Friday, September 22, 2006

Trentonomicon hits the ton, and becomes Trentontonicon

Well, this is the hundredth post. Who'd have thunk it, eh. It's my last one for for a while, heading off to NZ – and, no I haven't started Prador Moon, okay, maybe, but just the first page.

Big word to my mate, Leon, who is getting married while I'm away, which reminds me, I forgotten to get him a wedding present, bugger. Um, Leon, I'll get you a hobbit, they make good coffee tables. May you and Marie have a wonderful day.

So much to do, so little time. Why the hell am I blogging, and why do I suddenly feel like working on my novel?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Zealand & Prador Moon

I'm heading off to New Zealand for the next couple of weeks, while there's still some stuff to sort out, I did the most important thing today, bought a copy of Neal Asher's Prador Moon to read on the plane.

Still a couple of days to go, and it's going to be a real effort to keep from reading it until then. It's only a couple of hundred pages long, so I have to be careful to pace myself, but if anything's going to keep my mind off all that flying, racing metal, and its height from the ground, and the kind of impact it could make in the Pacific, then it's an Asher novel. I love my Space Opera, and Asher is one of the best practitioners of the art - and his new novel Polity Agent is out in October.

Prador Moon is also a lovely looking book, with an excellent Bob Eggleton painting on the cover. And just so you know it's all about me in this tiny slice of the Blogosphere, Bob Eggleton also did the cover for Daikaiju! which contains my story "Five Bells". Daikaiju! like all the agog! press books is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

All Manner of Goodness

Saw the Dresden Dolls last night.

They were great, crowd and band fed off each other marvellously. Better yet, Diana's reaction to the band. She is not at all a Dresden Doll's fan – something that surprised me because D loves her Cabaret - but they won her over. I actually think she enjoyed them more than me.

Best cover of War Pigs ever. Very, very cool.*

Talking of cool, check out Marianne de Pierres' new blog. One of Australia's finest SF exports I think her career is about to explode - and she's been doing alright so far, better than alright. Her books are magnificent.



*Okkervil River, the Dresden Dolls, I've been spoilt of late.

Terra Mortuus

They were all dead.

Everyone.

Steven was too shocked to mourn. He wondered when that might end. It had already been a week, since he had taken the boat to shore, its still cargo, just the beginning. He'd fought off the gulls, but they'd been too many, their hungers too fervent. They'd not been interested in him. Just the still flesh of the rest of the crew. He couldn't think about it too much. To do that. Well the pain washed over him, and there was no end to it. Just like the gulls. But this he could fight. If he kept moving, stopped thinking.

Everywhere.

Everyone.

Dead.

There were tourists, of course, and some of them had come to him; eyes wide, seeking something he couldn't provide, comfort that he couldn't even give himself. To be still was murder, mate. Fucking murder.

He had gotten in his car and driven. Away, west, as far as he could, syphoning diesel when he needed it.

As he drove he listened to the radio, picking up in scratchy bursts the fractured transmissions of a confused world. Australia was cordoned off, though no one had an understanding yet of what had happened. From what he had gathered, Australians all over the world had died. Qantas jets had plummeted from the skies. Carey had keeled over in New York. Australian Embassies were charnel houses. Clive James had been found dead in his apartment. He lost track of time, for the first few days the skies were dark with birds flying east. Once or twice planes had flown over, but they had been high and swift, as though nervous of infection.

He'd stopped at last.

Uluru.

But not as he had ever known it. The rock was black. Its surface hummed. It burnt his fingers when he touched it, but he'd been slow in pulling them back. It burnt his fingers, and there was momentary purity in the pain. There were feathers everywhere, black as the stone, sticky with blood, like birds had been birthed here and roughly.

Steven had set up camp in the shadow of the black rock. And waited.

Peter and Colin drove over the horizon the next morning, the first living Australians Steven had seen in a week.

Peter got out of the car. He nodded at Steven then regarded the coal darkness of Uluru.

"Shit. Now that’s…shit."

He walked to the stone, just as Steven had done.

"It's hot mate. You'll burn yourself."

Regardless, that's what he did. Colin didn't, he didn't look like he needed to.

"Tell me I'm dreaming," Steven said.

"No. Sorry…shit … but they're all dead." Peter's voice was raw, like he'd been talking for days, though he had barely said a word around Steven.

Colin couldn't stop shaking his head. "The tourist's have cleared out, just corpses now, and the birds. You wouldn't believe the birds. The moment they died, the birds started coming."

Peter's hands clenched to fists. "Won't be much left soon but bones."

"So what do we do?" Steven asked; he had ideas of his own, but there were three of them now, and Colin looked tired.

Peter shrugged. "What do you reckon?"

"Mate, we drive north. Far as we can. This country's done for, and what's coming, none of us are going to like."

"Why us?" Peter asked. "Why were we spared?"

"I don't know, mate. I don't know, but when they find us, well..."

"I don't think they should find us," Colin said. "Well, I don't want to be found."

"This country's dead."

They turned their back on the boiling rock, got into their cars, and drove.



Sunday, September 10, 2006

Battlestar 2.0

Just finished watching Battlestar Galactica Season 2.0, and, well, wow.

This has been my favourite genre programme of 2006.

If you're at all interested in good quality SF television then give this show a try. Not only is it entertaining sf adventure but it hasn't shied away from dealing with, and reasonably even-handedly, with issues of faith and fanaticism, politics and war. It has also, throughout this season in particular, explored the implications of character's choices with rigour and little sentimentality.

The characters are flawed, they bicker, they take sides, they change their minds, they doubt their motives. There hasn't been anything this good inside a spaceship since Firefly, and to think it was born of what was a rather average SF series from the seventies and early eighties – which I loved back then, but hey I was a nerdy pre-teen who loved seeing things explode in space.

It also makes another recently revisioned SF series - that I also loved as child - look decidely pale in comparison.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Celebrities exist to…

And the early obits say he was a good man – you can't argue with that. Not today you can't. Not now you can't.

Okkervil River – The President's Dead



Not the best week to be an Australian Icon. All of them are eyeing each other nervously and downplaying their cultural significance. Because they know something you don't. Celebrities exist to remind us that we die. If you think they serve any other function then you're not really thinking it through.

We're just waiting for them to die. Holding our breath. We all die. But celebrity possesses a narrative. Celebrity is larger than life and defined, and summed up after death. Without the death, you've only half the story.

Irwin. Thiele. Brock.

They've fulfilled their function.

Just like Enkidu*.

And it's a tragedy, but we're all heading there, and it's all waiting for us. It's tragic, but that's life, and life needs stories with beginnings and endings (no matter how abrupt or disjointed), so we hold our breath and wait for them to die, and, even when it's a surprise we know it isn't.

Celebrities exist to remind us we die.

*who was really a sort of proto Steve Irwin if you think about it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dog and Moon

I took the dog and the moon for a walk today.




The moon all hung up on its ripe luminosity, and wanting to be a symbol of love or murderous inclination, stalked ahead. The dog just wanted to sniff things. The moon was all, "I am the master of tides." The dog was all, "Let's just piss here. Oh, and over there."

The dog had a lead. The moon didn't, it followed me home regardless.

The tree outside my window fell down today. Crashed beneath the weight of the wind, and very luckily, not onto our roof. I was just getting ready to leave for work, and there was a crack, loud as god's troublesome neck popping back in, and the tree wasn't outside my window any more.

My window has nothing outside it now, except the world and the moon.


The moon is taking credit.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's over...

Well it was wonderful, really, really wonderful. If you get a chance to see Okkervil River live you simply must.

The vibe at the Zoo was really good, and the band seemed to be enjoying themselves. I loved them last time, but Will Sheff had a strep throat, and the band was a couple of members short, and they looked tired, and I still thought they were the best thing I'd ever seen live.

Well, I'm even more impressed. Go see them. Then buy their cds.

Just got home, the streets were quiet, my ears are buzzing warmly.

And I have to work tomorrow.

Better get some sleep.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Only one day to go

The house is quiet, even the animals are sleeping - I think we may have narcoleptic pets.

I haven't got the diggingest dog, just the sleepiest dog and the yawniest cat, which is cool because they're not waking you up at five in the morning wanting their breakfast. But it just isn't right when your pets like to sleep in after you get up. They should be entertaining you or, at the very least, barking at something – though I wouldn't mind if they even put on a pot of coffee, you don't even need hands for that just a snout or a paw.

I can hear my dog snoring. It's distracting, I'd put on some music but I don't want to wake him or the cat. They can get a bit surly. Ernie once threatened me with a shovel when I tried to kick him off the bed, it was all a lot of fun and we laughed about it later, once they'd set my arm. His bark is bigger than his bite, but his use of garden implements coercive tools overshadows them both.*

Tomorrow it's off to the Zoo and Okkervil River, sure I haven't built it up or anything, it's not like it's become the most highly anticipated gig of the year, or that I'll be utterly devastated if they have an off day. Not at all.

Have to stop typing; the noise is bothering the dog.


*you should have seen what he did to the postman. Nasty. It's still working its way through the courts so I can't be specific, just never leave gardening shears lying around.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Only 2 Days until Okkervil River Plays

Just two days to go.

If you can still track down tickets, do it. You won't regret it.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Stories read and imagined and stuff

Short stories can be such a rush. You don't inhabit them like novels, they inhabit you. I bought a copy of the August F&SF a couple of days ago. It's a rather good issue. I'm a dipper when it comes to magazines, I never start with the first story nor end with the last, I tend to flip open the magazine and start reading. Don't know why, but it works for me.
So far I've totally dug the Christopher Rowe story "Another word for Map is Faith" as much for the title as the story itself, which is nice and subtle, and dark.

And I've just finished the Chris Willrich story "Penultimate Thule" and loved it. If you like the Leiber's stuff, you'll probably get into this. I'd be very surprised if it doesn't get into one of the year's bests for 2006. It's fantasy, old school, and part of a series of tales that I'm going to have to hunt down.

Been getting a bit of reading done, what with the rain and all public transport slows down, and I'm finding the trains a bit to crowded to write in at the moment.

I'm a little disturbed though, when I start reading people's stories in my dreams I know I'm not writing as much as I should. Ben Peek has been very productive this year – not just on his blog – but does he have to publish fiction in people's dreams? I'd like to think I could do that myself, or at least I'm reading my own stories. It was very good, though I can't remember the specifics except that it was set in his very cool Red Sun world place – check out his blog for more details on where you can read real Peek stories, and let me tell you that's lots of places these days, which is not at all a bad thing.

Oh and the dullness has passed - or at least the sense of it.

Next week I'm seeing Okkervil River, then a few weeks later it's road tripping New Zealand, which should be cool - oh and there's the Dresden Dolls in there somewhere too - and a bunch of new books, I'm eyeing off the newish Neal Asher, and Polity Agent is coming out very soon as well.

Life is good, and it's friday, and I can hear frogs croaking, what more could you want?