COOL THINGS

Plucked from the bookshelf of Fantastic Planet whilst returning from a family outing this afternoon: a spanky new copy of Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview. Compiled by Donna Maree Hanson, it’s a gorgeous book with profiles of significant writers, artists, magazines, and identities from the current pinnacle of the Australian genre.

And I’m on page 6 ๐Ÿ™‚ Nestled between Max Barry and KA Bedford. Now there’s a visual image that should keep you up at night….

And I’m happy to let you all know that we’ve put an offer in on a house and had it accepted, so as long as nothing goes spla we will definitely be on the march come January. And cleaning up after the housewarming a couple of weeks after that ๐Ÿ™‚

MY SON, ONE

Connor turned one year old on Saturday. When I think of all the ways in which we might never have had him, I want to pick him up and hug him and never give him up to anybody else to hold again. He represents so many things to me, so many terrors and scars overcome. I’m not sure how I’ll ever be able to express, to him or anybody else, just how deeply embedded in my soul my little boy is.

His birthday party was always going to be a big event.

Lyn and the kids went into overdrive to prepare for the party: cooking, cleaning, arguing over who would dress Erin and Connor and what outfit was cutest. I took myself outside to ready the patio. By the time the first guest arrived, we were ready to party or just lapse into a coma. Lyn, in particular, was everywhere, from the moment we got up to the moment she collapsed into bed at 7pm, worn out, tipsy, and suffering from having been too busy feeding and looking after everyone else to eat more than 2 pieces of sushi all day. Typically for her, she was mortified that she’d fallen asleep whilst some guests were still here. Typically for the kind of occasions she organises, everybody was having far too good a time, and feeling far too pampered and special, to worry.

As it turns out, Connor is pretty special to a lot of people, judging by the numbers who came along to help us celebrate. We weren’t even allowed to make a cake for him: that task was shanghaied by an eager Callisto, and the result tasted as fabulous as it looked. Mynxii was over the night before, blowing balloons up and stringing them together, and the whole event felt like nothing more or less than an extended family event. It didn’t matter whether attendees came from family, fandom, or friendship, there was a love of Connor that covered the day. Not even fallen trees kept people away.

So to all that came, thank you. Words cannot express. But perhaps a couple of pictures can at least give me a showing-off Dad moment.

Mine! All mine!

Callisto’s magnificent cake


Nrfmrwfmgmrrfmnmghmnmnm…….

FANDOMEDIA: SUNDAY

My panel arrived, and true to the day-old Fandomedia tradition, it was a subject I knew bugger-all about: cartooning. (Actually, I know a leeetle bit about it, and one of the better things about F05 was convenor Mynxii’s skill in putting people onto panels that took them out of their Con comfort zones. Let’s be honest, did anybody in Perth need to see me talk about short stories again?) It was hard work: my co-panellist, Tamara Carmichael, is a skilled artist (check out Spooky & Tinkle: the artwork is hers) but unused to talking head stuff. Between us we got through, and I enjoyed the chance to talk about influences I don’t normally get to espouse. If one person walked away with a urge to check out Charles Addams, Gahan Wilson, or Kliban, my work was well done.

Originally, it was planned that I would say a few words about Chuck McKenzie and the madness contained within his new collection Confessions of a Pod Person. But when fellow Guest of Honour Simon Haynes grabbed me and asked me to say a word or two about him and his Hal Spacejock novels, well, the Simon & Chuck Launch Hour looked an awful lot like this…

Well guess where I keep mine!

There may be a template for launching books. Three loonies taking the piss out of each other for an hour and ignoring the crowd may not be that template ๐Ÿ™‚ We had fun, though…. Later in the day, an audience member admitetd to Chuck that he’d originally read the book title as Confessions of a POO Person, and well, that was that for the rest of the Con. Chuck’s fate was sealed. Thank God it was Chuck: the man has a sense of humour with no limits. Not even my tactic of sending people up to him to tell him how much they enjoyed his Hal Spacejock novels seemed to faze him.

Goddammit, it does say Poo Person!

If there was a way to describe the tone of the convention, the closing ceremony would be it. Firstly, the crowd greeted Chuck with a chant of “Spacejock, Spacejock”, and Simon with the Poo Person equivalent, and halfway through Mynxii’s convenor speech, broke out into a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday when it was revealed that it was indeed that happy occasion. Finally, the guest lineup for next year’s convention was revealed, to mucho applause-oh. To whit:

Fan GoH: Elaine Kemp
Flying in From Other Climes Guest: Marianne de Pierres
Driving in from her house in Clarkson guest: Luscious Lyn Battersby!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do I see your name on this poster, fat guy?

How cool is that? It’s a well deserved honour for my darling wife, who is going to knock people back on their heels this coming year with the depth and range of her work. It’s a very exciting time for her, and I couldn’t be prouder. I might even buy a ticket and go along to see her ๐Ÿ™‚

As usual, the con was finished in the bar, where cake and nibblies were brought out to celebrate Ju’s birthday. Much imbibing was done, and by the time Luscious and I left, the con had been marked down by most present as a top 5 ‘best ever’. And deservedly so.

And special mention must be made of our new dead dog fun buddy: John Robertson is a frighteningly Lee-in-his-mid-20s kind of guy: stand-up comedian, uber-fan, sartorial dyslexic… (beginning to sound familiar?). He and I spent a rather large part of the evening attempting to find the worst possible opening to a joke that could be perpetrated upon an audience, (Two paedophiles walk into Auschwitz…), before performing a medley of show tunes and 80s pop songs as either Rammstein or Mahatma Ghandi, as the mood took us. You’ve not heard Nina Simone until you’ve heard her done by 2 drunk Aussie guys putting on deeeep German heavy metal accents. You just haven’t.

And to finish off, well, I was going to explain these Chuck Mc photos, but naaaaaaaaahhh.

FANDOMEDIA: SATURDAY

Yeah, I realise it’s been a week since this wonderful convention ended, but I made some notes, and well, it’s be a shame to waste them, so:

Saturday morning started beautifully for us, although it took some time to swing me out of a monstrous depression that was threatening the occasion. We met talented Canberra writer Matthew Farrer in town for breakfast and he presented us with a copy of his novel Junktion, which cheered me up immensely: the company of talented people bearing booty has that effect… ๐Ÿ™‚

Saturday was notable for being the first convention day in over three years where I was not on a single panel. In fact, I was only due to be on one panel for the entire convention, apart from saying a few words in defence of Chuck McKenzie at the launch of his book Confessions of a Pod Person on Sunday. As it was, I was quickly dragged out of the crowd to play a part in the 1st panel of the day: Iron Writer! or to give it it’s proper name Irwon Writerooohaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!! Along with Messrs Farrer & Livings, I was set a haiku. The subject: rabbits, and hysteria. Here, for posterity and to show that Sean Williams is not the only man around to get in touch with his innermost soul in 17 syllables, is the result:

Bouncing cotton ball
Unseen combine harvester
The empty warren

(Sniff). Oh, the art…….

Haiku bitches
After a chaotic yum cha lunch at which Luscious and Chuck discovered a sexual chemistry so awe-inspiring it had the rest of us reaching for squid legs with which to relieve ourselves (Well, they got on really well, and I just wanted to give you that visual image…..)…

Me Tarzan, you squid leg?
…I had the pleasure of sharing a panel with Luscious, Martin Livings, Stephanie Gunn and Shane Jirayia Cummings for the launch of Shadow Box, the uber-sexy flash-horror anthology mentioned in an earlier post this week.

Guess what I’m touching your leg with…..
Lyn is due to appear in issue 9 of Shadowed Realms, their special ‘redback’ all-women’s issue, and to commemorate the occasion, they presented her with a little friend…
No need for you tonight, Battboy…

The day was wrapped up by dinner with Matthew, and it was an enormous pleasure to spend a civilised dinner with an articulate and passionate writer after a day of performing monkey boy servitude. It was the most relaxed I’d been at a Con in some time, and for once we didn’t stay at the hotel, so it was a good feeling to be in my own bed at the end of the evening. Of course, I knew that in part two I’d have to get the monkey boy suit on for my panel……