Corner Octocon 2001 Octocon Rocket

Guest List


Below is the list of guests who have confirmed so far. We are very pleased to have some new faces, as well as many popular regulars. Watch this space - more details as we get them.
Please note that all guests appearances are subject to work commitments.

Anne McCaffrey

Our Guest of Honour this year is the great Anne McCaffrey.

Click here for the Guest of Honour page.

Rachel Armstrong

Dr. Rachel Armstrong is a writer, television presenter, multimedia producer, and medical doctor specializing in the evolution of humankind through 'unnatural interventions'. She is the author and producer of a large number of multimedia projects ranging from printed literature, to virtual reality and internet programs. Her first Science Fiction novel is 'The Gray's Anatomy', published September 2001 by Serpent's Tail. She has also written and edited an edition of Art & Design called 'Sci-fi Aesthetics' released November 1997, by Wiley Academy publishers and 'Space Architecture' for Architectural Design March 2001, and has published extensively on post-human evolution and alien phenomena, working at the intersection of art, science and technology.

All of this seem to uniquely qualify her to be a guest at a SF convention, and we are delighted to welcome her on her first visit to Octocon.

Eugene Byrne

Beneath a naturally modest exterior, Eugene Byrne is a man in turmoil. This may be due to having been born in Waterford, but brought up in Somerset. More likely it is due to his new book Things Unborn having been published in April 2001 by Earthlight. It's a parallel universe fantasy about dead people coming back to life, and includes as a minor character a guest from Octocon 1999 who won a place in the book in a raffle. Next time, it could be you! In an exclusive interview, Eugene told me "I'm currently working on a non-SF/fantasy novel (whatever one calls that), which is partly set in Dun Laoghaire, wey-hey!"

Besides these, he has written or co-written (with Kim Newman) several other books. We recommend his website, if only for the information on Sprouts.

Anne M Kletcha

Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll's roots in Irish fandom go very deep, and it is always a delight to be able to welcome someone as a guest to the convention who was once on the committee! Michael took the plunge into writing full-time on July 9th, 1999, as is at it still. He has published 4 books so far, which are The Last Starship, Moonlight and She Fades Away, all young adult Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror (and in that order!), and If the Shoe Fits (under the pseudonym Jaye Carroll). Michael has also written a humunguous quantity of short fiction and wonderfully humourous articles, much of which is to be found in the Brentford Mercury, for which he is creative consultant. The fact that he seems to have an opinion on everything under the sun makes him invaluable to this committee, who love him like a brother.

Anne M Kletcha

Don Conroy

Don Conroy is a man of many talents - a writer (of over 40 books), television presenter, naturalist, and environmentalist, not to mention a working artist who has had numerous exhibitions. Perhaps best known to the young (and not so young!) people of Ireland for his appearances as Uncle Don on RTÉ's Den2, Don has also had a TV series of his own - Painting for Fun - from which came a very successful book. He still has a weekly slot on RTÉ television. A keen naturalist, Don is actively involved in conservation, and is a member of the Irish Wildlife Conservancy amongst many other protection agencies.

Anne M Kletcha

Maggie Furey

Maggie Furey is no stranger to Octocon. Indeed, it is at least partially due to the friendliness of the people at Octocon that herself and her husband Eric (and an indeterminate number of cats) decided to move to Wicklow, in Ireland, permanently. Maggie was born in North East England, though, where she pursued a career as a schoolteacher before coming to her senses, and deciding to write fulltime. Her first fantasy novel, Aurian, was an immediate success, as were the other three volumes of the Artefacts of Power series. In fact, two of these volumes had launches at Octocon, Harp of Winds at Octocon 1994, and Dhiamarra at Octocon 1997. It goes without saying that we are delighted to have Maggie and Eric coming back to see us once again.

Anne M Kletcha

Roger Gregg

Roger Gregg is an American playwright, musician and voice over artist based in Ireland for the past 19 years. He has written numerous plays and music scores. His one-man Science Fiction audio play, Time Out For Bill Lizard, was broadcast by RTE I and by WFAI-FM in Minneapolis/St.Paul, USA, and was recently awarded "Best Audio Science Fiction Production of 1999" by the American Society for Science Fiction Audio. He has also made appearances in films and on television, including the science fiction film Space Truckers.

James Shields

Photo courtesy James Shields

Harry Harrison

The author of - to date - almost sixty novels and over a hundred short stories, Harry Harrison is one of the world's most popular and best-loved science fiction writers.

He was drafted in 1943, on his eighteenth birthday, and was trained as a power-operated turret and computing gunsight specialist. He left the army in 1946, having been promoted to sergeant.

His forthcoming work includes 50 in 50, a collection of fifty short stories from the fifty years Harry has been writing.

As a writer he is second to none, as a convention guest he is always popular and entertaining, and as a person he is warm, intelligent and humorous.

James Shields

John Higgins

Perhaps "to draw bare naked ladies" is not the best reason for taking a night course in art. Or perhaps it is. Either way, John Higgins stuck it out, even after he discovered all the "ladies" were over forty, and found out that he loved drawing. He entered Art College and after becoming disillusioned with trying to sell paintings for a living became a Jack of all illustration covering advertising, animation, book illustration, comics and magazine covers. He is well known for his work on 2000 AD's Judge Dredd and Hellblazer and is now writing and illustrating RazorJack magazine.

James Shields

Paul J Holden

Paul J Holden is a charming Belfast-based cartoonist and comic artist. His previous work includes Judge Dredd for 2000 AD, and quite a number of collaborations with Malachy Coney, including the graphic novel "The Moon Looked Down And Laughed" and the parody comic "The incredible Hunk". He also does superb cartoon caricatures. His version of Octocon committee member Pádraig Ó Méalóid as Batman will be appearing in one of the forthcoming convention publications. Be afraid!

We are delighted to welcome him on his first visit to Octocon.

Anne M Kletcha

Katherine Kurtz

Katherine is probably best known for the Deryni cycle, which has sold well over 2 million copies. The Deryni cycle is a richly described historical fantasy series set in a medieval world of magic and intrigue. The books have, in addition to compelling storylines and well-realised characters, a convincing wealth of detail about medieval life. This is no doubt due to the fact that not only does Katherine hold a Master's Degree in history, she also is a member of several orders of chivalry.

Morgan Llywelyn

Morgan Llywelyn is truly the queen of Celtic fantasy. Lion of Ireland, based on the legend of Brian Boru and published in 1980, has to date sold over fifteen million copies worldwide, and has been translated into a number of languages. Other hugely successful Celtic historical novels include The Horse Goddess, Bard, Grania, - based on the life of the Irish pirate, Grace O Malley, On Raven's Wing - based on the legend on Cúchulainn, and Finn Mac Cool, which deals with the legendary chief of the Fíanna, the army of ancient Ireland. There are many more, including a number of books for children, and, indeed, Morgan has served as a trustee of The Irish Children's Book Trust. We are delighted to invite her back to Octocon.

Anne M Kletcha

Photo courtesy James Shields

Ian McDonald

Born in Manchester in 1960, Ian has lived in Belfast since 1965. His first novel, Desolation Road, was published in 1988 to great critical acclaim. His 1992 novel, King of Morning, Queen of Day, won the prestigious Philip K. Dick Award for best original paperback of the year. Other novels include Chaga (1995) and its sequels Kirinya (1998) and Tendeléo's Story (2000), and his most recent, Ares Express, which was published this year. His books have been translated into numerous languages including Finnish and Serbian. When not writing, Ian works for Extreme Productions as a Network Development Researcher, which apparently means he has to come up with lots of ideas. It's hard to think of a man better suited to his job!

Anne M Kletcha

John Meaney

John Meaney has been selling his stories since 1992 when Strange Rain appeared in Interzone. His first novel, To Hold Infinity, appeared in 1998 and was described in BlankSpace as "the finest first novel I have read." The members of the BSFA agreed and nominated it for a BSFA Award. His second novel, Paradox, which appeared last year, was also shortlisted. No doubt his latest novel, Context, will be equally successful. John, and his wife Yvonne, have been a fixture at British conventions for many years but this will be their first Octocon. We are delighted to welcome them.

David Stewart

Kim Newman

Kim Newman was born in London in 1959, and is to be found there yet. He was "a weird kid, became a psycho teenager, and grew up into a maladjusted adult". His words.

His career is as varied as only a true writer's can be, having been involved in the theatre and cabaret, freelance journalism and film criticism, and finally his phenomenally successful work as a writer of fiction, both under his own name and that of Jack Yeovil: thus far he has published 20 novels and short-story collections, plus 7 non-fiction books. He has also edited a few anthologies, and been published in just about every SF/Fantasy/Horror magazine going.

Not surprisingly, he's won six awards for his writing. His most famous series of books, however, is his Anno Dracula cycle. We whole-heartedly recommend them to you.

Anne M Kletcha

Photo courtesy Ed Stafford

Colin Smythe

Even if Colin Smythe was not Terry Pratchett's agent and publisher, he would be a wonderfully good guest for this convention. Since founding Colin Smythe Ltd in 1966 (three years after graduating from Trinity College in Dublin), Colin has become one of the most important publishers of Celtic literature on the planet. Titles like Lady Gregory's Cuchulain of Muirthemne and Gods and Fighting Men, W. B. Yeats' The Celtic Twilight and Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland and Micheál Mac Liammóir's The Importance of Being Oscar speak for themselves. Add to this Colin's fascination with the paranormal, his long-standing love of SF and Fantasy, and his charming and debonair manner, and you have one of the most versatile guests a convention could wish for.

Anne M Kletcha

John Vaughan

Inspired by far too much of his youth in Cork spent watching crap Science Fiction television, John decided to pursue a career in filmmaking. A few years studying in the prestigious New York Film Academy passed, and John returned to these shores, ready to take the world by storm. He has presented new work at the previous two Octocons ("Phone" in 1999, and the brilliant comedy-horror short "The Boogieman" in 2000), and we hear rumours of a new work, called "Phone 2, Terribly Sorry", which we hope to have for this year's convention.

It is fair to say that wherever John goes, controversy is never far behind. Expect to hear some fascinating stories of John's visit to the Galway Film Festival, where "Boogieman" won third prize.

Anne M Kletcha