Sunday, August 29, 2010


Nothing to see here today, folks. The Luscious One has been in bed due to extreme sickeryness; writing continues to be sporadic and slow; and once I shuffle the houseful of not-quite-as-quiet-as-they-think-they're-being kis out of the house I'll be able to go out and deal with the front garden while TLO has a much-needed nap.

So in the absence of actual content, I give you the gift of music:

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Driving home from the Worlds Next Door launch, Lyn spots Venus out the car window and points it out to the kids, which prompts us to have a conversation about the planet, and why it's so bright, and all of that sort of kiddie-inspiring sensawunda stuff. Shortly afterwards....

CONNOR: (gasps) Venus is following us!
ME: Oh no! Maybe it's stalking us!
LYN: Maybe it's because women are from Venus, and it can see there's two girls in the car so it's attracted to us and wants to be with us!
ERIN: Yeah, or maybe it's just that Venus goes around the sun the same way Earth does so it looks like it's moving at the same speed Earth is.

Well. Yes. Maybe it's that.

Fuck you, childhood world of magic.


to Tehani Wessely and Fablecroft Publishing for a fantastically successful launch for their Worlds Next Door anthology on Thursday night.

Lyn rose from her sick bed to come with me, and the littlies dressed up-- it was brilliant to see, at the launch of an anthology for children, just how welcome children were to the launch. Trust me, it's not always the case-- with cake, balloons, colouring in at a table, and story readinsg for the kids it was a well thought-out and festive occasion, which was rewarded with high attendance and good sales. It bodes well for a fledgling company that's headed by an intelligent, savvy, and forward thinking operator-- again, not always the case, particularly in small press SF-- with good product.

We had a damn good time, and it was nice to be able to catch up with people like Simon Haynes and Alisa Krasnostein, who we've not seen in far too long.


... the conversation you have with the peoiple who hand out "How to Vote" pamphlets, which is the same every time, and invariably goes like this:

ME: No thanks, guys, I've already decided.

SOME DODDERING OLD OCTEGENARIAN WITH A LIBERAL PARTY OR FAMILY FIRST T-SHIRT ON: Some variation of a didmissive snort or croaky plea to reconsider and put things in the "right" order if I want to save Australia for White Jesus and get rid of all the niggers, brownhatters and young people.

ME: Seriously, do you really think I waited until 10 seconds before I line up to start thinking about this?

SDOOWALPOFFTO: Assorted sputtering while the Greens hander-outerer sniggers.

There's probably a really good reason why they have a sausage sizzle near the front door and not a gun stall...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I've been at home for two days, looking after the kids whilst Lyn and Aiden are abed with horror cases of bronchitis-- the warning on the pack of antibiotics says "Not suitable for gorillas of a delicate disposition", I swear......

I did, however, manage to get the iPod cranked up while dropping off a Tupperware order for my darling wife this evening, and stumbled across a couple of songs I haven't heard in ages, both of which reminded me of what a little rocker I am, deep down in that weaselly black ravine I call a soul.

Firstly, a band that I was never a huge fan of while growing up-- where I lived, there were two types of males: those who liked AC/DC and those who could read. So I needed a little bit of time in civilised company, where the ability to use two different forms of cutlery in the same meal didn't mark you out as some sort of mutant, before I could appreciate just how hard these boys could rock. Once I did, however, I added several choice cuts to the playlist, from which they have rarely moved.

Despite that, I rarely appreciate the appeal of Bon Scott-- smelly, drunken little bogan stoat that was way too much like those who made my after-school hours a misery as he was. I'm a Brian Johnson man, I have to say: Geordies being a much more appealing variety of lout to my untrained eye.

This song, however, has to just about rank as their most rockingy rocking moment of rock, and Scott's performance is pure cheek. Do as I did: crank it really fucking loud, and try not to crash whatever you're driving at the time....

My second offering comes straight from the Get Out of Gaol Free Card of my soul: Lyn and I have always had a joke "Get Out Of Gaol Free" celebrity-- that one famous person who, should they turn up unexpectedly one night during a rainstorm, we'd be able to say "Yes" to without consequences.

Or in my case, say "Geronimo!" to....

As most everyone who knows her knows, Lyn's is geeky bignose brilliant-comic-writer-turned-pretty-damn-average-novelist Neil Gaiman.

Mine, since the age of nine, I tells you, is the single hottest leather-clad babe to pull on a guitar and get sweaty. And to all those who cry "denial" about her sexuality, I simply put my fingers in my ears and cry lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala to you all.....

Maybe it's the era I grew up in, or the kind of girls I dated, but to me, despite all the effing and blinding that goes on around me, and despite all the, shall we say, medical ways of describing the sexual act, there's always been something really dirty about the title of this song: it's as if everything that needs to be described is common knowledge, and all that's necessary is the agreement. Maybe it's that sense of anticipation: the moment of pause, the deep breath before you dive into the hot and sweaty stuff. Maybe it's just that the 70s were slightly more innocent than today, and my inner child still lives in that twilight time before anybody asked me to touch anything.

Whatever, in a world of hip-hop, sexually explicit lyrics, and open sexuality, I still think this is the dirtiest song ever written.


(PS: Do you think Lyn would complain if I took a screen capture at 58 seconds in and used it as my wallpaper?)

Monday, August 09, 2010


A quiet couple of weeks in the Batthome, as the madness of recent months settles down and we all return to some sort of routine. I’ve managed to squeak in the tiniest bit of writing, which has whet my appetites once more, there’s been some writing-related stuff abounding, so I’m still somewhere in the remotest touch with my inner writer-guy, even if I’ve fallen well out of touch with the writing world—as noted during the week by Martin Livings, when I admitted I knew nary a whit of the wedding he’s been talking about for over a year on his blog. (What can I say? Out of touch I am.)

Still, stuff does abound: I received my contributor copy of Australis Imaginarium, which contains my Australian Shadows Award-winning story The Claws of Native Ghosts. A pretty book it is, to— editor/publisher Tehani Wessely has put together a fine collection of tales spanning the last 20 years of Australian SF publishing, all themed towards a modern myth-making that makes the book a uniquely Australian reading experience, from Lucy Sussex's 1990 tale Red Ochre right through to Ian McHugh's Once a Month On a Sunday, from last year's ASIM 40. Quite often, the small press has to stand out from mass market publishing by virtue of the quality of its product, and the artwork, paper weight, and font styles are all of the highest quality. This is a lovely book, in a bunch of ways, and if you’re interested in my work, it’s a lot easier to find Claws in this volume than in its original publication, so I thoroughly recommend picking it up.

I’ve also received news of another reprint sale: one of my older pieces, The Divergence Tree, which appeared way back in the Orb 3 / 4 double issue in 2002, has been picked up for the intriguingly-named Devil Dolls & Duplicates anthology, coming out soon from Equilibrium Press. Not much news about this one as yet, other than that tantalising title, but I shall pass on news as I receive it—if the stories live up to the title this could be a thoroughly enjoyable little volume to pick up.

The Luscious One and I also headed out on Saturday morning to attend the inaugural meeting of The Rockingham Full-Time/Part-Time Writers Group, which I mentioned in my last post. It’s been a while since I’ve bothered being part of a writing group, but the continued interaction and goal-setting will, hopefully, be good for my decidedly slack efforts of late, so once we’ve found ourselves a dedicated meeting space (a bunch of tables near the coffee grinder at Dome being, perhaps, not ideal), it’ll be good to have those regular little interventions now that I am decidedly in absentia as far as the local SF scene is concerned. Please, Writing Gods, let me have product soon….

Lastly, just for kicks, I’ve collected a few free samples of my wordage that have found their way onto the internet over the last few years—check out the *Free Lee* feature on the sidebar for a smattering of interviews, stories, and poems that are out there for your amusement and otherwise.

Hey, while I’m at it, have some youtubery for fun:

Monday, August 02, 2010


So I'm drawing with the kids after dinner tonight, and, you know, we'd watched Walking With Dinosaurs with dinner, and, you know, Erin was drawing a tyrannosaurus, and Connor was drawing a stegosaurus, and, you know, I wasn't reeeaaalll sure what I was going to draw.....

Wot choo lookin'at, you ugly Paki triceratops poof?

Skinosaurus. Because I am the drawing equivalent of the bloke who comes out of the shower after yowling the house down and announces "Never been formally trained..." to his bleeding-eared family....


Have a look at this message from AHWA Market Hive collator Ray Gates, then email him and give him your opinion.

As part of the July news, I put out the call to see how many members were interested in listing poetry-specific markets in the Market Hive. The response, so far, has been somewhat underwhelming...

So if you're keen to find good homes for your sonnets and odes, your ballads and verse, your limericks and haiku, you need to let me know!

Either send me a message at:, or duck into the member forum and leave a message under ‘Calling all Bards' in the AHWA News section.

Want it? Need it? Let me know!

Personally, I’ve said yes, but then, I’m a “Best of” included poet, I am...... :)


…is actually 2/3 of a really good monster movie, much to my surprise: genuinely creepy, and with a good build-up of suspense, not to mention a movie-stealing performance of much fun by Laurence Fishburne, and a performance from Topher Grace that suggests he’s finally ready to hold a big-screen audience. I went along with my ever-eager Teen Twosome, expecting to be there only because I was having a night out with my boys, and found myself actually having a whale of a time.

Yes, it’s a pity it runs out of ideas and resorts to big lashings of dumb to get the job done, but until it does, it’s better than all bar the original movie in the franchise. Not that that’s saying much, but, still, get it out when it hits the DVD stores and pair it with Arnie's Big Boy Gunfest first version for a fun boy’s night in.


Apart from all that palaver above, I do have some fresh pieces I’m working on, or at least, am supposed to be working on. Nothing upcoming in print: the last year has seen very little in new short story material and what I do have is in slushpiles here and there at the time of writing. However, I currently have on my thumb drive:

At the End There Was a Man: a straight SF piece (something I haven’t written in the longest time) I’ll be submitting to the upcoming Cour de Lion’s anthology Anywhere But Earth, which currently weighs in at a smidgeon over 4400 words.

Europe After The Rain: I’ve been wanting to write something inspired by one of my favourite works of art, the incredible Max Ernst painting of the same name. When Fablecroft Press announced the submission guidelines for their upcoming anthology, with the title After The Rain , welllll……. The Dresden fire bombing, golems, Hitler Youth: I’m definitely in the saddle on this one :)

Attacking Waters: Horrible title, but it’s only a place marker until the real title is washed up by the text. Seven cowards, from different times and places scattered throughout history, meet in a Budapest backstreet bar and head out for a mythical city that can only be found when there is nowhere else to run. But when they get there, something starts hunting them…. 750 words in, so far, and no pressure to send it to anywhere specific as it’s completely on-spec, so this is one I’m doing for fun.

So, you know, along with finishing the long-overdue edits on Napoleone’s Land and Corpse-Rat King. Enough to be going on with…


What an interesting couple of weeks it’s been, my friends. Lots of sound and movement, signifying…. well, signifying something, I suppose.

There’s been a lot of writing work happening, although, bizarrely, very little actual writing. I started by attending Toe In The Ocean writing festival in Warnbro on the 17th, where I delivered a 90 minute SF/F writing workshop to just over a dozen attendees, many of whom had never dipped their toes (see how I work that in? See, see?....) into the genre, so it was really energising to see them wrestling with conceits they had never before encountered: once you start getting into unicorn horn physics you really have everyone’s attention…. I also spent some time in the ever-lovely company of Tehani Wessely and managed to catch up with Heidi Kneale, whom I’ve not bumped into for far too long, so it was a damn good day all round.

And it seems to have rubbed off on some of the writers who attended, as well: this morning I received an email invite to join a new writer’s group that has sprung up in the wake of the festival: The Full Time/Part Time Writer’s Group, who will be meeting once a month, starting this weekend.

Anybody who’s in the Rockingham region might be interested in the following set of details:

The Full Time/ Part Time Writers Group

The problem: For those of us who work full time, it can be hard to find the time to write, let alone talk about it!

The solution: We’ve decided to form a writing group that meets the first Saturday in every month, in the Rockingham area.

The inaugural meeting will be held 10.00am, Saturday 7th August at the Dome on the Rockingham foreshore (15 Kent Street).

Anyone can join; you don’t have to be a full time worker, just willing to have a little fun.

To get to know each other, for the first week write 100 words about yourself from a different point of view and bring it to the meeting…

Join us on Facebook: Rockingham Full Time/ Part Time Writers Group:

If you have any questions, please contact group organiser Eryn Bicker

I’ve also been heavily immersed in the creation of an online SF course for a writing institution on the East Coast, which currently involves reading scads and scads of free online SF for use as reading materials (Awwwwww, shame :) ) If you can, I thoroughly recommend heading over to Project Guttenberg, as I did, and settling in to read Mary Shelley’s almost-forgotten masterpiece The Last Man – an astonishing piece of work that deserves to be remembered far more than it is. Consider this my public service education announcement of the day :)

It’s interesting work, preparing an extended course in this manner—it’s designed to be 6 weeks in length, performed and assessed completely on-line, and powered by the Moodle engine, and as I’m determined to include reading material with each lesson it’s resulting in me having to complete a self-paced crash course in creating copyright contracts and lesson planning. Still, once it’s all finished and up on the site I think I’ll be as proud of it as anything I’ve achieved in writing so far. I enjoy teaching writing: it’s a buzz to watch concepts hit home in a student, and creating something that (hopefully) will run for multiple sessions over an extended period of time feels like I’m giving something significant back to the genre that spawned me. I think it’s time to get business cards drawn up that say “The James Gunn of Mandurah Science Fiction”……

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time swearing into a microphone whilst feebly attempting to record two stories for Coeur De Lion Publishing’s excellent podcast series ‘Terra Incognita’. Assuming the ever-brilliant Keith Stevenson can assemble something from the combination of mondegreens, mis-pronunciations and bad boy words I’ve sent him, somewhere in the future you should be able to hear Father Muerte & the Flesh and/or In From the Snow in my dulcet tones down your earphones. In the meantime, there are over 20 much more erudite and capable authors than myself in the TISF archives: go, listen, enjoy.

In between, there have been a couple of reprint sales: ASIM have picked up two pieces for their upcoming “Best of Vol.2” series— the story I co-authored with Nigel Read, Instinct, will be appearing in their “Horror” volume, whilst my poem Working for a Greener Narrative will appear in the “Fantasy” volume. I’m particularly chuffed about the latter—it’s the first time I’ve had a poem reprinted, much less chosen for a Best Of, so it’s a very pleasing achievement.