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