Sunday, November 27, 2005
Plucked from the bookshelf of Fantastic Planet whilst returning from a family outing this afternoon: a spanky new copy of Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview. Compiled by Donna Maree Hanson, it's a gorgeous book with profiles of significant writers, artists, magazines, and identities from the current pinnacle of the Australian genre.
And I'm on page 6 :) Nestled between Max Barry and KA Bedford. Now there's a visual image that should keep you up at night....
And I'm happy to let you all know that we've put an offer in on a house and had it accepted, so as long as nothing goes spla we will definitely be on the march come January. And cleaning up after the housewarming a couple of weeks after that :)
Connor turned one year old on Saturday. When I think of all the ways in which we might never have had him, I want to pick him up and hug him and never give him up to anybody else to hold again. He represents so many things to me, so many terrors and scars overcome. I'm not sure how I'll ever be able to express, to him or anybody else, just how deeply embedded in my soul my little boy is.
His birthday party was always going to be a big event.
Lyn and the kids went into overdrive to prepare for the party: cooking, cleaning, arguing over who would dress Erin and Connor and what outfit was cutest. I took myself outside to ready the patio. By the time the first guest arrived, we were ready to party or just lapse into a coma. Lyn, in particular, was everywhere, from the moment we got up to the moment she collapsed into bed at 7pm, worn out, tipsy, and suffering from having been too busy feeding and looking after everyone else to eat more than 2 pieces of sushi all day. Typically for her, she was mortified that she'd fallen asleep whilst some guests were still here. Typically for the kind of occasions she organises, everybody was having far too good a time, and feeling far too pampered and special, to worry.
As it turns out, Connor is pretty special to a lot of people, judging by the numbers who came along to help us celebrate. We weren't even allowed to make a cake for him: that task was shanghaied by an eager Callisto, and the result tasted as fabulous as it looked. Mynxii was over the night before, blowing balloons up and stringing them together, and the whole event felt like nothing more or less than an extended family event. It didn't matter whether attendees came from family, fandom, or friendship, there was a love of Connor that covered the day. Not even fallen trees kept people away.
So to all that came, thank you. Words cannot express. But perhaps a couple of pictures can at least give me a showing-off Dad moment.
My panel arrived, and true to the day-old Fandomedia tradition, it was a subject I knew bugger-all about: cartooning. (Actually, I know a leeetle bit about it, and one of the better things about F05 was convenor Mynxii's skill in putting people onto panels that took them out of their Con comfort zones. Let's be honest, did anybody in Perth need to see me talk about short stories again?) It was hard work: my co-panellist, Tamara Carmichael, is a skilled artist (check out Spooky & Tinkle: the artwork is hers) but unused to talking head stuff. Between us we got through, and I enjoyed the chance to talk about influences I don't normally get to espouse. If one person walked away with a urge to check out Charles Addams, Gahan Wilson, or Kliban, my work was well done.
Originally, it was planned that I would say a few words about Chuck McKenzie and the madness contained within his new collection Confessions of a Pod Person. But when fellow Guest of Honour Simon Haynes grabbed me and asked me to say a word or two about him and his Hal Spacejock novels, well, the Simon & Chuck Launch Hour looked an awful lot like this...
There may be a template for launching books. Three loonies taking the piss out of each other for an hour and ignoring the crowd may not be that template :) We had fun, though.... Later in the day, an audience member admitetd to Chuck that he'd originally read the book title as Confessions of a POO Person, and well, that was that for the rest of the Con. Chuck's fate was sealed. Thank God it was Chuck: the man has a sense of humour with no limits. Not even my tactic of sending people up to him to tell him how much they enjoyed his Hal Spacejock novels seemed to faze him.
Goddammit, it does say Poo Person!
If there was a way to describe the tone of the convention, the closing ceremony would be it. Firstly, the crowd greeted Chuck with a chant of "Spacejock, Spacejock", and Simon with the Poo Person equivalent, and halfway through Mynxii's convenor speech, broke out into a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday when it was revealed that it was indeed that happy occasion. Finally, the guest lineup for next year's convention was revealed, to mucho applause-oh. To whit:
Fan GoH: Elaine Kemp
Flying in From Other Climes Guest: Marianne de Pierres
Driving in from her house in Clarkson guest: Luscious Lyn Battersby!!!!!!!!!!!!
Do I see your name on this poster, fat guy?
How cool is that? It's a well deserved honour for my darling wife, who is going to knock people back on their heels this coming year with the depth and range of her work. It's a very exciting time for her, and I couldn't be prouder. I might even buy a ticket and go along to see her :)
As usual, the con was finished in the bar, where cake and nibblies were brought out to celebrate Ju's birthday. Much imbibing was done, and by the time Luscious and I left, the con had been marked down by most present as a top 5 'best ever'. And deservedly so.
And special mention must be made of our new dead dog fun buddy: John Robertson is a frighteningly Lee-in-his-mid-20s kind of guy: stand-up comedian, uber-fan, sartorial dyslexic... (beginning to sound familiar?). He and I spent a rather large part of the evening attempting to find the worst possible opening to a joke that could be perpetrated upon an audience, (Two paedophiles walk into Auschwitz...), before performing a medley of show tunes and 80s pop songs as either Rammstein or Mahatma Ghandi, as the mood took us. You've not heard Nina Simone until you've heard her done by 2 drunk Aussie guys putting on deeeep German heavy metal accents. You just haven't.
And to finish off, well, I was going to explain these Chuck Mc photos, but naaaaaaaaahhh.
Yeah, I realise it's been a week since this wonderful convention ended, but I made some notes, and well, it's be a shame to waste them, so:
Saturday morning started beautifully for us, although it took some time to swing me out of a monstrous depression that was threatening the occasion. We met talented Canberra writer Matthew Farrer in town for breakfast and he presented us with a copy of his novel Junktion, which cheered me up immensely: the company of talented people bearing booty has that effect... :)
Saturday was notable for being the first convention day in over three years where I was not on a single panel. In fact, I was only due to be on one panel for the entire convention, apart from saying a few words in defence of Chuck McKenzie at the launch of his book Confessions of a Pod Person on Sunday. As it was, I was quickly dragged out of the crowd to play a part in the 1st panel of the day: Iron Writer! or to give it it's proper name Irwon Writerooohaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!! Along with Messrs Farrer & Livings, I was set a haiku. The subject: rabbits, and hysteria. Here, for posterity and to show that Sean Williams is not the only man around to get in touch with his innermost soul in 17 syllables, is the result:
Bouncing cotton ball
Unseen combine harvester
The empty warren
(Sniff). Oh, the art.......
...I had the pleasure of sharing a panel with Luscious, Martin Livings, Stephanie Gunn and Shane Jirayia Cummings for the launch of Shadow Box, the uber-sexy flash-horror anthology mentioned in an earlier post this week.
The day was wrapped up by dinner with Matthew, and it was an enormous pleasure to spend a civilised dinner with an articulate and passionate writer after a day of performing monkey boy servitude. It was the most relaxed I'd been at a Con in some time, and for once we didn't stay at the hotel, so it was a good feeling to be in my own bed at the end of the evening. Of course, I knew that in part two I'd have to get the monkey boy suit on for my panel......
Monday, November 21, 2005
So: we've sold the house. Or at least, we've accepted an offer.
Now all we have to do is find a place to live in our chosen area. I've transferred up there, so work is assured, and the hour-plus drive is getting old already. All that's left is getting the Battclan set up in a new house. We're in a game of duelling offers over a house at the moment, so hopefully the wait won't be too long.
Oh, and whilst I realise it's almost a week after the event:
Socceroos. Fucking YEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I remember Iran. I remember Scotland. Hell, I remember Canada. Glee is my right.
With any luck we'll get drawn into a group with some really weak countries. You know, like England :)
Song of the moment: The Honeymoon is Over The Black Sea
Some nice results from the intersection of my world and that of the Shadowed Realms folks this week.
Firstly, the Shadow Box anthology has been released, and it's a bloody screamer. 70 stories, artwork, sound files, interactive little thingamabobbies that technoluddites like me can look at but not describe, and frankly, it's the most beautiful package I've seen in a long time. It's insultingly cheap ($5 for a CD or $3 for an email download) and you only need Adobe Acrobat v6 or thereabouts to play it. There will be no better deal in SF in your lifetime, I tells 'ee! All the money goes to charity, so you get to polish your karma into the bargain.
And it is the first ever appearance of Luscious and myself in the same work as self-submitting authors, so it's a piece of history to boot!
Really, seriously, you should buy this one.
To complement such good news, a couple of very positive reviews have appeared in the wake of Decimated appearing in Shadowed Realms #8 recently, to whit:
DECIMATED, by Lee Battersby, is a serial look at torture. These types of stories are always uncomfortable and Lee does a fine job of it. Like previous stories in Shadowed Realms, it has a kind of futuristic fatalism. Our main guy has been ‘chosen’ to undertake a ritual involving scalpels and insects. The sentences - especially toward the conclusion – are disturbing, so it fits nice and snug in a horror anthology. Be sure to read his biography; it’s impressive. A fine line for me was: My tongue flaps about my cavernous maw . . .
(I'm pretty sure they mean the line is in the story, not my biography... :) )
And from Tangent Online:
"Decimated" by Lee Battersby is more like it, a skin-crawling visceral horror story, designed to make you flinch and grit your teeth. Battersby maintains the pace cleverly, placing backstory and setting effortlessly, and leaving the reader wanting to know more. A good example of flash fiction, and a great example of how to make a reader cringe. A must read for this issue, and another great effort from this talented Aussie.
"Talented Aussie". Maaaaaaaaaaattttteeeee. I'll take that :)
Sunday, November 06, 2005
First: it happened a week early: my birthday's not really until next Friday.
Second: Luscious, who has a limited experience of birthdays due to previous spiritual commitments, became terribly excited and organised a few friends to surprise me with an unheralded fling at Timezone.
Third: I worked out what she was up to days ago and have had the time of my life winding her up without her knowing it.
Fourth: We picked the Triffkids up from their father's place, went out to Timezone, where we were joined by Calli & Chesh, Martin & Dr Izz, Splanky, Mynxii, PRK & Tori, and preceded to laugh our asses off at game after game for an hour of silly, wacky fun. (For the record, I am the undisputed air-hockey king of my mind: PRK, Luscious & Cassie are my air-hockey bitches...).
Fifth: Martin & Dr Izz gave me the Umbilical Brothers DVD and Blakey presented me with a little Anubis-headed storage jar which he'd filled with lavender, in the coolest Kid-to-Bonus Dad present moment ever.
Sixth: my kids and my adult friends got on today better than I've ever seen a mixed adult-kid group get on, right up to the multiple swapping of ticket cards so people could get the tacky prizes we all wanted. Super special mention to Tori, who presented Madagascar-obsessed Erin with a stuffed Marty. We've been unable to prise it off her, and all other toys have been relegated to the foot of the bed tonight...
Last: We finished off by heading into Northbridge for lunch, with ensuing conversation, laughter, ice-cream and fun.
It was just the sort of suprise birthday I needed. I love my wife more than I ever thought possible, and days like today are part of the reason why.
A PRESENT TO MYSELF (WELL, FROM ME TO YOU. WELL, FROM SHADOWED REALMS TO ME. WELL....)
My story Decimated is up at Shadowed Realms, in their brand spanking new issue 8. Go, read it, save me the embarrassment of trying to find a tagline for the title to this post.
|You scored as Lara Croft. A thrill-seeking, slightly unscrupulous, tough-as-nails archaeologist, Lara Croft travels the world in search of ancient relics perhaps better left hidden. She packs two Colt .45s and has no fear of jumping off buildings, exploring creepy tombs, or taking on evil meglomaniacs bent on world domination.|
Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com
I've not seen the movies, played the games, or paid the slightest bit of attention. How the sodding hell did this happen?
Song of the moment: The White Room Cream
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Connor took his first steps today. Two real, not-holding-anything-or-anyone, not pushing any stoy shopping trolleys, all by himself, walking style steps.
Obviously, this makes him the smartest boy since the dawn of time, and I'm his father, which means half the genetic credit is mine.
Quietly proud :)
Song of the moment: Lawyers in Love Jackson Browne