• Writing

    three secrets of writing

    The picture on the right is Sir Terry Pratchett twenty years ago when he attended the first Octocon convention in Ireland as Guest of Honour. It was early in his career, and I remember him as affable, friendly and willing to socialise with the fans (not always the case with authors). The convention introduced me to his work, and I’ve been an admirer of his Discworld novels ever since. Today, Pratchett has sold over 70 million books worldwide and his hair is much whiter. He’s also coping with early-onset Alzheimer’s with rare honesty, as evidenced in last year’s two-part BBC documentary. Pratchett is currently in Trinity College Dublin for a…

  • Film


    If you would like to watch ‘Übermensch’, which won the Golden Blaster for Best Short Film at Octocon, here it is: https://dailymotion.com/video/xdm0p6?width=480&iframe=1&additionalInfos=0&autoPlay=0&hideInfos=0 ÜbermenschScreenplay by Daniel Poole, adapted from a short story by Kim Newman; Director: Simon Temple. For those who were at Octocon you can now watch the closing title sequence in full, which I recommend.

  • Conventions

    blasted winners

    I took the above picture of graffiti and tags in Temple Bar in Dublin today. Despite being in the vicinity I never got a chance to drop by to Octocon‘s Dead Dog get-together in the Porterhouse as I was busy in the afternoon. Since I was on the jury for the Golden Blasters Short Film Competition with Michael Carroll and Dave Lally I figured I should mention the winners of the competitions: Golden Blaster Award for Best Short Film (Jury Award): ‘Ubermensch’, directed by Simon Temple and written by Daniel Poole, based on a short story by Kim Newman. Silver Blaster Award for Best Short film (Audience Award): ‘The Astronomer’s…

  • Octocon 2010
    Conventions,  Ireland,  News

    Octocon 2010

    This weekend I’ll be a guest at the 2010 Octocon convention in the Camden Court Hotel, Dublin. The Guest of Honour is George R.R. Martin, best known as the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels. The first novel in the series, Game of Thrones, is currently being filmed in Northern Ireland as a HBO mini-series. Its tone has been described as ‘Sopranos with Swords’, and since HBO rarely does anything badly, this could be the fantasy television series of a generation. Here’s the teaser trailer that HBO has released: It’s a considerable coup for an Irish convention to have such an established author as a…

  • Golden Blasters
    Conventions,  Film,  Ireland,  News,  Screenwriting

    Golden Blasters 2010

    The Irish national science fiction convention, Octocon (October 16-17), has issued a call for scripts for its inaugural short script competition. It’s looking for fantasy, science fiction or horror short scripts, less than twenty pages, and in the usual format. The fees for the competition are on a sliding scale depending on when the script is submitted: May 31, 2010Earlybird Deadline €10.00 July 31, 2010Regular Deadline €15.00 August 31, 2010Late Deadline €20.00 It has also issued a call for submissions for fantasy, science fiction and horror short films (under 15 minutes) for its second Short Film Competition. The films that are short-listed will be screened at this year’s convention, and…

  • Conventions,  Fiction,  Film,  Reviews,  Screenwriting

    death and taxes

    It’s been a strange week. There have been two deaths, and I’ve attended one funeral (neither of the deceased were close to me, so don’t proffer sympathies), and a major row erupted in the Irish sf scene that involved a lot of people I know. My mother had been away on holiday, and she called me on Tuesday evening and asked if I wanted to go see a film. I couldn’t really spare the time. Not only did I have a funeral that was going to take up most of the following day, I was really late on sorting out my taxes. I’d been brooding on the Internet fracas going…

  • Golden Blasters
    Clarion,  Conventions,  Film,  publications,  Thoughts

    end of summer round-up

    I’ve never had such a long gap between blog posts before, I guess that means I’ve been busy. Time to herd some news stories across the prairies. I sold my sf-horror story, “Empty Mind Came Back With the Pearl”, to M-Brane SF a while ago. It will appear in issue 9. I’m delighted this story will get to an audience. I wrote it at Clarion West, during the week Nalo Hopkinson was our teacher. She described it as the love child of Clive Barker and Brian Aldiss I believe. I’m co-writing a three-issue comic book, called Róisín Dubh, with Rob Curley of Atomic Diner publications, and the fabulous Sub City…

  • Fiction,  Galway,  Ireland,  Television

    books to read and TV to watch

    While at Octocon at the weekend I had the chance to catch up with friends, and participate on several panel discussions. It was an enjoyable convention: relaxed, friendly, and with a good buzz. I bought the latest book by the supremely talented Michael Carroll, one of the guests of the convention. It’s the second novel in his New Heroes trilogy, and it’s called Sakkara. Attentive readers might remember me praising the first book, The Quantum Prophecy, back in the mists of time known as January. I’m going to be away for a number of days of intensive writing, and all I’m bringing with me are my laptop, sketchpad, and Sakkara…