Monday, July 30, 2007


Well, it’s the season again: the Aurealis Awards have opened for nominations, and as usual, the arguments over the nomination process have begun.

I’ve played that game, and frankly, it bores me. What I’d rather do is draw your attention to this. Trent Jamieson is a subtle and talented writer, a major figure in the Australian SF short fiction scene, and one of the nicest and most graceful people going round. Let's be honest- the man is damned gentlemanly. Here he gives us, in the most articulate way possible, every reason why the AAs are a worthwhile endeavour, and why they deserve support and recognition. Go, read.

In point of fact, I like Trent’s approach so much, I’m going to blatantly copy it :)

So, for your edification and possible scorn:


I’ve been nominated for the Aurealis Awards on several occasions, and won the award for Best Horror Short story in 2006.

What did it mean to me to win? Validation, in a way. A jury of my peers had decided that one of my works was the best they had seen that year. Many of the writers with whom I conversed on a regular basis, and whose works and careers I admired, owned that little glass crescent: Geoff Maloney, Stephen Dedman, Dave Luckett, Sean Williams. Now I could count myself amongst their number, and for the first time in my career, not feel that I was a squire in master’s robes.

I had been fortunate, in all the time I had been a part of the Australian SF scene, that writers of much greater experience and mastery of the form had treated me as an equal, without reservation, when they had every right to treat me like the neophyte I undoubtedly was. The perception, I’m certain, was entirely mine, but now I felt like I could look them in the eye. On very few things do I indulge my ego, but belief in myself as a writer is one of them. To have a group of my fellows judge my work against the warp and weft of Australian publications, and pin a blue ribbon on its chest, elevated me. It was one thing for me to believe in my work—I do, without question. That others believed in it, well, that was another thing altogether.

Attending the Award ceremony, which I’ve done for the last 3 years (alas, I shall miss out this year) has brought me face to face with any number of people with whom I’ve since established firm friendships, along with a whole swathe of others with whom I’d already conversed via email: Geoff Maloney, Paul Haines, Brendan Duffy; Rob Hoge, Kate Eltham, Jason Nahrung, Karen Miller, Rjurik Davidson, Trent Jamieson, Heather Gammage, Margo Lanagan, Robert Dobson, Stephen Thompson, Kirsten Bishop, entire busloads of Vision Writing Group members…... I’ve given my family an interstate holiday, been invited back to tutor at Clarion South and conduct workshops for the Queensland Writer’s Centre, eaten the best Italian food of my life, gone backwards down a roller coaster, fondled the leg of a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, been invited to contribute to anthologies, eaten the worst Lebanese food of my life, and may be on the verge of signing with an overseas agent… all because I had the chance to win an Aurealis Award.

Truth is, there are very few awards that have a directly beneficial effect on your career. That’s not why they’re important. Awards are important, at least to me, because they form a focal point for everything that’s going on around you at the time. They’re a nexus point, a way of underlining what came before, and what you aim for afterwards. And they give you a chance to frock up, clink glasses with your peers, and at least for one night of the year, pretend to yourself that what you do does matter a damn to the universe. It’s a good feeling.


If York was named because the rolling hills reminded settlers of Yorkshire in England, and Canberra was named in order to reflect the local Aboriginal dialect wordage for 'meeting place', what inspired the naming of Burpengary?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

In the absence of further content, a quick family gallery of the past month.

Ballerina Erin at Anna & Art's wedding

Birthdays mean allll the cake you want....

Boy in search of rest of boy band, with Mum.

Red Nose Day: another picture for the I can't wait until he gets a girlfriend collection


I love you, darling.

New links from a couple of writing pals:

Mark Smith-Briggs, the newly re-badged and updated Mark Smith, with better handling and increased cornering speed.

And the strange creature known to man only as Jason Fischer: Clarionite, bon vivant, adorer of flesh-eating camels, and all round cool guy.

Go. Read. Link. Introduce yourself. Make sure your shots are up to date....

Friday, July 06, 2007


Writing has been demoted from the back seat to the space underneath the spare tyre at the bottom of the boot in recent weeks: I’m back at full time work, and have just been made permanent with a small promotion to boot, so the days have been filled with train travel, wondering what the hell I’m doing back in the Public Service, and paying bills. Not to mention that Foxtel’s IQ program-taping service is the tool of the Devil….

However, a few speccy bits and bobs have arrived to remind the Universe that I do, occasionally, raise my head above the edge of the rut:

101 Reasons To Stop Writing, the acerbic and oft-hilarious anti-writing blog run by my gooderest buddy Sean Lindsay has posted a round-the-table interview with myself, Simon Haynes, Tehani Croft and an anonymous mystery reader on the editing habits of the average ASIM slush reader. It's in three parts: here; here; and here. As an added bonus, he's also noted down my favourite slush reading horror story and reproduced it for posterity. Enjoy.

Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, one my very favouritestest places to sell and read stories, has released no less than three 'Best Of' volumes in electronic format. The Best of SF volume contains Murderworld; you’ll find Through The Window Merrilee Dances and the poem Eight For Working within The Best of Fantasy; and Best of Horror will net you not only The Hobbyist but Lyn’s soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture-if-everything-turns-out-right The Memory of Breathing.

Apart from a serious case of Battersbys, you'll find work by the likes of Stephen Dedman; Dirk Flinthart; Dave Luckett; Tom Holt; Paul Haines; Martin Livings; Jeff Van Der Meer and Mikal Trimm.

At something like 220 pages each for a miserly 10 bucks each, these books represent the best value read in the SF world right now. Go buy.

And Dr Who: Destination Prague supremo Steven Savile has negotiated a whole bunch of value-added goodies for purchasers of this fine volume (with no less than 4 Australian authors at no added cost!) from American Good Guy Mike's Comics .

In Steve's own words:

First, Michael has cut his advertised price on Destination Prague to $17.99. This is outstanding value to anyone, regardless of added bonuses. . . oh yes, keep listening for those. They'll keep this pricing at least until August 1, 2007.

Second, some additional incentives which will again last until around at least until August 1 as well. Michael's Comics will make available sets of the first four Dark Shadows audios for $39.00 to anyone who buys Destination Prague. (The Big Finish site has the Dark Shadows Season 1 at $68.00 purchased separately and $58.00 as a set.) If the customer is in the US and buys this package, we'll also offer *free* Media Mail shipping and handling on the combined order. In case it helps, we'll also offer Doctor Who monthly 2CDs #93-95 each at $14.99 with DP...suggested retail is $25.98 each.

Third, they are going to add a Short Trips subscription offer on their site soon, and will try to add an additional discount, which will be most likely unadvertised, if DP is the start of the subscription.

Fourth, if someone wants to catch up on earlier Short Trips books as well, and wants to buy a bunch (say 10 or more), until August 1, we'll come down to that same $17.99 price for each Short Trips HC if they're also picking up DP, and, again, for a package like this to a US customer we'd offer free Media Mail shipping and handling.

And as a little bonus for Michael's comics there will be three book plates, signed by various contributors to the book, included for the first 60 customers - one per customer, and no plate will contain every signature, but they will contain PLENTY, call it a random surprise... a little gift from us, to the readers.

So who's in this WHO? Sean Williams; James A. Moore; Keith R.A. DeCandido; Mike W. Barr; Paul Kupperberg; "Robert Hood; Brian Keene; Paul Crilley; Stephen Dedman; Paul Finch; Steve Lockley & Paul Lewis; Chris Roberson; Mary Robinette Kowal; Bev Vincent; James Swallow; Gary A. Braunbeck & Lucy A. Snyder; Kevin Killiany; Tim Waggoner; Todd McCaffrey; Stel Pavlou, and ME!

So, what are you waiying for? Go HERE and purchase, you mad, crazy Dr Who purchasing fools, you!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


It was good, it wasn’t funny, but it was good.
Erin Battersby, age 5.

It bit.
Aiden Triffitt, age 14

It was better than Shrek 2, which makes it only the 3rd worst movie ever made.
Blake Triffitt, age 13

(For the record, Blake considers Polar Express to be the worst. I’m not arguing….)


My darling wife turned 38 on the 24th of June. If I disappear in mysterious circumstances before we next meet, remember: she knows I told you her age.

Thanks to bills and off-pay weeks, the day of her birthday was a relatively low-key affair: just us and most of the kids (We’ve given up counting on Darth Barbie), but the Emily The Strange bag and purse were perfect gifts, and a bottle of her favourite perfume made my darling a happy Mummy indeed.

The following Sunday, some friends and family braved the conditions to join us for lunch and cake. Thanks to the weather, we were treated to a surprise indoors waterfall when the rain and wind managed to pop a seal on our patio door an hour before everyone arrived, and our oven shorted out to boot, so what had been, 61 minutes before veryone arrived, a perfectly orchestrated lunch date became a combination of panic, hilarity, and burnt-to-buggery baked fish. Thanks goodness for Lyn’s ability to cook apricot chicken, and Erin’s grandmother’s ability to cook a fabulous fried rice :)

A gaggle of high-spirited close ones, jet-propelled under-5s running from one end of the house to the other laughing insanely, some hilarious and pointed ex-husband conversation once the assembled women realised they’d all gone through the delightful experience of dealing with a broken marriage (I wasn’t going to stop them: I know almost all the men in question, and the women are right), handily-placed wine, bourbon, and cheesecake: it all turned out all right.

Many thanks to everyone who joined us for taking a miserable and wet day and turning it into a fun family occasion, and reinforcing our belief that family is a matter of choice.


Lyn has decided that her 39th year on the planet is going to be one of achievements: specifically, she’s going to achieve one thing each month that she’s never before tried. July’s new experience: my darling is going to learn to fire a gun.

Cool, huh? Pictures will follow.

Of course, if August’s task will be to learn how to hide poison in food, I might be after a place to stay…..