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TitanCon 2013 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 2013. 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 20 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.

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 has most recently been working on a YA trilogy called Everness comprising Planesrunner (2012), Be My Enemy (2013) and the forthcoming Empress of the Sun. 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?

Adam Nevill

Adam LG Nevill

The Guardian says Adam Nevill is fast becoming Britain's answer to Stephen King. He was born in Birmingham, England, in 1969, and grew up in England and New Zealand. Adam says he had a great childhood. Idyllic even. Yet he cites many childhood experiences that terrified him as a direct influence on the kind of supernatural horror stories he writes. From imagined creatures stalking him on walks alone as a child in the New Zealand bush to British children's television programmes like Doctor Who, Rupert Bear (specifically the character of Raggety) and more embarrassingly Sooty and Sweep (the snake-hand puppet Ramsbottom being responsible for scaring a young Adam witless). In his own words Adam says:

"It was certain influences from my childhood that shaped a macabre imagination and gave me a lingering sensitivity to the supernatural. What disturbed me filtered down and distilled itself at the very bottom of my imaginative life. So every time I have written horror, I have either gone deep to find this source, or vestiges of it have risen without warning and compelled me to begin a story."

Adam's first novel Banquet for the Damned (2008) is a story of witchcraft and ritual murder in St. Andrews, Scotland.

This was followed by Apartment 16 (2010), a chilling tale about an empty apartment in London. No one goes in, no one comes out. A young American woman, Apryl, arrives at Barrington House. She's been left an apartment by her mysterious Great Aunt Lillian who died in strange circumstances. When Apryl begins to unravel the hidden story of Barrington House, she quickly learns that a transforming evil still inhabits the building. And her quest leads to the discovery that the doorway to apartment sixteen is a gateway to something altogether more terrifying...

The Ritual (2011) sees four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. A shortcut through a forest untouched for millennia turns into a nightmare scenario when they stumble across an old habitation and evidence of pagan sacrifice rites for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step.

Last Days

Adam's most recent novel Last Days (2012) follows the making of a documentary about a notorious cult called The Temple of the Last Days. Led by the infamous Sister Katherine, the cult self-destructed in a bloody night of ritualistic violence in the Arizona desert in 1975. Ever since, rumour and speculation about the group's mystical secrets and paranormal experiences have lain half-concealed behind a legacy of murder, rape and imprisonment. Now the remaining survivors break their decades long silence, but a series of uncanny events and unexplained phenomena plague the production pitching indie filmmaker Kyle Freeman into a disturbing nightmare when the cult's old friends come calling.

His next novel House of Small Shadows (October 2013) is the tale of a woman determined to get her life back after being fired from her job at a top television production company and forced to leave London. Catherine takes on a challenging new project - to catalogue the late M H Mason's wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she'll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting scenes from World War I. Catherine can't believe her luck. Until Mason's niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle's 'Art'.

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. Peadar is currently working on the final book of the trilogy called The Volunteer.

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 two 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 will be publishing their first fantasy novel and we are pleased to announce they will be launching Polaris Whisper by Ken Gregory at TitanCon 2013.

UPDATE: Not content with launching just one book, Blackstaff Press have signed a second fantasy author, Laurence Donaghy, who will be launching his Belfast based urban fantasy novel Folk'd at TitanCon 2013.

Ken Gregory

Polaris Whisper

Ken Gregory is a Belfast-born author who is releasing his debut novel, The Polaris Whisper, published by Blackstaff Press in October 2013.

In 2006 Ken discovered his passion for writing and attended a Queen's Writers' Group led by Ian Sansom, and in 2007 was selected by the Irish Writers' Centre to undertake a Master Class with Roddy Doyle.

Ken Gregory

Amongst other projects, he is currently working on the second book in the Polaris Trilogy, The Poison of Newgrange as well as a new series, Shahryãr's Heir, a reinvention of the Arabian Nights stories. Ken is currently in discussions with several production companies and developers for the film and gaming rights of The Polaris Whisper.

You can read a sample of the prologue and first chapter of Polaris Whisper on Wattpad.

Laurence Donaghy

Laurence Donaghy

Laurence Donaghy is the author of an urban fantasy trilogy which will be launched in print by Blackstaff Press at TitanCon 2013.

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 and its sequels, Folk'd Up Beyond All Recognition and Completely Folk'd, 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.

I was born in the wagon of-no, not really. I'm Belfast born and (tatie) bred, lived for approx 32.5% of my total life expectancy thus far off the Falls Road and very proud...um, well, sometimes...of that.

I went to St. Mary's on the Glen Road but felt way more at home at the 1st-3rd year campus on Barrack Street, a lovely quaint old place that I don't think really exists anymore...but then, I could say the same for my childhood.

Folk'd

I'm a civil servant, by dint of the fact that I did an English degree as I could write essays in my sleep (and oftentimes came perilously close to doing just that) and still get a decent grade, and I couldn't be annoyed doing something harder that I might have actually been interested in. So I ended up with an English degree and as God as my witness if I ever became a teacher, they'd be talking about the Donaghy Massacre in hushed tones for generations to come.

So one graduate-recruitment process later and there I was, middle management in the Social Security Agency, promoted about five grades upwards from where I was the week before as a clerical officer in Belfast City Council. I actually preferred the Council way more as a grunt because at that grade you had some honest-to-God work to do - for me, that was Dog Licences, Pest Control complaints, and wee oul grannies whose drains were blacked love and Jesus God the smell comin up from them sewers is powerful love, powerful.

Folk'd Up Beyond All Recognition

I once had a wee oul granny ring me up and the first words out of her mouth were "are you gettin it?!" "are you gettin it?!" - turned out she was getting her husband to film the neighbour's Bichon Frise shitting epically all over their front lawn. She then asked me for my contact details so she could send me the tape. I could just imagine my boss getting an envelope addressed to me showing a close-up of a dog's anus as it produced copious amounts of faeces. I'd have to have pretended I was half-German or something.

Never mind though - since 2005 I've been middle-management, I'm not a complete desk slob though (at least I USED not to be), I was quite into racquetball once upon a time and managed to win an All-Ireland medal at "D" grade, which is a bit like winning Coca-Cola League Two. I was so frigged from the games being played that at one stage I looked at my arms and I actually had salt on them from all the dried sweat, which terrified me a wee bit, so much so I've been eating Häagen-Dazs Pralines & Cream and Walkers Sensations Oven Roasted Chicken & Thyme for 9 years to get over the trauma; thankfully, it's worked brilliantly and I'm now a fat useless dickhead. Whew.

Completely Folk'd

I've got a fiancé who hails from Cumbria in the North of England, who I knew from a Buffy the Vampire Slayer community. She was coming over to visit her brother's ex-boyfriend (we're all terribly cosmopolitan nowadays, ne-c'est pas?) and we met up for drinks. Our second date was in the Crow's Nest gay bar - I think then it was called the Custom House - and her brother's ex-bf was doing his Lily Savage tribute act. So I was picked up on the Falls Road in broad daylight by a six-foot-five man in twelve-inch heels and a foot-high blonde wig. I lived. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I fucking call the Peace Dividend.

We now have two beautiful sons Laurence and Adam, who are 9 and 7. In the future we're planning to finally tie the knot, whereupon presumably both of us will start taking each other for granted and our relationship will dissolve into nothingness...nah, I don't think so.

C.S. Kane

C.S. Kane

As part of TitanCon's commitment to providing a platform for great new local talent we are proud to announce C.S. Kane as our guest at TitanCon 2013.

C.S. Kane is a purveyor of horror and dark fiction. Kane currently resides in a village just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland. With a penchant for the paranormal Kane regularly contributes to review sites such as DarkMedia Online.

Shattered

This winter Kane's debut novella is set to be released by US publisher DarkFuse. Shattered is a fresh and modern take on the traditional haunted house theme with a strong focus on characterisation and psychological terror:

Stacey's fiancé Liam has just landed a new job in the city, and the young couple is forced to move into a low-budget flat in a seedy neighborhood. It's not the the dream house they imagined, but it's well within their price range and a short distance from Stacey's graduate school. Soon after they move in, however, Stacey begins to experience terrible nightmares, vivid hallucinations, cold spells, and frequent panic attacks. As she spirals deeper and deeper into what appears to be a physical and mental breakdown, putting her university career and relationship in jeopardy, she befriends the reclusive old woman next door who tells her chilling stories of the house's former occupants. Is Stacey going mad or is the dark history of the house something that can't and won't be be ignored?

Kane is currently working on multiple projects including novels and novellas. You can find Kane on Twitter @CS_Kane, Facebook or via her website/blog.

Lesley Richardson

Lesley Richardson writes for a living but she'd quite like to change what she does and write for a living.

Lesley Richardson

For a very long time Lesley has been a freelance copywriter, providing all kinds of words for all sorts of clients, and for a little while now she's been running a side-line in fiction. Inspired by being shortlisted in the Orange Northern Woman Short Story contest and having her story, Angel, published in an anthology, Lesley tentatively began writing a novel. It took her a while, but she finally completed her book, Biddy Weirdo, in 2008. To her delight and amazement she secured an agent who, to her joy and astonishment, secured her an offer of publication. Even more incredible, 'the call' came a few hours after her husband, John, received 'the call' from his agent to say that his non-fiction book had just been sold. You can imagine the scene in the Richardson household that evening.

Sadly Lesley's deal fell through. Happily John's didn't and Dream On has gone on to become a best seller and is about to be made into a movie.

After a bit of a hiatus Lesley began her second novel, The Possibilities of Elizabeth, for which she was awarded a National Lottery funded Arts Council Grant. She was also presented with a literary bursary from North Down Borough Council for a residency at the esteemed Tyrone Guthrie Centre. The Possibilities of Elizabeth isn't strictly speaking a fantasy or science fiction story, but it is definitely speculative fiction:

Elizabeth Rose lies in a coma, the result of a car crash which may or may not have been an attempt to end her own life. She can't remember. As she adjusts to her comatose state, Elizabeth realises that she has a second chance, another opportunity to either live or die. It's her decision. In a series of trips to scenes from her past, Little Me, her younger self, helps Elizabeth to make up her mind, revealing a shocking family secret in the process. If she chooses life, can she really face a future knowing the truth about her past? Or if she decides on death, will she float off as plain old Elizabeth, and eternally regret allowing the past to destroy a future which could have been magnificent? The possibilities of both, it seems, are overwhelming. Which one will she choose?

Lesley has this thing about letting people see her writing: it makes her feel as though she is naked, standing at a bus stop, hence the title of her fascinating blog Standing naked at a bus stop. Ridiculous, really, when she wants to change her life and become a published writer who will be read by, well, people.

Therefore its no surprise that it took a bit of convincing to get Lesley to agree to do a reading for us at our Literature Night event on Friday 6 September 2013. Lesley won't be taking part in literary panels on Saturday because she will be accompanying her daughter Aimee Richardson who plays Myrcella Baratheon in that Game of Thrones TV show you might have heard of.

Lesley feels like she has a lot to live up to, I say what a talented family! And we're thrilled to have them as guests at TitanCon.

Paul Bolger

HOUND

Paul Bolger is an artist and filmmaker from Waterford. He is adapting a slew of Irish mythic and historical projects for both print and screen including a graphic novel and live action film based on the life and times of Cú Chulainn, entitled HOUND through his studio, PillarStone Productions.

Paul Bolger

He has worked on such films and series as Cool World, The Thief and the Cobbler, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Happily N'Ever After (director), Terry Pratchet's Discworld, Felidae, Pippi Longstocking and as a storyboard artist on recent Aardman blockbusters The Pirates - In an Adventure with Scientists! (titled The Pirates - Band of Misfits in US), Arthur Christmas and the upcoming Shaun The Sheep Movie. His short films Gardens, Comb and Hamster Heaven have been screened at international film festivals to wide acclaim. He illustrated a new children's version of Douglas Hyde's "Ancient Folk Tales of Ireland" in 2009.

Richmond Clements

Richmond Clements

Richmond Clements is a comic writer and editor. He is one of the team behind the highly regarded FutureQuake Press, who publish the anthologies FutureQuake, Something Wicked and the 2000AD fanzines Zarjaz and Dogbreath.

His graphic novels include Turning Tiger, Ketsueki and Pirates of the Lost World as well as lots of things for the Unseen Shadows series including the forthcoming Choose Your Own Adventure book Napoleon Stone and the Army of Set. He also writes the on-going series Black Ops Extreme and Black Dragon for Strip Magazine.


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.


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 eight 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.


Joseph Campo

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

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 is the managing director of Video Hacker, developing and producing innovative web video projects like The Clandestine, a brilliant comedy webseries about a group of geeks and one smoking hot chick who form a secret outlaw motorcycle club. Set and filmed here in Belfast Northern Ireland, The Clandestine features some great local acting talent and the beautiful Milana Vayntrub. We were lucky enough to have the entire cast of the web series as guests at TitanCon 2012 and Joseph will be back this year to tell us about the success the show has received. I also highly recommend the kick-ass soundtrack featuring great music by local rock bands. The entire series is online and can be watched right now!

Leonard Boyd & David Brashaw ~ Backspindle Games

Luchador

Backspindle Games are once again returning to TitanCon. 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. This year they return with another selection of great games.

Firstly there is the much talked about Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice This was a game idea by Mark Rivera that has been developed by the guys at Backspindle and being supported by Wee Gamers. As you can see from this video, it's great fun!!!

Codinca - a simple 2-4 player strategy game, shortlisted at the UK Games Expo in 2012 as one of the best new games of the year (Due to be on Kickstarter in August 2013).

Codinca

Deep within the rain forests of the Yucatan rival teams of treasure hunters have recently discovered the lost city of Codinca. In the centre of the once great citadel stands a stone temple capped by a square stone altar. A small clay totem stands in the centre of this surrounded by a pattern of 16 carved stone tiles. Examining them closely you discover that an intricate series of mechanisms allow the tiles to switch places and turn over revealing a stone side and a gold side. A set of simple icons carved on each side of the pillar seem to indicate that a sequence of 4 different patterns must be formed to open the temple. Can you crack the code and be the first to unlock the secrets of Codinca?

Discworld Clacks - a new game planned for release in 2014, based on an idea from Terry Pratchett's novel Going Postal.

Leonard Boyd & David Brashaw

Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame, the 2012 revised edition where the Luggage can chase off Dragons.

As always Backspindle games are fun and easy to play for all the family and Leonard and David will be on-hand if you wish to chat to them.

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.

Sarah Pinborough

We regret to announce that due to work commitments Sarah Pinborough is unable to attend TitanCon 2013. Sarah passes on her sincere apologies.

Game of Thrones guests

Please see our Game of Thrones guests page for details of the cast and crew members attending TitanCon 2013.

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.