Nine Worlds 2013 – London Geek Fest

A little background, before I jump into telling you what an amazing time I had last weekend at the Nine Worlds geek fest in London… It’s perhaps no surprise, given the PhD/blogging/memes/ex-programmer thing that I am… well… a geek. And that my partner is a geek. And that we geek together. A lot. We are technology obsessing, board gaming, computer gaming, sci-fi watching, fantasy reading, stuff collecting, card carrying geeks. And we’re proud of it.

You can imagine our excitement when we found out about the Nine Worlds convention – a weekend of ALL the geekery, where expensive signings and meet and greets had been replaced by workshops and talks on a huge range of topics – literature, sci-fi, vampires, skepticism, Game of Thrones, knitting, Joss Whedon, robotics, maths…. and so on. Sure there were expensive signings if that’s what you wanted, but the focus of this con seemed to be different – there seemed to be a real focus on discussion and learning. Pair that with a clear commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive space for ALL geekdom, and we were sold.

You can imagine my excitement when I found out about the geek feminism and queer content tracks, and realised “hello educational development trip!” and “I have research budget left for this year!”. It was settled. We were off to Heathrow for a weekend to learn all the things, and spy on some awesome cosplay to boot. But mainly learning. Learning can involve discussions of feminism in the Whedonverse, right? And as such, re-watching Firefly (AGAIN!) is helping me write my thesis? Maybe?

On a sensible level, I did find a lot of it very useful for my own work. In particular the discussions of inclusiveness in geek spaces (any and all geek spaces, not specific arenas) and Laurie Penny’s session on cybersexism really spoke to me. I’ve been frantically making notes on these which will no doubt end up feeding into the early chapters of my thesis. Maybe they’ll feed into a blog post here too, who knows? I have a draft post written up about the Power of Blogging session I attended on Friday night – that one was just incredible! I’m hoping to get that up in the next week or so, meme-chapter progress permitting.

On a silly level, the sessions not related to my research were all great fun. The Judge Dredd fanfilm Judge Minty was all kinds of awesome on Saturday morning, and just cemented my need for some kind of Dredd-cosplay. Mathematically modelling the zombie apocalypse was equal measures awesome and terrifying. Want some free advice? Run away if you want to survive, and don’t engage with the zombies. I’ve seen the graph. Don’t believe me?

You’re welcome. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Hopefully we’ll make it back to Nine Worlds 2014 – though August next year is looking like a busy month already, what with other festivals and holidays being planned right now. I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll make it work somehow, and that maybe… just maybe… I’ll have some lovely Dredd armour to wear too.

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