Tue, 15 August 2017 Reviewing Marvel’s The Defenders

I had a whirlwind return from Helsinki as I was scheduled to review the new eight-episode Netflix show, Marvel’s The Defenders, on Arena today.

I was able to watch the first four episodes of the new show before the radio interview with Arena host Kay Sheehy.

Fans of the four series, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, should not be disappointed.

I’m eagerly looking forward to watching episodes 5 – 8 when the entire season debuts on Netflix on 18 August. Episode 4 ends on a climatic note, so be prepared to want to watch the next episodes immediately!

Mon, 14 August 2017 Fire Walk With Me: At Home

I had wonderful welcome-home loot waiting for me after my trip to Helsinki: copies of my Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me monograph.

Even though the book had been published before I left for Finland, the event had the hazy quality of a wistful dream. This wonderful stack of beautifully-produced volumes brought it crashing through the mists of fantasy and firmly into my reality.

My thanks to my editor Neil Snowdon at Electric Dreamhouse Press, and Pete Crowther of PS Publishing for putting together such a high quality book.

Sun, 13 August 2017 Hugo Awards at Helsinki Worldcon

A couple of days before Worldcon I was informed that their Guest of Honour Claire Wendling could not attend due to illness. I hope that Claire makes a speedy recovery and returns to full health.

I was approached by the Hugo Awards committee about stepping in for Claire, as she was due to present the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. At this point I was already in Helsinki, and while I had some trepidation about having to appear at such a big event I agreed.

Before I knew it the con was in full swing, and then I was walking onto the stage, and sitting beside the serene, elegant Toastmistress Dr. Karen Lord.

Thankfully, I didn’t fluff any lines or stand in the wrong place, and I was so pleased that the winner of the category was Monstress, written by Marjorie Liu and drawn by Sana Takeda. I’ve been reading the series since it was published, and I’m a huge fan of this dark, lush story.

I had a great time in Finland (with a flying visit to Tallinn in Estonia), and thoroughly enjoyed Worldcon 75. I was lucky to be on fun panels with smart people, and enjoyed hanging out with old pals and meeting new people.

The site selection vote happened, and Dublin 2019 was confirmed as Worldcon 77! The Guests of Honour will be: Ian McDonald, Diane Duane, Mary & Bill Burns, Ginjer Buchanan, Steve Jackson, and Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell.

This is a testament to the tremendous hard work of the bid committee, and best of luck to them with hosting this prestigious event for the first time in Ireland. I may even play some small part in the programming, but more of that anon…

Make sure you buy your membership now, and keep 15-19 August 2019 free in your calendar.

Thu, 10 August 2017 Borne Review

Tonight I reviewed Borne, the latest novel by Jeff VanderMeer, for the RTÉ Radio 1 Arts show, Arena.

Thu, 03 August 2017 The Light at the Centre in Best New Horror #28

My short story ‘The Light at the Centre’ has been selected by editor Stephen Jones for his Best New Horror #28 anthology. I’m delighted!

It was first published in Uncertainties Vol. 1 by editor Brian Showers for Swan River Press (and still available for purchase).

Tue, 01 August 2017 Guest of Honour Interview with Claire Wendling

I’m honoured that I’ll be interviewing Artist Guest of Honour, Claire Wendling, at WorldCon 75 in Helsinki.

It will be taking place at noon on Friday, 11 August in Messukeskus, Room 103.

Claire is a French comic book artist, illustrator, and video games concept designer, who started her career by winning the prestigious “Alph-Art avenir” (“future”/young talent) prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival while still in her third year of art school. Since then she has drawn the award-winning Les lumières de l’Amalou (written by Christophe Gibelin), helped design the visuals for Alone in the Dark IV (Infogrames), illustrated numerous titles, and drawn for a variety of comic books, covers, anthologies, and has published sketch books.

It should be a good event for those interested in art and illustration.

Fri, 21 July 2017 Fire Walk With Me on sale

The Midnight Movie Monograph I’ve written on David Lynch’s iconic film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, for Electric Dreamhouse Press, an imprint of PS Publishing, has arrived from the printers and pre-ordered copies of the book should be shipping immediately.

And now is the perfect time to order it if you haven’t already.

ABOUT THIS BOOK (from my introduction)
“The temptation when examining TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (FWWM thereafter) is to become bogged down in the minutiae of its originating TV series, and lost in the labyrinthine theories which have sprung up across multiple online forums and discussion groups. TWIN PEAKS is one of the first true Cult TV shows that thrived upon fan interest in the nascent Internet era, and colonised space on the World Wide Web from an early stage. Despite comprising only 30 episodes, the world of TWIN PEAKS has endured and fascinated its adherents long after the show was cancelled.

While FWWM is hugely indebted to the TV series TWIN PEAKS, the film exists as a separate artefact and possesses its own unique identity. It functions as a prequel to the series, but ultimately it is a hymn to Laura Palmer, the fetishised mystery girl of the original series, who was only glimpsed in death through a kaleidoscope of epistolary details: diaries, video tapes, and second-hand recollections.

In this book I will indicate the themes that thread through some of David Lynch’s films prior to FWWM, and also touch upon the original TV series to offer context, but my primary interest is to explore and open up TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME as a powerful account of trauma and a nuanced portrait of a complex young woman trying to hold together her shattered personality for the cosy community which wishes her to conform to their ideals and never speak of her torment, or their complicity in it.”

Thu, 20 July 2017 Worldcon 75

I’ll be attending the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, Finland from 9-13 August 2017, which is the first time a WorldCon has taken place in a Nordic country.

It looks like it’s going to be a terrific event with a huge array of programming items. It will be my first time visiting Finland, and in a bonus coincidence, a new Moomin Museum has opened in Tampere.

Here is my schedule for the event:

Wednesday, 9 Aug, 2017
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM | Messukeskus, 206
‘Coffee, Pie and Murder: 25 Years Later’
The cult television show Twin Peaks makes its return in 2017. Is this a good idea, or should Laura Palmer finally be allowed to rest in peace?
Mats Strandberg | Eeson Rajendra | Tiina Raevaara | Elisa Wiik | Maura McHugh

Thursday, 10 Aug, 2017
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM in Messukeskus, 206
‘Cape Not Included’
Not all superheros wear capes and not all great graphic novels have superheros. The panel discusses their favourite non-genre comics.
Maura McHugh | Edward Fortune | César Santivañez | Julie McGalliard

Friday, 11 Aug, 2017
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM in Messukeskus, 103
‘Guest of Honour Interview: Claire Wendling’
Guest of Honour Claire Wendling interviewed by Maura McHugh
Claire Wendling | Maura McHugh

Saturday, 12 Aug, 2017
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM in Messukeskus, 101a&b
‘Crafting a Fantasy Novel from Mythology’
Myths, legends, and folklore are often excessively complex and varied. How do you create a coherent fantasy novel for today’s audience from this tangled web?
Maura McHugh | Juliet Marillier | Mark Tompkins | Ellen Kushner | Helena Waris

WorldCon 2017 is also when the site selection vote will take place for WorldCon 2019 – and the lone contender is for Dublin WorldCon!

I’m very excited at the prospect of a WorldCon being hosted in Ireland for the first time (15-19 August 2019). I’ll be casting my vote with pride at WorldCon in Helsinki, and looking forward to celebrating when it becomes official!

Plus, it’s already been announced that the EuroCon in 2019 will be hosted by TitanCon in Belfast, for the following weekend – 22-24 August, 2019.

It’s going to be a fun, geeky fortnight on the island of Ireland in August 2019!

Tue, 27 June 2017 Animate Europe Awards ceremony and exhibition

I’ll be attending, and speaking, at the Animate Europe International Comics Competition 2017 Award Ceremony on 11 July at the Belgium Comic Strip Centre in Brussels, where the overall winner of the competition will be announced.

It’s been a pleasure to serve on this jury and read a wide variety of ideas on how to ‘Re-Animate Europe’. It was a tough job to whittle it down to the seven finalists, but here they are:

The programme for the evening events is:

18.30 Registration

19.00 Award ceremony

Welcome
Willem De Graeve
Director, Belgian Comic Strip Center

Remarks
Dr. Wolf-Dieter Zumpfort
Member of the Board of Directors, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Gesine Meissner MEP,
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

Maura McHugh & Gert Jan Pos
Comic Book Writer / Teacher, editor, photographer
Re-Animate Europe Jury Members

Awards
Hans H. Stein
Director European and Transatlantic Dialogue, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

20.00 Reception
Atmospheric music by Sofie la Digue & the Blue Skies

You’ll be able to meet the artists and see their work too. Pass along the invite along to anyone who might be interested. It’s free to attend, but they ask that you register in advance.

Mon, 19 June 2017 Talking vegetarianism

I don’t talk about it terribly much, but I’ve been a vegetarian for twenty years at this point. Recently, I was invited onto The Culinary Muse radio show on Kinvara FM, hosted by Anna O’Donnell, to chat about vegetarianism, as well as playing some themed music on the subject.

You can listen to it online now.

It was a fun show, but I always enjoy doing radio.

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