So, yes, this year’s Nineworlds then… Last year was awesome, having all the things I like about Eastercon – the varied tracks, the cosplay, the fun workshops – but with an extra bit of buzz that made it my favourite con of the year. This year, excepting the dodgy service in the hotel, exceeded that.
Nineworlds is a very friendly con, and one that actively welcomes as many people as it possibly can; catering to a wide range of needs through communication badges, priority seating and as many other accessibility options as the excellent committee bods can think of. And if they haven’t already got it covered they’re very open to sorting things out once someone’s drawn their attention to it. And it’s this attitude, I think, that helps makes the con feel like such a relaxed and cheerful place.
The Radisson hotel, however, was distinctly unfriendly towards con peeps. This isn’t new – over previous conventions at the hotel there’s been a very noticeable shift in attitude towards con attendees over the weekend, most especially from restaurant and bar staff who will ignore anyone wearing a con badge, yet venture in unbadged and they couldn’t be more friendly and helpful. Which is a shame, because I’m quite fond of the hotel as a place generally. Fortunately Nineworlds has wisely chosen to shift venues next year, so here’s hoping the new hotel has nicer staff.
Another thing I really like about Nineworlds is the programme app. With so many tracks on offer, it can be a bit overwhelming sorting out what you’re doing when, but the app makes everything oodles easier. Especially when it comes to spotting triple bookings. :-) Now if they could just include a time-turner facility, I might get to see alllll the things as I missed a ton of things I wanted to do and a ton of people I wanted to see. Och well. On the plus side, I saw people I wasn’t expecting to and had all manner of interesting conversations which made up for it.
Panels, then. Due to overwhelming demand, many of the panels got packed out early, so getting there twenty minutes in advance was essential in some cases. The Friday myth panel was case in point with people getting booted out due to way too many people sardining in. Also Joanne Harris talked briefly to me before the panel and I totally did not fangirl. Honest. (She’s so cool!) Ahem, yes. Annnyhoo.
What was really fun, though, was the genre mashing panel (Dragatha Christie totally has to happen). Not only fun and highly entertaining, it was one of those panels that managed the perfect combinations of panellists (Zen Cho! Gaie Sebold! Adrian Tchaikovsky! James Oswald! James Smythe!) and if you weren’t a fan of the authors before the panel, you definitely were by the end of it. (There are now so many books on my kindle wishlist, I’m going to go broke, I swear…)
And then there was the sword fighting! I booked in for the Water Dancing with Syrio Forel workshop thingy as it was one of the things I missed out on last year, and oy, was it fun. (Not so much fun was having to demonstrate your skills in front of the class at the end. Argh! No.) Apparently I have fire but need to work on my technique… :-) Definitely a recommended thing to have a go at if you’re around for next year’s con…
Which I’ve already booked in for, because, really, that much awesome, you have to, don’t you. (Booking open here now! Doooooo it! You know you want to!) So huge thanks to the con volunteers for making it such a great weekend and here’s hoping that next year is even better!