FIVE YEARS TODAY

Today, near as dammit, marks the fifth anniversary of my first publication.

The Habit of Dying wasn’t the first story I sold, but by the usual quirks of fate, was the first to see print. It appeared in the August 2001 edition of ezine Alien Q. No, I haven’t linked it: despite promising to pay $US50, they never did, and after a protracted email battle, I forced them to pull the story after it had been on display for six months or so. Still, it was my first story to see air, and I’m still proud that it happened.

I sold it again to Peridot Books some time later, and it appeared in Volume 24 of that electronic publication. Sadly, it’s no longer available, but as a way to mark the anniversary, I’ve created a new blog page upon which to put the story.

It’s here. Go and have a read. It’s not art, but it was the first hathcling out of the nest, so you can picture me all teary and nostalgis as you gaze upon its deathless (ahem) prose.

By one of those wonderful and slightly eerie synchronicities that rule our life, August also marks the fifth anniversary of Luscious’ first publication. (Ooooohhhhhh boogieboogieboogieboogieboogie).

Divinities appeared in the August 2001 issue of Antipodean SF under her then-name of Lyn Triffitt, and as Anti-SF have a better habit of archiving their stuff than others, you can still read it in its original form.

5 years. Not much has happened since…..

KSP SUCCESS ONE

I don’t know how successful the KSP thought the SF Minicon was going to be, but I don’t think they anticipated it being that successful.

The place was packed, kids. If you didn’t come, well, maybe that was a good thing. You wouldn’t have been able to squeeze in. I’ve been attending functions at the centre for a few years now, and never, not even on their open days, have I seen the function room audience spill out into the adjoining room. People stood, people sat on the floor, people crammed in any way they could.

The panels were just long enough, the speakers were bright, informative, and lively, the cheap and plentiful lunch went down a treat, and books left the table at a regular rate. Over 30 people came for the 5 and a half hour event, which was enough to keep the building jumping, and very few of them left before the end.

What was most pleasing, for me as MC, was the number of faces I didn’t recognise: people who were attracted from outside the usual SF scene by the location, the fresh take, or just the lure of cheap hot dogs 🙂 Whatever the reason, they stayed, and they bought books, and if we come away with a couple of converts, well, good business.

I was exhausted by the end of things: 330 minutes of MCing makes for a busy day. But happily exhausted. And proud: Erin and Connor were as well behaved as kids their age can be expected to be in a non-kid-attuned environment; Luscious was her usual articulate and professional self (and hot! My missus is proof that SF can be intelligent and sexy, lemme tell you!).

But Aiden:

At 13 years of age, Aiden was the youngest panellist I’ve ever seen at a convention (There may have been younger. I wasn’t there). And he was nervous, for the first couple of minutes. Sitting next to the likes of Sally Beasly, Elaine Kemp and Juliet Marillier has unnerved adults. But once he found his feet, he was great: at ease, confident, quiet and serious but good value for his questions, he made Lyn and I very proud. And for the rest of the day he behaved as perfectly as any parent could want. He even came away with a couple of fans, not to mentiuon a signed copy of Hal Spacejock: Second Course and a Hal frisbee, gifted to him by one of my favourite SF people, Simon Haynes.

We’ve been making jokes of the One of Us, One of Us! variety at Aiden’s expense for a little while now, but no more. He’s one of us, and he’s damn good at it.

The day was a roaring success, and I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’ll be on again next year, should the relevant parties want to saddle up. Big-mob kudos to Satima Flavell Neist for driving the day to a successful conclusion, and to James & Margaret for coping with the task of feeding such a large crowd. You did a great job, guys.

KSP SUCCESS TWO

Sunday also marked the occasion of the announcement of this year’s winners in the annual KSP SF/F Awards. Lyn and I had a couple of stories in, as we do each year, and we’d received letters asking us to be in attendance because we’d been shortlisted.

Each year, the judges award a first and second prize, as well as as many Commended and Highly Commended notices as they see fit. Lyn and I judged the competition last year, and we gave out 11 gongs for what was a high quality field. I’ve won before, back in 2003, and Lyn always captures a commendation of some stripe, so we were pleased to have kept our records intact.

Angela Challis, of Shadowed Realms fame was this year’s judge. Including the winner and second prize, she gave out 5 commendations.

Lyn and I won 4 of them.

Only 2nd prize eluded our grasp.

That is what we call a good day’s work. 🙂

HOODWINKED

Is a damn good idea ruined.

Too adult for the four year old, too slow for the adults, and the animation was bad in a way I haven’t seen for years (C’mon, how could you forget to put shadows under people so they don’t look like they’re walking three inches above the ground?). The few moments of genuine humour are spaced too far apart to justify even the short 80 minute journey. It’s hard to see who this movie is aimed at. To be honest, it didn’t seem aimed at anybody, rather, it felt as if they just threw a whole bunch of ideas at a wall and kept what stuck.

In a way, it reminded me of Hudson Hawk in that there are some lovely bits (Patrickk Warburton’s Big Bad Wolf and Glenn Close’s Granny are great, as is the banjo-playing hillbilly goat) but the movie as a whole leaves you hollow and regretful.

I’m really disappointed. Presenting the Red Riding Hood story like a crime movie a la The Usual Suspects was a great idea, a chance to do something hip and self-aware and still throw enough light and movement in to keep the kiddies satisfied. But they blow it. What a pity.

YOU. WILL. BE. LIKE. USSSSUH.

I’ve been somewhat underwhelmed by the new season of Doctor Who. I thought the first 3 episodes were well on the lame side, and whilst episode 4 represented a big increase in quality, I looked forward to the 2-part Cyberman revival with some trepidation.

Heh.

I am, perhaps, in the minority in that while I’ve always liked the Daleks, I’ve always loved The Cybermen. They are my monster of choice, and as soon as the resurrection of the Doctor was announced I knew they’d be back to join him. Some things, like Daleks and the TARDIS, simply cannot be done without.

For the most part, Saturday’s opening episode was solid without being spectacular. The zeppelins were cool: I mean, hey, they’re zeppelins. The Ricky/Mickey storyline was looking interesting. But the flaws and logic holes that have plagued the first 16 episodes were there in abundance, large and obvious for all to see. And then….

You. Will. Be. Like. Usssuh.

I actually jumped in my seat for joy. They were back, just like they were meant to be. Logical, implacable, desperate, terrifying. As Luscious will testify, I was still breaking out into fan boy giggling fits three hours after the episode was finished. And then, the next morning, the A-boy reminded me of that other great Cyberman quote, and I can’t wait another 5 days to find out if the writers think it’s the perfect ending, like we do:

We. Will. Survivvvvvuh.

Pleasepleasepleaseplease…..

THE MEMORY GETS BIGGER

Luscious received a phone call from Producer Matt during the week. Seems my script for the The Memory of Breathing movie has been well received. So well, in fact, that they want me to prepare a second draft. At feature length.

It’s a long, long way from here to there, but if everything that needs to fall into place falls into place, Memory could be a feature film, written (at least the first two drafts), by me.

My guidance counsellor didn’t see that one coming…