PRECIOUS THINGS: DAMIAN MAGEE

Damian Magee is, quite simply, one of the loveliest people alive. A gentle librarian with glasses and a moustache that would send Professor Challenger into fits of envy, his softly-spoken demeanour, air of general gentility and love of all things Sherlockian seem almost old-worldly when surrounded by the gauche flashiness of much of science fiction fandom, wherein he spends most of his off hours.

Here, as befits his bibliophilic stature, he gives us not one Precious Literary possession, but a quartet.

Precious Things: Damian Magee

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FIVE for FRIDAY: Ms. 15s LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND

One of the most delightful moments of parenting comes when a child independently discovers something that has given you joy for years, and begins to express their own joy.

I first discovered The Beatles in a big way when my mother started dating the man who would become her 3rd husband. I was fourteen, and just beginning to branch out from my parents’ taste in music. Mum was early-Beatles: she hated what they did after they became “stupid hippies”. Ray was just as conservative, but for reasons I never figured out, had a copy of The White Album amongst the Jose Carreras and  London Symphony Orchestra. For other reasons I never figured out– he openly refused to move in with Mum until we were out of the house because he didn’t want to be bothered with us– he gave me free reign of his record collection. And I went nuts for this album. Nuts, I tells ya. And my life-long love for The Beatles (and yeah, I’m Team Stupid Hippies) was born.

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GETTING MY FESTIVAL ON!

The Asian Festival of Children’s Content approacheth, and here’s my itinerary for what Luscious continues to mockingly call my ‘Singapore holiday’.

16 May, 7pm – 9pm
Opening Ceremony and Award Presentation

17 May, 4.45pm – 6pm
First Pages: Writing Critique
Lee Battersby, Susan Long, Cynthea Liu, Kathleen Ahrens

17 May, 7pm – 9pm
Celebrating Our Stars

18 May, 9am – 10am
Not So Happily Ever After: Strange and Spooky Tales
Lee Battersby, Heidi Shamsuddin, Marc Checkley

18 May, 3.15pm – 4.15pm
Authors Debate: Who Writes Better Books– Introverts or Extroverts?
Cynthea Liu, Don Bosco, Lee Battersby, Angela Cerrito, Nury Vittachi

18 May, 6.30pm – 7.30pm
Children’s Literature Lecture: Books from the Island of Story Tellers

19 May, 7pm – 9pm
Indonesia Night

20 May, 10am – 6pm
MASTERCLASS: Writing the Weird with Lee Battersby

DON’T PACK AWAY THE BRIDESMAID DRESS JUST YET

Magrit is beautifully written, succinct, tender and, at times, desperate and disturbing. It manages to combine the dream logic of Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman with the otherworldliness of The Twilight Zone. Constantly inventive and suspenseful, Magrit is a book that stays with the reader long after it has been finished. 

magrit_cvr_hr

Fresh of the back of not winning the Aurealis and CBCA Book of the Year Awards for Magrit comes news of one more Award shortlisting, and this time it’s a beauty: the little book that almost could has been shortlisted for the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature as part of the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

The Prize, which attracts an award for (wait for it) THIRTY THOUSAND FREAKING DOLLARS, will be announced on 22 May, when I’ll be lying in bed exhausted after running myself to death for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content, so, you know, it might be pretty flipping good weekend, as weekends go……

For the full skinny, including the list of all shortlisted works across 11 categories, you can head over to the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards page.

PRECIOUS THINGS: LEE MURRAY

Lee Murray is a six-time winner of New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award for science fiction, fantasy and horror writing. She’s the author of monster thriller Into the Mist (Cohesion Press), and co-author (with Dan Rabarts) of the speculative crime-noir series The Path of Ra, releasing in 2017 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. She lives online at her website, and you can also catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Precious Things: Lee Murray

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FIVE for FRIDAY: INTERNATIONAL BOOK CROSSING DAY

Happy International Book Crossing Day, everyone!

What’s Book Crossing day, I hear you ask? Well, sit your jimmy-jammied little bot-bots down, and I’ll tell you. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin.

Book Crossing is a fun little website wherein you can release books into the wild, tagged with a barcode, and watch them as they are shared across the known world by people who are prepared to let them go once they’ve finished reading and go onto the website to log the wheres and the whens of the controlled release program. Think of it like tagging sharks for scientific purposes, without the wet and the cold and the seasickness and the risk of getting your bollocks gnawed off. Assuming you don’t try to release the book in Mirrabooka, anyway. There’s a whole lot to learn at the Book Crossing website, including the fact that they have a Day, and it’s today!

So to celebrate, I’m releasing five books into the wild today, and these are they, along with the links to their Book Crossing records so you can watch them disappear into obscurity along with the rest of us.

Five for Friday: Books Away!

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I’M A POET, AND I WAS NOT AWARE OF THE FACT.

There are all sorts of ways authors deal with a block, or a fallow period. One of these days, I’ll post a 5 for Friday listing some of the ways I kickstart my writing efforts.

But something I do on a somewhat-irregular basis is to dive into my archives, and re-examine some completed works with an eye to getting them onto the treadmill. After completing a poem recently, I found them time tonight to do just that, unearthing eight poems completed over the last 12 months that had been waiting for a night like tonight.

I am an occasional poet, but it means a lot to me: my first sales were poems, way back in the late 80s and early 90s, before Real Life ™ got in the way and took me away from serious writing for too many wasted years.

So, as of tonight, the following titles are completed and out in the world, and if the Universe is a just and giving endless saddled-shaped veil of beige nothingness (seriously, look it up), then I’ll celebrate the success of:

  • Hart Crane, Treading Water
  • Transubstantiation
  • Like a Leaf Falling
  • Wish Fulfillment
  • I Can Smile
  • What Good is the Day?
  • Seer Like a Stonemason
  • There is No Owner’s Manual

PRECIOUS THINGS: TABETHA ROGERS BEGGS

Tabetha Rogers Beggs is Chair of the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre, where her boundless enthusiasm and personality goes a long way to giving the Centre the drive such places need to do more than simply hang on and survive. A writer herself, she’s wandered over a range of genres and forms, and details her journey at her website, Put It In Writing.

Here she takes us on a personal journey, and reveals her precious literary possession as having more dimensions than just literary ones.

Precious Things: Tabetha Rogers Beggs

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FIVE for FRIDAY: FEMALE AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

Here’s a not so secret ambition: I want to write comic books. Specifically, I want to write the sort of off-the-wall bizarro superhero comics that hit me right in the cerebral cortex when I came back to comics in my University years: comics that were written by guys like Grant Morrison, Jamie Delano, Frank Miller and Alan Moore during the early, oddball Vertigo days, before they all went mainstream and electric and started doing Unplugged albums.

Here’s what else I want to do: take an established property and push it away from the same stable of core characters that we’re about to shove in a movie, so could you please re-draw them to look like the actors portraying them (Yeah, I’m looking at you, Bendis-MOR, post-Abnett Guardians of the Galaxy). And while I’m playing in the sandbox, I want to get my teeth into some of the supplementary characters: too cool to be disposed of, but never really given enough oomph to escape the cookie cutter.

So, while I’m expounding my Christmas list, let’s pretend I’ve been given free reign to choose my own Avengers team. And let’s pretend that, in the interest of satisfying all of the above, I’ve persuaded Marvel to let me write an all-female team (because, quite honestly, pretty much my favourite ever run of X-Men was back in the 250s or so, when the entire team was female, and they had to be smart instead of just punching and slashing everything that came along).

So, here’s this week Five for Friday: my female Avengers line-up. In order to do this, I’ve picked out 5 archetypes that I think a good team needs for balance.

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PRECIOUS THINGS: CHUCK MCKENZIE

Chuck McKenzie was one of the very first friends I made in SF. We met at a Convention in 2002, and basically, have been pretty much taking the piss out of each other ever since. He’s also the author of a novel and a number of finely crafted short stories, may of which were assembled in his collection Confessions of a Pod Person.

Chuck has  worked as a reviewer, editor, judge for both the Aurealis and Australian Shadows Awards, and owner of an SF/comic bookshop. He claims he was born in 1970, and still spends much of his time there. He’s a fan of the Goodies, so he’s not all bad, and enjoys a nice Merlot, so he’s not all sane.

He also understands greatness, as will become more than apparent as he reveals his precious literary treasure.

Precious Things: Chuck McKenzie

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