Sunday, 12 February 2012

SFX: A Weekend Of Scifi Madness


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.


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.


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.


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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