I graduated from DBS during 2022, the ceremony having been postponed as a result of the Pandemic until students could attend in person. During my final year, all of my classes being online, I volunteered as a Peer Mentor and took the Leadership Course. I was astonished to be awarded Volunteer Of The Year.
I joined the Sustainability Society, part of the Green Campus movement. As Vice-President I established a blog called Sustainable College. Our Society won the title of Most Improved Society.
My thesis project had been a multimedia website on environmental journalism. Three topics were required, and I opted to add a fourth for balance. The three main topics, which contained written features, interviews, global conferences coverage, data visualisations, infographics, podcasts, a short film and photography, were nominated for an award in the EPA Award on Environmental Journalism in the SMedias 2021.
I gained a BA with First Class Honours.
Prior to that I had taken on the role of President of the DBS Journalism Society, when the previous President graduated. I had begun publishing blog posts, and promoted the blog Inside DBS to the whole college as a place for any students to gain a first published article.
This blog was entered by me in the Student Media Awards 2021 and won. I gained a handsome Tipperary Crystal trophy. The awards evening was held online. Here’s the story on Inside DBS,which has a photo of me enjoying coffee with the Journalism Society’s Social Media Officer, Loreto Magaña, and a fun video from both of us. A further article was requested by the college for their internal news site.
At the time of my graduation, I had progressed to studying Data Visualisation at postgraduate level, at IADT. This was a one-year course, so during 2022 I graduated from a second college, with a splendid Certificate in this data science topic.
During Spring 2022 I had a second, wonderful win. One of my thesis topics, the optional extra, had been a photojournalism article on how people were enjoying their local parks during Covid-19 lockdowns. I entered this for the SMedias category Journalism Relating to Health, but as it was mainly photojournalism, I had no expectation of winning. Being nominated, however, felt magical, and I attended the ceremony held at the Aviva Stadium, thinking that this would make up for being obliged to miss attendance the previous year.
And then my name was called, and I had won again for DBS.
Here’s the first and second Tipperary Crystal trophies, and both of them keeping company.
College has arrived at a great time in my life and proven a fantastic, enriching and empowering experience. I made friends with like-minded people and enjoyed getting to know many more pleasant folks. I have placed an article with more of my photos on Medium describing my journey, and this article was selected by Medium for further distribution. I’m lucky that I had a wide variety of lecturers, some doing their job and some doing more than their job. I also learnt quite often that if I did not find a way to teach myself something, nobody else was going to teach it to me. But by making more effort, volunteering, and taking further courses, I gained skills, knowledge and valuable experience.
Now I am ready to cover events, especially relating to the natural environment, as they happen. Because I was already a writer, the most important skills I learnt were photography, film making and web development.
Life changed swiftly with the Pandemic, and I’m so glad I had the real-life college experience first. My final year was in tough circumstances – but what else would I have done during lockdowns?
James Joyce was (fictionally*) asked, “What did you do in the Great War?”
At least 8 mins. – 52 mins. Write script. Identify speakers. Recording programmes Audacity – good for PCs. Freesound.org. Sound samples.
I propose to create a podcast based on an outside broadcast at a science fiction convention. This convention, Octocon, was held at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Blanchardstown in October 2018. Next year the organisers are hosting the Worldcon in the National Convention Centre. This podcast would help gain publicity and it would be of interest to all those overseas fans who will be attending. The attendance has been capped at 5,400 because this is the limit the centre can hold.
Equipment: Samsung phone and notebook, two pens.
Membership of the convention.
My van to drive to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, two days running.
After the event
I have interviewed a variety of people attending Octocon. While I tried to get quiet areas, this wasn’t always possible, but background sounds testify to this being an outside broadcast.
Sound effects could potentially include:
Clips from NASA, such as a space launch countdown and JFK announcing that America was going to reach the moon.
Spacecraft sound effects
Ethereal music like fairies
Cackling like witches
Music could include related songs or theme tunes, ideally creative commons licence. NASA has one about water on the moon. The amount of music I will use will be determined by the length of the rest of the content.
Last Microt music available on YouTube for free use
Einstein-Rosen short film soundtrack (Spanish – not ideal) from the Golden Blasters Awards.
I have seven interviewees and they were all delighted to help with my student project. Either they agreed to come with me at once or they set up a time with me which was convenient for them. I found that if someone agreed to be interviewed but did not immediately do either of these, they did not see the interview as important to them and were not really interested. I did not pursue those people as I thought they would not come across well and I would be trying to edit a lot to get something usable.
I told each person that I would like five or six minutes and it would be edited to three or four. While I began by introducing the person and saying where we were, I knew I would not need the repetition in the finished podcast. But I would do this again, for clarity when sorting through recordings, and because it gave me something to trim. I found some of the interviewees spoke differently once they had relaxed into the chat and their voice and words were more fluid. Again, at the end of each clip I said goodbye and thanked them as a courtesy but I did not need to use all this.
While I tried to get each person into a quiet room there were not many really quiet spaces and therefore I made a note of where the person was when I met them and often said in the podcast that this was where we were – the dealer room or party etc. This gives a nice third dimension to the podcast, as if I am bringing the listener around a building.
I used my phone placed on a level table and wrote in my notebook who the person was, how to spell their name, what they were doing and the number of the interview according to the phone.
Dr Edmund Schluessel – author, assisting at front desk
Peadar O’Guilean – author, in between panels
Eris Byrne – Young Adult reader, attendee, party
Sakura – Con organiser, at nerve centre
C.E. Murphy – author, in dealer room
Liz Bourke – author and critic, in dealer room
Eileen Gormley – author, attendee, between panels
When I transcribed the conversations I noticed that the issue of the representation of women arose frequently and spontaneously. This might not even be a deliberate reference but was shown by a main character being female in a book written by a male author. Because of this I decided to trim the conversations to focus on this element and tell a story about the past and present of women and feminism in science fiction and fantasy.
Dr Edmund Schluessel from Finland and USA. He was a volunteer helping to staff the front desk. Voice 003.
Edmund: Hi, I’m Doctor Edmund Schluessel. I’m Badge No 114. This is my second time attending Octocon. I live in Finland but I enjoy attending conventions all over Europe. I’m at the front desk today because I volunteered to help out at the convention. I’ve been trying to become more active in supporting these conventions which I enjoy so much. I attended a number of them when I was living in the United States and I enjoyed assisting at them when I was living in the United Kingdom. And now that I have a decent job and the chance to get out around the world, I figure I should take the opportunity to help build this kind of society.
Clare: That’s fantastic. And what kind of science fiction do you enjoy personally?
Edmund: Well, I’m both a reader and a writer. I love reading a lot of the old school science fiction. I love the sense of wonder and sense of boldness but I also recognise that there’s a lot of limitations from that period because the political ideas about for example feminism were not as established or developed, so what I try to write is something that brings that kind of sensibility into the modern age.
Clare. Okay, and the Cold War of course would have been strong at the time of the Golden Age, so do you see now more push for space exploration or cyber space or what do you see?
Edmund: (01.36) Well, in the Golden Age you had a couple of writers who were very much ideologically invested in the Cold war. For example Robert Heinlein’s entire philosophy was centred in this semi-libertine even semi-fascistic world view based in conflict rather than collaboration. Now that the environment is front and centre in our minds, we see the importance of a more cooperative society, and I think there is a growing realisation that a society based on co-operation is what is going to be necessary for any kind of space travel, space development or any kind of civilisation on Earth to persist.
Clare: (2.20) That’s certainly a very good point. We’ve got SpaceX coming to the fore now and it seems to be working hard, but obviously it’s building on the shoulders of the giants who came before.
Edmund: Not just in terms of philosophy but many of them are using Soviet made engines, or basing their plans on the follow-ups to the shuttle that were abandoned. While you can have great marketing done by people like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, there’s very little steak under that sizzle. You have SpaceX consistently falling behind its schedule and lost other projects like hyperloop or the consumer affordable electric car simply not appearing. While we may have the space tourism again for the first time in a few months, this is only going to be available to a very very small section of the population and we still are no closer to permanent human presence in space.
Clare (03.24) The first journalist in space was a Japanese gentleman. Do you see the Eastern nations coming forward in this race?
Edmund: (03.13) Well, I think it’s very significant that the first discovery of permanent water deposits on the moon, and I think this was not given near enough recognition, came from the Indian space agency.
Edmund: We know that the People’s Republic of China has a very deliberate and very structured programme where they’re carrying out very few launches and not giving a lot of publicity to the launches that they’re doing, but where they have, where they know exactly what their goals are and they’re sticking exactly to the schedule that they planned, so I think a long term idea, a Chinese space station is going to be happening in the next couple of years.
Clare: And we’ve recently seen Japanese, two robots hitting off an asteroid wasn’t it, and bouncing around on it.
Edmund: Yes, the little bouncing ones.
Clare: Yes, terrific, hopping.
Edmund: And I think this explosion in space exploration in Japan, China and India is really setting the tone. Because we have to remember that in South East Asia that’s more than half the world’s population and always has been. One might even start to wonder if the centre of mass of humanity is beginning to shift back toward East Asia after a fairly brief, historically speaking, period of the Earth imbalance.
Clare: And I personally think that the rush to space is going to be about the asteroids and mining for rare earth elements and precious metals. What would you say to that?
Edmund: (04.55) Well I think definitely, in fact I’ve got a story in circulation right now that concerns exactly that. Now the paintings, the vision we got from the 1950s was largely of things like moon bases, Mars colonies; but the resources are much more available in the asteroids. And the energetics are simply much more friendly when we’re talking about the Trojan asteroids or near earth asteroids, so that is where the future lies, yes.
Clare: (5.26) Glad to hear that because my science fiction assumes that we are mining the asteroids. The further asteroids towards Jupiter are mostly made of ice but that gives us a source of water with which to supply mining operations on the nearer asteroids. We’ll have to see how that one pans out. But I think we’ll be seeing something fairly soon. Okay, do you have any further comments on the convention?
Edmund: (05.55) Well, it’s been an excellent convention so far. It’s a shame I’m going to have cut things short a bit because I need to go back home, I need to get back to work. But I plan to come back next year.
Clare: We’ll be delighted to see you because next year is World Con.
Clare: Well thanks very much Edmund. Delighted to have you today.
Peadar O’Guilean Voice 004 (His name is spelt differently whether in Irish or English.)
C: I’m here with Peadar and he’s going to tell us who he is and what he’s doing at the convention.
P: Hi, my name is Peadar O’Guilean and I’m a writer of YA, my first book, well my most recent, well, my book The Call, I usually describe it as Harry Potter where everybody dies. It’s inappropriate YA. It’s a scary adventure in which teenagers are hunted down by the Sidhe.
C: Well that does sound dramatic. Can you tell us where you’re from? 0.35
P: Usually when people ask me that question I say Donegal. I wasn’t born there, I was born in Cork. But Donegal is kind of where my formative years were and my adolescence was so in terms of Gaelic football I support the Donegal team. So that’s where I consider myself from.
C: Well this will definitely have informed your writing.
P: Very much so, in fact the main character of The Call, Nessa, is from Donegal. She and her friend start the book in Letterkenny, the town I grew up in, and they take a journey very similar to a journey I had to take when I was their age. 01.10
C: And you were telling us on a panel yesterday that the Sidhe return and they start to revenge for years of colonisation by people into their land. So how does that work in a YA book? Is that not too terrifying?
P: Well, I think it’s perfect for a YA book. I think, you know young adults like things to be intense. Their parents – The Call has a lot of reviews saying I really really liked this book, but no teenager should read it. And that’s absolutely the wrong way around. Teenagers like things to be intense.
C: Well yes, look at The Hunger Games.
P: Look at The Hunger Games. 01.54 They like excitement, they like adventure. It’s only parents who worry, oh my god, my poor little Jimmy or Jenny, they’re going to be so traumatised by this whereas Jimmy and Jenny would really like it.
C: 02.11 That’s certainly something to take on board. And I hope that there are other restrictions in the book, for instance nobody is shown let’s say cutting throats or smoking or swearing. What do you include?
P: There’s smoking, there is the cutting of throats, there is swearing, they are all in the book, yes.
C: (laughs) Okay, do you have any gentler fiction? 02.34
P: I do have short stories which could be classed more as creepy rather than violent, more kind of quiet horror. My novels or the ones I’ve published so far, tend to be adventure stories so there is a bit of fighting and running around in them.
C: And you have strong environmental concerns I understand. 02.57
P: Yes I have written a lot of, for example my very first novel, The Inferior, which is out of print unfortunately, is written from the point of view of cannibals. And it seems like a violent science fiction story, set on another planet, lots of aliens, things like that, but in the background all the time is the idea of sustainability. Or lack thereof. I also have a short story called ‘Heartless’ which, which did very well when it came out, and has been podcast several times by different people, and on the surface it’s a fantasy story about magic, and people who need magic to live, and so on, but if you listen to the story or read it, it’s very very obviously a story about you know sustainability yet again and how we ignore our use of vital resources and always concentrate on immediate concerns and leaving aside long term concerns.
C: 04.08 Okay, So you’re a regular at Octocon and a regular panellist as well as attender. What do you think of this year’s convention?
P: It’s very interesting. It’s the first year in a long long time that we’ve been outside the city centre. It must be very hard for people who live in the city centre to get out here, for me it was very easy. The venue is much nicer to be honest, the rooms are sort of semi glamorous, the food is probably a little better, we’ve access to lots of nice facilities. I like it but access must be hard for those in the city centre.
C: And it’s close to the airport, perhaps that would help those who are flying in.
P: Absolutely. It would be no more expensive to get here in a taxi than to get into town in a taxi. I don’t know about bus transport from the airport however.
C: Okay, well, that’s terrific, Peadar, thanks very much for talking to me today.
C: I’m here at Octocon with CE Murphy who is a prolific author as far as I can see.
CE: I am.
C: And also a baker.
CE: I am that too.
C: Please tell me more about yourself.
CE: I am, I was born and raised in Alaska 0.15 I came to Ireland thirteen years ago. I have Irish roots, as you might guess with a last name like Murphy, but then half of America does, so. I read science fiction and fantasy; I have been doing that much of my life and I have been a published author thirteen or fourteen years now, and so I come to Octocon every year to sell books and the last few years to sell jam, because I make a lot of jam, and just to see people and be part of the community.
C: That terrific, so have you been on any panels?
CE: I have been this year, I’ve been on a creator who owns the work for hire, that’s it, 1.00 work for hire projects and who owns your ideas and how you work with a company whose characters belong to them, it was very interesting. We had a good time on that. And today or not today, yesterday also, I had a panel on, or the day before, on whose canon is it anyway. That could have been a fractious panel 1.22 but we were inclined to agree as a whole that fandom does not belong to any one person or any one interpretation of a story or a movie or a film or tv. There’s a lot of room for people to like the aspects of it that they like. 1.44
C: That’s it. And do some people choose to go to cons and just you know accumulate the jewellery, the artwork, fringe benefits you could say of being a fan.
CE: Absolutely, there’s all kinds, all kinds of creative people who attend conventions and they do artwork, they do jewellery, they write books, and almost anything that you can think of. And because so many of them are fans themselves they do things that are related to fandom so you might be able to get something. I have, I got last year a necklace, it’s X-men Gambit, cards and hearts, and Gambit is one of my favourite X-men and those are two things that are symbolic to that character. I was delighted, oho look what I got! 2.37 So it’s a great thing that you can get little unique bits that you wouldn’t necessarily see in another situation.
C: That sounds brilliant. So tell me, you’re an author and what exactly are you writing now?
CE: At this very red hot moment in time I am working on a new cosy mystery series, which will be set in Ireland, it’s about an American who has come to live in Ireland. 3.00 She drives limousines and drives herself into murder mystery stories. As you do.
CE: So that’s what I’m working on right now, but those won’t be out until 2020.
C: Okay, so what’s your previous work?
CE: The thing that I have just released is Redeemer 3.14 which is sort of Buffy the vampire slayer meets Agent Carter. It set in 1945, it’s urban fantasy and the second world war has just ended, the boys are coming home from war and monsters are coming with them.
C: Times of chaos.
CE: Yes but there’s so much change in it, so much social commentary that could be made, about women trying to find their place; and honestly what I wanted to do with it was set a story far enough in the past to seem like history but close enough that its details could really comment on and reflect the world that we’re currently living in. 3.59
C: Plenty of research.
CE: Oh it was great though, I had pages and pages, I spent hours and hours learning the slang of the era, it’s set in Detroit, I assumed that Detroit had a bus system, at the last moment I found out that Detroit had a tram system, the whole book had to change. (laughs) Detroit had an amazing tram system and then the car industry killed it. So just little things like that. 4.29
C: I think of Detroit as Motown.
CE: Absolutely, absolutely. Lots of little things in researching you learn that you had no idea about so that’s a lot of fun to do.
C: Fantastic. Are you producing these books yourselves or what publisher are you with?
CE: Some of both, my cosy mysteries will be coming out from Kensington and I have worked with Harlequin and DelRay. Redeemer the new book is a self-publish project. The great advantage to that is I get exactly what I wanted and the cover for it is amazing! (laughs)
C: Yes, a big advantage.
CE: So it’s fun to be able to do both.
C: Do you pick the artists that you work with?
CE: I have about four artists that I work with that do a wide variety of 5.12 different kinds of styles. I have one who does all my urban fantasy art. Her name is Terra O’Shea and she’s brilliant. I have an artist who lives in Macedonia who has done my young adult covers.
C: Oh I love the one about the fisherman.
CE: Yes, that’s Sea Master and that’s my Macedonian, Alexander is his name and there’s one in Italy who does my romance covers, so I just go all over the place, it’s pretty cool.
C: Okay, that’s terrific, and I wish you the very best of luck.
C: I’m at Octocon with Sakura, who is an organiser and she’s going to tell me about what she’s doing here.
S: I’m Sakura, I’m from Dublin, originally from Philippines but I’ve been here long enough, and I am a volunteer manager for Octocon.
C: Terrific. Have you done this kind of volunteer work before?
S: I have. I’ve been doing it since 2012 and started with me as a normal gofer volunteer for Earthcon – [noises off] 0.40 and then from there the next year after that I was assistant panels officer and then once I did that I was promoted to panels officer the year after that and then I became guest liaison officer and did a bunch of stuff.
C: Okay. Do you find it’s a good way to meet people just generally?
S: 1.00 Yes, I have this thing that I call the anime con, well, they’re my con family, so Earthcon was an anime con, the staff there the committee there they became my friends and even closer than that, and then the same here with Octocon, I became friends with all the committee members, the staffers, and I now have this con family that I get to meet once a year. 0.26
C: Fantastic. So what kind of science fiction or fantasy do you enjoy?
S: I’m not really a science fiction fantasy person but I do read a lot, I am a big Harry Potter fan.
C: We all are.
S: I grew up with Harry Potter; so, Doctor Who, I just got into Doctor Who about 1.45 four or five years ago. Doctor Who didn’t exist in the Philippines so I didn’t know about it until I was here in Ireland. And I didn’t really hear about it until I was actually in America doing a semester and my room mate there was a Doctor Who fan.
S: So it’s a weird way of hearing things.
C: It is, go to America. (laughs) When you started getting into Doctor Who what appealed to you?
S: I think it’s just you know, the first time, the very first Doctor Who that I ever saw was accidentally a Christmas special with David Tennent, and it was weird because it’s the one with the Space Titanic. And I was like, that’s a weird thing, is that Doctor Who? And then I went to America and my room mate was like, Oh it’s really brilliant, and she was always up on time on a Saturday morning already watching it. And then I came back and people were talking about Doctor Who so I was okay, I need to know what’s going on. And I started watching it. And I watched the first season with Chris Eccleston and I was, this is interesting. 3.02 And it’s just very different from what I’m usually watching. So I thought okay, let’s give this a go. And five or six seasons later I thought –
S: What did I do with my life, I just spent two weeks watching five seasons.
C: I’m here at Octocon with Liz and I’ll ask her to tell us what she’s doing here.
L: Hi, I’m at Octocon this weekend to sell some books. Partly because I’m moving house and partly because I have a few copies of my own book Sleeping With Monsters to sell and I have luckily sold most of them. So that’s what I’m doing here.
C: Great, can you tell me what your book is about?
L: It’s a collection of reviews and criticism looking at science fiction and fantasy from a generally angry feminist point of view. There’s a tendency in the genre and in literature in general 0.41 to forget that there’s a long tradition of women doing anything. And as you come to it what you see in the bookshops growing up, it generally tends to be skewed towards the most popular and most masculine end of the science fiction spectrum. Partly because booksellers themselves have their own ingrained biases and partly because it’s a reflection of what publishers pay more money for and then put more promotion behind. 1.00 So I started out writing a column for Tor.com a few years ago called Sleeping With Monsters. I took the title from Adrienne Riches’ poem who wrote A thinking woman sleeps with monsters – the beak which rips her she becomes.
L: Which I thought was a very powerful line of poetry.
C: Goes back to Beowulf in fact when you think about it.
L: Indeed. 1.38 And I thought it was kind of appropriate for science fiction and fantasy. So I started talking about books by women, the portrayal of women in the traditional media in science fiction and fantasy. I now write that column weekly for Tor.com as well as writing several reviews a month for them, and a general review column for Locus magazine. 2.08
C: Are all these available on line?
L: Locus is both print and online magazine. You can get electronic editions of it. Tor.com is associated with but generally editorially independent from Tor books. Which is part of the Macmillan publishing company. Tor books has a very strong track record of publishing science fiction and fantasy 2.36 and I understand the Tor.com website which has now developed publishing of its own, the powers that be behind it wanted to promote the kind of conversations they’d been having on newsnet forums and things in the 90s before it became impossible to have those conversations without being drowned out by trolls.
C: Yes, I’ve been hearing a lot about that from American people, that women are trolled very heavily and persons of colour are trolled very heavily.
L: There’s been a study, The Guardian’s writers about trolls, they published the amount of crap they get in the comments. Myself I’m a little surprised that I don’t get more crap than I do.
C: Who wants to be that high profile, if that’s the reward?
L: You don’t have to be that high profile, I know a few women who 3.30 based on this have had very graphic threats – deeply unpleasant.
C: What can be done about this? Have you any recourse to the law?
L: Have you ever tried to report a phishing scam to the police?
C: Yes I have, and they were entirely unaware that such things existed.
L: Pretty much the same.
C: Sad. I’m sure there must be one department that knows about it but maybe not in all the stations.
L: I wouldn’t know. Not my end of things really.
C: Okay. So are you having a good time at Octocon? 4.14
L: Yes, yes it’s friendly, I already know most of the people here from previous events and previous years. Not most of the people but generally a good proportion of people I recognise and have chats to. It’s very hard to go to an event if you don’t really know anyone there. And have a good time.
C: I agree with that. I would say one good way to do that is to become a volunteer straight away. Gives you a reason to be there and people have a reason to talk to you.
L: Yes. That’s if you don’t mind doing an awful lot of running around though.
C: Well it’s a start. And it builds confidence. Okay, thank you very much for talking to me and I wish you the best.
C: I’m here at Octocon with Eileen and I’d love you to tell me more about why you’re at Octocon.
E: Hi, I’m Eileen Gormley, I’m a writer and a diehard science fiction fan, so I write science fiction, historicals, romance, contemporary, a bit of murder, and I like an element of fantastic in everything I write.
C: That sounds amazing. Tell me about your science fiction books.
E: My science fiction book started almost as a joke. I started writing about a space vampire called Cytolene who landed on Earth and had to hitchhike her way home, and along the way she picked up some human pets and then had to keep them alive. And it sort of evolved into its own universe, with its own code of laws, three mothers in laws per person and a few assassins.
C: Okay, so the first one was called Don’t Feed The Fairies, am I right?
C: And what was the second one?
E: Don’t Eat the Earthlings. And Don’t Hunt the Humans will be coming out shortly.
C: Oh really, I’ll be looking forward to that one. 1.04
E: There are more assassins in that one.
C: And you’re a diehard Doctor Who fan too are you?
E: Yes, I actually remember the very first Doctor Who which unfortunately tells me exactly how old I am.
C: Oh no, you saw it on the repeats.
E: (laughs) 1.19 And I used to watch it from behind the sofa.
C: I think we all did. Especially the Daleks. Okay, so what else are [ noise off] you doing here at Octocon?
E: I’m enjoying the atmosphere because you don’t often get to find so many people who are legends in this area and so many fans, so you don’t have to explain why you love science fiction.
C: I completely agree. But science fiction isn’t all you write is it? Tell me what else you write.
E: I write romance, contemporary romance, historicals, occasionally some fantasy things. I had a lot of fun writing a story about a Sheela na gig that tends to have a very unfortunate effect on any woman that comes in contact with her.
C: Okay, that’s an Irish fertility symbol isn’t it?
E: Yes, and you can probably guess what happens when women meet her.
C: We might leave that one with a curtain discreetly drawn, okay, what book is coming out next?
E: There’s nothing actually with a firm date at the moment. My co-writer and I at the moment are working on a Regency romantic murder if there is such a thing? 2.34
C: I’m sure there is. Romantic suspense we’d probably call it. Is that Caroline?
E: Yes. Caroline McCall who is the other half of Evie Hunter. I write both as Eileen Gormley and as Evie Hunter. Caroline is the other half of Evie.
C: So how did you two get together? 2.52
E: We were actually at the same writing class in UCD. Patricia O’Reilly ran a creative writing class in UCD. We were both in the class. I don’t think we actually liked each other initially and then we discovered we had very similar tastes in literature; our bookshelves were virtually identical. And then we started working together and it kind of went from there.
C: And you got taken up by Penguin.
E: Yes. 3.20 We wrote a book for an American publisher first of all, called Ellora’s Cave, which generated quite a lot of publicity, around the time Penguin were saying We need to, we need a book that can compete with Fifty Shades of Grey, but we don’t know any Irish women who can write good smut. And then suddenly there we were all over the media.
E: So they invited us in to their office, grilled us like rashers and then asked can you write a book that will knock 50 Shades off the shelves. And we said yes, of course we can. We wrote The Pleasures of Winter in five and a half weeks.
C: Excellent. Well done.
E: Yes, it was lunatic. (laughs)
E: We are never doing that again. 4.00
C: Especially collaboration I think is so difficult because both of you have to get eyes on all the aspects of the book.
E: In some ways it helps; she normally writes the girl parts, I write the boy parts, 4.12 but it also meant a lot of arguing over plot rather than one person having an idea about plot we both had to agree, and it did result in a lot of pressure over editing. But we got there.
C: And very successfully too.
E: Thank you.
C: Thanks for talking to me today Eileen, great to have you. 4.32
To clarify: I asked Eris in front of her mother if she would be interviewed, as she is under 18. Her mother agreed to the interview.
Eris Byrne 005
C: Hello, I’m here at Octocon with Eris, and she’s one of the younger members of the Con, so I’m delighted to be talking to her today.
E: Hi, I’m Eris, I’m in my sixth year at secondary school so I’ve the Leaving this year. I’ve been sick this year and I’m spending time at Octocon taking a break from stress and having fun.
C: That’s a great reason to come to a convention, and it’s not your first Octocon is it?
E: No, this is my third Octocon; I went last year and the year before at Camden Court.
C: And you’ve booked in for Worldcon? I hope.
E: Yes, I did it yesterday and can’t wait to go.
C: Excellent, we’ll be really looking forward to that next year. Do you mind telling me what kind of science fiction or fantasy you enjoy.
E: I love reading, I spend most of my time reading books if I can, and tv shows and movies like Doctor Who and The Flash and basically anything that I can get into.
C: That sounds great. Who’s your favourite authors? 0.51
E: Jacqueline – JK Rowling because that’s just my childhood, and JF Randi because he writes in Dublin.
C: That’s right.
E: It changes constantly so anything I’m reading on line or whatever so always changing.
C: Okay, because I’ve just had a discussion with a young adult author who assured me that teenagers are definitely into very dramatic and very intense conflict.
E: Yes. I prefer the books to the movies though, but the movie came out on my birthday last year so I went to see the trilogy at midnight which is when you have fun.
C: Wow. But you still enjoy the Harry Potter ones to re-read do you?
E: Yes, if I can’t find a book I’ll just re-read a Harry Potter.
C: I think we all like to, there’s so much detail in them and we can get different levels of enjoyment from them all over again. 1.52 So what are you doing here for the rest of the day?
E; Well there’s a talk on right now about Doctor Who and later there’s the Golden Blasters, the short film festival. 1.58 Not sure if there’s more things on I want to go and see.
C: Okay. Which Doctor Who is your favourite?
E: David Tennent.
C: Oh he was great.
E: He was amazing.
C: 2.05 Would you like a female Doctor Who or not?
E: I love Jodie Whittaker and I’ve seen her in different things, I’ve actually seen her working with David Tennent before as well which is great. And I think it’ll be good for the show, and shows feminism and how it’s in society.
C: You think it’s important to represent this.
C: And why not, it’s an equal opportunity job, right.
C: Well thank you very much Eris Byrne for talking with me today. 2.34
Many of the interviewees talked about aspects of feminism and the involvement of women in the SF world in various ways. Therefore I propose editing the clips to reflect the conversations from this point of view.
I will need to record brief intros to each item.
Start with Edmund who talks about the past of SF. Cut after a few paragraphs.
Peadar. Cut after talking about the Hunger Games style YA.
C.E.Murphy whole clip. Publishing, art and now self-publishing have allowed women creators to get involved in and earn from SF.
Sakura cut early noise but use the rest.
Liz, Eileen, Eris, the whole clips. Eris to show YA and the future of SF.
If using Einstein-Rosen, get clip which includes ‘Have you been snooping on Mom’s things?’ and explain we see a letter with NASA heading. 1.17 – 3.40.
Start by looking back at the early years of SF when most writers were male and almost all main characters were male. Some women authors used male pseudonyms and some like Ursula LeGuin created famous male and non-binary protagonists, reaching both male and female readership.
YA books have broadened the field considerably and many now feature female protagonists in dramatic and violent roles. Recent examples would be Twilight, Divergent and the Hunger Games which have also been filmed. Even male authors are creating these female protagonists.
Peadar has since had a story nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
Eris – what does an actual Young Adult have to say? Female Doctor Who.
Sakura – further diversity and a wide community of convention organisers and attenders. Doctor Who.
CE – women content creators and the wide variety of content incl artwork goods.
Liz – content on internet and problems with internet trolls
Eileen – romance, SF writer in Ireland
The Editing Process
I chose to make this podcast on Audacity. I had learned how to make a short podcast on ProTools (ten minutes including a few minutes of music) but found this difficult to use. This was because I was not very used to the Apple Mac computer in college and because my eyes are not good at seeing tiny symbols. Even if a label came up when I hovered the mouse on a symbol, the lettering was so tiny I could not read it. The ProTools is a professional program and it is good to learn the industry standard, which has many technical details to improve the work, but I wanted to be able to make this long podcast myself at home on my Windows computer. Audacity works on Windows or Macs. If I make another podcast after college I will be making it with my own equipment so it made sense to be sure I could use it now when I could ask the lecturers for help if required.
My Samsung phone
Windows 10 PC
Audacity program free download
Notebook with notes
Broadband connection for sound samples and uploads
Google Drive for storage and backup
Spare pen and paper
Two days clear to work from scratch.
What I learned about the program
Audacity has a simple clear interface and does everything pretty much from one window. At the top are the File- Import commands, Edit and other tabs. Under Edit I found a variety of effects including Amplify. This was very useful for bringing my voice up to the level of the sound effects. I particularly like the dropdown menus with readable words in text big enough for me to read. I also like the handbook which has demonstrations and talks through the basics before introducing anything fancy.
There are six main tools which I was easily able to remember after checking with the simple downloadable handbook. Highlight, copy, paste, envelope, move, cut. The program creates a new track every time I import something which meant a lot of little tracks as I imported all my clips to put between the interviews. The program does have many effects which I did not use but I will get more familiar with them as I continue to make podcasts.
After editing when I had a complete Audacity file, this is not openable by other systems so I needed to export it as a Wav file or MP3 file. Audacity came up with a notice saying that for copyright reasons it was not allowed to provide a total program to carry out this work. It recommended a particular free download to plugin for this step. I downloaded and this plugin was ready to work with the Audacity file right away.
I needed to convert a file from YouTube to MP3 and had done this in class but when I returned to that site YouTube2MP3, MalwareBytes came up and said this was a bad site and I should leave it. I saw a popup of the nuisance type come from the site to my computer. I did not download a converted file from that site. I went to the next site on Google for this task and had no issues. I thought that if the site does host malware even occasionally, maybe the malware cannot infect Macs and only targets Windows. I closed the programs, disinfected the computer and started again.
I also needed to convert my recorded interviews as Audacity could not work with that kind of file. I Googled how to do it. I went to the recommended website and converted them to MP3 one by one. By contrast ProTools had been able to work with phone recordings directly.
I found I could clearly tell who was used to being interviewed and who was used to podcasts. Peadar has been the subject of several podcasts and therefore when he started a sentence and changed what he was saying, he started again from the beginning of the sentence, making it easy for me to edit for a clean line. Eileen was another very professional interviewee as was CE. They were all lovely people and I tried to remove any coughs or too many ums for a smooth conversation.
I decided not to use any of the Spanish film as I had enough content and adding Spanish might confuse matters. I left out mention of the short film awards though one of my interviewees mentioned it, because it was not relevant to women’s issues in SF.
I found sound effects on Freesound.org and while I had previously checked them out and got a good idea of what I would use, I now found some better ones as well which included a beautiful reading of a verse of a poem by WB Yeats. In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz. I included this near the end partly because it fitted with romance in Ireland, and partly because a male voice at that point balanced the female voices I was including at that point. I think this adds gravitas to romance which could be seen as a lighter literary genre.
I recorded the linking internal comments on my phone in separate files in my office, and had to wait for a storm to drop as the outside weather noise was audible on the first file I tried. Getting under a duvet with the phone just captured all my breathing and the inquisitive cat. As it was just me, I could delete the file and record again if I was not happy.
Then I put everything into Audacity and worked on the files. I enjoyed doing this work and got more familiar with the program as I went. I was able to judge how much time a task would require and decide whether to leave it for the next day or not.
I converted the finished Audacity file into both a Wav file and an MP3 and stored them on my Google Drive. I then accessed them from another computer just to make sure I could open them and listen to them.
I will definitely make more podcasts and host them on my own webspace.