So, you might be wondering, what's this 'Nine Worlds' thing people are talking about? Well, we're a group of sci-fi convention fans putting together a weekend-long, multi-genre, residential GeekFest in London next summer, on August 9th-11th. We've named it Nine Worlds GeekFest. The idea behind Nine Worlds is to create a large fan-run multi-genre geek event in London. For years we've been going to huge US sci-fi cons like Dragon Con and GenCon and SDCC, and we got to wondering why nothing like that exists in the UK. France can drum up over 20,000 sci-fi fans for Utopiales, even Finland can find 15,000 fans for FinnCon. But when it comes to large fan-driven residential multi-genre sci-fi cons in the UK, pickings are pretty slim.
That said, we're not really a sci-fi con either; we're more than that. We started off self-defining as a sci-fi con because there aren't really any other models (or words) for what we're trying to create. But we always intended to be inclusive of all kinds of things from board games to costumes to Doctor Who fandom to skeptics. As we're been developing the project, the label Sci-Fi Con has been fitting less and less well, and eventually, we decided that GeekFest is a better description. And while there'll be lots of sci-fi/fantasy TV/film & lit stuff going on at Nine Worlds, there'll be even more other stuff like science and creative writing and film making, that have no direct link to sci-fi (other than a degree of overlap in fan bases).
We're really looking to make Nine Worlds about fan-led events, and having conversations with creators (writers, directors), rather than focusing on merch and celeb signings. The merch and celeb market feels pretty well covered by the soulless corporate expos. We've rented out the entire conference space and hotel rooms of two large neighbouring Heathrow conference hotels for the weekend. So, we have lots of space, which is great because we've got lots and lots of content organised into a couple of dozen tracks.
Some of our GeekFest Tracks are being run as mini-cons in their own right under the Nine Worlds umbrella, and some are run as discussion streams hosting conversations on aspects of particular fandoms. Some are put on by fandom clubs looking to introduce their passion to new fans, and some are hosted as taster events for other fan-based conventions that run at other times of year.
Diversity and inclusion are important foundations for the event we want to create, wide ranging in not only scope of content, but in attendance. Specifically, we're aiming to dump the sexism that infests many geek spaces and sci-fi cons. We've got a strong anti-harassment policy and we'll work hard to make Nine Worlds a safe space for women, LGBT+ people, people with access issues, and other groups that are often marginalised at geek/fandom events.
All proceeds from the Nine Worlds convention will go to our charity partner English PEN, a charity that supports persecuted writers around the world and is the UK's oldest human rights organisation. None of the Nine Worlds organising team are being paid for their work.
Oh, and where does the name Nine Worlds come from? Well, we liked it because it sounded inclusive, like lots of things are going on in one space. We always intended for Nine Worlds to be home to many strands of geekery and fandom. And we also liked it sounding kind of outer spacey and sci-fi. But the name actually refers to the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology, including Asgard (home of the Gods) Midgard (Earth), and Jotunheim (home of Giants). And our mascot, Ymir, is a cuddly Frost Giant from Jotunheim. So, insofar as Nine Worlds has an aesthetic, its soul is born from Norse mythology.