Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Polity Agent

Neal Asher's "Polity Agent" is very good.

Hell, it's better than very good.

Go out and get yourself a copy. In my opinion, Asher's pretty much cornered the action Space Opera market. Asher seamlessly incorporates a hundred or so years of science fiction, its tropes, its imagery, and detonates it in your face.

(Yes, I know that hardly counts as a critical analysis, but these books are fun, I describe them to people who don't read SF as Star Wars meets James Bond, only better)

Happy Birthday, J

Happy Birthday, Jodi!

Hope you and Pete are having a fine day in Cambridge,well, it actually looks very cold (is it really -12.1 °C?) and cloudy, but there's always coffee and central heating. Wish I was over there, maybe not because that's really, really cold, but then there's always the possibility of cake.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Things I'm Adoring

The things I am adoring right now are Paul Park's "Princess of Roumania" which has to be one of the finest fantasy novels I have read in ages, just beautiful, the sentences, oh the sentences, and the world itself, it's absolutely glorious. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan's album "Ballad of the Broken Seas" bought this album yesterday, and it's amazing, if you like beautifully arranged country-bluesy-folk that's as moody as all hell give this a try. Oh and beer, I'm rediscovering beer of late, beer is indeed good.

Diana, who I always adore, had a wonderful birthday, there were suprises, there were special guest stars, there was even a city.

And, hey, the Shimmaron books are on their way. Apparently I am now one of "Australia's leading authors for children" Hah!

Talking of which, and talking of true leading authors and what have you, I caught up with Marianne, Margo and Rowena yesterday: three of my favourite people in the world. There was also a city involved.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Every evening, and late at night, just as she was going to bed, alone since her husband had left her, which was not a bad thing (and often it isn't) the light would come on. A golden light that flickered through the window in the apartment across from hers; a fitful luminescence that suggested creation, possessed some formative, primeval vitality.

After some weeks of this, and being moderately curious (and moderately drunk) she decided she had to investigate. After all this was a new time for her, living alone, enjoying it at last, and realizing what her friends had always told her: she really was better off without him. And thank Christ for that.

The window was scarred with paint, offering only a partial view of the room beyond. She had to get up close to have a look. Closer than she would have normally liked, but it was late, and there was no one to see her, and the light was a glowing invitation and a delicious mystery, and there was half a bottle of champagne in her, so she walked right up to the glass.

Her fingers brushed the rough brick that bordered the window, sliding to the windowpane, but still she could not see the light's source. No regular bulb that was for sure, nor a flickering fluorescent tube, the light too warm. She pressed her face against the glass, peered through the smears of greasy paint, and cut her finger on the sharp edge of the window frame. She whispered a curse, and brought her bleeding finger to her lips. But now she was close enough to see.

A man sat in there alone, watching the sunrise on television, running the image back and forth, playing then rewinding, playing then rewinding.

She brought her fingers back against the glass, and her blood smeared its surface. She blinked, the room was empty, just the sun rising upon the screen.

On the other side of the building, a door opened, and something made a sound like wings, or old bones, or the too swift shuffling of rough boots, coming close, rushing, rushing, predatory and not even bothering with stealth.

And in that moment, one way or another, she knew that was the last sunrise she would ever see.

Ancient Gliding Beast

Was reading New Scientist today and came across what has to be one of the coolest, and most utilitarian names for an animal*, the Volaticotherium antiquus, "ancient gliding beast" is a kind of sugar glideresque mammal that soared through the air before birds - well possibly, they're not sure of the date.

I'm thinking of changing my name to "Ancient Gliding Beast". Man, I love New Scientist.

*which is sort of given away by that title

Gift and Twilight Singers

It's Diana's birthday on Friday and I am very pleased with her present. Extremely pleased, and, what's more, I've just come upon a little additional present, which I shall be procuring tomorrow, at some expense.

I love buying presents for Diana, and she is going to love it, this little, additional thing, no more than an appurtenance, to the main show, perhaps even more than her actual present.

I can't tell you how much I love her, this wife of mine, I probably don't tell her enough either, shit, I know I don't. But love is one of those things that words can't get a purchase on, one of those vexing things, that I always try to have a slog at, word wise, and fail. Love is so much more than words, it's the whole journey, it's the memory, and the pain, and the joy – see how empty these words are*.

D and I saw Greg Dulli's band the Twilight Singers at the Zoo, a few weeks back, and it was amazing. I've never seen a singer own the stage like that, make it bigger, and challenge the audience to join him in that place where great gigs exist, which isn't the club and the stage, but somewhere else (kind of like the club, kind of like your skull but smoky and brooding and joyous and fucked up and clever).

Dulli even pulled out our favourite Afghan Whig's song "Gentleman" mid-set, just belted it out, sly and subtle-like. And then Mark Lanagan got up and joined him. There was more presence up on that stage than in half a dozen lesser gigs, dude's got a set of pipes on him. Best gig ever.

And that might be because D and I have such a history with these singers, because the Whigs were such an important part of our early courting, but they could have so easily disappointed. Anyways a good way to start the live act year.

*Of course as slogs go that was pretty lame.

Teeth are Evil

I've decided that teeth are evil.

Well, at least the things that get stuck between them.

The other day I found my hat lodged between my rear molars, which wouldn't have been so bad except someone was wearing it. I'd ground them down to little more than a red paste with my dental floss. I had to bury the remains in my backyard, next to the ashes of long exorcised sock puppet writers. I never found out just who was wearing my hat, it may have been this elephant.

When I was young I coughed up an elephant, it wasn't very big, not nearly as big as this fellow, but it was affectionate, and we became fast friends. It had a fondness for hats as well. It ended tragically, but that tends to be the way with things you cough up.

If anyone is missing a hat loving elephant let me know, or, better yet, don't. It's probably for the best that we let this one lie.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Has it really been that long?

Well I'm back, I'll get the broom out, and brush away those cobwebs, actually I rather like the cobwebs, and the dust, well it does give a sense of substance, or at the very least atmosphere.

I've been busy, making life changes and writing and stuff, just generally been busy. But I didn't mean to be away for so long.

Just finished rewriting my kids' book "The City and the Stony Stars", which is part of the whole Shim collective. Just finished the final draft of a new story and subbed it, and am about to finish another, and there are a good dozen other stories that are on the passing through the border between mess and story, so life is good – which doesn't mean the stories themselves are good, but that's neither here nor there.

If you haven't yet read it I'd recommend Paul Park's "A Princess of Roumania" a thoroughly entertaining and somewhat dislocating novel with wonderful characterisation and beautiful writing. But you've probably read it. It's part one of a series, but this is the real deal, a classic in the making, that contains prose you want to read aloud, and villians drawn so perfectly you feel for them as much as you hate them.

Well, I'm back.