World Con 2019 | Book Haul & TBR

It has been a super intense week and I am also just starting to recover from my epic trip to Dublin to attend World Con 2019. I set off for Dublin on Thursday morning, went straight from the airport to the con center and it was pretty non-stop from there until I got home on Monday evening (plus 2 days recovery). I want to do a proper event review over the weekend because there were honestly so many incredible highlights that I want share with you all but even the thought of going back over it so soon is exhausting!

For now though, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about BOOKS because that’s really what we’re all here for :’) I was very well behaved at World Con on account of a) financial constraints and b) not being able to afford to carry anything back to the UK so I thought it would be a good idea to combine a haul post with a post-World Con TBR. Of course there were so many panels with so many amazing recommendations so naturally my TBR list has grown exponentially. I hope you’re tempted to add them all to your TBR’s too 😉

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Book Haul

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There were so many incredible SFF books up for grabs at World Con and it was hard not to want to buy all of them (although my tight budget kept me in good check). Prior to going I had made an agreement with my partner I could buy 2 books only, which I stuck to, and the rest of the books I picked up were for free!

Both Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler and Mother of Invention were bought from Twelfth Planet Press who are an amazing Australian based publishing house who center fiction written for, by and about women. Luminescent Threads is a non-fiction collection of essays and letters which explores Butler’s influence on reader’s writer’s, and looks like such a beautiful and touching collection. Mother of Invention, whose cover was designed and drawn by Hugo Award winning artist Likhain, is a short fiction anthology featuring stories about gender and AI which I obviously just had to pick up. Twelfth Planet Press also publishes a lot of other amazing fiction & non-fiction which I would encourage you to all check out!

Next up was the entire freaking collection of the entire Machineries of Empire series by Yoon Ha Lee which included Ninefox Gambit, Raven Stratagem, Revenant Gun and the recently released Hexarchate Stories. I also snagged a copy of David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davis Okungbowa as well which I’ve been wanting to read for ages. I believe I have Rebellion Publishing to thank for these but they have not confirmed or denied their mass donations to the free gifts stall. As I also had super limited space in my suitcase, I had to send my books on a journey with my friend via ferry so I hope I will see my free books one day again soon :’) (Thank you Lee!)

Lastly, I picked up this great little booklet on Intelligence, Artificial and Human: Eight Science Fiction Tales by Japanese Authors at the HAL-CON table. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on some Japanese SF but hadn’t yet come across any so this was a great find and it was free so thank you to the HAL-CON stall.

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Post-World Con TBR

No Con is a good Con unless you leave with either a huge stack of books, a huge list of books to add to your TBR, and/or both of these things. I only managed to get to a small handful of panels because World Con was way more exhausting than I had anticipated it was going to be (what a fool I was) so I’m sure there a lot more recommendations lurking out there that I haven’t added to my TBR yet. Some of these were already on my TBR prior to World Con and/or which I already own but haven’t yet read so I’ll add them here as extra pressure to hurry up and read them!

Water in SFF Recommendations:

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Anyone who knows me shouldn’t be too shocked by how much I enjoyed the Water in SFF panel as it’s one of my favourite themes. There were a lot of excellent recommendations during the panel so I narrowed them down to the ones that grabbed my attention the most:

  • Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • New York: 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
  • The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Provenance by Ann Leckie
  • Starfish by Peter Watts
  • Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks

Introduction to Silkpunk

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This was one of my favourite panels of World Con but I did a terrible job at catching the names of authors and/or their works. I tried to look up a few of the names I had jotted down but unfortunately couldn’t find many of the works in English so these are the three I’m adding for now:

  • The Dandelion Dynasty by Ken Liu (trilogy)
  • The Snow of Jinyang by Zhang Ran (short story)
  • The Hidden Girl by Ken Liu (short story)
  • There was also one or two short stories mentioned of Chen Qiufan’s but I didn’t catch which ones

Chinese Science Fiction


I sadly had to miss the Chinese SF panel due to access reasons which bummed me out a lot as I wanted to catch all of the recommendations. I found a thread on Twitter that shared a few of the suggestions and also added Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan to my list as I own a copy of the book but haven’t yet read it (and Chen Qiufan was at World Con too!):

  • Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu
  • Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang (novelette)
  • The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin
  • Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang (short story collection)

Muslim SFF

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Again, another panel I had to sadly miss by imyril did a great job of live-tweeting the panel and shared a link with me of the recording of the panel so I will hopefully have a few more recommendations to add to this list later on:

  • The Candle and the Flame by Safiza Azad
  • The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
  • The City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty
  • Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik
  • Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
  • Djinn City by Saad Z. Hossain
  • Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
  • I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi


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There were a few other books I added to my TBR post-World Con either from authors who I shared a panel with or of other fantastic recommendations that didn’t fit into the above panels:

  • On the Edge of Gone by Corrine Duyvis
  • The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
  • Game Devs & Others: Tales from the Margins edited by Tanya DePass
  • The Internet is Where the Robots Live now edited by Nicole B. Jacobson

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I’m sure that there are many, many that I missed especially due to how many panels I ended up having to miss. If you think of any World Con recommendations that you think I would enjoy though please feel free to drop a comment below or tweet me @redrocketpanda

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