Friday, April 29, 2005


We passed 20 000 hits on the site last night, which would probably have happened a couple of days ago had I not lost half my template, and therefore, my hit tracker.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Now, if anyone's got any ideas how I can get this thing out there a bit more widely than it is at the moment, feel free to let me know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


710 new words on Nouvelle Hollande today, which means the epilogue is finished and I only have the climax to complete until the whole damn shooting match is done, man, done! Also redrafted the first chapter, adding another 335 words, which means today saw almost 1000 words of novel work.



For all my fellow bad movie lovers out there, let me be the first to urge you to get your hands on the newly released The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying The Best of Hollywood's Worst by John Wilson, creator of the Razzie Awards. I picked up a copy at the Edith Cowan University campus in Mt Lawley yesterday, and I haven't stopped laughing since.

There are so many movies I need to watch now. Chesh, Martin, you up for a marathon? :)


ERIN: Old Macdonald had a farm, ee-eye-ee-eye-oh, and on that farm he had aaaa.....?
LYN: Camel!
ME: Whale!
ERIN: What about a sheep?
LYN: No, a dolphin!
ME: A monkey!
ERIN: What about a sheep?
LYN: A rhinoceros!
ME: Yeah, a rhinoceros!
ERIN: (Much aggrieved) Fine then. A Nossuh-os. (Pause) With a baa baa here...

Song abandoned due to laughing parents crashing the car and killing us all....


If you laugh during a golden shower, does it come out your nose?
Short, cute, and both behaving at the same time for once...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Big word up to the fabbo Martin Livings for rescuing my blog after it decided to show only the blank backing for the last couple of days.

I've managed to rediscover my message board. All that remains is my list of links. Bear with me: I'll throw them up as quickly as I remember who the hell I had up there. Of course, if you want to be linked, now would be a good opportunity to tell me.

Monday, April 25, 2005


We're going to be relegated.


How cool: Ben Peeks' interviews have been archived here for the education and entertainment of future generations of alien archaeologists.

I'm quite chuffed at the thought, actually.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Check it out: the cover to my collection, by the groovy Cat Sparks. Good, innit? Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Deborah Biancotti started an interesting discussion lately, about whether writers and other artists do their best work while hungry or 'living on the edge'. This prompted Stephen Dedman to post a fascinating list of tales behind some of his most successful pieces So stuff it. I thought I'd do the same.

SILK I wrote this story on a dare: Heather Gent posted the guidelines for the All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories anthology to a mailing list and dared me to work something up. For 5 months I didn't have an idea in my empty head. Then the Monday of the Friday it was due I woke up with the entire thing complete in my mind. Five drafts in four days and it was off. An example of transcription rather than true writing. The only part of the published story that wasn't in the dream is the black-painted trees, and I found those in the first 30 seconds of the only 5 minutes of research I did.

FATHER MUERTE AND THE THEFT Believe it or not, directly inspired by GK Chesteron's Father Brown stories (which is also why the stories are all titled Father Muerte And...) and his fabulous collection The Club of Queer Trades. I just ran things through my kitchen-sink filter and threw everything I could at the concept until it creaked, fell over, and turned into the kind of rublle I make stories out of. But if you look closely enough, a lot of the central conceits are there in this story. The influence is strong here. Thankfully, the following tales in the series move much more strongly towards an individual voice.

MOMENT What everyone thinks of as my "Poor Lee and his dead wife story", but what I consider to be one my cleverest market identification moments. Written specifically for the second Consensual collection, I identified that most of the tales in the first book were on the harder edge of erotica and set out to pen something as gentle and melancholy as possible. There's nothing more beautiful than lovemaking between two people who love each other, and nothing more heartfelt than letting go of someone you love. Simple as that.

MAKING TWO FISTS Written in response to a Dave Luckett post on a mailing list, in which he said that he couldn't understand why anybody wanted to read depressing noir tales. I hadn't written one at that stage, so I sat down to try. This is also the story that saved my career after my 1st wife died: it was unfinished when she died, and it was the last story she read, and the submission period closed less than a month after she died. The thought that her last story might go unpublished forced me to get off my bed and finish it.

PATER FAMILIAS One of my triptych of stories concerned with losing a wife during childbirth, this time surrounding a notion that facinated me the moment I read of it whilst doing research for another story: craniotomies. One of those occasions where an idea lodges in your head and won't leave until you write it out.

BRILLIG Back in 1989 I wrote a half-enquiry half-fan letter to Algis Budrys regarding the Writers Of The Future competition, and received a letter and signed book in reply. This story was a film script at the time. I kept much of the format and non-linear structure, rejigged it into story form, and sent it in. It got nowhere, but 13 years later I found it in a desk drawer, reworked it, and sold it to EOTU ezine, just in time to head to LA for the WOTF workshops and tell people the tale.

TALES OF NIREYM A story about my fathering fears, my fears about a daughter's place in the world, and an attempt to write a straight fantasy with a strong female character, prompted by a comment from one of my WoTF alumni along the lines of "Fantasy stories with women characters always end up being anaemic and unfocussed." Meh. I don't like the guy all that much anyway :) To see who inspired the story, and who it's really about: read 'Nireym' backwards :)

THROUGH THE WINDOW, MERRILEE DANCES My anti-phantasy story. Prompted by a postcard, of all things, with a somewhat crappy art-nouveau picture of a dancing girl upon it, limbs all out of proportion and stare like a Valium zombie. Anyone who knows me even slightly is aware of my rabid hatred for pale Phat Phantasy stories, and cheerful-hobbit-sidekick stories, so this was an attempt to insert a bit of real life mud and grime into a fantasy setting. Even the people who like this one don't want to spend much time in its world :)

ECDYSIS Written in 24 hours on a pool deck in LA during the Writers Of The Future workshops in 2002, including the 3 hours allowed to me for research. Workshop convenor Tim Powers made us do the whole thing ass-backwards: start with an object (in my case, 4 quarters), do the research and see where it leads you, then work out what the story will be about. It's a great exercise for taking you out of your comfort zone. It's also the story that helped bring Lyn and I together: she bought it for her issue of ASIM, and I asked her to lunch. The stupidest writer in the world: starts sleeping with the editor after she buys the story :)

CARRYING THE GOD Inspired by an article in National Geographic on anhydrobiosis (the ability of certain plants to snap-freeze themselves until revived by the presence of water), it was a small step to ask "What if humans...?" The main story seemed a bit slight, so I added a post-apocalyptic storyline, and alternated between the two. Funnily, reading the story recently, I realised that the post-apocalyptic stuff is by far my favourite of the two storylines. The idea of genetically advanced arachnids worshipping a sentient human mummy just appeals to me, I guess...

If I am elected, my pope name will be:
Pope Heinous Billy VII
What's your pope name?Name:

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Benedict the Umpteenth, ppppphhhhhhh.

Wanker. Because electing right wing Germans to posts of international power has worked so well in the past...


Sucks more than any movie has any right to suck. This film is nothing more than the end result of executive bunnies deciding that any movie with Baldy Vin in it is going to sell by the trailer load. Unfortunately, on the basis of the full house I was surrounded by (and the fact that 3 kids and a wife had managed to drag me screaming and protesting into the theatre in the first place), they're right.

I would rather contract cancer than ever see this movie again.


I wrote most of the epilogue to Nouvelle Hollande today. A small scene to finish it, and spending a few thousand words on the climax, and the thing is done!

I have a couple of agents waiting, so this is a very good thing. Also a priority.


I have a foot-high model of the TARDIS on my computer desk, that the kids gave me for Brianmas. It's been there since Brianmas. It's not hidden behind anything.

Erin comes barrelling up to me yesterday, points dramatically at the model, and exclaims "Daddy! It's Doctor Who's house!"

I think she was disappointed when a teensy tiny little Tom Baker didn't emerge to say hi.


I am a Spike Milligan fan of the first order. I am a Spike Milligan fan to a degree that would frighten your children.

For no reason at all, Luscious presented me ith a copy of Spike Milligan: The Biography the other day.

I've barely climbed out of it since.

She loves me :)

She didn't even wince when I played The Goon Show to the boys in the car yesterday and they decalred it the funniest thing they've ever been exposed to. And I have so many episodes to play them...


Aiden had his first game of soccer on the weekend. He's not a hugely sporty kid, and while we love and support him, all we hoped for was that he didn't hate it too much.

Dude, he can play! He's not the quickest, and he'll take some kicking practice, but he can play. He has an understanding of what he needs to do, and his reading of the play is really good. He's got a soccer brain, something you can't really teach.

And we won 4-2. And quiet little Lyn went off her face. And he set up the last goal. And he wore the Nottingham Forest top we bought him with pride during the practice session, even when surrounded by kids wearing Arsenal, Real Madrid, and Manchester United tops.

Next game's in two weeks, and 2 weeks after that and 2 weeks after that.

We're there with bells on. I'm just a big, fat, hairy proud soccer Bonus Dad :)

Friday, April 15, 2005


1. Had you submitted any other stories to WRITERS OF THE FUTURE before winning the prize for 'Carrying The God'?

I'd submitted one about a dozen years before.In those wacky pre-computer days of 1989 I'd read Michaelmas and discovered that Algis Budrys was running the competition. I sent a half-enquiry, half-fan letter, asking for details. In it I jokingly referred to myself as "The world's greatest unpublished 18 year old". I received a handwritten reply, and a signed copy of the first WOTF book, to "Lee Battersby, The World's Greatest Unpiublished 18 year old", from Algis. I had a story in the mail a week later :) I didn't place, but 13 years later I sold a reworked version to EOTU magazine, just in time to relate that story whilst I was in LA for the competition winners' workshops. Sadly, Algis was ill so I wasn't able to meet him in person, but apparently he thought it was lovely. The story, incidentally, was Brillig and is in the collection.

2. Was winning that award the impetus for you deciding to become a full-time writer, or was it one of the many other sales you've made or awards you've received since?

The decision to become a full-time writer had little to do with writing. After my first wife died, I returned to work part-time, as it was all I was able to handle. My 10 years in the Public Service came up a few years later, which meant I could access some super, and I decided that I needed a change of lifestyle. Lyn and I sat down, worked out what money we had coming from various sources, how long it could last, and decided to live like dilettantes for a while. It was a now-or-never kind of thing. We're looking at getting a bit of part-time work again, but I doubt I'll ever return to full-time employment. I'm just not suited to it, emotionally, and my dreams are in another direction. It's too important for me to be surrounded by family and work I can devote my heart to. Writing is the only work I've felt that way about. It might be nice for people who have ambitions to work in Dayjob, but I'd rather live the lifestyle I have than work 40 hours a week.

3. What, in your opinion, would be the ultimate accolade you could receive for a short story?

A Nebula would be nice :) There are signposts to the improvement of my work. I've always said a Tin Duck would be a big thing. To win one I'd have to get past you and Dave Luckett. I'd love to be reprinted in Datlow & Windling's Year's Best, but it seems the longer I write the less I interest them. As tacky as it sounds, I'd be impressed if someone wanted to make a movie from one of my pieces. It would signify that a creator of mass entertainment believes something within my piece can plug into the mass subconscious, which I think is at the heart of what most writers dream of-- to influence as many people as they can. But money's good too :)

4. What's the longest spell of writer's block you've ever endured, and what ended it?

I'm always moaning that I'm blocked, but the truth is that Real Life (tm) has become too big: this year I've written little, but I've had a baby and wedding enter my life, both of which are vastly important. I get round the problem of blockage by having a number of projects going: right now I have a novel, the collection, 3 short stories, judging 2 story competitions, a cartoon series for Swancon 2006’s PRs, and 2 pieces for next year's Swancon art show. If that fails to work, I find myself potting a lot of plants, or painting something, or tie-dying every sock in the house. The urge to create is strong, it's just the avenue that sometimes needs changing.

5. You finish your alternative Napoleon Bonaparte novel, sell it, and sell the film rights. Do you want to write the screenplay, and if not, who should do it? And who do you want to direct?

Hey, finishing this goddamned book would be dream enough! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Another set of 5, this time from Jonathan Strahan

1. A blank page and endless time stretch out before you, a limitless supply of caffeine is on hand. What story do you tell?

Oh God, where do I start? Firstly, the hundred or so short story ideas I have lined up waiting to be worked upon, the novel I'm currently working on, the other 7 novels waiting to be worked upon, the TV series, the 2 film ideas, the blackmail letters....

The story that most excites me at the moment is an alternative history SF tale about a kamikaze pilot that I'm planning to write in letter form. It's going to necessitate some heavy research into Japanese culture of the time, and I'm turning into a 'weird research' junkie :) It's still a toss-up whether it'll be a short story or whether I can give it enough legs to make it into a novel. I'm really enamoured of the framing tools Mary Shelley used for Frankenstein, where letters form part of the narrative, and the POVs change for each section, so who knows?

2. Given any choice, where does it appear?

On every bookshelf in ze vuuurrrrrllllddd!! Or more realistically, someone at a good US agency picks it up and runs with it. Obviously, as someone who wants to make a living from writing, the bigger the publisher the better, but I'm more interested in finding an agent and publisher with whom I can have a long-term 'marriage'. The career is all.

3. Kafka, Todorevski, Tolkien or Waldrop. Who's the best short story writer in the business, and why?

Ah, trick question. Waldrop is the best, because he's the one closest to the current zeitgeist, the one best placed to assimilate the foci and adaptations of style and content that the short story form has undergone. But for me, of the four, Kafka is perhaps the greatest, because he has the greater ability to reach inside the corners of the human psyche and squeeze, giving his works a profundity that the others don't reach.

4. Best opening line?

Call me Ishmael. (Moby Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville)

Of my own work, perhaps "I saw three of me standing at a bus stop today" (The Divergence Tree)

5. Which starsign are you?

I have the very rare privilege of being the only person in history, apart from Napoleone Buonaparte, of being born under the sign of Binky The Space Squirrel.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Ben Peek is running a series of interviews with Australian SF people over on his blog. Check it out: it's some seriously fascinating stuff. Luscious has been interviewed, and the sentimental old bucket thought he'd better ask the lesser Battersby a few questions as well.

So my interview will be up in the next day or so, but if you want cheat and read it a bit early, here it is:

1) You're one of the new writers to emerge in the last five years, beginning
in 2001 and amassing an impressive amount of sales within Australia. Now
with your first collection, The Divergence Tree, has there emerged a set of
concerns or themes that you have been focused with? And is one of the hopes
with the collection to push to find an International audience, given that
much of your work has not had the chance to find them so far?

I made a very deliberate decision, early on, to write something substantially different to my last effort each time I sat down at the keyboard. My career, such as it is, seems to have been a succession of 90 degree turns. It'll help me out in the long run, I hope, when I have to release a range of novels to survive. What comes out, when reading 25 or so of the tales in quick succession, is just how much of my work involves loss, and how few happy endings I tend to write. It probably reflects something deep within my own psyche: I am, by nature, cynical and pessimistic. Also, much of my work falls into a category I have trouble defining. It's certainly not science fiction, and it's not traditional fantasy. I think where I'm headed, generally is to a career of weird tales that, even if they bear the trappings of genre, can't escape the writer's need to subvert and twist. Even when I write a traditional fantasy, such as Through the Window Merrilee Dances, the Princess is mentally retarded, the gardener who loves her is a cripple, the royal marriage is a cynical political manoeuvre... it just doesn't come out of the pen straight.

I do want to find an international audience. I want to make a career from writing, not be just one of those guys who published some stories and what happened to him anyway? To do that, it's important to walk upon a world stage. The collection might help, but over the long haul it'll be getting my mug in magazines, getting a US agent, getting novels on bookshelves, all the usual guff, that will be do the job. Certainly, having a collection out helps: I've got 3 agents in the States asking to see bits of my first novel, so who knows?

I look back at some of the sales I've made and feel like I've undersold certain stories, but that's the risk you take when you put something in an envelope. It took me a while to back myself to the point of hitting big markets first. Now that I'm doing it, I expect my appearances in Oz mags to slow a little, because it's going to take longer for stories to come back from overseas, and there's a bigger pool out there in which to submit. But Australia is where I live, where my love lies. I can't envisage a year without having a story in a local magazine. I like the way Sean Williams does things. No matter how big he gets, he is still just Sean, the guy who'll bid $120 for a piece of fan art at a con auction, and who'll give a story to Mitch?. He's still in it for the love of it.

2) With such a prolific output (37 stories in 5 years) do you hold concerns
that, given the size of the Australian scene, you could create an over

Well, there's about a gazillion magazines in Australia right now, not counting the well-paying, well-distributed ones (ie: the non-genre ones :) ) Quality is always going to get picked up, sooner or later. If I'm selling, I take it to mean that I'm writing good stories. If I'm writing goods stories, then the hope is that readers are enjoying them. It depends. I'm hardly Stephen Dedman when it comes to being prolific, but I'm no Ted Chiang either. At the moment I'm averaging something like 10 sales a year. There's, what, 6 issues of ASIM, 3 of Borderlands, 3 of Fables, 1 Orb, 1 Agog, 2 of Aurealis (allegedly)... there's an awful lot of pages I'm not filling.

Without wanting to sound bigheaded, if people are sick of seeing my stories, they could always try to writer better ones... Terry Dowling does, and Rob Hood, and Stephen Dedman, and Sean Williams... I'm hardly top shelf yet. The difference is that people above me in the food chain had their time saturating the Oz magazines and have moved upwards to selling predominantly overseas. I know one big name writer, for example, who turned down an invitation to be in Lyn's issue of ASIM because it simply wasn't worth his while appearing in an Australian magazine: it didn't pay enough, didn't get seen by enough of the right people, didn't have a big enough circulation. That's not a criticism of the writer. Far from it. It's a recognition on their part of where their career path lies.

Besides, I've always been fairly open in telling people that the reason I engage in the writing business (as opposed to just writing, which is a different thing) is fame. I love being recognised. I love receiving fan mail. I love to see people reading magazines with my stories in. That happens with Oz magazines. The buzz factor is fun. I bet there's not a dozen people in Australia who've read my story in All-Star Zeppelin Adventure stories, which paid 5 cents a word and came out form a US 'small' publisher, but I know that every story I have in ASIM gets seen by 500 or 600 people. Fame, baby :)

3) What is your critical opinion of the work currently being published?

I think a lot of it is crud. So many stale fantasies and crappy, semi-humorous fuzzy bunny stories. If I see one more story where a teenage girl discovers she is the source of wild magical powers and the true inheritor of a kingdom, with a badly-executed Freudian dragon ride dumped in the middle, I'm going to start climbing water towers.

There are very few writers in this country who push the envelope on a consistent basis. People seem afraid to chance their arm in case they get rejected, which is getting the chicken before the china shop, in my opinion. Writers should be daring editors not to publish the amazing piece of utter bugfuckery they've placed before them. We should be emulating the Waldrops and Besters, not the Jordans and bloody Weiss'. But hey, the path of least effort and all that.

I think the proliferation of magazines is partially to blame. It's relatively easy to get published right now, certainly much easier than it was in the early 90s, for example. I remember reading Aurealis and Eidolon when that was all there was. Now we have enough magazines that we started Ticonderoga Online to publish only one type of story, as does Shadowed Realms, Antipodean, Dark Animus... We're specialising. You can only support that level of specialisation when there are enough markets that writers can take a chance on writing a specialised story, because there are alternative markets if one magazine rejects it. The downside is that most writers try to hedge their bets, and write strictly down the middle of the road.

I do think there are a large number of writers doing the rounds who have developed enough skill to get published by the usual suspects, and have progressed no further. Why try to develop your craft when you can write a half-arsed quest fantasy with a dragon, teenage girl, and comic-relief hobbit, and pick up 25, 30 bucks? These are not writers who are in it for the craft, or the art, or the career. They're people who want to sit around the bar at their local freecon and jaw about what a tosser editor X was because they rejected Floppy The Bunny God, but they sold it to editor Y so ha ha ha. The next Bug Jack Barron or Repent Harlequin, Said The Ticktockman isn't being written by these people. They're too busy writing the next Lord Of The Rings without realising it's already been fucking done.

If the markets suddenly halved, I think a lot of writers would be out on their arse. But the good writers will sell no matter how many markets are out there. Halve the number of magazines and Deb Biancotti will still place. So will Rob Hood, Stephen Dedman, Geoff Maloney, Trent Jamieson. Quality will out.

4) You're dead. You got one of those nice groupies that likes to follow you
and murder your bunnies, and you indulged, and it went real bad. Still,
dead is dead. You go to Heaven (assuming you believe, blah blah) and you see
God. You say?

Heh. Boy, I've seen a lot of funny answers to this one. I'm going to pontificate instead.

I'm an atheist. God does not exist. Religion, as far as I'm concerned, is no more than a crutch, same as alcohol or cocaine. It's a way for people to absolve themselves of responsibility. Organised religion is downright evil. My wife Lyn is a believer, and she has her reasons, and I support her, but it's not enough to make me believe that religion is anything more than comforting fairy tales to keep the badness from the door.

I'll grant that some people need those fairy stories. If I'd suffered the lifetime of abuse that Lyn has, well, I might want something to believe in too. Sometimes the load is too great to bear. But I have respect for those that carry their religion close to themselves and take it out when they need something warm to wrap around them. Turn up at my doorstep on a Sunday morning with a briefcase full of pamphlets and I'll feed you to the squirrels, whether you bow down to the big Charlton Heston impersonator in the sky or Binky The Sun Gopher.

5) Favourite swear word?

I've been swearing a rather long time. I tend to use it like punctuation. As Billy Connolly says, it doesn't matter how large my vocabulary gets, I still prefer to use 'fuck'. These days I often run them together. Hurting myself generally gets a 'jesusshitfuckcuntshitcuntfuckSHIT'. My long term fave, however, is "JesusssssufferingFUCK". To get the effect right you have to hiss it through clenched teeth and make the words as short as possible.

Polysyllabic cursing, Ask for it by name :)

Let the hate mail begin...

Get across to Lyn's Review Blog IMHO and read a brand-new review of Shadowed Realms Issue 3.

See what she has to say about a magazine with her husband's work in it...

Sunday, April 10, 2005


I decided to give a certain child, who shall remain nameless but is in fact Connor, some nappy-free time (What Luscious and I call tackle-time) while I logged the last post. So I spread out the largest towel we have on the floor next to me, removed his nappy, and lay him down in the centre of the liquid-absorbing material.

Just as I'm finishing the post I look down: he's rolled off the towel and is happily peeing the pee to end all pees right across the floor.


Had lunch with Mynxii and Callisto the other day. Calli and Erin had this exchange. The roar of laughter that followed made the whole cafe turn to look...

Calli: He's a boy. boys are aliens, aren't they?
Erin: No, Zim's an alien!

Three years old, and a rabid fangrrl already :)


Now, when you're on the lookout for cutting edge, alternative SF, Dymocks is hardly the place to be. No room amongst all those Dragonlance abortions, and books with the word Wars or Trek splashed out across their covers in an attempt to attract the pathetic creatures who consider that tripe SF.

So how big a bookgasm did I have when I found a solitary copy of Ted Chiang's Stories Of Your Life And Others there the other day, nestled in between the latest Stephen Donaldson snorefest and something by a Star Wars 'author'?

Needless to say, it's where it belongs now. My bookshelf.

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your livejournal/website with the answers to the questions and leave the answers as comments here (or at least provide a pointer to your site).
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Them's the rules, so here are the answers to the 3 interviews I've given so far:

From Grant Watson:

1. Hollywood reverses the truckful of money up to your house and signs you to write a remake of any existing film you want. Which film? Why?

Oh good, start with the easy ones.... shit. Um, gee, buggered if I know. I'm so against remakes. They make me ill. You know that, you bugger. All right. How about Angels with Dirty Faces? I think we've got some actors that could do it justice. Or The Cabinet of Dr Caligari? Mmm, now that could be fun.

2. Which is honestly harder: being a single parent or being two parents of five kids?

Being a single parent of one kid, I think, given the emotional circumstances. I was thrown into the deep end of teenager parenting when I met Lyn, but then, I had Lyn, and that's the big difference: someone around to support, help, guide, and second-guess me makes all the difference. I still suffer enormous doubts about my ability as a parent: I see all the problems with Erin and what I did wrong, but Lyn knows what she's doing.

3. What single publication would you must like to have a story published in?

Year's Best Fantasy & Horror by Ellen Datlow and whoever's replacing Terri Windling. It's kind of a barometer, I guess. I've copped recommended reading list mentions in a couple of previous volumes, and became very depressed this year when I put out some damn good stories (at least, for me) and didn't cop one. Especially given some of the stories that did get mentioned, which I thought weren't up to much at all. But it seems to me that to get the story printed up, well, that would be a sign that I can compete with the big boys.

4. If someone was going to make a movie based on one of your stories, which one would you most like to see?

Easy. The Father Muerte stories. Two have seen print, the third's been sold to Aurealis, and the fourth's in the drafting process. Plus I'm putting ideas away for a novel. It's my favourite stuff to work on, and I have such a visual sense of it all. That's the one, definitely.

5. You have to erase an entire author's work from existence. Which author's body of work do you reluctantly erase?

Reluctantly? Brian Aldiss. One or two fantastic things in the 60s doesn't forgive the tripe he's turned out in the last 20 years. But there are many, many who I'd erase gleefully. Matthew Reilly, Andrew M Greeley, Michael Crichton...

From Martin Livings:

1. You guys host "good movie nights", though it has to be said that one's value of "good" may vary. What's the worst film you've ever seen on recommendation from someone else claiming it was good, and who recommended it?

I refuse to accept any sneering about my definition of 'good' from a guy who hates The Rocky Horror Picture Show! :) However, to answer the question, easily the worst film I've seen on recommendation would be Uurotsakaai (or however the hell you spell it): Legend Of The Overfiend. So bad I didn't watch manga for over another decade. In fact, it wasn't until I became Bonus-Dad to a couple of manga-obsessed boys that I watched some more, and found out what I'd been missing.

2. Your collection The Divergence Tree will be coming up startlingly soon. Which story in it is your favourite, and why?

Gee, that's a hard one. Obviously they're all my favourites, or they wouldn't have made the collection. But of those that are included, Silk would go close, mainly because it was written for a weird market (All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories), and in less than a week, and yet is still probably one of my best three stories. And, you know, you don't often get to use the phrase 'haunted time-travelling barrage balloon' in normal conversation...

3. Have you ever published a story that, in retrospect, you've regretted having your name next to? If so, which one, and why?

Off the top of my head, no, although Lyn has a couple she wishes I'd never sold :) But I've learnt a lot about the business each time I've ventured out the front door, and each sale has a story behind it, so no regrets, not really. There are a few I think I've undersold, and a few I think I've placed in the wrong market, but that's a different thing.

4. You're given a Buffy/Faith-style body-swap bracelet, and twenty-four hours in which to use it. Who do you shake hands with?

That depends: If Lyn's around, I shake her hand. If she isn't, I shake Angelina Jolie's hand and then take a very long shower...

5. Some say that loneliness and suffering are essential ingredients in the writing process. Most of the great writers were depressed, miserable and lonely. You, on the other hand, are now happily newlywed, and surrounded by more kids than is really feasible. Is loneliness and suffering necessary for art? Or is this a whole new kind of suffering? ;)

I don't buy that you have to be lonely, miserable, and suffering, no more than I buy the idea that you have to have been on another planet in order to describe it. You do have to be able to tap into the mental space well enough to be able to describe it with enough verisimilitude that the readers understand it. Experience helps, and I have had the black dog periods, but that only enables me, now that I have happiness in my life, to tap into those emotions with some realism on the page.

From Mynxii:

1. What alcoholic cocktail do you enjoy the most (must be a cocktail of some description) and why?

I created one in the 80s called 'The Foetus': vodka, Creme de Menthe and Creme de Cacao, then suspend both red and yellow Advocaat (the thick stuff, not the clear). The two advocaat hang together in a lump, hence the name, and the effect is like being hit with a choc-mint tasting Volvo

2. If you were to have a dinner party with 7 people you wanted to get to know better, that you don't already consider to know well, whom would you invite and why?

Oooh, that's tuff. Howard Waldrop, to get inside the man's talent. Billy Connolly, to get to know on a personal basis someone who's words I've been enjoying most of my life. Rob Hoge and Kate Eltham, because Brisbane is just too damn far away to catch up as often as we should. Danny Oz, because Melbourne etc etc. Chris Lawson, because I have such damn respect for the man's work. And Tim Powers, because I've enjoyed his company each time we've met, find him a thoroughly engaging person, and have lost his forged Virgil Findlay signature :)

I've not included anybody local, coz, you know, I could always just pick up the phone...

3. What is your favourite line in the story you least expected to like and why?

Gee, I don't know. There's an aspiring poet at one of Lyn's writing groups who specialises in writing horrible, unreadable, tetchy little pieces about people she knows. But a wee while ago she wrote something called Kneeling in Dry Grass, with Roses which was an attempt to get inside the mind of one of the victims of the Claremont Serial killer, just before she died. It blew me away: surreal, dangerous, and hard. I can't remember any individual line, but I do remember sitting there thinking "fuuuuucccckkkkk..."

4. If you ended up in a drag club as a drag queen doing a performance - what diva would you impersonate and why?

Based on body shape, I think I could only get away with Divine :) But for comedy purposes, I'd go with Gwyneth Paltrow's performance in Duets. Because she's a crap actress, and deserves it :)

5. If you were to take over the world as an evil dictator, aside from purging the stupid people, what would your following three acts of power be?

Geez, there'd be so few of us left! Abolish organised religion, I think. If there's been anything more consistently evil over the course of human history, I've yet to discover it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Anyone get any photos or footage of our wedding? If so, could you contact us? We'd love to organise some copies.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Look at what The Internet Review of Science Fiction said about a certain Luscious wife's story in ASIM 17:

It doesn't get much darker than this.

Triffitt imagines a not-too distant future in which America's death penalty practices are out of control. Not only do we murder the murderers, but we make them pay for their crimes as well. That's right, we animate the corpses and set them to manual labor.

Best to read this in the tradition of zombie stories, rather than as science fiction. Because aside from the particulars of animation, which I am afraid Triffitt spends a bit too much time trying to rationalize, this is a very compelling, scary story.

(big snip in which the reviewer tells us the entire plot of the story)

The grimmest part of this tale, and where Triffitt shows the most sensitivity, is in the girl's realization of and reaction to her fate. (another story-giving-away snip) It's a well-written and touching conclusion.

Not bad, eh?

Monday, April 04, 2005


Movie night last night. We went to Chesh & Calli's place, so that Chesh could show off his computer-controlled home theatre set up ('Twas cool. I know the next thing I want him to do round here...) and watched the fabulously classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I don't know what was more fun: a room full of fans singing along to every song in the movie, word perfect, or hearing PRK and myself do tone-perfect imitations of Columbia...

In just seven days, I can make you a maaaaaaaaannnnnn.

Too much fun :)

Followed it up with the second episode of Dr Who, courtesy of Splanky. Tell you what: it's pretty good, and there's a lot revealed about happenings since the Paul McGann abortion. Shan't issue any spoilers at all, but you're going to enjoy this one if you're a fan.


Lyn's ex-husband won't let her kids come to Swancon because (direct quote) "it's full of freaks and perverts." So it had me rolling around the floor when we were sitting in the foyer waiting on wedding Saturday, and Blake had this exchange with a pal of ours.

LAURTON: (Coming over to sit and chat). Hey kids. Are you coming to the children's programme tomorrow?
LEE: No, Jon won't let the kids come to Swancon. Says it's filled with freaks and perverts.
LAURTON: Hmmph. I'm not a freak, so I guess that makes me a pervert. (Pulls out a packet of Swancon XXX sweeties and offers them to Blake) Want a lolly?
BLAKE: (Grabbing one like his life depended on it). Well, I'm not allowed to take candy from strangers, but nobody mentioned anything about perverts.



So the Pope's dead. Good. One head of an evil and repressive bureacracy down, the rest of them to go.


Edited 11 of the 25 stories in The Divergence Tree today. Another 9 tomorrow and it'll be over and I can get back to some real writing.

Lyn's wins and subsequent attention, coupled with my own inability to get anything new down (Don't ask me how the novel's going, just bloody don't, okay?) have me itching to create something new. There's nothing more frustrating than trawling through old stuff while your contemporaries (and loved ones) are forging ahead. Never mind getting back on the horse, I'm going to have to remember where the hell the stables are.


Received in the mail today: my DVD copy of the documentary The Gospel According To Philip K Dick. Dick's one of my 4 writing cornerstones, along with Harlan Ellison, Alfred Bester, and Howard Waldrop. There is much restrained eagerness in my little body: 2 hours, a bottle of Diet Coke, and a notebook, that's all I ask...


A big bouquet for Eric Heideman and the crew at Tales Of The Unanticipated. TOTU reprinted Father Muerte & The Theft last year, and I had high hopes for the sequel this year.

'Twas not to be. I received the rejection in the mail today. But get this: it was 3 pages long. 3 handwritten pages. Single spaced, no margins, and cramming two lines into the top bit where there's that large gap with no lines. As rejections go, it's the most complete, extensive, beyond-the-call-of-duty slip I've ever received.

Did I mention that there isn't a single line in the whole thing that causes even a shadow of a sook?

Do you reckon I'll be sending them something again this year?


Sucks. It's unfunny, derivative (large parts of the plot seem to have been lifted wholesale from A Bug's Life, for starters), the characters are actively annoying, and the creators have spent all of 2 minutes working out how to make the world a logical extension of the robot theme. All the things that make animated features of this type, such as the above, or Monsters Inc, enjoyable are lacking in the extreme.

In other words, it sucks.



Sometimes you see something that causes you to not only doubt your ability as a parent, but brings into question the welfare of your child in such a way that you have to seriously question whether you have caused such irreparable harm that your child will be a scarred and damaged person for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, no words are adequate to describe the evil that you have visited upon an innocent mind.

Today, I heard my daughter singing along with Jona Lewie's Stop The Cavalry.

I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Check out Lyn's Review Blog for a brand new review of Borderlands 5.

And a rather good review it is, too.