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TitanCon 2017 Featured Participants

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Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald

We are thrilled to once again have Belfast's very own Ian McDonald back at TitanCon 2017. 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 22 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.

Everness is a YA series 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?

Luna: New Moon

Ian's latest work is a trilogy of books that aim to do for the moon what his other work has done for India, Brazil and Turkey, which is to say write a thrilling story of the future that is rooted in the vivid realities of its location. The first book Luna: New Moon (2015) is described as Game of Thrones in space. It's a tale of corporate blood-letting and deceit on a massive scale set on a moon that, for all its lethal harshness, is described with such richness that you feel what it would be like to live (and die) there.

Ian read an excerpt from Luna: New Moon at our Literature Night in 2014 and it was a pulsating and exciting short story about a group of kids risking their lives in a game to run a short distance across the surface of the moon naked and without protection knowing they only have seconds to make it from airlock to airlock and not daring to blink because it will freeze their eyes shut which would mean certain death. It was brilliantly told with each step they took across the surface counted out and interspersed with fraught description of the danger and what was going through their heads, with the reading building in crescendo and tone as they got closer to the safety of the airlock or perhaps not making it at all.

The series continues in Luna: Wolf Moon (2016) and Ian is currently working on the conclusion to the trilogy.

Ruth Frances Long

Ruth Frances Long

Ruth Frances Long writes dark young adult fantasy, often about scary fairies, such as The Treachery Of Beautiful Things (Dial, 2012), and the Dubh Linn Trilogy - A Crack In Everything (O'Brien Press, 2014), A Hollow In The Hills (O'Brien Press, 2015) and A Darkness At The End (O’Brien Press, 2016). As R. F. Long, she also writes fantasy and paranormal romance.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things is a darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale and suspense. The trees swallowed her brother whole. And Jenny was there to see it. Years later, when she returns to the woods where Tom was taken to say goodbye at last, she finds herself lured into a world where stunning beauty masks the most treacherous of evils, and strange and dangerous creatures await - creatures who seem to consider her the threat.

In 2015 Ruth won the European Science Fiction Society Spirit of Dedication Award for Best Author of Children's Science Fiction and Fantasy for A Crack In Everything.

A Crack In Everything is the first book in a trilogy set in the world of demons, angels and fairies that exists alongside our own in modern day Dublin. She was a mistake. A crack in the order of the world... Chasing a thief, Izzy Gregory takes a wrong turn down a Dublin alley and finds the ashes of a fallen angel splashed across the dirty bricks like graffiti. She stumbles into Dubh Linn, the shadowy world inhabited by the Sidhe, where angels and demons watch over the affairs of mortals, and Izzy becomes a pawn in their deadly game. Her only chance of survival lies in the hands of Jinx, the Sidhe warrior sent to capture her for his sadistic mistress, Holly. Izzy is something altogether new to him, turning his world upside down.

Ruth lives in Wicklow, Ireland and works in a specialized library of rare, unusual and occasionally crazy books. But they don't talk to her that often.

You can contact Ruth via her website: www.rflong.com, @RFLong on Twitter, R. F. Long on Facebook, RFLong on Tumblr, RuthFrancesLong on Instagram.

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.

The story continues in Death & Co: The Mortal Knife (2014), the second book of the series. 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 Death & Co: Fault Lines was published in January 2016. The time has come for Adam to face up to the truth and challenge his destiny. When his father allows him one last opportunity to be a regular teenager and travel to Japan on a school trip. Adam could never have imagined that this alone would force his hand. But his terrifying premonition of a devastating tsunami due to hit Japan means he has to act fast and stop it before it happens. There's no going back now: if he saves thousands from a terrible fate, he must also risk the wrath of all Lumen... Is he man enough to take it on?

Debbie is currently finishing her first adult book, a fantasy crime set in a world hidden within our own. Watch this space!

You can read a sample of the prologue and first chapter of Death & Co. on the Hot Key Books website. You can find Debbie on Facebook and Twitter @debbiemccune.

Jo Zebedee

Jo Zebedee

One of the aims of TitanCon is to provide a platform for new local talent to showcase their work to a wider audience. Last year we welcomed a brand new science fiction author from just down the road in Carrickfergus, and we are pleased to announce that Jo Zebedee is joining us again at TitanCon 2017.

Abendau's Heir, the first book in the Inheritance Trilogy published by Tickety Boo Press in 2015, is a character-focused space opera. It follows Kare, the only heir to a galactic empire he doesn't want. His cruel mother, the Empress, at first tries to convince him, but when he refuses to take the Empire she turns on him and takes a vengeance that will resonate through the galaxy. Meanwhile his father's rebellion want a figurehead to stand against her, but Kare just wants to avoid the horrific future foretold for him.

Jo says that "what I wanted to do was to take the SFF trope of the 'chosen one' and ask what it would mean to be that chosen person. What would it do to their relationships, their friendships? Their sanity? I wanted to explore that against a classic SF setting, so there's plenty of action, FTL tech, some military scenes, and the backdrop of a big space opera world." Abendau's Heir can be categorised as grimdark and takes the characters, and the reader, to some very dark corners of the universe.

Jo had tried to write Abendau's Heir about three times when she was in her twenties but it never turned out close to the quality she had been hoping for. Then one summer, Jo's children were finally old enough to entertain themselves and she thought it's now or never. That she was about to turn 40 might have been another incentive!

Finally the book was finished, Jo was happy with it and naively she thought that getting it published would be the easy part. During the five years it took to find a home for Abendau's Heir Jo wrote six books, including the following two books of the trilogy and two stand alone genre novels based in Northern Ireland.

Jo says that she is very proud of the final result. "My editor, Teresa Edgerton, was amazing at shaping the book and pushing me to make it better. The result is so much more than I ever dreamed of."

The Inheritance Trilogy continues in Sunset Over Abendau (2016) and completes with Abendau's Legacy (2016).

Waters And The Wild

Jo has recently launched a new book published by Inspired Quill, Waters And The Wild, a dark fantasy set in the Antrim Glens. Amy was five when she vanished during a family trip, only to be found hours later, clutching a golden acorn and claiming to have visited fairies. Now she's eighteen, and the fairies are calling her back. While attending a wedding deep in the Antrim glens, the voices grow darker and their song takes hold. Not sure if she's mad or if the fairies are real, she flees, drawing well-meaning Simon into her fairy-fuelled road trip. To escape their hold, she must confront long-hidden secrets, and find a truth which may not be her's to unearth. But, even then, the fairies may not let her go...

Jo has also published a stand alone novel called Inish Carraig. The story is set in post alien invasion Belfast. Humanity has been defeated - pity the locals aren't listening. Belfast teenager John Dray struggles to survive in the devastated city, scavenging food and clothes for his younger siblings. Set up by the local crime lord, he's sent to Inish Carraig, a formidable alien prison. There, he uncovers a conspiracy which threatens Earth and everyone he loves. Inish Carraig is available from Amazon.

SFF World interviewed Jo to talk about the publication of Abendau's Heir. Jo is a regular poster at SFF Chronicles. There is a Facebook page for the Inheritance Trilogy if you'd like to know more about the books. Jo can also be found on Twitter.