Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shame about the Weather

I just spent the day moving furniture. It rained until the moment we stopped. I like rain, and not just because we need it. I adore the way Brisbane looks in the rain, it simultaneously gains a kind of mass and a kind of ethereal quality. Sounds become muted, and you catch glimpses of the city in the distance, through the rain, and it looms and hunches, all cranes and jagged skyline, then it disappears as the clouds close in. And everything's tenuous, and I feel like I actually live in a city. Yeah, I love the rain.

Just not when I'm lugging furniture around.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dr Who and the...

I was cleaning out the study, and found a tape my mother had sent me. I was a huge Dr Who fan and, well, you'll get the drift. Apologies for the quality of the sound recording, but this is over twenty years old.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Roil - because blogs should be self indulgent

One of the reasons I started writing this blog, yes there are reasons, was to start promoting my writing a little, particularly my first book - Reserved for Travelling Shows see first post. The other was to get me taking my novel seriously, I have trouble taking things seriously at times, which can be good, but hell, if it doesn't chip away at any sense of urgency. So, I figure if I start talking about it, I'll have to back it up by finding the thing a home.
My novel Roil is essentially a world in peril tale. A struggle against a semi-sentient environmental catastrophe - hopefully not a cosy one - called, you guessed it, the Roil. It was originally something I had conceived of as being, well sort of steampunky, but that didn't really work in so far as the technology I wanted my characters to have access to, so it's kind of post-assembly-line punk, kind of a shaky mass-manufacturing society, that stalled because of the Roil.
What is the Roil?
It's a vast, dark monster-filled cloud of spores swallowing the world of Shale inch by inch, spreading out from the equator. It has devoured cities, and devastated weather patterns, bringing rain where there wasn't and dry where there was. And this isn't the first time it has done it. My poor characters are trying to stop it, the problem is that the cure may be worse than the disease, and the disease knows they're trying to halt it, and it, and it's monsters, are angry. Okay, so it's a metaphor, and a pretty obvious one. But that's what makes fantasy so potent. Like Brian Aldiss wrote, "earth is the alien planet".
Here's my alien planet, well a bit of it that has survived within the Roil. Bear in mind it still needs a bit of spit and polish, but hey, that's why I'm doing this to make me more enthusiastic in my spitting and polishing.

The City of Tate - Roil Interior Northern Aspect
A bell tolled, city centre, some minor thing, that did not ripple out across the three levels of the city, but fell away to silence.
A Halloween ringing.
The pilot relaxed as much as she dared, brought her airship lower, and closer to the city's walls.
She had flown the perimeter shift many times, could close her eyes and see it.
The city of Tate.
Three high stone walls, topped with towers and linked with wires, that circled the steep hill called Willowhen. Crowded and fuming at Willowhen's peak, city's heart, where the Swarming Vents and the Four Cannons twisted and rose hundreds of meters further into the sky. The city of Tate, surrounded on all fronts by the Roil, a darkness deeper than night; an inky cloying fog.
Ice and endothermic weaponry were the Roil’s only torment. Ice and vigilance, Tate’s only defence; and it had been that way for twenty years, since the Roil enclosed the city and continued on its way North.
Beyond the outer wall, a dense pack of Quarg hound ran - dashing towards the city, and pulling back. Dashing in and pulling back. She fired a few rounds at them and they scattered, black shapes darting this way and that. To the east, out of range of her ship's guns, an Endym circled, a big one, dusty wings twenty yards across. The pilot signalled to gunners on the wall and, almost immediately, a cannon fired. The Endym dipped a wing, dust fell away from its tips -- the ice-sheathed shell missed it by yards. It veered to the west and was quickly gone from sight.
She brought her ship lower still, down over the Jut, the easternmost edge of the outer wall, and the city's only gatehouse.
Margaret Penn stood there. The pilot could make out her gangly figure, Margaret’s white hair almost luminous in the strong lights that roved over the wall.
She waved, but Margaret did not see her, and the pilot was not surprised. Margaret was waiting for her parents, Marcus and Arabella Penn, the architects of Tate’s defence.
They had been away testing armaments in the North.
They were late.


I have decided this year to unwrite 100 words a day. That is I will take at least 100 words out of something I have written every day of the year. That's every single day, for the rest of the year, without fail. That's a guarantee. Writing a hundred words, is easy, in fact this paragraph is exactly a 100 words long. I will reproduce it below, using my unwriting technique, to illustrate, just how useful this technique is. It will change your life. It will bring an extra level of conciseness to your life, and remove all that clutter.*

*Do not attempt this at home.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Or You Could Try...

Say you don't want to buy my book, oh cruel reader, then you might like to sample my work, and that of a whole bunch of other talented authors, by purchasing a copy of the latest Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, which contains my story "Marco's Tooth", and an interview with yours truly, here -

Marco's Tooth was a lot of fun to write, even if it is a rather dark sf tale.

You might also like to check out the latest Aurealis Magazine here, which contains my Aurealis Award Winning story "Slow & Ache"

Slow & Ache is a companion piece to my story "Porcellain Salli", which was published in the previous ed. of Aurealis, it's set in the same future history - I'll let you in on a secret, pretty much all my SF is. It's crazy but I've had this odd little future history floating around in my brain since my mid-teens, and it's kind of nice seeing it slowly develop, in it's fractured inconsistent way, as all histories are fractured and inconsistent. I've also something of an obsession with organic space habitats.

These bits of the greater story arc are about escape, and yearning, the wizard of oz, and crazy AI's. There's a third story in the works called "Emerald City Breakdown" which is set on the earth, mainly in a flooded Brisbane, and has a lot of cool clockwork creatures in it.

Or you could check out - for free - my story "Tumble" on the Ideomancer Online webpage, here

Tumble is one of my favourite stories and is set in a future earth where cities have grown addictive, and demanding, kind of a post fantastical-singularity story. I hope to go back there and have a bit more of a poke around if the old muse lets me.

Here's the first para:

"My Daniel's out there." Mother Beet crossed her stick-thin legs, lit a cigarillo, then offered me one. I shook my head, staring into the black hollows where her eyes should be. Black hollows that held my measure, nonetheless, and stared back. Tiny brown cockroaches nested in the right orbit. They bubbled and hissed, irritated by the smoke perhaps. "I can feel him, sure's the memory of spittin' the bastard, bloody and blind-eyed, out of me womb."

Anyway enough of me convincing you to read my stuff, like that's going to work anyway.

Bugger, I better be off to bed. Work in the morning.

Hello & Buy my Book - For Your Own Good, and the Good of the World

Hi, I hope you're well, and that your chair is comfortable. This is my blog, and that, to the left of this text, is my first book.

You can buy it here


You can buy it here

If you buy a copy I can guarantee two things.

Thing the First: Every book bought helps stop an ancient world-gobbling evil arising from its dark and restless sleep in a crypt in the heart of the Gobi Desert - don't ask me how, but it does.

Thing the Second: I will be rather chuffed.

The book is a collection of my short stories. It has several things going for it; at US$15 it's rather cheap; it has a wonderful cover by Hawk Alfredson; it has an introduction by the marvelous Marianne De Pierres; and it contains 23 of my favourite short stories, which are just bunches of words that I've placed in a particular order that I found pleasing.

Why should you buy the book?

See Thing the First. I mean, do you really want to risk oblivion? I think you're being rather selfish not buying this book. I'm not saying you have to read it. You can use it to prop up a wonky table. It also serves as a point of reference along some sort of quality continuum - e.g.well at least that book wasn't as dreadful as "Reserved for Travelling Shows". It does possess that kind of functionality. But if you're not certain, just return to Thing the First.

"Reserved for Travelling Shows", it's a book that will prevent evil - it's apotropaic - that means it will prevent evil.

Apotropaic, see you've even gotten a new word out of this blog. Come on, people. Buy the book.