Lois McMaster Bujold is an American author of science fiction and fantasy works. Bujold is one of the most acclaimed writers in her field, having won the prestigious Hugo Award for best novel four times, matching Robert A. Heinlein’s record. Her novella The Mountains of Mourning won both the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. In the fantasy genre, The Curse of Chalion won the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature and was nominated for the 2002 World Fantasy Award for best novel, and both her fourth Hugo Award and second Nebula Award were for Paladin of Souls. In 2011 she was awarded the Skylark Award. The bulk of Bujold’s works are part of three separate book series: the Vorkosigan Saga, the Chalion Series, and the Sharing Knife series.
David Mark Weber is an American science fiction and fantasy author. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Weber began writing while in fifth grade. His first published novels grew out of his work as a war game designer for the Task Force game Starfire. Weber wrote short stories set in the Starfire universe for Task Force Games’ Nexus magazine, and wrote the Starfire novel Insurrection (1990) with Stephen White after Nexus was cancelled; this book was the first in a tetrology that continued through their last collaboration, The Shiva Operation (2002), which made the New York Times bestseller list. His novels range from epic fantasy (Oath of Swords, The War God’s Own) to space opera (Path of the Fury, The Armageddon Inheritance) to alternate history (1632 series with Eric Flint) to military science fiction with in-depth characterization. A lifetime military history buff, David Weber has carried his interest of history into his fiction. He is said to be interested in most periods of history, with a strong emphasis on the military and diplomatic aspects of it.
Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist and designer. He is mostly known for his acclaimed films, Blade II, Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy film franchise. He is a frequent collaborator with Ron Perlman, Federico Luppi and Doug Jones. His films draw heavily on sources as diverse as weird fiction, fantasy and war. Del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was raised in a strict Catholic household. Del Toro studied at the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Cinematográficos, in Guadalajara. He first got involved in filmmaking when he was about eight years old and studied special effects and make-up with SFX artist Dick Smith. Del Toro participated in the cult series La Hora Marcada with other renowned Mexican filmmakers such as Emmanuel Lubezki and Alfonso Cuarón. He spent eight years as a special effects make-up designer and formed his own company, Necropia. He also co-founded the Guadalajara International Film Festival. Later on in his directing career, he formed his own production company, the Tequila Gang.
William J. C. “Bill” Amend III is an American cartoonist, best known for his comic strip FoxTrot. Amend attended high school in Burlingame, California where he was a cartoonist on his school newspaper. Amend is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He attended Amherst College, where he drew comics for the college paper. He majored in physics and graduated in 1984. In 1982 Amend took first place among sophomores in a mathematics prize examination at Amherst. After a short time in the animation business, Amend decided to pursue a cartooning career and signed on with Universal Press Syndicate. FoxTrot first appeared on April 10, 1988. Amend made a television appearance on The Screen Savers, which aired October 20, 2003 on the former TechTV. Amend is also an avid World of Warcraft player, but refuses to reveal his character’s name, although he did mention in an interview with Allakhazam (a World of Warcraft fan site) that he played on the server ‘Bronzebeard’ (Jason is often shown or referred to playing “World of Warquest” in the strip). On December 5, 2006, Universal Press Syndicate issued a press release stating that Amend’s strip, FoxTrot, would turn into a Sunday-only strip. Amend stated that he wants to continue doing the strip, but at a less hurried pace. This news was followed by several weeks of the characters discussing a “cartoonist” semi-retiring to Sundays only, and what methods he would use to phase out the daily strips. The last daily Foxtrot cartoon was printed on December 30, 2006.
China Tom Miéville is an award-winning English fantasy fiction author, comic writer and academic. He is fond of describing his fiction as “weird fiction” (after early twentieth century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist Workers Party. He has stood for the Regent’s Park and Kensington North for the Socialist Alliance in the 2001 General election, and published his PhD thesis as a book on Marxism and international law. He teaches creative writing at Warwick University. Miéville was educated at Oakham School, a co-educational independent school in the historic market town of Oakham in Rutland, for two years. When he was eighteen, in 1990, he lived in Egypt teaching English for a year, where he developed an interest in Arab culture and Middle Eastern politics. Miéville studied for a BA degree in social anthropology at Clare College, Cambridge, graduating in 1994, and achieved both a Masters’ degree and PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 2001. Miéville has also held a Frank Knox fellowship at Harvard University. A book version of his PhD thesis, titled Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law, was published in the United Kingdom in 2005 by Brill in their “Historical Materialism” series, and in the United States in 2006 by Haymarket Books.
Joanne “Jo” Rowling, better known as J. K. Rowling is a British author best known as the creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series, the idea for which was conceived on a train trip from Manchester to London in 1990. The Potter books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, sold more than 400 million copies and been the basis for a popular series of films, in which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts as well as maintaining creative control by serving as a producer on the final instalment. Rowling is perhaps equally famous for her “rags to riches” life story, in which she progressed from living on benefits to multi-millionaire status within five years. As of March 2010, when its latest world billionaires list was published, Forbes estimated Rowling’s net worth to be $1 billion. The 2008 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune at £560 million ($798 million), ranking her as the twelfth richest woman in Great Britain. Forbes ranked Rowling as the forty-eighth most powerful celebrity of 2007, and Time magazine named her as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fandom. In October 2010, J. K. Rowling was named ‘Most Influential Woman in Britain’ by leading magazine editors. She has become a notable philanthropist, supporting such charities as Comic Relief, One Parent Families, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain, and Lumos (formerly the Children’s High Level Group).
Robert Fleming Rankin is a prolific British humorous novelist. Born in Parsons Green, London, he started writing in the late 1970s, and first entered the bestsellers lists with Snuff Fiction in 1999, by which time his previous eighteen books had sold around one million copies. His books are a mix of science fiction, fantasy, the occult, urban legends, running gags, metafiction, steampunk and outrageous characters. According to the (largely fictional) biography printed in some Corgi editions of his books, Rankin refers to his style as ‘Far Fetched Fiction’ in the hope that bookshops will let him have a section to himself. Many of Rankin’s books are bestsellers. Most of Rankin’s books are set in Brentford, a suburb of London where the author grew up, and which, in his novels, is usually infested with alien conspiracies and/or ancient evil.