and I might have been a bit tired to understand it all, but it was still thoroughly interesting (and at least I have the slides to study at leisure!).

And that was it. Both Joe and I had decided that there was nothing else we really wanted to stay for, so we piled into my car and went back up the M1 (Joe fell asleep in the passenger seat, the bastard). And thus ended another (largely) brilliant weekend at Nine Worlds. It would be remiss of me not to mention all my non-panellist friends such as Jamie (whose attendance this year was a little more planned than a spontaneous Friday decision of “sod it, I’m catching the train down from Boulmer to go to a convention all weekend”, although she did end up staying at The Party Hostel again); Runalong and Hedwig; Lauren, whom I’d persuaded to attend and now appears to have decided that Nine Worlds is one of her favourite places ever; Jekri; and Hap, who did the BSL translation for my acoustic set at the cabaret last year (plus anyone else whom I’ve forgotten: my apologies).

I will be going back next year and look forward to meeting up with existing friends, as well as making new ones. If you can make it, I recommend that you do (early bird cheap tickets are only available until 31st August!).

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