A couple of weeks back, The Perth Adult Lego Society set up their umpteen-million-miles long display at the annual Perth Model Railway Show, and as it’s pretty much the only decent Lego show that Perth has, I grabbed the kids and we gave Lyn a day’s peace while we bogged off and had a gander. Along with every other Dad west of Adelaide.

Frankly, it was stunning, and not even having to cram past crowds six-deep at times to get close enough to see anything could dampen my enthusiasm. It was all very much beyond my limited capabilities– the complexity of each build, the way they were then collected together into clever and at times highly witty displays, and the grasp of narrative and architectural techniques boggled me, but I came away even more determined that my little corner of the State, so far away from the PALS HQ that making their regular meetings is just not feasible, should get their own LUG. It was, for a growing fan like me, a day of aspiration.
But a report ain’t a report without pictures, so have an eyeful of this lot.
There’s something very cool about seeing builds that contains part and figs you have yourself. So much Space Police stuff in this set. I became, perhaps, more excited than a 41 year old man should…
A space shuttle, with adult human for scale. Gojiiiirrraaaaaa!!!!!!
A touch of Perth, with working TV screen inside the nightclub. Weirdly, I worked in the building behind its real-life counterpart, and watched it being constructed. I would have loved to have ‘collected the set’ by watching this one take shape, too.
It just ain’t Lego if an adult doesn’t build a castle. Thousands of dollars worth of bricks, signs printed on copy paper worth 6 bucks a ream. I got yer priorities right here, pal!
Stormtroopers. Chasing chickens. ‘Nuff said 馃檪
Beautiful work on the rolling waves. It’s skill like this that makes me very envious.
Stunning detail on a Japanese castle. I couldn’t get my little phone close enough to take a good shot of the interiors, but the details were unbelievable.
I saw this volcano as the first ten or twenty bricks were being snapped into place by Braith, on my only visit so far to the PALS HQ. I felt like rubbing its hair and saying “Haven’t you grown?” like a distant aunty at a Christmas do.
A meccano Red Arrow. Just because it’s cool.
There were over 60 different model train tables as well, and whilst I enjoyed them, there was one for which I felt a strange and compelling affinity. I can’t, for the life of me, work out why….
It was a grand day out, and I’ll be back again next year, and hopefully, I’ll be taking notes for my own LUG…


Now, what about the rest of you?

If you鈥檙e the kind of old-fashioned fuddster who鈥檇 prefer to hold a real, live, dead-Brazilian-rainforest copy of the book, well, you probably think the Earth is one of God鈥檚 old silicon implants gone rogue and that women look pretty damn hot in a bustle and scold鈥檚 bridle.

Or you just like books. It鈥檚 all cool.

So: what do you have to do to get your greedy little hands on a paper copy of the greatest book ever written by a fat bearded bloke called Lee who lives in Mandurah?

Take a photo.

Okay, take a photo and send it to The Corpse-Rat King email address.聽

Okay, take a photo on one of three themes. Have a guess what they are (Hint: there are three words in the title of the book). Then send your photo as an attachment to the Corpse-Rat King email address.

Make sure you do the following:

  • 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Use either the word ‘Corpse’, ‘Rat’ or ‘King’ in the subject line, depending on which category you鈥檙e entering.
  • 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 In the body of the email, give me your name and postal address
  • 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 If you’re under 13, this may not be the book for you, in which case snap up a YA book from sister imprint Strange Chemistry to help ease the pain of missing out. Possibly one with unicorns. Or robots that change shape. Or unicorns that get caught in the gears of a robot as it changes shape…
  • 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Only send me one photo per email, and don鈥檛 send me more than one for each category.
  • 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Don鈥檛 get all smartarsey with photoshop or paintbox or or anything like that. People who use those things are never half as clever as they think they are. Just take a photo, and be clever and amusing and funny and all that without getting all digital and downloady about it.
  • 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Make sure聽 the photo is a jpg and keep it under 1M in size. Better still, compress it down to document size, so that Idon鈥檛 have to when I post them.
  • 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Keep in mind that judging is extremely subjective, and I鈥檒l pick the ones I like, rather than the ones that might represent the best use of the technology blah blah blah. So be original. Funny is good. Sensewunda is good. “Fuck me, get a load of that!” is very good.
  • 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Decisions are final, and any attempt to lobby or influence me may result in demands for cash, money, cup final tickets or Lego, depending on what I feel like on the day, and how close you live to a Lego theme park, and whether Forest ever make another Cup Final. Let’s be honest, we couldn’t make the finals of the Johnstone’s Paint trophy right now. Let’s be honest, we’d probably struggle with the FA Trophy. But I digress. And depress myself.
  • 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Send your entry in before midnight, Saturday 18 August, Western Australian time (GMT + 8).

One Sunday 19 August I鈥檒l post my 3 favourite photos from each category here and on my Facebook author page. Voting will remain open until Sunday 26 August.聽

The entry in each category with the most votes will win a signed non-renewable-resource copy of The Corpse-Rat King. Copyright remains always with you, and all entries will be shitcanned deleted after the close of the competition, so rest assured I shan鈥檛 use them for any nefarious promotional, exploitative, unauthorised or onanistic purposes.

Except maybe for one or two of the Rat ones.

Any questions?

Sigh. Yes. The categories are: Corpse. Rat. King. Got it?

Good. On you go, then.


So, what we really need to do is give away some free copies of The Corpse-Rat King, don鈥檛 you think?

Here鈥檚 what we鈥檙e going to do:


If you’d like to win a copy of the e-book version, log on to my Facebook author page and 鈥榣ike鈥 it.聽

Every couple of days from here until September 1 I鈥檒l put out a shout. Be the first person to shout out a page number between 7 and 395 and I’ll post an excerpt from that very page of the novel.聽

Two randomly selected posters will win electronic copies of the book come September 1st, so don’t despair if you’re not the first to post– put something up anyway and you’ll go in the draw to win the e-books.
In fact, we鈥檙e already doing just that, so, in the interests of catching you all up, have the first couple of excerpts, courtesy of people who already had the sense to follow my page.

The still.
It was the only object in the room. Marius reached out a hand and pushed against it, wincing as the hot wood seared his palm. The heavy cask refused to move. Marius closed his eyes. That much liquid, in a barrel that solid, must weigh almost two hundred pounds. It was his only recourse. There was no time to think about it. Marius frowned, recalling the ease with which the dead warrior had lifted him from the ground. He must weigh nearly as much as the barrel, yet the soldier had hefted him without an ounce of effort. The dead had their own strengths, the soldier had said. And he was dead, was he not? At least, his body was. It bore all the hallmarks of being so. Perhaps it had the same strengths.
Page 54, thanks to Matthew Tait.聽

They lay on opposite sides of the fire, listening to the rain thunder against the rock shelf outside. Marius stared out the dimly-lit entrance, willing on a sleep he felt neither necessary nor welcome. Anything to avoid another conversation. Then Gerd spoke once more, and the hope was shattered.

鈥淵ou know, this reminds me of home.鈥


鈥淭his. It reminds me of being at home.鈥

Marius contemplated the hard rock beneath his hip, the wind and spray chilling him from outside.

鈥淗ow? You grew up in a village.鈥
Page 69, courtesy of Daniel Simpson.聽

The old man cleaved the stickleprick bush without stopping, stick arms waving like a pair of spindly black machetes, cutting a path through the bushes at a pace that would have impressed a charging elephant. Marius watched him disappear into the gloom of the forest. Within moments the man was out of sight, but the sound of breaking vegetation continued for several minutes. Marius listened to the crashes of destruction fade into the distance, then turned back to the mule. They stared at each other. Marius鈥 gaze slipped down to the sand at his feet. No footprints spoiled the ground between the cart and the forest.

鈥淲ell,鈥 he said. 鈥淲hat do you make of that?鈥
Page 75, as per the Books, Crafts & Pretty Things Blog

There鈥檚 another shout-out happening almost immediately, so don鈥檛 you think you鈥檇 better be getting to it?


The first official review of The Corpse-Rat King is out, and I think it鈥檚 fair to say The British Fantasy Society is impressed.
The whole review is here, and if I can quote my Angry Robot stablemate (and fellow Lee-at-large) Lee Collins, I am revelling in chuffery.


I had all sorts of different takes on what I was going to write on this image, but I think what I鈥檒l do is just present this stunning piece of art without comment and let you make your own minds up.

Make with the clicky to follow the picture back to The Brothers Brick, where I first saw it, then from the comments to the full Flickr gallery. Mike Doyle, the artist, has a massive reputation in AFOL circles, by all account. Not hard to see why.


Are you aged 18 to 25 and living in Queensland? Decided to live a life of unparalleled luxury, with a team of underwear models following you around licking freshly-made margaritas off spare parts of your body and doing things to your naughty bits that would instantly turn your mother into one of those strange Born-again types who shout at people in shopping malls?

Well, you鈥檙e shit out of luck. I鈥檝e been waiting thirty years, and if I鈥檓 not getting it, I鈥檓 sure as hell going to make sure you don鈥檛 get it.

On the other hand, you could enter the Queensland Young Writers Award, if you鈥檙e聽 aged 18 to 15, live in Queensland, and can tear yourself away from Mass Effect 3 long enough to write a suitable short story before July 13.

You could win $2000 and a whole bunch of career opportunities. After all, isn鈥檛 that all we really want in life?

Because maragaritas are sticky, and make your pubes look like Jedward.聽



A massive raise of the glass to one of the loveliest people in the Australian literary industry, Kate Eltham, who will be leaving her role as CEO of the Queensland Writers Centre in October to take over the reins as Director of the Brisbane Writers Festival.
The QWC is a fantastic organisation: in my honest opinion, the best writers organisation I鈥檝e worked with, and they鈥檒l survive Kate鈥檚 departure with aplomb. But Kate is a very good friend, and this is just the sort of challenge that she can take on and make her own. Kate鈥檚 got an unbelievable set of skills, knowledge and charisma, and the BWF is going to be that much more rewarding an experience for bringing her on board. It鈥檚 a real coup for them.