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Sunday, 12 February 2012

SFX: A Weekend Of Scifi Madness



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Last weekend, we went to Wales. Not, as we usually do, to camp or walk up mountains. But to attend a science fiction convention, the SFX Weekender.

I'd never been to anything like this before, so I didn't really know what to expect. A friend won free tickets, and I do enjoy reading a lot of fantasy and sci-fi books, so it sounded like it might be a fun use of a weekend. There was a packed schedule: films and TV screenings, various talks and events, as well as a bar and a shopping area full of small stalls. There was a quiz one night, where we somehow managed to come fourteenth out of about a hundred teams (hint: it wasn't down to me). And just wandering around the site was entertaining of itself, as there were loads of people dressed up as their favourite characters - from Darth Vader to the daleks.

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I went to a few discussion panels where authors and other artists took on a diverse range of topics. Elf Preservation considered whether fantasy books require invented species of strange creatures; It's Not A Story, It's A Map addressed the ubiquity of maps inside the cover of most epic fantasy novels; What Makes British Comics Unique gave a lot of interesting insight into the difference between the US and UK comics scene; We're All Doomed! was about the increasingly-popular (post)apocalyptic fiction.

But the highlight for me was watching Just A Minute played by four speculative fiction authors - including China Mieville, who just happens to be one of my favourite writers. The topics were all fantasy-and-scifi related, and the writers really got into the spirit of the game as played on Radio 4.

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We also went to a few screenings, including an hour-long session of sci-fi shorts (which introduced me to the idea of comedy sci-fi), and a singalong showing of the musical episode of Buffy.

If you're at all into sci-fi, fantasy, or horror you might well enjoy something like this. I'm already hoping to win more tickets next year!

My first novel, Rebellion, is a fast-paced fantasy adventure. If you want to get a free copy, just sign up for my mailing list today or tomorrow.

6 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

Those first two pictures really made me laugh, especially the guy apparently doing repairs on the dalek!

Stephanie V said...

I wish they'd had these sorts of things when I was so into F and SF back in the 70's. Well, maybe they did. I never got to go to one...lucky you!

Dave King said...

Like Jenny, I laughed, but it does sound to have been an extraordinarily fascinating time.
Speaking of extraordinarily, I have signed up for a copy of your book - which seems an extraordinarily generous offer. I thank you in advance.

Jules said...

This looks fascinatingt - and great fun too. (I'd love to get to Comic Con one day - how sad am I!)

A Cuban In London said...

I still remember when I was hooked on sci-fi. This post, then, took me down memory lane. I went off it bit bit, don't know why, but I guess it had to do with the "fantasy" side of it.

A few year ago I met a fellow who ran a sci-fi film festival in London, in Leicester Square, to me more exact. One of the screenings took place from like 12 midniht until 6 in the morning, with a variety of short and feature films in the schedule.

Thanks for the nice article and the memories.

Greetings from London.

Rachel said...

It sounds a cross between very disconcerting, and highly entertaining - as you say, a good use of a weekend!

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