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TitanCon 2017 Guests of Honour


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 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...

Pat is now a TitanCon regular and she loves coming back every year (even the ten minute walks on the Coach Tour) and we love having her as our guest.

Roz Kaveney

Roz Kaveney

Photograph by Patrick Nielsen Hayden 2007.

Roz Kaveney is a British writer, critic, editor and poet, best known for her critical works about pop culture and for being a core member of the Midnight Rose collective alongside Alex Stewart, Neil Gaiman and Mary Gentle.

On her website Roz says: "I was reared Catholic but got over it, was born male but got over it, stopped sleeping with boys about the time I stopped being one and am much happier than I was when I was younger."

Roz is a regular contributor to The Independent, The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement. She helped found Feminists Against Censorship and is a past deputy Chair of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties). She was also active in the Oxford Union debating society, the Gay Liberation Front, and Chain Reaction, a dyke SM disco she helped run in the 1980s.

Midnight Rose was the name taken by a group of UK science fiction and fantasy writers for a series of shared world anthologies published by the Penguin Books imprint Roc. The anthologies included: Temps (1991) and EuroTemps (1992), two volumes of superhero pastiches; Villains! (1992), a parody of heroic fantasy; The Weerde Book One (1992) and The Weerde Book Two: Book of the Ancients (1993). The concept behind The Weerde was that shapeshifting creatures had been living alongside humanity for millennia, mostly concealing themselves, but occasionally giving rise to legends of supernatural monsters.

Roz has written and edited a number of companion books and fan guides investigating cult television shows and films including: Reading The Vampire Slayer - The New, Updated Unofficial Guide To Buffy And Angel (2001); From Alien to the Matrix: Reading Science Fiction Film (2005); Superheroes!: Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Films (2006); Teen Dreams: Reading Teen Film and Television from 'Heathers' to 'Veronica Mars' (2006); Battlestar Galactica: Investigating Flesh, Spirit, and Steel (2010); Nip/Tuck: Television That Gets Under Your Skin (2011).

Rituals

In 2012 Roz published her first fantasy novel, Rituals. Two women - and the workings of Time and Fate. In a time too long ago for most human memory, a god asked Mara what she most wanted. She got her wish: to protect the weak against the strong. For millennia, she has avenged that god, and her dead sisters, against anyone who uses the Rituals of Blood to become a god through mass murder. And there are few who can stand against her. A sudden shocking incident proves to Emma that the modern world is not what she thought it was, that there are demons and gods and elves and vampires. Her weapon is knowledge, and she pursues it wherever it leads her. The one thing she does not know is who she - and her ghostly lover, Caroline - are working for.

Rituals is the first book of Rhapsody of Blood, a four-part epic fantasy not quite like anything you've read before: a helter-skelter ride through history and legend, from Tenochitlan to Los Angeles, from Atlantis to London. It is a story of death, love and the end of worlds - and of dangerous, witty women. The series continues with Reflections (2013) and Resurrections (2014).

In the 1980s, Roz wrote a novel called Tiny Pieces of Skull, about trans street life and bar life in London and Chicago in the late 1970s. Much admired in manuscript by writers from Kathy Acker to Neil Gaiman, it has never seen print until now... Funny and terrifying by turns, and full of glimpses of other lives, it is the story of how beautiful Natasha persuades clever Annabelle to run away from her life and have adventures, more adventures than either of them quite meant her to have. The Times Literary Supplement (24 July 2015) said that it 'deserves to be recognised as a seminal fictional work on transgender identity and transphobia... hilarious and chilling...' Tiny Pieces of Skull won the 2016 Best Trans Fiction Lambda Literary Award.

Jan Siegel

Jan Siegel

Jan Siegel is the pseudonym of fantasy writer Amanda Hemingway (no relation of Ernest). Amanda also writes romantic comedy novels under the pen name of Jemma Harvey. Amanda co-hosted the 2016 Hugo Award Ceremony alongside her good friend Pat Cadigan, who was Toastmaster of WorldCon in Kansas City. They were both brillantly funny and did an amazing job. We were delighted to reunite them both again at TitanCon 2016 and to have them both back again this year.

Jan's first fantasy trilogy, the Fern Capel series, is a fantasy set in the modern world but exploring magical dimensions and a mythical past. She describes the real and magical worlds as being interleaved. Jan wanted to produce what was, in effect, a children's book for grownups, something that could be read and hopefully enjoyed by teenagers, pre-teens and their parents. She says that as a child she found all fiction entrancing, but some of that charm departed as she moved into the slightly more pretentious world of adult literature, and her aim was to recapture that magic while at the same time writing on a more mature level.

The first book in the series, Prospero's Children (1999), opens with sixteen-year-old Fernanda "Fern" Capel and her younger brother finding themselves isolated in a remote house in Yorkshire where they become entangled in the search for a mysterious key that may be hidden there. The second book, The Dragon Tamer (2000), is set some years later and Fern is about to make a marriage of suitability rather than love, when shadows from her magical past reappear to disrupt the proceedings. The final book in the trilogy is called Witch's Honour (2002) in which Fern must battle a witch who has been invigorated by a dip in the River Styx and is therefore invulnerable.

The Devil's Apprentice

The Sangreal Trilogy uses the same background as the Fern Capel series, but with a whole new cast of characters. In the first book, The Greenstone Grail (2005), a desperate mother spirits away her infant son, seemingly drawn (chased, perhaps?) to the small English village of Thornyhill. She ends up on the doorstep of old Bartlemy, a curious man who has lived on the forested land for as long as anyone can remember-and who comes to believe that the child is destined for great things...

Nathan's adventures continue in the second book, The Traitor's Sword (2006), as he searches for the second of the three Grail relics in the mediaeval kingdom of Wilderslee. In the final book of the Sangreal trilogy, The Poisoned Crown (2007), Nathan has to find the lost crown on a planet covered entirely by water, while contending with a malevolent sea-goddess, assorted marine monsters, an imminent war between merfolk and selkies, and a topless mermaid.

Amanda also writes romantic comedy novels under the pseudonym of Jemma Harvey. The first of these is Wishful Thinking (2004), which Amanda says she began almost at random, simply to see if she could do it, and enjoyed it so much she kept writing. It's is a feelgood story for people recovering from flu and broken hearts, a holiday book for the beach or the aeroplane. Her second romantic comedy, Kissing Toads (2006), is a cynical take on the world of makeover TV. A gardening show goes on location in a Scottish castle owned by an ageing rock star to make a series in which they have to not only fix up the rockery but re-plant a maze which is cursed and re-enact scenes from the dodgy past of former lairds.

Jan's most recent work is a thrilling return to YA with a novel entitled The Devil's Apprentice (2013). The Devil is retiring... but who's taking over? When teenage Pen inherits the job of caretaker for a London building with no doors and only a secret entrance from the caretaker's lodge – which she must never use – little does she know it will lead her into unbelievable danger. For Azmordis, also known as Satan, a spirit as old as time and as powerful as the Dark, Immortality is running out.

Toastmaster: Peadar Ó Guilín

Peadar Ó Guilín

We have decided to make Peadar our inaugural Toastmaster at TitanCon 2017. To be honest he was pretty much doing the job the last few years anyway, we just decided to make it more official and he graciously accepted the position.

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 (2013), is available as an eBook, or is available in print (only from Amazon).

Peadar put out another eBook called Forever in the Memory of God: And Other Stories in 2013. 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.

The Call

I am pleased to say that Peadar's latest book, The Call (2016), has been a huge success scoring numerous nominations for prestigious YA book prizes, and has won several awards including - Children’s Books Ireland, Children’s Choice Award 2017, ESFS Achievement Award for Best Work of Fiction 2017.

The Call is a rich story mixing horror, survivalism and deep-rooted Irish mythology. The Wertzone has given The Call a great review and strongly recommends it.

What if you only had 3 minutes to save your own life and the clock is already counting down... Three minutes. Nessa, Megan and Anto know that any day now they wake up alone in a horrible land and realise they've been Called. Two minutes. Like all teenagers they know that they'll be hunted down and despite all their training only 1 in 10 will survive. One minute. And Nessa can't run, her polio twisted legs mean she'll never survive her Call will she? Time's up.

Peadar recently announced that the next book in the series, The Invasion, will be released in March 2018.

The Invasion

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.

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.

The Enslaved of Peadar Ó Guilín badge

Peadar is now a regular at Irish conventions including Octocon in Dublin and is currently part of the team working on the Dublin 2019 WorldCon bid. He 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 years moderating Game of Thrones panels and hosting our Masquerade in such hilarious style. This year Peadar will be hosting our TitanCon Lovely Beard Contest!

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