Cornelia Funke

Best known for writing the the Inkheart trilogy, The bestselling German-American children’s author, Cornelia Funke was born, 10 December 1958 in Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia. Funke is best known for her Inkheart trilogy, published in the United Kingdom between 2004–2008. Many of her books have now been translated into English. Her work fits mainly into the fantasy and adventure genres. She lives in Beverly Hills, California. Funke has sold over 20 million copies of her books worldwide.

Inkheart concerns an avid 12 year old book reader named Meggie who sees a stranger staring at her outside her window and tells her father, Mortimer who works as a bookbinder. Mortimer invites the stranger in, who introduces himself as Dustfinger and warns Mo that a man named Capricorn is looking for him. Mortimer and Meggie visit Meggie’s Aunt Elinor and are joined en route by Dustfinger and Gwin, Dustfinger’s pet horned marten.

Unfortunately Mortimer is captured at Aunt Elinor’s house and Dustfinger also disappears. So Meggie decides to look for Mortimer. Dustfinger returns, and the three venture to Capricorn’s village to look for Mortimer. Meggie suspects that Mortimer’s disappearance has something to do with a book entitled Inkheart which Mortimer had been reading when he discovered that he had a rather unusual ability which is connected to the appearance of Capricorn, Basta, Flatnose and Dustfinger, and the disappearance of his wife Teresa.

Luckily Dustfinger helps them escape and Dustfinger, Farid, Meggie, and Mortimer visit Fenoglio the author of Inkheart for help. Meanwhile Elinor finds her home has been ransacked by Capricorn and his henchmen. Then , Basta and Flatnose find Fenoglio and Meggie. Fenoglio reveals more about Capricorn’s past. Who thinks his father was a hamster knight and his mother smelt of elderberries was a princess. In fact his father was a blacksmith and his mother, Mortola or the Magpie, was just the head maidservant. Meggie discovers that she has also inherited her father’s unusual ability. Dustfinger meets one of his old maidservant friends, Resa, and Darius, a man with the same talent as Mo and Meggie. Resa and Dustfinger plan to recover Inkheart from Capricorn before he can make use of their talent for his own evil purposes while Fenoglio starts writing a counter curse to banish an evil villain called the Shadow, however this does not go well….

C. S. Lewis

Irish novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis was born on 29th November 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. He is known for both his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy and his non-fiction, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. Both authors served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the “Inklings”. At the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming “a very ordinary layman of the Church of England”. His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

Lewis’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copiesAmong his best known novels is The Pilgrim’s Regress, which was written in 1933 shortly after he converted to Christianity, this depicted his experience with Christianity in the style of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Lewis also wroteThe “Space Trilogy” (also called the “Cosmic Trilogy” or “Ransom Trilogy”) which dealt with what Lewis saw as the de-humanising trends in contemporary science fiction. The first book, Out of the Silent Planet, was apparently written following a conversation with his friend JRR Tolkien about these trends. Lewis agreed to write a “space travel” story and Tolkien a “time travel” one, but Tolkien never completed “The Lost Road”, linking his Middle-earth to the modern world. Lewis’s main character Elwin Ransom is based in part on Tolkien, a fact Tolkien alludes to in his letters. The second novel, Perelandra, depicts a new Garden of Eden on the planet Venus, a new Adam and Eve, and a new “serpent figure” to tempt them. The story can be seen as an account of what could have happened if the terrestrial Eve had resisted the serpent’s temptation and avoided the Fall of Man. The third novel, That Hideous Strength, develops the theme of nihilistic science threatening traditional human values, embodied in Arthurian legend.Many ideas in the trilogy, particularly opposition to de-humanization as portrayed in the third book, are presented more formally in The Abolition of Man, based on a series of lectures by Lewis at Durham University in 1943.

C.S.Lewis’s best known novels are The Chronicles of Narnia which are a series of seven fantasy novels and are considered classics of children’s literature. Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle. The Chronicles of Narnia have also been adapted for stage, TV, radio, and cinema. Inspiration for the series is taken from multiple sources; in addition to adapting numerous traditional Christian themes, the books freely borrow characters and ideas from Greek, Turkish and Roman mythology as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales & have profoundly influenced adult and children’s fantasy literature since World War II.

Lewis sadly passed away on 22 November 1963, as the result of renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal because it was the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and Aldous Huxley, died. Lewis continues to attract a wide readership. In 2008, The Times ranked him eleventh on their list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. Readers are often unaware of what Lewis considered the Christian themes of his works. His Christian apologetics are read and quoted by members of many Christian denominations. Lewis has been the subject of several biographies. In 1985 the screenplay Shadowlands by William Nicholson, dramatising Lewis’s life and relationship with Joy Davidman Gresham, was aired on British television, starring Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom. This was also staged as a theatre play starring Nigel Hawthorne and made into the 1993 feature film Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. In 2005, a one-hour television movie entitled C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia, starring Anton Rodgers, provided a general synopsis of Lewis’s life. There is A bronze statue of Lewis’s character Digory, from The Magician’s Nephew, in front of Belfast’s Holywood Road Library.

Many books have been inspired by Lewis, including Daniel Handler’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Authors of adult fantasy literature such as Tim Powers have also been influenced by Lewis’s work. Lewis was strongly opposed to the creation of live-action versions of his works. His major concern was that the anthropomorphic animal characters “when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare”.Several C. S. Lewis Societies exist around the world and His name is also used by a variety of Christian organisations. Film adaptations have been made of three of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008) and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010).Lewis is also featured as a main character in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series by James A. Owen. He is one of two characters in Mark St. Germain’s 2009 play Freud’s Last Session, which imagines a meeting between Lewis, aged 41, and Sigmund Freud, aged 83, at Freud’s house in Hampstead, London, in 1939, as the Second World War is about to break out.

Karen Gillan

Best known for her portrayal of Amy Pond in Doctor Who, Nebula and Ruby Roundhouse, the Scottish actress and, former model, Karen Sheila Gillan was born 28 November 1987. She learned to play the piano when she was seven & developed a love for acting, joining several local youth theatre groups and taking part in a wide range of productions at her school,Charleston Academy. When she turned 16, Gillan moved to Edinburgh and completed an HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College She then moved to London at 18 to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school in the BA (Hons) Acting degree course. While studying at Italia Conti Gillan was scouted by a modelling agency. Gillan worked as a model in 2007’s London Fashion Week for designer Allegra Hicks’ autumn/winter catwalk show and the launch party of Nicola Roberts’ Dainty Doll Make-Up Range. Gillan has said she would not give up her acting career to return to modelling. She stated that she enjoyed modelling but acting was always her main interest and goal.

Gillan’s early television acting career included guest appearances on several drama series, she also appeared on The Kevin Bishop Show portraying multiple characters, as well as celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. She appeared in Channel 4’s Stacked and the BBC2 Horror series The Well, which was later broadcast as a web series on BBC.co.uk. She was then cast for the role of the Eleventh Doctor’s first companion, Amy Pond, on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who in May 2009. She made her first on-screen appearance as Amy Pond in “The Eleventh Hour” with her cousin Caitlin Blackwood portraying a young Amelia (Amy) Pond. Gillan also appeared in the “The Fires of Pompeii” in the role of a Soothsayer.

Gillan also made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne’s play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011. She appeared in the seventh series of Doctor Who until leaving in 2012 .On 26 January 2012, Karen Gillan played the part of supermodel Jean Shrimpton in the BBC Four film We’ll Take Manhattan, which told the story of Shrimpton’s relationship with the photographer David Bailey. Gillan also starred in a Scottish rom-com called Not Another Happy Ending alongside Emun Elliott. Which was directed by John McKay and a supernatural horror pic called Oculus cast in the lead role and filmed in Alabama. She revealed that she has been cast in comedian Charlie Brooker’s TV series A Touch of Cloth. Gillan has also been cast in a film titled ‘ The List ‘ which began filming in Los Angeles in May 2013. Gillan also appears as Ruby Roundhouse in the latest Jumanji film.

FHM magazine ranked Gillan #42 in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women 2011 In 2012 they also ranked her #36. Gillan has also voiced advertisements for eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Gillan portrayed Nebula in the superhero science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy. She also joined the regular cast of Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV:: for the show’s third season in 2013 and in 2011, She helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) and the opening of Squirrel Ward in Great Ormond Street Hospital

Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

I am currently reading Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett after having rescued it from a Charity Shop. It is, the twenty-third in the Discworld series and features a vampire named Count Magpyr and his family, of vampires from Überwald who have been invited to the naming of the daughter of the witch Magrat Garlick and King Verence. This is to be conducted by the Omnian priest, Mightily Oats. During the party after the ceremony, Nanny Ogg and Agnes Nitt discover that the Magpyr family also intend to move into Lancre Castle and take over, strangely only The youngest witch, Agnes Nitt and the Omnian priest, Mightily Oats, have serious misgivings about this

Then the Magpyr son, Vlad, tries to seduce Agnes. As the Magpyr’s take over Lancre Agnes, Nanny Ogg and Magrat attempt to convince another Witch Granny Weatherwax to help them save Lancre from the hypnotic influence of the Vampires, before trying to escape to Lancre. However Mightily Oats, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick and Magrat’s infant daughter, Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre, end up at the Magpyrs’ castle in Überwald instead and they must take on the Count and his family….

C. S. Lewis

Irish novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis sadly died on 22 November 1963. He was born on 29th November 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. He is known for both his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy and his non-fiction, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. Both authors served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the “Inklings”. At the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming “a very ordinary layman of the Church of England”. His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

Lewis’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copiesAmong his best known novels is The Pilgrim’s Regress, which was written in 1933 shortly after he converted to Christianity, this depicted his experience with Christianity in the style of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Lewis also wroteThe “Space Trilogy” (also called the “Cosmic Trilogy” or “Ransom Trilogy”) which dealt with what Lewis saw as the de-humanising trends in contemporary science fiction. The first book, Out of the Silent Planet, was apparently written following a conversation with his friend JRR Tolkien about these trends. Lewis agreed to write a “space travel” story and Tolkien a “time travel” one, but Tolkien never completed “The Lost Road”, linking his Middle-earth to the modern world. Lewis’s main character Elwin Ransom is based in part on Tolkien, a fact Tolkien alludes to in his letters. The second novel, Perelandra, depicts a new Garden of Eden on the planet Venus, a new Adam and Eve, and a new “serpent figure” to tempt them. The story can be seen as an account of what could have happened if the terrestrial Eve had resisted the serpent’s temptation and avoided the Fall of Man. The third novel, That Hideous Strength, develops the theme of nihilistic science threatening traditional human values, embodied in Arthurian legend.Many ideas in the trilogy, particularly opposition to de-humanization as portrayed in the third book, are presented more formally in The Abolition of Man, based on a series of lectures by Lewis at Durham University in 1943.

C.S.Lewis’s best known novels are The Chronicles of Narnia which are a series of seven fantasy novels and are considered classics of children’s literature. Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle. The Chronicles of Narnia have also been adapted for stage, TV, radio, and cinema. Inspiration for the series is taken from multiple sources; in addition to adapting numerous traditional Christian themes, the books freely borrow characters and ideas from Greek, Turkish and Roman mythology as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales & have profoundly influenced adult and children’s fantasy literature since World War II.

Lewis died, as the result of renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal because it was the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and Aldous Huxley, died. Lewis continues to attract a wide readership. In 2008, The Times ranked him eleventh on their list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. Readers are often unaware of what Lewis considered the Christian themes of his works. His Christian apologetics are read and quoted by members of many Christian denominations. Lewis has been the subject of several biographies. In 1985 the screenplay Shadowlands by William Nicholson, dramatising Lewis’s life and relationship with Joy Gresham, was aired on British television, starring Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom. This was also staged as a theatre play starring Nigel Hawthorne and made into the 1993 feature film Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. In 2005, a one-hour television movie entitled C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia, starring Anton Rodgers, provided a general synopsis of Lewis’s life. There is A bronze statue of Lewis’s character Digory, from The Magician’s Nephew, in front of Belfast’s Holywood Road Library.

Many books have been inspired by Lewis, including Daniel Handler’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Authors of adult fantasy literature such as Tim Powers have also been influenced by Lewis’s work. Lewis was strongly opposed to the creation of live-action versions of his works. His major concern was that the anthropomorphic animal characters “when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare”. Several C. S. Lewis Societies exist around the world and His name is also used by a variety of Christian organisations. Film adaptations have been made of three of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008) and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010).Lewis is also featured as a main character in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series by James A. Owen. He is one of two characters in Mark St. Germain’s 2009 play Freud’s Last Session, which imagines a meeting between Lewis, aged 41, and Sigmund Freud, aged 83, at Freud’s house in Hampstead, London, in 1939, as the Second World War is about to break out.

Anne McCaffrey (Dragonriders of Pern)

Best known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series, prolific American Born Irish Novelist Anne Inez McCaffrey Sadly died at the age of 85 on 21 November 2011 at her home in Ireland, following a stroke.

McCaffrey was Born 1 April 1926 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attended Stuart Hall boarding school in Staunton, Virginia), and graduated from Montclair High School in New Jersey. In 1947 she graduated cum laude from Radcliffe Collegewith a degree in Slavonic Languages and Literature. In 1950 she married Horace Wright Johnson who shared her interests in music, opera and ballet. They had three children: Alec Anthony, Todd and Georgeanne (“Gigi”, Georgeanne Kennedy). Except for a short time in Düsseldorf, the family lived for most of a decade in Wilmington, Delaware.

They moved to Sea Cliff, Long Island in 1965, and McCaffrey became a full-time writer. McCaffrey served a term as secretary-treasurer of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1968 to 1970. In addition to handcrafting the Nebula Award trophies, her responsibilities included production of two monthly newsletters and their distriution by mail to the membership. In 1970 McCaffrey emigrated to Ireland with her two younger children after filing for divorce. Ireland had recently exempted resident artists from income taxes, Alongside fellow science-fiction author Harry Harrison. McCaffrey’s mother soon joined the family in Dublin in 1971. McCaffrey was also guest of honor at her first British science-fiction convention. It was here that she met British reproductive biologist Jack Cohen, who would be a consultant on the science of Pern.

McCaffrey had had two short stories published during the 1950s. “Freedom of the Race”, about women impregnated by aliens) was written in 1952 and the second story, “The Lady in the Tower”, was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She was also lnvited to the Milford Writer’s Workshop, where participants each brought a story to be critiqued. In 1959 she wrote “The Ship Who Sang”, the story which began the Brain & Brawn Ship series, which she considered her best story and her favorite. McCaffrey then wrote two more “Ship” stories and began her first novel , Restoree (1967), which featured an intelligent, survivor-type woman as the protagonist”.

Her next novel Decision at Doona opens on “an overcrowded planet where just talking too loud made you a social outcast”. McCaffrey also competed for the 1971 publication Dragonquest and two Gothic novels for Dell, The Mark of Merlin and The Ring of Fear. With a contract for The White Dragon (which would complete the “original trilogy” with Ballantine), The young-adult book market provided a crucial opportunity. and McCaffrey started the Pern story of Menolly. Starting with “The Smallest Dragonboy” , the Crystal Singer and Dragonsong and The tales of Menolly are continued in Dragonsinger: Harper of Pern, and Dragondrums as the “Harper Hall Trilogy”.

Whilst brainstorming about dragons she devised a “technologically regressed survival planet” whose people were united against a threat from space .The dragons became the biologically renewable air force, and their riders ‘the few’ who, like the RAF pilots in World War Two, fought against incredible odds day in, day out—and won.” The first Pern story, “Weyr Search”, was published in 1967 It won the 1968 Hugo Award for best novella, voted by participants in the annual World Science Fiction Convention.

The second Pern story, “Dragonrider”, won the 1969 Nebula Award for best novella, voted annually by the Science Fiction Writers of America. McCaffrey was the first woman to win a Hugo for fiction and the first to win a Nebula.”Weyr Search” covers the recruitment of a young woman, Lessa, to establish a telepathic bond with a queen dragon at its hatching, thus becoming a dragonrider and the leader of a Weyr community. “Dragonrider” explores the growth of the queen dragon Ramoth, and the training of Lessa and Ramoth. The third story, “Crack Dust, Black Dust”, was published between 1974–1975.

She next wrote A Time When, which would become the first part of The White Dragon which was released with new editions of the first two Pern books, with cover art illustrated by Michael Whelan. It was the first science-fiction book by a woman on the New York Times bestseller list. In 2005 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named McCaffrey its 22nd Grand Master, an annual award to living writers of fantasy and science fiction. She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame on 17 June 2006 and her novels still remain popular. I also think Michael Whelan’s illustrations are pretty fantastic too.

Alan Dean Foster

Prolific American fantasy and science fiction novelist Alan Dean Foster was born November 18, 1946. He is known for his science fiction novels set in the Humanx Commonwealth, an interstellar ethical/political union of species including humankind and the insectoid Thranx. Many of these novels feature Philip Lynx (“Flinx”), an empathic young man who has found himself involved in something which threatens the survival of the Galaxy. Flinx’s constant companion since childhood is a minidrag named Pip, a flying, empathic snake capable of spitting a highly corrosive and violently neurotoxic venom.

One of Foster’s better-known fantasy works is the Spellsinger series, in which a young musician is summoned into a world populated by talking creatures where his music allows him to do real magic whose effects depends on the lyrics of the popular songs he sings (although with somewhat unpredictable results).

Many of Foster’s works have a strong ecological element to them, often with an environmental twist. Often the villains in his stories experience their downfall because of a lack of respect for other alien species or seemingly innocuous bits of their surroundings. This can be seen in such works as Midworld, about a semi-sentient planet that is essentially one large rainforest, and Cachalot, set on an ocean world populated by sentient cetaceans. Foster usually devotes a large part of his novels to descriptions of the strange environments of alien worlds and the coexistence of their flora and fauna. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is Sentenced to Prism, in which the protagonist finds himself trapped on a world where life is based on silicon rather than carbon, as on Earth.

Foster was the ghostwriter of the original novelization of Star Wars which had been credited solely to George Lucas. After two other writers had declined his offer of a flat fee of $5,000 for the work, Lucas brought to Foster the original screenplay, after which Foster fleshed out the backstory of time, place, planets, races, history and technology in such detail that it became canonical for all subsequent Star Wars novels. Foster wrote the novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, a Star Wars sequel published in 1978, two years prior to the release of The Empire Strikes Back. Foster’s story relied heavily on abandoned concepts that appeared in Lucas’s early treatments for the first film. Foster was stunned when Return of the Jedi revealed the characters of Luke and Leia as brother and sister; in Splinter, the characters exhibit quite a bit of romantic and sexual energy. Although Splinter was contradicted by later entries in the Star Wars film canon, it was the first “Star Wars expanded universe” entry written (although not the first published—a Marvel Comics story holds that honor). Foster wrote the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Foster is also credited with writing the story for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He also wrote 10 books based on episodes of the animated Star Trek, the first six books each consisting of three linked novella-length episode adaptations, and the last four being expanded adaptations of single episodes that segued into original story. In the mid-seventies, he wrote original Star Trek stories for the Peter Pan-label Star Trek audio story records. He later wrote the novelization of the 2009 film Star Trek, his first Star Trek novel in over 30 years. He later wrote the novelization for Star Trek’s sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.