• Animated delights at JDIFF

    Neil Gaiman has announced on his twitter account that he will be attending the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (12-22 Feb 2009). No doubt he’ll be there to promote the film of his children’s novel, Coraline, which was adapated and directed by Henry Selick. Mr. Gaiman will be at the festival on the 15th of February. It’s worth mentioning that the Irish animated feature, aimed at children, The Secret of Kells, will also be shown at the film festival. It’s written by Fabrice Ziolkowski from a story by Tomm Moore, and co-directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey. The advance buzz on this film is good, and Cartoon Saloon, the…

  • Winter Cheer

    I started writing this blog post a week ago, but then I became happily distracted by the visit from a dear friend of mine. October and November are busy months for me. It’s when the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild organises its annual screenwriting awards, the ZeBBies, and it generates a lot of extra work. On November 25th we had the ZeBBie Awards Ceremony in the Sugar Club in Dublin, and it was a fun night. I put on a frock and shiny shoes. People were bewildered but complimentary. I spent all of that Tuesday at the Arts Council’s conference, New Media, New Audience? The panel I participated on was…

  • well deserved

    Most people on the Irish science fiction scene know John Vaughan – the Cork man who has been known to talk the hind leg off a donkey (I’ve seen the crippled animal myself), and is passionate about making films. This afternoon I discovered via Filmbase that his short film, “My Dad”, which he wrote and directed, and screened at Octocon last year, won the Best Short category in the Action on Film International Film Festival. He also won the award for the Best Unproduced Action (Short) Screenplay: “For Your Troubles”. John has slogged long and hard in a tough industry, and I’m delighted his efforts are getting the acclaim they…

  • this fleeting life

    Today brings the expected but crushing news that Frank Darcy has passed away. Frank was very active in science fiction circles in Ireland, and is perhaps best known as the organiser of P-Con for the last few years. How do you summarise a person’s life in a couple of words? It’s at times like this I don’t feel up to the job. The adjectives kind, dedicated, thoughtful, humorous, and generous can all be applied. Warm-hearted and friendly come to mind. But it can’t even touch upon the depth of Frank, who had a young family, and many dear friends, who will miss him sorely. My sincere condolences to his wife…

  • splish splash

    At some point when I was a kid I encountered the idea of a waterproof radio that could be used in the shower. I’m sure I first saw it on a film or a TV show, but I thought the idea was fantastic. Imagine, being able to shower and listen to music! I’ve always had a determination that I would get one. Yet it was only this week I attained the goal. I went to my local Lidl, and purchased a shower radio for the princely sum of €7.99. You know what, it was awesome having a shower and listening to the radio. I left it on as I went…

  • grooving

    Last weekend at P-Con was a lot of fun. A number of the attendees had been at Eastercon the previous weekend so it was lovely to see people again I’d normally only meet intermittently. The organiser, Frank Darcy, helped by a capable and dedicated team, staged a relaxed and intimate convention. Judging on quickly people signed up for next year’s con I’d say that the only worry that P-Con will have to consider next year is getting bigger rooms. The GoH Catie Murphy was a lively and engaging guest, who proves that hard-working successful authors can be amenable, approachable, and wear very sexy shoes. I was flattered that P-Con asked…

  • In between

    I’m living in the gap between two science fiction conventions: Orbital (Eastercon) in London last weekend and P-Con in Dublin this weekend. Orbital was great: at 1,300 members it was one of the largest Eastercons in the UK for some time. There was an impressive guest list, a fantastic dealers room, and loads of interesting programming events to attend. As with most conventions there were some issues, but the ones that bothered me were to do with the hotel itself, and not the Orbital staff, whom I found to be organised and very helpful. From the feedback I received the panels on which I participated went well, and I enjoyed…

  • a flash sale

    Today I heard from Tyree Campbell, the editor of Aoife’s Kiss, that my flash short story, “Homunculus”, will appear in the September 2008 edition of the publication. Hurray! Eastercon, or Orbital 2008 (the annual UK SF convention), is two weeks away, and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s my first Eastercon, but it won’t be my last as I’m already booked in for the following year: Eastercon LX. I’m impressed with the programme for Orbital, which has panels and events running into the late evening every day. I won’t be bored. I’m contributing on three panels during the convention: At 10am on Saturday in the Commonwealth East and West…

  • snow and poetry

    Sunset on ice

    I woke up this morning to a white world. Snow is so unusual in this part of the country – close to the Atlantic Ocean and with no mountains in the area – that it merits a short poem: Overnight snowfall;The landscape bathed in lightSilhouettes the dog. My breath catches,Escapes, a visible surprise.Ice bursts under heel. Today is Imbolc, which is an agrarian festival associated with the lambing season. In Ireland it’s also known as Lá Fhéile Bríde, and is still celebrated in Kildare as a week-long festival dedicated to Saint/Goddess Bríde. Bríde is associated with smithcraft, poetry, and fire, and so February 1st is an appropriate day to compose…

  • winter

    It’s 3.30pm, and the solid bank of clouds outside my window is the shade of grey your white t-shirt turns when it has been through too many cold wash cycles. The hedges and trees flail in the grip of gusts and sudden squalls of rain. It’s twilight already. It has the yellowish tinge of an incipient storm, or the apocalypse. I’ll be living in this compressed twilight world until the end of the month. I hold onto the thought that the solstice is not far off, and every day after that will be a little longer and brighter. The sun remains, hidden. I wish it would break through more often.