Thursday, January 31, 2013


Admission time. I hate text-speak. Fucking hate it. You can jam your LOL up your arse. It's either the first sign of the apocalypse or the first sign of me being one of those old men who shouts at young bastards to get of my damn lawn, but seriously, just learn to damn well spell and spend the extra half a second writing your bloody message bloody properly.

And get off my damn lawn!

Anyway. Moses. Commandments. Text-speak. LOL.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: God Is A Bullet

God Is A Bullet
God Is A Bullet by Boston Teran

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

a stunning first novel, unrelenting in its ferocity, with realistic characters scattered throughout and protagonists who act from a consistent sense of righteousness, no matter which side of the narrative they inhabit. There are no compromises at play here: the narrative is brutal, and unrelenting, and as tough as the transformation of Bob Hightower into Bob Whatever is, it's nothing against watching the struggle as 'supporting' character Case fights against a return to her 'Headcase' beginnings. The only weakness is an occasional lapse into overwritten internal monologues that verge on hysteria, but it's allowable in such a highly-strung and tense story.

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Friday, January 25, 2013


Brian M. Logan is a true story: he happened to a friend of a friend of mine. Well, the inimitable Stephen Dedman is a friend, and through him I e-met the unique Steven Savile, and then I found Logan lurking about his Facebook profile, making hilarious comments about Savile's mental afflictions (ie: Tottenham Hotspur), which is quite hilarious given he has an incurable sexual fixation on blue plastic. By which I mean he's a lifelong fan of Chelsea Football Club, so you think he'd keep it to himself but no, there he is, waving it about in public like it's perfectly normal and acceptable behaviour. Needles to say, we've been shooting the shit and taking the piss out of each other ever since. Which is all a bit scatological, but there it is.

Brian is also a professional screenwriter, novelist and copywriter, with a whacking number of groovy credits to his name. He says he's quite a bit calmer now than he used to be. But make no mistake, he is still That Action Guy, so feel free to drop him a line to say g’day. (Just, for the love of God, after reading what comes below, don’t talk on your mobile phone if he’s in the cinema with you!)

Brian says the world needs heroes, so over to you, Brian M. Logan:

Passivity, I hate it. I mean I really, really hate it.

What is it with people nowadays, anyway? If it isn’t someone getting the crap beaten out of them in broad daylight, and nobody doing anything to help, it’s someone pushing in line at the local shopping centre and getting away with it, or someone watching their friend being bullied at school and turning the other way. I JUST DON’T GET IT!

Okay, so I’m 6’2” tall, have a black belt in Tae Kwon do, and have a face full of thunder when called on, so I’ll grant you that someone like me is more likely to feel confident enough to say something when some random stranger tries to take the piss, or infringes on someone else’s personal liberties. But come on! Size should have nothing to do with it. What happened to people standing up for what’s right, because it’s the right thing to do?

I saw an epic video on youtube the other day where some woman, no more than 5’5” tall, if that, tore a sleezoid in a subway carriage a new arsehole after he’d taken out his c*ck and rubbed it against her when she was on the way home from work on the train. No doubt this guy had done this many, many times before, and gotten away with it, because the women he was doing it to, decided to assume the role of ‘victim’ in the vignette. But not this gal. No, when confronted by a free-balling freak frolicking in her nether regions, she turned around and yelled at the top of her voice. “This guy’s got his cock out! He was rubbing it against me! Somebody film his face!” (or words to that effect).

The guy, like a rabbit caught in headlights, didn’t know which way to turn (and someone did indeed film his face). Why? Because the victim had STOOD UP TO HIM. Amazing.

My late, sainted mum, Valerie Sylvia Morris, once got her car clipped by a drunk driver at a T-Junction at the corner of Hambidge Terrace and Playford Avenue in Whyalla, South Australia back in the mid-1980s. Now mum may have only been 5’2” tall, but she didn’t take crap from anyone, and promptly drove at high speeds after this guy, pulling her car in front of him when he was stopped at lights, and getting out and giving him what for in front of the other drivers who were idling behind him! The guy, named and shamed by this petite old woman with right on her side, apologised profusely and gave her his name and details right there and then on the spot. And even, a few weeks later, hand delivered a personal letter of apology...accompanied by his wife! Turns out both were extremely grateful as mum hadn’t reported the incident to the police (he’d got a mechanic mate of his to fix mum’s car up) because as he’d been drink driving he would’ve probably lost his license.

So you see, anyone can stand up for what’s right. If only they have the courage to do so.

One time, many years ago – I’m guessing it was probably the mid-90s - I was in a cinema in George street, Sydney, with a friend of mine, Susan. Now, this particular cinema was huge, and broken into three sections, with aisles between the two side sections and the centre. Susan and I were sitting in the middle of the middle section, maybe about 1/4 of the way from the back, when we hear some guy talking loudly on his mobile phone. Now, younger readers will have to believe me when I say that in the mid-90s, not everybody had mobile phones. And those who did (and conspicuously used them in public) were referred to as “Dickheads”. Anyway, there we were, having our movie interrupted by somebody talking on their mobile phone, and we’re looking around wondering where the hell he is, but we just can’t see him because there’s nobody close to us saying anything.

I’m not exaggerating now when I tell you that this ridiculously loud phone conversation went on for fully 15 minutes at least. During which time I’m getting angrier and angrier. Susan used to share a house in Paddington with me, and knew all too well of my dislike of people talking during a movie, and so was doing her level best during this time to calm me down. But, the longer the twat’s phone conversation went on, the more my blood started boiling.

But again, I can’t say anything because I can’t see where the dude is! And then, finally, I spot him. And he is – I kid you not – maybe 30 rows in front of us, and in the right hand isle! Which means that there are at least 200-300 people closer to him, than I am. And NOBODY HAS SAID ANYTHING DURING HIS ENTIRE CONVERSATION! And remember, if we can hear him all the way at the back of the cinema, how loud must it have been for everybody else?!

Well, by this stage I’m practically blowing a gasket, and – having finally spotted him - I get up and storm across the 15 odd people to the right of me in my row (cinema is totally packed remember) and down the aisle 30 plus rows to where I see this big guy in his mid-20s, second in from the aisle, sitting with about 8 of his mates (they practically took up the entire row) talking up a storm on his shinny new Nokia mobile phone.

To say I was ready to bust some heads by this stage is an understatement, so when I got there I reached across and grabbed his mobile phone out of his hand and hurled it to the ground, smashing it into pieces, and leaned over and grabbed him by the collar of his leather jacket and got within an inch of his face, and LOUDLY ABUSED HIM with language that would make a sailor’s whoring Longshoreman’s uncle blush with shame and rush to confessional. The children friendly sub-titles to my diatribe going along the lines of, ‘You are being extremely insensitive, sir, by speaking on your mobile phone during a motion picture, and I and these other good people have paid jolly good money to be able to watch the movie, sans interruptions”.

After I’d finished, he and his mates looked completely shell-shocked. I stood there, all testosterone and bulging veins and long red Viking hair halfway down my back, waiting for him to give me some lip. Praying he was going to say something. ANYTHING. Just to give me cause to smack the f*ck out of him. But he didn’t. say anything. Nobody said anything. The entire cinema was SILENT.

So, satisfied that he wouldn’t be talking on his mobile phone again anytime soon (especially as it was in about a dozen pieces at his feet), I turned around to walk back up the aisle to return to my seat. And as I did – and this is not a word of a lie – the ENTIRE CINEMA (maybe 500 plus people) BURST INTO APPLAUSE AND WILD CHEERS OF APPRECIATION. Seriously, I’m not making a word of this up. The entire cinema was cheering like I’d just won an Olympic Gold or scored the winning goal in the world cup final or something.  The reaction was as MAGICAL as it was UNEXPECTED.

About 15 minutes later, after I’d returned to my seat and everybody had gone back to watching the movie again, the guy and his eight burly mates, all got out of their seats and marched up the aisle. As they got up, the audience collectively held their breath. No doubt thinking, ‘Oh, it’s on now!’. But - instead of seeking me out - they all just left the cinema with nobody saying a word.

By this stage I’d calmed down completely of course, and as they were leaving, I started thinking, ‘Geez, Loges you idiot! Now there are going to be 9 guys waiting outside to beat the crap out of you when you leave the cinema!’. So much so that I found it nigh on impossible to concentrate on the rest of the movie (so in a way, the twat on the mobile phone won, as I didn’t get to enjoy the movie after all).

When the movie was over (maybe 40 minutes later), I manned up and marched outside onto George Street preparing for the worst. But...the Neanderthals were nowhere to be seen. Which, let’s be honest, was probably for the best. As I would’ve no doubt ended up beaten to a pulp by nine sets of hairy knuckles!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my OVER REACTION in this particular incident was justified (because the older, much more level-headed me, knows it obviously wasn’t). But I am saying that SOME REACTION was justified. That on a small, personal scale, the Edward Burke quote, "In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing,” has to resonate with ALL OF US otherwise the dickheads of this world, WIN.

And with 200-300 people sitting closer to this guy than me, WHY DID NOBODY SAY ANYTHING?!

I’ll tell you why. Because the world is full of sheep. And sheep, by their very nature, are passive creatures. And as such are preyed upon by the wolves.

Passivity is the plague of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, you mark my words. People have long since stopped standing up for what’s right, choosing instead to meekly accept when other people treat them (or their loved ones) like crap, with a shrug of resignation (while no doubt bitterly bitching about it later on Facebook and Twitter).

THE WORLD NEEDS HEROES. Make no mistake about it. Now, more than ever. Not the gun-toting John McClane types, but every day heroes. It needs parents to teach their kids to STAND UP AGAINST BULLIES when they’re young, so they won’t be paralysed by fear when something bad happens to them as an adult. And I’m not condoning violence here – though sometimes that’s the only language the bully understands – I’m just saying that people need to STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT. That means the woman who’s sexually harassed by a guy at work, needs to confront him and complain to her boss. That the guy who’s being teased unmercifully at college because of his sexuality, needs to man the hell up and confront the bigots and make his complaint official by taking it to the dean of the college. That the next time someone speaks on their mobile phone in a cinema, or pushes in front of you in a queue, or steals your park while you’re trying to reverse into it, or whatever the trite situation may be, it means you have to CALL THEM ON THEIR SH*T.

Because if not you, then who?

What’s that line in the movie, ‘Whip It’? “Be Your Own Hero.”  Yeah, that.

So there we go. Passivity, no longer a part of the Universe. Gone. Kaput. Kerfuckenated. So, let's introduce the tally table. We'll be keeping track of how we improve the Universe as we go along. So far we have:

Lyn Battersby
Mocking of phobias
Brian M Logan

Early days. But the Universe is a big place, friends. It'll take a lot of changing.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Because, you know, that's what it's supposed to be about, this writing career of mine. Actually, you know, uh, writing. There's a bunch of goals I intend to hit this year, career-wise, and so far I'm toodling along quite nicely: the final edits of Marching Dead have been delivered to Editor Lee at Angry Robot; I've finalised the synopsis for Corpse-Rat King: Fall to Heaven and shot that off to SuperAgent Rich to cast his expert eye over before we send it on to AR to see if they're interested; and I'm currently nose-deep in rewriting Napoleone's Land into a straighter fantasy novel (tentatively titled Counterweight Colony at this point, although that will change)and plotting it out for the synopsis. And all the while, the first draft of Father Muetre &The Divine sits in the corner, composting nicely to the point where I can go back and edit it and write the synopsis ready to hit SARich with it as well.

 Just in case you thought it was all Lego sorting and masturbating......


Sometimes a joke is just a joke because I find it funny. And I've spent too long being at both endfs of the "No, no, my left!" argument not to find this funny.

Although it occurs to me now how much funnier this would be if it was two knights jousting......


Over at SF Signal, I've been melded with a bunch of other, much more worthy and clever, SF writers like Chris Holm, Mary Robinette Kowal and Tobis Buckell, and pressed with the question How does SF/F influence your life? It's all part of their Mind Meld series, which I've been fortunate enough to be part of before, and I always enjoy the focus they throw onto different facets of the SF writing and reading experience.

In this instance, I think I may have let the side down a bit.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Known to Evil

Known to Evil
Known to Evil by Walter Mosley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not one of Mosley's best novels. He's always a wordsmith, but here he seems to be struggling for effect, pushing for a voice in which he's not particularly comfortable. The action never really gets off the ground, as Mosley spends too much time trying to give his narrator, Leonid McGill, a unique voice, but it simply comes across as awkward: early on, McGill tells us how preoccupied he is with other peoples' heights, but it wavers in and out of the novel as if Mosley himself can't remember to stick to it, and adds nothing to any aspect of the plot. Characters are a mess of affectations and simply-revealed motives, like a pastiche of the genre without anything to say about it. Ultimately, the whole thing comes across as a novel of randomly assorted character traits, without a solid enough spine to give it weight. Even bad Mosley makes for reasonable reading, but this is worlds away from the heights of 'The Man in My Basement'.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013


You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.

Room 101 is, as everybody except that guy over there knows, the room in which Winston Smith is tortured in George Orwell's 1984. It's also the name of a BBC TV series in which guests are encouraged to consign their pet hates to a fate worse than death-- sleeping with Colleen McCullough or something, I'm guessing. as some of those pet hates have included Jeffrey Archer, The Gallagher Brothers, dogs' testicles and 1975, it's not a bad idea at all.

so, as I'm bored with life and haven't an original thought in my head, and as I like to give friends and acquaintances a chance to get all ranty and prove that I'm not the only dispirited curmudgeonly old bastard in the building, I've decided to rip off the concept in its entirety but with the added twist that I'm setting it next door in Room 102, which is exactly like Room 101 except the wallpaper is worse. Imagine some sort of orange and brown large-patterned paisley affair. Got it.

So what I'll be doing is inviting friends and colleagues who interest me to contribute a paragraph or two justifying the removal of a pet hate (or two) from the Universe. These will be locked in Room 102, where they'll have to spend eternity watching Tonight Live with Steve Vizard, which is the worst fate I can think to give to something so bad that a person wishes it removed from the Universe. The only way something can rejoin us, out here, in the TLwSV-less world, is if it is recovered by a contributor, who gives me a post justifying why it should be readmitted. This might be harder than it looks....

A running tally shall be kept, so we can keep track of how we, as a group, have improved the world around us. People will be encouraged to print this list out, and brandish it in public to quell outbreaks of the forbidden item.

Everyone got it? Good. So let's begin with my favourite person in the entire world. The beautiful Lyn Battersby, my wonderful partner of 10 years and wife of nearly 8. From now on, we live in world withoooooooouuuuut:

Phobias. We all have them. No, I’m not going to insist that Lee takes all phobias and ejects them from history. They’re often the little thing that takes a person from being somewhat normal or even mundane and transforms them into somebody interesting.

No, what I hate is how society, the viewer, takes a person’s phobia and mocks it.

Here’s a scenario. A person confides to you that they have a fear of clowns. How do you handle it?
Do you state you understand the stress such fears can cause, fill them in your fear of camera film and distract them by asking if they’ve tried the host’s delicious apricot dip?

Or, do you run to the nearest woman (or your own handbag if you are a woman) and beg, borrow or steal her lip stick, slash a red mouth across your face and proceed to dance around the terrified phobic?

If the latter is you, my friend, then shame shame shame. Phobia-mockery is an attitude that should definitely be ejected from history. Yes, the fear that arises from a phobia is irrational, but so is blue cheese and people still serve it at dinner parties, right? Well, unless they suffer from Rhumalisipisimisiphobia, then probably not.
So, in short, intolerance of a phobia has no place in our modern society and should be expelled.

There it is, my friends. The first entrant in Room 102. Step forward, into a world where nobody mocks your phobias, and await the next instalment.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013


It's a long weekend for me this weekend, and then another, thank you Invasion Day, next weekend. Am I kicking back, a cold frosty beer in one hand, a sausage-inna-bun in the other, listening to Barnsie/Farnsie/Accadacka/Insert Grunting Bogan Sweatgods here at the deep end of an inflatable pool while waving an Aussie flag and complaining about immigration, as is my God-given right as a fully paid-up member of the White Ruling Classes of the Fackin' Lacky Cunry?

Am I thump.

I'll be knee-deep in woodchips, paint, and spakfilla, as we continue to work like the kind of Trojans the cool trojans beat up after school to get our house ready for sale, so that we cfan move to a smaller, neater place with less damned garden so next year I can kick back with a cold frosty cider in one hand and a sausage-inna-bun in the other, listening to whatever Luscious and the kids put on the playlist under the air-conditioning while ignoring the whole bloody thing. Which either makes having the random number generator throw up this particular thumbnail enormously ironic, or it's completely unrelated and I just wanted to make a joke about the Fackin' Lacky Cunry because bogans should be wiped out with smallpox-infected Winnie Blues. take your pick.

"...close to schools and public transport, although none of that will matter to you..."

Friday, January 04, 2013



I'm back at work, and I forgot to post. so here 'tis, a day late.

Sometimes, single panel cartoons are a perfect synthesis of the right amount of drawing with the minimal amount of text. Sometimes, the picture tells all. And sometimes, you need to write a little story.

Feeling the arrow strike him, Robin reacted without thought, and instantly loosed an arrow at his attacker.

Yeah. Robin Hood gets shot by Cupid's arrow, and reacts by nailing the little bastard to a tree. This would be one of those 'little story' ones....