My Nine Worlds Geekfest Schedule

UPDATE 30 July: Signing and room assignments added

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Here’s my schedule for the 2nd Nine Worlds Geekfest Convention, now (gasp!) only a month few days away:

 

Friday 8 August 15:15 – 16:30, County C&D

Superheroes and Superhuman: exploding the myth of the superwhathaveyou

Superheroes are everywhere these days, from comic books to literary novels to the Disney Store. How is society exploring what ‘super’ means, and how does that change depending on the suffix attached?

Nick Harkaway, Jenni Hill, Taran Matharu, Barry Nugent, Stephanie Saulter

 

Friday 8 August 22:15 – 23:30, Royal B

New Voices: Welcome to the class of 2014!

The evening showcase of new writers – one of last year’s most popular events – returns! Bring your drinks, bring your friends: this is your chance to find your next literary addiction. Fun and fast, New Voices is an opportunity for debut writers – if you know someone who would fit the bill, head over to Twitter and nominate them at @booksnineworlds.

MC: Stephanie Saulter

 

Saturday 9 August 11:45 – 13:00, Connaught B

Writing The Other – A workshop for writers

How do you write ‘the Other’ without falling into common traps, harmful tropes, and clichés? Back by popular demand after last year’s successful event, we will be exploring these issues in a writers’ workshop, with exercises, discussion and a Q&A.

Facilitator: Stephanie Saulter

 

Saturday 9 August 22:15 – 23:30, Royal B

New Voices: the class of 2014 continues!

More fun and fast-paced readings from the best new writers.

MC: Stephanie Saulter 

 

Sunday 10 August 11:45 – 13:00, Connaught B

Reading SF While Brown – Views on speculative fiction

For many of us, reading science fiction and fantasy was a formative experience — one that introduced new ideas, and shaped what we knew or hoped to be possible. But what imaginative leaps does a reader have to make to buy into worlds that don’t include anyone who looks or talks like them? And what impact does making that imaginative leap, time and again, ultimately have? Genre writers and readers talk about their experiences of reading SF while brown.

 Camille Lofters, Taran Matharu, Rochita Loenen Ruiz, Stephanie Saulter (moderator), Aishwarya Subramanian

 

Sunday 10 August 13:30 – 14:45, County C&D

X-Punk: punk as suffix, genre and state of mind

Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Grimpunk, Sandalpunk, Godpunk, Pinkpunk, Punkpunk… what’s nextpunk? Our panelists consider the next big thing – and the perils of the X-Punk genre lifestyle.

Djibril al-Ayad, Kim Curran, Mathew Pocock, Stephanie Saulter, M. Suddain

 

Sunday 10 August 14:45 – 15:45, Commonwealth West

Signing @ Forbidden Planet table

Gail Carriger, Stephanie Saulter, M. Suddain

 

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You can follow Nine Worlds news and updates on Twitter at @London_Geekfest.

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My WorldCon Schedule

UPDATE 26 July: Paradox book launch has been added!

UPDATE 18 July: I’ve received my final schedule for the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention (aka Loncon 3). Here’s what I’ll be doing even more:

 

Thursday 14 August 10:00 – 11:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCel)

Does the Future Need to Be Plausible?

One of the most common complaints about Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games is that the world she proposed was, at best, implausible. Collins is not alone is this. But to what extent do we need veracity from our imagined futures, and how much does the measure of ‘plausibility’ differ from reader to reader? Is a science fictional story diminished if it’s too divorced from the physical reality we live in? Is there a difference between a future we can see and a future we can only hypothesize in the abstract?

Howard Davidson (moderator), Janet C Johnston, Kin-Ming Looi, Ian McDonald, Stephanie Saulter

 

Friday 15 August 10:00 – 11:00, London Suite 5 (ExCel)

Kaffeeklatsch – Ken Macleod, Stephanie Saulter

 

Friday 15 August 16:30 – 17:30, Library, Fan Village (ExCel)

Paradox Book Launch

 

Friday 15 August 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCel)

SF: What It Is, What It Could Be

SF as a genre is both loaded and contested, bringing with it decades of controversies, assumptions, prejudices, and possibilities. What do the genre’s various practitioners and consumers think SF is? Are we speaking the same language, or talking past each other? How do perceptions of SF – in terms of who can write it, who can consume it, and what kinds of stories can find a market – create or reinforce realities? Is ‘core’ SF still about space exploration and colonisation, or is there room for other types of stories? If SF is ‘dying’, as we’re frequently told, what does that mean and in whose interests are the preparations for its funeral?

Tobias Buckell, Jeanne Gomoll, Ramez Naam, Alastair Reynolds, Stephanie Saulter (moderator)

 

Friday 15 August 22:00 – 22:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCel)

Reading – Stephanie Saulter

 

Saturday 16 August 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 5 (ExCel)

Race and British SF

Four years ago, Tricia Sullivan threw a spotlight on the gender balance of SF authors published in the UK, leading to a continuing conversation that is – perhaps – finally having an effect. However, although other aspects of representation have been mentioned in the course of this conversation, they have rarely been the focus, and in particular it can be argued that UK fandom and publishing have not talked enough about race. To use the same barometer as Sullivan, only one writer of colour has ever won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and so far this century only three have been shortlisted. Yet the success of diversity-led events such as Nine Worlds suggests the audience is there. So what else should publishers and fannish institutions in the UK be doing to support writers of colour? Whose work should Loncon attendees rush to buy in the dealer’s room? And whose novels and stories are we eagerly anticipating?

Dev Agarwal, Amal El-Mohtar (moderator), Tajinder Hayer, Stephanie Saulter, Russell Smith

 

Saturday 16 August 16:30 – 18:00, Autographing Space (ExCel)

Autographing 1Stephanie Saulter

 

Sunday 17 August 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 10 (ExCel)

You Don’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Commenting on the portrayal of Magneto in X-Men: First Class, Abigail Nussbaum noted that there is an “increasing prevalence of vengeful victim characters, who are condemned not for the choices they make in pursuit of revenge, but simply for feeling anger … There is in stories like this a small-mindedness that prioritizes the almighty psychiatric holy grail of “healing” – letting go of one’s anger for the sake of inner peace – over justified, even necessary moral outrage.” Which other stories – on TV or in books, as well as in films – follow this template, and whose interests do they really serve? Where can we find screen depictions of the power of anger, and/or other models of anger?

Abigail Nussbaum’s full review can be found here (although the discussion is intended to range wider than this single film or franchise, and include stories from any media).

Nin Harris, Martin McGrath, Mary Anne Mohanraj (moderator), Tansy Rayner Roberts, Stephanie Saulter

 

Sunday 17 August 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 9 (ExCel)

SF/F Across Borders

Genre writers such as Vandana Singh, Geoff Ryman, Tricia Sullivan, and Zen Cho are already travellers to other worlds. Many authors write as resident outsiders, and want to write their new homes as well as their old. How does the experience of moving between countries affect the writing of fiction? How can or should writers respond to the varying power dynamics of race, language and culture involved in such migrations? And how should readers approach the stories that result?

Jesús Cañadas, Glenda Larke, Yen Ooi Ms, Stephanie Saulter (moderator), Suzanne van Rooyen

 

Monday 18 August 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 14 (ExCel)

Paradox Book Discussion

A discussion of the science and fiction elements in the stories in the Fermi Paradox anthology from the authors who wrote them.

Pat Cadigan, David L Clements, Paul Cornell, Adam Roberts, Stephanie Saulter, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ian Whates (moderator)

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Many thanks to the organisers for such a brilliant itinerary! It goes without saying that I’m looking forward to all of my events. I can’t wait to see the full programme – it’s never too early to start despairing about one’s inability to be in two (or three, or four) places at the same time.

Nine Worlds News

Where have I been, where have I been?

Enjoying that rarest of phenomena, a proper British summer; selling my house (big moves afoot! more in a future post); rereading the Binary draft, collating thoughts — editor and agent, the ®Evolution Readers, and my own (again, lots of material for its own post here) — and commencing my own edit; all interrupted, for the past 36 hours or so, by a visit from the norovirus (who knew you could get the winter stomach flu in the summer?!?); and getting ready for the NineWorlds Convention, now only two and a half weeks away.

I jumped on the Nine Worlds bandwagon when it was running its Kickstarter back in February. The organisers billed it as ‘an unconventional convention’, with multiple tracks to accommodate all fans of the fantastic; from comics and cosplay, to gaming and Game of Thrones, to films and fanfic, to academia and, of course, books. If I’m honest, the thing that had me most worried was the sheer enormity of their ambition – could a first-time convention put together by a bunch of fans actually pull off something on this scale? But I made my pledge anyway, because I prefer grand ambitions to puny ones, and because I was really impressed by the con’s commitment to being thoroughly diverse and completely inclusive; to internalising the full breadth and depth of fandom, and making the event a place where everyone is welcome and safe, and no one feels marginalised. That, I thought, was well worth a punt.

I’ll report back after the event, but on both fronts the signs are good. The number of tracks is frankly mind-boggling, and they all seem really well programmed. The guest list is, to say the least, impressive. And judging by that programme and those guests and the regular bulletins we’ve been receiving, they’re doing what they promised and making it a con for everyone.

My appearance schedule looks like this:

  • Friday 9th August, 10:15pm: NEW VOICES SLAM SESSION. Short readings from nine of science fiction and fantasy’s most promising new authors! (Full disclosure – I suggested this one to the organisers, because there are always more authors wanting to read than can be accommodated, plus it’s hard for new authors to pull an audience on their own. So if it tanks, blame me. But it won’t. It’ll be great. I can’t wait. It’s on Saturday night as well, with a different line-up — go to both.)
  • Sunday 11th August, 10:15am: CAN’T TAKE THE SKY FROM ME: SCIENCE FICTION AND SPACE TRAVEL. It’s over fifty years since we sent the first humans into space. Are we still as excited about going to the stars? How have real-world concerns about the reality and practicality of space travel affected the genre? I moderate Charles Stross, Adam Christopher, Jaine Fenn, Ian Whates and Gavin Smith.
  • Sunday 11th August, 11:45am: RACEFAIL 101. The panellists discuss colonialism, xenophobia and racism in science fiction and fantasy, recommending the best works discussing these issues as well as discussing the problems we face in writing and reading SFF and what we can do about them. Anne Perry moderates me, Zen Cho, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, and Tade Thompson.
  • Sunday 11th August, 1:00 – 2:00pm: BOOK SIGNING. I’ll be racing from Racefail to the Forbidden Planet table to sign copies of Gemsigns – do drop by for a chat and a scribble.
  • Sunday 11th August, 3:15pm: WRITING THE OTHER. Last but by no means least, I’m joining Rochita Loenen-Ruiz to run this workshop as part of the Queer stream. The thinking is to follow on from some of the themes of the Racefail panel, looking broadly at issues of inclusion, diversity, and social justice in addition to the core LGBTQ focus. I’m told that signups are essential for this one; email queer@nineworlds.co.uk.

In addition, I’m definitely going to the launch party for Tom Pollock and Snorri Kristansson‘s new novels (The Glass Republic and Swords of Good Men respectively) at 8:30pm on Friday; to the panel on gender and sexuality at 8:30pm on Saturday; and then to the New Voices Slam at 10:15pm Saturday, assuming I’m still vertical. In between all of that I shall be spinning around like a top, trying to work out how to take in all the other great events.

Nine Worlds is being held at the Radisson and Renaissance hotels near Heathrow. Tickets are still available here, and you can follow them on Twitter; the event-wide handle is @London_Geekfest, the Books track is @booksnineworlds, the Queer track is @NineWorldsQueer, the Writing track is @9WorldsWriting … and there are more. Did I mentioned I’m impressed? I’m impressed.

FantasyCon here I come

I’m off to FantasyCon in Brighton on Friday morning. My first ever genre convention, and I’m not entirely sure what to expect. I never felt moved to go to them as a reader; I never really understood how my enjoyment of fantastic fiction was going to be increased by propping up the bar next to a costumed stormtrooper. Or an orc. One of the interesting things about becoming a writer, though, is that you find yourself having a different, and often more democratic, perspective on things. Could I, in my wildest dreams, dare to hope that one day I might go to a convention where fans dress up as characters I created? It’s very, very, very unlikely – I’ve got a better chance of being hit by lightning in this unseasonably stormy September weather – but all of a sudden it seems less a questionable eccentricity and more like the ultimate accolade.

Plus there are the educational and community aspects. I don’t feel like I’ve really found my feet yet – this whole first-book-about-to-be-published, struggling-through-the-second-book, is a weird experience. It’s so different to my former life. It seems to be going well, but how can you tell? What do you compare it to? I don’t know anybody else who does this for a living. I don’t even know if I do it for a living, or if it’s just a strange, fortuitous little bubble of time, in which I get to live my fantasy life of being a writer for a few months, maybe a year or two, before the money runs out and the books don’t sell well and I have to go back to having a proper, full-time job. Back in the real world.

So roll on FantasyCon. There’ll be pundits and publishers, bloggers and fans. But I’m particularly looking forward to meeting other writers – both published and aspiring, those who can do it for a living and those who do it purely for love. With any luck I’ll get some tips and tricks for dealing with the ups and downs, the disappointments and reversals (and – who knows? – maybe even the successes) to come. I want to know if I’m the only one finding their second novel problematic and intimidating in a way the first one never was. If I’m alone in swinging from the elation of a perfect paragraph at noon to the despair of garbled dialogue at midnight. In short, I’m hoping for the reassurance, the camaraderie, of like minds.

And maybe even an orc or two.

  • I love stories.
    My new novel, Sacred, is all about them. Publication info will be posted as soon as I have it.

    In the meantime check out Gemsigns, Binary and Regeneration, available wherever good books are sold.

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  • UK edition

    REGENERATION

    The 3rd Book of the ®Evolution

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    BINARY

    The 2nd Book of the ®Evolution

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    GEMSIGNS

    The 1st Book of the ®Evolution

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    REGENERATION

    The 3rd Book of the ®Evolution

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    BINARY

    The 2nd Book of the ®Evolution

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    GEMSIGNS

    The 1st Book of the ®Evolution

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