I’ve been away.

In the wake of this year’s Swancon, I received a couple of emails. No need to go into the minutiae, but they were, shall we say, detailed. In addition, Lyn suffered the indignity of being upbraided by a fan type at a recent social occasion, who felt they needed to belittle her for being a writer in order to puff up their own sense of self-importance. It was hurtful, and humiliating, and frankly, the last straw.

I needed a few days away from the world to reassess.

So here’s the thing: I’m not doing Swancon, or any other Western Australian conventions, any more. I’m not doing any of the social events that surround them. I love writing, and though it is occasionally problematic, I really enjoy blogging. I enjoy the correspondences I keep with friends and like-minded people who contact me. So I’m going to keep to those.

Many thanks to those who contacted me to ask about the absence.


I had a long post here about Swancon. If you’ve got the rss feed archived you’ve probably still got it somewhere. I dunno: some things about the internet escape me.

Anyway, suffice to say, it’s gone now. I’ve decided not to post it. To those who enjoyed catching up with me, my thanks. To those who didn’t, I apologise. I hope everyone had a great time.


Erin arrives back in Perth tomorrow night, and will be back home by Monday afternoon. It’s about time: we’ve missed her so much it hurts, and we can’t wait to hug her and tell her how much we love her. And listen to all her stories (we know already that she’s seen live kiwis and danced with Maori pois), and see the photos, and look at the pictures she’s drawn, and read her holiday diary, and hug her again, and……

She’s been gone too long.


Everybody take a good look at Ben Szumskyj and Jason Crowe. See their noble bearing. Note the fire in their eyes; the strength inherent in their upright spines; the deep and mellifluous timbre of their voices. Watch as they stride across the cultural landscape like Gods amongst men, these colossi, these walking odes to the virility and dynamism of Man.

Now, come back in three months and see what wizened, Gollum-like creatures they have become after submitting their work to my tender mercies as part of this year’s AHWA Mentorship scheme.

Okay, so they’re actually extremely personable and articulate lads with whom I’ve already enjoyed spirited and intelligent correspondences, and who are already displaying the necessary humility, eagerness to learn, and critical thinking that will serve them well in their careers. But it’s much more fun to describe them this way, don’t you think? 🙂


Lucky lucky lucky jammy jammy lucky jammy lucky lucky lucky…..

As of last Friday night, we’re Erin-less for two weeks. Her Nanna has whisked her away on a once-in-a-lifetime-knowing-our-finances-and-chances-of-doing-it trip to New Zealand, where she’ll spend her time meeting the maternal branch of her birth-mother’s family, discovering snow, riding kiwis, wrestling hobbits, and losing cricket matches. We’ve equipped her with an enormous scrapbook and a mandate to fill it with as many drawings, pressed flowers, feather, snapshots and the like as she can, and we’ve been promised regular email updates.

We saw her off at the airport Friday night. The two weeks prior to the trip, it had been her only topic of conversation, and we’d made a ritual of crossing off the days on her special calendar, pinned to the fridge. At the airport itself, she was just about uncontrollable with excitement, literally unable to sit down: running around in circles; chattering non-stop to favourite doll Janice about the plane and what movies they’ll see on the plane and the special dinenr they’ll eat on the plane and how they’re going to fly up in the sky on the plane; jumping up and down and asking “how long now” every time she paused for breath…… Right up until it was time to leave us and walk through the departure gate, when suddenly she burst into tears and flung herself into Lyn’s arms.

She cried, I cried, Lyn cried, Connor asked for a drink of juice…… and then she was gone, waving to us as she walked hand-in-hand with Nanna through the gate and onto the plane.

She’s having the time of her life, I know, safe within a circle of relatives who will treat her as the special treasure she is. But I miss her like hell.


Lyn, Aiden, Blake, and I are off to Swancon next weekend, along with the vast majority of the Western Australian SF community. Lots to do, lots to see, and no money to buy anything with (sigh), but at least I’ll be on some interesting panels.

If you really can’t get enough of my dulcet tones, you can catch me at the following times and locations:

Flash Fiction
Lee Battersby, Martin Livings, Zara Baxter
Friday 10am
When does it work? Why does it so often fail? Why is it so popular? Why do people have such strong feelings about it? Should it have its own awards? Is it a dumping ground for ideas that fail to develop? Or is it simply the perfect form of fiction for an era of multi-tasking and short attention spans?

Horror: The State of the Art
Lee Battersby, Stephen Dedman, Shane Jiraiya Cummings
Sunday 12pm
Where exactly is the Australian horror scene today? Some commentators have pointed to a recent resurgence in the field- is this the sign of more growth to come, or a momentary swell of interest before audience return to reading other genres? What is it that Australian horror has to offer that other nations can’t? An incisive look into one of Australia’s most promising- and oftentimes most neglected- genres.

Critiquing: How Much Feedback is Too Much?
Lee Battersby, Juliet Marillier, Robert Hoge, Satima Flavell Neist
Sunday 5pm
Writer’s Groups (face to face online), manuscript assessment services, mentoring- will they help you to write better? Or will they hurt your confidence, or waste your time?

Dr Who and the Big Finish
Lee Battersby, Stephen Dedman, Rob Shearman, Ian Mond
Monday 11am
Big Finish are a notable producer of Doctor Who audio plays and other media. What is it like working with them? How have things changed with the new series? How does fandom feel about their take on Doctor who? What about their work based on other cult SF properties?

You Gotta Make Way for the Homo Superior
Lee Battersby, Lyn Battersby, Tom Eitelhuber
Monday 11am
David Bowie’s name is synonymous with many trends: rock, art, androgyny, the reinvention of the self. And, of course, science fiction. This panel will look at ways in which Bowie’s music has influenced the culture of the 20/21st centuries. Which writers have been inspired by his lyrics? Who inspired him first?

Keen-eyed observers will note that I appear to be in two places at once on Monday. I’ve notified the programmer, and hopefully by the time we’re all at the Con it’ll be sorted: I don’t want to miss out on either panel, so fingers crossed for some expert tweaking of time and place. I’ll also be presenting an award at Sunday Night’s award ceremonies, so I’ll be enjoying getting frocked up and getting on stage.


On the subject of which (oh, how smooth was that?), the traditional longest-shortlist-in-the-world, the WA SF ‘Tin Duck’ Achievement Awards have been released. You can see the full list here. I’ve several stories up for consideration, so if you enjoyed any of the following during the year, consider giving them a nod:

Father Muerte & The Joy of Warfare (Aurealis 37)
The Time Eater (Dr Who: Destination Prague)
Beached (Daikaiju III)

You’ll also find Lyn’s story Born of Woman, from Daikaiju II on the list. Easily the best flash fiction piece published last year by an Australian, imho, it’s well worth consideration.


And while I’m at it, explosions of happy congratulations for the merely magnificent MoonSeanie, for receiving news that should totally fuck up all his cred for the rest of his life 🙂

Just remember, I knew him before he went electric.