THE SHORTLIST OF THE YEAR

Congratulations to everyone who copped a mention in the Aurealis Awards shortlist for this year. You can see the full list here. Pats on back and manly hugs especially to pal and fellow West Australian Shane Jiraiya Cummings— a little validation for some struggles in the face thereof, I hope.

ANOTHER OF THOSE “IS IT JUST ME?” MOMENTS

Watching the ridiculous amounts of time and effort expended by work acquaintances (I shudder to use the word ‘colleagues’) in putting up acres of christmas decorations over every square inch of ceiling, cubicles, and filing cabinets, can I be the only one tempted to inform management that I’m a Satanist and demand equal representation…?

“Hey! Hey, you! The dumpy middle aged woman in the elf hat! Yeah, you! Find somewhere to hang this upside-down Jesus-taking-it-from-a-goat doll, would you?”

THAT’S OUR BOY

So how proud were we when we recieved an invitation to attend Aranmore High School’s end of year awards ceremony because Blake was due to receive a gong? Bursting with, is the correct answer.

We don’t often get a chance to say it, because Blake doesn’t stay with us anywhere as much as we want, or as he should. But he is a deeply special young man, and carries limitless potential in his hyperactive young frame. In a school with such demanding academic and social requirement, to achieve any sort of award is no small thing.

We’re proud of you, Blakey-boy.

Source of pride and his happy Mum

AUREALIS AWARDS

Well, it’s the season again: the Aurealis Awards have opened for nominations, and as usual, the arguments over the nomination process have begun.

I’ve played that game, and frankly, it bores me. What I’d rather do is draw your attention to this. Trent Jamieson is a subtle and talented writer, a major figure in the Australian SF short fiction scene, and one of the nicest and most graceful people going round. Let’s be honest- the man is damned gentlemanly. Here he gives us, in the most articulate way possible, every reason why the AAs are a worthwhile endeavour, and why they deserve support and recognition. Go, read.

In point of fact, I like Trent’s approach so much, I’m going to blatantly copy it 🙂

So, for your edification and possible scorn:

A BLATANT LACING OF TJ’S SHOES

I’ve been nominated for the Aurealis Awards on several occasions, and won the award for Best Horror Short story in 2006.

What did it mean to me to win? Validation, in a way. A jury of my peers had decided that one of my works was the best they had seen that year. Many of the writers with whom I conversed on a regular basis, and whose works and careers I admired, owned that little glass crescent: Geoff Maloney, Stephen Dedman, Dave Luckett, Sean Williams. Now I could count myself amongst their number, and for the first time in my career, not feel that I was a squire in master’s robes.

I had been fortunate, in all the time I had been a part of the Australian SF scene, that writers of much greater experience and mastery of the form had treated me as an equal, without reservation, when they had every right to treat me like the neophyte I undoubtedly was. The perception, I’m certain, was entirely mine, but now I felt like I could look them in the eye. On very few things do I indulge my ego, but belief in myself as a writer is one of them. To have a group of my fellows judge my work against the warp and weft of Australian publications, and pin a blue ribbon on its chest, elevated me. It was one thing for me to believe in my work—I do, without question. That others believed in it, well, that was another thing altogether.

Attending the Award ceremony, which I’ve done for the last 3 years (alas, I shall miss out this year) has brought me face to face with any number of people with whom I’ve since established firm friendships, along with a whole swathe of others with whom I’d already conversed via email: Geoff Maloney, Paul Haines, Brendan Duffy; Rob Hoge, Kate Eltham, Jason Nahrung, Karen Miller, Rjurik Davidson, Trent Jamieson, Heather Gammage, Margo Lanagan, Robert Dobson, Stephen Thompson, Kirsten Bishop, entire busloads of Vision Writing Group members…… I’ve given my family an interstate holiday, been invited back to tutor at Clarion South and conduct workshops for the Queensland Writer’s Centre, eaten the best Italian food of my life, gone backwards down a roller coaster, fondled the leg of a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, been invited to contribute to anthologies, eaten the worst Lebanese food of my life, and may be on the verge of signing with an overseas agent… all because I had the chance to win an Aurealis Award.

Truth is, there are very few awards that have a directly beneficial effect on your career. That’s not why they’re important. Awards are important, at least to me, because they form a focal point for everything that’s going on around you at the time. They’re a nexus point, a way of underlining what came before, and what you aim for afterwards. And they give you a chance to frock up, clink glasses with your peers, and at least for one night of the year, pretend to yourself that what you do does matter a damn to the universe. It’s a good feeling.

16? SWEEEEET
Consider us old: my Bonus Daughter Cassie turned 16 on the weekend, which means can officially anticipate grandchildren in any given year from now on (although with no current boyfriend, and a consideration that all the boys she know are “fairly idiots”, the actuality of grandkinder remains blessedly distant).
Still, I’m checking out gun shops in the Northern Suburbs, just in case.
16 is a bloody awful age, imho: you’re pretty much expected to be an adult, yet receive all the privileges and responsibilities accorded a child; half the time you’re so on top of your body that the most complex tasks are like dancing on water, the rest of the time you’re lucky to stand up successfully; you’re not ready for half the stuff you want to try, and more often than not, the stuff that’s forced upon you terrifies you ; everybody around you is more mature, smarter, better around boys (or girls), or just has a clearer idea of what the hell they want to do with themselves…. a pox on it.
Cassie’s as angry as a sixteen year old gets, and defence, for her, is definitely the best form of attack. And much of the time, I just want to peel back her skull and damn well force the understanding in. But there are times when she shows the kind of adult she will be: intelligent, hilariously funny, adept, artistically inspired, and capable of great acts of kindness and caring. It’s been a bumpy ride, no doubt about it, but there’s only adulthood ahead of her now, and I can’t wait to see what she makes of it.
DUCK!
What the hell: it was an excuse to frock up– Luscious and I wandered down to Swancon last night in order to attend the WA Science Fiction Achievement Awards, affectionately (and at least semi-officially) known to all as the Tin Ducks.
There is a reason for the name. I can just never quite remember it.
The Tin Ducks are my favourite awards, for a number of reasons: I’ve never seen a result I’ve wanted to argue with; the voting membership is generally far more au fait with the work they’re judging than with the Ditmars; nine times out of ten, the nominees are people I know and whose work I respect; I’ve never won one, and Lyn’s won two!
And then there’s the Mumfan.
The Mumfan (respectfully, and hardly ever, officially called the Marge Hughes Award) is deeply special– no matter what comes before it, it is the highlight of the award night, a recognition of those fans who work so hard throughout the year to make Perth fandom an amazing place, out of no greater sense of reward than a love of our community and the genre which brings us all together. At it’s simplest, no matter what precedes, the Tin Duck Ceremony ends with a standing ovation for an award for being nice. If the Ditmars are Loves ya, maaaate, the Mumfan is We love you. How can you not enjoy being a part of that?
To all who won last night, my heartiest congratulations, but on a purely personal note, my warmest affections towards Mumfan award winner Sarah Parker and my good buddy Martin Livings, who won Best Long Professional Work for his novel Carnies, consigning me to the runner-up spot. In this case, I can say with not a hint of disingenuity or falseness that I was far more happy to have lost the race than won it. A most apt and deserved recogition for a fine writer with far too much of a low self-image. Told you we all believe in you 🙂
Oh, and the room party afterwards was a bloody larf 🙂

A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A FAT BASTARD

Heh. Typical: every year I say I’m going to lose weight, and it never happens. This year I make no promises to myself, and for no reason I can really pin down, I start eating better, get some concerted exercise into my legs, see the doctor and have all the tests done, get on some helpful medication, and lose 13 kilograms in just on 7 weeks.
I’ve made some big changes this year: withdrawing from much of the inconsequential foo-farah that was clogging up my mental space; concentrating on writing rather than the cat-vacumming aspects of the business (goodbye LJs, goodbye mailing lists, goodbye review sites and message boards, and on and on…); returning my attention to securing our financial health and putting the requirements of the family and house above all other matters; and generally just making a sustained effort to bring a sense of balance into my personal equilibrium.
I’m astonished at how good I feel about life. I have a renewed sense of purpose. I feel inspired. My writing has taken a quantum leap forward- Lyn, my most accurate and uncompromising critic, says the work she’s reading now is by far the best I’ve ever done. I’ve accomplished more around the house this year than I did in the entirety of 2006. And the weight, well, it’s not dropping off. I’m working damn hard– I climb an average of 35 flights of stairs every work day, I walk home from the train station (somewhere between 40 and 45 minutes a day), and I’ve started hitting the gym for a high-cardiac workout a couple of times a week. I’m fitter, I’m faster, I have more energy than I know what to do with… I’m sparking, baby 🙂
I’ve got a long way to go, as the little graph below shows, before I hit my goal weight. But I’ve discovered a determination hiding behind a mental corner I’d overlooked before this. It’s not a matter of if. Just when.
The next SF convention in Perth is, conveniently, on the weekend of my birthday, the 10th and 11th of November.
That’s the goal.
(And just because no petard is worth its weight unless hoisted, let it be known that I, mocker of Big Brother extraordinaire, currently watch The Biggest Loser every night. I choose to call it a spur to inspiration. All those friends with whom I’ve shared BB evenings over the years, you have earned the right to call it payback 🙂 )


BACK TO, UH, NORMAL?

It seems gmail has recovered, and you can now get back to me at leebattersby@gmail.com I’m having a few connectivity problems, but that’s all to do with phone lines and nonsuch, so be patient over the Easter break as I might not get in until the Telstra linesmen sober up.

CHOCOLATE WEEKEND

Just so everybody who has expressed surprise at the notion (despite a year or more of me saying it) is on the same page: Lyn and I will not be at Swancon this weekend.

Enjoy it if you’re there.

BEN AND THE DITMARS

I’ve had a few emails asking my opinion on the Ditmars, and Ben Peek’s nominations/ lack of withdrawal from the same. Perhaps it’s because our fall-outs have been so public that whenever he does something to get up people’s noses, I get a whole lot of questions.

Anyway, fwiw, I actually don’t have a problem with Ben being nominated for an award, and choosing not to withdraw, whatever his stated position in the past. Despite my lack of regard for him as a person, I’ve always maintained that his stories are good work, and good stories deserve nomination. It’s not his stories that I have the issue with. If his participation in a set-up designed only to hand out the warm and fuzzies is a sign of his growing maturity, then all the better.

As I’ve spouted at every opportunity, your career is your own responsibility. What you choose to be a part of, or not, is up to you. I’ll confess to not being interested in Ben or his career, and as I’m not going to the Natcon this year, I’m not much interested in the Ditmars either. But I’ve always felt that if you’re going to work in an industry that hands out awards it’s always nice to be nominated, and if you’re going to be nominated, you might as well win. Despite the bloc-voting and the constant attempts to derail the process, the Ditmars are a nice way for everyone involved to throw their arms around each other (metaphorically speaking) and say Love youse, maaaaaate.

So good luck to him, and the other nominees. As to my thoughts on Kathryn Linge’s review of Through Soft Air being nominated for the Atheling (and thanks to everyone seeking my opinion on that), well, my opinion of Ms Linge’s critical faculties are pretty well known. All hail the bloc-vote.

ANOTHER SALE

Happy days: Rob Hood has accepted Beached for publication in Daikaju II/III. Look for it to come out some time around June this year.

That’s my second sale for the year, after Truthful Remains to Black Box. With The Time Eater and The Ballad of Henry Renfield due to come out in the coming months, and Father Muerte & The Joy of Warfare available now, it feels just like being back in harness.

About bloody time, too.

SHADOWS SLIPPING BY

Congratulations to Will Elliott, whose novel The Pilo Family Circus has been announced as the winner of Dead Chick II, otherwise known as the 2006 Australian Shadows Award. You can read judge Rob Hood’s report here. TPFC has carried all before it this year, with a brace of Aurealis Awards under its belt as well, and Will is a hell of a nice guy, so it’s pleasing to see him get some sugar for his work.

Proving that awards equals sales, Lyn and I went out the day after the award and purchased a copy.

Wonder if Will wants to come over and play dollies 🙂

BATTERSBY THE MENTOR

Over at Horrorscope, they’ve announced something quite exciting: The Australian Horror Writer’s Association Mentor Program.

If you’ve always fancied a crack at becoming a writer of things written, you can now team yourself up with one of a select group of Australian dark fantasy and horror authors and drink them dry of their experience, wit and resolve. More importantly, they will read your work, critique it, and offer advice, tips, conversation, gossip, scuttlebut, and whatever help they can in a one-on-one service over three months.

Apart from myself, mentors include people the quality of Stephen Dedman, Paul Haines, Robert Hood, Martin Livings, Kaaron Warren, David Carroll, Cat Sparks, and Shane Jiraiya Cummings. In other words, a pretty damn impressive crowd.

Applications open April 1st (when else, really?) More details can be found at the AHWA website.

SOME GOOD NEWS, JUST TO CHANGE THE TONE

Two very nice emails waiting in the inbox when I logged in this morning:

The first to tell me that I’d won a copy of Lars Von Trier’s supernatural-soapie-turned-feature The Kingdom, coutesy of Horrorscope, and the second from Black Box supremo Shane Jiraiya Cummings, accepting my story Truthful Remains for this sequel to the excellent multi-media horror anthology Shadow Box. The original anthology was, in my humble opinion, one of the standout Australian genre projects of the last few years, so it’s nice to crack a mention in the follow-up, too.

And while we’re talking about things horrible (uh, I mean….), the Australian Horror Writer’s Association has announced the shortlist for this year’s Australian Shadows Award (hereby dubbed Dead Chick II), and Father Renoir’s Hands, a story from Through Soft Air, has made the list. It’s nice to be noticed again (I was fortunate enough to win Dead Chick I last year): I think the AHWA are doing fantastic work as an association, and it’s pleasing to be held in some esteem by them. The winner will be announced on March 25th, so I’ll let you know who gets the statuette this time round.

BRISBANIA MARK THE TWAIN

Of course, I did have other things to do while I was in Brisbane, chief amongst them being two workshops for the Queensland Writer’s Centre: The Art of Critiquing, and The Proper Care And Feeding of Your Genre- Writing SF & Fantasy.

Goodness gracious me. How many people can you cram into a room? 16 people came for the Thursday night session, and another 22 for the SF writing on Saturday. That’s a whole lot of heads, people. That’s a whole lot of eyes.

Thankfully, I had great rooms. There’s something about the air in Brisbane: they take their writing very, very seriously. They worked me like a thrupenny upright, pushing questions at me from all angles, taking notes and voicing opinions, and writing like editors were lining up at the door outside. The QWC were professional, supportive, and couldn’t hae worked harder to make the experience positive and enjoyable. Like the Clarion experience, I want to work with these guys again. Money is one thing, but I felt rewarded.

I don’t know what it is about Perth, I really don’t. But I entered another sphere in Queensland, and from a purely writing point of view, I can’t help but feel that my own professional development has been (and will be) hindered by my choice of location. If you can’t have everything, then this was the everything I can’t have. I’ve come home with an awful lot to think about. Look for a change in habit, starting from the end of tonight’s posts.

OPEN UP AND SAY AA

Saturday night, of course, saw the staging of the 11th annual Aurealis Awards. Being in town with nothing better to do than to make a drunken spectalce of myself, I toffed me up (Student Peter: Your feet! They’re in shoes!) and took my beautiful lady love for a night out amongst the fitlitglitterati.

It’s a good night, the AAs: the ceremony is quick, and carries the right mix of professional respect and laid back bonhomie; the bar is free and plentiful; and everybody is generally pretty damn happy to see each other. Like any awards, they carry their share of the ludicrous (this year, we were treated to– a full length graphic novel being nominated (and winning) the short fiction gongs; a presenter with a pathological inability to pronounce Eidolon, and a novel that only tied in its category being pronounced the clear winner of the Golden Aurealis for Best in Show). Yet it’s all taken with a pinch of salt, and when the evening turns for the serious, the respect and admiration in the room is something to behold: I had the very good fortune to be sitting next to Bill Congreve, and when he was awarded the Peter MacNamara Award, the response was enough to give him the shakes. Bill is the coolest of cool customers, but he spent a large part of the ceremony turning his award over in his hands, and taking it out the box one more time read the inscription. I like Bill a hell of a lot, and was as happy as a very happy thing to see him pick this award up. For me, as unsuccessful in my categories as I had expected to be (I hadn’t a second’s uncertainty about who would win my sections, and I was dead right), it was the highlight of the evening.

I did, however, manage to get onto the stage once: as official Western Australian carrier of acceptance speeches, I had notes for no less than 4 other nominees in my pocket, and when Stephen Dedman deservedly struck gold in the Horror Short Story section, I was able to sidle up to utter a few words in his defence. Unfortunately, I can report that no amount of scraping with the edge of a ten cent piece can remove a name from the front of an Aurealis Award…..

After several hours of concentrated drinking (Ten beers, I tells ‘ee! Ten!) and catching up with faces both familiar and new (A big Hello to Gary Kemble, who I was delighted to meet for the first time), Lyn and I eventually succumbed to the noise, heat, and dehydration and accepted a lift home sometime around 11.30. It had been fun, it had been an honour to step into Stephen’s shoes, and it was a relief to lay my weary drunken head on my pillow.

It’s likely to be my last AA ceremony for some time, so I damn well made the most of it, your honour.

A hearty conratulations to this year’s winners. Much as I’d like to bitch and moan… well, okay, no, I haven’t the least desire to bitch and moan. There’s not a writer who was gonged who isn’t a leader in the Australian SF field, and I don’t have to read Williams or Lanagan or Dedman to know that when they get gonged, they deserve it. It’s a good crowd, this one, and it’s good to be amongst them. Slainte to you all.

AND IN THE INTERIM, A GIFT OF EGO-RUB

I’ve got a post to make about Christmas, and I’ll do it in the next day or so, promise.

But in the meantime: I received an email from Ellen Datlow today.

She’s taking Father Muerte And the Flesh for Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror #20.

There will be celebratory beer this evening. Oh yes, there will be beer…..

AND IT’S ON AGAIN

The Aurealis Awards short list has been announced. There are some good names to be seen, some surprising names, and amongst them, me.

I find myself strangely unmoved, perhaps because I’ve read almost none of the other entries. I’ve no idea how to gauge myself against them, no impression of how well I’ll do. And when you’re nominated in categories with Sean Williams and Margo Lanagan, there’s probably no real point in getting worked up about your chances.

Anyway, here’s the full list (apart from the children’s novels, which will be announced shortly.) Congratulations to all involved, and warmest pats on back and arms round shoulders for their nominations and Honourable Mentions to my good pals Adrian Bedford, Stephen Dedman, Sean Williams, Juliet Marillier, Anna Tambour, Martin Livings, Deb Biancotti, Simon Brown, Lily Chrywenstrom, Carol Ryles, Affi Miffaz, and Dirk Flinthart. May we all link arms and sing something horribly sentimental at the after party.

SFNovels

  • Hydrogen Steel. K. A. Bedford (Edge)
  • K-Machines. Damien Broderick (Avalon)
  • Underground. Andrew McGahan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Geodesica: Descent. Sean Williams with Shane Dix (Harper Collins)

Short Stories

  • Dark Ages. Lee Battersby (Through Soft Air)
  • Aftermath. David Conyers (Agog! Ripping Reads)
  • Down to the Tethys Sea. Stephen Dedman (Science Fiction Chronicle #266)
  • The Seventh Letter. Sean Williams (Bulletin Summer Reading Edition)

FantasyNovels

  • The Silver Road. Grace Dugan (Penguin)
  • Heart of the Mirage. Glenda Larke (Harper Collins)
  • Wildwood Dancing. Juliet Marillier (Pan MacMillan)
  • Voidfarer. Sean McMullen (Tor)
  • Blaze of Glory. Michael Pryor (Random House)

Honourable Mentions: White Tiger. Kylie Chan (Harper Collins); Harsh Cry of the Heron. Lian Hearn (Hachette Livre)

Short Stories

  • Dark Ages. Lee Battersby (Through Soft Air)
  • Why the Balloon Man Floats Away. Stephanie Campisi (Fantasy Magazine #4)
  • A Fine Magic. Margo Lanagan (Eidolon I)
  • The Revenant. Lucy Sussex (Eidolon I)
  • See Here, See There. Anna Tambour (Agog! Ripping Reads)

Honourable Mentions: Ghosts of 1930. Lily Chrywenstrom (Borderlands #6); The Bridal Bier. Carol Ryles (Eidolon I)

HorrorNovels

  • The Pilo Family Circus. Will Elliott (ABC Books)
  • Prismatic. Edwina Grey (Lothian)
  • Carnies. Martin Livings (Lothian)
  • The Mother. Brett McBean (Lothian)

Short Stories

  • Dead of Winter. Stephen Dedman (Weird Tales #339)
  • Winkie. Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes)
  • Hieronymous Boche. Chris Lawson (Eidolon I)
  • Dead Sea Fruit. Kaaron Warren (Fantasy Magazine #4)
  • Woman Train. Kaaron Warren (The Outcast)

Honourable Mentions: Love Affair. Jacinta Butterworth (C0ck); One Night Stand. Dirk Flinthart (Agog! Ripping Reads); Under Hell, Over Heaven. Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes); Mosquito Story.A.M. Muffaz (Fantasy Magazine #4)

Young AdultNovel

  • Monster Blood Tattoo: Book One. Foundling. D.M. Cornish (Omnibus)
  • The King’s Fool. Amanda Holohan (ABC Books)
  • Magic Lessons. Justine Larbalestier (Penguin)
  • Wildwood Dancing. Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan)
  • The Last Days. Scott Westerfeld (Penguin)

Short Stories

  • The Dying Light. Deborah Biancotti (Eidolon I)
  • Leviathan. Simon Brown (Eidolon I)
  • A Feather in the Breast of God. Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes)
  • Baby Jane. Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes)
  • Forever Upward. Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes)
  • The Arrival. Shaun Tan (Lothian)

Childrens Short Stories

  • The True Story of Mary Who Wanted to Stand on Her Head. Jane Godwin (Allen &Unwin)
  • Woolvs in the Sitee. Margaret Wild, Anne Spudvilas (Penguin)
  • The Magic Violin. Victor Kelleher, Stephen Michael King (Penguin)

Song of the Moment: Absolute Beginners David Bowie
Reading: line editing some short stories

PLANT THE FLAG AND SAY CHEESE!

Back in 2002, I jaunted my way over to the Writers of the Future workshop in LA, where I spent a week under the watchful eye of Tim Powers, learning clever writer tricks and buying souvenirs.

David D Levine was also in attendance, a fellow winner and student, having placed second in the same quarter in which I came third.

From the beginning, he stood out from the other winners for me. Not that I wish to bask in his reflected glory, but he seemed to me, as the week wore on, the only other attendant for whom writing was more than an enjoyment, for whom it was an obsession, a divine chore. David wore his writerly passion like a suit of armour: part dedication, part ambition, part overwhelming devotion to his craft. This isn’t to say the others didn’t show it, but David, he showed it every waking moment. It came off him in waves.

In that alpha male lizard-brain way that creatures of similar habit have when placed together I looked around and said to myself: Him. He’s the one. He’ll be the biggest competition to my world dominance and eventual climb to the unreachable pinnacles of glory and timeless fame.

Well, maybe not in those exact words 🙂 But something in me knew: this guy was going places.

Anyway, David won the Hugo for best short story this past weekend. There’s a tiny part of me that wants to pull my hair out and chuck a paddy, particularly given my current inability to climb out of the not-even-a-local-hero rut I’ve landed in. But the far vaster part of me, the part of me that sits underneath everything and keeps its hand on the rudder, knows: he’s my pal, and I’m proud as all hell for him. And I always knew: he’d be the one, out of all 17 of us, who’d climb the mountain first.

Well done, mate.

A POST ABOUT TITS

Boy, I like breasts. Big ones, little ones, round ones, flat ones, covered up ones, naked ones, cleavage-boasting ones and ones zipped up tighter than a zipped up tight zippy thing. Breasts, boobs, boosies, tits, funbags, love pillows, jugs, shirt potatoes, front buttocks, jubblies, I love ’em all. Of all the big pretend Charlton Heston Impersonator In the Sky’s alleged creations, breasts come very close to the top of my personal favourites list. Love looking at them, love touching them, love putting my face between them and saying “Mmmmmmmmmm.”

I’m a fan.

But I’ve always been aware of one simple fact when it comes to breasts: they don’t belong to me.

Seems like Harlan Ellison forgot that last weekend at the Hugo ceremony, and boy, hasn’t the SF world had the C21 fall in upon it in a big old way since then! The back and forthing has gone to and fro, hither and yon, and here and there like crazy. Forget all the the links: google ‘Harlan Ellison Connie Willis grab’ like I did, and you’ll find a place to start. It’s not exactly hidden, know what I’m-a sayin’ ?

I wasn’t there when it happened. I don’t know anything about Ellison and Willis’ relationship, pre-during-post or anywhere else the ceremony. His website has a half-arsed, trying to make a joke out of it, kindasorta without actually saying sorry apology of sorts. Sorta. Kinda. Self-justifyingly. I’m not going to comment on the rights and wrongs of that, either. But, you know, I’m a guy, I like breasts, I have a brain. So I will say this:

1. Connie Willis has, so I am informed, breasts.
2. Harlan Ellison grabbed one in a sexual or proto-sexual manner during the Hugo Awards ceremony. On stage. In front of the entire audience.
3. It appears he didn’t ask permission.

Them’s as appears to be the facks, offsuh, far as I can make out, once I strip away all the back and forthing, to-ing and fro-ing, hithering and yonning….

That, my friends, is sexual assault. End of story. I don’t give a shit how great a writer he is or isn’t; how much of a crusader for women’s rights, racial rights or chipmunk’s rights he has been in the past; whether it was just “Harlan being Harlan”; or whether the intent was comedic, satiric, or downright just plain drunk-drugged-senile-silly-whatever.

Sexual assault.

Where’s the argument?

SIGH

I’d hate to be the guy that gets up at ten past six, it’s dark, he has his cup of coffee and reads his paper, goes to work, sits behind the desk, says nothing, never contributes. I’d hate to be that guy. –Jason Akermanis, Alpha #14, September 2006 issue.

Oh God. I’ve turned into that guy.

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. 🙂

WRITING GUY BUSINESS

It’s been a bitser of a week week. Wrote that story I mentioned earlier, finished my reading for Clarion South (Eight manuscripts in all, displaying a real range of skill levels. It’s good to see such an interest in attending), pitched an idea to a new publisher of short SF novels and had the idea rejected, and did some goal setting for the second half of the year and for the next 5 year arc.

Still, after a bit of a fallow period it’s nice to feel a sense of purpose again. Next month marks the 5th anniversary of both Luscious’ and mine’s first appearance in print, so it feels important to reach that mark with a firm sense of progressing onto a new stage of my career. Getting back to some concerted work practices is part of that.

AWARDS, BEST OFs, AND WHOSE CAREER IS IT ANYWAY?

An interesting discussion (discussion: the respectful and considerate exchange of handfuls of mud, at speed) over at Shane Jiraiya Cummings’ blog on the subject of whether or not it lies within an editor’s purview to send published stories to the multitudes of awards and Best Of Anthologies that clutter the arteries of our fair genere, and if not, why not? And if so, why not? And if not, why so? And on, and on, and keep taking those pills, Battersby….

Despite my levity, it’s a serious subject, and I encourage anybody with an interest to jump on and contribute their 2.2 cents, GST included. For the record, I’m of the opinion that a writer has no right, or expectation of right, to any services not outlined within the submission guidelines and/or contract delivered by any magazine or publisher. If it’s not specifically stated that the editor will send your story to an award committee or Best Of editor, it’s not safe to assume that they will do so. Checking up is a simple matter: ask. Come the time to be thinking about deadlines, contact the editor and ask them whether they will be sending your work in. I’m considered a prolific short story writer, yet it’s still only a matter of a dozen cut and pasted emails, once a year, to ascertain whether my stuff is being sent to any individual outlet.

Over the course of a calendar year, you could expect, as an Australian SF writer, to be in line for a minimum of 2 awards (Ditmars and Aurealis) plus somewhere in the region of 4 or 5 Year’s Bests, give or take. It may be, over the course of a year, an investment of time and money to organise copies to go to these places, but then: a) I’ve met very few editors who don’t either send the stories anyway or will do so on request and b) very few committee and editors who won’t engage in a dialogue and make it easy to get your work to them. They want to read your work, every single one of them.

And in the end, it comes down to this: it’s your career, not anyone else’s. Not the editor’s, not the publisher’s, not the postman’s. If you want to win an Aurealis, you can’t unless they read your stuff. If you want to get into Datlow & Link’s Year’s Best, or Strahan’s, or Hartwell’s, you can’t unless they read your work.

The buck can only stop in one place.

BIOGRAPHY BLUES

My reading tastes have taken a turn in the last week, and I’ve thrown myself into a series of biographies. I do this every now and again. I have an insatiable urge to know what is behind the creation of a special person, and whilst the famous don’t always interest me (I couldn’t be persuaded to invest my time in an Angelina Jolie biography, for example), artists do, and I’m fascinated by what it takes for a person to reach the pinnacle of their chosen art.

I’m partway through Capote: A Biography by Gerald Clarke, upon which the recent movie was based. It’s heavy going: Clarke has been ruthless with his research, and I’ve no doubt the book is as accurate as anybody could possibly expect, but he writes with no feel for his subject, portrays none of the excitement, despair, or sense of life that his subject merits. I’m persevering, because I know little about Capote and I feel I should, given his importance to twentieth century literature, but the book should have been entertaining, and it’s not. Clarke demonstrates his ability to collect facts, but little artistry in the creation of his man.

Before that, I whizzed through a second reading of Norma Farnes’ idiosyncratic and excellent biography of Spike Milligan, Spike: A Memoir. Farnes was Milligan’s agent, manager, and friend for almost forty years, and where Clarke writes with knowledge of his subject, she writes with knowledge of her subject matter. The book is by turns witty, heartbreaking, and astonishing, and gives the reader a glimpse into Milligan that other biographies (and I’ve got my share) don’t. It’s a book I enjoy, and a fascinating insight into a man I find at once compelling and inspirational. (Also an utter bastard for about 97% of the time, but that’s part of my fascination).

What kicked off this period of biographical fascination for me was the first book, Beside Myself, Antony Sher’s autobiography. Australians might best know Sher for his portrayal of Benjamin Disraeli in the film Mrs Brown (Her Majesty, Mrs Brown over here), but he’s a man of much greater dimensions than a too-brief movie resume. Arguably the finest stage actor of the last fifty years (and yes, I include McKellen, Branagh, Jacobi et al in that statement), he is a painter, novelist, and gay rights activist into the bargain. The book is simply amazing. I’ve never read an autobiography where the author is so willing to strip himself naked to the glare of the reader’s attention. No false humility, no grandiose bandstanding, Sher presents himself with as honest a self-evaluation as I have seen in such a work. What came across to me was a man with whom I felt a massive sense of affinity and affection, and whose story touched me very deeply at a number of points.

Lyn is reading it now, but for the first time in a long time, I want to gift this book to a particular friend, because he’s the one person I know (besides my wife) who would not only enjoy the book but would be able to draw something personal and lasting from it.

ANGELIC

Don’t ask me why, but lately I’ve had a hankering to get myself some of The Angels work on CD. I’ve been a fan since I was in my early teens, but as I only had a couple of cassettes, and no longer have a cassette player, I hadn’t listened to them for a while. A few weeks back I thought I’d struck it lucky: a new live CD, all the hits, and as I hadn’t seen their great double set Liveline in a shop for years, I was a happy boy.

Here’s a note for all slavish fans on a CD buying wet moment: Read The Cover Carefully!

Turns out it was a new release by The Angels Band, some of the original members sans Doc Neeson doing a set of acoustic covers of the band’s material. And does it stink? I lasted three songs before I flung it into the back seat of the car, where it remains.

So I’ve been a grumpy Angels fan since then. But on Thursday, there was a new poster in my local CD shop. A new Best Of has finally been released, with 20 songs just waiting to grace my car with their buzzsaw punky goodness. I tra-la-lad my way to the counter with my wallet flapping happily in the airconditioned breeze.

Sold out.

Shit and double shit. They could order one in for me, but now I was too disappointed. I’ll just rifle through the racks and see if there’s anything to make me feel better, I decided.

Guess what I found? The double CD Liveline set, with 10 extra tracks, for cheaper than the Best Of!

The last three dyas have been loud. Very, very loud 🙂

Doc Neeson was one of the most magnetic front men I’ve ever seen in concert, and there was a time when I saw them regularly. At their best, their lyrics are loopy beyond anything their peers were capable of: listen to Take A Long Line, Shadow Boxer, or Mister Damage, and try to work out what the hell is going on. Onstage, they were a visual marvel: Neeson was a whip-thin, hyperactive snake of a man, and counterpointed by Rick Brewster’s statue-like lack of animation, it made for a dance of bizarre proportion. And could Brewster play? Jesus, I’ve seen guitarists bend like India rubber men trying to coax licks out of their instruments half as precise and soaring as the bald, bespectacled lead guitarist could reach with a flickering wrist and a thousand yard stare. And yet, they’ve never really reached the status that the likes of AC/DC did, never managed to transcend their stage energy and create something lasting (apart, perhaps, from Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again?, and that is mainly because everybody seems to know the right response…). They are perhaps the greatest example of an Australian pantheon that includes the likes of Weddings Parties Anything, Painters & Dockers, and Spy V Spy: bands who always sounded better live, and who couldn’t translate that special vibe to the studio.

When I was a teenager in Rockingham in the mid-80s, every metalhead there was existed within an aural suit of armour composed entirely of AC/DC music. If you liked it heavy, you were allowed no alternative. So those of us who couldnit see the attraction of their interminable thud and blunder epics were automatically on the outer. I remember discussing it once with a fellow Angels fan, and he presented me with an argument that reminded itself to me as I drove home from work on Friday, screaming along with Doc at the top of my voice: AC/DC is the big fat drunk guy at the bar, swinging fists in slow motion and threatening to take everyone on. But it’s The Angels who’d slide up to you in the middle of the fight and bottle you in the neck.

A REALLY BAD JOKE ABOUT CANNIBALS

Courtesy of Blake. I take no responsibility…..

What did the cannibal do after he dumped his girlfriend?

Wiped his bum.

Exit, stage lefffttt……

THE HALF-NAKED DEAD CHICKS ARE ON ME!

Okay, so I said I’d only post on Tuesdays unless I had something ultra-froody to announce.

So I do.

Ahem. Father Muerte & The Theft was this very night announced as the winner of the 2005 Australian Shadows Award, awarded by the Australian Horror Writers Association for outstanding achievement in the field.

Judge Kim Wilkins had this to say:

The Battersby story, Father Muerte and the Flesh, just lingered with me. It was fabulously engaging from the first line, it took me on a journey, it had such scope, such a glorious but understated sense of history and mythology, the quality of the writing was superb, the structure was very accomplished, it was almost cinematic (would actually make a great film!) and I just have to cast my vote in that direction. I felt at every moment that I was in the hands of a gifted storyteller.

Kim Wilkins did said that. About me. 🙂 Touch chuffed, I is.

For the record, if you don’t understand the title of the post, go here and check out the award itself, as well as Kim’s comments. The great thing is, it’s being presented at Conflux, and Luscious and I only made the decision to attend a couple of weeks ago. Now I’ll have booty to bring back!

Now, where shall I put it to frighten the neighbours?

WHAT I MEANT TO SAY WAS

I was going to give you the text of my speech, for some sort of posterity reason or something, and forgot.

So:

Three quick thank yous. To Stephen Dedman, who has been both mentor and guide throughout my career to date. To Shane and Angela, for giving me a forum to work at my best length. And as always, to me beautiful wife Lyn, who is always my inspiration and my saviour. Thank you.

One for the alien archaeologists to discover.

Pretty, isn’t it? It’s the 2005 Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story, and I won it on Saturday night at a wonderful ceremony in Queensland. Luscious and I flew in from Perth to attend, as she was nominated or Best SF Story for her brilliant work The Memory of Breathing. Sadly, it lost to Trent Jamieson’s Slow and Ache, which can be found in the brand new Aurealis 36. The issue also contains my Australian Shadows nominated story Father Muerte & the Flesh, as well as Kim Westwood’s AA nominated Terning Tha Wheel, so it might be described as ‘a fair old read’…

A huge whoop of congratulations are accorded the Western Australian contingent, who cleaned up: Juliet Marillier winning the Best Fantasy Novel category; Grant Stone for being accorded the Peter MacNamara Award and about bloody time too; and most especially, our very good friend KA Bedford, whose novel Eclipse took out Best SF Novel. I’m afraid I let out a very audible “Yessssss” when that one was announced 🙂

We spent the weekend as guests of just about our favourite couple in the world, the sweetly divine Rob Hoge and Kate Eltham, who treated us like visiting royalty (they tried to crash their car into a pole in Paris and kill us, then they shot us and started World War One), and it was wonderful to catch up with so many faces we don’t get to see anywhere near often enough: Chris Lawson; Sean Williams; Rob Hood (hope the wrist is better, Rob); Cat Sparks; Geoff Maloney; Trent; the list is a long one, and includes some new friends who greeted us with warmth and fellowship: a big halloo to Robert E, Heather, Kim, Rjurik, and Nikki & Damon.

Perhaps the best part of it all was being presented my award by Jason Nahrung, a friend of mine now for a couple of years and someone I couldn’t have been happier to shake the hand of in my moment on stage. Jason has been an unfailing support and pal– he interviewed Lyn and I a couple of weeks before the trip and I always have the greatest feeling of pleasure after being in his company. To receive my award from someone for whom I have such affection made it just that little bit sweeter.

Truth to tell, everyone in Queensland makes us feel so goddamned welcome we’re always slightly guilty when we leave. It’s a subtle plot, I’m sure of it. One of these days we’ll be gassed in our beds, and wake up in a village with them all, and no way of escape…

As always, Brisbane means shopping. Can’t tell you yet if the best buy was the Jack Skellington head ceramic cup; the 4-pack of Invader Zim figurines (Beaver Gaz is our favourite), or the amazing spray-painted art piece we picked up from a street artist who was packing up because it was about to rain and gave it to us for barely anything just so he wouldn’t have to leave with it. Time will tell.

NO WORDS ARE NECESSARY

My darling wife, getting ready for the awards night. Is it any wonder I’m utterly smitten? Simply the most beautiful woman I have ever known.

FUN FUN FUN

It’s no secret that I’m a museum and art gallery geek. Brisbane art gallery has one of the goldurn funnest displays I’ve ever seen. Since November 2004, they’ve been encouraging the general populace to pull up a seat and take part in creating a growing city, made from white lego blocks. We had a go last year with the kids, but this time we set aside half an hour and had a serious crack at adding our creations to the city scape. Like all good art it’s interactive, forces its audience to think, and defies any sort of accurate description, so a couple of photos might give you some idea.

The first is my creation, with a couple of other buildings in the background.

And this one, just to give you a sense of scale. According to the docent, they’ve gone through six layers of buildings since last year, and some of those spires at the very back are nearly six or seven feet tall. It’s the kind of thing that makes me wish I had a job in Brisbane, simply so I can take a day off and really build something…

“So. What do you think the working class are doing?”

BRISBANE CUISINE

This place was around the corner from Rob and Kate’s. This was as close as I dared venture.

TODAY’S COLOUR IS MONDEGREEN

For some reason, there were a rash of Non-English speaking moments over the last few days. Firstly, outgoing AA director Lea Greenaway, who tortured her description of Richard Pitchforth as someone who fertilises new ideas, by telling us that he’d always been full of fertiliser; then backed it up by admitting they’d mis-spelled Shane Dix as Shane Nix in a previous programme, and that while she was sure Garth and the family would love to take credit, Shane had always been a Dix.

Then I shared this conversation with my darling:

Lee: How are you feeling?
Lyn: (Yawns)
Lee: Is that your answer?
Lyn: Yes. I thought I’d let my mouth speak for itself….

And finally, we were entertained this morning by Erin’s rendition of “Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat and his bright green cat…”

Must check the colour on the tellie.

IN OTHER NEWS ENTIRELY

Monstrously huge happinesses and congratulations to our friends Sean and Terri, upon the arrival of their 3rd daughter, Emmaline Scarlet, on Sunday morning. We’re over the moon with joy for you, guys.

AND IN HOUSE NEWS……

We have bathroooooooooommmmmssssss!!!!!!!!!!!

SWANCON

We’ll be at Swancon this weekend, where the collection should be launched, as long as the publisher can get copies to us in time. if not, I’ll be conducting The Anti-Launch, where you can win copies of magazines in which I have appeared, and play some silly games into the bargain. At least one copy of aurealis 36 will be available, which means you’re likely to be the first person in Perth besides us to scam a copy.

Come on down. Say hi.

Song of the moment: Silence. Everyone else is asleep.

‘TIS THE SEASON, FA-LA-LA, SOMETHING, SOMETHING OR OTHER ELLLLLSSSSEEEE…..

The awards season continues: the world’s longest shortlist has just been announced, that is, this year’s nominations for the Western Australian SF Awards, or Tin Ducks to their friends.

Luscious and I have scored mentions, as has anybody else, it seems, who has ever heard the words ‘Western Australia’ and ‘Science Fiction’ in the same sentence.

Anyhow, for your voting pleasure, the complete list. Make yourself a drink first:

Professional Long Work
* Eclipse, K A Bedford
* The Colour of Magic, Dave Luckett
* The Truth About Magic, Dave Luckett
* Blade of Fortriu, Juliet Marillier


Professional Short Work
* I Can Make You Famous, Lee Battersby, Shadow Box e-anthology
* Pater Familias, Lee Battersby, Shadowed Realms 3
* Hush, Lyn Battersby, Shadow Box e-anthology
* The Memory of Breathing, Lyn Battersby, ASIM 17
* Hear No Evil, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Borderlands 4
* Ian, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Ticonderoga Online 5
* Solid Rock, Cathy Cupitt, Borderlands 4
* Coup De Grace, Stephen Dedman, Borderlands 4
* Watch, Stephen Dedman, Never Seen By Waking Eyes (Prime)
* Hooked, Martin Livings, Borderlands 5
* Bad Film Diaries, Grant Watson, Borderlands 4
* The Seasonal Collector, Jo-Ann Whalley, Borderlands 4
* How Green was their Love, Tess Williams, Borderlands 4

Professional Art Work
* Coup De Grace, illustration, Colin Sharp, Borderlands 4
* Cover, Sarah Xu, Borderlands Issue 4
* Horror series, Ruby Cadaver, Swancon 2005 art show
* Make your own pet, print, Shaun Tan, Swancon 2005 art show
* The Big Picture Book, Brian Choo

Professional Production (any medium)
* Bad Film Diaries, Grant Watson, Borderlands Issue 4
* Borderlands Issue 4, Borderlands Publications Inc.
* Borderlands Issue 5, Borderlands Publications Inc.
* Shadow Box e-anthology, edited by Shane Jiraiya Cummings & Angela Challis
* Shadowed Realms, edited by Angela Challis
* Ticonderoga Online, edited by Lyn Battersby, Russell B Farr, Liz Grzyb

Unpaid or Fan Written work
* Blue (text), Bec Handcock
* Chaosmanor, Elaine Kemp
* Gynaezine 3, edited by Gina Goddard, Emma Hawkes

Unpaid or Fan Art Work
* Blue, Bec Handcock, Swancon 2005 art show
* CD sculpture, Stephanie Bateman-Graham, Swancon 2005 art show
* Changing Skins series, Sarah Xu, (exhibited at Swancon 2005 art show)
* Dragon quilting, Callum Watson, Swancon 2005 art show
* Gynaecon T-shirts, Sarah Xu
* Nothing Better: A short presentation on why I have to leave, Bec Handcock, Swancon 2005 art show
* Photograph of Carreg Cellen, Elaine Kemp, Swancon 2005 art show
* Reflective Moods, Sarah Xu, Swancon 2005 art show
* Stamp artworks, Emma Hawkes, Swancon 2005 art show
* The View from Glastonbury Tor, Elaine Kemp, Swancon 2005

Unpaid or Fan Production (any medium)
* A Brief History of Friendship by Cathy Cupitt
* Consensual A Trois, edited by Dedman, Kemp, Cupitt
* Fandomedia 2005, Ju, the professional lap cat
* GenghisCon 2005, The GenghisCon committee
* Gynaezine 3, Emma Hawkes, Gina Goddard
* HorrorScope, edited by Shane Jiraiya Cummings et. al.* Swancon 2005, Swancon XXX committee
* The Simono Restrospective, Simon Oxwell, Swancon 2005

MORE AWARDY GOODNESS

With 4 days until we jet out to the Aurealis Awards, the Australian Horror Writers Association have announced their shortlist for the 2006 Australian Shadows Award. And I’m on it.

Twice.

The full listing is:

The Grinding House by Kaaron Warren
Shadow Box edited by Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Angela Challis
Pater Familias by Lee Battersby
Father Muerte and the Flesh by Lee Battersby (Not bad for a story I haven’t seen in print yet…)
The Red Priest’s Homecoming by Dirk Flinthart

The shortlist will be presented to the Guest Judge to decide upon the winner, and that winner will be announced in April/May, with the award presented at Conflux 3, 9-12th June in Canberra.

A nice boost to the confidence just before the AAs, and another notch in what’s turning out to be rather a positive writer-guy week. With Erin and Connor off to school over the next two days, I’m revved up and breezy for getting some good wordage down before we fly out.

NEW NEW NEW COKE

I’ve been meaning to blog this for blooming ages, but keep getting distracted. Born out of a discussion between myself, Martin Livings, Shane Jirayia Cummings, and Stephanie Gunn, a poll:

What should be the next flavour Coca Cola puts on the market?

a) Tuna Coke
b) Feta Coke
c) Wasabi Coke

Vote on the message board.

NUTRIMETICS

Because we just can’t get enough of change at Work-In-Progress House, Luscious and I have put into effect something we’ve been talking about for a while now: I have left work, and shall be staying at home in my new role as House Husband and Full-Time Dadthing, and the Luscious One will take on the role of Bacon Gatherer. Part one of that mission has been to return to something she did a while back, with some success: my beautiful wife is a Nutrimetics Consultant.

Nutrimetics is a life-long commitment for Lyn: she’s been using the products since she was 10 (she won’t let me reveal her true age, but it is a whole number between 35 and 37…), so it’s something she believes in strongly. For readers of this blog, we’ll be posting regular specials for party bookings and catalogue orders, so if you’re looking for cosmetic and skin health solutions, contact her and have a chat. You’ll find an online catalogue here, or for the full catalogue, you can email Lyn and she’ll send one out to you.

As a start-up, book a party before the end of March, and you’ll receive not only a deluxe facial (worth $45) but an Aromatherapy Body Massage Oil valued at $25!

Also, until the 10th of March, the following special packs are available. Buy one, and you’ll also receive a free facial:

Hand Indulgence Pack
5 Step programme featuring:

1 Hand and Nail Treatment Crème
1 Intensive Hand and Nail Soak
1 Cuticle Treatment Crème
1 Body Massage Oil
1 Nail Colour of your choice

Value $137.00
Only $ 70.00
Save $67.00

Inside The Office And Out Pack

1 Ultra-Care Day Lotion
1 aromatherpay Foot Balm
Value $79.00
Only $52.00
Save $27.00

Lyn particularly recommends the latter pack. The Ultra-Care Day Lotion is an essential daily moisturiser that smoothes the skin and is quickly absorbed so that your skin feels softer and smoother while being protected against harmful sun exposure. It’s also a protection against the harmful rays emitted by computer screens. If you’re reading this now, invest in it! 🙂

Song of the moment: Leather Tori Amos

WE MAY AS WELL JUST CHANGE OUR NAME TO KUTTNER AND BE DONE WITH IT

Received a phone call from the stylish and altogether frabjous Jason Nahrung last night. Not only a denizen of our all-time favourite city, Brisbane, Jason does journalism-guy stuff for the Courier Mail, and wanted to interview Luscious and myself with an eye to the upcoming Aurealis Awards.

Which was no pain at all, as he is a complete gentleman and a delight to chat to. And I still owe him a beer, so it was a chance to remind him of my obligation. Excuse me, barman, I have no children with me this trip!

Our reputation as the single-entity-with-two-names continues to grow…

LYNAPALOOZA!

Luscious fans! Get yourself over to Anna Tambour’s website and read this month’s featured story, a new and previously unpublished Lyngram entitled Simeon The Monkey. It’s weird, touching, and of the usual stratosphere-high Luscious quality!

In double-good-news-with-chips, no less than 2 authors have recommended The Memory of Breathing for the Bram Stoker Award, and ASIM have nominated it for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Fountain Award.

Is wot me and Arfur would call a nice little earner…

13!

Happy birthday Aiden! Hope you made out like a bandit! (He certainly did at our end: a bike with all the accessories, and a CD rack, and a DIY T-Rex skeleton kit with poster and replica claw, and a double-barrelled lava lamp. Lucky bugger. Wish I was 13 muttergrumblerazzumfrazzumenvywhingejealousy…..)

LOOK AT MY BOTTOM

Check out the bottom of the page to see the latest shiny banner-toy. Yessiree, yon author-boy is now a member of the Australian Horror Webring. Follow the ‘next’ to see who else is a member.

Do we get sandwiches?

VOTE!

The Tin Ducks and the Ditmars are open. If you’re a member of (respectively) Swancon and the Natcon, you can nominate and vote.

No pressure, but in 2005 I gave the world:

I Can Make You Famous, Shadow Box, October
Decimated,
Shadowed Realms Issue 8, November
Gunslinger,
The Devil in Brisbane, Prime Books, October
Murderworld, Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine Issue 18, April
Love Me Electric, Consensual a Trois, March
(The Aurealis nominated…) Pater Familias, Shadowed Realms, Issue 3, January
(The appearing in Year’s Best Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror…) Father Muerte & The Rain, Aurealis Issue 33, January

No pressure.

AND IN DOMESTIC NEWS…

The house continues apace. The original office has become Connor’s bedroom, as the desk we bought for Lyn is bigger than the room 🙂 So our office/reading room/studio now takes up the first third of the house, and Connor’s original bedroom is now the playroom.

Got that? 🙂

By my reckoning, in the last week I have seen: 60+ allen bolts; 200+ screws; 8 flat packed items of furniture; one quarter of a tonne of dust of various types; 8 cuts; 26 scratches; and three rooms almostnearlyjussssstabout finished…

And the bathroom guys come on Monday.

I confidently predict a liveable home environment by Christmas.

WOOHOO FOR TWO

The shortlist of nominations for this year’s Aurealis Awards are out, and both Luscious and I have scored mentions!

Lyn is up for Best Science Fiction Short Story with The Memory of Breathing, from ASIM 17. Personally, I think it’s the best story I read by an Australian this year. It’s her first nomination, and I’m so proud of her for producing such an extraordinary piece of work.

Pater Familias, my story from Shadowed Realms Issue 3, has been nominated for Best Horror Short Story.

Another trip to Brisbane for the awards ceremony early next year? You bet.

HERE COME DE JUDGE

Luscious and I attended the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writer’s Centre SF/F Awards ceremony on Sunday, in our capacity as this year’s judges. We had a great time reading for the comp: 90 entries in the Open section and 20 in the junior. Submissions are blind, which meant that we didn’t know the identity of the winners until after we’d chosen them, so it was gratifying to see some good names amongst the crop, some of whom we count amongst our friends. It was also good to see sopme of the authors come to accept their prizes: not many Western Australians copped gongs this year, and I enjoyed listening to those who did attend give their readings.

For the record, yon winners this year were:

OPEN SECTION:

Winner- Happy Now, Peter Frankis
2nd Here Be Monsters, Susan Wardle

Highly Commended-

  • Deadline, Martin Livings
  • Ian, Shane Jirayia Cummings
  • Rentokil Girl, BJ Thomason
  • Hollow, Peter Frankis
  • Boomerang, Joh Gooley
  • The Scent of Milk, Tansy Rayner Roberts

Commended-

  • The Heartfelt Creature, Dominic Lennard
  • Screen Conspiracy, Harold Mally
  • Rings And Things, Helen Venn
  • Leap Year Man, Jim Murphy
  • Crossed Wires, Laurie Steed
  • They’re Selling Postcards Of The Hanging, Neroli Cochrane (Winner of the highly-unofficial Lee’s Vote For Best Title of the Competition award)

JUNIOR SECTION:

WinnerDisenchantments, Briony Davis
2ndThe Feast, Colin Gan

Highly Commended-

  • Encephsystem (TM), Ruth Fox
  • The Tree, Ben Brooker
  • The Clone, Nicola Sanchez

Commended-

  • The Isle, Ruth Fox
  • Waiting For Reality, Huxley Baberowski
  • A Sword… For The Road, Valerie Coscini

There were some fantastic stories this year, and some we’re going to try to snaffle for Ticonderoga Online now the competition is finished and we have no conflict of interest.

And the winner is…

THE SEASON END APPROACHETH

1 game to go, and the mighty Bayswater Juniors lie in 4th place, with a strong chance of making the finals! A brave 4-0 loss this weekend (to a side that walloped us 9-2 in the reverse fixture) speaks of some good form, so it all rides on the final game of the season.

The last couple of games have been a bit hard on Aiden: with the business end of the season he’s getting less game time, which I don’t think is fair: junior sport is supposed to be about fun, not about the coach and his friends reliving their inflated glory days through the kids. I ended up having a row with the coach’s father on Sunday, who is of the opinion the supporting the kids means shouting abuse at them every time they do (or don’t do) something. Ugly parents get under my skin, and had he turned it upon the A-boy things would have become much louder than they did….

Thankfully, Aiden’s still up for every game, and still gets involved- he laid a beautiful crunching tackle on a player last weekend. He’s a much better player than he was at the start of the season, and I hope he continues next year, and keeps having fun.

And we’re already starting to train the next generation. How’s this for goalscoring form?


Mia Hamm is yesterday’s news!

A WELL ADJUSTED CHILD, NON?

Lie down and die, Barbie. You can’t compete with a Batman mask and an imagination. The jewlerry is a nice touch, don’t you think? “I could fight crime, or I could just head out to dinner.”

It’s not a bike pump, it’s a sword! And a trumpet, and a microphone, and a guitar….

The Pink Knight Avenger…

CURRY, METHEGLIN, AND LAUGHTER

Had a great time on Sunday night, when Shane Jirayia Cummings and Angela Challis joined us for dinner after the SF Awards, giving us another excuse to head down to our special little Indian place and grab some takeaway. Dinner started at 7, and it was past midnight when we finally parted, weary from laughter and some of the most enjoyable conversation we’ve had since, well, since the last time we shared dinner. Shane and Angela are just too much fun for words, and anybody who enjoys metheglin as much as I do is always welcome 🙂 Not to mention the muscat, the cabernet merlot, the classic white…….

Oh, and next time you bump into Shane, ask him to tell you about the vespian legetarians 🙂

IT’S BACK, BABY!

The Premier League is back!

Here we go, here we go, here we goooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

SECRET TIJUANA DEATHMATCH…

…has arrived in the mail! How can you not love a game that lets you take failed American businessmen and pit them in masked Mexican wrestler combat to the death? I love Cheapass Games.

And I notice on the side of the box that they have a game called Unexploded Cow. Hmmm…..

UP AT EBAY

Put up our first items for sale yesterday on this fine taking-money-from-Batts-in-return-for-regular-packages-in-the-mail site. If you’d like a massive encyclopedia of motorcycles, an unopened copy of Titus on DVD, an unopened VHS box set of the first 3 Star Wars movies, or a 3-issue The Shadow mini-series, look under Triffbatt and make a bid.

ANOTHER ONE DONE

Finally finished a story and sent it out this morning. It seems so long since I’ve accomplished this simple task. But the story’s a good one, by which I mean it’s unremittingly nasty and makes Luscious’ skin crawl. Which is a fine thing, because Decimated has gone off to Shadowed Realms.

Tentacles crossed.

BOOOOOOOKKKKKKKSSSSSSSS……..

This Saturday, the grand opening of Fantastic Planet Bookstore, 8 Shafto Lane, Perth.

Run by groovies Elaine Kemp and Stephen Dedman, this promises to finally be the decent SF bookstore this city has been waiting for. Elaine and Stephen are committed to showcasing the weird, the unusual, the local, and the hard to get, as well as the usual shel-filling money spinners.

Get your asses down there. Buy something. Support it. Read their weblog. Tell them what you want. This is the best chance we’ve had since A Touch of Strange turned to poo to have a truly first class Speculative Fiction bookshop.

You’ll recognise me on Saturday: I’ll be the large hairy guy telling the short gorgeous woman that I can’t possibly live without any of the enormous pile of books I’ll be carrying. Hope they’ve got a big Waldrop section…

FAIR DO’S

It occurs to me that I should also mention that Borderlands 4 contains the single best non-fiction article I’ve read since I became involved in the Oz SF scene 4 years ago.

Then again, long time readers of this blog or my Ideomancer reviews will not be at all surpsied by the high esteem in which I hold Chris Lawson.

TIN DUCKS

I found out earlier this evening that Tales of Nireym has been nominated for the Best Professional Fiction Tin Duck Award at this year’s Swancon.

Even better, ASIM 11 has been nominated for Best Professional Production. If you’d been privy to the amount of shit Luscious had to wade through just to get this issue to see print, you’d be lining up with me to accord her a medal. (A Tin Duck will do nicely, though). It’s a real vindication of her fight with the committee, and proof of not only her excellent editorial skills, but of the strength of character she showed by not backing down when some members of said committee (including a member of a fundamentalist religion who wouldn’t know pulp tradition if it reared up and bit her on the arse) came over all faint at the idea of a pulp magazine printing horror. Coz Weird Tales never did that, dontch’a know…

I’m extraordinarily proud of Lyn right now. I hope the ASIM members who are present at the Award ceremony have the grace to stand aside and let her take centre stage if the issue wins.

DITMARS

Nominations for the Australian SF ‘Ditmar’ Awards are now open. You don’t have to be a member of this year’s National Convention Thylacon to nominate. You may nominate as many works as you wish. Eligible published works must have appeared for the first time in 2004. Please email your nominations to lenehan@our.net.au with the word ‘Ditmar’ in the subject heading. Nominations will be counted if sent by 1 March. Voting will open on 7 March 2005. Only members (including supporting members) of Thylacon 2005 will be eligible to vote. Consult www.thylacon.com for further information.

For the record, I had the following stories appear in 2004, making them eligible in the Professional Short Story category. No pressure 🙂

Through The Window Merrilee Dances Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine Issue 16, December.
Silk All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, Wheatland Press, October.
Vortle Encounters, CSFG Publishing, August.
Tales of Nireym Orb Issue 6, June. (Finalist for the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story)
The Habit of Dying Peridot Books Volume 24, May.
Letters To Josie Borderlands, Issue 3, April.
Ecdysis Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine issue 11, March.

Likewise I shall not urge anybody who enjoyed The Alternative History Game Show at Swancon 2004 to nominate it for Best Fan Production. And by God, there isn’t a chance I’ll even mention Ticonderoga Online as a possible Best Collected Work nominee. I certainly wouldn’t suggest you go here and read it before you nominate. Perish the thought.

No siree, no pressure here, none at all…

I will, however, urge you to nominate ASIM Issue 11, edited by Luscious Lyn Triffitt, easily the best issue of that particular magazine to come out this year, and IMHO, at all.

WELL, WE’RE BACK

Can I sleep now?

That was one seriously hectic week, dudes and dudettes. As most of you will be aware, I didn’t win the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story. That honour was shared by Richard Harland and Louise Katz. I did, however, have a blast at the after-ceremony cocktail party, and schmoozed my little arse off.

To cut out the boring bits (actually, there were no boring bits. Even the word games the kids came up with on the bus rides were fun), highlights and lowlights:

LOWLIGHTS: Only 3: 1. Sleeping in a single bed with Luscious. I’m too fat and crippled to be able to do that anymore. Which is a bugger, because I used to like it. Ah well, the wall of our bedroom probably still has a print of my back on it… 2. Losing that goddamn award. Yeah, so I’m a petty, small, vindictive bastard, but I wanted it, and I’m jealous as all buggery that I was beaten to it by a couple of worthless hacks who aren’t fit to lace my drinks… (Richard and Louise are actually bloody talented, and deserved their awards, and as anyone who knows me will tell you I didn’t expect to win it, but you know, they pause just before they read out the names, and you can’t help holding your breath… Anyway, Richard and Louise are thoroughly deserving winners. Now I really have to win the next one…) 3. Having our DVD camera stolen. Luscious talks about this on her blog, so I shan’t go on about what we lost, but it was still a pisser.

HIGHLIGHTS: Too many to mention. The Awards Ceremony, even if I didn’t win anything. The after-ceremony cocktail party. Watching as the three baldest men in SF had their picture taken together- Sean Williams, Rob Hood, and Connor Battersby. I will so be posting that one when I get a copy! Catching up with so many good pals I don’t get the chance to see often enough, such as Donna Hansen, Sean Williams, Rob Hood and Cat Sparks, and especially the truly fabulous Robert Hoge and Kate Eltham, and my co-mutual-admiration-society-president Geoffrey Maloney. Catching up with so many cool people I’d only e-met before, including the likes of Trevor Stafford, Stephen Thompson, Kaaron Warren, the luvverly Kirsten Bishop (who gave me the coolest version of her book The Etched City, complete with corrections in the author’s own hand), the super-luvverly Kim Wilkins, who was this close to stealing Connor and running (much to her partner’s nervousness), and Josephine Pennicott. Hanging out with Ellen Datlow and the room-o’-writers at the seminar the following day. What a scary assemblage of talent that was. I have some work to do: there were a lot of people much higher in the food chain than your humble blatherer, and it was a reminder of just where I stand in the order of things. The museum. The science centre, where I learnt just how fast I can throw a cricket ball (not too shabby, after so long out of the game). The swimming beach. Toscani’s. Listening to Cassie spend almost an entire week trying to pronounce Toscani’s properly. Movieworld. Going backwards down the Scooby-Doo ride, trying not to scream like a girl (I don’t do roller coaster rides), giving up, and screaming my arse off. Listening to my 3 year old daughter cackle like a witch all the way through the Batman thrill ride. Connor puking on Marilyn Monroe. Shopping. Much shopping. Watching Godzilla Vs MechaGodzilla at Rob Hood’s Godzilla panel for Fantastic Queensland’s Summer of Speculative Fiction. Debating with the boys all the way home as to whether Godzilla is a good guy or a bad guy or just a bloody big lizard with cool powers. The delight and excitement on Luscious’ face when she finally found the perfect shoes for our wedding. Catching up with Clarionite pals Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Lily Chrywenstrom. There’s more…

MOVIEWORLD: Okay, so it’s over-priced, and believe it or not, there isn’t as much to do as Adventure World here in Perth. BUT: the kids went mad, and for that alone it was worth the 2 hour wait for a bus after the park closed. Now, I’m not saying I bought into the madness, but given that I hate Scooby-Doo and I don’t do roller coasters, who’s the fat guy with the bald spot in the photo? (The photo, mind you, is how I learned I have a bald spot…). A long, hot, sunburn-filled day that saw us staggering under the weight of merchandising, rolls of film, and with grins like insane tourist types. Which we were 🙂

Quote of the day: “I didn’t tell him to do that so I had an excuse…” Me, trying to pacify the Marilyn Monroe impersonator as I rubbed his vomit off her thigh.

MY SON IS A LUCKY, LUCKY, LITTLE BUGGER: Kim Wilkins, Cat Sparks, Marilyn Monroe, Kate Eltham… I can name about a million fan boys who’d kill for that kind of hugging action.

DID I MENTION THE SHOPPING? Brisbane is much cheaper than Perth when it comes to the important things. Like comics, and books, and all the other crap we came home with. Personal shopping highlights: the $1 packets of Yu-Gi-Oh cards we got for the boys; 2 Hellboy graphic novels that pretty much complete my collection; the Buddy Christ figurine; shoes for both Lyn and Cassie for the wedding; Maus book II (finally!); book 3 of Evan Dorkin’s Hectic Planet series, more books than you can find in my local library, discovering Comics Etc. and Underworld Realm, Lyn’s hot Goth boots (runs off for cold shower, returns. Types more slowly due to shaking hands), The Dead Kennedy’s Frankenchrist and The Cramps’ Look Mom, No Head albums. There’s more…

Told you we did a lot of shopping.

WHY DO I LOVE THE CRAMPS?

Some titles from the Look Mom, No Head table of contents-

Two Headed Sex Change
Blow Up Your Mind
Bend Over, I’ll Drive
Eyeball In My Martini
Hipsville 29 BC

Any questions?

THE BIGGEST, SLOPPIEST THANK YOU IN THE WORLD

Sometimes friends go beyond the call of duty for you, and in doing so give you something truly precious. Our Brisbane holiday will be a happy memory for all of us, yet without Robert Hoge and Kate Eltham it would not have happened at all. Robert and Kate are the convenors of Clarion South, and made available the convenor’s apartment so that our entire family had accomodation for free. Without such a kind and generous gesture, we could not have afforded to take our family of 7 on such a trip. Our gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you, Robert and Kate. We’re in your debt.

TAKE YOUR WORD COUNT AND…

So I didn’t write while I was in Queensland. So sue me, I was on holiday!

I’ll be doing a lot of work next week to catch up. Promise.

WOOHOO AND A HOLIDAY TO BOOT

Received news during the week that my story Tales of Nireym that appeared in Orb #6 has made the shortlist for this year’s Aurealis Awards. Suppose I’ll have to rewrite that question in the quiz now…

Anyway, apart from the coolness of being shortlisted, it’s meant that we’ve had to cancel our Albany holiday with the kids in January. Awwww. But only so we can replace it with a Brisbane holiday with the kids. Wheeee!

TALKING OF ALBANY

Luscious and I took the opportunity of a kid-free weekend to head down to our favourite country town for a couple of days and book into the hotel where Connor was conceived. Luscious’ idea, and a brilliant one it was too. A couple of days away from the rush and rumble was just what we both needed. I even came away with a story idea or two, so who knows? I might get another story out before I die after all.

4 WEEKS!

Connor is 4 weeks old today, and still beautiful. He was such a long and painful time coming, it’s hard to believe 4 weeks have passed already. I can’t take my eyes off him.

Which makes driving interesting 🙂

A SHORT POST BUT…

I was going to put something long and rambling down in which I talked about the year past and the year to come, but in between cleaning the house for Christmas (we’re hosting the family on Boxing Day) and shopping and cleaning the house and getting the patio ready and shopping and organising family members and cleaning and not sleeping because of the baby and getting the patio ready and not sleeping again……. I can’t be shagged.

Have a fun season, and I’ll catch up with you all next year.