Monday, March 31, 2008

A GOOD CAUSE, WITH A DAMN FINE NAME

If you're a fan of my writing, and want to contribute to a damn fine cause, you could do worse than drop a buck or two in this direction.
DECISION

I've been away.

In the wake of this year's Swancon, I received a couple of emails. No need to go into the minutiae, but they were, shall we say, detailed. In addition, Lyn suffered the indignity of being upbraided by a fan type at a recent social occasion, who felt they needed to belittle her for being a writer in order to puff up their own sense of self-importance. It was hurtful, and humiliating, and frankly, the last straw.

I needed a few days away from the world to reassess.

So here's the thing: I'm not doing Swancon, or any other Western Australian conventions, any more. I'm not doing any of the social events that surround them. I love writing, and though it is occasionally problematic, I really enjoy blogging. I enjoy the correspondences I keep with friends and like-minded people who contact me. So I'm going to keep to those.

Many thanks to those who contacted me to ask about the absence.

Friday, March 28, 2008

SWANCON 2008

I had a long post here about Swancon. If you've got the rss feed archived you've probably still got it somewhere. I dunno: some things about the internet escape me.

Anyway, suffice to say, it's gone now. I've decided not to post it. To those who enjoyed catching up with me, my thanks. To those who didn't, I apologise. I hope everyone had a great time.

NOT LONG NOW

Erin arrives back in Perth tomorrow night, and will be back home by Monday afternoon. It’s about time: we’ve missed her so much it hurts, and we can’t wait to hug her and tell her how much we love her. And listen to all her stories (we know already that she’s seen live kiwis and danced with Maori pois), and see the photos, and look at the pictures she’s drawn, and read her holiday diary, and hug her again, and……

She’s been gone too long.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

BEN AND JASON SITTING IN A TREE, WONDERING HOW THE HELL THEY GOT UP THERE…

Everybody take a good look at Ben Szumskyj and Jason Crowe. See their noble bearing. Note the fire in their eyes; the strength inherent in their upright spines; the deep and mellifluous timbre of their voices. Watch as they stride across the cultural landscape like Gods amongst men, these colossi, these walking odes to the virility and dynamism of Man.

Now, come back in three months and see what wizened, Gollum-like creatures they have become after submitting their work to my tender mercies as part of this year’s AHWA Mentorship scheme.

Okay, so they’re actually extremely personable and articulate lads with whom I’ve already enjoyed spirited and intelligent correspondences, and who are already displaying the necessary humility, eagerness to learn, and critical thinking that will serve them well in their careers. But it’s much more fun to describe them this way, don’t you think? :)


ERIN AWAY TO NZ

Lucky lucky lucky jammy jammy lucky jammy lucky lucky lucky…..

As of last Friday night, we’re Erin-less for two weeks. Her Nanna has whisked her away on a once-in-a-lifetime-knowing-our-finances-and-chances-of-doing-it trip to New Zealand, where she’ll spend her time meeting the maternal branch of her birth-mother’s family, discovering snow, riding kiwis, wrestling hobbits, and losing cricket matches. We’ve equipped her with an enormous scrapbook and a mandate to fill it with as many drawings, pressed flowers, feather, snapshots and the like as she can, and we’ve been promised regular email updates.

We saw her off at the airport Friday night. The two weeks prior to the trip, it had been her only topic of conversation, and we’d made a ritual of crossing off the days on her special calendar, pinned to the fridge. At the airport itself, she was just about uncontrollable with excitement, literally unable to sit down: running around in circles; chattering non-stop to favourite doll Janice about the plane and what movies they’ll see on the plane and the special dinenr they’ll eat on the plane and how they’re going to fly up in the sky on the plane; jumping up and down and asking “how long now” every time she paused for breath…... Right up until it was time to leave us and walk through the departure gate, when suddenly she burst into tears and flung herself into Lyn’s arms.

She cried, I cried, Lyn cried, Connor asked for a drink of juice…… and then she was gone, waving to us as she walked hand-in-hand with Nanna through the gate and onto the plane.

She’s having the time of her life, I know, safe within a circle of relatives who will treat her as the special treasure she is. But I miss her like hell.

Monday, March 17, 2008

CONNING ON

Lyn, Aiden, Blake, and I are off to Swancon next weekend, along with the vast majority of the Western Australian SF community. Lots to do, lots to see, and no money to buy anything with (sigh), but at least I’ll be on some interesting panels.

If you really can’t get enough of my dulcet tones, you can catch me at the following times and locations:

Flash Fiction
Lee Battersby, Martin Livings, Zara Baxter
Friday 10am
When does it work? Why does it so often fail? Why is it so popular? Why do people have such strong feelings about it? Should it have its own awards? Is it a dumping ground for ideas that fail to develop? Or is it simply the perfect form of fiction for an era of multi-tasking and short attention spans?

Horror: The State of the Art
Lee Battersby, Stephen Dedman, Shane Jiraiya Cummings
Sunday 12pm
Where exactly is the Australian horror scene today? Some commentators have pointed to a recent resurgence in the field- is this the sign of more growth to come, or a momentary swell of interest before audience return to reading other genres? What is it that Australian horror has to offer that other nations can’t? An incisive look into one of Australia’s most promising- and oftentimes most neglected- genres.

Critiquing: How Much Feedback is Too Much?
Lee Battersby, Juliet Marillier, Robert Hoge, Satima Flavell Neist
Sunday 5pm
Writer’s Groups (face to face online), manuscript assessment services, mentoring- will they help you to write better? Or will they hurt your confidence, or waste your time?

Dr Who and the Big Finish
Lee Battersby, Stephen Dedman, Rob Shearman, Ian Mond
Monday 11am
Big Finish are a notable producer of Doctor Who audio plays and other media. What is it like working with them? How have things changed with the new series? How does fandom feel about their take on Doctor who? What about their work based on other cult SF properties?

You Gotta Make Way for the Homo Superior
Lee Battersby, Lyn Battersby, Tom Eitelhuber
Monday 11am
David Bowie’s name is synonymous with many trends: rock, art, androgyny, the reinvention of the self. And, of course, science fiction. This panel will look at ways in which Bowie’s music has influenced the culture of the 20/21st centuries. Which writers have been inspired by his lyrics? Who inspired him first?

Keen-eyed observers will note that I appear to be in two places at once on Monday. I’ve notified the programmer, and hopefully by the time we’re all at the Con it’ll be sorted: I don’t want to miss out on either panel, so fingers crossed for some expert tweaking of time and place. I’ll also be presenting an award at Sunday Night’s award ceremonies, so I’ll be enjoying getting frocked up and getting on stage.

PUSHING TIN

On the subject of which (oh, how smooth was that?), the traditional longest-shortlist-in-the-world, the WA SF ‘Tin Duck’ Achievement Awards have been released. You can see the full list here. I’ve several stories up for consideration, so if you enjoyed any of the following during the year, consider giving them a nod:

Father Muerte & The Joy of Warfare (Aurealis 37)
The Time Eater (Dr Who: Destination Prague)
Beached (Daikaiju III)

You’ll also find Lyn’s story Born of Woman, from Daikaiju II on the list. Easily the best flash fiction piece published last year by an Australian, imho, it’s well worth consideration.

Monday, March 10, 2008

THIS SHOULD NEED NO EXPLANATION





And while I'm at it, explosions of happy congratulations for the merely magnificent MoonSeanie, for receiving news that should totally fuck up all his cred for the rest of his life :)

Just remember, I knew him before he went electric.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

BACK TO MEME COUNTY, FELLAS

Whew. It's a good job Luscious has an LJ, otherwise I'd have missed this pointless and self-referential meme. And then where would we have all been, huh?

Part 1: The Birth of You

Were you a planned baby? As far as I know, yes.
Who was present at your birth? My Mum, some medical staff, I hope. Other than that, not sure if my Dad was in the room itself or not.
Were your parents married when you were born? Indeed, those wacky old traditionalists.
What is your birth date? Remembrance Day, 1970.

Part 2: The Family

How would you describe your family? Disorganised? Survivors? Hardened by fire? My immediate family- happy with each other. My extended family- scattered like ashes.
Are your parents married? No. Both remarried. Mum died in 2003.
Siblings or an only child? One brother, from whom I’m estranged.
Which parent do you get along with best? The living one
What do you fight about? Almost nothing. We see each other on an irregular basis, so anything about which we disagree doesn’t seem as important as just enjoying the moment.

Part 3: The Friends

Do you have more than one best friend? No. Lyn is my best friend, by far.
Who are your best friends? Whole bunches of friends spread out across the country, most of whom I only ever communicate with over the net, so it’s a waste of time elevating them to different levels.
Do you share the same interests? Occasionally. I don’t know anybody who shares my full range of interests. Generally, even people who like, say, SF, rarely like the same types of SF as me. Even when I belong, I don’t :)
Which friend can you tell anything to? Lyn, and Harvey, my giant invisible rabbit.

Part 4: Your Personality

How high/low is your self esteem? Fairly low.
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Introverted by nature, extroverted by circumstance—few people see me in places where there isn’t an aspect of performance to my personality.
Are you happy? Domestically, yes. Professionally, no.
Do you live life to the fullest? You see me here, at my anonymous day job cubicle? The answer to your question would be ‘no’.

Part 5: Appearance

Are you comfortable with the way you look? No. I hate being so heavily overweight. Loving the grey streaks in my hair, though.
Do you have any piercings besides your ears? No. One piercing in the left ear is all I have.
Describe your hair Bitser. Predominantly dark brown, with streaks of grey, red, and a sort of mongrel shade that snuck in when nobody was looking. I’d look great under a spectrometer.
What make-up do you wear? Paint on my toenails. Todays colour is ‘dark vinyl’.
How do you dress? According to most people, in the dark.

Part 6: The Past

Were you a strange child? I didn’t think so at the time, but looking back, I can see where I never quite fit in. Always one step ahead or behind the social bell curve.
What did you use to love that you no longer do? Breastfeeding. Also sport.
Do you have the same friends? No. I don’t engender much loyalty in people, and rarely seem to manage to stay in touch once we part. That said, the great and mythical Seanie of 101 Reasons To Stop Writing fame and I have been uberpals for almost 20 years. It’s aged him.
Was there anything in your past that was traumatising? My first wife’s death, and my Mum’s death coming so close behind. Severe primary and high school bullying. Shakin’ Stevens.

Part 7: The Future

What is your ambition? To look back and realise it turned out all right after all.
Are you scared of growing old? I’m not keen on the idea of losing my faculties; I don’t want to be one of those toothless, dribbling old stick insects wandering slowly from side to side and slowing up footpath traffic. But if that’s what I become, I can at least become a National Party MP or a judge for the Oscars.

Part 8: The Outdoors

Do you prefer indoors or outdoors? Love ‘em both, actually, for different reasons. By nature, though, I’m probably more of an outdoor person.
Do you like walking in the rain? Love it. It is, outside of the toilet and John Leguizamo film festivals, the only time you can be truly alone.

Part 9: Food

Are you a vegetarian? I eat herbivores. Does that count?
What is your favourite fruit? Bananas, pineapples, and mangoes.
What food makes you want to gag? Sushi, seafood, pumpkin, broad beans, dead folk.
What is your favourite dessert? Lyn makes a custard wrap thing with rice paper that is just divine, and probably needs a name.
What is your favourite restaurant? Sizzler, sad as that sounds. There’s also a curry place down the road from our house called Masala, and an Italian place on Brisbane’s South Bank whose name escapes me but who I can walk to with my eyes closed from anywhere in the city.
Are you a fussy eater? Not particularly. Fork, knife, mouth, it’s all pretty easy.

Part 10: Relationships and Love

Are you single or taken? Completely taken in every respect.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Not for adults—lust, longing, desire, sure. By the same token, I’ve been present at the births of both my biological children, so I know it exists between parent and child.

Part 11: Experiences

What was one of your greatest experiences? The abovementioned births. My own was pretty important too, at least, to me.
What was one of your worst? The death of my first wife, due to medical incompetence.
Have you ever done drugs? A few bongs way back in the old days. There are cheaper ways to be bored.
Have you ever thought you were going to die? Spent a couple of years actively hoping for it.
Have you ever suffered from depression? Yes. Medically and when I look back at 80s fashion.

There. You know, I feel better, I really do...

Monday, March 03, 2008

LASTLY, AS IF THERE WAS EVER ANY DOUBT




I have a beautiful wife :)
FALDERAL TO FINISH




A bunch of stuff that came down the drainpipe while I was away:





  • Check your ASIM subscrition is up to date-- my poem Towards a Greener Narrative and my short story Amygdala, My Love, will be appearing in issues 36 and 38 respectively. Lyn's story This is Not a Love Song will be appearing in issue 34.

  • Lyn also has a story coming out in Borderlands issue 10. As We Know It has already received fan mail, before publication, so don't let it pass you by.

  • Say a short prayer for poor souls Benjamin Szumskyj and Jason Crowe, who will spend the next three months committing their writing ambitions to my tender mercies as part of this year's AHWA Mentorship scheme. And we had such high hopes for them...

  • Also, this:





  • And, because it's so wrong it made me snort cool drink out my nose that I hadn't even drunk yet--

WELCOME TO MY SLIDE NIGHT...

A few moments from our week in Adelaide.


Adelaide Zoo: beautiful woman with elephant idol.




Happy couple with 75 year-old Chilean flamingo.



Adelaide Musuem: our friendly and helpful staff are always on hand with information and advice on where best to run.

The world's happiest shopper rests after visits to several antique clothing outlets


HMS Buffalo: proving that it's not the least bit tacky to turn a convict ship into a restaurant


The elegant and dignified Mrs Kate Fischer learns that when I say I'm going to blog a photo, I mean it :)


The Fischers: 3 days of marriage and still happy.


Hahndorf: Das goooooood beer.

Good beer, good conversation, and the prospect of harrowing theatre about the last thoughts of a murderous career Nazi. Life is good.


South Australian Air Museum Restoration Room: Flat-pak jet fighters

FROM ADELAIDE, WITH LOVE
So we're back, after a week in Snoozing-By-Sea. An enjoyable week, for the most part, and we saw and did much which we previously had not seen nor done: the coach ride through Monarto open-range zoo; eating (and drinking) a traditional German lunch in the traditional German tavern in the traditional German town of Hahndorf; the behind-the-scenes tour of the restoration room at the South Australian Air museum; lounging about in the grounds of the winery wherein we were ensconced; theatre (an astonishing one man performance called Goering's Defence, with Oor 'Erman ruminating upon his life upon the night of his execution); stand-up comedy (an hilarious and raucous show by Dan Willis, relating the way Ferris Bueller's Day Off has influenced his life); trying to find something to eat in the CBD after 5pm (hint: 5.01, Adelaide is closed, go home now...)....
See the smattering of representative photos later.
However, the reason we chose Adelaide for our delayed-by-three-years honeymoon, rather than somewhere more exotic (like Balga or the right hand lane of the Kwinana Freeway), was the chance to witness the wedding of two people who rank right at the very apex of the loveliest people we've ever met: Jason and Kate Fischer (nee Schenscher) have delighted and warmed us for just over a year now, and it was a beautiful morning spent on the beach at Noarlunga watching them commit their lives to each other. When two such unique and special people ask you to be a part of something like this, you book your flight and go, is what you do.
Happiness is...
To you both: our love, and our hopes for a long and wonderful life together.

Mr and Mrs Fischer