And we certainly weren't the only ones who dressed up! My studio mate Lauren O'Farrell had knitted a giant hammer just for the occasion. Here she is with a sword-bearing Andrew Coulson on the bridge. The hotel (the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow) was cool; it had lots of bridges, glassy atriums, waterfalls, ponds and strange air ducts.
Photo from Lauren's Instagram
Of course, I was on the lookout for good hats, as always.
One of the great things about this year's Nine Worlds is that the organisers made a huge effort to make it welcoming and accessible to everyone, including children and famiilies. (That isn't always the case at conventions.) I was very pleased to arrive and find I had one SUPER FAN, who went absolutely wild with joy when she found out I was there. Here's Katie. I had so much fun walking into rooms and hearing her cry out, 'LOOK! IT'S SARAH MCINTYRE!!!!' I stayed overnight and in the morning, I'd planned to meet up with a bunch of people for breakfast. But I didn't realise that there were three different breakfast rooms, missed everyone, and had breakfast with Katie instead. Which was great. Here are our TOAST FACES.
You can see more photos posted by her dad, Martin Hand, over on his Flickr set.
Photo by Martin Hand
Publisher Gollancz hosted a party on Saturday evening called 'Promnado', where I got to meet writer Emma Newman, about whom I'd heard so much from Philip Reeve (who'd been on a panel with her at Bristol Con). I found out that she's recorded a series of podcasts, in a sort of gameshow format, called Tea and Jeopardy, and I'm looking forward to listening to them. And here she is with Gareth L. Powell, who was on a panel with me about Food in Science Fiction. Gareth was great; whenever things got a bit heavy, he'd crack a joke and have everyone laughing. Made me want to read his books.
The crowd was slightly different than my usual crowd: some of the comics people, a couple people from children's books, but mostly SF and fantasy people I didn't know. Which was cool, it's nice to branch out. The atmosphere felt a bit more politically charged than gatherings I go to, more along the lines of Laydeez Do Comics in the way people talk very academically of social issues, and it made me a little bit want to come out and say very un-PC things, just to be ornery. But most of the time it was great to see people being included so carefully. Although occasionally it was hard to maintain eye contact with everyone, ha ha...
For my CAKES IN SPACE event with Philip, it was the first time we'd run through it, since we can't really practice, when I'm in London and he's in Dartmoor. But it seemed to go pretty well, and the next time we'll be doing it is at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 23 Aug. At the end, I taught everyone how to draw Pilbeam the robot, one of the stars of the book.
Our audience was younger than our usual events, but I was impressed how even the youngest kids seemed able to follow along. And fun to see their parents drawing along with them. That's so important to me, seeing kids and adults drawing side by side. It makes the kids feel much more proud of what they're doing, and often surprises the adults, who might have thought they couldn't draw.
Here's Ludi Valentine, who was in charge of programming for children and families, and Ruth Ball, who was in charge of the Foods track of the festival, and chaired my Food in SF panel. (Thanks for all your hard work, and for coming along to our Cakes in Space event!)
Adela Terrell was one of the people who organised the children's activities and kept them all happy and busy. It cracked me up, watching her Spider-man son racing up and down the corridor in her high-heeled shoes.
One of the costume-related activities revolved around some blue plastic chips. Everyone got some in their registration pack and we could give them to people whose costumes we admired. At first I thought it was a bit weird, but then I came to realise it was a great way for shy people to tell other people they looked good, without worrying the other person would think they were hitting on them, or that they might be saying something inappropriate.
This Sharknado costume was pretty impressive. Sharnado Boy Max Edwards came along to the Comics Monsterclass I led with Philip Reeve. Our adult group was nicely mixed; some professional comics people with people who had never made comics. Philip and I gave them some tips for drawing comics, then led them in a four-panel Comics Jam. It's a bit like Consequences or Chinese Whispers: everyone spends five minutes drawing the first panel, we all pass our papers to the left and pick up with panel 2 on the next comics. So we ended up with a bunch of comics where each panel was drawn by a different person.
I'm coming out with a picture book this autumn, JAMPIRES, that's based on a Comics Jam I did with my friend David O'Connell. We've posted a guide to taking part and leading Comics Jams on our Jampires website: www.jampires.com. Feel free to print out the guide and use it if you want to do this with your friends, family, school, etc.
Some more people photos. Here's writer Sophia McDougall! I briefly reviewed her book Mars Evacuees at the end of this previous blog post; I really enjoyed it, and it's suitable for kids, perhaps slightly older than Cakes in Space.
Some more fine folk at Promnado: Emma Price, Andrew Ruddick, Simon Gurr and Emma Vieceli.
The best bit about Promnado was seeing Philip in EYE MAKEUP, with BLUE STREAKS in his hair. I'd already seen him wear blue lipstick at our pre-launch party, but... BLUE LIPSTICK. Ha ha, so awesome.
Before he got all spaced up, we ran into ,a href="http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/">Joanne Harris</a> (author of Chocolat, among other books), who'd just finished speaking on a panel. I follow her on Twitter - @joannechocolat - and she often says things that make me think.
Another person I love following on Twitter is @EwaSR (Ewa, pronounced 'ever'), and I discovered she's even taller than I am! By an inch. And she never fails to dig up the most interesting stuff on the Internet.
Another fun thing was getting to meet Emma Vieceli's collaborative comics partner, writer Malin Rydén, who'd come specially from Sweden. They're posting their comic BREAKS online as they go, then printing it up at the end. Here they are with a printed prologue.
So much of the hotel was nice, and the event spaces friendly, that this one anomaly threw me for a loop. Such a weird room, with a vending machine that didn't accept money. It's like Floor 7 1/2 in the film Being John Malkovich.
Huge thanks to writer Danie Ware for hosting us at the Forbidden Planet table and stocking Cakes in Space and Oliver and the Seawigs.
And an enormous round of applause for Jared Shurin and Anne Perry, the driving force behind Nine Worlds. (They were dressed up for the other days; sorry for catching you on the one day you were in civies, guys!) They are truly amazing people. Thanks for inviting me, Anne and Jared! And thanks to the big team who made everything go so smoothly.
My next events - on Friday - are at World Con, otherwise known as LonCon3, and you can find out more over on their website here.