SFX Weekender 2012 The Orbit Team February 7, 2012

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The stormtroopers wasted no time in commandeering the bridges. . .

After last year’s shenanigans at SFX Weekender, we were eager to do it all over again. Excitement levels were therefore approaching choppy levels last Friday, as Orbit’s UK team – featuring THE FALLEN BLADE author Jon Courtenay Grimwood and FATED author Benedict Jacka – boarded a train to Prestatyn, to attend the third SFX Weekender. The convention – hosted by Britain’s leading science fiction magazine Special effects – has quickly become one of Britain’s most anticipated SFF events, and this year has again been well attended by authors, editors, screenwriters and journalists, as well as TV stars from shows such as Red Dwarf, Torchwood and Doctor Who – not to mention hundreds of happy fans and cosplayers!

Orbit’s Anne Clarke on the edit panel

After settling into our chalets (an upgrade from last year as they had double glazing!) we watched our very own Anne Clarke on the How to get published panel and enjoyed the Kitschies Awards presented by Anne Perry and Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch. Later, we met INTRUSION author Ken MacLeod and SEEDS OF EARTH author Michael Cobley, and went to a party hosted by our friends at Tor UK.

On Saturday, once we had recovered from our cake and drinking from the night before, we got really stuck in the signs and signings. Mike, Ken and Benedict all signed fan books at the Forbidden Planet booth and participated in some pretty busy panel discussions! Benoît has debated genre definitions with other urban fantasy writers on the What is Urban Fantasy? panel, Mike asked if literature is the only place that still flies the flag of space opera, and Ken MacLeod discussed apocalyptic fiction on the We are all doomed! panel, making some interesting points about the class aspects of survivalist fiction and “comfortable catastrophe”.

Later, we teamed up with our esteemed colleagues from Gollancz to throw a party (probably setting a world record for “number of people crammed into a Pontine chalet” in the process), before heading to the main stage and throw some very dodgy passages to Craig Charles’ legendary DJ set. The dance floor was a surreal mix of fans, authors, and a diverse assortment of aliens, robots, and superheroes.

We all had a great time, and here are some pictures to prove it!

Mike Cobley signs books for fans (including Death apparently) at the Forbidden Planet booth
Benedict Jacka (far left) during his panel on urban fantasy
Benedict Jacka (far left) during his panel on urban fantasy
Ken MacLeod (second from right) chats with a fan
Ken MacLeod (second from right) chats with a fan
James Long and Anna Gregson
James Long and Anna Gregson took the time to hang out with famous faces. . .
The Orbit/Gollancz party proved so popular that the crowd spilled onto the balcony!
The Orbit/Gollancz party proved so popular that the crowd spilled out onto the balcony!
Somewhere in that party press, the Orbit UK crew are shaming themselves on the dancefloor.  We like to think that what we lacked in style, we made up for in enthusiasm.  .  .
Somewhere in that party press, the Orbit UK crew are shaming themselves on the dancefloor. We like to think that what we lacked in style, we made up for in enthusiasm. . .
It's funny how quickly it becomes normal to find yourself rubbing shoulders with huge scary robots
It’s funny how quickly it becomes normal to find yourself rubbing shoulders with huge scary robots
Jenni Hill from Orbit with one of Dr Who's ultra-scary Weeping Angels.  Luckily, it didn't come to life after the photo was taken!
Jenni Hill from Orbit with one of Dr Who’s ultra-scary Weeping Angels. Luckily, it didn’t come to life after the photo was taken!

We at Orbit UK send our big thanks to everyone at SFX magazine for organizing such a fabulous weekend! Roll on SFX Weekender 4. . .

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