The Online Home of Rob & Jenny Haines
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It feels like forever ago that Jenny & I attended any conventions, whereas in reality it’s almost exactly a year since  BristolCon, a delightfully cosy and welcoming little convention not too far from our own shores. But feverish preparations and the annual buying of new jumpers heralds the rapid approach of this year’s conventions!

First up, we’ve got this year’s BristolCon, on Saturday Oct 26th. We’ve got a more participatory role this time around: I’ll be a panellist on the My World Is Not Your Sandpit panel alongside such fine folks as Juliet McKenna and Dave Gullen at 11am in Programme Room 2, discussing whether or not readers have the right to use existing IP to create their own spinoff works, after which point I’ll most probably be found propping up the bar for the rest of the day.

Jenny, meanwhile, will be attending as an artist and will be selling her work in the corridor outside the art room. In addition to postcards and prints, she’ll also be selling the special edition of our recently-released Postcards From Lepari ebook on a custom USB drive, available for the first time at BristolCon!

The following weekend – Oct 31st to Nov 2nd – is the World Fantasy Convention 2013 in Brighton. Apparently the only thing better than one convention in a week is two, so we’ll be haunting the halls of the Brighton Hilton Metropole all four days of WFC, hoping to get re-acquainted with previous con-friends and meet a whole bunch of new folks. I may even venture onto Brighton Pier for an ultimate confrontation with my feathered nemesis!

Provided I survive the epic battle, at 10am on the Sunday morning Fox Spirit Books and Editor Mhairi Simpson will be having a launch party for the Tales of Eve anthology, which I was lucky enough to have a story in. If you’re at WFC, why not stop by Signing Alley and join in the fun!

It’s going to be busy, but most of all it’s going to be tremendously exciting! Perhaps we’ll see you there.

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Happy Mogtoberfest everyone! It’s 4 years since The Drunken Moogle opened its swingy saloon doors and became the place to go for geeky cocktail recipes and drinking accessories. To celebrate, the site is holding a week-long event featuring recipes, art, crafts and giveaways. I contributed some art, as well as a bonus cocktail recipe to match. To see it, click on Ayla below to head on over to The Drunken Moogle!

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Halloween-time is too hectic this year for a spooky project, so consider this Skullkid my creepy contribution!

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An alternate version of  the illustration for “Beasts”, from the Postcards From Lepari ebook

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Two years ago I decided to try my hand at podcasting; for almost three months I wrote a story about the city of Lepari each morning before breakfast, and podcasted it before I left for work. Today, we’re officially launching the PDF ebook edition of Postcards From Lepari, available now as a digital download from Gumroad, featuring:

- All eighty original Postcards From Lepari stories – plus the Lepari Christmas fable Vidocq & the Thief of Joy - transcribed into glorious print for the first time.
- Eight brand-new original illustrations by Jenny.
- Remastered mp3 audio of all stories.

So come, monsieur; let us go down amongst the chefs and the rats, the thieves and the mechanists, and begin our exploration of the culinary capital of the world!

 

Excerpt from the abstract of “One-to-One Mentoring for the Development of Compassionate Artificial Intelligence”, Miriam D’Ascenzo, Harry Womer, Felicia Camburg[1]. Journal of Interstellar Astrophysics. Received 2nd February 2060, accepted for publication 28th May 2060.

If more than a century of science fiction has taught us anything, it is this: logic alone is not sufficient to guide the decision-making process of a modern artificial intelligence. Any personality designed to monitor a spacegoing vessel over extended periods – especially where human lives are at stake – must reliably react to unexpected events in a net-positive manner, supplementing logic with both context and compassion to perform optimal cost-benefit analyses in the best interests of the physical and mental wellbeing of the crew, even under conflicting circumstances in which the favoured course of action would seem illogical.

[...]

A custom-designed Quanta-177 series AI precursor was seeded into the neural network of the Hawkins automated orbital shipyard on 2nd March, 2056 [Day 1], along with a curated subset of data (~800TB) retrieved from the Internet Data Archive to provide a sufficient foundation for accelerated learning. After a short initialisation period, the project’s Lead Exopsychologist joined the precursor in low-earth orbit to guide its development towards Odyssey’s projected 2058 launch window.

[1] Deceased, 23 May 2057.

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Tired and bloodied, you stagger into the next village in search of relief. Passing strangers shy away from you and your companions; your matted hair, clothes drenched with sweat and blood in equal measure, grim expressions. They’d rather not know the horrors you’ve seen. If they weren’t so accustomed to passing adventurers, they’d take one look at you and shepherd you towards the nearest healer, or perhaps the graveyard in the interests of efficiency. But you know where you need to go to rest your weary head: the Inn.

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Had to have an ominous group shot before wrapping up the set!