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TitanCon 2012 Guests

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Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald

We are thrilled to once again have Belfast's very own Ian McDonald back at TitanCon 2012. Ian was our Guest of Honour last year and he enjoyed it so much he was pleased to be invited to come back again this year. 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.

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, and 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 has just finished work on Planesrunner, the first book of a young reader's series to be published by Pyr.

The Clandestine

The Clandestine logo

The Clandestine is a comedy webseries about a group of geeks and one smoking hot chick who form a secret outlaw motorcycle club.

It's Sons of Anarchy meets The Office. The show takes place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and takes the piss out of nerds and motorbikers... and old people... and everything else.

The show features killer motorbikes, sexy ladies, geeks doing dangerous stuff, a great sense of humour, and a soundtrack packed with music from the best up and coming bands in the Irish rock scene.

The first two episodes of The Clandestine are already online and they are gearing up to shoot the remaining eleven episodes in September. As luck would have it the shoot is due to finish the day before TitanCon 2012 so we've invited the cast and crew to come down and be our guests and talk about this highly anticipated web series. Cast members Bennett Warden (Marcus), Michael Lavery (Freddy), Dermott Hickson (Will) and the supremely talented and beautiful Milana Vayntrub (Anna) will all be at TitanCon along with Joseph Campo (Producer/Director), Luca Rocchini (Director of Photography) and Paul Corscadden (Sound Recordist).

The Clandestine, written by Kieran Doherty, is being produced by Joseph Campo's Video Hacker production company and is funded through sponsors Banjax and Northern Ireland's film commission, Northern Ireland Screen, but it is also being funded by fans via a Kickstarter campaign. Joseph has been campaigning his heart out on Twitter over the last few months and they've successfully reached their initial target of $5,000 so they're now hoping to get to $10,000 which will be a huge help towards making this web series as awesome as possible. If you'd like to make a donation they are offering all sorts of incentives from having your name in the credits up to being an Executive Producer.

The guys have already received several video applications from various people who would like to join their gang such as Joshua Malina (The West Wing), Mark Gantt (hit web series The Bannen Way), Cheeks (from Jane Espensen's web series Husbands), Bethany St James, Kristen Nedopak, Laura Spencer (Lizzie Bennett Diaires) and Conan Stevens (The Hobbit and the original Gregor Clegane in Game of Thrones).

The Clandestine is due to premier online in October. Geeks on bikes forever!

Milana Vayntrub

Milana Vayntrub

A few months ago Joseph Campo announced that his production company had hired actress Taryn Southern to play the role of Anna in new web series The Clandestine. A few weeks ago Taryn was offered an incredible break out role but unfortunately the filming dates clashed with coming over to Belfast. Since then Joe and his team have been furiously working hard to find someone every bit as good and are pleased to announce that they have succeeded.

Milana Vayntrub has been making a name for herself in the Los Angeles comedy scene for the last few years. Milana's Youtube channel Live Prude Girls has over 30k subscribers since she started it a year ago.

Milana's first TV role was in 1995 at just eight years old as Tatiana in the first season of ER. In December last year Milana posted a hilarious mockumentary on her Youtube channel called Dead Reel: The Milana Vayntrub Story about how she has gone on from her apperance in ER to supposedly make an entire career out of playing dead girls. The video is embedded below and I highly recommend watching it, very funny!

After ER came more television roles in Days of our Lives, Lizzie McGuire and The Division. Milana has also had several movie appearances including Shadows of the White Nights, With Her, All Better, Junk, Squiddabbles and L!fe Happens. Recently Milana has done theatre, voiceover work, sketches for other web series such as CollegeHumor Originals and guest star appearances on The League and MTV's new show Zack Stone is Gonna be Famous.

In October 2012 Milana will be starring in The Clandestine as Anna, the hot biker chick.

Joseph Campo ~ Producer/Director

Joseph Campo

If you've been following Game of Thrones on Winter is Coming for the last couple of years then I'm sure Joe needs no introduction. He made a huge impression on the fanbase with his awesome Get Joe on the Show video diaries, a series of seven short videos which chronicles Joe's attempts to plea for a part in HBO's Game of Thrones. Episode six even featured a guest appearance by Syrio Forel himself Miltos Yerolemou who put Joe through his paces. Simply hilarious. Just so. We reunited Miltos and Joseph on stage at TitanCon 2011 in our Water Dancing Live workshop. Check the video link below to watch all seven episodes if you haven't already.

Joseph and Miltos

Joseph Campo and Miltos Yerolemou water dancing at TitanCon 2011. Photo taken by Lindsey Clarke.

Joseph has produced, directed, and edited two feature films: the comedy The Art of Kissing, which is currently distributed through Video on Demand and Netflix in the US; and the documentary Nations of Peace in which peace experts and politicians in the five most peaceful countries (as rated by the Global Peace index) discuss what they are doing right, from which we can learn. He has also written, directed, and produced over twenty short films and other short form videos including Money, Please!

Joseph worked for a year as project manager at Banjax Ltd., and has overseen development of web, Facebook, iPhone and iPad applications for clients such as Carlsberg, Guinness, Aviva, Diet Coke, Vodafone, Ulster Bank, and Bedeck. He is now the managing director of Video Hacker, developing and producing innovative web video projects, like The Clandestine.

Joe was also responsible for our awesome TitanCon 2011 video promo.

Leonard Boyd & David Brashaw ~ Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame

Leonard Boyd & David Brashaw

At TitanCon 2011 game designers Leonard Boyd and David Brashaw held their official Northern Ireland launch event for Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame based on the books of Sir Terry Pratchett. We are delighted to say they are coming back again this year with something rather different...

Leonard and David both hail from County Down. Leonard has two children and a very understanding wife. David also has two children and a very understanding wife. They're also both huge Discworld fans. In fact the only way to tell them apart is that they look completely different. David points out he is small, stubborn with a baldy patch while Leonard is older, wiser and has more imagination.

The Luggage

Leonard is a graphic designer and first had the idea for this game way back in 1991. After a few years of playtesting with David and their friends Leonard got the chance in May 1995 to show the game to Sir Terry who described it as one of the better ones he had seen. However he advised them that they needed to secure the backing of a major games company before he could grant them a licence.

After an extremely long and torturous process of trying to find a publisher, involving at least five redesigns of the entire game and more hours of playtesting than any sane person can possibly imagine, they finally secured a deal with Z-Man Games in 2010. Then in November they successfully signed prolific Discworld artist Stephen Player to create the character illustrations for their game and on 27 November 2010 Sir Terry Pratchett granted Leonard and David a licence to put the game into production.

Guards! Guards! has been a massive success, completely selling out its first print run. After a full twenty years in development this has been a long time coming and richly deserved. Leonard and David are hard at work on a follow up game which thankfully will not have such a long development cycle. In fact they are hoping it will be ready in time for TitanCon 2012.

We'll bring you more details on the new game and what Leonard and David will be up to at TitanCon 2012 over the coming months.

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 was published 5 May 2011 and continues Stopmouth's journey as he attempts to understand The Roof and find the mysterious woman he loves who fell from it.

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 asked last year 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 proved a huge hit with the audience moderating two 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.

Ruth Frances Long

Ruth Frances Long

Ruth Frances Long (R. F. Long) always had a thing for fantasy, romance and ancient mysteries. The combination was bound to cause trouble. In university she studied English Literature, History of Religions and Celtic Civilisation, which just compounded the problem.

As R. F. Long she writes fantasy and paranormal romance stories including Tales of the Holtlands, a series of novellas comprising The Wolf's Sister (2008), The Wolf's Mate (2010) and The Wolf's Destiny (2011). R. F. Long also has a couple of stand alone novels to her name, The Scroll Thief (2009) and Soul Fire (2010).

As Ruth Frances Long her forthcoming novel for young adults, The Treachery of Beautiful Things from Dial Books for Young Readers goes on sale 16 August 2012. 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.

Ruth lives in Wicklow and works in a specialised library of rare and unusual books.

But they donít talk to her that often. Or maybe she's learned not to listen. Maybe.

Ken Magee

Ken Magee

Ken Magee was born in Northern Ireland and has always lived and worked here. He spent many years in various roles in the local IT industry - Shorts, Honeywell, ICL/Fujitsu and finally running GAMETHEWORLD, a company he helped found in 2004. Over the years, Ken has had a number of articles published in business magazines, but he is new to the world of fantasy fiction. In 2010 Ken took the opportunity to write full-time and finish Dark Tidings, the book he had started (writing not reading) some 30 years ago. Itís a contemporary fantasy that he describes with the tagline 'Ancient magic meets the Internet'.

Dark Tidings

What happens when ancient magic meets the Internet? One thing is certain, modern life will never be the same again.

A thousand years ago, a young thief, Tung, and a disgraced wizard, Madrick, are thrust together in an executioner's dungeon. In the darkness, Madrick reveals an incredible secret about a legendary spell. The great spell helps them escape their prison cell... and eventually their century.

Catapulted into the present day, their lives collide with Michael, a computer hacker who plans to destroy the world's largest bank. But sinister people are tracking their every move and they will stop at nothing to steal their spell.

Published in November 2011, Dark Tidings is garnering great reviews with favourable comparisons to Terry Pratchett. Which comes as no surprise since Ken lists Pratchett as one of his favourite authors alongside Douglas Adams and Grant Naylor (the conjoined name of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, the writers behind the fantastic Red Dwarf). Ken has always been a fantasy fan and is thrilled to now find his book on the shelves alongside his heroes.

We are pleased to announce that TitanCon will be Ken's first convention appearance (so be gentle with him folks) but I'm sure it will be far from his last.

Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. She lives in Hollywood and can occasionally be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.

Shadow & Bone The Gathering Dark

Leigh's debut novel Shadow & Bone (retitled as The Gathering Dark in the UK), the first book in the Grisha Trilogy, will be published by Holt Children's/Macmillan in May 2012. The Grisha Trilogy is set in the once-great nation of Ravka, a fantasy world inspired by Russia - always nice to see a non-western inspired setting!

Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near-impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one unlikely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life - a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free.

Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha... and the secrets of her heart.

Leigh also has a connection to Game of Thrones. At Worldcon 2011 in Reno, David J Peterson, the creator of the Dothraki language, gave several lucky audience members the opportunity to have their names entered into the Dothraki dictionary. Here's what David came up with for Leigh:

lei (animate noun) ghost (also the adjective for "lost", this is a term for an adult whose body is not burned, and, hence, is not able to ride into the Night Lands). The word derives from leyi, which one might spell "leghi".

We promise Leigh will neither be lost nor a ghost at TitanCon. She is a fully fledged member of the BWB, completed a quest for an Awful Awful Burger and has been knighted by George RR Martin.

Check out this video trailer that Macmillan put together to promote The Grisha Trilogy.

Joanna Volpe

Joanna Volpe

Joanna Stampfel-Volpe is a literary agent and vice-president of Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation in New York. Joanna represents author and fellow TitanCon guest Leigh Bardugo (yes they come as an adorable set of two guests for the price of one, we just couldn't resist).

Joanna represents all brands of fiction, from children's books to adult. She has a particular affinity for fantasy and sci-fi that has a darker, grittier feel, and she is drawn to horror with a strong psychological story line. Her recent publications include Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt), Divergent by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books), The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams (Ace), Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal (Simon & Schuster), No Peace for the Damned by Megan Powell (47North) and Torn by Erica O'Rourke (KTeen).

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, drawn in red ink in an improvisational style, which has been serialised on the web since 2008 and is probably about halfway done. Print editions are also available.

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, and, together with Andy Luke, runs a stall selling locally-published comics at Belfast arts markets.

Andy Luke

Andy Luke

Andy Luke is a local writer who draws. Over the last fifteen years he's produced a mass of self-published comics including Bob's, a Bangor based bed-sit-com, and Optimus and Me.

He's perhaps best known for his 24 hour comics, Gran, Absence: a comic about epilepsy, and Don't get Lost. His hi-speed comixing produced the twice-weekly NewsZoom; a comic about the news, earlier this year. With this approach he'll be facilitating 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 will be asking willing volunteers to help create and produce an entirely new book in the space of just one day. More details at Andy's Comix Blog and on the event's Facebook page.

Andy has also written about comix at Bugpowder, Irish Comic News and Alltern8, and runs Black Panel Distribution, bridging Irish comix publishers with retailers. In his spare time, he enjoys candy and electronic cigarettes, jacoozies and Levenson Enquiry related jail terms.

Paul J Holden

Andy Luke

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.

Spence Wright

Spence Wright

Having grown up during the VHS Feeding Frenzy of the 1980's and ever since he was knee high to a Chucky Doll Spence has had a keen interest in writing horror. Spence cut his writing teeth on his self published Short Story Magazine Wrightlines, before deciding to fuse his lifetime love of storytelling and movies in order to try his hand at screenwriting.

Spence and Richard Crawford became founding members of Screenwriters Ink in 2003 and dedicated themselves to supporting and nurturing new writing talent in Northern Ireland.

In 2008 Generator Films produced Red Mist, Spence's first feature script. A group of medical students at Forthaven General Hospital study hard and party harder, until a cruel prank accidentally puts the hospital's creepy caretaker into a deep coma. But when Catherine tries to revive the degenerate loner with an experimental drug, she instead sends his brainwaves berserk. It's not long before Catherine's friends are picked off one-by-one in a spree of grisly kills as the ultimate out-of body experience ushers in a bloodbath of brutal revenge. Red Mist featured Game of Thrones actors Stephen Dillane and Art Parkinson.

Spence has written a double bill of films for Causeway Pictures' forthcoming locally set horror slate. First up is zombie flick DEADlocked, a dark horror about a group of bankers trapped in a corporate tower as a zombie epidemic spreads around Belfast. This will be followed by comedy horror Vampires versus Leprechauns directed by Allan Gildea. The film is about a small Irish village which is besieged by a group of vampires attempting to open a gateway to hell.

Richard Crawford

Richard Crawford

Born in Lisburn in 1961, Richard has been writing since the early 1990's while pursuing a full-time career as a civil servant in the Department of the Environment. Originally focusing on fiction, he published two successful adventure novels Fall When Hit and The Minstrel Boy (which has been recently re-released on Kindle), before turning his hand to screenwriting.

Richard originated the idea of The Abduction Club script in 1996 and spent the next four years developing and writing the script with original director Bill Britten, before Stefan Schwartz took over and directed the comedy released in 2002. "We are gentlemen brought together by necessity!" So goes the thinking behind The Abduction Club, the name of a wily gang of penniless 18th-century chaps who attempt to cure their singledom by swiping wealthy heiresses from the comfort of their own homes. The aim? To sweet talk them into marriage by morning. The Abduction Club featured Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham.

Richard and Spence Wright became founding members of Screenwriters Ink in 2003 and dedicated themselves to supporting and nurturing new writing talent in Northern Ireland.

Richard has produced many short films including the Project NORMA series (2005-2006) and he recently directed short film Jogged (2012) which was featured at the Galway Film Fleadh in July 2012. Richard's script for feature film The Undefended is due to start preproduction in the autumn. Set in Bosnia, the film is about a UN soldier who returns to post-war Sarajevo to seek revenge on a war criminal who haunts his dreams.

Taryn Southern

We regret to announce that Taryn Southern will not be attending TitanCon 2012, but Taryn's role in The Clandestine has been replaced by Milana Vayntrub who will be appearing instead.

T.A. Moore

We regret to announce that T.A. Moore will not be able to attend TitanCon 2012.

Game of Thrones guests

Please see our Game of Thrones guests page for details of the cast and crew members attending TitanCon 2012.

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.