Features | Written by Ed Fortune 18/08/2014


London’s Nine Worlds Geekfest is rapidly becoming one of the high points of a British fan’s calendar. Only in its second year, the main draw for Nine Worlds is its diversity; it’s all encompassing, all welcoming approach draws people from across the nation to meet up at the Radisson Blu Heathrow and geek out. The programme for Nine Worlds reads like a wish list of things that those who are decidedly not part of the mainstream would like to see.

In addition to Comics, Cosplay and Film Festival tracks, this year’s event also featured LGBTQAI Fandom, Podcasting, Food Geekery and Fan Fic channels, as well as many more. This sort of spread pretty much guaranteed that even the most focused of people would have something to watch, see or interact with.

Inclusivity is the key to the Nine World’s experience; the organisers worked very hard to generate clear and open policies that meant anyone could join in. This included a special ‘tag’ system so one could indicate if they wanted to be left alone or were only comfortable amongst friends. Badges denoting which pronoun you preferred to be referred to by were also available for those so inclined and these were adopted by a good number of attendees.

Nine Worlds draws from both the more commercial ‘pay on the gate’ shows and the traditional ‘lots of panels and discussion’ styles of convention common to the scene, being both packed with intelligent discussion, panels, workshops and lectures, but also plenty of provision for cosplayers and those looking for a spot of geeky shopping. The atmosphere leaned more firmly to the latter; inclusive it may be, but this was an event for those keen to see Kieron Gillen extolling the finer points of Alan Moore’s The Watchmen or learn circular Gallifreyan, rather than those looking for a simple family fun day out. Those with kids however, would find plenty to keep to small ones entertained.

Some of the tracks were better organised than others; the literary track “All of the Books” took centre stage and was slickly produced. It also attracted the great and the good from the genre world, including the likes of Gail Carriger, Scott Lynch and Paul Cornell. Those feeling particularly social got a chance to mingle with these bestselling authors at the Gollancz Prom Party, which also gave out free drink as well as something even better… free books!  The Steampunk track, despite being located in one of the farthest corners of the hotel, was packed with some brilliant events, including one workshop on building corsets in an hour, which went down very well indeed. Other tracks weren’t quite as tight or suffered from a lack of exciting guests, but the joy of Nine Worlds is that it is lots of little conventions under one big roof so there’s always something worth going to see.

Not everything ran smoothly, of course, and they are some niggles. Registration on the Thursday was surprisingly short, only running for a few hours which left late arrivals disappointed and anxious. The venue itself suffered from a few issues. Despite a discount and special menu, bar prices were still very high (even for London), which meant that the nearest fast food restaurant did very well for itself indeed. Convention goers were also surprised to discover that one of the suites had been rented out for a private function on the Sunday, which did seem a little odd.

These are relatively minor issues for such a young convention however. The broad range meant that those geeks looking to sharpen their knowledge had plenty of opportunity to do so, and those with a more social leaning were afforded every chance to make new friends. Each separate element is clearly improving and there is growing demand for more events of this nature. We can’t wait to see what it will be like in the future as this year’s event was very good indeed. Those considering Nine Worlds as their UK nerd adventure of choice would be strongly advised to give it a go.

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Photo Credit: Anne Davies


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