Event Horizon, Derby, 28th April 2013
Derby is quickly gaining a name for itself as a viable location for conventions, usurping other contenders to the throne such as Birmingham and Leicester. Following in the footsteps of Alt.Fiction and Edge-Lit at Quad (which in itself hosts a barrage of events and conventions of interest to genre fans), Event Horizon is the latest convention to open in what is the most haunted city in England.
Prior to attending Event Horizon, my initial preconceptions of the convention were not promising. Promoted through an extensive Facebook campaign, plus a barely-used Twitter account, the lack of a formal website left me wondering just how reliable the convention promised to be. Offsetting my concerns was the long list of attendees that included – amongst many others – the lovely Virginia Hey (Zhaan of Farscape and Warrior Woman from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior).
Unlike the dedicated literary conventions of Edge-Lit and Alt.Fiction, Event Horizon had a much more multi-media approach. However, this did not stop there being a strong author presence, in the form of Sarah Pinborough, Paul Kane and Marie O’Reagan, all of whom gave an engrossing talk on the subject of horror writing, as well as being happy to sign their latest books and chat with fans.
As well as authors, there were (what do you call a group of actors?) actors and actresses in the main area. Barring a few more noted genre actors, the actors that had been assembled were gathered from the iconic films and television series’ of yesteryear.
In some ways, Event Horizon tried to blend all aspects of different types of sci-fi conventions. Alongside the authors and actors, there was also a strong trader presence, from both local and national sellers, offering a truly diverse selection for genre-shopping, from books and comics to miniatures and collectibles.
There was small presence of costumers (including one dressed as an Imperial Officer from Star Wars, who saluted my light-sabre wielding daughter), and children were more than welcome, with under-ten’s admitted free of charge and offered their own separate gift bag. Rusty Goffe was especially friendly, taking the time to chat with young and old alike, and my daughter charmed the authors after carefully bringing them a drink.
Whilst the venue was well laid out and made for impressive surroundings, the bar offered a limited food menu (hamburger, hotdog, chip butty, or chips!). Similarly, the lack of any ATM within the convention (at least that I could find) made trying to find some extra cash for signings difficult.
As a first time event by the organisers, Event Horizon was a fun day. Certainly my daughter and I both left having both had a great time. I hope that the – yet to be confirmed – next Event Horizon in 2014 will now have the reputation and acumen to invite a stronger presence of genre actor, authors and publishers for what should to be an excellent event.