Dublin City Libraries open for 'Browse and Borrow'
4 May 2021
From Monday, May 10, sixteen Dublin City libraries are open for browsing and borrowing from Monday to Saturday. At this point of a phased re-opening there will be no seating for reading or studying, and users are encouraged to keep their visit as short as possible, and to use the self-service kiosks or library app to issue and return items.
Fantasy and Science-Fiction eBooks and eAudiobooks
For many of us, it may not be easy to wind-down if currently at home or self-isolating and the current global situation can be a little grim and worrying; so why not take the opportunity to indulge in some escapism and get away from it all with the wonderful selection of Fantasy & Science-Fiction eBooks and eAudiobooks available through our online resources with BorrowBox.Relax and let Dublin City Libraries help you escape (if only for a few hours) to myriad, diverse worlds of mystery, magic, miracles, monsters and mayhem!To help you get going, here is a selection of 10 otherworldly titles to try.Please note that you will need your Dublin City library card number and PIN and also to download the BorrowBox app. Watch our how-to video on Borrowbox.The Painted Man Peter V. BrettThe initial installment of the five volume Demon Cycle from New York author Peter V. Brett showcases a world devastated by the Corelings, mysterious, violent elemental entities that nightly arise to ravage and destroy once the sun sets. Humankind has been reduced to shrinking, isolated enclaves of people sheltering desperately behind the failing protection of runic wards but these fragile magical barriers are beginning to fade and the future looks hopeless unless a way can be found to fight back. The Demon Cycle has enjoyed phenomenal international success and Peter V. Brett's work has sold millions of copies and been translated into twenty-three languages.The Beauty of the Wolf Wray DelaneyWray Delaney is the nom de plume of internationally renowned, multi-award winning children's writer Sally Gardner whose title Maggot Moon was the recipient of the Carnegie Medal in 2013. Beauty and the Wolf is a role-reversing, lavish, gothic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, for adults, which challenges our received perceptions of gender roles and beauty and is set in an Elizabethan England where magical curses are real and where appearances can be very deceiving. This is Gardner's second adult novel following her debut title An Almond for a Parrot.The Sky People Terry Goodkind Before they disappeared the Sky People mandated on the Sun People one unbreakable commandment, one tenet that must never be broken; not to take life. Although it has left them at the mercy of rival tribes, who loot and pillage with impunity, unhindered by such a constraint, the Sun People have kept their word and exercised pacifism, until now. Raging River, Priestess of her Tribe, fought back and the son of the chieftain of the Wolf People tribe lies dead at her hands. Facing the extirpation of her kin because of her actions, Raging River must do the unthinkable and find the long-missing Sky People. This is the Sci-Fi debut from internationally best selling American fantasy novelist Terry Goodkind whose sixteen Sword of Truth novels have earned him countless legions of fantasy-fiction fans across the globe.The Little Snake A.L. KennedyThis novella is a sparkling, modern day fable of greed, death, war and friendship whose chief protagonists are Mary, a child growing up in a city of 'sad, tiny houses of the squashed-in people' and 'tall, sparkling buildings full of crocodiles and meadows' and her friendship with her 'immensely handsome' friend Lanmo, a talking golden snake. Touching and frequently deeply humorous and wry The Little Snake is one of the most unusual, moving and fabulous (in every sense of the term) pleasures you will encounter. It springs from the mind of A.L. Kennedy a Scottish comedian, author and academic whose work has received huge critical acclaim and garnered numerous prestigious awards. The Three-Body Problem Cixin LiuA Chinese radio-scientist transmits an interstellar message and eight years later receives a reply. A mysterious group of 'gamers' has embedded themselves in virtual reality to play a game that spans aeons and always ends in destruction. A fabulously wealthy environmentalist creates a ruthless, faction-riven, secret society that spans the globe. A nano-tech expert seeks to find out why renowned scientists are dying in incomprehensible circumstances. Across the globe the nations secretly rally to avert an event 450 years in their future that will spell disaster for all of humanity but which cannot be prevented. An imaginative tour-de-force on an epic scale which defies the imagination The Three-Body Problem (the first installment in a trilogy) by Cixin Liu was the first ever recipient of the Hugo Award by a Chinese author.Spinning Silver Naomi NovikWhen a young woman tries to salvage over her father's failing moneylending business she finds that she can 'turn silver into gold' but her success comes at a price as she comes to the attention of an other-worldly monarch who holds her fast to her boast. If she can increase his riches she will have his hand in marriage, if she cannot then she will die. Very loosely a re-imagining of Rumpelstiltskin, Spinning Silver is a enchanting tale, expanded from a prior short story penned by Naomi Novik. Spinning Silver was the winner of the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, as was the author's previous smash hit, Uprooted.The Book of M Peng ShepherdAcross the globe people's shadows are disappearing and in their absence the populace begin to succumb to amnesia. Although, in isolation, they have managed to avoid this fate for two years Max discovers one day that her shadow too has now been lost. Fearing her impending erosion of identity and frightened that the erasure will imperil her husband, Orlando, Max secretly flees. Desperate to find her, Orlando embarks on a dangerous journey to track her down aided by an array of recorded messages she left behind; but will he find answers in New Orleans, or is the woman he loves gone forever even if he can locate her? This debut novel is magnificent near-future dystopia concerning the power of memory, identity and love.The Tiger and the Wolf Adrian Tchaikovsky In this first installment of the Echoes of the Fall series we are introduced to Maniye a girl torn between two worlds; that of her father's Wind Runner Wolf Tribe but she also holds within her the heritage of her mother's people, the Tigers, as a result of the rape of her mother while held as a prisoner of war. In this bronze age fantasy milieu people can 'step' or channel the totem animal spirits of their tribal deities and Maniye must flee the clutches of her cruel fathers plans to gain power over both tribes and make her way in a world where clan is set against clan. Whilst she tries to reconcile the warring animal spirits within, she faces danger and betrayal at every turn. Meanwhile, there are storm clouds gathering to the south. Bestselling fantasy author Adrian Tchaikovsky has been a conferee of both the British Fantasy Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Somewhat interestingly, given the animalistic elements of this trilogy, he has a background in zoology.Shadowless Hasan Al ToptasHasan Al Toptas is one of Turkeys most acclaimed postmodern authors and a winner of the Orhan Kemal Novel Prize, the Cankaya Literature Prize among many others. Shadowless is a surreal, dreamlike, kaleidoscopic enigma which recounts the mysterious disappearances of a local girl, Guvercin, and a barber, Nuri, from a rural Anatolian village. The latter, it appears has been translocated, by means unknown, to a distant city where he has little recollection of how he got there. Is magic at play? Has some kind of evil eye been placed on the village? Are people being abducted and will they return? Shadowless is the second of the author's novels to have been translated into English, in this instance, by Maureen Freely and John Angliss.Golden State Ben H. WintersIn the near future territory of Golden State (roughly analogous to contemporary California) Laszlo Ratesic is an investigator working for the Speculative Service with an innate talent for discerning lies who is called upon to examine the death of a worker in a rooftop fall ,while aided by a promising, enthusiastic junior, Aysa Paige. Abilities such as his are highly valued in the state as wilful falsehood and untruth there is a crime, punished with great severity. In a society where almost every detail of everyday life is ubiquitously monitored, recorded and surveilled their suspicions are aroused when they discover the deceased's Day Book (the continuous chronicle of their daily lives) may have been tampered with. Winters has created a hugely detailed and persuasive dystopia which neither shies away from exploring what happens when a recognised good, honesty, is taken way beyond logical extremes nor detracts from a compelling story that functions as a classic detective mystery.
Science fiction provides the perfect outlet to escape from everyday life, nothing beats picking up a novel and being transported into a new world. Some of these are classics that you will know but others are excellent works that may have been flying under the radar. Add the unfamiliar ones to your TBR list.Though science fiction is truly out of this world, the stories in these books always connect to the present day. The story lines are often metaphors used to critique society. The book cover opening this blog is from Philip K. Dick, he was an American writer known for his work in science fiction. He produced 44 published novels and approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime.George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four is perhaps the most pervasively influential book of the twentieth century. Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. A dystopian novel where our culture has become the victim of government surveillance and public manipulation.Altered Carbon is set in a future where interstellar travel is done by “sleeving” one’s consciousness into new bodies, the story follows a private investigator whose past collides with his present as he attempts to solve a rich man’s murder. A dark and gritty cyberpunk experience.So when ex-envoy, now-convict Takeshi Kovacs has his consciousness and skills downloaded into the body of a nicotine-addicted ex-thug and presented with a catch-22 offer, he really shouldn't be surprised. Kovacs is drawn into a terrifying conspiracy that stretches across known space and to the very top of society. It is also Netflix series.Brave New World imagines a future where people are divided into castes chosen before birth and kept docile through the use of drugs. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress. Heavily relying on references to Shakespeare, it offers scathing criticisms of capitalism, utopian ideals and conformity.War and pollution have taken their toll on Earth, leaving it very nearly uninhabitable. Those who can afford to do so have fled off-world, leaving what’s left to the not so fortunate, like Rick Deckard. Rick, who makes his living eliminating renegade androids, is prompted to question his work, and even his own identity, during a particularly challenging assignment. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is an amazing novel, and perhaps one of the most approachable of Dick’s many works.In Ender's Game, an alien threat is on the horizon, ready to strike. And if humanity is to be defended, the government must create the greatest military commander in history.The brilliant young Ender Wiggin is their last hope. But first he must survive the rigours of a brutal military training program - to prove that he can be the leader of all leaders.On 12 October 1979 the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (and Earth) was made available to humanity - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. For sheer absurdist audacity, imagination, bombast, and pure fun, The Hitchhiker’s Guide is tough to beat. It’s an utterly irreverent and wildly imaginative adventure that simultaneously skewers and builds on the tropes and confines of traditional sci-fi. It’s biting satire and pure absurdist humor, all shot through with a vein of cynicism and a surprisingly firm internal logic. Basically, there’s nothing quite like The Hitchhiker’s Guide and you really should read it.Andy Weir’s The Martian is the sort of novel that grips a reader from its very sentence. With his debut novel, Weir deftly balanced a truly thrilling story of survival with laugh-out-loud doses of black humor and real, cutting edge science. Weir tells the story of Mark Watney, a fictional NASA astronaut stranded on Mars, and his difficult mission to save himself from potential doom in the harsh Red Planet environment. It was made into a movie starring Matt Damon and released in 2015.William Gibson revolutionised science fiction in his 1984 debut Neuromancer. The writer who gave us the matrix and coined the term 'cyberspace' produced a first novel that won the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards, and lit the fuse on the Cyberpunk movement. One of the seminal works of cyberpunk, Neuromancer taps into the counterculture movements and excitement about computers found in the 1980s to tell a story of a world where hackers and cyborgs work together to perform daring heists against massive corporations.The Time Machine is a must-read for any science-fiction fan. In this classic, the time-traveling protagonist is propelled by his machine to the distant year of 802,701 AD. To his horror, he finds only a decaying Earth that is being gradually swallowed by the Sun, where two strange species— the delicate Eloi and the fierce, subterranean Morlocks—inhabit an eerie dystopia.Jules Gabriel Verne (1828-1905) was a French author and a pioneer of the science-fiction genre. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, this thrilling adventure tale by the 'Father of Science Fiction', three men embark on an epic journey under the sea with the mysterious Captain Nemo aboard his submarine the Nautilus. Over the course of their fantastical voyage, they encounter the lost city of Atlantis, the South Pole and the corals of the Red Sea, and must battle countless adversaries both human and monstrous. Verne's triumphant work of the imagination shows the limitless possibilities of science and the dark depths of the human mind.A description like “Inception meets True Detective” should be enough to pique any science fiction fan's curiosity. The Gone World, follows a woman who is a member of the elite Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Set in the 1990s, Shannon Moss is trying to solve the mystery of a grisly murder of a Navy SEAL's family and is flung into possible versions of the future to try and find answers. This 2018 novel by Tom Sweterlitsch is truly unlike anything else out there in the genre right now.This is Sue Burke’s first novel and a first-contact story about humanity meeting an alien race and trying to coexist with it on a planet that they’re attempting to colonize. It’s the first part of a two-book series. It's a duology worth following as Semiosis was a finalist for several prizes for science fiction novels. Escaping conflict on Earth, an idealistic group of settlers arrive on a distant planet – Pax – with plans for a perfect society. The world they discover is rich with life, but this is not the Eden they were hoping for. The plants on Pax are smart – smart enough to domesticate, and even slaughter, its many extraordinary animals.
Dublin hosted its first Worldcon convention from August 15th – 19th 2019, organized by The World Science Fiction Society. Dublin City Libraries was there for all five days and Marc, our prolific Library Assistant, has put together a diary of the experience!The outpouring of good feeling towards the libraries at WorldCon was overwhelming. We met people from all over the world; many of them librarians themselves. There were over 500 speakers at Worldcon over the five days and the scale of the event could be intimidating, but luckily we had our lovely pop-up library stand to retreat to when it all got a bit much!On the first day of Worldcon we had just finished setting up our library stand in the Dealers Room, when we spotted Game Of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin, getting a tour of the place! Understandably, his entourage are very protective of him, so we weren’t able to get near him at first, but eventually tracked him down and he signed some books for the library!Emboldened by our experience with Mr Martin, on Friday I got to meet one of my favourite writers and SF/F personalities, Patrick Rothfuss. I hurried to the comics stand to get a new copy of Rick And Morty Vs Dungeons And Dragons for him to sign. Sana Takeda was at the signing table before him but she’s so popular that the queue was longer than the allotted hour. The last three graphic novels she illustrated have all won the popular vote for the Best Graphic Story Hugo Award, so she’s understandably in high demand. Rothfuss waited patiently and walked up the line chatting to people and signing. Some of his most devoted fans had been there for over an hour by that point.Our Dublin City Libraries stand was visited by prominent authors such as Joe Hill, John Connolly, Ian McDonald, and Conor Kostick. Michael Carroll and Peadar O’Guilin signed up for library cards!Our staff boldly went where no librarian had gone before on the USS CuChulain, and we even had a bedtime story read to us!A kaffeeklatsch was a new thing for me. It’s an intimate chat with an author/artist and a great way to get to know some like-minded people. Still buzzing from a brief chat with Pat Rothfuss, I sat at a coffee table for an hour with six other people talking about comic books. The special guest at this table was Kieron Gillen, probably best known in the comics world for his series, The Wicked And The Divine. If you’re a regular WikDiv reader, you’ll know that the grand finale is imminent. Gillen had received a pdf of the final issue shortly before we met him but sadly he couldn’t share it with us.On Sunday, the last full day of the convention, I attended the Hugo Awards. It’s something I never thought I’d get to do. Seeing the words “Hugo-nominated” or “Hugo-winner” on the cover of a book has always made me pick it up so to be there felt unreal. The winners of the Hugo awards are bold and outspoken with a tangible frustration about continuing inequity in the world.A sense of community and inclusiveness pervades the science fiction and fantasy world. More than just the all-gender toilet facilities, Worldcon is clearly a safe place for non-binary and transgender people and that is reflected in representation at the Hugos and by their clear visibility at the con.It took time to put my finger on where I’d experienced this sense of community and inclusiveness before; the punk rock scene. There’s no elitism here and new people are always welcomed. You can feel the punk spirit throughout, with no division between artists and fans because it is recognised that the fate of the genre depends on everyone working together. It was an inspiring experience. SF/F community, we love you.
The Hugo Awards took place in Dublin on Sunday 18 August 2019. The Hugos are science fiction's most prestigous award, voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention, which is also responsible for the handing out of the awards themselves. It’s the first time in the history of the Hugo Awards that they’ve been hosted in Ireland. Dublin City Libraries were at the Convention Centre on North Wall Quay. The Best Novel Award is widely reported on, but it’s the Best Graphic Story category that interests me the most.If you'd like to borrow any of the graphic novels discussed below, simply click on the book cover or title to be taken to the reserves page, where you'll need your library card and PIN to request the book. You can find more detailed information about the books in the footnotes.Saladin Ahmed’s Abbott[ii] is a clever combination of social commentary and the supernatural. Set in Detroit in the ‘70s, the story pulls no punches with the blatant racism, sexism, and every other –ism of the time. In her life as a black, female reporter, and her brushes with otherworldly beings, our main character Elena Abbott straddles two worlds in which she doesn’t feel she belongs. This is a bold and imaginative story but I feel that it relies too heavily on expositional dialogue to suceed as a comic book.Black Panther surged in to the mainstream consciousness with the spectacular 2018 movie. In the meantime, the comics have been aiming for the highbrow market with Nnedi Okorafor and Ta-Nehisi Coates on writing duties. Okorafor gets the nod from the Hugos for Long Live the King.[iii]Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam[iv] is the only one of the nominees that I don’t know anything about. If you’ve read it, post up your own comments below, or on social media. I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Looking back over the first year of our book club recently[v], I noted how many of our selected titles came from Image Comics. Apparently we’re not alone in rating the Portland based publisher. Three of the six nominees are Image publications. On top of that, two of those were written by Canadian writer Brian K. Vaughan. With his work on Runaways for Marvel, Pride Of Baghdad for Vertigo, and Ex Machina for Wildstorm, Vaughan hardly needs an introduction for comic fans. I could do an entire blog about him alone (note to self: Do blog about Brian K. Vaughan) and the Worldcon membership has justly acknowledged him for Paper Girls[vi] as well as the latest volume of his seminal Saga[vii].Image’s non -Vaughan nominee won the Hugo Award. It’s the third year in a row that Monstress[viii] has taken home the big prize. To be honest, I haven’t read Volume 3. Marjorie M. Liu’s writing in Volume 1 didn’t appeal to me so I haven’t kept up with it. For me, the main selling point of this series is the sumptuous art of Sana Takeda. Her artwork alone makes this worthy of attention. At Worldcon, the queue at her autograph table was over an hour. That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more Worldcon related chatter.Marc, Library Assistant, Dublin City Libraries[ii] Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)Author Ahmed, Saladin, Kivela, Sami, Wordie, JasonTitle Abbott Ahmed, Saladin, Kivela, Sami, Wordie, JasonPublication Info. Boom! Studios 15 Nov 2018Standard No. 9781684152452 [iii] Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel)Author Okorafor, Nnedi, author.Title Long live the King / Nnedi Okorafor ; illustrated by Andre Araujo.Publication Info. New York, NY : Marvel Worldwide, Inc., 2018.Edition Graphic novelStandard No. 9781302905385 (pbk.)Standard No. 1302905384 (pbk.) [iv] On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)Author Walden, TillieTitle On a sunbeam.Publication Info. London : Avery Hill Publishing, 2018.Edition Graphic novelsStandard No. 9781910395370 (hbk.) : £24.99Standard No. 1910395374 (hbk.) : £24.99 [v] http://www.dublincity.ie/story/central-library%E2%80%99s-comics-and-graphic-novels-book-club [vi] Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)Author Vaughan, Brian K.Title Paper girls. Volume 4 / Brian K. Vaughan, writer ; Cliff Chiang, artist ; Matt Wilson, colors ; Jared K. Fletcher, letters.Publication Info. Portland, OR : Image Comics, c2018.Edition Graphic novelStandard No. 9781534305106 (paperback)Standard No. 1534305106 (paperback) [vii] Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)Author Vaughan, Brian K., author.Title Saga. Volume nine / Fiona Staples, artist ; Brian K. Vaughan, writer ; Fonografiks, lettering + design.Publication Info. Portland, Oregon : Image Comics, Incs., 2018.Edition Graphic novelsStandard No. 9781534308374 pbk.Standard No. 1534308377 pbk. [viii] Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)Author Liu, Marjorie M., author.Title Monstress. Volume 3 / Marjorie Liu ; illustrated by Sana Takeda.Publication Info. Berkeley : Image Comics, 2018.Edition Graphic novelStandard No. 9781534306912 (pbk.) : £14.99Standard No. 1534306919 (pbk.) : £14.99
Staying up late in July 1969 to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step from Apollo 11 onto the surface of the moon was exiting but not at all unexpected to a science fiction reader. Having spent years immersed in Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and so many other great writers it was never IF, just HOW SOON we would conquer space. In my mind, it was only a matter of time be for all those stories of Martian colonies, aliens (friendly or hostile), parallel universes, androids and my own personal space trips would all come true.Sadly, didn’t happen – the space race seems to have ground to a slow stroll, despite the International Space station.However, here is a chance to get a little closer to those dreams in the person of Greg Johnson, a Real Astronaut. Gregory Johnson is a NASA astronaut and a retired colonel in the United States Air Force. Johnson is a veteran of two space flights, STS-123 and STS-134, (both aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour) where he spent nearly 32 days in orbit and contributed to the assembly of the International Space Station. He has also served in numerous roles for NASA, and is currently the President and Executive Director for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).Meet Greg in Ballyfermot Library on Thursday 13th November at 1pm. He will be talking about being an astronaut and the experience of visiting space, followed by a Q&A session. (Children and adults welcome. Book a place at the library).
Stanley Kubrick's 1968 landmark film '2001: A Space Odyssey' is just one of the many classic science fiction films available from Dublin City Public Libraries. We also have the 1970s big-budget science fiction films filled with special effects like 'Star Wars' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', and other blockbuster hits of subsequent decades including 'E.T.' and 'Avatar'.Others SF movies available include:-Back to the future, Parts 1,2,3Blade RunnerThe Day after tomorrowDistrict 9Enemy MineHackersI, RobotInceptionIndependence DayInvasion of the Body SnatchersJurassic parkMarvel Avengers assembleSerenityStar trek trilogyTerminator 2 - Judgment dayTerminator 3 - Rise of the machinesThe Day the Earth Stood StillView a selection of science fiction movies in our catalogue and available to borrow.
I have been meaning to do this more often but it's a busy time for many of my author friends (thankfully) so I haven't been doing these as often as I want to. If you know a genre writer who would like to answer my questions feel free to send their email to me and I'll approach them, particularly if we have any of their books in stock.I met Paul at Octocon and enjoyed several of the panels he was on. A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren’t enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life.Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group. He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper, and their daughters, Erica and Amy. Paul's first novel, Locked Within, was released on November 6th, 2012, by WiDo Publishing. The sequel, Silent Oath, will be released in 2013. 1. So what kind of fiction do you write? I write fantasy, primarily urban fantasy but I have a number of future projects in mind which will branch out into other areas. 2. Why?I love the freedom in urban fantasy. Almost anything goes, so as an author I'm free to come up with any kind of story I want. I also love combining and contrasting modern-day settings and themes with more traditional fantasy. There's a lot to be said for a sword-wielding hero racing to save the day in an SUV! 3. How long have you been writing for?Professionally, only a couple of years. However I've been writing for myself since I was about 12, when I came up with my very first fantasy story. 4. What is your library history like?I loved hanging around in my local library when I was a child. My parents would take me down every weekend and I'd pick out books ranging from horror to history. 5. Does it give you a special thrill to see your books in your local library?Absolutely. Libraries provide such a great chance for people to try out new books, especially children. I write mainly for adults, but my books are perfectly suitable for teenagers, and I love the idea that someone, still finding their preferred genre, might pick my book off the shelf and give it a try. 6. Do you visit your local library often?Not as often as I'd like. Between writing, my day job, and raising twin baby girls, it's hard to make the time. 7. Have you ever lurked near your books in a library or bookshop if someone seems to be interested?So far I've resisted that temptation! I don't think I'd be very good at hiding my excitement if I saw someone leafing through one of my books. I'd probably look pretty creepy with a huge grin on my face. 8. Do you do readings in libraries, how do you find them?I haven't yet, but I'd love to! I really enjoy readings. They're a great chance to get honest feedback from readers. 9. Have you ever reserved your own book just to prove it's in stock?I haven't. But I have pitched in contacting places to ask if they'll stock it. 10. Did you have a favourite author as a kid?I practically grew up on Christopher Pike books. I went through all the ones in the library, then all the ones I could find in bookshops. 11. List five favourite authors (who aren't you!)Jim Butcher, Hannah Moskowitz, Janice Hardy, Linda Poitevin, Kiersten White 12. Are there any Irish authors you recommend looking for?Celine Kiernan and Ruth Long. Their books are on my reading list since I met them at last year's Octocon. They're both wonderful people and helped make my first Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention a great experience. 13. Do you have an alias? Why?I did some fanfic under the screen-name Wordmaker, which actually wound up on the website www.tvtropes.org, but for my professional writing, I always wanted to use my real name. Partly due to pride, I guess - I wanted to see my own name on the cover of my books, but also because I feel that it's increasingly difficult to actually keep your real identity secret as an author. 14. Do you go to any Irish Conventions?I went to my first Octocon last year as a panellist. It's Ireland's annual science fiction and fantasy convention. Lots of fun and some really great people attend each year. I'm also going to be at Shamrokon, Ireland's turn hosting the big European SFF convention, Eurocon.In addition to that, I go to gaming conventions such as Gaelcon and Vaticon every year. 15. Do you have any hobbies outside of writing?I'm a passionate gamer. I've been gaming almost as long as I've wanted to be a writer, and I have a group that meets up weekly to play table-top roleplaying games. 16. Is there anything that you would like to see Irish Libraries do?I'd like to see more organised readings, like having a group of authors come along to give readings in a single afternoon, or hosting writing workshops.Given that there are so few book competitions in Ireland, libraries would be in a good position to host such events. I think most authors, myself included, would be happy to get involved just for the experience and increased exposure.
For my "interview a genre author in Ireland" series I got Michael Carroll to answer my questions.I've read a fair few of Michael's books over the years, most recently the Pelicos Trilogy, starting with the Last Starship and I've been enjoying it, however my husband has been loving it. Michael has two websites, one concentrating on his Quantum Prophecy series and the other a more general website. He's also written some Adult fiction as Jaye Carroll (I've read at least one, The Sweetest Feeling).If possible I've linked to the authors or books mentioned on our catalogue, if not possible I've linked to relevant websites.On with the questions:1. So what kind of fiction do you write? These days I mostly write Young Adult novels (and some comic books!) 2. Why?I love good, strong adventure stories and I find that YA is the perfect medium for that. With YA, the readers tend to be less cynical - and less forgiving!It's hard to write YA (some people think that because the books are generally shorter than adult novels, that makes them easier - the reality is quite the opposite) and I like that because each new book stretches my meagre talents beyond their limits. You never learn anything by taking the easy path! 3. How long have you been writing for?Let's see... First short story was published in the late 80s, first novel in 1993, and I've been a full-time writer since 1999. But I've *always* been writing. I remember trying to write a novel on my mother's old portable mechanical typewriter back in 1979, and even before that I used to write and draw my own comics. (They were rubbish, but I didn't know that then!) 4. What is your library history like?Not as good as it should be... Everyone in the family is a voracious reader, and Dad took us to the library every couple of weeks when we were kids, though mostly I suspect that was because in those days one could only borrow three books at a time, and he'd use our spare cards to get more books for himself. After I left home I didn't regularly visit a library for years, to my shame. But there's a great library here in Clondalkin and my wife and I drop in every couple of weeks (with rather long absences after Christmas and birthdays because most of our presents to each other are books!).These days, I don't borrow as many novels as I probably should - I mostly borrow CDs, audiobooks, DVDs and graphic novels - but that's because my pile of "to be read" books is in danger of toppling over and killing someone. 5. Does it give you a special thrill to see your books in your local library?It does! Though I do tend to feel slightly awkward to see my books on the shelves alongside real books by proper authors! :) 6. Have you ever lurked near your books in a library or bookshop if someone seems to be interested?No, I've never done that... But I will now that you've given me the idea! 7. Do you do readings in libraries, how do you find them?I do maybe half a dozen readings a year, most of them as part of the Children's Book Festival, but I'd love to do more. To be honest, it's my favourite part of being a writer! Not the readings themselves so much as the Q&A sessions with the audience. Writing is quite a solitary occupation so it's always nice to get out into the real world and interact with actual people instead of imaginary ones... 8. Do you use the interlibrary loan system in your library service? (well I might as well get a minor plug in!)Um, sorry, I don't think I've ever used it, but I know my wife has. It's a pretty useful system! 9. Have you ever reserved your own book just to prove it's in stock?No, that would be too sad, even for me! 10. Did you have a favourite author as a kid?Up until I was about ten, my favourite books were the Three Investigators novels (alas we have no copies of them any more - Deigh), written by a variety of authors, but I also read every science fiction book I could get my hands on. Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke were particular early favourites, but then I discovered the books of Harry Harrison, and everything changed. Harry's books were - and still are - my greatest influence! (and actually Michael was the webmaster for Harry Harrison's Website! - Deigh) 11. Have you read those books again as an adult? What was it like? Did it stand up to adult reading?I re-read all of Harry's books every couple of years, and they're just as good now as they were the first time. Likewise, Bradbury's books haven't aged. But I can't say the same for Clarke or Heinlein... I would no longer count those two among my favourites. Heinlein and Clarke had great imaginations, but their characters tend to be rather samey, especially their female characters whose characterisation rarely goes beyond "she had blue eyes and a pretty dress." These days, for me a good story is more about character than plot or background.If I don't care about the characters, I don't care what happens to them or where they come from. 12. List five favourite authors (who aren't you!)Only five!? That's not going to be easy... OK. Not counting anyone already mentioned above:Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Fowler, James Morrow, John Sladek, Terry Pratchett 13. Are there any Irish authors you recommend looking for?Michael Scott, James White (there are a number of James Whites in the catalogue, Final Diagnosis is a book by the one he means), J.H. Brennan, Bob Shaw, Maura McHugh (who is one of the authors in Womanthology), Ruth Long (we're working on sourcing her books), Derek Gunn, Oisin McGann, Darren Shan, Peadar Ó Guilín, Eoin Colfer... I can name dozens of 'em! 14. Have you read any books about Ireland that made you laugh/cry/breathe smoke?The White Plague by Frank Herbert comes immediately to mind. It's about an American scientist who, after his wife and child are killed in Dublin by an IRA-made bomb, creates a plague designed to kill all women (the leap of logic there escaped me when I was reading the book and still eludes me). The scenes set in Ireland are peppered with "begorrah" and "to be sure" and the whole thing might well have sprung directly from the cod-Irish loins of The Quiet Man (one of my top-ten most despised movies). It's been a long time since I read The White Plague but one scene that, sadly, will stay with me forever is the scientist returning to Ireland and meeting up with the Guinness-drinking, flat-cap-wearing IRA member who constructed the bomb. Said IRA man is walking along a lonely road towing a donkey on a length of string. You know. The way all Irish people do when the mood takes us. At all, at all. 15. Do you have an alias? Why?For a number of years I wrote "chick-lit" (hate that term!) novels under the pseudonym Jaye Carroll. The reason we chose not to publish them under my own name was simply that the targeted readers tend not to pick up - or even notice - romance novels written by men. Using a female pseudonym (even though the name "Jaye" is fairly androgynous) meant that the readers would be more likely to judge each book on its own merits rather than always think of it as "that woman's book written by a man." The books were pretty successful so I guess it worked!I've used other pseudonyms for other reasons, but I won't go into any more detail than that because I'm still using some of them! 16. Do you read any genres outside what you write? Deliberately? I make a point of not sticking to any one genre because I feel that's too limiting. There are great books to be found in *every* genre! Any writer who only reads the genre in which he or she is writing is on a one-way trip down the cul-de-sac of staleness and mediocrity. To grow, we must explore! I have a habit of picking books at random, without knowing anything about the writer or the book itself. It's a great way to find new authors and new sub-genres! I'd recommend any writer to do the same: go into the library or bookstore, pick five or six books totally at random, and read them. You'll learn a lot more from that than from reading the same author and the same genres over and over. 17. Do you go to any Irish Conventions?Absolutely! Every year I go to Octocon and P-Con (or Phoenix Convention, to give it its full name) (which is sadly not running in 2013), plus an assortment of other conventions, depending on where they are, what they clash with, and who else is going to be there. Conventions are a great way to unwind, meet new readers and writers, and buy lots of books! 18. Do you go to any non-Irish Conventions? Any favourites or recommendations?My non-Irish convention-going experience has mostly been comic-book related: Hi-Ex (the Highlands International Comic Expo) in Inverness is a particular favourite, plus there's the New York Comic-Con and San Diego Comic-Con, both of which are great fun but way, way too big. San Diego in particular suffers from "media expansion": you could have the biggest names in the comic book industry talking to a mostly empty room because next door there's the thrill of seeing the second-assistant-coffee-fetcher from a movie franchise like Twilight or Harry Potter.19. Do you have any hobbies outside of writing?I dabble a lot with computer graphics and website design, but I don't have enough spare time to do much else. I also like to cook and I'd love to have the time to learn how to do it properly... Perhaps I'll be able to do that when i retire! (That said, whenever I think about retiring, and all the free time I'll have, I can't help thinking about all the writing I'd be able to get done...) 20. Have you visited Libraries in any other country? Which one impressed you the most?I've only visited a few as a writer, but as an ordinary punter if I'm in a new city I try to make time to drop into the oldest library I can find. There's something intoxicating about really old books! The main branch of the New York Public Library (on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan) is a favourite because it has a Gutenberg Bible... I go and visit it every time we're in Manhattan. I must have spend *hours* staring at that book over the years! I want one, if anyone's buying. 21. Is there anything that you would like to see Irish Libraries do? or Dublin City Public Libraries in particular?Run more events featuring Irish writers, especially me! I was invited to an event recently in Ballymun and by chance there was a local writers' group meeting at the same time, so they dropped in to have a listen and ask a few questions... It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and informative library-based events I've ever done!Also: more events for kids, get them to understand how important libraries are! I've lost count of the number of times I've been talking to a classroom's worth of kids about my books when one of them asks, "Where can we get your books?"I'll reply, "Right here, in this library.""Well, how much are they?""You don't pay for books in the library. You just join the library - for free - then you borrow the books you want and bring them back when you've read them."The kids always seem to be astonished at this! They grin to each other like they've stumbled upon a forgotten cache of hidden treasure.Which, in a way, is exactly what's just happened...
Question. What does Asteroid 9766, a crater on the moon and the site of the landing of Curiosity, the Mars Rover have in common?Answer. They are all named after Ray Bradbury. Asteroid Bradbury 9766, discovered on the 24th February, 1992 and named after the acclaimed author.The Dandelion Crater on the moon (from Bradbury’s novel ‘Dandelion Wine’).Bradbury Landing, where Curiosity landed on 22nd August 2012 – Bradbury’s birthdate.As we launch Science Week in Dublin City Public Libraries with a full programme of events, workshops and talks for children and adults, it is fitting to consider the links between the fact and the fiction of science.Writers such as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and others were writing what we would recognise as Science Fiction in the late 19th century, but SF as we know it hugely popular in the early 20th century mainly through American pulp magazines like Amazing Stories and Weird Tales. Not considered a proper literary genre, when writers like Aldous Huxley and George Orwell produced their dystopian novels in the '30s and '40s they paved the way for the giants of the genre like Bradbury, Issac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, and proved that genre fiction could be just as profound as other literature.Bradbury was part of a newer group of writers, less interested in presenting possible future scientific and technical developments than exploring a more spiritual and philosophical future view. His novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’ (the temperature at which paper burns) strikes horror in readers everywhere as ‘firemen’ are sent not to put out fires but to burn books and arrest those who seek to protect them. Published in 1953 and considered by the author to be a story about the conflict between television and literature, it was also interpreted as a commentary on government censorship and the suppression of knowledge.An inspiration to many of the people involved in the American Space programme, the honour of having the Mars Rover’s landing site named after him is most apt for the author of The Martian Chronicles. He died in June this year at the age of 91 and NASA acknowledged his contribution to the space programme and has released a video of Bradbury reading his poem "If Only We Had Taller Been" at a symposium just before the Mariner 9 Orbiter reached Mars in 1971.
Over the 13th and 14th of October I attended Octocon. While there I asked some of the authors if they would be willing to answer some questions I had. I supplied a list of 25 and asked if they would be willing to answer at least five. Peadar was the first to respond with his answers so this is the inaugural post in what I hope will become a series of interviews with some of Ireland's Genre writers.Peadar Ó Guilín on Dublin City Public Libraries CataloguePeadar spent his youth in Donegal and now lives in Dublin. 1. So what kind of fiction do you write?I write all types of Speculative Fiction, by which I mean Science Fiction, Fantasy and Supernatural Horror. My two published books so far have been Science Fiction, but my short stories run the gamut. 2. Why?I love worldbuilding. I like being a virtual tourist in strange and fabulous lands. I try to supply the same experiences for my readers that I get from my favourite authors. 3. How long have you been writing for?My whole life, but my first professionally published story came back in 1997. 4. What is your library history like?I mostly used libraries when I was growing up. Specifically, I read the yellow-covered Gollancz SF books. I think the first Harry Harrison book I read was a loan from the library in Letterkenny. Unfortunately, I was terrible at returning books. I'm so badly organized that I kept losing them. 5. Does it give you a special thrill to see your books in your local library?They're not there. I'm not sure my local library knows I exist or that I live just down the road! 6. Do you do readings in libraries, how do you find them?I have done a lot of workshops for children in libraries. Some of the experiences there have been wonderful. I try to teach them how to make a good story, but we spend most of the time laughing. 7. Did you have a favourite author as a kid?That varied a lot over time, but Harry Harrison is the one I look back on most fondly. And Tolkien, of course! 8. List five favourite authors (who aren't you!)This list changes a lot, but that's just the way it is. Also, I don't write like any of the people below, so, if you love the same authors I do, you might not enjoy my work!George R. R. MartinNeal StephensonR. Scott BakkerUrsula Le GuinM. T. Anderson 9. Have you read any books about Ireland that made you laugh/cry/breathe smoke?Joseph O'Connor's The Star of the Sea was incredibly moving. Also, Thomas Flanagan's The Year of the French is a must read. 10. Do you read any genres outside what you write? Deliberately?I enjoy a lot of non-fiction, mainly history and popular science. I have also read more than a few detective books. 11. Do you go to any Irish Conventions?I go to all of the SF book related ones when I can, as well as TitanCon in Belfast, which is more focused on the TV series of A Game of Thrones. 12. Do you go to any non-Irish Conventions? Any favourites or recommendations?I love WorldCon, which is usually held in the US, but which will be in London in 2014. It's huge and it's tremendous fun.Last year I attended EasterCon in the UK for the first time and thought the organization was brilliant. 13. Do you have any hobbies outside of writing?I like walking, cooking and playing soccer. I have a smartphone addiction, which results in an expensive new purchase every year.