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

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Epic makes Lone Star list

Epic has been named to the Lone Star List for 2007-2008. The Young Adult Round Table exists to promote and to improve library services for young adults in Texas. The Texas Lone Star list is a recommended reading list developed by public and school librarians from the Young Adult Round Table. The purpose of the list is to encourage students in grades 6, 7, or 8 to explore a variety of current books. Read more about State Lists in this blog comment by Alex Flinn.

Tony Sahara, cover artist

Tony Sahara cover for Epic by Conor Kostick

Tony Sahara is an artist who works in New York in an office full of Star Wars toys. He designs the covers for many young adult books. He is the designer of the US editions of both Epic and Saga. I like these covers which give a good representation of what's in the books. Tony says that he enjoyed reading them too.

Tony Sahara cover for Saga by Conor Kostick

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Conor Kostick at Worldcon 2005

Conor Kostick on a panel at Worldcon 2005 with Joe Pearce and Justina Robson. Photo by Szymon Sokol.

Conor at the Children's Book Festival 2007

Conor Kostick at the Children's Book Festival 2007

Conor Kostick attended the Dublin City Public Libraries Children's Book Festival 2007. This saw Conor travel as far as Letterkenny as part of the festival. He also enjoyed meeting his old friend Judy Murphy. Below you can see a staged photo where one child is holding The Book of Curses.

Conor Kostick at the Children's Book Festival 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The ‘What’s The Story?’ Challenge

An Post is the State-owned provider of postal services in Ireland. The An Post Education Awards have been running now for 20 years. The theme of this year’s An Post Education Awards is storytelling. They've teamed up with four of Ireland’s most popular children’s authors - Brianóg Brady Dawson, Judi Curtin, Conor Kostick and Oisín McGann - to create story starters, in different genres, for every age.

Here is the starter for Junior Infants – First Class, written by Conor Kostick


Inis Beag was a mysterious island at the best of times. Thousands of years ago,people had put tall stones there, bringing them across dangerous seas to make a pattern whose meaning had been long forgotten. There had only ever been one house on the island and when someone started living in it again Inis Beag became even more mysterious. Who was it, in the house? Why did they never come over to the mainland? And why were there sometimes strange flashes in the sky at night over the island? Nora and her brother James would often go to the cliffs and take turns with a pair of binoculars. They wanted to be the first to solve the mystery. And so they were.

Here is the starter for Second - Fourth Class and Fifth - Sixth Class, written by Conor Kostick

The most exciting, challenging, not to say downright dangerous case I ever solved was that which I call ‘The Mystery of the Missing Head.’ The head concerned was not a real one; it was a plaster bust. For decades it had stood on a shelf in the elegant country home of the von Meckleburg family. When this bust went missing, Amelia von Meckleburg herself rang to ask for my services. She flattered me, calling me the best detective in the country and so I took the case. I found the head, of course. But I also found a sorry tale of greed and betrayal.

Epic named as one of School Library Journal's Best Books of 2007

Photo of Conor Kostick by Mark Granier

School Library Journal's editors chose 63 books from the 4500 that they reviewed this year. Conor Kostick's Epic was named as one of the Best Books of 2007.

Grades 8 Up - This well-crafted fantasy features a society in which violence has been banned and people must settle their disputes in Epic, an all-consuming virtual-reality game. Erik chooses a female avatar who uses her beauty and wits in lieu of more conventional weapons and teams up with his friends' characters to save his father and take on the powers behind the game.
Photo of Conor Kostick by Mark Granier.

Epic featured in Miami Herald

Photo of Conor Kostick by Mark Granier

As part of their Best kids' books for 2007 feature the Miami Herald had a sidebar entitled 2 boys select their favorite 2007 books. Epic was one of the books chosen

A young farm boy and his friends challenge their government, which rules its people through the outcome of an ongoing video game. Filled with action and suspense.

Photo of Conor Kostick by Mark Granier.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Saga released in Germany

German cover for Saga by Conor Kostick

Saga has now been released in Germany. It already has two reviews at, including this review by SciFi-Kenner (Österreich) which has been translated for us by Jessica-tanja Seid:

This time Conor Kostick shows in his new book "Saga" other aspects of computer games. "Epic" was about politics and the consequences of a certain kind of political behaviour, ít was about standing up for one's beliefs and 'thinking out of the box'. The last two points can be found in "Saga", too. Apart from that, Conor Kostick introduces a philosophical theme: What if the universe we live in is in fact merely a subuniverse of another universe? What if that's what we perceive as 'reality' is in fact a series of programmed events, which can be changed accordingly at any time - in contrast to the laws of nature in our world. And what if the people living in that subuniverse haven't realised yet that it merely is a subuniverse?

This is a theme experienced sci-fi fans will know very well from books like "Simulacrum" (the screen adaption is known as "The 13th floor"), "Simulacra" or the "Matrix". Nonetheless, it is handled very well by Kostick making it a gripping book for readers who like cyberpunk. It may well be that readers who are not 'well-read' in terms of science-fiction will have more difficulties in making sense of the story than those who have already read books such as "Simulacrum" or watched "Matrix". In addition to that, a minor theme in "Saga" is the problem of being addicted to computer games, something B.E. had been affected by in "Epic" earlier. Again, Eric helps to solve the problems in "Saga" as he did in "Epic". This time however, not as a main character. All in all, this is another book worth discussing and talking about. Since both books, "Epic" and "Saga" are gripping for adults as well as kids, it would be desirable that in particular parents, who keep complainig about their children and the time they spend with playing computer games, read these books. This night contribute to mutual understanding!

Epic nominated for ALA's Best Books for Young Adults


Conor Kostick's Epic has been nominated to the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults list for 2008. The books are supposed to meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New from Conor Kostick : The Book of Curses

The Book of Curses by Conor Kostick

This new book from Conor Kostick is part of O'Brien Press' Forbidden Files series, which is aimed at younger readers (9+). Here's the blurb from the back cover:

Deep in the cellars of the O'Brien Press is a safe that contained stories too horrible to read. But somebody has broken into that safe and the stories have been released. This is one of those forbidden files.

The Book of Curses is full of dark, wicked, magic. Do not open it!

Alex Zwick never does what he is told. So when he gets his hands on a magic book, he won’t stop making wishes: even when they go horribly wrong. Can Alex and his friend Emily outsmart the book? Or will the chillingly evil laughter of the book yet again ring out in triumph?

Read it if you dare!

According to the publication date is 5 Oct 2007.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Conor Kostick Interview

This is an interview that Conor did for Brodart's July catalog. Brodart supplies books to school and public libraries. In 1939, Arthur Brody modified some photographic film and used it to cover his textbooks for added protection and created the plastic book jacket cover.

This is a very informative interview so I'm posting it here. There is a even a plug for this blog at the end of the piece. The interview took place by email.

Please describe where you grew up and what your family was like.

I grew up in Chester, a city based on a former Roman camp that still has a complete set of walls forming a rectangle around what was the old medieval center. These days it holds more of an attraction for shoppers, but even as a kid I was aware of centuries of history all around me. We had museums with ancient weapons and in the summer grown-ups dressed as Roman soldiers or medieval town criers could be seen on the streets.

You can’t choose your family, but if I could, I probably would go for something like mine. My mother was a maths teacher and is immensely sensible; my father was a special needs teacher and is immensely irresponsible. Together they made a good team, creating an environment full of books and fun. They let me and my (younger) brother, Gavin, just get on with our games, only stepping in if the fighting became too crazy.

When did you first become interested in being a writer? What other professions, if any, have you had?

Around the age of twelve, after reading several fantasy adventures, by, among others, Andre Norton, Michael Moorcock and Tolkein, I got out a schoolbook and began to write. The amorphous ideas in my head were to do with extraordinary realms of magic and flashing swordfights, but the execution was, naturally at that age, terrible and derivative. In fact, the attempt was so disheartening that I gave up for more than a decade.

My first ever job was in 1982 and was fabulous. A new company, Treasure Trap, came to the Chester Wargames Club, at a time when I was 18, had long hair and listened to heavy metal: exactly the kind of young person they were looking for. They had hired a castle in Cheshire and were looking for volunteers to help run adventures for people who would come in costume and roleplay. They liked me, I loved being there, and so it didn’t take long before I had a room in a grim and freezing corridor of the castle as a member of staff.

After this experience it was hard to settle at anything serious. I worked for a bit as an engineering clerk for Case International, helping make tractors, but I knew that once I had enough money for a computer I’d give it up. Other work included: nature conservancy on the Island of Rhum, Scotland; archeology (Mesolithic); organizing for a revolutionary party and, latterly, being a professor of Medieval History.

What is your educational background like?

My parents value education very much indeed and I broke their hearts by not getting a degree. But I’d discovered a world so very much larger and more interesting than that offered by university and it wasn’t until I was 32 that I decided to take up the offer of an Irish scheme for mature students and study hard. I got in to Trinity College Dublin (my dad’s college) and was struck with delight upon attending the inspiring lectures of a certain medieval professor. As a result I really immersed myself in medieval history and have a PhD on the crusades, which, along with the gold medal I got for my degree, has given my parents something to smile about.

Are there any writers, teachers, or other individuals that have had a major influence on your writing or helped you further in your career?

I’ve never met her, but Ursula Le Guin is a very inspiring writer and, from what I can tell about her through her works and interviews, an equally impressive person. There is no doubt also that my brother Gavin is extremely important with regard to my writings. He is a dramatist with a successful playwriting career in his own right, but more importantly, he is passionate and stimulating about all forms of culture. He is the kind of person who asks questions about human nature that have you thinking for weeks.

Can you briefly describe the process you go through when writing a novel or book? Where do you get your inspiration?

So far the inspiration for my books has come very quickly. Perhaps I’ll be reading an article or be in the middle of a conversation, and I’ll suddenly find myself wondering: ‘what an interesting idea, how would you explore that dramatically, in a novel?’ If it really is a strong idea and not just a passing thought, I’ll start to work on it, carrying around a notebook to jot down thoughts as I mull it over more seriously. The framework of the book will be created in that fashion, but I find a great deal of development takes place during the actual course of writing. When I look at my old notebooks for Epic and Saga I’m amused by the differences, sometimes quite significant, to the final books.

How would you describe your debut novel Epic? Why might people want to read it?

Imagine a world where your job, your wealth, your house and your social status is determined by your success in a fantasy computer game: Epic. It really does matter how powerful your wizard or warrior are, because that will affect everything about your life. The problem is, in this particular world, a small elite has come to control all the most powerful game characters and the system they preside over is becoming more and more unjust. Epic is about a fourteen-year-old boy, Erik, and his friends as they set about challenging Central Allocations.

If you like adventures with pirates, vampires and magic duels, you will enjoy Epic. But I also used the unusual framework of that society to test different philosophies against it. Those readers who seem to have got a real thrill out of the book have also been stimulated by the questions it addresses with regard to violence and political action. Erik, as he becomes more powerful in the game, has some tough choices to make.

You’ve created some very interesting characters. What is the character development process like for you?

I smiled when I came to this question, I’m glad you asked it because it is a conscious issue in my writing. Aristotle once wrote that a dramatist has a basic choice to make, are they going to explore characters or a plot? The problem, and I think he is right, is that in order to advance a plot towards a particular place, there comes a moment when you require a character to behave in slightly inconsistent ways; they are not allowed to be ‘true’ to themselves. Lots of great books prioritize plots; I think I’d put the Harry Potter books in that category.

Up to now, however, I’ve favored character. I usually write towards a scene I have in mind where three or more people are together and interacting according to their nature. In the process of writing the scene, I try to keep them ‘free’ to behave as they might in reality, even if this means strange and unhelpful outcomes with regard to the plot. So, for example, during the writing of Epic, I had to be fair to the bad guys – only one of whom would consciously admit they were bad in their own eyes – and let them win or change their minds about important issues. Strangely, I wasn’t sure myself how the book would end until I got there. Hopefully that keeps the reader as curious to find out as I was.

Are there any elements of your characters based on anyone that you know?

Definitely; we human beings hardly understand ourselves, let alone others, but can you be consistent about the internal dynamics of a person without thinking very concretely about how ‘so and so’ would respond to a certain crisis, argument, romantic moment, etc? All my major characters have elements from people I know; one of my friends now has a nickname ‘Bjorn’ as a result of Epic! But the fictional characters are, of course, a synthesis of various elements and not really paralleled by any real person. The only exceptions to this are the Avatar in Epic and to a lesser extent Ghost and the Dark Queen in Saga. These characters required me to speculate more. What, for example, would it be like if you were born into awareness, as the Avatar was, as a vast software intelligence? I put a lot of thought into this question and for months was trying out different ideas about it on my friends.

What writers/books do you enjoy or have influenced your work?

I’m always reading, as a kid I read through Chester Library’s Science Fiction section. All the literary culture they’ve been exposed to swims through a writer, but, purely on the basis of thinking about which living authors make me rush out (or click Amazon) when I hear they have a new book out, I would list: Ursula Le Guin, Phillip Pullman, China Meiville, Iain M. Banks, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Roddy Doyle.

Are there any other books or projects that you are currently working on?

Suppose you could swap universes at will, to adjacent ones where you never miss a shot on goal, never fail your exams, never fail with the opposite sex. Wouldn’t life be good? Not necessarily, I decided, because it would probably change you into a rather cocky person. My next major book will be out in 2008 in Ireland and is about a boy who can do this, but not only is he creating problems for his own development, he has also accidentally unleashed a ‘hungry ghost’ into the world, one that feeds on all the shame and unhappiness he ducks away from.

I’ve also got a couple of notebooks on the go, but I don’t like to talk about them yet, in case I raise readers’ expectations and put myself under pressure. I like to write freely. In addition, I’m writing a history book for academia about the First Crusade, which should be out in 2008 too.

Do you have a family and/or kids? Where do you currently reside?

Dublin, Ireland, is a great place to live. It is no myth that Irish people are friendly and that, combined with the fact that most people here are good humored and sympathetic to the underdog, makes life very pleasant. I know the US has some great cities, and perhaps, for reasons to do with interesting artistic subcultures, food and climate I’d want to live in San Francisco, for example. But I also like the fact we don’t have guns in our society (which is a funny statement when you think about Ireland’s history, but it’s true, this is a very safe country).

I live with my partner, Aoife (pronounced Ee–Fer) in a relatively quiet street. It is about thirty minutes walk from here, past the Guinness Brewery and through the old medieval part of the town, to get to Trinity College where I give my lectures on the crusades. We don’t have any kids, but my brother and his wife do and I very much enjoy hanging out with my niece Juno (5) and nephew Conor (8).

What are your hobbies and interests?

Chess is an extraordinary game, when you really get in to a game you experience it almost as an art, something like music, but also when it’s over you feel exhausted, like you’ve run a mile. I’m captain of my college chess team and enjoy that.

I love more immediately visceral games too, such as online games. The one I’m currently playing a fair bit of is Vanguard and as well as the actually game play I really like the way you make friends from all over the world. You can’t beat collectively organizing to kill a dragon for bonding. Of course I tell Aoife I’m researching when I’m spending all this time on the computer.

From being taken to soccer games as a kid, I also tend to follow that sport, especially if Ireland are playing. I have a soft spot for Chester City who have always been a lowly team, but still, it gives me some pleasure to read in the papers that they won.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers today?

The hardest part of being a writer is the question of time. Not many of us can make the space for the months of dedication to writing that it takes to produce a book. But that’s what you have to strive for. Roddy Doyle, for example, one of Ireland’s greatest living writers (actually, I’ll go add him to my list for question 9), used to get up early and write for an hour or two before going to the school where he was a teacher. Young or old, it’s a question of getting away from the mobile phone, the TV and chores to find some quiet time. Writing is not mysterious either; it is an acquired skill like learning to play a musical instrument. But as with music, you need lots and lots of practice to become competent at it.

Is there anything you would like your readers to know that hasn’t already been covered?

Only things that my generation couldn’t tell them. Like how to live on this planet without destroying it.
Do you have a web site fans can visit?
Every now and then I think I ought to have one, especially given my love of the virtual world. But good websites need lots of updates of material and when it comes to writing, I think I’d rather be writing books than, for example, blogging.

There is a good website that I approve of. You can find it here. Many, many, years ago a very good friend of mine, Andrew, moved to San Francisco. Thanks to email and online games we’ve been able to keep in touch and he runs this website. It’s not full of fun things like extra stories, games and activities that some writers can offer their readers, but Andrew does keep it up-to-date with news and it has good photographs. If readers want to ask me questions or write with feedback about my books the best way is through the website of my Irish publishers. Send your message to

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Epic listed on Booklist's Top 10 Fantasy Books for Youth

Booklist's Top 10 Fantasy Books for Youth: 2007 includes Epic. The citation reads:

The attractions of computer role-playing have been harnessed in this gripping, reluctant-reader-friendly novel about a dystopia in which inhabitants’ fates depend on how their avatars perform in virtual battles.

Friday, June 01, 2007

German sales charts for Epic

German sales charts for Epic by Conor Kostick

These are some sales charts from Germany which show Epic rising up the German sales charts.

Sales for Epic rise at Amazon

sales rank for epic by Conor Kostick may 2007

Epic reached a new all time high Amazon sales rank of 47,775 this month (above). Today its hourly rank is 17,031. Below is last months chart.

sales rank for epic by Conor Kostick Apr 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

New review of Epic at the Thrushmetal Review

Epic continues to attact attention from libraries in the US. Trevor Oakley, the Teen Services Librarian at Guilderland Public Library, has written about Epic at Thrushmetal Review:

Readers will find their grounding within Epic…both the game and the book… and will enjoy geting clipped in with Erik and co.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More good reviews for Epic in the US

Publishers Weekly is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents. In a the edition dated 21-May-2007 there is a starred review of Epic:

Irish author Kostick's powerful debut imagines an agrarian world where violence is illegal, except within a massive computer game that provides the economic and governmental structure for society. When they're not working in the salt mines of New Earth, everyone spends their time in the online game, Epic, accumulating resources and completing quests. Erik is frustrated both with the game and with his father, Harald, who refuses to play. Harald does eventually appear in the arena to demand more solar panels for his community, but his appearance unearths a secret in his past, and he is sent into exile. Erik finds a loophole that allows him to defeat a red dragon, making him one of the wealthiest players in the game; suddenly he is a threat to Central Allocations, a team of powerful players that are the world's de facto rulers, even though they do not fully understand the system they are manipulating. As the game becomes self-aware, there are whispers of a revolution among those who would use the game's technology for conversations and elections rather than endless fighting. Kostick manages to aim his allegory at two separate targets: the pointless wastefulness of a government too big to correct its course or even know its true nature, and, on a slightly more trivial note, the waste of time gamers spend in their online "second lives." The elegant conclusion will linger with readers. Ages 12-up.

School Library Journal is a monthly publication with articles and reviews for school and public librarians who work with young people. The May edition includes this starred review of Epic by Dylan Thomarie.

Gr 8 Up–Where fantasy and video games meet, there is Epic. In a society where violence is banned, people must settle their disputes in Epic, at the same time that they are trying to stay alive in order to accumulate wealth and status in both the game world and in reality. Impulsively, Erik creates his new Epic character to be female, and spends all his allocated start-up funds on beauty and attitude for Cindella rather than weapons, but something tells him that this is the way to go. She and his friends’ characters use a succession of unusual methods to save Erik’s father from exile and to challenge Central Allocations, the representatives who run the game, and thus, the society. Believable and realistic characters take readers through a thought-provoking story that juxtaposes a simple life working the land with the technology of a society simultaneously operating in a virtual world. Frequent turns of events that teens will know are coming, but not exactly when and how they will play out, keep the story moving along at a steady pace. There is intrigue and mystery throughout this captivating page-turner. Veins of moral and ethical social situations and decisions provide some great opportunities for discussion. Well written and engaging, Epic will easily draw in avid readers and video-game players. Appealing to fans of both fantasy and science fiction, it is destined to see limited shelf time.–Dylan Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Conor Kostick in Portuguese Wikipedia

There are entries in Portuguese Wikipedia for Conor Kostick and Epic.

New author photo for Conor Kostick at O'Brien Press

Conor Kostick

O'Brien Press have a new author photograph for Conor Kostick. The new photo (below) looks much more professional than the old one (above).

Conor Kostick

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Early reviews for Epic in the USA

Booklist is a prestigious publication of the American Library Association that provides critical reviews of books for all ages. It is geared toward libraries and booksellers. In a starred review, Sally Estes wrote:

Kostick was a designer for the world’s first live fantasy role-playing game in England, and his expertise is evident in this gripping first novel, set on New Earth, where violence has been banned for generations and conflicts are settled in the fantasy computer game Epic. Getting ahead in the real world means winning in the gaming world - and everyone plays. The unjust treatment of his parents by the Central Allocations committee, which ruthlessly rules the planet, sets teenager Erik and his friends on a perilous mission to challenge the committee and put an end to Epic. Erik’s fantasy persona has been killed in a battle with a dragon, and he must prepare a new gaming identity. This time, he is a beautiful female swashbuckler named Cindella the sailor, and as he undertakes a dangerous struggle against the committee, he is threatened by death in both the fantasy world and hardscrabble reality. The action is nonstop, it’s easy to keep track of who’s who, and the story flows seamlessly as characters move between worlds, maintaining their individuality in both. A surefire winner with a sequel in the works and a third planned.

Kliatt, a bimonthly magazine, publishes reviews of books recommended for libraries and classrooms serving adolescents and young adults. In a starred review, Paula Rohrlick writes:

On New Earth, violence is forbidden. All conflicts are resolved through a fantasy role-playing computer game called Epic, which is controlled by the autocratic Central Allocations Committee. When 14-year-old Erik's parents are threatened with exile--"reallocation"--he and his friends come up with a desperate, daring scheme to battle the Committee in the virtual arena and win. They must fight not only a powerful dragon in the game, but, unknown to them, the members of the Committee, who are vying for power with each other behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Epic is evolving on its own and revealing unsuspected depths, and the real battle turns out to be for control of New Earth's society.

Fantasy fans, especially fans of role-playing games, will appreciate all the detail Kostick (a teacher of medieval history at Trinity College, Ireland, who also designs fantasy role-playing games) supplies in both the worlds he creates in this first novel. There's lots of swashbuckling action in the game--even a vampire and a pirate ship--which is of course the most fun, but there's suspense in the characters' hardscrabble, vaguely Scandinavian farmer-like lives on New Earth, too. Readers will be eager to continue the adventure in the sequel, Saga.

In the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Cindy Welch writes:

Epic is the game of all games: occupation, income, housing, and even power for heat and light are all dependent on players' skills in the arena, and death is serious but not fatal. Originally a virtual reality game intended to entertain space travelers, it has become the legal and economic foundation of a society that prohibits all forms of violence and dissent. Central Allocations administers justice and favors via its virtual champions, who have the best weaponry and magic and who are literally virtually unbeatable. Stung by a series of inequities, high-school student Erik decides to take on the system. Discovering that Epic has evolved as the society it supports has begun to fail, he realizes that the only option is to try to end the game forever, which leads him into an ultimate battle against the game's own consciousness. The storyline becomes predictable, and characters are two-dimensional in their clear commitment to good or evil and their lack of growth. The premise is engaging, though, and the book emphasizes action, which is enhanced by interesting subplots about treachery and the consequences of absolute power. Readers may therefore find themselves rooting for the youngsters, and the nicely constructed gaming framework will likely ultimately draw teens.

Bowker's Books In Print has the following summary:

On New Earth, a world based on a video role-playing game, fourteen-year-old Erik pursuades his friends to aid him in some unusual gambits in order to save Erik's father from exile and safeguard the futures of each of their families. Generations ago, violence was banned on New Earth. Society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. Everyone plays. If you win, you have the chance to go to university, get more supplies for your community, and fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing. When Erik, seeking revenge for the unjust treatment of his parents, dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends find themselves up against with the ultimate masters of the game: the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying Epic?s tyranny over New Earth. But if they lose . . .

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Two future books from Conor Kostick

Conor has posted at Lady Schrapnell's blog about two upcoming books.

The first book to appear will be part of O'Brien Press's Forbidden Files series. The idea is that these are stories that had been suppressed by the publishers.

These stories are too FRIGHTENING, too DISTURBING or just too downright DISGUSTING to be read by children.
The title is unknown at present.

A second book, Move is influenced by the writings of David Deutsch and the Buddhist concept of the Hungry Ghost.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Epic published in Italy

Italian cover for Epic by Conor Kostick

Epic has now been published in Italian. This is a rather handsome hardback. The translator is Gianpaolo Fiorentini.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Conor Kostick at Phoenix Convention IV, Dublin

Epic's amazon sales rank from

Conor's appearance at Phoenix Convention IV in Dublin gave Epic's presales a boost in the US. It reached its highest daily rank ever of 140,770 as seen in the chart above. Conor's appearance was also noted in several blogs.

New German cover for Saga

German cover for Saga by Conor Kostick

Saga is coming out in Germany, with a new cover.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Teaching Guide for Epic written by Conor Kostick

O'Brien have posted a Teaching Guide for Epic written by Conor Kostick. This contains discussion points and activities for classroom use. I enjoyed reading this. An interesting excerpt:

This activity demonstrates how a bias in a system can quickly lead to huge unfairness. It requires two to four packs of playing cards depending on class size and time. Explain the rules in advance.
  • Place squares of paper in a box, all white apart from six that are yellow.
  • Ask everyone to pick a square. Those with the yellow ones are Central Allocations (CA).
  • Hand out two playing cards randomly to every person but three to CA.
  • Everyone then has a few minutes to swap cards with each other if they want to.
  • At the end of the trading time you add up the value of the cards, with Aces being 3pts, King, Queen, Jack, 2pts, the rest 1pt.
  • Now, the critical bit! If 2 cards are the same suit, add 2pts to the score. If a CA player has a set of 2 the same suit they add 2pts, if they have 3 of the same suit they add 3pts. The top six scores become the new Central Allocations.
  • Collect all the cards, except those possessed by the CA members, who get to keep theirs. Repeat.
  • If time allows, repeat again.
It should be clear to everyone that all the cards are going to end up in the hands of CA and it has become impossible to get on the committee if you only have 2 cards. Stop the game at this point. Ask the class what can be done about the unfairness of the game. Possible strategies for those outside CA include refusing to play, co-operating to get an individual up into CA by pooling cards, refusing to return cards, persuading CA people to give back their extra cards. If they can’t decide upon any of these then you might wish to declare the person with the most points as inner. I played a version of this game once. A group of about 10 of us pooled our cards, collectively giving us a very high points score, although the game ended in confusion because the rules didn’t allow for 10 people taking up 1 place on CA. It was interesting though, as by the second round we realised something had to be done to change the rules.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Blue cover for Epic in Germany

The new German cover of Epic by Conor Kostick

German online bookstores have a new blue cover for Conor Kostick's Epic. Apart from the colour change the only new thing appears to be a tag line:

Ein Fantasy-Thriller aus der Welt der Computerspiele
The original red cover for Epic can be seen here.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Conor Kostick in German language wikipedia

Epic seems to be doing very well in Germany and Conor now has an entry in the German language wikipedia. The new wikipedia article is not quite as extensive as the English language entry, but it adds that Conor was born in 1964 in Cheshire.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Epic extract in Krash (Australia)

Krash is a boys general interest magazine that is published monthly and distributed in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. Recently they featured Epic in a four page extract.

Epic by Conor Kostick in Krash Epic by Conor Kostick in Krash

Competition in Chill magazine (Australia)

competition for Epic by Conor Kostick Chill is the children's section of Adelaide's newspaper, The Advertiser. Recently they held a competition to win a copy of Epic:

EPIC, by Conor Kostick is described as a blend of Lord of the Rings fantasy and the virtual reality world of the Matrix. A boy named Erik is living on New Earth where Epic, a sword and sorcery virtual reality game, determines what happens to you. Erik subverts the rules of the game, and he and his friends are drawn into a world of power-hungry, dangerous players.

competition for Epic by Conor Kostick

Epic poster in Disney Adventures (Australia)

This monthly magazine is targetted at boys and girls aged 9 to 13 published by Australian Consolidated Press in Australia and New Zealand. The dragon is from the Australian cover of Epic. Pity the poster doesn't have Conor's name... Epic by Conor Kostick poster in Disney Adventures

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Review of Saga in the (Irish) Sunday Independent.

The review, which isn't online, is by Celia Keenan, who is the Director of the MA Programme in Children’s Literature and Lecturer in English at Saint Patrick’s College, Drumcondra (Dublin City University) and the president of The Irish Society for the Study of Children's Literature.

Contemporary and futuristic fantasy can provide a powerful critique of dehumanisation and help explore ideas about identity. […] Conor Kostick’s Saga falls into this category. Saga, the sequel to Epic is suited to a slightly older readership (15-16 yrs) because of the challenge of the narrative form, the shifting point of view and the sophisticated structure based on virtual reality games.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Recent mentions of Conor Kostick in the blogosphere

In the world of blogs Jamie at Here Be Subtlety picks Epic as her children's book of the year. The oft-mentioned Lady Schrapnell starts and finishes Saga. And sammywol recommends Saga as well.

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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