• ah, go on…

    I was at a reception last night, and since I was driving to and from the event I stuck to drinking water. In Ireland you can only have approximately one unit of alcohol in your bloodstream if you are driving (to be exact: 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood). Since it’s quite likely in the future that drivers will face a total ban on alcohol consumption I don’t indulge in the dhrink at all if I’m going to drive. It’s just easier (and safer). Irish people do merit their reputation as hard drinkers. Of course, not everyone here is an alcoholic, but we grow up in a…

  • boxing clever

    Last Thursday I marched in Dublin as party of the International Writers Day of Support for the WGA strike in the USA. There was a strong turn-out of members from the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild, and other supporters such as Conor Kostick who represented the Irish Writers Union. After we donned t-shirts and mustered placards we marched through the Dublin streets. Several motorists honked in support, and lots of people took photos. We picketed the Fox Studio office first, and continued down to the Sony office, where we picketed some more. Our protest drew two cop cars at that point, and an assortment of bemused gardaí – it must…

  • a break

    I’ve had a hectic week. I’m sitting in a hotel in Maynooth writing this entry (hurray for free broadband, it’s so civilised), because it’s the first free time I’ve had in a week. Tonight marks the start of the gathering of Irish sf fans for Octocon. I’m looking forward to catching up with friends, and making new ones. I’ll be on a couple of panels over the weekend, which should be fun. Now, it’s time to adjourn to the bar and search out other attendees…

  • juggling

    The last couple of weeks have been busy with entertaining guests, and attending events at the Galway Film Fleadh, and in between I’ve been trying to complete work projects. I won’t comment on my Write-a-thon goals other than to say that they in progress, and I’ll get there in the end. On Sunday five screenwriters – Mary D’Arcy, Val Nolan, Eamon Quinlan, Will Collins and Keith Bogue – stood in front of an audience and an expert panel and pitched their hearts out for the Fleadh’s Stella Artois Pitching Award. Will is a member of the Galway Scriptwriting Group, so it was an extra pleasure to hear him deliver a…

  • a grey day for voting

    Not much to report other than life goes on, as does the writing and pondering. It’s election day today, and I’ve kept the radio off so thus far I’ve remained blissfully unaware of the predictions and political shenanigans going on. Later on Martin and I will cast our vote, and participate in the democratic process. Over the past few weeks we’ve had a steady stream of political canvassers turning up at our door, which whips our dog Minnie into a barking frenzy. Normally, we don’t encourage her too much in her territorial alarms, but we’ve been lenient about her reaction to the politicians. They tend to be happy to hand…

  • more Leiber

    The second edition of the Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies has gone online. In one of those funny fits of synchronicity, it contains an article by English horror writer Ramsey Campbell about Fritz Leiber. Expect to see retrospectives about the man popping up everywhere – a Leiber current appears to be vibrating the airwaves at the moment. Also, I forgot to mention that in the dealer’s room at P-Con last weekend I nabbed an American first-edition paperback copy of Leiber’s science fiction novel, The Big Time (1958), for a paltry three euros. I expect to whiz through it quickly since it’s only 127 pages. If only more novels…

  • a weekend of sf

    I had a fun weekend attending P-Con IV in Dublin. There were lots of amiable, interesting guests, good panels, and long discussions on matters pertaining to science fiction, fantasy and horror in literature and comics. Frank Darcy and his team did a bang-up job of putting together a friendly and accessible convention. It’s always a treat to be in the company of people who want to discuss genre work, and are knowledgeable about the subject. Even for a small convention like P-Con it’s amazing how little time you get to catch up with everyone. I’ll have to squeeze in some extra time for that at Octocon (Alastair Reynolds has just…

  • we all stand together

    I’ve started working on a very part-time basis for the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild. Mostly, I’m working on streamlining their web site and maintaining their electronic newsletter. An early stripped-down version of the Guild site is now live. It’s serving up basic information at the moment, and I hope to add extra features over time. As one would expect, the Guild is not overflowing with cash, so I’m doing my best on a limited budget. It is thanks to the munificence and foresight of funding bodies like the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board that I’ve been able to begin work on our long-term plans. I’ve started up…

  • and the winner is

    A hearty congratulations to my mate John Vaughan, who nabbed one of the three RTÉ Filmbase Short Script Awards for his script “My Dad”. Those of us who’ve encountered John won’t be surprised by this win. He’s a mad, hilarious Corkman who is driven by a passion to make films. I look forward to seeing “My Dad” when it’s finished, and knowing John that will be five minutes after he gets the money.