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.


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.


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.


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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.


Courtesy of Blake. I take no responsibility…..

What did the cannibal do after he dumped his girlfriend?

Wiped his bum.

Exit, stage lefffttt……


Blake and Cassie go back to their Dad’s house tonight, having spent the last week with us for the school holidays. I’m pretty down about it– this last week’s been a hoot. But one thing that makes me happy is being able to give Blakey-boy a bit of a special gift to take with him.

ASIM 22 arrived in the post yesterday, and it contains my story Blake The God. Which stars, quite obviously for anyone who has ever met him, the B-boy himself.

I’ve been waiting to see this story in print for a little while. It’s a bit of a favourite: it’s funny, light, and (hopefully) is a fairly big signpost to show my fondness for my youngest Bonus Son.

Tangent Online has a positive review. So get yourself a copy, and if you see me out and about with him ask Blakey to sign the story. You’ll just about make his year.

This is your God!


I’m forced into a position I hate. I have to write a complaint letter. Not about a faulty product (and the makers of the sonic screwdriver I bought at Swancon, I’ll be getting to you shortly…) but to the KSP, an institution I am very fond of, and with whom I’ve been in a relationship of mutual benefit for a few years now.

Because the woman who runs a writing group I attended for almost 2 years took exception to some of the contents of my collection, and instead of speaking to me directly, wrote 2 pages of what I can only call hate mail, handed it to Lyn, said “See Lee gets this.” and disappeared into the sunset.

No return address. No way to engage in a dialogue. Just sputum and bile, leaving Lyn and I feeling attacked and unwelcome at an event to which we give a lot of attention and care.

Now, I’m not exactly a delicate little wallflower, here. I’m not so blind as to be surprised if I offend somebody, or if what I write hurts or causes a negative reaction. What I write is often very dark (and not just the fiction: it’s the afterwords that caused the offence on this occasion), and I am aware that I have a personality which is large, loud, and generally uncompromising. I’ve received hate mail from my own relatiuves, fer Pete’s sake. And I’ve had friends call me obnoxious, and ask that I change my personality or they’ll refuse to hang around with me. It’s not like I haven’t noticed, non?

But in each of those cases I’ve had some sort of right of reply. And in each of those cases, it’s been just me, not Lyn, that’s had to bear the pointed end of the stick.

So: a letter of complaint, to a group of people I like, because one of their members is a coward, and unprofessional, and is undertaking a deliberate attempt to spoil my reputation within a body I turn to for workshop work and residencies (Oh, it’s a good letter, folks). What would you do, if somebody came into your workplace, and tried to break down the way you make a living?

Some days, to misquote the great Emo Philips, it’s just not worth chewing through the leather straps in the morning…


We were lucky enough to catch up with two of our fabourite people for coffee during the week: Michelle and Adrian Bedford. As always, the conversation was warm and relaxed, but we were rewarded with a happy moment when Adrian misheard Lyn say ‘remedial massage’ and spent a fair part of the conversatiuon wondering what sort of career she was going to have in media massage.

Send your suggestions ina sealed envelope…


The kids have been with us this week, for our half of the school holidays, and goddamn, I’m loving it. I’ve been out with the boys, riding our bikes down to the beach to climb rocks and discover a whopping great treasure trove of fossilised shells and eggs (summer, hammer, chisel, oh yeah baby…). We’ve watched Godzilla movies (“We shall call the red one Baragon!!!”). We’ve made art, and framed the pictures we painted last time we were all together. We’ve picknicked and watched the kids going mad in the surf. And I’ve laughed more in the last week than I have in a long time. It’s been exactly what being a family is all about. And on Monday night it has to end.

Still, when you have photos like this, the memories really do last forever:

A pretty good definition of family

The bright side is: Aiden is with us full time now, where he was wanted to be for quite some time. And while he’s sad to leave his Dad’s house, well, if we actually undertake every plan he wants to now that he’s here, I confidently predict he should leave home by the time he’s 43…


As of now, our good pal Stephanie Gunn will be a married woman. (And I’d like extra credit for never once referring to the occasion as a Shocked-Gunn wedding…)

Well done, Steph! Have one on us!

Drink, we mean…


There’s been some interesting discussion on the Southern Horror mailing list regarding horror movies, and remakes thereof. So it was with interest that I settled in with Luscious and the boys to watch Blake’s movie of choice tonight: David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly. Well, truth be told: I settled in to watch it. Lyn & the boys settled in to look at the inside of their blankets and ask me when the scary bits were over.

It’s damn good, I was happily surprised to see. The special effects and storyline stand up remarkably well twenty years later, and while Geena Davis is nothing to write home about in the acting stakes, Jeff Goldblum’s performance is hypnotic. If you’ve not seen it in a while, there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.


So: Seth brundle (Goldblum) opens up his bathroom cabinet to store some teeth that have just fallen out, and we see that he’s been storing his own body parts for some little time. Someone who shall remain nameless, but who was actually Blake, points to a curiously shaped nubbin of flesh and says, in a proud happy voice:

Ewwwww. It’s his first syllable of cockateil!

Mother scolds. Bonus Dad collapses in laughter. They swap. Brother spends whole time laughing his ass off…


As of Monday, my darling wife will return to full time studies, where she will spend the next 6 months learning to become a professional masseuse. Because she’s in the later half of her 30s, and has realised that she wants to spend her working career doing something which rewards her personally as well as just financially. It’s a brave move, and I couldn’t be prouder.

She’s come a long way over the last 3 years. When I met her she was a loving, self-sacrificing woman who automatically put herself last in every situation. Now she has a fierce streak of independence, and understands that her happiness is important to those around her, and that those who love her want to see her fulfilled. She’s always been tough, and stronger than she realised, but now she has found the self-belief that allows her to express herself and her needs.

I can’t wait to see her flourish and grow throughout this new part of her life. I’m extraordinarily proud.


Ahhh, children. You just can’t predict what they’ll learn next.

Who’d have thought the darling little boy who so cutely refuses to learn to say ‘Mummy’ would so quickly seize upon ‘Shutup’ as his next word?

And, because I’m a self-indulgent dad, a picture. Because he’s beautiful, and because I can ๐Ÿ™‚

The most beautiful little boy in the world


Today is the second day of my full-time house husbandness (house husbandry sounds a bit wrong, somehow). My beautiful Luscious is settling into her new job, and enjoying it, thank goodness. Call me a hairy old throwback if you like. No really, go ahead. Okay, now that’s over, I’ll admit to a whole parcel of guilt over chucking in my day job to be at home while consigning her to the jobmines. It’s what she wants to do, but still, well, call me a hairy old throwback.

My biggest problem lies in believing in her writing so much that taking her away from it for 11 hours a day whilst opening up my own writing chances speaks of such overwhelming selfishness on my part that I can’t balance it against the good things that will come from the change. For which she’ll give me a slapping and a reminder when she reads this, I’m sure.

So, a lot of our routines and rituals are changing to accommodate our new working arrangement, including blogging practices. Basically, unless I have something ultra-groovy that can’t wait, I’m likely to stick to updating once a week, on Tuesday nights. The time will be better put towards housework, writing, the kids, and finding time to be together with my darling wife.

However, for the moment, this is Tuesday night, so:


Took the boys to the FTIs screening of Godzilla: Final Wars on Saturday Night. What with Perky and Chesh also in the audience, this gloriously bad fillum (non-G watchers just don’t seem to get the idea that the general level of badness is part of the enjoyment), much Double Take style fun was had. My personal favourite moment occured when an elderly farmer pointed his teeeensy little BB-type rifle at the 100 metre high Godzilla, and his 2 ft tall grandson rushed in between them to stop him shooting. I couldn’t help myself: “Just shoot over him” was audible to all. Then there was the moment Mothra entered the fray, to Blake’s cry of “Hey! Mothra’s not a bad guy!”

So there was the big G, there was Gigan, there was Mothra, King Caesar, Matrix-clad kung-fu aliens, seven or 8 other monsters I can’t recall because I was laughing too hard, and a special appearance from the US Godzilla which resulted in my new all-time favourite movie quote:

“I knew that tuna-eating monster would be no good!”

Cinema gold. Best bad movie moment since the ‘head Japanese arhcaeologist’ in King Kong Versus Godzilla informed us that, in the opinion of the scientific community, big G was the result of mating between a T-Rex and a Stegosaurus…

And I managed to keep a family tradition alive: last time we went to an FTI screening with door prizes, Aiden won a collectable Nightmare Before Christmas figurine. The time before that, Blake won an Invader Zim stubbie holder. I was left in no doubt, on the way to the cinema, of my duties as regards prize winning., Thankfully, I came through, although with both Godzilla 2000 and Weather Woman as the other prizes, it’s the only time in my life I could conceive of being slightly disappointed to win a free copy of Seven Samurai….


The first meeting of the Swancon 33 committee happened at our place on Sunday. I don’t know what shape the final convention will take, but it won’t be a quiet journey to get there ๐Ÿ™‚


Okay, writing types! The good folks at the KSP Writer’s Centre will be hosting 2 workshops run by yours truly a couple of weeks from now. I’ll be posting reminders closer to the dates, but for your consideration, as quoted on the KSP website:

Thursday 6th April , 9.30am-11.30am Words First Writing Group. Critiquing Workshop

Writing is the art of putting the right words in the right order, to pinch a phrase from Wordsworth. Award winning short story author Lee Battersby will be taking participants through the act of editing their own work, from line level to the narrative arc, and discussing how killing the lines you love can make for a tighter, more effective work. If you are not a regular member of the group, booking is essential. Limit 18. Sponsored by the Department of Culture and the Arts. Non-Members $20 Members $3

Saturday 8th April, 1.00pm-4.00pm Want to win the SF Competition? With last year’s judges Lee and Lyn Battersby

The 2005 Judges of the KSP SF/Fantasy Competition will give advice, and answer questions, to assist aspiring entrants to the 2006 competition, pointing out the major strengths and weaknesses they observed in work submitted last year. They cannot guarantee that everyone or anyone will win the competition as a consequence of attending their workshop, but both feel that many writers may benefit from their observations and advice. Non-Members $20 Members $20

Stay tuned, because I don’t think those prices are quite right, but I shall advise once I get correct word.


You know my story, and my collection, Through Soft Air, right? ‘Course you do! Well, let me tell you: when I wrote the story, back in something like 2001 or 2002, every word of the thing was original, straight from the gnarly depths of my subconscious to you. Including the title. And then, whilst browsing online today, 5 years or so later, look what I found.

I’ve included the whole poem, because, well, you heathens could get a bit of culture inta ya, orright? The highlighting is mine, Consider me well and truly freaked out right now…


That happy gleam of vernal eyes,
Those locks from summer’s golden skies,
That o’er thy brow are shed;
That cheek–a kindling of the morn,
That lip–a rose-bud from the thorn,
I saw; and Fancy sped
To scenes Arcadian, whispering, through soft air,
Of bliss that grows without a care,
And happiness that never flies–
(How can it where love never dies?) 10
Whispering of promise, where no blight
Can reach the innocent delight;
Where pity, to the mind conveyed
In pleasure, is the darkest shade
That Time, unwrinkled grandsire, flings
From his smoothly gliding wings.
What mortal form, what earthly face
Inspired the pencil, lines to trace,
And mingle colours, that should breed
Such rapture, nor want power to feed; 20
For had thy charge been idle flowers,
Fair Damsel! o’er my captive mind,
To truth and sober reason blind,
‘Mid that soft air, those long-lost bowers,
The sweet illusion might have hung, for hours.
Thanks to this tell-tale sheaf of corn,
That touchingly bespeaks thee born
Life’s daily tasks with them to share
Who, whether from their lowly bed
They rise, or rest the weary head, 30
Ponder the blessing they entreat
From Heaven, and ‘feel’ what they repeat,
While they give utterance to the prayer
That asks for daily bread.

William Wordsworth, 1828.


I know some people have asked, and with Prime being a bit on the slow side to update their website, I’ve hunted down a link for those of you who can’t wait to order my book through Fantastic Planet or cadge on from me directly at Conflux. To whit:


Go. Buy. Read. Tell me you love me…


Been a while. Gakked from ashamel

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you

“Your Individual is a pretty disgusting, vain, lewd little bastard… By God, he has only one right guaranteed to him in Nature, and that is the right to die and stink to Heaven.”

From Short Lives: Portraits of Writers, Painters, Poets, Actors, Musicians, and Performers in Pursuit of Death by Katinka Mason

Song of the moment: 1000 Umbrellas XTC


11 years old on Wednesday, and his Mum still can’t believe her baby is growing up!

We had a great time on the weekend, treating the B-boy to some birthday goodness. Lunch at the restaurant of his choice, a trip to the movies, prezzies (but of course…), cheesecake, and all sorts of hanging out and doing cool stuff. Birthdays at the Batthouse tend to last all weekend, and it’s a great excuse to indulge ourselves in the name of family togetherness. And the kids are so worth treating.

Blaaaaakkkkkeeeee, can I play your Baldur’s Gate game nowwwwwww? ๐Ÿ™‚


A couple of years ago, Father Muerte & the Theft was mentioned in the Recommended Reading List at the back of Datlow & Windling Best Fantasy & Horror 16. Then I sold the reprint rights, and it appeared in last year’s issue of Tales of The Unanticipated.

In which capacity it was mentioned in the recently released Best Fantasy & Horror 18.

They may not have good taste…

And to continue my habit of bridesmaidship, I managed to escape being picked up for The Best Australian SF & Fantasy anthology released by Mirrordanse Books recently, but both Vortle and Tales of Nireym made their RR list.


The launch of Stephen Dedman’s book Never Seen By Waking Eyes went very well, thank you, at least from the viewpoint of this unexpectedly nervous public speaker.

Many books seemed to change hands, much wine (and in my case, orange juice) was sipped, the conversation was refreshingly adult, and I was a very proud Battman as I watched Luscious, Aiden, Blake and Connor move amongst the assemblage. A combination of shyness and claustrophobia makes Luscious nervous amongst crowds, but she handled the scene with aplomb, and the older boys acted with a maturity and grace which belied their years. And everyone loves the C-train ๐Ÿ™‚

It was also enjoyable, from a personal point of view, to attend an SF event in a purely adult, writer, role. As much as I love turning on the dancing monkey boy persona for Cons, it’s also nice to be accorded some respect for my professional achievements. I felt like a serious writer on Friday night, and what’s more, those who attended the launch treated me with some sort of professional respect. Hard to define, but there was a subtle, serious intent to the proceedings, and I liked it.

And I was glad for Stephen, who is both a friend and a writer I very much admire, to see a crowd of people rendering unto him the respect to which he is due.

The book is available now. Go to Fantastic Planet and buy it. Consider it my personal recommendation for the week. Tell them I sent you.

It won’t get you a discount, but they will laugh and tell you to stop reading my blog and get a life ๐Ÿ™‚


Charlie and The Chocolate Factory was a hoot, and I loved it.

That’s all. I’m not going to get into the comparisons with the first movie that litter everyone else’s comments. I’m not going to mention the raft of faults that can be picked (and there are a lot, to be sure). Gene Wilder was brilliant. So is Johnny Depp. Why pick who’s better, when you can enjoy them both?

I loved the first movie. It was a piece of dark magic that we don’t see often enough in cinema. I loved this one. Soon enough I’ll own them both.

Love it, hate it, I don’t really care. I turned off my critical faculties about 5 minutes into the movies, got in touch with my inner child, and grooved my ass off.

And whoever thought to reinterpret the Oompah Loompahs as insane little members of Devo: you’re a bloody genius!


So I’m reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters today, after picking it up at Fantastic Planet during the week. And I’ve read over 200 pages today.

And I’m asking myself: what the fuck am i doing with my writing career?

Voice? I thought I had one….

Song of the moment: Father & Son Cat Stevens


Movie night last night. We went to Chesh & Calli’s place, so that Chesh could show off his computer-controlled home theatre set up (‘Twas cool. I know the next thing I want him to do round here…) and watched the fabulously classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I don’t know what was more fun: a room full of fans singing along to every song in the movie, word perfect, or hearing PRK and myself do tone-perfect imitations of Columbia…

In just seven days, I can make you a maaaaaaaaannnnnn.

Too much fun ๐Ÿ™‚

Followed it up with the second episode of Dr Who, courtesy of Splanky. Tell you what: it’s pretty good, and there’s a lot revealed about happenings since the Paul McGann abortion. Shan’t issue any spoilers at all, but you’re going to enjoy this one if you’re a fan.


Lyn’s ex-husband won’t let her kids come to Swancon because (direct quote) “it’s full of freaks and perverts.” So it had me rolling around the floor when we were sitting in the foyer waiting on wedding Saturday, and Blake had this exchange with a pal of ours.

LAURTON: (Coming over to sit and chat). Hey kids. Are you coming to the children’s programme tomorrow?
LEE: No, Jon won’t let the kids come to Swancon. Says it’s filled with freaks and perverts.
LAURTON: Hmmph. I’m not a freak, so I guess that makes me a pervert. (Pulls out a packet of Swancon XXX sweeties and offers them to Blake) Want a lolly?
BLAKE: (Grabbing one like his life depended on it). Well, I’m not allowed to take candy from strangers, but nobody mentioned anything about perverts.



So the Pope’s dead. Good. One head of an evil and repressive bureacracy down, the rest of them to go.


Edited 11 of the 25 stories in The Divergence Tree today. Another 9 tomorrow and it’ll be over and I can get back to some real writing.

Lyn’s wins and subsequent attention, coupled with my own inability to get anything new down (Don’t ask me how the novel’s going, just bloody don’t, okay?) have me itching to create something new. There’s nothing more frustrating than trawling through old stuff while your contemporaries (and loved ones) are forging ahead. Never mind getting back on the horse, I’m going to have to remember where the hell the stables are.


Received in the mail today: my DVD copy of the documentary The Gospel According To Philip K Dick. Dick’s one of my 4 writing cornerstones, along with Harlan Ellison, Alfred Bester, and Howard Waldrop. There is much restrained eagerness in my little body: 2 hours, a bottle of Diet Coke, and a notebook, that’s all I ask…


A big bouquet for Eric Heideman and the crew at Tales Of The Unanticipated. TOTU reprinted Father Muerte & The Theft last year, and I had high hopes for the sequel this year.

‘Twas not to be. I received the rejection in the mail today. But get this: it was 3 pages long. 3 handwritten pages. Single spaced, no margins, and cramming two lines into the top bit where there’s that large gap with no lines. As rejections go, it’s the most complete, extensive, beyond-the-call-of-duty slip I’ve ever received.

Did I mention that there isn’t a single line in the whole thing that causes even a shadow of a sook?

Do you reckon I’ll be sending them something again this year?


Sucks. It’s unfunny, derivative (large parts of the plot seem to have been lifted wholesale from A Bug’s Life, for starters), the characters are actively annoying, and the creators have spent all of 2 minutes working out how to make the world a logical extension of the robot theme. All the things that make animated features of this type, such as the above, or Monsters Inc, enjoyable are lacking in the extreme.

In other words, it sucks.



Sometimes you see something that causes you to not only doubt your ability as a parent, but brings into question the welfare of your child in such a way that you have to seriously question whether you have caused such irreparable harm that your child will be a scarred and damaged person for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, no words are adequate to describe the evil that you have visited upon an innocent mind.

Today, I heard my daughter singing along with Jona Lewie’s Stop The Cavalry.

I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.


In the car on the weekend, apropos of nothing:

BLAKE: It would be really cool to be a werewolf.
ME: Really? Why?
BLAKE: Once a month I’d be allowed to stay up late.

Well…….. yeah.


Was out shopping yesterday for props for the Alternative History Game Show (Gotta love something that gives you a shopping list that includes a toy rat, mouthguard, and confetti). In one of the many stores I visited they were selling penyatas (or however the hell you spell it). Including one in the shape of a female angel.

Considering what you do to penyatas, and what you do to what spills out, it seemed rather wrong, to me.


As if the universe was daring me to hold a party based on the “Why? Oh, why?” theory of music, I heard a new hip hop song on the radio that sampled (wait for it)……..

the Captain Sensible version of Happy Talk.

To steal a line from Aki, WTFPOLARBEAR?


Saturday night is so close now that I’ve got to the stage of wanting everything between now and then to get out of the way and let us get on with it. It’s going to be brilliant.


If you’re not heading to Swancon, this is what you’ll be missing seeing me do (apart from the wedding, of course ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Balancing Writing With Your Day Job (And Knowing when To Quit) Friday, 1pm-2pm. What do you get paid per word? How many words can you write a day? How many of them are you selling? How long can you survive without food and shelter? Is there more to the equation than this, and if so, what? With Charles De Lint, Rob Hood, Cat Sparks, & Dave Luckett

The Prisoner: Who Is Number 1? Friday, 2pm-3pm. โ€œI am not a number. I am a human being!โ€ So cries the eponymous prisoner in Patrick McGoohanโ€™s revolutionary 1960s television series. But who exactly is he? What is the series about? And what the hell was that last episode about? With Luscious!

Short Fiction: Why Do We Still Write It? Friday, 3pm-4pm. If itโ€™s not for money, is it for love? Is it more fun than writing novels? Is it a way of perfecting our craft? Is it because the voices tell us to? Please answer in 7500 words or less. With Charles de Lint, Terry Dowling, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks, and Stephen Dedman

Cult Movie, Bad Movie? Friday 5pm-6pm. Robot Monster. Plan 9 from Outer Space. Batman. Barbarella. Naked Killer. Tron. Do we love some movies despite their faults or because of them? What makes a cult movie, can you deliberately create a cult, and are there any good movies with cults? With Dave Cake, and Wing Chung

Trailer Park: The Good, the Bad, and the Sequels Friday 7pm-8pm. What does Hollywood have to offer us over the next year โ€“ and should we trust them to deliver? Can you judge a film by its trailer? And if not, are some films better than their marketing suggests? With Grant Watson, David Gunn, Simon Oxwell, and Paul Kidd

Alternate History Game Show Friday, 8pm-9pm. Last year, I rewrote history with the aid of 3 willing victims, who were forced to recreate the Bayeux Fingerpainting, buy Australia from the natives using only an Arnold Schwarzenegger DVD, and tear off random body parts from Vincent Van Gogh. This year promises to be even sillier. You donโ€™t want to know what they invented instead of the toothbrushโ€ฆ With me!

Iron Writer Sunday 3pm-4pm. Nearly a decade ago, a man’s fantasy became reality in a form never seen before; Writing Stadium, a giant literary arena. His motivation; to encounter new, original prose, which could be called true, artistic creations. To realize his dream, he started choosing the top Writers of various styles of literature, and he named his men and women the Iron Writers. With Paul Kidd, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Zara Baxter, and Elaine Kemp.

Open Mike Monday, 12pm-1pm. Come and read out your words to an adoring audience. With whoever wants to read some of their stuff out.


The Bonus Kids had a Friday to be proud of this week (The kids have decided that Bonus Dad is much cooler than Stepdad, so that’s what I am, and they’re my Bonus Kids).

Blake and Aiden are members of their school choir. The choir held a rendition of Christmas Carols at Morley Galleria in the morning. Blake attended, and sang his heart out. His behaviour and eagerness were a delight to behold, and his sheer joy and enthusiasm at doing something different and exciting was wonderful. I’ve rarely met a kid so into everything.

The kids used to be part of a religion that does not recognise Christmas. Aiden told his teacher that he was still uncomfortable with the idea of singing carols and did not wish to participate. Despite a lot of pressure and guilt-tripping from the teacher he stood firm, and was eventually excused from attending. For an 11 year old boy, standing out from his peers in such a way is a brave thing to do, and I couldn’t have been prouder at the way he stuck to his principles in the face of undue pressure.

Then that evening, Cassie’s dance company, The Performance Company, had their yearly performance at the Burswood Theatre. Luscious, Connor, and I attended (Well, and about 1500 other people, but we’re the important ones…) Cassie has been dance-obsessed these past few months. It’s been impossible to get her to simply walk anywhere. Friday night it paid off: she was fantastic, and we were both struck by just how much of a young woman she is becoming. The heat and noise began to get to the baby before the finale, so we had to leave, which meant missing her in the final number, but what we saw in her performance left us feeling like the bonus-and-birth parents of someone very special.

Then they came over yesterday and played with our magic pens and sent me secret messages telling me I was a dork, so it was back to business as usual :))


Still perfect. Still gorgeous. Only waking up once or twice a night for a feed, and I’m still the most ridiculously goofy man in the Universe.


Brie, pate, sushi, beer. Smiling.

Seriously: well, active, and happy. She took the baby for a half hour walk today. Lyn loves to exercise, and has been unhappy at her physical limitations these last few months. To see her exercising, and pain free, is a source of great happiness.


It’s Erin’s 3rd birthday today. In keeping with our respective philosophies of raising girls, Luscious and I gave her a super-cool Buzz Lightyear trike, and her grandparents gave her a Barbie horse. In keeping with her philosophy of being a girl, Erin rode her trike around the house with the Barbie horse tucked under her arm.

I just can’t believe she’s 3 years old. Her life has been full of tumult and upheaval, and yet she is (within the bounds of being a toddler) a happy, joy-filled little girl. How can I describe what goes through me when she runs the length of the garden shouting “Daddy! Give me a hug!” or gets protective because her baby brother is crying? How can I describe the pain I feel when she cries because her brothers and sister leave her to go back to their father’s house, or she’s fallen and is bleeding?

I can’t. You just have to have one of your own to understand, I think.

Anyway: she had a day filled with family, and toys, and cake, and went to bed a happy girl. Next weekend we have Luscious’ kids, and we’re taking her to the zoo (the treat to end all treats, as far as she’s concerned, particularly when combined with a ride on the ferry across the river to get there.) Can’t complain about a week-long birthday, eh?


Next week. I promise. Once we’ve had the kerbside junk collection, and I’ve finished putting all the pictures up, and the kids have come and had a cool weekend, and we’ve done the zoo, and I’ve persuaded Luscious that getting Shaun Tan to paint our fridge would be a really really cool idea (not that Shaun knows about it yet…), and we’ve finished the Christmas shopping, and made decorations with the kids, and put them up, and all the stuff I haven’t mentioned because they’re on page 82 of the list…

I’ll do some writing. Honest.


Had a great time for Blake’s 10th birthday last week. Took he, Aiden, and 5 friends to the Zone 3 laser game parlour for a birthday pizza bash, and in the evening, took both boys (hopped up on pizza, sweeties, and cool drink) to see My Neighbour Totoro at FTI’s Miyazaki festival, a wonderful film that we all fell in love with and have made a pact to track down and buy on DVD. Finished the evening with Hungry Jacks on the way home, and arrived back three tired, happy boys.

Blake was thrilled with the giant electronics set we gave him, and with the money and presents he received from his friends. But more on the dosh below, as we take him…


So the B-boy gets his 50 bucks birthday money and we take him to Empire Toys in the city, whereupon he is confronted by 4 walls crammed with everything the young fanboy could want. Will he fuel his Invader Zim obsession with a DVD or plushy, or will the 2 disc Hellboy limited edition set be the prize? But there’s a million manga movies… and the My Neighbour Totoro soundtrack… and are they Living Dead Dolls dolls in that corner?… and Futurama stuff… and Lord of The Rings…

So after an HOUR in which he touches absolutely everything in the place, what does our excited junior fanboy come away with?

3 Aliens figurines. Not bad at all, considering I don’t think he’s seen any of the movies outside of the Aliens Vs Predator preview. And damn cool little things they are too.

We’re such proud fanparents ๐Ÿ™‚


I’ve picked up some casual scriptwriting for a video production company (what, and leave showbusiness?) on the side, so Luscious and I will be getting our butts to Wasteland after all. Happy happy happy.


Last weekend’s bad movie night effort was spectacular. Lair Of The White Worm is not only worse than you imagine, it’s worse than you can imagine. Not even large quantities of Amanda Donohoe nuddiness saves it. Watch it, and marvel at Hugh Grant having a career afterwards.

What we’re going to watch tomorrow night in an effort to top it is beyond me. There may have to be a concerted effort to capture a Steve Reeves movie…


Off to Stephen Dedman’s workshop on creating believable alien environments today. I’m at a crossroads in regards to my thinking when it comes to workshops. I do enjoy the chance to get out and schmooze, and knowing pals like Satima Flavell Neist, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, and Stephen himself of course, are going to be there is a big attraction. But it’s impossible not to believe that I’m at a point in my career where I should be giving the workshops rather than just attending them.

Today’s will be the telling point, I think. If I come away with a bucketload of new information I’ll have a rethink, but otherwise it might be time to start working up a heap of proposals and seeing who bites.


Two entries in to the Katharine Susannah Prichard Short Story Awards this week. The Awards are a more mainstream affair than the SF/F Awards earlier in the year, but I’m a firm believer in not being tied down to genre, so it’s worth a go. (As is the 300 bucks first prize ๐Ÿ™‚ ) The winners are announced on December 5th, Katharine’s birthday, and coincidentally, Erin’s as well.


I know I’ve said this a lot before, but we never thought we’d get this far. Luscious reaches the 30th week of her pregnancy this Wednesday. The end is in sight: we’re planning to be induced a couple of weeks pre-term due to Lyn’s size and some really horrible due dates- depending on which date you look at, Connor is due either on Erin’s birthday or the anniversary of Sharons’ death. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmno. So we’ve picked a date just before that and the countdown is definitely on.

I’ll be glad when it’s over, and we have our baby boy safe and healthy with his safe and healthy mother back from the hospital. I doubt anybody who knows me (with the exception of Luscious, who lives with it every day) understands just how deeply this pregnancy has affected me. For those who came in late, my wife Sharon died 4 days after giving birth to Erin due to criminal negligence on the part of the consulting doctor and hospital (Although I’m probably not supposed to say anything like that until after the compensation case is concluded. Ah well, sue me you fuckers) , and well, stuff like that stays with you.

I’ve been nowhere near the support Lyn’s needed throughout this pregnancy. Everything has been difficult for me, and I know she’s felt the withdrawal in me as we get closer to the due date. I can’t help it: I want to be a part of this, as it will be our last pregnancy, but sometimes it’s more difficult to engage than I can manage.

I just want them both to come home from the hospital safe and healthy and for us to start the life that awaits us on the other side of the birth. That’s all.


My talking plot generator (ie: stepson) Blakey-Boy came up with another pearler the other day. The family was gathered round the Tv, and that annoying Cadbury’s advert came on, in which the entire world is made of chocolate. So we started pulling it apart (as you do), decrying the stupidity of the whole exercise.

“Look at the sun,” one of us exclaimed. “How would it shine?”
“Maybe it’s made out of light chocolate.” said Blake.

………Fair enough………


Big brother is almost over, thank the Gods. That mouth-breathing throwback Ryan was given his orders on Thursday night, and the rat-faced surfer boy Paul went last night. How sad a family are we that we all broke out into cheers when each name was announced…? ๐Ÿ™‚


Maybe it’s the change in editor, or maybe I’m becoming a better writer, but my latest submission to Asimov’s received a personalised rejection from new head banana Shiela Williams. In my best Maxwell Smart voice: missed by that much.


Sometimes you wish people would think these things through: I lost a full day with the kids on saturday by virtue of spending it at the KSP, volunteering my literary services for their Book-In-A-Day charity affair. Put simply, a group of us writer types collaborated on an 8000 word story which we wrote, illustrated, and bound ONE copy, which will be given to Princess Margaret Hospital for their library, along with a cheque for the sponsorpship thereof. Each of the 7 writers involved plumped up 20 bucks for the priviledge.

20 bucks, and 12 hours, to produce 8000 words and half a dozen or so illos. I could have stayed at home, written one in 4 hours, and donated it.


It’s been 35 years since the moon landing, this week. What a waste. The stars are just sitting up there waiting for us, and what have we done? Stuff all.


I start my KSP residency in 2 weeks, and set myself a target of 10 000 words on the novel by the time I started. I passed that on Friday, 2 weeks early. Yay me. I should be well ahead by the time the 16th rolls around…


The school holidays are over, and we dropped the kids off at school this morning. They’ll be back at their father’s house by now. I miss them. We had a blast these last 2 weeks.


Luscious Lyn and I attended my brother Scott’s wedding on Saturday. There’s a lot to be said about attending weddings: the food’s free, nobody can dance better than you, and you get to see at least one person you know being as happy as they’re ever likely to be. Scott’s first marriage was to a person for whom the word psychotic would be a charitable description, so I was pleased to see him marrying someone who genuinely cares for him and loves him deeply.

We also got the chance to take down a few notes for our own wedding. Note number one: no small children as part of the wedding party…


Took a trip down to Scott’s place on Friday afternoon to help with a few last-minute details, and took Blake with me for the run: both he and Aiden think Scott is the coolest guy around, particularly because he’s the only person they know who’s better on the Playstation than them. Blake has an amazing style of conversation. He talks like mosquitoes fly: a million miles an hour and right angle turns with absolutely no notice whatsoever. He’s a fabulous kid, intelligent, personable, and with an astonishing curiosity about everything. All Lyn’s kids are, and I love being around people who get excited about the world. Anyway, the B-Boy and I had exhausted the relative merits of DVD Easter Eggs and what ones you’d get on a DVD about Easter, and lapsed into a short silence, which was broken by the following exchange…

BLAKE: Hey, did you know that there are big blobs of flesh that wash up on beaches, and nobody knows what they are, and they’re called Flubbers?
LEE: Yeah, I did some research on them for a story I’m planning to write. They’re called globsters. Scientists think they might be big pieces of giant squid that have been bitten off by sperm whales.

(Short pause).

BLAKE: Wouldn’t it be cool if you found one floating in space?

God-DAMN. I’ve got to start carrying a tape recorder around these kids……


Have a nosey at Lyn’s blog for this morning’s conversation about Pig-Latin in all its merry forms. I’m sure it depends on whether you’re a member of the Eastern or Western Pig-Roman Catholic Church…


A new week, a new set of writing tasks. It’s been a busy day. So far I’ve: sent a reprint of an old story to an anthology being put out by the KSP; sent Father Renoir’s Hands to Chi-zine, got an email back telling me they’re closed to submissions until September, and then printed it out to send to Weird Tales (2 from my list-o’-13 in one go!); critiqued a story for the KSP SF writing group; read half the Arthur Phillip book I got in Albany for my Nouvelle Hollande research; and arranged the plot cards for Nouvelle Hollande so they stand in some sort of good plot order.

Lots more to do, but it’s nice to get the week off to a good start.


The rationalisation of lives continues at Triffbatt House: Lyn and I are switching over to a new email once we come back from the big Con-holiday. From then on you’ll be able to reach us at emailto://llbatt@dodo.com.au


What a fabulous weekend we had. Three days of wandering round Albany playing tourist, eating and drinking at our leisure, and generally getting away from all the troubles and tribulations of being full-time writah dahlings ๐Ÿ™‚

Big highlight was Whaleworld: the former Albany Whaling Station, which has been turned into a whaling museum, in ways which have to be experienced to be believed. Interactive dioramas, multimedia displays, a 3D cinema… the Luscious One and I spent about 5 hours there and walked away with a hatful of souvenirs. The place was just amazing.

And on the souvenir front, this happy little fat man is now the proud owner of some fossilised ferns, a fossil lamonite, a section of whale tooth and another of deer antler, and happy of happies, a book about Arthur Philip, governor of the Botany Bay Colony, that I picked up in a museum entirely NOT dedicated to anything remotely oceanic! And they say being a nerd never pays ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re going back. We’re taking the kids. Albany is just too cool.


Went and saw The Passion of The Christ today, with Luscious Lyn. Hmm, what to say? Even as an athiest the story of Christ interests me. After all, this is one of the major mythological signposts of Western Civilisation, so even from a purely anthropological standpoint (ie: why on earth do people BELIEVE this stuff?) it fascinates me. So it’s a task of some note that director Mel Gibson has managed to make the last 12 hours of Christ’s life so damn boring.

The Passion suffers tremendously for being made by a director so in love with his subject matter that he sacrifices his filmic instincts in order to give us as faithful a rendition of biblical writings as he can. I had really hoped to be given an insight into Jesus the man, from someone who has a devout understanding of his own faith. Instead I was given a succession of poster-like images laid end upon end, as if Gibson is hoping to portray truth through endless dioramas rather than an examination of characters in conflict. There are moments of brilliance. Gibson is too good a director to abandon his instincts entirely. The scourging is possibly the most horrific scene I’ve ever seen on film, to the point where I (a jaded and cynical filmgoer all too aware of the filmic process) found myself wanting to leap to my feet and shout “For pity’s sake, stop!”, but they’re few and far between in what stands in my mind as a brave film-making experiment and heartfelt expression of belief, but ultimately a failure as a motion picture.

Pity, because I was REALLY looking forward to it. It did prompt a long and wide-ranging talk between Luscious and I on our different beliefs (put broadly: she does, I don’t) and so in that sense it was a successful creation, but it’s just not a very good film.

Oh, and I didn’t find it anti-semitic at all. Just thought I’d mention that, seeing it seems to get mentioned a lot in regards to this movie. It didn’t feel likeGibson was laying the blame at the feet of the Jews, rather that he was just trying to be faithful to the source text.


The shortlists for this year’s Australian SF “Ditmar” Awards were announced this weekend. I was slighty disappointed not to see my name amongst the short story lists, although a lot of my good friends got guernseys, which is always cool to see. I was, however, blown away to see that I’ve been nominated for the William J. Atheling Award for Review or Criticism (Say THAT in one breath!) for my reviewing work at Ideomancer. I was even happier because I hadn’t thought to nominate myself, so a whole bunch of people have obviously been to the site, and read my stuff while they were there. It’s a bit wanky to say it, but this time it’s true: just being nominated is reward enough. Actually winning the gong (I don’t stand a snowball’s…) would be astonishing.


Had a mixed result from recent submissions today. Borderlands have rejected one story, but bought The Imprisonment of Marianne, a story set in 1920s Dublin, involving a ghost, a prison cell, a teenage girl, and a bargain struck. They want it to appear in their 4th issue, pending a minor rewrite of the ending. This is my 3rd sale to them: they’re turning into a nice little market for me.

I also received a critique of Jaracara’s Kiss from good friend and uber-excellent writer Stephen Dedman in the e-mail. Well, I asked for honne (honest truth) instead of tatamae (false truth that pleases the ear), and boy, did I get it. There’s a gulf in class between Stephen and myself, and after I stopped crying I was really appreciative of the glimpse into how a writer of his class thinks. There’s a lot of work to be done!


Pirates of the Caribbean came into the shop two days early. Woohoo! Picked it up today while we were out at the flicks, and I can’t wait until friday when we have all the kids together so we can watch it as a family. I just have to search the house to make sure there are enough bandannas to go round, savvy?


Had a pleasant surprise tonight. Lyn’s youngest, Blakey-boy, is 9, and has a slight speech impediment. He has his first session of speech therapy tomorrow, so Luscious Lyn rang him (he’s at his Dad’s at the moment) to let him know we’re thinking of him. And the B-Boy asked to speak to me! We chatted for a couple of minutes and I got to tell him about the cool prezzie we picked up for him in Albany. I love Lyn’s kids, but I’m always very conscious not to try to usurp their Dad’s place: I love being their friend and their Stepdad-in-all-but-the-bit-of-paper, and I’m just stoked beyond belief when they show me they love me too. Happy little fat man dancing.


Got through most of last week’s tasks, so I’m mostly happy with how the week went. Particularly happy with progress on the novel. A few personal things to get through, which wouldn’t interest you at all, but writing-wise, the week ahead promises:

Line editing two of Lyn’s stories: The Memory of Breathing and Return to Civvy Street. These are two damn good stories. Look for them when they inevitably make their way to a magazine near you. They’re going to knock your socks off. Talented gal, my Lyn.

1 draft each of Mikal, Father Renoir’s Hands, and Love Me Electric. Getting closer to going out.

Reading my new Arthur Philip book. Lots of luvverly research for Nouvelle Hollande.

Preparing the map and timeline of La Perouse’s voyage for the novel.

Critiquing all this month’s stories for the KSP group next weekend, and a couple for the Online Writer’s Workshop so I can post a new story.

That should keep me going…