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TitanCon 2014 Guests

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* Ian Beattie will be joining us for the morning only till 1.30 pm


Pat Cadigan

Pat Cadigan

Pat Cadigan winning the Hugo Award for Best Novelette at WorldCon 2013 in San Antonio. Photo taken by Shawn McConnell for Amazing Stories.

Pat Cadigan is a two-time winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award for her novels Synners (won in 1992) and Fools (1995), a three-time Locus Award winner in three different categories - best short story for Angel (1988), best collection for Patterns (1990), and best novelette for The Girl-Thing Who Went Out For Sushi (2013), which also won the Hugo Award for best novelette at WorldCon 2013 in San Antonio.

Pat has been an active member of SFF fandom since 1976 when she joined the convention committee for MidAmeriCon, the 34th WorldCon, held in Kansas City. Pat worked for ten years at Hallmark writing greeting cards, often in perfect iambic pentameter. She sold her first professional science fiction story in 1980 with her success encouraging Pat to become a full-time writer in 1987. She moved to the UK in 1996 and now lives in London.

Pat has been dubbed 'the Queen of Cyberpunk' but her novels defy such narrow categorisation. Her first novel, Mindplayers (1987), introduces what becomes the common theme to all her works - blurring the line between reality and perception by making the human mind a real explorable place. Her second novel, Synners (1991), expands upon the same theme and both feature a future where direct access to the mind is possible via technology. While her stories include many of the gritty, unvarnished characteristics of the cyberpunk genre, she further specializes in this exploration of the speculative relationship between technology and the perceptions of the human mind.

Fools

Her third novel Fools (1992) examines a near-future in which insertable memories and personalities are for sale. This was followed by the Doré Konstantin series, comprising Tea from an Empty Cup (1998) and Dervish is Digital (2000). AR is not just a way of life, it turns out, but also of death, as homicide detective Doré Konstantin discovers when she is called upon to investigate the death of a young man in an artificial reality parlour.

Pat has written a huge number of short stories, many of which are included in three short story collections - Patterns (1989), Home By The Sea (1992) and Dirty Work (1993). Pat has also contributed short stories to the Wild Cards shared-universe edited by George RR Martin including By Lost Ways in Wild Cards II: Aces High and Addicted to Love in Wild Cards V: Down and Dirty. If you are a fan of George's work but haven't heard of Wild Cards I highly recommend you check it out.

The award winning novelette The Girl-Thing Who Went Out For Sushi was first published in the anthology Edge of Infinity (2012) and is also available in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection (2013). The story is about a group of workers who live in the orbit of Jupiter, where they assist in ongoing scientific research. All the workers have "gone out for sushi" - that is, they have had themselves surgically converted into forms resembling marine life (the narrator is an octopus) in order to better function in microgravity. However, this transformation has also made them into a political underclass relative to the normal humans referred to as bipeds.

Pat's most recent work is Chalk, a chapbook from This Is Horror, about two childhood friends. Dee and Mary discover a way to hide in plain sight so that Dee doesn't always have to go home and babysit or do household chores for her mother. For awhile, it's great fun to sit apart from the rest of the world and watch them unawares. But it's not exactly normal. It hadn't occurred to Dee and Mary that what they were doing would have consequences...

Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald

We are thrilled to once again have Belfast's very own Ian McDonald back at TitanCon 2014. Ian is a science-fiction novelist best known for his BSFA award winning and Hugo nominated novels River of Gods (2004), Brasyl (2007) and The Dervish House (2010). Ian won the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Novelette for The Djinn's Wife (2006).

Ian McDonald was born in 1960, in Manchester, to a Scottish father and Irish mother, but moved to Belfast when he was five, and has lived there ever since. He therefore lived through the whole of the 'Troubles' (1968-99), and his sensibility has been permanently shaped by coming to understand Northern Ireland as a post-colonial (and so, in his view, de facto 'Third World') society imposed on an older culture. He became a fan of SF from childhood TV, began writing when he was 9, sold his first story to a local Belfast magazine when he was 22, and in 1987 became a full-time writer.

Ian has written 21 books, his first being the Locus Award winning novel Desolation Road (1988). Set on a partially terraformed Mars the novel outlines the history of a town called Desolation Road founded by a lone scientist and a collection of strays and castaways.

The Dervish House

Major themes of Ian's work include nanotechnology, postcyberpunk settings, and the impact of rapid social and technological change on non-Western societies. His 1990s Chaga Saga is particularly notable for its analysis of the AIDS crisis in Africa. River of Gods and it's companion novel of short stories Cyberabad Days (2009) is set in mid-21st-century India. Brasyl is set in the 18th and 21st centuries in Lusophone South America. The Dervish House (2010) took us to Istanbul, Turkey in the year 2025 and centred on the families that live in and around its titular house, it is at once a rich mosaic of Islamic life in the new century and a telling novel of future possibilities.

Ian's most recent work is a YA series called Everness comprising Planesrunner (2012), Be My Enemy (2013) and Empress of the Sun (2014). The tagline of the series is "There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one among billions of parallel earths." Everett Singh's father has left him with the most valuable object in the multiverse, a map of all the parallel earths called the Infundibulum, and now there are dark forces who will stop at nothing to get it. He's got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking. Everett needs all the help he can get from friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth and the crew of the airship Everness. Can this Planesrunner navigate the Heisenberg Gate between worlds, rescue his father and get the Infundibulum to safety?

Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Tchaikovsky

There are not many authors who sit down with the intention of writing a series of ten doorstop sized books. Fewer still who actually get anywhere close to achieving such a massive undertaking. But with the tenth and final book, Seal of the Worm, due for publication in July 2014, Adrian Tchaikovsky is just months away from realizing the goal he set for himself in 2002.

Empire in Black and Gold

The series is called Shadows of the Apt and is set in a uniquely crafted world peopled by races of humans called 'kinden' that identify with a specific 'totem-insect'. Some kinden can develop special insect-like abilities called 'ancestor arts' such as growing a pair of wings that allow them to fly, or to see in the dark, or in the case of the wasps to produce a bolt of energy that can be fired at enemies. The Wasp Empire (as in the titular Empire in Black and Gold, the first book in the series) are a warlike race of kinden that are spreading across the world, conquering and enslaving any who stand in their way. The Wasps next target are the Lowlands mainly peopled by the Beetles and Ants, but thanks to a successful propaganda campaign and malaise of leadership, the Lowlands have been lulled into a false sense of security and are in no way ready for the invasion to come.

While the series is recognisably epic fantasy there is an advanced level of technology including gunpowder, airships and clockwork automota lending it a steampunk style that feels very different from anything else that's come before. I believe a large part of Adrian's success is down to achieving that delicate balance of telling a story with familiar themes like heroism, standing up against the evils of oppression and slavery, battles and warfare both big and small scale, but still having it feel fresh and different to the audience.

Dragonfly Falling

Another large part of Adrian's success is down to the fact that he committed to writing the first four books of the series before he even approached an agent. Prior to starting work on this series in 2002 Adrian had received a lot of rejection letters, almost enough to wallpaper his entire house, and he knew that if he sent the first book off and it got rejected he would not have the willpower to go on. Three years later the quartet of finished books caught the eye of an agent, a publishing deal with Pan-Macmillan followed with the first book published in 2008. Adrian's strategy and dedication enabled him to publish seven books in a three year span quickly building up a loyal following of fans.

After the first seven books Empire in Black and Gold (2008), Dragonfly Falling (2009), Blood of the Mantis (2009), Salute the Dark (2010), The Scarab Path (2010), The Sea Watch (2011) and Heirs of the Blade (2011), the pace of release has barely slowed with The Air War (2012), War Master's Gate (2013) and the forthcoming Seal of the Worm (2014). All this despite not having given up the day job!

Not content with resting on his laurels Adrian has two books in the works for 2015. A science-fiction novel called Portia's Children and a stand-alone fantasy novel which currently has the working title Guns of the Dawn.

Adrian was born in Lincolnshire and studied zoology and psychology at Reading, before practising law in Leeds. He is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor and is trained in stage-fighting.

Peadar Ó Guilín

Peadar Ó Guilín

In September 2007 Peadar Ó Guilín published his first novel, The Inferior, which the Times Educational Supplement called "a stark, dark tale, written with great energy and confidence and some arresting reflections on human nature." It tells the story of Stopmouth and his family who must battle for survival in a world of tribal societies. To live they must hunt rival species or negotiate flesh-trade with those who crave meat of the freshest human kind. There is but one law: Eat or be Eaten.

The second book in the series, The Deserter (2011), continues Stopmouth's journey as he attempts to understand The Roof and find the mysterious woman he loves who fell from it.

The final book in the trilogy, The Volunteer, will be available as an eBook from 12 June 2014 for just $4.99. In the meantime you can download and read a massive and totally FREE sample which comprises 20% of the book right now!

Peadar has also put out an eBook called Forever in the Memory of God: And Other Stories. The collection comprises three stories The First of Many (a novellette that Peadar read the opening chapter of at TitanCon 2013), Forever in the Memory of God and Fairy Gold.

Forever in the Memory of God

Forever in the Memory of God: And Other Stories is available NOW DRM-free from all good Kindle stores and costs just £1.84 (US $2.99). It should also be making it's way to iTunes and Kobo Stores in the near future. It's got a lovely cover image as you can see, as Peadar puts it "no expense has been spared and no profit is possible." I do urge all fans of Peadar to help try to prove him wrong by buying a copy (If you don't own a Kindle device the application itself is also available for PC, iPhone, iPad and Android). At that price you simply can't go wrong.

But fans of Peadar in printed form need not despair, his new novel Eat the Drink will hit book stores in May 2015...

Peadar has been writing curious stories for as long as he can remember. One of his school reports claimed that he had "a talent for communication, which he abuse[d]." Since then he has written plays, published short stories and performed as a stand-up comedian. He has taken part in a project to translate the Linux operating system into Irish and is fluent in French and Italian. Peadar lives in Dublin where he toils night and day for a giant computer corporation.

The Enslaved of Peadar Ó Guilín badge

As a fan of George RR Martin Peadar has been posting on the Westeros forum for years and in 2009 travelled to Worldcon in Montreal where the Brotherhood Without Banners took him firmly into the fold and made him one of their own. While signing copies of The Inferior for some of the BWB Peadar wrote a dedication that could not quite be read, it was supposed to say "...you are so awesome" but it looked like "...you are so enslaved". Within a few hours there were t-shirts and badges saying "Enslaved by Peadar Ó Guilín". I remain convinced that Peadar's fan club needs to be called The Enslaved and he really should try and work something about enslavement into his next novel.

Peadar is now a regular at Irish conventions including Octocon in Dublin and is always an interesting, enlightening and entertaining panelist. When first asked if he wanted to be a guest of TitanCon he thought it was a trick question, a horde of zombified wild horses could not keep him away! Peadar has proved a huge hit with the audience over the last three years moderating Game of Thrones panels and hosting our Masquerade in such hilarious style - and yes he will of course be hosting again this year.

We invite you to come be enslaved by Peadar Ó Guilín.

Blackstaff Press

Blackstaff Press

Blackstaff Press based in Belfast is regarded as one of Ireland's foremost publishers and is a leading publisher of quality Irish books. Blackstaff receives generous assistance from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to enable them to encourage, support and publish Irish writers and Irish literature. Blackstaff was founded in 1971 and has published over 800 titles covering a range of subjects including history, politics, cookery, memoir, sport, fiction, poetry and travel.

In autumn 2013 Blackstaff published their first fantasy novels. Polaris Whisper by Ken Gregory and Belfast based urban fantasy novel Folk'd by Laurence Donaghy. Both Ken and Laurence were guests at TitanCon 2013 and they'll be back again this year along with their publishers at Blackstaff.

Ken Gregory

Ken Gregory

Belfast-born author Kenneth Gregory writes in the genre of historical fantasy. His debut novel, The Polaris Whisper, was released in September 2013. Recently awarded the prestigious ACES award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Kenneth is currently working on an enhanced eBook of The Polaris Whisper (Publication Blackstaff Press - October 2014), as well as The Poison of Newgrange, the second book in the trilogy.

Polaris Whisper

You can read reviews and a sample of the prologue and first chapter of The Polaris Whisper on Amazon.

Kenneth's second novel, Shahryãr's Heir, A Prince Among Thieves, a reinvention of the Arabian Nights stories, is currently with publishing houses and Kenneth is also developing it as a television script. Amongst other projects, Kenneth is working on his first modern-day novel, Brinleck.

The Polaris Whisper received a lavish launch at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on 25 September 2013. You can see the highlights of the event in the video below. The launch was opened by the Lord Mayor of Belfast and included music from Anúna (Riverdance), dance by five times world champion dancer Sinéad Carson, artwork from Jim Fitzpatrick (artist of the iconic Che Guevara image), and readings from acclaimed actor Dan Gordon (Give My Head Peace) and our own Laurence Donaghy.

Even now Ken still can't believe these incredible artists (Anúna sing for Presidents, Popes and Bono at his private birthday parties! God only knows how I persuaded them to do it!) were there to help launch his debut novel.

Laurence Donaghy

Laurence Donaghy

Laurence Donaghy, the author of an urban fantasy trilogy called Folk'd, was a guest at TitanCon last year and is delighted to have been invited back again in 2014. Especially because he says he will have some actually published books with him so he won't feel like such a fraud this time!

Folk'd interweaves a very modern tale of unexpected parenthood and responsibility set in contemporary Belfast with ancient Irish mythology and the supernatural. In Folk'd (published October 2013) and its sequels, Folk'd Up (May 2014) and Completely Folk'd (due for publication September 2014), we are taken on a humorous, sometimes horrifying, always enthralling journey from modern-day Belfast to prehistory as the full and tragic tale of the Morrigan family is told.

We asked Laurence to send us a short bio to go on the website and what we got back was not exactly concise and contained a statistically higher number of random anecdotes than average (ie: more than zero), but it is highly entertaining so we present it here for you in all it's random glory.

Folk'd

I'm Belfast born and bred, born in 1981 right in the midst of the Hunger Strikes when one or two were dying every month and the entire country was a powder keg. My Mum is from Turf Lodge and my Dad from the Falls; both told me from a very young age that I was definitely going to St. Mary's and I was definitely going to Queen's, because I would have to be twice as qualified as a Protestant to get a job over them. Being a natural-born rebel, I ended up going to St. Mary's and getting an English Literature degree from...um, Queens. By the time I graduated in 2003, though, it was into a different society than the one my Mum and Dad had prepared for me - equal opportunities, equal employment. So I promptly fell in love with an English Methodist.

Hey, rebellion is better late than never, right?

I've always written; I can't remember a time when I didn't write, mostly because I'd watch things or read things and the characters would spin off onto their own little adventures off-screen and off-page in my mind and since I have a crap memory, I'd feel compelled to write them down. I entered the heady world of fan fiction, little realising that my slavish devotion to faithful characterisation and plot were entirely out of place in an online community in which if you weren't shipping a character pairing with the sort of bright-eyed zealotry usually reserved only for people with large overcoats making ominous tick-tick-ticking noises in crowded subway stations, or busily Mary-Sueing yourself into the midst of the action as an author surrogate, you were forcing hitherto quite happily heterosexual fictional people into the world's most graphically unlikely gay pairings. At one stage my anguished screams of "No Optimus Prime, Jean-Luc Picard's frail human body isn't built to take your transforming member!" rent the air of the Queen's University computer library.

Folk'd Up

Happily, my nerdy little hobby did land me one unexpected bonus - my fiancé and my two children. My admiration for Joss Whedon did not begin when he landed The Avengers gig; his opus was, is and always will be Buffy, and such a fan was I that my fanfiction I posted faithfully on an online community for the small crumbs of praise it would garner (and the puzzled comments about the lack of gay sex). One particular fan of mine shyly commented that she was coming to Belfast soon to visit her brother's ex-boyfriend (how terribly cosmopolitan, dahling!) and would I like to meet her for a drink?

I would. I did. Our second date was in the Crow's Nest gay bar, which for a sheltered straight man from Beechmount was quite an experience; I was picked up for the night by a six-foot-four Lily Savage impersonator outside Daley's Garage wearing eight-inch heels. To the uninitiated observer, it must have looked like I was thumbing a lift off one of the Harland and Wolff cranes in drag. I don't know who out of me and her clung to the other tighter that night, and we've been clinging to each other tighter ever since, as the birth of Laurence Luke in 2003 and Adam in 2006 can testify to. So I owe my domestic bliss, my wonderful fiancé, and my two gorgeous little boys to my geeky hobby, my pen and paper, my tap-tap-tapping away on MS Word. Writing has given me that, and now it's given me the ability to walk into my local Easons and see my name on the spine of beautiful soft-cover volumes. I'm a lucky sod.

Debbie (DJ) McCune

Debbie (DJ) McCune

Debbie McCune was born in Belfast and grew up in Carrickfergus. As a child she liked making up stories and even wrote some down, including a thriller about a stolen wallaby.

Debbie read Theology at Trinity College, Cambridge but mostly just read lots of books. She lives in Northern Ireland with her husband, daughter - and two cats with seven legs between them.

Writing as DJ McCune, Debbie's debut novel Death & Co. is the first of a three book YA / crossover series, published internationally by Hot Key Books. Adam is a Luman, and it runs in the family. Escorting the dead from life into light, Adam must act as guide to those taken before their time. As his older brothers accept their fate Adam clings to his life as a normal kid - one who likes girls, hates the Head and has a pile of homework to get through by Monday morning. When Adam gets a terrible premonition he realises that he must make a devastating choice, risking his life, his family and his destiny.

Death & Co: The Mortal Knife, the second book of the series has just been published. After breaking Luman law trying to stop a terrorist attack, Adam is looking forward to getting back to school and returning to normality. Unfortunately, Fate is standing in his way, and she goes by the name of Morta. Adam must weigh up what is most important: his friendships, school and being normal, or life as a Luman. There is only one place he can find the answers he needs. Adam must enter the Realm of the Fates and take control of a situation that is about to spiral dangerously out of control.

The third book in the series will be published in January 2015.

You can read a sample of the prologue and first chapter of Death & Co. on the Hot Key Books website.

Brutal Ballet

Brutal Ballet Bridie Mayfield

Brutal Ballet, a classical ballet company dancing to heavy metal was established in 2008 in Australia by dancer and choreographer, Bridie Mayfield. The company is now based in Northern Ireland, with dancers from all over the UK, and will begin their first tour in September.

We are pleased to announce that the reformed company's debut performance will be at TitanCon 2014 with a Game of Thrones inspired dance piece.


Medieval Combat Group

Medieval Combat Group logo Medieval Combat Group

Medieval Combat Group is a Belfast based martial arts school for Historic European Martial Arts, teaching 13th to 15th century weapon techniques reconstructed from authentic period fighting manuals, and using modern protective equipment to allow a wider and more accurate range of techniques to be applied properly and safely to the opponent.

The group specialises primarily in the longsword and the messer (a single-edged short sword used by many peasants and townsfolk for everyday defense), and will be offering beginners workshops and demonstrations at TitanCon in the use of these weapons. They will also have a table set up in the dealers area with examples of equipment, examples of the period fighting manuals, and will be happy to answer questions about the martial arts of medieval Europe and the use of the weapons and the type of training that they do.

Medieval Combat Group has also kindly donated a one-on-one private lesson as a prize in our Charity Raffle Prize Draw. More information about Medieval Combat Group can be found on their Facebook page.

Paul J Holden

Paul J Holden

Paul J Holden is a Belfast based comic artist. Despite spending nearly 20 years in the IT industry he finally escaped to live the life of crippling poverty normally associated with being an artist. He is also a dad. Which means any money not given over to the crippling poverty is spent on the kids. Sometimes he takes stupid photos and puts them on twitter.

Paul began working in comics in the mid to late 90's and went on work for Black Library's Warhammer Monthly, 2000AD (including drawing Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper) and the Judge Dredd Megazine. He co-created Fearless with writers Mark Sable and Dave Roth for Image Comics in 2007, and Dead Signal with writer Al Ewing for 2000AD in 2008. He has also collected his small press work into a self-published volume called Previously.

He drew the three issue story Happy Valley about an Australian RAF bomber crew in 1942 in Garth Ennis' series Battlefields for Dynamite Entertainment in 2009-10. Numbercruncher, a creator-owned series with writer Si Spurrier, ran in the Judge Dredd Megazine in 2011, and he was the visual creator of espionage series Black Ops Xtreme, written by John Freeman, in Strip Magazine, launched in late 2011. In 2009 Paul, alongside Ron Abernethy and Scott Ferguson, launched the podcast Sunnyside Comics.


Rory McConville

Rory McConville

Rory McConville is a comic book writer who has worked for DC Comics, Adventure Time Magazine, The O'Brien Press and more.

Big Jim from O'Brien Press tells the story of Jim Larkin and the 1913 Lockout. On August 26th 1913, the trams of Dublin stopped. Over the next four months, James Larkin would lead the workers of Dublin against William Martin Murphy and the Employers Federation in a conflict that would change the face of Irish society. Artwork by Paddy Lynch.

In April 2014 Rory released Brian Boru and The Battle of Clontarf with artist Deirdre deBarra.

Extracurricular Activities is a three part comic, the first part of which is available for FREE on the Comixology website. The murder of a young teacher begins to unsettle the fragile underpinnings of a faculty and student body.

To see more of Rory's work, visit rorymcconville.tumblr.com and @RoryMcConville2


Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown lives in Belfast and has been creating and self-publishing comics since the mid-1990s. He is currently working on The Cattle Raid of Cooley, a graphic novel adapting the ancient Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, drawn in red ink in an improvisational style, which has been serialised on the web since 2008. It has so far been collected in seven print issues; the online edition is up to chapter 10 and updates every Wednesday. He has self-published several other one-off comics, and contributed to the National Tragedy anthologies Romantic Mayhem and Courageous Mayhem.

Patrick is the chief writer, editor and researcher on the Irish Comics Wiki, an online encyclopedia with over 1,000 articles on comics, comic creators and the cartoonist's art in Ireland since the 16th century. He organises a monthly pub meet for comics creators in Belfast.


Andy Luke

Andy Luke

Andy Luke is a writer who draws.

His 24 hour comics, Gran, Absence: a comic about epilepsy, and Don't Get Lost are widely regarded, and his hi-speed comixing Newszoom with the Arts & Disability Forum produced a 'live' six-week newspaper in comic form. Using this go-at-it approach he facilitated The Magnificent One Day Comic Book Factory at TitanCon 2012 with assistance from fellow comic artists Patrick Brown and Paul J Holden. Andy and the boys asked willing volunteers to help create and produce an entirely new book in the space of just one day and it was a fantastic success.

Andy has also written about comix for Downthetubes and Forbidden Planet International and runs Black Panel Distribution for lesser seen Irish publishers. Currently he is creating one new item a day: comics, flash-fiction, audio recordings, photos, blogs, and publishing these at andy-luke.com.


Game of Thrones guests

Please see our Game of Thrones guests page for details of the cast and crew members attending TitanCon 2014.

Please note that all guests appear subject to work commitments. Panels and events may be cancelled or rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances. We will do our best to arrange alternative events; however this may not always be possible. Refunds will not be available due to changes in the event line up or schedule. TitanCon accepts no liability for loses incurred through errors or omissions on the website or the TitanCon convention booklet. Please see our Code of Conduct for more information.