• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:


    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!

     

     

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Game of Thrones Season 1 is out today!

Game of Thrones Season 1 on DVD and Blu Ray has hit the shelves today! If you haven’t seen it yet or were waiting to finish the book first, the wait is over! If you have seen it, tell us how you thought it compared to the book- good adaptation? Was there anything you really missed from the book that didn’t make it?

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Planning the Newest Adventure for Humanity

So you’re into sci fi? But what about sci fact? Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction…

Each month our very own Voyager Science Queen* will bring you interesting, quirky and downright bizarre tasty morsels from the world of science. And its all completely, totally, 100% true!

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Astronaut Dr Mae Jemison ( Image copyright: John S Needles Junior)

Dr Mae Carol Jemison is a remarkable woman. Not only was she an astronaut, she is a medical doctor, a pro-space-exploration lobbyist and now she has been chosen to run the 100-year Starship project, an investigation into the logistics of a multi-generational mission beyond the solar system. She was awarded the role due to her contribution towards setting up the 100-year Starship symposium organised last year by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. Dr Jemison’s life-long interest in space travel inspired her to work hard towards achieving goals that might have seemed impossible when she was a child.

So … what does this study mean, in particular those dedicated people in the team leaving Earth aboard a generational ship? What must Dr Jemison consider while researching the logistics and challenges of such a voyage?

Dr Mae Jemison: also the first real astronaut to play a small role on Star Trek

With current technology, we could probably build a generational ship right now, by hollowing out an asteroid and converting it into a self-sustaining environment. In a hundred years, who knows what innovations might be brought to the project. Anyone who wants more details about how a generational ship might be constructed should read Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama. This article is going to focus on the people and culture.

A generational ship, as the name implies, is a vessel designed for journeys so lengthy that generations are born, grow up, have their own children, and die, all while living aboard the ship. The first generation has to be large, healthy, mentally stable, and genetically diverse with no inheritable diseases or defects, or the inbreeding would soon drive the population to stagnation and extinction. I would not qualify for inclusion in the first team, even with two degrees, as I suffer from asthma and diabetes, both of which have a genetic component. And – let’s face it – I probably would fail the psychological profile needed; team members would have to be of an even temperament, and able to subsume their individual egos for the good of the team (Spock had it right).

The biggest issue would be how to structure the society and culture of the ship so that the descendants of the first team would remain loyal to their task. After all, once the last of the Earth-born dies, it would be easy for Earth to become a myth and legend. In five hundred years, the occupants of the generational ship might cease to believe in Earth. This means that the mission must become a vital part of their culture, taking on a similar significance to a religion; after all, it would be based on faith.

Communications with the generational ship would become problematic the further they travelled. Once they were past the edge of the solar system, any real communication breaks down because of the lengthy delays in transmission. Even a crew sent to Mars would find the time lag hard to adjust to, as we earthlings are all used to nearly instantaneous communication.

There would most likely be a continuous communication stream between the ship and the home planet, but when they are light years away it would be no way that the communication could be called ‘news’. They would be as isolated as the original colonists to Australia or America, and would have to be fairly self-sufficient for entertainment. However, they would still be able to receive all the movies and books, music and art, and other cultural touchstones from Earth. In return, Earth would receive cultural works as well as research back from the ship. It could inspire a new Renaissance.

This aspects is just one small part of the big picture when planning the generational ship. I don’t envy Dr Jemison all the headaches and heartaches that must be a daily part of her life. But the fact that she is in charge of this project gives me hope that one day, mankind will be making some effort to reach the stars.
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*The Voyager Science Queen is also known as Lynne Lumsden Green- find out who she is in About Our Contributors!

Game of Thrones Season 2 begins on the 11th April on Showcase!

Can’t wait for Game of Thrones Season 2 to start? Here are a few more tasty morsels to get you through:

and IGN announces the casting of Stannis & Melisandre *and Davos*: http://au.tv.ign.com/articles/118/1182548p1.html

Game of Thrones Season 2 will be airing from the 11th April on Showcase!

Supanova recap with Kylie Chan

 

 Supanova is such a big part of my family’s life that I stop and have a moment of confusion when I actually have to explain it to people who’ve never heard of it. The whole week before the show, the newspaper had teaser articles about what visitors could expect there. My daughter’s main hobby is making costumes for Supanova, and she spends months agonizing about what she’s going to wear.

And for those who don’t know….

Supanova is a pop-culture expo held for one weekend each year. It travels from city to city, and next year is expanding to six Australian cities.

If you’ve seen news articles about ComiCon inAmerica, it’s our own version of that but not quite. There are three main reasons people come along:

– Stars of science fiction and fantasy movies are special guests, and you can collect autographed photos, have your picture taken with them, and hear them talk about their experiences. My daughter was hugely excited about going along and having her photo taken with Evanna Lynch – Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter movies.

Billy Boyd (Pippin from Lord of the Rings) came down to the stand when I wasn’t there, and had his photo taken with Ian Irvine. Ian rolled out a map he’d done for one of his fantasy novels, and it was nearly 2m by 1m – huge and detailed. The man’s a genius at worldbuilding.
 

Ian Irvine and Billy Boyd -two delightful gentlemen together!

– You can dress up. Anything you like, but most people choose a sci-fi/fantasy/anime/manga character – I counted ten Doctors on my first day and gave up counting the second. You can strut around looking awesome in lycra with green skin and red eyes, nobody will look twice, and there’s a competition for the best costume. The technical term for this is ‘cosplay’ (from the Japanese) and it’s one of the most fun parts for me. If you do an awesome costume people will stop you and ask for their photo with you.

Of course, if you’re a group that’s decided to cosplay every single Doctor, four companions AND K9, you’ll never be able to move because you’re constantly having your photo taken. Four, Five and Nine were somewhere around, probably stuck in a time vortex. I stood between ‘my’ Doctors, Two and Three. Damn, I’m old.

My daughter dressed up as a character from a manga called ‘Blue Exorcist’ which was a Japanese school uniform and a long purple wig with pigtails below her waist. The wig drove her completely nuts – it was unbelievably heavy! – but she enjoyed herself tremendously.

– The trading floor is a bad place. Very bad place. I protest loudly every time my daughter nears the Madman stand – last time I was there I bought a complete collection of both Astroboys – the black and white sixties version from my childhood, and the colour eighties version – in boxed sets. There’s traders of vintage comics, awesome t-shirts and bags (I got my Hellsing signing bag at Supanova), tryouts of new games, and collectible figures (my daughter got a matched set of 20cm Ezio and Leonardo figures).

They’re from the Assassin’s Creed game; Leonardo da Vinci on the right totally adores Ezio on the left. I suspect that my daughter’s planning to do something stop-motion with these fully-articulated figurines. After completing the game she went on a huge Leonardo da Vinci research phase.

Dymock’s have a stand on the trading floor, and that’s where I come in. You can come up to the stand and buy books from us Awesome Authors and have them signed on the spot, and embarrass us horribly by having your photo taken with us.

Left to Right: Rowena Cory Daniells, in front Keri Arthur, Tracy O’Hara, me (short), Marianne de Pierres (tall), Ineke, and Lynne in awesome hippy steampunk.

There’s a bunch of new fantasy and sci-fi to try out, and the staff on the stand are knowledgeable and all-around terrific people.

They can help you with every need.

I love Supanova because people can come up to me and actually have a chat about my plans for my new books, rather than having to line up at a signing and not have a chance to speak to me. There’s not often a line of people for signings, so if you’re in the mood to have a chat, I’m there all day.

We interviewed ourselves (Rowena did a fantastic job) for a youtube video for AskBrisbane; you can check out the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zssGViYHieU.

For the admission fee, it’s a grand day out and as a computer/sci-fi nerd long before I was any sort of author (and a Doctor Who fan since I first saw it in the late seventies) – well, I feel right at home. The other authors sometimes asked me what a particular costume referenced – and most of the time I got it right (sorry Totoro!). I’m very much looking forward to the inaugural Gold Coast one next April, and hoping that I can make a few other cities next year.

Special thanks to Ineke Prochazka, the staff of Dymock’s, Daniel Zachariou, Dion, Roland, Missy, and Quinny from Supanova.

The Supanova site is at http://www.supanova.com.au.

Game of Thrones Season 2 trailer! ( Kinda)

Just saw this sneak peek behind-the-scenes “trailer” for Season 2 of Game of Thrones! Click on the pic to watch it on the HBO website:

In the Game of Food, you win or you wash the dishes..

Ever wanted to eat like a king? Or at least how George RR Martin thinks a king should eat? This is probably old news to some, but I think this blog is fantastic! The Inn at the Crossroads. They have nearly 160 recipes from the first 4 books of A Song of Ice & Fire alone! That said, there’s stuff even they won’t touch! Olives stuffed with Maggots? Pass!

There’s also nice writeup on BoingBoing that directed me there: http://boingboing.net/2011/10/31/inn-at-the-crossroads-a-game-of-thrones-cooking-blog.html

‘Outland’: Watch a trailer for the new Australian comedy

This could be fun!

Via Digital Spy:

Published Saturday, Oct 29 2011, 3:12am EST | By Alex Fletcher
A trailer for the brand new Australian comedy Outland has been released.Outland focuses on the lives of a group of gay sci-fi fans and has been compared to The Big Bang Theory.

The show stars Christine Anu, Ben Gerrard, Paul Ireland, Adam Richard and Toby Truslove. Outland‘s producer Laura Waters said: “[Production company] Princess Pictures is proud that closeted science fiction fans will finally have a voice and that a full family of gay Australian characters can go where they never ventured before – prime-time television.”

Outland will be produced and filmed in Melbourne by the same team behind the highly popular Summer Heights High and John Safran’s Race Relations. It is due to begin in Australia in February and is expected to air in the UK later in 2012.

Watch the trailer for Outland