Yes, last weekend was the 2014 Nine Worlds Geekfest - at a rather posher hotel under the Heathrow flightpath than last year. And this time round there was OFFICIAL SMUT!
Yes, this year Kristina and Zak ran a workshop on Friday night: Geek Lust: how to write a sex scene. Due to tech problems (!) they ran out of time, but we had a rundown of the different erotica genres out there followed by a really interesting exercise where we took an excerpt from one erotic genre (steampunk say, or lesbian spanking), and then had to turn it into another genre (paranormal, M/M historical romance) by changing telling detail/attitudes/dialogue vocabulary. It was a reminder that erotica is much more than gymnastics with lube - World-building matters.
The workshop was followed by a Smut Slam in which 10 of us read from our work - and no kidding, there was a really high standard of writing. I read a previously unheard and unseen excerpt from Cover Him with Darkness ... in which Azazel does something bad. Again.
Conventions of course have lots of games and discussion panels and filmshows and presentations. Some of my favourites were:
- Choose your own documentary - an interactive real life exploration of the old CYOA gaming books ... and what happened when the documentary-maker found pages from a child's diary in a second hand fantasy book. Funny, nostalgic and moving - catch it at the Edinburgh Festival!
- Jane Fae on Policing the Internet - a journalist's exploration of the (British) legal limits and pitfalls of putting edgy material online, and a call for a paradigm shift in the laws we make. The program highlight of the weekend for me! From my notes: Did you know that anything you write in e-space counts legally as "published" and therefore falls under the Obscene Publications Act? Yes, that includes private messages, e-mails and texts! Did you know that there are approx 2000 prosecutions p.a. under the Extreme Pornography Act - of which 90% are for depictions of acts with animals - which produce only about 70 convictions annually? Did you know there are a number of activities that are perfectly legal to DO in Britain - fisting for example- but if you take or own or download a photo they can put you in prison?
- Emma Byrne on the Neuroscience of Swearing. (It has among other things, a genuine analgesic effect.)
I met friendly SF writer Ian Watson and had a feel of his tentacular staff, *ahem*. I met up with Anna Sky and Charlie Forrest and we recorded a podcast together :-) I'll let you know when it's released!
I hung out with Jareth the Goblin King:
And Martial Law:
And suffered police brutality at the hands of Judge Dredd:
Cosplay is fantastic fun! Next year I really need to get my act together and go as as something other than "smutwriter". In fact I - like so many - am feeling the call of Steampunk...
Because who can resist the lure of tiny robots eating knitted cupcakes?