The Black Li­brary Week­ender

7- 9 Novem­ber, The Not­ting­ham Bel­fry Ho­tel Dave Bradley at­tends the an­nual event for fans of Warhammer fic­tion

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Conventions -

Although they started out as tie- in fic­tion based on a table­top wargame, the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 books from Black Li­brary are a bona fide phe­nom­e­non. They’ve be­come New York Times best­sellers and now lead the de­vel­op­ment of the Games Work­shop uni­verse as much as they are based on it. There’s a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship be­tween the games, the nov­els, au­thors, play­ers and read­ers, hooked to an im­mer­sive body of cross- me­dia sto­ries, so it’s per­fectly suited to the con­ven­tion ex­pe­ri­ence. So for the third year fans of Warhammer lit­er­a­ture gath­ered in Not­ting­ham to meet au­thors and chat about Space Marines and the Horus Heresy in re­laxed sur­round­ings.

For­get cos­play or loud par­ties: the ar­range­ment was a wel­com­ing and smoothly run set of talks, with sem­i­nars, sign­ings and ac­tiv­i­ties filling the three days. Fri­day was for pre­mium ticket hold­ers only and was tar­geted at as­pir­ing writ­ers, its work­shops of­fer­ing the chance to pitch ideas to the Black Li­brary gang.

The rest of the week­end saw a de­lib­er­ately mod­est af­fair spread around the ho­tel’s ground floor, pro­vid­ing am­ple op­por­tu­nity to have a pint with the likes of Dan Ab­nett, Gra­ham McNeill, Guy Ha­ley and many more. The pro­gramme of talks vouch­safed in­sight on the art of writ­ing short sto­ries, how the au­thors tackle vi­o­lence and the cre­ation of anti- he­roes. On the Satur­day evening you could lend your voice to an au­dio­book or watch Uni­ver­sally Chal­lenged, a good- na­tured but an­ar­chic Warhammer 40,000 quiz.

What was clear was how knowl­edge­able and com­mit­ted the au­di­ence was; de­spite its re­laxed vibe, this was not an event for ca­sual sci- fi fans, with ev­ery con­ver­sa­tion full of in- jokes and en­cy­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge. If you are a fan of the Warhammer uni­verse, es­pe­cially the Horus Heresy books, then this is pretty much an es­sen­tial event for you. De­tails of 2015 events are at www. black­li­brary. com.

Re­lax­ing with fel­low fans: the high­light of any con.

Well no won­der they picked this ho­tel…

Wel­come to the sofa, please sit down.

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