Guests of Honour

Richard K. Morgan

grew up in Hethersett, near Norwich. After studying  history at Queens' College, Cambridge he started teaching English as a foreign language in order to travel the world. He has lived in Istanbul, London, Glasgow and Madrid.

Morgan published his first novel, Altered Carbon, in 2002 for which he won the Philip K. Dick Award. Altered Carbon was followed by Broken Angels (2003) and Woken Furies (2005). These books formed the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, a hardboiled cyberpunk science fiction series set in a violent future in which United Nations-supervised group of human settled planets where the very wealthy can achieve potential immortality by downloading into replacement bodies on a continual basis.

Impressed by his handling of Altered Carbon’s female characters, Jenny Lee an editor at Marvel recruited  Morgan to write for Black Widow. His first story, Black Widow: Homecoming published monthly in 2004 was followed by a second, Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her in 2005.

Morgan’s first book outside of the Takeshi Kovaks universe, Market Forces (2004), was conceived of first as a short story, then as a screenplay before finally becoming a novel. Morgan’s themes of the violent competitiveness of within capitalism is made overt in Market Forces, which features a protagonist who fights lethal duals to win contracts for his company. The novel won the 2005 John W Campbell Memorial Award.

Morgan’s second stand alone novel, Black Man (published in the USA as Thirteen) is a near-future thriller featuring genetically enhanced super-soldiers, thirteens, engineered to be part of an elite military fighting force. In the face of public outrage and fear the project has been scrapped and the thirteens exiled to Mars. The novel’s protagonist, Carl Marsalis, is a thirteen who has avoided exile by working for the US to hunt down others of his kind. Black Man won the 2008 Arthur C Clarke Award.

A Land Fit for Heroes, Morgan’s latest trilogy, has seen him ostensibly move into the fantasy genre, though there are hints that the setting may in fact be science fictional. The Steel Remains (2009) introduces us to a world still recovering from a great war, engaged in a power struggle between rival cultures. now threatened by the resurgence of an ancient mystical power. The Steel Remains won the 2010 Gaylactic Spectrum Award for positive exploration of LGBT themes and characters.  The follow up volume, The Cold Commands, was published in 2011. The Dark Defiles, the trilogy’s final installment,is due out in August 2013, just in time for Octocon.

In between turning out award winning novels Morgan has found the time to write for video games. He has been the lead writer of two first person shooters,  EA’s Crysis 2 and Starbreeze Studios' Syndicate.

We are incredibly excited and grateful to welcome Richard Morgan to Octocon as a Guest of Honour for 2013.

Gail Simone

is a comic book writer, screenwriter, and Tumblr user from the United States of America. Having studied theatre in college, and becoming a hairdresser, Gail first came to the attention of comic book fandom when she founded website Women In Refrigerators, which drew attention to the disproportionate violence experienced by female comic book characters because of their gender. 

In 1999, Gail began writing her column You’ll All Be Sorry! for Comic Book Resources, which satirised the comic book industry. By making the column hilarious, comic book people began to take note and soon offered her work actually writing them. Some of her first work was writing The Simpsons comics for Bongo, as well as Bart Simpson Comics, the syndicated Sunday newspaper strip, and the annual Treehouse of Horror.

Following the Simpsons work, her first mainstream superhero comic work was for Marvel Comics’ Deadpool. Gail then went on to write several major books for DC Comics, including Birds of Prey, an all-female superhero team, and Action Comics, the comic that first launched Superman in 1938 and continues to portray his adventures. She has also written such books as Villains United, Secret Six, Welcome To Tranquillity, The All-New Atom, and Wonder Woman, always striving to use diverse characters and tell stories that haven’t been told before.

Not too long ago, Gail was forced to leave the high-profile Batgirl title, to be replaced by the villainous Gail Simone after a brief interlude by another writer.

Now available from DC Comics is Gail's The Movement, "a book about power — who owns it, who uses it, who suffers from its abuse." Also now available, from Dynamite Entertainment, is Gail's Red Sonja, "the She-Devil with a Sword". Both of these titles are amazing. Seriously.

PLUS! There's the upcoming continuation of the Tomb Raider reboot, in comic form, which she is also writing.

In other media, Gail has written episodes of Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Re\Visioned: Tomb Raider Animated Series.

Gail has visited Dublin previously, and has written about how a visit to Kilmainham Gaol inspired some of her writing. We’re looking forward to hearing her thoughts on a range of subjects when she comes to Octocon as our Guest of Honour this October!