In honour of our first Midnight Echo excerpt, an entirely appropriate piece of Sunday youtubery. What else but that hairpsray and pastel classic, “Hungry Like The Wulluf”?—
Lastly, a fond farewell to Perth writer, cartoonist, actor, and all-round fine fellow Grant Watson, who has taken his ball, his wife and cats, and his massive talent, and skedaddled to Melbourne on the flimsy pretext that he’s got a job there and quite fancies the notion of a regular pay cheque and the chance to eat every now and again.
The are few people in the Australian SF community I respect as highly as Grant, so it’s somewhat paradoxical that I welcome his moving several thousand kilometres away– after all, I don’t see a time or place where we’ll ever meet in the flesh again because of it– but I think Melbourne is going to be a boon for him: he’s a big talent, and I firmly believe he’d just about exhausted his opportunities in the small sphere of influence that Perth afforded him. Ensconced within a bigger community, with exponentially greater opportunities to further his craft, I think he’s going to bloom like a triffid in a school for the blind. And I think Australian SF fans, not to mention cartooning and theatre fans, will be the beneficiaries.
The very best of luck, Grant.
As part of this year’s Australian SF Snapshot, I’ve been interviewed by the lovely Tehani Wessely. You can read the results here. With the Worldcon in Melbourne approaching in September there are couple of questions on that subject, but it does, as is its purpose, provide a quick snapshot of where I am at the moment.
The Snapshots have been run twice before: you can read my 2005 interview here and my 2007 interview here. It’s interesting, to me at least, to see how my goalposts have moved over the last 5 years– my ambitions and hopes are not what they once were– not even close, really– and I’m a hell of a lot more comfortable with the path ahead of me that I was 3 years ago.
Eventually, all the interviews that make up this year’s Snapshot are going to be archived in one central location, but for now, start at Tehani’s and go LJ-jumping to read those you find interesting. They finished something like ninety in the week the snapshot was running, so there’s bound to be someone who takes your fancy.
For your delectation, and to provide a trail of poisonous little breadcrumbs leading towards the candy house with the smiling little old lady that is Midnight Echo #4, my authors and I have decided to give you a little snippet of each of their works in the lead-up to the release of the issue.
First up, an aperitif: something elegant, graceful, with just a hint of blood in the aftertaste–
Cromwell laughed and clapped him on the back. “Beautiful, graceful, intelligent enough to make pleasant conversation, she represents all that is good about England.”
“She lives in America,” Father Ignatius pointed out.
Cromwell flapped his words away with a small wave of his hand. “A small colony in Virginia struggling to do nothing more than survive on corn and tobacco. One season in my court and she won’t think twice about what she’s left behind. Did you see the wolf?”
“Not really. It was too dark.” He felt her presence, though, even in the safety of the palace.
“I’ve housed it on the lower floor. The lady insisted, saying if her companion was to spend its nights outside with the common animals, then that’s where she’d stay too. I’ve heard it’s a large beast, so large it makes our forest wolves seem like puppies in comparison.”
“It howled once, at the beginning of our journey. The sound put me in mind of those banshees the Irish are always going on about.”
“Terrifying,” Cromwell said.
— Cromwell’s Beast, by Steven J Stegbar.
The decisions have been made. The editing has been carried out. The human cattle have been coralled. Finally, finally, I can announce the line-up for Midnight Echo #4, and oooh, there’s some creepy and disturbing little monkeys crawling amongst the ruins of this one. This April, you will be reading the following stories:
- Cromwell’s Beast— Steven J. Stegbar
- Carnal Knowledge— Don Norum
- The Moon & The Mesa— Dan Braum
- Sleeping Dogs— Geoffrey Maloney & Andrew Baker
- The Hand of God— Jason Crowe
- Where We Go To Be Made Lighter— Chris Green
- Tiny Drops— LL Hannett
- Little Boy Lost— Patty Jansen
- In The Walls— Philip Roberts
- Visiting— Richard Barber
- The Movie— Graham Fielding
- Poison Or The Knife— BL Hobson
As well as the following poems:
- Rabbit— Holly Day
- Mirror— Jenny Blackford
- The Fat Aftermath— Jude Aqulinia
Agh, it’s been hectic. Sorry I haven’t been around, but Real Life (tm) threatens to swallow me alive at the minute. Job searching has been uppermost– the 75 minute travel each way to my current job is really beginning to take its toll, and I’ve spent much of the last 2 weeks running through the interview process for a very cool job much closer to home. I have my fingers well and truly crossed: this would be a dreamy one, should I get it. Still, we’ve stuff to talk about, so let’s get to the postings, shall we?
Not good laying about with a slight headache eating Red Rooster and watching telly sick.
Stomach cramps and headaches and swaying about all dizzy as fuck sick.
Must have comfort music.
Stevie Wright and Steve Marriott (the best voice in rock and roll history, imho) will provide.
The greatest Australian band ever. E-VER.
I missed out on Sunday Youtubing on the weekend, so here’s something special.
Remarkibold. Goodlilode. Deep joy. 🙂
Well, (claps hands) that’s that.
All the submissions have been read, all the rejections have been sent, and now that the dust has cleared, I’m left with the 12 stories and 3 poems that make up the contents of Midnight Echo #4. Assuming nothing falls over between now and April, it’ll be my delight to present you with stories from the likes of Aurealis Award winners Chris Green and Geoffrey Maloney and international man about town Dan Braum, as well as the first poem penned by the lovely Jenny Blackford in many a long year.
I’ve received well over 200 submissions from all corners of the globe (quite literally!), and it’s a good feeling to be able to look at the final list and be satisfied that the works I’ve chosen are an accurate reflection of my views towards the art of horror writing, as well as damn good pieces in their own right. Will you enjoy them? It is to be hoped. But for now, I can move on to the second-stage editorial work— writing the editorial, shaping and editing submissions, discussing art and contracts with the appropriate AHWA Kahunas— and start to mold the final shape of the issue.
Stay tuned, and as soon as I get the all-clear from Midnight Echo Big Banana Marty Young I’ll give you the final Table of Contents.
A QUICK GLANCE INTO A NEARBY BUCKET
With the time-intensive scutwork of submissions editing out of the way, I can finally indulge myself once more with thoughts of my own work. The Battersby Art machine has been quiet of late, and there’s a lot of product to be fed into the business end. To whit:
- 2 novels need editing: Napoleone’s Land and Corpse-Rat King
- 3 stories are currently away in the world, and I have 2 more, The Possession of Mister Snopes and C to finish and send. The goal is to have completed and sent 15 by the end of the year, 12 from the partially completed work I have on hand, and 3 completely new pieces.
- 3 poems: Hart Crane, Treading Water; Wish Fulfillment; and Like A Leaf Falling need final polishes and sending out
- 3 cartoons are finished, I’ve 2 more that have been inked but not shaded, and I need at least 1 more completed after that to constitute a complete batch. The goal is to have 24 (or at least 4 batches) in circulation by the end of the year.
- And I promised myself that I’d complete a new novel by the end of the year, so I really need to get started on that as well. Still, on this score at least, you may be pleased by the following…..
SO IT BEGINS….
It began in a dream.
It has taken me a million years to leave my father’s embrace, and now I am falling. I am supposed to fall forever. I am never to touch the ground again.
Eight minutes after my fall commences, I start to burn.
Those are the opening words of the Father Muerte novel.
A QUICK WORD ABOUT PEOPLE TALLER THAN ME
He likes his privacy, so at his request I don’t make mention of him too much on this blog, but I’m breaking that rule because Aiden turned 17 a couple of days ago, and you need to know just how proud I am of the young man he’s become.
I simply couldn’t wish for a more intelligent, funnier, more capable, caring (as anyone who’s seen him with Connor can testify) and just generally excellent Bonus Son, and I’m excited by the thought of what’s coming to him in the years ahead as he navigates his final year of high school and heads on to University and the world beyond.
As soon as he acknowledges that System of a Down suck the devil’s dangly bits he’ll be perfect…..