Described as a the mutant hybrid of a science fiction convention crossed with a TED talks conference, Nine Worlds Geekfest will bring together hordes of UK geeks for a 3-day celebration of geek culture on August 9-11, 2013 in London, UK.
As well as including the core elements of traditional science fiction conventions like literature and film, Nine Worlds seeks to broaden the scope of geekery to include many aspects of popular science and technology, while dispensing with the whole celeb photo and signing machine that turns many sci-fi events into all-day queuing marathons. As co-organiser Ludi Valentine explains, “Our guests are the writers, and creators, and scientists, the people who make awesome things happen, people with amazing stories to tell, and cool stuff to show you.”
Guests include over a dozen big names in UK Sci-Fi & Fantasy lit, like Cory Doctorow, Stephen Hunt, Charlie Stross and Catherine Banner and lots of Sci-Fi TV writers. On the acting side, we’ve got Chris Barrie (Red Dwarf), a couple of Harry Potter actors and a few Doctor Who/Torchwood actors. And we’ve got people like Rhianna Pratchett (creator of the new Tomb Raider game), Kieron Gillen (Marvel Comics author) and lots of scientists, filmmakers, artists and academics.
The Nine Worlds team has reached out to fandom organisations and niche conventions from around the country to put together a slate of content tracks covering many aspects of geek fandom.
Nine Worlds has organisations like the Victorian Steampunk Society (which run the world’s largest Steampunk event, Weekend at the Asylum) running a Steampunk track. London on Board (a 2000+ member board gaming society) is running a non-stop gaming and play testing of new games. Skeptic Magazine is running a full track of talks about Skepticism and the Royal Observatory is running a Space Exploration track. Durham University is sending their Harry Potter Studies instructors to lecture about Harry Potter academia. And lots more — even got smaller organisations like BUCK, fans of My Little Pony, are showing off their fandom.
The event also has a team of dedicated organisers who’ve managed fan content at other events on topics like Game of Thrones, Role Playing Games, Comics, Tolkien, Video Games, Doctor Who, Fanfic, Knitting and over a dozen more. Nine Worlds will also be host to the UK’s first academic conference on Geek Culture, with scholars gathering from around the country to discuss everything from Hacktivism to Alien Ecologies. And with dedicated Geek Feminism and Queer Fandom content tracks, Nine Worlds aims to be welcoming to groups that often feel excluded by traditional sci-fi conventions.
Nine Worlds will also have lots of entertainment running throughout the event, including themed social spaces, a sci-fi film festival, live-action quidditch, a steampunk ceilidh, lots of open board and role playing games, live music, Nerf War, comedians, magicians, an intergalactic casino, weekend-long LARP’s and social/party gaming.
Nine Worlds grew out of the organisers’ bafflement over why London doesn’t sport the kind of large-scale geek gatherings that exist in other parts of the world. Co-organiser Erich Schultz says, “As huge sci-fi fans ourselves, we and our friends been going for years to the massive American residential conventions like Dragon*Con and San Diego ComicCon. And we keep asking ourselves, ‘why doesn’t anything that cool exist in London?'”
In March 2013 Nine Worlds ran a Kickstarter fundraising drive that was 232% oversubscribed and raised £23,000 (the second most successful convention launch in Kickstarter’s history), demonstrating the huge interest for an event of this kind in London.
Nine Worlds Geekfest will run in two huge conference hotels near Heathrow Airport, on August 9-11 2013. Early Bird tickets are on sale for £75 until May 31.