Asus Lanka Comic Con 2017

Nickelodeon Comics Editor, Joan Hilty, is Coming to Comic Con

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Joan Hilty, the Comics Editor for Nickelodeon, directing comics programs for Avatar: The Last Airbender, Legend of Korra, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others, working with publishers IDW, Dark Horse, Oni, Panini, Boom! and Papercutz.

 She is also founding editor-in-chief of Pageturner, a New York City-based book producer and agency specializing in literary comics and graphic novels.

From the mid-90s to mid-2000s she was a senior editor at DC Comics/Vertigo, editing Cartoon Network comics, Batman, Flash, Birds of Prey, and many Vertigo projects, including G. Willow Wilson's comics debut Cairo.

Joan is super excited about meeting Asian fans of Avatar and Korra and TMNT and she's also bringing some cool stuff with her to give away- including comics and posters.

Legend of Korra Turf Wars, Dark Horse Comics

Legend of Korra Turf Wars, Dark Horse Comics

On Saturday 26th from 2p.m -4p.m: Meet Joan, talk with her about the US comics industry, chat with her about topics you'd like to hear her cover on Sunday at her panel, get items signed

On Sunday 11.30a.m-12.30p.m  - Joan will discuss inclusion and diversity in the US comics industry, current trends in comics publishing, and her experiences editing everything from Batman to the American Civil War, Priya's Shakti, and the Avatarverse. Slideshow with Q&A afterwards.

And here's something very special for all budding comics writers and artists- Joan has offered to spend some time reviewing  your portfolios and giving you some constructive feedback. If you've ever dreamed about having your art/writing looked at by a professional comics editor- here's your chance!

- Thilani Samarasinha
Lanka Comic Con Principal Organizer

Cairo, G. Willow Wilson, Vertigo 

Cairo, G. Willow Wilson, Vertigo 

PS: Dear American Airlines Check-In staffer, at Newark (or, at Charlotte!). Joan Hilty is indeed flying on a ticket purchased by one Navin Weeraratne, on behalf of the Lanka Comic Con Trust, per the letters you are probably also looking at right now (so please let her on the plane...). I figured if you see us writing about this on our blog, it'll eliminate any concerns about the card holder not being the passenger.

 

යමාටෝ වන් : ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ප්‍රථම ඇනිමේ හා මාන්ගා ව්‍යාපාරික ව්‍යත්නය

‍යමාටෝ වන් සමූහය.  අරිගතො!  

‍යමාටෝ වන් සමූහය. අරිගතො! 

නව ව්‍යාපාරයක් පටන් ගන්නවට වඩා කරන්න අපහසු දේවල් බොහොමයක් තියනවා. යුද්ධ කරන එක, ස්වයං සැත්කම්, ට්‍රාන්ස්ෆෝමර්ස් බලන එක වගේ දේවල්. හැබැයි ව්‍යාපාරයක් පටන් ගන්න ඕනම කෙනෙකුට සුළු සුළු අභියෝගයන්ට මුහුණ දෙන්න වෙනවා. විශේෂයෙන්ම ඔවුන් කරන සෑම දේකම වැරදි නිතර හොයන්න සැදි පැහැදී ඉන්න අය ඉන්න අය ඉන්න නගරයක. ඔබට ස්ථීර හා පූර්ණකලීන ආදායමක් ලැබෙන වෘත්තීයයක් අත හරින්න වෙනවා වගේම දවසකට පැය 12කට වඩා මහන්සි වෙලා වැඩ කරන්න සිද්ධ වෙනවා. ඒ මදිවට ඔබ වටේ ඉන්න 'යාළුවෝ' බලන් ඉන්නේ ඔබට කොයි වෙලාවේ වැරදෙයිද කියලා.

ඒත් ඔබ කරන දේ ඔබ දිගටම කරගන යනවා. එහෙම කරගන ගිහින් ඔබ කොහොම හරි සාර්ථක වෙනවා.

"හුඟක් දෙනෙක් අපිට උපදෙස් දෙනකොට කිව්වේ ඇනිමේ වලට ලංකාවේ එච්චර ඉල්ලුමක් නැහැ කියලා," යමාටෝ වන් හි  සම නිර්මාතෘ වන ටැමි ෆුකී අපට පැවසුවා. "ඒ වුනාට අපි කල්පනා කළේ  ඇනිමේ/ මාන්ගා වලට ඇති තරම් රසිකයෝ නැතිවෙන්න විදිහක් නෑ කියන එක. ඒ අයට අවශ්‍ය අවකාශය නෑ කියන එක අපි තේරුම් ගත්තා."

ටැමි සහ තව නිර්මාතෘ කෙනෙක් වන ක්ලින්ටන් ඩි ක්‍රෙට්සර් හට ලංකාවේ සමර්පිත ඇනිමේ හා මාන්ගා ව්‍යාපාරයක් පටන් ගන්න ඔනේ කියන අදහස අවුරුදු ගානක ඉඳන් තිබුනා. ඒක ලංකාවේ ගැටවර වයසේ අයට හා වැඩිහිටියන්ට එකසේ රසවිඳින්න පුළුවන් අළුත් විනෝදාත්මක දෙයක්. "සාමන්‍යයෙන් කුඩා දරුවන්ට අරන් දෙන්න පුළුවන් සෙල්ලම් බඩු තියන සාප්පු ඕන තරම් තියනවා වුනත් නව යොවුන් පරපුරට හා ගැටවර වයසේ ළමයින්ට හරියන තෑගි හොයන්න සාමන්‍යයෙන් අමාරුයි නේ?"

සමහර අය ඇනිමේ දකින්නේ ළාමක දෙයක් විදිහට වුනත්, ටැමි හා ක්ලින්ටන්ට එය ඔනෑම වයසක කෙනෙක්ට රසව්ඳින්න පුළුවන් දෙයක්. 

ඔවුන් ගාව ප්‍රේම කථා, ත්‍රාසජනක කථා,  ක්‍රීඩා වටා නිර්මාණය වන කථා (ස්ලෑම් ඩන්ක්, ඉනීශල් ඩී) චරිතකථාමයන් (ඔසාමු ටෙසුකා) හා ආහාර සම්බන්ධ මාතෘකා (යකිටාටෙ ) වැනි  විවිධ මතෘකා ආවරණය කරන නිකුත් කිරීම් තියෙනවා. 

සැපයුම තිබුනට වෙළඳපළේ ඉල්ලීම තිබුනද?

හුඟක් දෙනෙක් අපිට උපදෙස් දෙනකොට කිව්වේ ඇනිමේ වලට ලංකාවේ එච්චර ඉල්ලුමක් නැහැ කියලා
— ටැමි ෆුකී
ව්‍යාර්ථ අදියරෙන් පසුව මේ වෑයම ඉදිරියට ගෙන යන්න ඔනේ කියලා තීරණය කරපු ඔවුන් 2016 වසරේදී ලංකා කොමික් කොන් උළෙලෙහි ප්‍රදර්ශන කුටියක් මිලදී ගත්තා. “අපි බලාපොරොත්තු වුනේ අඩුම ගණනේ උළෙලට ආ අයගෙන් සුළුතරයක් හෝ ඇනිමේ ගැන දැනුම තියන අය වෙයි කියලා.” ටැමි අපිට පැවසුවා. “එදා තමයි අපිට තේරුනේ අපි ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ඉන්න ඇනිමේ/ මාන්ගා රසිකත්වය කොච්චර අවතක්සේරු කළාද කියන එක. ඔවුන්ගේ ඇනිමේ හා මාන්ගා දැනුම, එයට ලැදිකම ගැන අපි හුඟක් මවිත වුනා.”

යමාටෝ වන් දැන් ලංකාවේ ජනප්‍රියම මාන්ගා අලෙවිකරුවන් වෙලා. ඔවුන් ෆේස්බුක් හරහා ඔවුන්ගේ පාරිභෝගිකයන් සමඟ උද්යෝගයෙන් කථාබහේ නිරත වනවා. ඔවුන්ගේ අන්තර්ජාලික වෙළඳසල දිවයින පුරා බෙදා හැරීම් කරනවා. ඊළඟ අදියර හැටියට ඔවුන් රාජගිරියේ වෙළඳ ශාලාවක් අරින්න සූදානම් වනවා. “අපි එය විවෘත කරන්න බලාපොරොත්තු වෙන්නේ දැනට ඉදිවෙමින් පවතින සාප්පු සංකීර්ණයක. ඒ සංකීර්ණය ඉදි වී අවසන් වුන ගමන්ම මේ වසර අවසානයේ අපේ වෙළඳසල විවෘත කරන්න ලහැස්ති වෙලා ඉන්නවා.”

මිලදී ගැනීම් හා විකිණිම් වලට වඩා වටින සංකල්පයක් ටැමි හා ක්ලින්ටන්ට තියෙනවා. ඒ ඇනිමේ හා මාන්ගා ප්‍රජාවට අතහිත දෙන්නයි. “අපිට උවමනා ලංකාවේ ඉන්න ඇනිමේ හා මාන්ගා චිත්‍ර කලා ශිල්පීන් හා රසිකයින් එක්ක එකතුවෙලා කිසියම් ව්‍යපෘතියකට දායක වෙන්න.”

‍යමාටෝ වන් මෙවරත් 2017 ලංකා කොමික් කොන් උළෙලට සහභාගි වනු ඇත.
අපි ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ඉන්න ඇනිමේ/ මාන්ගා රසිකත්වය කොච්චර අවතක්සේරු කළාද
— ටැමි ෆුකී

The Asus Lanka Comic Con After-Party will be at the Steuart

The after-party will be on Sunday the 27th at the Steuart by Citrus (you may know it better as "The Steuart"), from 6pm onwards. 

We picked the Steuart because: 
- their food is awesome
- their drinks are awesome
- their rates are awesome
- it's walking distance from the Asus Lanka Comic Con (which is awesome).

Here are the benefits you'll get if you walk in with your ALCC "proof of admittance"; your convention tag or badge, or are in cosplay:

- 50% off on Barcardi based cocktails.
50% off on Barcardi bottles
- Special Discount of 10% off on food.

And we get extended happy hour till 8 pm. 

The Steuart by the way, is right here.

 

I strongly recommend the Dirty Loaded Burger.  It's fantastic; I get it every time I go there. 

The Total Extreme Budo Academy is coming to the Asus Lanka Comic Con

The Total Extreme Budo Academy (TEBA) was founded by Thushara Ratnayake, a programmer at IBM who decided to chase his dream. TEBA will be doing a demonstration and lesson in Avi Nardia, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Women's Self Defense. 

TEBA will also discuss the philosophy of martial arts, and how exactly it helps people. I got to ask Thushara some questions, here's what he had to say. 

 

It seems you've made martial arts part of your life for a very long time. What got you into it? What made you stay with it? 

Yes, I’ve been practicing martial arts for 30 years now, starting at school. My first sensei was a family friend- my father (also a martial artist) encouraged me to attend.

I started martial arts with Karate and had no clue what it really encompassed other than being able to fight people. But as time went on, I realized there’s a lot more to learn other than just fighting.

Almost all Japanese martial arts end with the term “do”, example, ‘karate-do’, Ken-do’, Aiki-do’, Kyu-do’, etc.

‘Do’ literally means “Way of Life” and this deep philosophy is one of the main reasons I’ve accepted the ‘Martial Art Way’ (Bu-do).

The legendary Miyamoto Musashi stated- “There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself “


You don't always hear about SAP programmers at IBM, starting a martial arts academy. That's as much a business decision as a personal one. What made you decide to take that plunge? 

Yes, it’s a very rare combination- an IT & a martial arts professional specially in a country like Sri Lanka.

I completed my Master’s in IT at the University of Keele, UK and am proud to say I could do this with the assistance of my martial arts training.

Unlike other sports, martial arts involves as much mental training as it does physical and it encourages practitioners to create their own unique style instead of just following what a sensei teaches you.

Through rigorous training, you commit movements and strikes to muscle memory. When starting martial arts there are 4 main mind sets involved:

- Shoshin, ‘Beginners Mind’. This is when we need to pay attention to our sensei and diligently adapt those teachings based on our physical and mental capabilities. This we have to carry with us even after attaining a black belt (ShoDan, ‘Beginners Level’), as this isn’t the end but a new beginning.

-Mushin, ‘No Mind’. This sounds confusing but what it means is, after constant practice, a student should be able to carry out specific tasks without actually having to think about the task at hand. It becomes second nature to them.

- Fudoshin, ‘Immoveable Mind’. This helps the student guard his/her mind from outside influences and contributes to his/her effectiveness.

-Zanshin, ‘Remaining Mind’. This simply means keeping focused and alert while assessing that all potential threats are neutralized.

“Stay ready, so you don’t have get ready”- Conor McGregor

These mental lessons can be used in our day to day activities, either professional or personal and irrespective of social status or other factors.

As I’ve benefitted greatly from martial arts, I wanted to share that experience with others and decided to start TEBA (Total Extreme Budo Academy).

There are lots of martial arts schools and classes out there. What makes this one different? 

Master Kano Jigoro (Founder of Judo), stated “It is not important to be better than someone else but to be better than yesterday”.

At TEBA we follow this philosophy with high quality martial arts education, with the main aim of challenging ourselves to be better than we were yesterday and not comparing or copying others.

Also, a martial arts school cannot be a place of business with our students treated as clients and myself treated as a CEO.

I’ve spent more than half my life dedicated to such arts as Karate, Krav Maga, Kapap, Brazilian Jujitsu, Kyudo, Kendo, Aikido, Judo, Kyusho Jitsu and I wanted to share my knowledge with society and hopefully help people in their own lives.

What is in the future for the academy? What groups of people do you think would get the most from attending your school? 

My ultimate goal is to provide a high quality martial arts education to people genuinely interested in taking up this amazing activity.

People who are looking at improving themselves physically, mentally and even spiritually will gain the most from taking up martial arts.

I prefer to teach my students to become not only great warriors but better human beings- physically, mentally and spiritually.

TEBA welcomes any person who can leave their ego outside the dojo (not as easy as it sounds).

How has martial arts changed how you live your life, and approach the world? Have your students had the same experience? Is this why you teach martial arts, for the spiritual value? 

Karate is considered a martial art for sophisticated people and in Japanese it’s referred to as “karate wa kunshi no bugei”.

My aim is to popularize martial arts to help people with their professional and personal life.

As my Kyudo sensei would always say “the ultimate goal…is the realization of ‘Shi’ (Truth), ‘Zen’ (Goodness), and ‘Bi’ (Beauty). This is something valid in our daily lives and will also help us become perfectionists in everything we approach.

Martial arts education will also help us become productive citizens of the world and in Japanese this is reffered to as ‘Ai Koku’- make the flowers bloom for the sake of your country.

I have personally received a lot of benefits from following martial arts and am happy to say that my students are also seeing the inherent benefits and values this kind of an education can impart.

I prefer to teach my students to become not only great warriors but better human beings- physically, mentally and spiritually.

Geek Clothing Designers Faniacs are coming to Comic Con

We've watched Faniacs grow from a couple of guys at a table, to a company with a range of products, a large fan base, and an active presence on the web. I got hold of one of the founders, Moiz Mustafa, and asked him what it was like working a geek clothing start up.  

So why clothing? And why go so far as to start your own brand? 

We had the idea for years, but it came together at a Bohra community gathering - where we shared ideas, and decided to take that leap. We all agreed that clothing would represent our passion best - so we started with tees. Then we did sketch books and posters.

The name Faniacs is a function of our slogan - Fans turned maniacs. The 5 tiny dots in our logo represent our team of 5, and the smiley in the center are our awesome (geeky) customers!

Who started Faniacs? How do you work together as a team? 

Faniacs is the brainchild of 5 people: Moiz Mustafa, Taher Sajjadhusain, Burhanuddin Shakir, Murtaza Mustafa, and Huzefa Murtaza. While we are into geek and pop culture, we’re all also quite different. More often than not, we end up agreeing to disagree, but this is ultimately better for us.

I remember you talked about going away from other IPs, to creating your own IPs and characters. Do you want to talk more about that vision? 

It's on the back burner, but we have started working on or own superhero character, complete with mythology and local spice. We are eager to see how that is received by Sri Lankan comic book fans.

Our vision is to make Faniacs a brand, both local, and international; - one that not only sells geek-related designs but also a variety of others - making us a go-to brand for those on the hunt for trending pop culture clothing.

We will not reprint designs and that the products we launch are all limited edition. 

When did you start, and how have things been since? 

March 2016, and it has been a pleasure. Things have not always gone swimmingly, and we have had a few hiccups along the way. But the satisfaction of seeing someone wearing one of our tees, is indescribable. We cannot be more appreciative.

Getting exposure was one of our main challenges, but thanks to Lanka Comic Con and Collectique, that is no longer an issue. Another major task was getting our website up and running. If all goes well, we hope to launch it at the upcoming Lanka Comic Con. And, while on the subject of our website, the Faniacs team would like to give a special shout out to Shabbir Sajjadhusain, for helping us bring our ideas for it, into fruition. Lastly a special shout out to our parents and friends!

Lastly, our experience of dealing with customers has been incredible. Catering to everyone’s requirements has been fun and challenging at the same time. Tell us what you would like to see on our tees, and you never know, you just might get what you asked for!

What are your plans for the future?

There are never ending possibilities. Creating our own superhero characters, looking at wholesaling, setting up a delivery system and branching out in terms of design, and other types of apparel -  our hands will be full for a long while. These hopes and ideas would however not be possible if it weren’t for our customers – so, thank you!

 

www.faniacs.lk 
Instagram – faniacs_tshirts
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/faniacstee/

International Visitors: What you Need to Know

The Venue

The SLECC is the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Center. Here it is on Google Maps

Here is a map you can download / print. 

(Please ignore the bit where is says "permanently closed", I don't know what's up with that)

If your driver seems mystified about the largest exhibition hall in the country (it happens), please show them the map.

Hotels

We recommend. Jetwing Colombo Seven, a property of Jetwing, the Hospitality Partner for the Asus Lanka Comic Con, 2017. 

Jetwing is one of the leading hotel chains in the country; has high TripAdvisor rankings, and is committed to sustainable tourism.

Jetwing Colombo Seven is offering a special rate to visitors coming to Comic Con, of 150 USD for a single or double room, with bed and breakfast. Just mention you are coming to Lanka Comic Con and want the special rate, when doing your booking. 

 

Alternative hotels are: 
The Colombo City Hotel (Walking distance)
Cinnamon Lakeside (Walking distance)
The Kingsbury (Walking distance)
The Hilton (Walking distance)
Cinnamon Grand
The Galle Face Hotel
 

 

Transport

Please use Uber or Pickme. We recommend Pickme, it is the Sri Lankan version of Uber, but pro-humanity. They treat their drivers well, and they've helped out in times of national crisis. 

You can download the Pickme App here.

Pickme is the Travel Partner of the Asus Lanka Comic Con 2017. 

 

 

 

Currency / ATMs

You can change your money for Sri Lankan Rupees at the airport, or your hotel.  

If you use an ATM, please make sure the ATM can handle a foreign-issued card. Some local bank ATMs have difficulty with newer-issued, international cards. 

You can use HSBC and Standard Chartered ATMs though, without problems.

If you are having currency changing issues on the event day, please ask for one of the organizers. 

This is the nearest HSBC ATM, to the venue. 

This is the nearest HSBC ATM, to the venue. 

Dengue

Dengue is endemic to Colombo. Keep your windows shut, and avoid places where you see mosquitoes. If a mosquito bites you, don't freak out-  it is fantastically unlikely that anyone is going to get dengue because one mosquito, bit them once, over a 2-3 day visit. But, if you hang out somewhere you keep getting bitten by mosquitoes, you are being a dumbass.   

 

Heat

Both the climate, and the food, may be hotter than you expect. Drink lots of water, especially if you're spending time outdoors. 

These Are the Patrons of Sri Lankan Geek Culture.

We thank our partners for their support, and for helping us - and you! - to create our country's own geek cultural festival.  

Asus - Title Partner

Asus is one of the world's largest PC vendors. Asus appears in BusinessWeek’s "InfoTech 100" and "Asia’s Top 10 IT Companies" rankings, and it ranked first in the IT Hardware category of the 2008 Taiwan Top 10 Global Brands survey with a total brand value of $1.3 billion.

Anim8- Print Partner

Anim8.lk is a leading digital print services company the most versatile and high-tech print on-demand organization in Sri Lanka. Anim8.lk is in the midst of a green initiative, recycling 200 kilograms of paper a month and increasing solar power utilization, towards a low carbon footprint...a high standard for any business operating in Sri Lanka.

Aniwa.lk- Sinhala Language Partner

Aniwa.lk is a Sinhala language lifestyle content platform that publishes wholly-original, useful content focusing on lifestyle, arts, culture, health, trending social issues and much more.  Aniwa.lk is ranked as one of the most visited sites for original Sinhala lifestyle content.

AOD- Creative Partner

The Academy of Design is Sri Lanka's premium design institute, operating on a unique model that combines global design practices, industry know-how, international exposure and local heritage. AOD is also behind some of the most powerful design initiatives in the country, such as Sri Lanka Design Festival and Island Craft Project.

Etisalat- Communications Partner

The UAE based operator Etisalat, began its operations in Sri Lanka on 25th February 2010, acquiring what was earlier Sri Lanka's first cellular network, Celltell. With over 167million customers across 16 countries, Etisalat's mission in Sri Lanka is to treat their customers as their own, with the slogan "Power to You!"

The Fotobooth Guys- Photobooth Partner

The Fotobooth Guys are a relatively new company, establishing themselves in being at the top of a specialized service: providing a premium open air photo booth experience in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Their approach towards making the photobooth experience is make it 'totally unique' and 'seriously fun'.

Jetwing Hotels- Hospitality Partner

Jetwing Hotels are one of the largest hotels and resort groups in Sri Lanka, with 31 distinctive properties spread across the country. The hotel group are known for offering their customers complete indulgence, warmth of care and have maintained exceptionally high standards in the Sri Lankan hotel industry.

PickMe- Travel Partner

PickMe was conceptualized in 2014 as the first Sri Lankan taxi hailing app and began operations in March 2015. PickMe has revolutionized the Sri Lankan taxi industry, utilizing efficient processes and more importantly showing 'respect for the drivers' they work with. In addition, PickMe has also been at the forefront of rescue operations during the 2016 flooding, using their technical proficiency to aid the effort.

Radicalz- Video Partner

Radicalz (Pvt) Ltd was established in 2012 with the vision of 'Revolutionizing Digital Media'. Since then, the team has grown considerably, diversifying into Video Production, Animation, Professional Photography and Branding/Marketing solutions.

Roar.lk- Tamil Language Partner

Roar.lk is a multi-language media platform that covers news, political analysis, socio-economic issues, lifestyle, technology and more, in a meaningful and engaging manner. Roar.lk currently publishes content across nine-channels, in five languages.

TNL Radio - Radio Partner

Established in April 1993, TNL Radio is one of Sri Lanka's premium English-language radio stations, catering to a large audience that is responsive to the latest trends in music and lifestyle. In addition to its diverse home grown on-air talent, the station hosts the highest number of internationally acclaimed shows in Sri Lanka.

- Article by Vasanth Kahandawela 

The Sri Lankan Sci-fi Novel "Numbercaste" just dropped, and it's hot

Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, who hit number 1# on Amazon's short story rankings, will be doing a panel at the Asus Lanka Comic Con 2017, about his new book 'Numbercaste', modern digital publishing, and writing fiction.

'Numbercaste' is about a world where Big Data; gamification; and our loss of privacy gives a social media company power over all our lives. Like any good science fiction, it is a world you can see happening. What's unusual is that it leaves you wondering if that would be a good or a bad thing.

I got hold of Yudhanjaya, and asked him what he thought. 

When Facebook Wins

Why did you write Numbercaste? It has no spaceships. 

It's right in the fields that I specialize in. Politics, tech crazes, media - and honestly, I felt I had this story to get out into the world. Hopefully people like it. 

What do you make of the Numbercaste world? Do you agree with what Number Corp achieves, or does it scare you? 

I think the Numbercaste world is real. I think it's not just going to happen, but this is how humans seem to work - power, connections, social importance. We live in a world where Instagram fame translates to a million dollars; where, the Kardashians are famous for being famous. And China really is trying to pull this off. 

It both scares and excites me. It's exciting because there is real potential here. It's a shadow system that, if done right, can hold people accountable ... It's terrifying because the social order that it imposes may not be something we all agree with, but is inevitable anyway.

Early cover version. People test these, these days. 

Early cover version. People test these, these days. 

How close are we to that world today? Do you see it as a possible future, or an inevitability? Is there a company you think is contending for that kind of power? 

Very. Very close. I think there are two companies that can really pull this off - Facebook and Amazon. Facebook controls opinion and information access for almost 2 billion people. We live in a world where opinion often counts more than facts (which scares me). Amazon, well, it's the monopoly to end all monopolies. When everything from your reading preferences to your groceries are dictated by a single worldwide company . . . I think Zuckerberg and Bezos are the proto-Julius Commons. The infrastructure is already in place.  

The other avenue would be the credit-rating agencies like Experian, Moody's and so on. The amount of data they have is incredible: and the amount of direct impact a bad credit rating has on someone's life is incredible. On a large scale level, a bad credit rating can already undermine a country's economy or send an airline into bankruptcy. All of this has been happening, and can only increase.

On Writing Science Fiction

Your very first story went to 1# on Amazon's short story rankings. Was it all prawn toast, or did you try some new marketing? 

I honestly think it was a bit of both. I just emailed it out to people - I asked whoever was interested to drop me their mail and I'd send them the PDF. I figured this would let me really identify who actually read my writing.

I was surprised when over a hundred people started messaging me, sending me their emails, asking me to put it up on Amazon - close friends, a hard core of people who read Icaruswept, and so on. And so, now that I had the beginnings of a mailing list, I took their advice. I went through Pronoun, and set it up to go out to every single store they offered. I figured it'd sort of float around and die. 

We write English fiction in a country where barely anyone reads Sri Lankan authors, let alone sci-fi. Our markets and readerships are scattered throughout the world.
— - Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

I had absolutely no idea that it would go so far. For the next few days I was honestly just jumping up and down in excitement, because this thing was zooming through the ranks. When it hit #10 I realized it was time to get serious about this. And so I started playing a bit smarter. I mailed those hundred and fifty-odd people, asking them to leave honest reviews if they had the time. They did. The response was phenomenal, especially on Goodreads.

Then I teamed up with about twenty other sci-fi writers and put it into several bundle offers. That got me up the rest of it and kept me in the #10 orbit for a good week, which is cool because that list updates every hour. 

I never paid for any promo, just relied on people's goodwill, and the fact that I had something that people seemed to enjoy. So 90% prawn toast, and that last top 10 was a bit of reaching out, playing the indie game a bit. 

You're not keen on print publishing, are on an E-book writers forum, and started a group to help local writers publish on Amazon. What's so special about digital publishing? 

Trad pub has its advantages, but each book has a high unit cost. The entire publishing industry, since the Gutenberg Press, has been build on the fact that some people can afford this and some can't. Those who can become gatekeepers.

With digital, the cost of replicating a book drops to almost nothing: just a few hundred kilobytes of storage space. The cost and delay of transmitting a work drops to almost nothing. Whereas print, by default, imposes geographical limits, digital just nukes all that. 
The gatekeepers start vanishing.

I think for us, as Sri Lankans, this is really important. We write English fiction in a country where barely anyone reads Sri Lankan authors, let alone sci-fi. Our markets and readerships are scattered throughout the world. And now you and I can go live across the world with the click of a button and be read from Colombo to Colombia. 

Print, by default, imposes geographical limits, digital just nukes all that. 
The gatekeepers start vanishing.

I had realized this on a theoretical level before, but I think this really hit when a student from the University of California mailed me. Their professor had apparently come across TSSRW and they were discussing it informally in class- and this was three days after I hit that publish button. I don't think it could ever have propagated that far and that fast without digital.

Why hard science fiction? So few people do that anymore. You could just write garbage and get away with it.

I like it. I admire it. Hard sci-fi is a brilliant learning experience, especially when writing it. Numbercaste made me learn about the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, cryptography, network effects, the works - expertise that now gets me invited to speak in startup and research circles, because I had to spend serious time doing serious research. TSSRW made me spend an entire day trying to understand the mathematics of singularities.  

Don't get me wrong, I love my WH40K (Ave Deus Mechanicus!) and I love soft sci-fi as well - LeGuin and Atwood, I think, are two of the best examples of that. I just try and write what I like to write. 

You're known for doing a lot of writing in this town, but not fiction. Why the big change? 

I realized that all the political writing had done was turn me into a giant ass, so I guess I was really looking for ways to keep writing. I'd done fiction before. When I was 14, I read Stephen King's Dark Tower series - amazing story, that - and I got to the point where he explained that he'd started writing it when he was 19. I thought, right, I can do this too, and over the next two years I sat down and cranked out The Waste, a 130,000 word monster set in a half-magic half-tech world. I'm really glad that never got published, because it was horrible: I have the manuscript on my desk and the cat sleeps on it sometimes. 

I realized that all the political writing had done was turn me into a giant ass ... I think making stuff is a lot more difficult, but also a lot more fun.

A couple of years later I ended up working on an indie RPG called E.C.H.O. with four of my best friends. It was very story-based, very dystopian, about a supersoldier who comes home after a great war.

I had a blast doing this stuff. Some time ago I basically figured out that this was what I really wanted to be doing, creating something with words rather than just critiquing. I think making stuff is a lot more difficult, but also a lot more fun. 

Will you be talking at your LCC panel about modern ways to launch a creative writing career? 

Hopefully, yes. But I'm no expert, so the best I can do is pass on what other authors have taught me. 

 

Surviving Big Data

Ever since the first credit card company launched, we’ve been tracked.

As China's influence grows, do you think their authoritarian version - which they're already making - would affect our lives here?

I think China will stick to China. We're heavily in debt to them, but in terms of culture and technology, we seem to be close to India - Huntington's classification of civilizations comes to mind. I'm more concerned of what the US might come up with. After all, Western media holds so much sway over the rest of the world.

 

How could a person protect themselves from the "Number?" Is it already too late for people to 'opt out' of social media? 

I think it's too late for that. Ever since the first credit card company launched, we've been tracked: and indeed, you have cases like Target's shopping recommendations algorithm figuring out a teenage girl was pregnant even before their family knew.

Going forward, I think there will be two ways to deal with this. The first is to use social media wisely, and understand what it can do for us. The second would be to do what Europe is doing - upholding strong 'right to be forgotten law', keeping legislature in check that tries to prevent digital discrimination. This could swing either way, so the next ten years are going to be really, really something to see.

It's like that old Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. 

It’s terrifying because the social order that it imposes may not be something we all agree with, but is inevitable anyway.

සියර්: ඩෙත් සයිට් - ශ්‍රී ලාංකික අධ්‍යක්ශකවරයෙකුගේ විද්‍යා ප්‍රභන්ධක ත්‍රාසජනක රූපවාහිනි කථා මාලාව

සියර්: ඩෙත් සයිට් කියන්නේ විද්‍යා ප්‍රබන්ධනාත්මක වෙබ් නාට්‍ය මාලාවක්. එහි රඟපාන්නේ ජෝයි අන්සාහ් (ද බෝන් අල්ටිමේටම්) සහ ක්‍රිස්ටියන් හවර්ඩ් (ස්ට්‍රීට් ෆයිටර් : අසෑසින්ස් ෆිස්ට්) යන ශිල්පීන්ය.මෙහි තිර රචනය අධ්‍යක්ෂණය හා, නිශ්පාදනය යන අංශ තුනම කළේ සඳුන් සෙනෙවිරත්නයි.රේ මාර්ටන්ස්ටයින් හා උදාන ෆොන්සේකා යන විධායක නිශ්පාදකයින් සමඟ එකතු වූ ඔහු ග්‍රයින්ඩ්අවුට් ප්‍රොඩක්ශන්ස් යන නමින් ඔවුන් හඳුන්වන ශ්‍රී ලාංකික නිශ්පාදන හා බෙදාහරින ආයතනයක් තුලින් තමයි මේ කථාමාලාව එළි දැක්වෙන්නේ.

වීඩියෝවට යොමු වීමට මෙතන ක්ලික් කරන්න. (නැත්නම් ඉහත රූපය ක්ලික් කරන්න.)

වින්දනය හා වෘත්තාන්ත කලාව මනුෂ්‍ය ස්වභාවයයි
— සඳුන් සෙනෙවිරත්න

විද්‍යා ප්‍රබන්ධ වෘත්තාන්ත කලාව

කුඩා කාලයේ සිට චිත්‍රපට නිර්මාණ කලාවට ලැදි වුනු සඳුන් කියන්නේ "වින්දනය හා වෘත්තාන්ත කලාව මනුෂ්‍ය ස්වභාවයක්", කියලා."එහෙම තමයි අපි අප වටා සිදුවන දේවල් හඳුනාගන්නේ". 

සඳුන් ඔහුට හැඟෙන දේවල් එළි දක්වන්නේ, චලන රූප මාධ්‍ය තුලිනුයි.හොලිවුඩ් ප්‍රභේදයට අයත් චිත්‍රපට ඔහුගේ වෘත්තාන්ත කලාවට වඩාත් සුදුසු බවත්, ඉතා විනෝදාත්මක හා වැඩි රුචික ගම්‍යත්වයක් ඇති මාධ්‍යක් ලෙසත් තමයි ඔහු දකින්නේ.

"මම විද්‍යා ප්‍රබන්ධක රසිකයෙක්," ඔහු තවදුරටත් පැවසුවා, "ඒවා තුලින් අපට අනාගතය වගේම මානව වර්ගයාගේ සීමාරහිත විභවය විශ්ලේෂණය කරන්න පුළුවන්".

සියර්: ඩෙත් සයිට් කියන වෙබ් නාට්‍ය මාලාව, න්‍යශ්ටික වියසනයෙකින් පසු කාලීන සංස්ථාතික ලෝකයක බිහි වුණු මනෝ ඝාතකයෙක් ගැන වෘත්තාන්තයකි."මට අවශ්‍ය වුනේ සුළු වියදමකින් විද්‍යා ප්‍රබන්ධන වර්ගයේ උසස් තත්වයේ, ත්‍රාසජනක සටන් කලා, දෘශ්‍ය කලා ඇති,  චලන රූප නිශ්පාදනයක් කරන්න පුළුවන් කියන දේ ඔප්පු කරන්නයි", සඳුන් අපිට පැවසුවා. "මගේ අරමුණ, මෙවන් නිර්මාණ ලංකාව තුල ලාංකේය සම්පත් භාවිතයෙන් හා ලාංකික හා ජාත්‍යන්තර කලාකරුවන් එකතු කරගෙන නිම කර, ජාත්‍යන්තර භූමිකාවකට රැගෙන යන්නයි.

හොලිවුඩ් රංගන ශිල්පීන්

ඔබට ඩෙත් සයිට් කථා මාලාවේ නලුවන් දැක පුරුදුයි කියලා සිතුනානම් ඔබ නිවැරදියි.

"මම ප්‍රධාන නලුවා ලෙස තෝරගන්න බලාපොරොත්තු වුනේ, එම චරිතයට අදාල වන සටන් කලා හැකියාවන් තියෙන් කලාකරුවෙක්," සඳුන් අපට පැවසුවා."අපි සිනමා ශාලාවකදී 'ද බෝන් අල්ටිමේටම්' නරඹද්දී දැකපු මැට් ඩේමන් ගේ හා කොන්ත්‍රාත් ඝාතකයෙක් ලෙස චරිත නිරූපණය කළ ජෝයි අන්සාහ්ගේ මොරොක්කෝවේ වහළවල් උඩ තිරගත කරන ලද සටන් කලා ශෛලිය දැක්කා. අදටත් ඒ සටන් කලා දර්ශනය තමයි අපි දැකලා තියන හොඳම ශෛලිය. අපට දැනගන්න ලැබුනා, 'දෙශ්' කියන එදිරිවාදි චරිතය නිරූපණය කළ රංගන ශිල්පියා ලන්ඩන් වල සිටින බව. ඉතින් අපි ඔහුට කථා කිරීමට තීරණය කළා. අපේ පිටපත කියවපු ඔහු ඒ වෘත්තාන්තයට එකතු වීමට මහත් උද්යෝගයක් පල කළ අතර, ඔහුගේ සටන් ශිල්පී කණ්ඩායමත් එකතු කරගෙන සටන් කලා දර්ශනය ඉතා සුළු  වියදමකින් කරන්න පුළුවන් වන ලෙස රචනා කිරීමටත් දායක වුනා.

මේ බෝන් අල්ටිමේටම් සටන් දර්ශනයයි.

 

අන්සාහ් විසින් ජෝන් කුසැක්ගේ 'ද නම්බර් ස්ටේශන්' චිත්‍රපටයේ වීරවර චරිතයට ප්‍රතිවිරුද්ධ දුෂ්ටයාගේ චරිතයද 'ස්නෝවයිට් ඇන්ඩ් ද හන්ට්ස්මන්' වැනි චිත්‍රපට වල සුළු චරිතද රඟපා තිබුනා. ඔහු විසින් මහත් ප්‍රසිද්ධ 'ස්ට්‍රීට් ෆයිටර්: ඇසෑසින්ස් ෆිස්ට්' යන වෙබ් වෘතාන්ත මාලාවද ඊට අනුගාමිව නිර්මාණය වුණු රූපවාහිනි  ටෙලි මාලාව වූ 'ස්ට්‍රීට් ෆයිටර්: රෙසරෙක්ශන්' වෘතාන්තයද තිර රචනය හා අධ්‍යක්ශණය කළ අතර, එහි රංගනයෙන්ද දායක වුනා.  'ස්ට්‍රීට් ෆයිටර්' තිර රචනයේ ඔහු 'අකූමා' යන ප්‍රධාන දුෂ්ට චරිතය නිරූපණය කළා

සියර්: ඩෙත් සයිට් කථා මාලාවේ එදිරිවාදී චරිතය වන 'කානෝ' චරිතය රඟපාන ක්‍රිස්ටියන් හවර්ඩ්ද 'ස්ට්‍රීට් ෆයිටර්: ඇසෑසින්ස් ෆිස්ට්' හා ස්ට්‍රීට් ෆයිටර්: රෙසරෙක්ශන්' යන කථාමාලා වල 'කෙන්' යන ප්‍රධාන චරිතයට පණ පෙව්වා.

ස්ට්‍රීට් ෆයිටර්: ඇසෑසින්ස් ෆිස්ට් 2014

තවත් දුෂ්ට චරිතයකට රංගනයෙන් දායක වන සුවයුකි සාඔතොමෙ,  'ඔලිම්පස් හැස් ෆෝලන්' චිත්‍රපටයට අනුගාමී වූ 'ලන්ඩන් හැස් ෆෝලන්' චිත්‍රපටයට ජෙරාර්ඩ් බට්ලර් සමඟ රංගනයෙන් දායක වී තියෙනවා.

සම්මේලන චාරිකා

සියර්: ඩෙත් සයිට්, ෆීනික්ස් කොමික් කොන්, ඇතන්ස් හී ඉන්ටර්නැශනල් සයි ෆයි සිනමා උළෙල, සිඩ්නිවල ෆැන්ටෑස්ටික් ප්ලැනට් වැනි බොහෝ විද්‍යා ප්‍රබන්ධක සිනමා උළෙල වල දැනටමත් දර්ශනය වෙලා තියනවා. මේ වසරේ ලංකා කොමික් කොන් උළෙලේදීද මෙය දර්ශනය වනු ඇති අතර ඔබට ග්‍රයින්ඩ්අවුට් කැල හමුවීමටද අවස්ථාවක් ලැබෙනු ඇත. ග්‍රයින්ඩ්අවුට් නිශ්පාදක වරුන් ස්වාධීන චිත්‍රපට වේදීන්ගේ සාකච්චා මඩුල්ලකටද එහිදී සහභාගී වනු ඇත.

විද්‍යා ප්‍රබන්ධන තුලින් අපට අනාගතය වගේම මානව වර්ගයාගේ සීමාරහිත විභවය විශ්ලේෂණය කරන්න පුළුවන්
— - සඳුන් සෙනෙවිරත්න