All the latest news about Conor Kostick, author of the books Epic and Saga.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

New blog review of Epic at Bibliomania

Margaret Johnston has a book log where the writes about the books she has read. She seems to get through a book a day and writes a small piece about each one. There are no anchor tags but you can find the review of Epic by following the link and then searching for Conor Kostick.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A review of Epic by Tarja from Helsinki

As far as I know this is the first review of Epic from Finland. There is another misspelling of Conors's surname, this time it is Costick. In her review Tarja finds Epic to be very readable.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Friday, December 02, 2005

Inter Galactic Playground names Epic as best of the year

Over at the Inter Galactic Playground Farah names Epic as one of the best Children's SF books of the year. The year is 2004 although Amazon UK has March 1, 2005 as the publication date. Sadly Conor's surname is spelled wrong again, but in a new way (Costik instead of Kostick).

Friday, September 02, 2005

Friday, August 19, 2005

Review of Epic at WriteAway

WriteAway is a rather disorganized review of children's books based at APU. It includes a review of Epic by Sue Ellis. She picks up on one of my favourite things about Conor's writing:

[...] where there are battles, they are brilliantly described
Update: (5-Feb-2007) The review is now here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Friday, August 05, 2005

Claire Hennessy on TV with Conor Kostick

Claire Hennessy is a young Irish writer who appeared on Irish TV with Conor. She wrote about it in her blog. Conor wrote a comment on the blog entry mentioning The Wizard of Earthsea.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Epic described as “unputdownable” at Familes Online

Families is a free parenting magazine available in some areas of the UK. They have a brief review of Epic which is fairly positive.

“Epic” is an “unputdownable” thriller for the confident reader, although its tiny typeface and dense text could be off-putting to less seasoned readers.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Review at "Oracne's Brain Radio"

Vickie McManus is a writer of science fiction/fantasy and erotica. On her blog she has a good review of Epic.

Sherwood Smith posts full review of Epic

Following up on her blog entry about Epic, Sherwood Smith has posted a full review at SF Site. I think this is the most careful review of Epic so far, it does a great job of explaining the premise of the book. A quick quote:

There are moments of beauty, humor, big surprises, action, tension, and fascinating character insight, and very little that is predictable.

Lady Schrapnell mentions Epic on her blog

Lady Schrapnell is reading Epic because she knows Charles Butler who is moderating the panel on the Second Golden Age of Children's Fantasy that Conor Kostick is appearing on at WorldCon. Charles Butler is a senior lecturer at UWE where he teaches children's literature and has written about Alan Garner who is one of my favourite authors.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Review of Epic at Junior Eduction

Scholastic is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books (in the US they publish Harry Potter). Their UK arm includes Junior Education, a magazine for primary school teachers, which recently included a review of Epic. This review was written by popular author Sam Llewellyn, author of many books including Little Darlings.

Humanity has migrated to a new Earth. The social order is tough and weird. Citizens progress in society by winning points in a gigantic interactive computer game, and Erik's parents are losing badly. Erik applies his unconventional mind to winning. And why stop there? Why not go after the Committee that runs the game? A thoughtful, exciting science-fiction epic, with strong interpersonal and political resonances. The author is a games designer, and it shows. This book will appeal to computer-games zombies, and makes a good introduction to science-fiction.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Conor mentioned as part of a renaissance in children’s science fiction

Farah at the Inter Galactic Playground has mentioned Conor Kostick again in a blog entry on an Irish Rennaisance in children’s science fiction. Unfortunately she spells his name wrong again (Kostik).

Monday, July 18, 2005

Review at ReadingMatters

ReadingMatters is a UK-based site of book reviews for children and teenagers. There is a nice review of Epic including a thoughtfully chosen quotation. There are also a few comments from readers, who interestingly include one from Chester and another from Dublin.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Tony Hickey's review of Epic in Village magazine

Tony Hickey is a book reviewer for the Irish weekly current affairs magazine Village. He wrote this nice review of Epic in January 2005:

The epic of the title is a computer conflict game that, in the world where the story is set, has become an instrument of oppression under the rule of the Committee of Central Allocation. Erik, whose parents have become victims of the system, sets out to alter the situation by taking on the computer character of Cindella, a girl thief and a swashbuckler. The resulting narrative is a triumph of control, focus and a truly dazzling writing style that takes us through a world of avatars and ogres, orcs and dwarves, of human concerns and human feelings; a narrative that itself justly deserves the word 'epic'. It succeeds on so many levels without ever resorting to the asininities of allegory but cannot fail to present resemblances to the nascent imperialism of our own world. Yet the book remains first and foremost an attention-grabbing, action tale in the new genre that might be called 'cyber-fiction'. How about this description of Erik’s encounter with the vampire count: “Erik saw thousands of years of bloody existence. Exquisite beauty twisted to serve fouled hunger. Ennui without comprehension, lifted only by the prospect of chasing prey whose corruption and befoulment were sufficiently challenging to offer diversion”

Sherwood Smith writes about Epic

Sherwood Smith is a well known author of fantasy for children and young adults. On her blog she has a note of what she is currently reading. In May 2005 she had some kind words to say about Epic. I can't link to the quote (it's in the middle of a long page) so I'm including the whole thing here:

Epic by Conor Kostick is out from The O'Brien Press in Dublin, so it might be a tad hard to find for us in the States. But what a fabulous read. The premise is not new--kids slipping between a gaming world and their real world of their planet--but how he uses it really is refreshingly new, convincing, and absorbing. The main character, a boy named Erik, designs a girl character to send into the game world. What he learns, what he does, how his family and friends react, how the Committee who control the allocations of goods react, I just couldn't put this novel down. It's one of the best YA novels I've read in a very long while.

4 star review in Books for Keeps

Books for Keeps is a comprehensive review magazone for children's books in the UK. Their July issue contains a thoughful review of Epic.

Call your first novel Epic and you run the risk of being thought, at the very least ambitious — not that such a description will carry anything but the most favourable connotations when the book in question is something such as Kostick's. This is a fantasy novel which, while retaining many of the stock elements of the genre (dragon slaying, a magic ring, cataclysmic battles, treasure chests, fearsome weapons, inter alia), moves well beyond these conventional bits and pieces to allow for the incorporation of a challenging intellectual dimension. This, concerned essentially with political systems and the role of violence in such systems may at time prove (especially in the earlier chapters of the novel) rather demanding and dense for younger teenage readers. For them, however, there will be other rewards: there will be the two interlocking parallel worlds of the novel and the cleverly devised ‘Epic’ role-playing computer game which the young Erik Haraldson and friends ultimately attempt to turn to their advantage when opposing the dictatorship of the ‘small self-selected elite’ known as the Central Allocations Committee. We are now ready for epic confrontations, in various senses, and for the vivid portrayal of a society (with some oblique allusions to our own) on the edge of disintegration. ‘Epic’ as one of the committee remarks at one point ‘is a strange game with greater depths, more than perhaps we realise.' Like game, like book: ‘clip on’ as the characters say when play begins, and enjoy!

Conor Kostick to appear at WorldCon

The World Science Fiction Convention is being help in Glasgow from 4-8 August 2005. Among the participants is our own Conor Kostick. The full schedule is 99 pages long and Conor has seven scheduled appearances, including the following highlights: The Real Middle Ages: Since the time of William Morris, much fantasy has been set in a pre-industrial world of warriors and castles. Why do writers love the Middle Ages? What do the authors leave out, or get wrong? The Second Golden Age of Children's Fantasy (1970-1990): What inspired such a wealth of fantasy writing for young people in this period? What gives these stories lasting appeal for writers, critics and children now? A Discussion of SF and Computer Games: Writing SF based on games, games based on SF and mutual tie-ins from other sources such as films. A Discussion of Harry Potter A Kaffeeklatsch including Connie Willis (winner of six Nebula and Six Hugo Awards, which is more than any other science fiction writer)

Another 5 star review at

Another nice review or Epic at

The very serious issues of resource management, global economy, rich/poor and good/evil sit alongside loyalty, friendship and growing up.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Two customer reviews

Epic now has two customer reviews at, both giving 5 star ratings. Admittedly one is from an old friend of Conor's, who also mentions Epic on this page of travel and climbing books and has an old photo of himself taken by Conor. Incidentally did you know that the images that Amazon uses are generated dynamically? If you hack the system you can produce all sorts of interesting effects:

Monday, May 02, 2005

Torygraph article on signed first editions

This isn't exactly the same case as Epic, as publishers are selling deluxe versions of new novels in mainstream bookshops. But it does illustrate the general craziness.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More Epic speculation

It looks like Conor Kostick has signed a new batch of copies of Epic. I had written to O'Brien press about getting a signed copy and they wrote back offering to sell me one. So even though anyone who wants can get a signed copy direct from the publisher there continues to be a lot of speculation on EBay. One person is selling 10 copies of Epic one at a time Another person (brumbullet) is simultaneously bidding on a copy of Epic: Elsewhere brumbullet is also selling a copy (for a much larger asking price)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Farah Mendlesohn's review of Epic

Farah Mendlesohn is an editor of Foundation, a lecturer at Middlesex University and the the co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction. She is writing a book called (provisionally), the Inter-Galactic Playground of Children's Science Fiction. To this end she is reading as much children's SF as she can and blogging about it at the Inter-Galactic Playground. So this someone who knows what she is talking about. Here is her review: Epic Complexities: Conor Kostick, Epic (Dublin, O’Brien Press, 2004)

Six signed copies of Epic for sale!

One seller is also offering a rare A3 poster showing the front cover (slight creasing) .

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The most important Irish novel of this year

On 19-dec-2004 in the Sunday Independent (Ireland), Celia Keenan wrote:

I have placed Conor Kostick's fantasy Epic (O'Brien, €7.95) in the young adult category, even though it is marketed for a slightly younger age group. The older young-adult reader would appreciate all that this very exciting first novel hasto offer in terms of its political, social and psychological themes and its challenging use of language. The Epic of the title is a fantasy role-play computer game, played for very high stakes in an otherwise drab futuristic world. The game offers colour, excitement and the possibility of enormous wealth to an exhausted and dispirited people. The hero of the novel, Eric, with his friends, sets out to win the game, and overcomes many terrifying obstacles. In the end he must overcome the game itself. This is, in my view, the most important Irish novel of this year. It would appeal particularly to boys who enjoy computer and role-play games, and who may be uneasy or hesitant about joining the adult world, but like all good books it has something to say to everyone.
The original review is online here (but note that registration is required, asks intrusive questions, and does not seem to work). Celia Keenan is Director of the MA programme in Children's Literature and a lecturer in the English Department at St Patrick's College Drumcondra.

Another signed Epic for sale on eBay

This one has a picture of the inscription. Plus the seller claims that this is:

One of only 10 signed/dated/lined copies available at this point in time, so Conor tells me.
The seller also compares Epic to Dragon Tamers by Emma Urquhart. There are some amusing discussions of that book's hype here , here and here.

Signed Epic goes for £20.01

The first copy of Epic sold for £20.01. I asked the seller where he got it from:

The book was purchased directly from the publisher who had the author sign them for me . So yes it is guaranteed authentic Regards Bill
I wondered how he was able to do this, his reply:
I do have contacts, as you can see from E-bay rating I've been selling books for a number of years now Regards Bill
I asked the publisher, O'Brien Press, whether they would sell me a signed first edition. So far there has been no reply.

Signed first editions of Epic for sale on eBay!

Someone is selling signed first editions of Epic on eBay. See the image below. Don't try to click as it just an image. The seller has two copies for sale, but where did they come from? Are they genuine?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The blurb

Welcome To Epic: Press Start To Play . On New Earth, Epic is not just a computer game, it's a matter of life and death. If you lose, you lose everything; if you win, the world is yours for the taking. Seeking revenge for the unjust treatment of his parents, Erik subverts the rules of the game, and he and his friends are drawn into a world of power-hungry, dangerous players. Now they must fight the ultimate masters of the game - The Committee. But what Erik doesn't know is that The Committee has a sinister, deadly secret, and challenging it could destroy the whole world of Epic.

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About this blog

This blog is not written by Conor Kostick. It is owned and operated by Andrew Sherman. Please send comments, questions and suggestions to andrew <dot> sherman <at> gmail <dot> com