The partying has barely finished for the ninth Sci Fi Weekender (SFW), but work has already started on their next invasion of North Wales for SFW-X. Much of the programming is still in its early stages, but some guests have already been confirmed already.
People often ask how the weekender is different to any of the other cons that seem to be take place every weekend around the country. SFW is not a convention or a ‘signing event’. Instead, the emphasis is on entertainment and providing a varied schedule of programming, so that there’s always something to do or see. An event review of SFW-6 can be found here.
The guests at SFW rarely sit behind tables signing autographs for a long line of people, but are on stage or talking to an intimate crowd. Sometimes, they can be found in the bar or wandering around.
It is the carnivalesque atmosphere and the shared enthusiasm that makes SFW so unique. And while there is drinking, there is also cosplay, music, dancing, karaoke, live bands, comedy, magic and fun.
The first guest for SFW-X is a legend who always goes down a storm wherever he appeares. He packs out any room he is speaking in, and everyone in convention can hear always him. That man is Brian Blessed.
Brian has a film, theatre and television career longer than some of us have been alive. He has appeared in Blackadder, Doctor Who, Flash Gordon (“Gordon’s ALIVE!”), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. His voice is so recognisable that it has been used on TomTom satnav devices! Brian is a natural raconteur, regaling fans with stories of his life and adventures, making him a guest always worth catching.
Next is a guest who was sadly unable to make the previous SFW due to work commitments, but has honoured his promise of coming along next year. Christopher Judge, most famously known for his role Teal’c in Stargate SG-1 (“Jaffa KREE!”) will be attending SFW-X. Judge has also appeared in Andromeda, Stargate Atlantis and The Mentalist.
Joining Brian and Christopher is the author David Gerrold, whose name has become synonymous with Star Trek, but who has done so much more.
David has worked on a dozen different TV series, including Star Trek, Land of the Lost, Twilight Zone, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Babylon 5, and Sliders. He is the author of Star Trek’s most popular episode: ‘The Trouble With Tribbles’.
Many of his novels are considered classics of the science fiction genre, including The Man Who Folded Himself, the ultimate time travel story, and When HARLIE Was One, which is considered one of the most thoughtful tales of artificial intelligence ever written. David is also a recipient of the Skylark Award for Excellence in Imaginative Fiction, the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Horror, and the Forrest J Ackerman lifetime achievement award.
Several other top authors have also been lined up for SFW-X:
Richard Dinnick is the creator and writer of Rob: Young Robin Hood. He is a television writer for shows such as Thunderbirds Are Go! He written several books for Doctor Who including Underwater War, Myths & Legends and The Missy Chronicles. Richard has written prose, scripts and comics for Sherlock Holmes, Stargate, and Sapphire & Steel.
Paul Finch is a former police officer and journalist, turned best-selling crime writer, and is the author of the DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg and DC Lucy Clayburn novels. Paul has written extensively in fantasy and science-fiction, including for Doctor Who. However, he is probably best known for his crime/thriller novels, specifically the Heckenburg police-actioners, and the Clayburn procedurals.
Emma Newman is a fantasy novelist, having written Between Two Thorns and After Atlas, and won the British Fantasy Society award for Best Short Story in 2015 for A Woman’s Place. Emma also co-writes and hosts the award-winning podcast Tea and Jeopardy, which involves tea, cake and mild peril.
Emma’s husband and fellow writer Peter Newmanis the author of the Vagrant Trilogy: The Vagrant, The Malice and The Seven, and sometimes pretends to be a butler for the Tea and Jeopardy podcast
Bryony Pearce fled her real job in 2004 to become a writer, a move which is so far working out pretty well. Her books include Angel’s Fury, The Weight of Souls, Phoenix Rising, Phoenix Burning, Windrunner’s Daughter, Wavefunction and Savage Island.
Thursdays are normally the quieter arrivals night, but this time SFW-X will feature the inaugural ceremony of the SFW Awards on Thursday night. This award ceremony will be celebrating the very best in science fiction and fantasy.
The SFW Awards ceremony will be a red-carpet affair, where Royalty or VIP Red ticketholders will join authors, actors and writers for a star-studded party where awards will be presented in a number of categories, eight of which will have been voted for by the fans.
So join us (resistance is futile) in March 2019 for Europe’s largest and best science-fiction festival; SFW-X, the tenth anniversary of the very best in science fiction and fantasy.
SFW will take place at Pwllheli in North Wales, on 28th – 31st March 2019.
Tickets can be either booked online or by ringing 0207 097 1521.
All photos by Peter Gatehouse.