Dust off your spacesuit – it’s time for Armageddon (expo)

Armageddon Expo 2010Ah, winter.  Time for bowls of hearty soup, nights by the fireside, warm scarves, and zombie make-up.  Also chainmail, cat-ears, Death Star command posts, pizza eating competitions, and all things nerdily glorious at this weekend’s Armageddon Expo.

Every year at the beginning of July, Christchurch is over-run by hordes of Doctor Who devotees, Star Wars Storm Troopers, anime kids, and all sorts of assorted science fiction, fantasy, comic-reading, game-playing fans. And every year we send intrepid (if slightly fearful) library reporters to cover the weekend.  You can read up on previous years’ visits here, and here; we will be covering the event again this year, with blogging, pics on Flickr, and even hopefully an interview with one of this year’s star visitors, best-selling author Christopher Paolini.

Visit the Armageddon website for more information, and don’t forget that the library has a great selection of graphic novels, DVDs, and all things fan-related (including cosplay and costume books if you fancy a last-minute spot of dress-ups, for you or the kids …).

However you choose to dress, we’ll see you Saturday at the icecream-eating competition.  Or the anime screening. Or maybe next to the time-machine display. Or stocking up on comics and replica swords …

Secret stories

The secret lives of Somerset MaughamOn a jag of thinking about who owns stories about real people’s lives, I’ve moved from fiction to biography. “Biography appeals to the base part of human nature” said Hermione Lee. I’m probably more base than most, because I love a good biography but I’ve never given much thought to how the subject might feel.

It seems while you’re alive you might think you own your story, but once you’re dead you know you don’t. You’d know it if you weren’t dead, that is.

Somerset Maugham fell into the trap of thinking he could control who knew what about his private life after his death as he had in his life, asking his friends to destroy any letters he had written to them. According to his biographer Selina Hastings, this guaranteed they sold for large amounts.

He made a huge bonfire of his personal papers and had a clause in his will embargoing those that survived, but the Royal Literary Fund rescinded the clause and gave Hastings access to his papers.

Maugham might have wanted his secret lives to stay secret, but the book called The secret lives of Somerset Maugham came out anyway.

Do your wishes count after you’re dead?