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 🙂

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……


Ticonderoga Online issue 8 is online, and it features my story Fade. Go, read it, tell me how much you love me.

The issue also features a competition, wherein you can win one of two signed copies of my collection Through Soft Air. For those too slack to get over to TicON and read the details, here they are:

Win a signed copy of Lee Battersby’s debut collection Through Soft Air

TiconderogaOnline has two copies of Through Soft Air to give away, signed and kindly donated by the author.

To date, Lee Battersby has published three “Father Muerte” stories: “Father Muerte and the Theft”, “Father Muerte and the Rain” and “Father Muerte and the Flesh”.
Simply send in your suggestion for the title to an imaginary “Father Muerte and …” story, following the same naming convention. All entries received before 1 August 2006 will be forwarded to Lee Battersby, who will pick the best two entries.
Conditions of entry
1. Closing date: midnight Western Australian time (GMT +0800) 31 July 2006.
2. Entries to be of the form: “Father Muerte and …”
3. Entries to be emailed to: competitions@ticonderogaonline.org
4. Multiple entries are permitted.
5. The judge’s decision is final.
6. By entering the competition you give TiconderogaOnline the right to publish your entry.
So, what are you waiting for?
Brazil out to France, a team that only scraped into the finals because the team they played in the final round of qualifying had to be home at 3pm to pick up the kids from school? What the flock is going on here?
And as to England, how bloody hard is it to put the ball in the net from 6 yards out when the bloody goal is 10 yards wide and there’s only one Portugese midget between you and glory? Doesn’t the 50K a week paypacket come with instructions? Fuckfuckfuckfuckityfuck.
And a short note to Wayne Rooney: Wayne, if you’re reading (because I know you like to pop over and have a squizz of an evening), GROW A BRAIN YOU MORONIC SHREK LOOKALIKE IDIOT!
That is all.


Everybody has their guilty pleasures, those inexplicable lapses in taste that help define the inner contours of your aesthetic soul. Rob Hood, a paragon of taste and dignity, has a bizarre attachment to Hawkwind that defies description. Cheshire Noir seems inordinately fond of the Commodore 64.
Luscious married me 🙂
7 months after I got it for Christmas, I managed to have the office clean enough so that I could connect my LP player to the computer this morning, and pulled out the vinyl.
And I’ve been rocking out to my Slade records ever since.
And I feellllll ALL- riiiiii-iiiii-iiiiiggggggghtttttttttttt………………………………….
Just because it still tickles my fancy a month after I took it at Conflux, the following photo:

This is not the Dalek you are looking for…

Song of the moment: Mama Weer All Crazee Now Slade


World Cup fatigue is setting in: the last couple of nights I’ve taken to the couch armed with pillow and blankets, in order to watch the first game of the evening, sleep during the second, and catch the last couple.

Last night, I even set myself to sacrifice sleeping under our brand new duvet set in order to go on my nightly pilgrimage. (Is there a greater pleasure of an evening than going to sleep under crisp, new sheets? I mean, apart from sex?) I didn’t even make half-time of the Netherlands/Argentina game, which had promised ot be an absolute blockbuster. And then I found out this morning that they’d basically just jogged their way through a nil-all snoozefest because they’d both qualified for the sceond round didn’t feel the need to work for table position.

Things get easier in the second round. It’s the first time I’ve done this with a family to care for the following day. No way I get to take a month off this work 🙂

Lyn, meanwhile, has taken a proactive approach to life as a World Cup widow, taking to bed early each night with all four seasons of Footballer’s Wives to keep her company. As she said, “You have your football, and I have mine.”

Fair enough, really 🙂


We’ve entered the second week of my interview over at the ASiF forum, and so far, it’s been a blast. The great thing about being open to public interview is that anything you say can be taken up and commented upon or questioned by anybody, which means that I’ve got to think hard about what I’m saying, and justify what I mean. I’m enjoying the result, and having a ball discussing the world at large with those who have dropped in to say hello.

I’m there until the 27th, so get on over and contribute.


Coming up at the frabjous Ticonderoga Online: a competition to win one of two signed copies of Through Soft Air!

All you have to do is come up with the best title for an imaginary Father Muerte story, using the naming convention “Father Muerte And…”

More details once the good Ticfolks announce the competition properly, but get in early and start thinking of titles.


Picked up my contributor copy of ASIM 23 over the weekend, in which you’ll find Instinct, a short story I co-wrote with pal Nigel Read. It’s very different to my usual fare, so have a read.


As of the next hour or so, I’ll be put under the microscope by the good folk at ASiF on their forum. For the next 2 weeks I’ll be answering any question put to me, so if there’s something you’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask, take advantage of my recent resolution to engage in nothing in good behaviour, and get over there to ask. I only bite if specifically requested.


Martin Livings’ excellent new novel Carnies is now officially available. I had the honour of channeling Martin at the launch of the book in Canberra (due to extreme Londonny residence on the part of the author) and let me tell you: the book looks gorgeous, reads beautifully, and is, well, fucking good.

Go. Buy. Now.


I’m in two minds at to whether I’m going to post a long con report. if I do, I’ll post it on a separate page and link it. However, as I’ve avowed to sickness of the heart at the gossip and bollocks associated with being a writer in the Australian SF scene, I’m tossing up whether I want to contribute something else for people to bitch over.

That said: the convention was extremely rewarding for me, mostly on a personal basis. Extremely enjoyable in large parts, I owe a huge debt of thanks to the mercurial Dave Luckett for launching Through Soft Air with a speech that both humbled and energised me in equal measures. And for moments beautiful, or touching, or just downright funny, and occasiionally all three, my warmest thanks and love to: Matt Farrer, for spending the day after the Con showing us a Canberra I never expected to see; Lisa; Llyn Triffitt; John & Jo; Launz; Rob & Kate; Kate again for such a beatiful gift; Ellen; and The Pet Dalek Conversationalists (I’ll post the cartoons here as I finish them). I’m sure there are more: I’m still re-adjusting.

But I’m back at home now, with a renewed focus, determination, and set of goals.


3-1. And now, Brazil!


When I started writing, I wanted one thing: to sell a story. I did it, and I liked it, and so my thoughts turned to something else: selling more stories. I did that, too, and I liked it. And in the process of selling more stories, I met people, and became involved in their lives, even if only in an editor-supplicant relationship. I attended convetions, and writer centres, and began email conversations, and joined mailing lists, and posted on LJs, and got into arguments, and became a public figure, and was asked to help organise things, and became distracted, and received hate mail, and had demands made on me and my friendship that I had not welcomed, and demands that I welcomed, and became further distracted, and gossiped, and was gossiped about, and read flists, and wondered where the time was going, and dealt with bruised egos, and dealt with my own bruised ego, and placated people, and inflamed others, and was asked to help organise other things, and made appearances, and somewhere along the line…

I’m not enjoying this anymore.

I have made some wonderful friendships in the last 4 and a bit years. I’m lucky to know, and like, and hopefully be liked in turn, by such people as Stephen Dedman, Dave Luckett, Grant Watson, Kate Eltham, Rob Hoge, Geoffrey Maloney, Russell Farr… there’s a long list.

But somewhere along the line, this field that I came into because I loved reading it and because it was fun, has stopped being that way.

When I started, it was fun to write, and it was more fun to sell, and it was even funnererest to see my name in print. Now I’ve moved so far from what I enjoyed that I have seriously entertained giving the whole thing away in the last couple of weeks. It would not be a million miles from the truth to say that it is the presence of Conflux on my personal calendar that has stopped me from doing so.

However, things will be changing, come dawn next Wednesday, when I return to the world.

The LJs are gone. The volunteering, likewise. The mailing lists: gone. Getting involved: gone. If I am your friend, don’t worry: I’m not going that far. But if you’ve enjoyed seeing me somewhere on the net being all argumentative and opinionated, better, if you’ve enjoyed trying to find my knees so you can take a cut at them: gone. If you’ve got this fabulous project that just has to have my name attached to it or you will die: thank you. I appreciate your faith in me and my name, and should it be a real project, with a publisher on board and a certified release date and/or a professional relationship involved, then I am a writer and we will do business, but I am no longer in the business of faith, so you’ll have to provide me with a little more than sweet smells and promises.

What was fun, when I began, was writing, and selling, and seeing my name in print. And it is that to which I shall be returning.


Had two social occasions over the weekend, which provided a perfect reminder of the familial world in which I wander.

Saturday night we attended a party to celebrate PRK and Tori on their engagement. When I wasn’t busy looking after Connor, I found time to relax and enjoy the company of some of the closest members of my self-appointed village. I even managed to provide entertainment for Tori, Calli & Luscious when PRK and I shared a kiss, just for them 🙂 Dinner and a show…

Whether I enjoy their company at times or not (and vice versa), these are the people with whom I choose to surround myself. It’s an important point. I don’t open up well, and most people I know see the performer rather than the man underneath. It’s a neat way to give the illusion of familiarity without having to risk anything. Often I risk something, and bear the scars later. But John & Sarah, Ju, Sheldon, PRK & Tori, the Sunday Night Crew as a whole… nah. It may be rough on them sometimes, when I’m dealing with black dogs, or generally just being the shit I can be, but on Saturday night I was relaxed enough to remember that you choose a village for very good reasons, and one of those reasons is that these are the people with whom you want to share something of yourself.

And these are the people who reward you without effort, when you can wander at will through a house, and turn a corner to find this:

A daughter, a friend, a rug is cut

When friends enjoy what you bring in to the world, not because they have to but because they choose to, you’re doing all right.

On Sunday we travelled to Whiteman Park to meet up with my relatives for a picnic lunch. My Aunt and Uncle were over from Nottingham and Dad had organised for us to spend some time together before they flew back. I’ve met Uncle David and Aunty Celia maybe three times since I came out here in 1975. They’re nice people, but on the ladder of familiarity, 3 times in 30 years ain’t a big relationship.

However, something that has become apparent to me in recent days is that your definition of family can be as flexible as you choose it to be. Two nice people who I barely know can be family because my father, who has known his sister all his life (duh) tells me so. And I will happily accept it, because it is a paradigm we choose to share, and because it results in pleasant afternoons in the park with good conversation and a game of kick to kick.

And who am I to argue, when both my Bonus Sons, who I have known for less than 4 years but with whom I have a relationship that bodes no steps, or halves, or complications, insist their Uncle and Pop (and as far as they are concerned, my brother and my father are Uncle and Pop: no steps, or halves, or complications) get out on the grass with them for a kick to kick, so that I am part of a group that consists of: my father, who I have known all my life; my brother, who I have known all his life; two boys with whom I share no biological link other than mutual love; a daughter to a wife who is no longer alive and who shares no biological link to her older brothers; and a son I have with my wife, who shares only half his biology with both sister and brothers.

And not one of that group bothers with steps, or halves, or complications.


I cannot comment. All I can do is quote:

AIDEN TRIFFITT: I’m not telepathic, but I am tele-apathetic. I make other people stop caring…


I’ve grown bored with my reading practices in recent days, and, what with being too skint to buy books, have decided to pull out some of the dust-collectors on my shelf and actually read those books I said I’d get around to reading one of these days. As much as possible, I’m steering away from the heavy SF/F feel that has dragged me down in recent days.

Started with Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby. A safe bet: I generally enjoy Palahniuk, and he does things thematically and stylistically which we as genre writers consider ourselves dead clever for being the only ones to gte away with, whilst not falling under our banner, so it’s nice to remind myself that such a trick can be done. I didn’t think the book was his best, but still, it was a good way to get into a new swing, and enjoyable to read.

Second off the rank this week, Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume. Gave up after 80 or so pages. Just can’t bring myself to enjoy a writing style that considers itself clever for deliberately ignoring all the basics we consider indispensable to the craft, then makes sure to point out to the reader how they are being ignored.

As of yesterday, started in on Barry Hughart’s Bridge of Birds. And how engaging and delightful it is, brimful of characters and with a style and grace I haven’t encountered for quite some time. Stephen Dedman’s been recommending this book to me at regular intervals for a couple of years, and he’s right so far.

Don’t know what’s nextr, but I’m not planning to buy much of anything at Conflux due to continuing skintness, so I think I’ll be staying with my new reading habit for a while longer.


Connor, because his reputation as cutest baby boy in the known universe isn’t already complete, has started to say “Battersby”. Just so’s you know, the three most gorgeous syllables in the world are ‘Ba-ah-peeeeee”.

And when I put him down for his nap this afternoon, he looked up at me from the cot and said “Nigh nigh Da-dee”.

I lost the power of my knees…


So, speaking of Conflux, the programme has been released in something approximating its final form. Like all Cons, it’s subject to last minute catastrophes and changes of plan, but you should expect to see me talking it up at the following times:

Friday, 2pm: Back to Basics: Cover Letters, Manuscripts, and Rejections. Active pros and semi–pros in writing, editing, and publishing talk about the dos and don’ts in submitting your stories. With: Lyn Battersby, Trudi Canavan, Cory Daniells

Saturday, 1pm: Choosing Your Monster. Which monsters are over-used? And which are still untapped resources of evil for your stories? Can we still get something new from werewolves and dragons, or have these been ‘done to death’? How do you go about building a new kind of monster? And is the worst kind of monster really the monsters we keep inside ourselves? With: David B. Coe, Stephen Dedman, Rjurik Davidson

Sunday 12pm: Book Launch Through Soft Air. With the fabulous Dave Luckett saying a few words in my defence.

Sunday 1pm: Writers and Illustrators of the Future. Initially established in 1983 by L. Ron Hubbard, the Writers of the Future Contest was aimed at discovering and then publishing deserving amateur and aspiring speculative fiction writers. Now one of the premier writing contests in the field, it has a record of bringing writers to the attention of publishers and helping launch their professional careers. Find out more about the contest from past winners, and its companion the Illustrators of the Future Contest, and how the contests provide a means for new writers and illustrators to make their mark. With: Sean Williams Cat Sparks, Richard Kerslake

Sunday 4pm: All Aliens, All the Time! Stories Without Homo Sapiens. Aliens, androids, and anthropomorphy: what’s the appeal of stories without humans? What are the challenges for writers? How do you present a view that is both alien, and understandable? And how do you go about making analogies in an otherworldly world? With: Andrew Williams, Rjurik Davidson, Michelle Marquardt, Joan D. Vinge.

Monday 10am: Writing 101: What New Novelists Have Just Found Out and You Want to Know. You’ve written your book and now you’ve sold it—your problems are over, right? Er… These new novelists spill the beans and tell you how to prepare for a whole new world of pain (and pleasure). With: Katie Taylor T.J. Arryn, David Carroll.

Monday 2pm: Clarion South: Learn how to be a professional science fiction writer. The Clarion South Writers Workshop has been described as the most important opportunity for writers of science fiction and fantasy in the southern hemisphere. Aspiring writers of fantasy and science fiction learn from Australian and international pros in an intensive “hot-house” environment. Attend this panel to find out how to apply, how to get accepted, and how Clarion South wil change your life. With: Kate Eltham,Rjurik Davidson, Cat Sparks, Lily Chrywenstrom, Sean Williams

In addition, I shall be channeling the ghost of Martin Livings at the launch of his brillfabliest novel Carnies at 12pm on Saturday, following which I shall be accepting my dead chick (otherwise referred to as the Australian Shadows 2006 Award).

Luscious fetishists can see the object of their admiration at:

Friday 1pm: Ghosts in the Attic. The ghost story is a staple of the horror genre. What’s its appeal? Which are the best early ghost stories? How has it evolved in the past hundred years? Who’s writing the best ones now? With: Robert Hood, Leigh Blackmore, Ellen Datlow

Friday 4pm: Cross-Pollinating or contaminating? This panel discusses fiction that crosses genres – fantasy/romance, horror/mystery, science fiction/fantasy and more. When does it succeed? When does it fail? And what are some great examples of cross genre works? With: Ellen Datlow, Jack Dann, Simon Brown, Robert Stephenson

Sunday 1pm: Sci Fi Women: Where are They Now? How has Rose Tyler changed the role of the female companion in Doctor Who? Has the new Starbuck changed the possibilities for women on TV? How are other women treated in Battlestar Galactica? What about women in Farscape? Stargate? Firefly? Andromeda? Babylon 5? With: Jonathan Hardy, Zara Baxter

See you there, non?


Because I’m such a shy retiring thing, I’ve started work on a page to pull together all the instances of Battersby on the net: stories, interviews, reviews, articles, and so on. I figure if they’re all in the one place it’ll make it easier for you all to ignore me 🙂 And, of course, you won’t need to go so far to indulge in your Luscious fetish.

Be that as it may (and I’ll let you know when I’ve got more than one link sorted out), I figure it’s an appropriate time to remind you all that my Aurealis Award nominated story A Stone to Mark My Passing is still up at the wonderful and lovely Anna Tambour’s website.

If you haven’t read it yet, consider it a taste of what you’ll find within the pages of Through Soft Air (pages 137-145, to be precise). Loss Leader Lee, that’s me 🙂


I’ve been organising the bookshelves in the reading room, and I’ve plucked some multiple copies of magazines and anthologies out to offer y’all for sale. We’ve received each of these through both Lyn and I being subscribers or getting multiple contributor’s copies, so the copies I’m offering are as new, and not the ones we’ve flicked through with our greasy, spaghetti-sauce stained thumbs. All prices are plus postage, and I’m happy to organise drop offs, pick ups and otherwise. If you’re going to be at Conflux, tell me and I’ll bring your order with me.

To whit:

Through Soft Air ($24.95): My short story collection, containing 25 stories, including 6 never before seen and 1 you’ll only have seen if you read Serbian J. Includes the Aurealis Award winning “Pater Familias” and AA-nominated “Tales of Nireym”.

Aurealis 36 ($10) rrp: $12.95: Includes my Australian Shadows winning “Father Muerte & The Theft”, as well as Trent Jamieson’s AA-winning “Slow & Ache” and Kim Westwood’s AA-nominated “Terning Tha Weel”. I have multiple copies of this, as well as my collection—buy one of each for $32!

Writers of the Future Volume 18 ($12) rrp $16.95: Contains my story “Carrying The God”, the 1st western Australian winner in this competition.

Consensual 2 ($5): Contains my story “Moment”, as well as Claire McKenna, Robert Hood, Stephen Dedman, and others. This is a speculative fiction erotica anthology, so is not available unless you can prove you’re over 18 J

Consensual 3 ($5): Contains my story “Love Me Electric”, as well as Deb Biancotti, Stephen Dedman, Sean Williams and others As above, a spec-fic erotica anthology.

Gynaezine 2 ($5): The journal of SF Feminism, usually only available as part of Gynaecon, the ‘hidden’ convention that runs underneath Swancon each year. Contains an article by myself and Lyn on “SF & The Single Parent”, as well as Lily Chrywenstrom, Stephen Dedman, Emma Hawkes and others

Word Thirst 2 ($9): A collection of writings by members of the KSP, contains my story “Pass The Parcel” and Lyn’s “Dolphins of Haven Bay”, as well as Andrew Burke, Alicia Sometimes, Kevin Gillam and others

Whispers From the Shattered Forum #11 ($4): US Small press horror magazine, this issue contains my story “Though I Be Stone”

Borderlands 1 ($8) rrp $10: Contains “Through Soft Air”, the title story of my collection, as well as Simon brown, KJ Bishop, Stephen Dedman and others

Borderlands: The Worlds Within ($5): This is the members book for the 1st Borderlands convention and is unavailable any other way. Contains my story “A Star Is Born” as well as contributions from Chris Lawson, Tess Williams, KJ Bishop, Cat Sparks and others.

Encounters ($16) rrp $18.95: The third CSFG Anthology. Contains my story “Vortle”, as well as Trent Jamieson, Carol Ryles, Cat Sparks and others

All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories ($20) rrp: $24.95: Contains my story “Silk”, as well as Tobias Buckell, Howard Waldrop, Richard Lupoff, and others. Contains the Hugo-nominated “Biographical Notes to ‘A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-Planes’ by Benjamin Rosenbaum” by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Tales of the Unanticipated #25 ($8.50): US magazine, contains my story “Father Muerte & the Theft”, as well as Stephen Dedman, Judy Klass, Martha A Hood and others

ASIM 19:Contains an interview with myself and Lyn by Martin Livings, as well as fiction by Jay lake, Bryn Sparks, and others.
ASIM 16: Contains my story “Through The Window, Merrilee Dances”, as well as Tansy Rayner Roberts, Mikal Trimm and others.
ASIM 10: Contains my story “The Hobbyist”, as well as Ruth Nestvold, Mikal Trimm and others
ASIM 7: Contains Lyn’s story “Learned Instincts” as well as Tansy Rayner Roberts, Grant Watson, Juliet Marillier and others.
ASIM 6: Contains my story “Your Mother Likes Monkeys”, as well as Geoff Maloney, Simon Haynes, Dirk Flinthart and others.

All ASIMs are $5. In addition, we have the following issues of ASIM in which we don’t appear: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, and 14.

Contact me if you’re interested.


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!


Literally the moment I posted the last post, there was a knock on the door and a courier guy handed me a box with 20 copies of Through Soft Air within.

20 copies of my collection currently at my house.


Contact me.


Thanks to the kindness of the lads at Aurealis, I have 10 copies of their latest issue, #36 currently sitting next to me on the bookshelf (that’s right, I work from a bookshelf. It’s cramped, but cozy…)

Even if I do say so myself, and I do, this is one hell of a doozy of an issue: apart from mine own story, the Australian Shadows Award-winning Father Muerte & The Flesh, it also contains Trent Jamieson’s Aurealis Award winning Slow and Ache (Best SF Short Story), and Kim Westwood’s AA-nominated Terning Tha Wheel (also Best SF short story) as well as tales from Jay Caselberg, Rob Hood, Tansy Rayner Roberts and others. Australian SF legend Van Ikin, Ben Payne, Bill Congreve and Kate Forsyth are amongst the non-fiction contributors.

The magazine normally costs $12.50 plus postage, but thanks to the miracle of contributor discounts, you can get it from me for $9 plus postage.

Contact me to order a copy.


Sunday was our 1st wedding anniversary. My poor darling sprained an ankle during the week, so our plans were restricted a tad, but it didn’t stop us taking the kids out for a celebratory dinner, and me presenting her with a rather lovely ring (you know, even if I do say so myself…). The kids got into the act too: Blake & Aiden presented us with an amazing candlestick in the shape of a celtic cross and dragon, some small hand made soaps, a bath bomb, and a beautiful glass hummigbird suncatcher. Cassie also presented us with a beautiful bar of scented soap. What are they trying to tell us?

It really doesn’t feel like it’s only been a year. We exist in such hamrony, such amazing sympatico, that it feels as if we’ve always been together. The love and passion we felt for each other when we first became entangled hasn’t diminished. In fact it’s broadened, and deepened, until everything else in the world pales beside it.

The first married year of the rest of our lives, and I couldn’t be happier.


Wandered over to our good friends Grant and Sonia’s on the weekend, as they’re heading off overseas for 5 weeks on Saturday (the lucky jammy jammy lucky bastards) and they’d thrown the house open for a hangout. It was the first time we’d been over, and the boys instantly fell in love with their wall o’ DVDs. And when I say wall, what I mean is: several walls. Floor to ceiling. Many many DVDs. And Grant, being the trusting soul he is, let them borrow as many as they liked. The boys, being trusting souls, only borrowed one.

Tomb Of The Cybermen. Only my favourite Dr Who adventure ever. And I hadn’t even told them beforehand!

That’s my evenings booked this week 🙂


The Ballad of Dwight & Renfield, 6285 words of pulp horror fun, to Steven Savile’s Monster Noir project. Fingers crossed: if he likes it, not only will it be part of one of the most interesting and exciting projects I’ve seen since All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, Steven might be persuaded to pick up one of my Dr Who story pitches for his next anthology.

Of such things are tiny green dreams made…


Saddened today to learn of the death of Stanislaw Lem at the age of 84. At that age you expect it, I guess, but he was one of my favourite authors, and his absurdist views on the structure of things had a real effect on both my writing and world view over the years. He was one of those authors to whom I reacted with “Oh my God, you can do this as well?” upon first reading of his work, someone who opened my eyes and my literary sensibilities to a myriad of different ways to think and to transcribe my world onto paper.

I’ll sit down with a book and a glass of wine this weekend, and toast his memory.


For all those who have been asking (and thank you to everyone who has) I can now announce that you can order Through Soft Air via the Prime Books Website at last!

Go on then. Don’t let me stop you.

Incidentally, if any reviewers would like a pdf copy to review, drop me a line. I have one I can send you now.


Every now and again, someone arrives at this site via the weirdest search topic.

Yesterday, someone came here by using the search term “Billie Piper videos of her nipples “.


I mean, not that I don’t want one….


A number of people have asked how Connor is going since his operation, and when they’re going to see a picture or two on this blog. The answers are:

a) He’s fine and dandy, although a little bit unsettled by some teething right now. He’s a week away from being allowed to play in the muck and mud again, as there’s still a slight chance of infection, but at this stage it looks as if the operation was a complete success, and our beautiful, happy little boy is now doubly beautiful into the bargain.

b) As soon as ‘Hello’ stops buggerising me about and starts connecting to the network again. And I have such a cute one of him sitting in a bucket, ready to go.


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 🙂


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


Our little boy had his eye operation on Thursday. For those not in the know, he was cross-eyed because the muscles that control lateral movement in his eye were too far forward, which meant they pushed his eye round too far every time he moved them sideways. If it hadn’t been corrected, he would have been blind in his left eye by the time he was five.

Needless to say, I was a mess. Luscious has a far better description of what went on than I can manage, but the upshot of the whole thing is that he came through okay. His eyes are red, and we have to be very careful of infection for the next 5 or 6 weeks, but apart from that, the surgeon examined him the day after the operation and pronounced it an unqualified success.

But please, I never want to watch my little boy being wheeled out on a hospital bed again. I just never know if I’ll see family members again when that happens, and I can’t bear it.


Was a mixed bag. If not for the herculean efforts of mynxii, prk, and utopos, it wouldn’t even have happened, such was the clusterfuckery that preceded it. My interest in the guests approached nil (although I should say that the on the one panel I shared with Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon, they were excellent), and had I not had the book to launch, I wouldn’t have attended at all. Having said that, there were some big positives to come out of it, and they are what I’ll be listing, to whit:

1. We launched the book. We launched it in a tiny, loud, crowded space at the back of the busiest huckster’s room I’ve ever seen, but we launched it. And it sold out.
2. The beautiful and talented Luscious won the Western Australian SF Achievement Award for Best Professional Short Work, a deserved win for The Memory of Breathing, which I still think was the best short story released last year.
3. Tin Ducks also went to good friends Dave Luckett, Chaosmanor (who also won the short story competition), and the crew at Borderlands.
4. The huckesters room was as busy as I have ever seen it: there was space for big stalls this year, and the hucksters made good use of it. And busy! Probably due to the lack of interest in many program items, the room was chockers, and I spent an awful long time and a lot of money therein.
5. I bought me a sonic screwdriver. I’ve only wanted one since I was, like, 6.
6. I also bought season 27 of Dr Who in the box set, and a massive history of the series, and Blake’s Seven season 2, and badges, and a colectable set of Who figurines (it was a very Whofanny year for me), and more books, and some magazines, and…. I did shopping!
7. A bath big enough to fit me, Luscious, and Connor. Luvverly.
8. Danny Oz’s amazing Who3D panel. I didn’t know the little fella did 3D modelling, and his work is spectacular.
9. Buying art. I rarely buy original art, as I rarely find any I want to spend money on. But I always find something to bid on at the Swancon art show. Last year I picked up 3 pieces. This year, despite the smallest art show I’ve ever seen, I still walked away with a Danny Oz original.
10. Winning the bid for Swancon 2008. Yup, I’m on a Concom. The sounds of birds coming home to roost can beginnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn now.

So, there were positives. But in comparison to what is being done over East by conventions these days, it was a very average event indeed. Still, as a number of committee members admitted to me, after dealing with the convenor for two years they were pretty impressed they got it to as high a quality as medium.


Is launched! We took 30 copies to Swancon (and next time you see the Stephen or Chaosmanor, give them a big pat on the back for their efforts) and sold the bloody lot of them! This result, she is not a bad one 🙂

There are a couple of options for getting your hands on a copy. I’m about to bring in another bunch, so I’m likely to have copies on me pretty damn soon if you want one. Fantastic Planet will undoubtedly be doing the same. Yoyu could probably even ask Prime direct. Or, if you fancy waiting until June, I’ll be at Conflux to launch it again (you can never have too many launches, I say) and will have copies on me then.

You know you want one.


By order of myself and that paragon of taste, Angriest, ‘Squee’ is officially the stupidest sound in the history of the entire Universe.

Stop it.


Synchronicity strikes. No sooner do I write an afterword to the story Goodfellow in the collection that says I sold the story to European magazine Znak Sagite, but to date I’ve never seen a copy of the magazine so don’t know if it ever saw print than Geoffrey Maloney writes me to tell me that issues are on their way to Australia.

I’ve always wanted to see my name in Serbian….


Have a look what my publisher sent me today. Don’t you just want to buy it? I know you do.

Observant, long-time readers may note the change of title 🙂 Really observant, really long-time reders may remember it was the original title when it was first picked up by Prime. I’m grateful that Prime supremo Sean Wallace has decided to go with it: it’s always been my favourite option, and I’ve been a real pain in the arse, agitating to keep it all this time. And it’s led to artist Gary Nurrish creating this magnificent cover.

Happy author.

Buy me. Buy meeee…….


Borderlands 6 is out. My story The Imprisonment of Marianne sits between its covers, and just as excitingly, Luscious’ The Hanging Tree is in there as well! Read this one: it’s proof that The Memory of Breathing was no one-off.

Lyn’s recent story in the Redback issue of Shadowed Realms prompted Horrorscope to say this:

Starting the issue off is Lyn Battersby’s Edges. Talk about dysfunctional relationships! There are some nice transitions between ‘characters’ here that very effectively resolved my initial feelings of unease into fear. The main character’s terror and desperation are palpable but, in the end, it’s five against one… not good odds for saving a relationship.

It goes on to say that this issue is the strongest one so far, boding well for both SR and my darling, who continues to make Ben Peek look like an idiot.

In good writing news, the lack of a computer in recent days has forced me back to a notebook and pen. With limited time at my disposal due to the current overly-busy lifestyle, I set myself a target of 300 words per day: a modest total to be sure, but one I hadn’t achieved for the entirety of this year. Four days later, I’ve managed it every day, am working on two new stories, and feel like I’m achieving something at last.

Maybe, just maybe, after a few false dawns so far this year, I might be able to get this career back on track. Let’s see, shall we? I’ll drop a weekly tally in to track my progress, and y’all have permission to razz me if I don’t keep up.


Clarion South 2007 applications are now open.

You have no excuse. Get them in. I’ll be there, tutoring in the 2nd week, and you’ll also suffer at the hands of Rob Hood, Simon Brown, Gardner Dozois, Kelly Link, and Janeen Webb. How can you not want to do this?

Apply now!


One of the goddamn best people I’ve ever met, a man of whom I cannot speak highly enough, one of the best pals I’ve made in writing: Robert Hoge has an LJ. Flist him.


We had ourselves a low-key Valentine’s Day this year: we’ve bought each other so many things as we moved into the new house that adding something just for Hallmark Day seemed a little, well, over the top. I mean, when your wife can walk through the door and give you a hard-cover graphic biography of Jimi Hendrix drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz and 2 Hendrix CDs for no other reason than she knows you’ll love them, why do you need to have the greeting card industry set aside a day for you?

So we just took the phone off the hook; moved the TV and DVD player into the bedroom and threw Love Actually at it; uncorked the wine; made up a plate of cheeses, dried fruits, and grapes; and simply relaxed into each other’s company for the night.

It was bloody wonderful.


So Gary Megson has resigned as manager of Nottingham Forest.

About fucking time.


I know you have a need to know:

We’re down to the bathrooms, ladies and gents. The tilers were supposed to be here in the last couple of days to do their thing, but will soon arrive on Monday after my “Where the fuck were you?” phone call. Once they’ve done, the electrician will arrive to move the power points four inches up the wall so we can fit the new vanities in. Which will be duly fitted, followed by taps, soap holders, towel rails, the showers, the new toilet for the ensuite, and me, having my first non-hand-held-shower-head shower for three weeks, sighing with something approaching ecstacy as the water cascades down my back (don’t think visually).

Everything else is cosmetic: we have a miniskip full of dead plant life, and at least another one to go. The compost bin has been installed into a corner of the garden and is busily, uh, sitting there doing the composting thing. Boxes are being opened, emptied, and folded. We’ve discovered a new Mecca– Bunnings has been replaced in my affections by Howard’s Storage World, (I kid thee not), where today I picked up a bike rack so we can stop using the entire patio as a bike repository. Yesterday it was an eight-drawer movable table for Lyn’s painting supplies. I loves it. It is my precious. And slowly, out of the debris of broken boxes and dust, a home is emerging.

Housewarming invitations are beginning to be discussed 🙂


A gratuitous Connor shot, because he’s so frigging gorgeous.

I can make my Daddy mushy like that

Song of the Moment: San Jacinto Peter Gabriel


Plucked from the bookshelf of Fantastic Planet whilst returning from a family outing this afternoon: a spanky new copy of Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview. Compiled by Donna Maree Hanson, it’s a gorgeous book with profiles of significant writers, artists, magazines, and identities from the current pinnacle of the Australian genre.

And I’m on page 6 🙂 Nestled between Max Barry and KA Bedford. Now there’s a visual image that should keep you up at night….

And I’m happy to let you all know that we’ve put an offer in on a house and had it accepted, so as long as nothing goes spla we will definitely be on the march come January. And cleaning up after the housewarming a couple of weeks after that 🙂


It’s been a loud and hectic week, this past week in the Batthouse. We’ve had the Triffkids for the last week of the school holidays, and it was brilliant. Things may be loud when all 7 of us are in the one place, but the benefits of having a large family make every moment worthwhile. We didn’t do much this holidays, apart from a few activities centred around a bit of news I divulge later in the post, but the act of just hanging out with such intelligent, vibranht, enjoyable kids leaves me feeling froody.

The days after taking them to their dad’s place are always a bit low for us, but it was too good a week to hurt for long.


On the other hand, I’m a bit worried about Luscious. Blakey went to a friend’s place for a party mid-week, so she let Aiden & Cassie see a movie. More to the point, she let them see Sky High. A Kuuurrrrtttt movie! And Aiden’s far too young to look at Linda Carter and have rewarding flashbacks.

It could take years for the scars to surface….


Aiden had his trophy presentation for soccer during the hols. We thought he was in with a real shot for Most Improved Player, given how far he’s come since the start of the season, but he was gazumped by (wait for it) the coach’s daughter. Now, I haven’t seen her play before this season, so I’m not suggesting that the fix was in, but I’m just going to mention that you can read all my entries about Aiden’s progress and decide for yourself whether anyone else could improve that much in the same team…

Anyway, we couldn’t be more proud of him. He loves the game, and the medal he received didn’t leave his neck from the day he got it until it was time to leave. It was a deserved reward for a young man who gave everything to playing a sport he’s grown to love, and I’m a very punch-pleased Bonus Dad. And here’s a gratuitous photo so’s I can show off 🙂

Call him, Hiddink. He’s waiting……

You know, no sooner does the A-boy take up soccer than the NSL changes its name to the A-League. Talk about your destiny!


BLAKE (11 years old): Who’s John Lennon?
AIDEN (Much older, and more mature, ie: 12): (In mocking tones) You don’t know who John Lennon is?
AIDEN: Duuuuuuh. He sang “You’re The Voice”.

And much Coke was sprayed…..


I love having so many documentary channels. The History of Science Fiction and HG Wells docos last Sunday night gave us enough excuse to invite Martin and Dr Izz over for din-dins and watching. We had a fabulous time, as we always do in their company, and I was especially pleased to learn that Isabelle is fascinated by Wells, something we share.

I find myself searching for ways to catch up with them before they depart for England at the end of the year. I’ve also decided that it’s all a clever plan on the part of Martin to increase his overseas sales– frustrated that he can sell to Australian magazines but not American or British ones (another thing we share…) he’s going to go over there, send stories back here, and they’ll count!

Cunning devil!


This Saturday, from 10.30 to 3.30, at the Leederville Town Hall on Vinent Street, Swancon are holding a Geek Trash & Treasure as a fundraiser.

Luscious and I will be there, with the fruits of our book/comic/video cleanout. Nothing over 2 bucks, come on down!


Luscious and the kids met me after work today, and we went into Fremantle to have a picnic and play in the park. But we needed to buy drinks, so we found a teeensy little bookstore with a coke machine….

And I found Walking with Dinosaurs: The Evidence and a hardback copy of Tales From Earthsea for ten bucks each. And we bought the drinks and left the shop inside 90 seconds of entering.

I am BOOKBUYMAN!!!!!!!!!!!


As if it should have ever been in doubt, Luscious’ brilliant story from ASIM 17, The Memory of Breathing, has been picked up for Year’s Best Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror 2005.

In my humble opinion, it’s the best horror story of the year, and if it doesn’t make the Aurealis Awards short list at least, it’ll point out what a load of bollocks that particular award is. I’m an amazingly proud hisband right now, all the more because it’s so obviously a deserved recognition for a wonderful writer who has yet to hit her straps. When she does, nobody will be talking about me any more.

Of course, no one does now, but that’s not the point. Well done, my darling. You deserve it.


Well, here’s an announcement.

We’re moving.

The house is on the market, there’s a sign out the front, we’re leaving exotic Huntingdale and moving North of the River to facilitate the arrival of Aiden into our midst on a permanent basis. We’re looking at Clarkson, for any Perthites with a road map and sense of adventure. We’ve had half a dozen people through the house since Thursday, and we’ve not had an open house yet! The agent thinks that we’ll be hard done by if we don’t sell the place within 4 weeks.

It’s weird: I’ve a lot of emotional investment in this place, having bought 2 children home here, as well as my late wife Sharon and my darling Luscious. Almost all the plans I’ve made these last 5 years have involved being here, and inside 2 weeks of making the decision, half the house is packed away, and we’re one person from being out the door and never seeing the place again. I’m eager for somewhere new, excited at the thought of finding a house that Lyn and I can call ours from the very beginning, and yet there’s a tiny part of me that’ll want visiting rights. “Please, can’t I just see the patio every alternative weekend?”

On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with an appraisal that gives you a 240% profit on what you paid for the place 🙂

It was either this or a peaceful life. Pictures and advertorial as soon as I upload them.


If you head over to the Prime Books website, you should be able to order a copy of The Devil In Brisbane, edited by Zoran Zivkovic, with stories by the likes of Geoff Maloney, Kirsten Bishop, and Trent Jamieson. All the stories involve Old Horny and a writer, and they are rather a lot of fun. And my story Gunslinger, is amongst them. Go. Buy. Make us all rich and famous.

Are you still here?


Not one, but 2 episodes of The OC I watched because Cassie asked me to.

Where’s my bloody medal?

Song of the moment: California Phantom Planet


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? 🙂


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 🙂

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 🙂


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


Fantastic Planet Bookstore
8 Shafto Lane

The launch of Stephen Dedman’s new collection

Never Seen By Waking Eyes

I’ll be speaking, but don’t let that put you off….


It’s done. All 10, 975 words of Manuscript Found Upon the Body of a Hanged Soldier, finished, prettied up, and sent to the groovy Angela Challis for the Fading Twilight anthology.

Werethylacaleo Carnifex. It may not roll of the tongue, but it’s bloody to fun to write about 🙂

Next goal: Nouvelle Hollande in the hands of agents by the end of September. I’ve got my beta reader feedback (thanks guys!), and a few changes need to be made, but I’ve got no other writing projects planned for the upcoming month, so I should stroll it in.

Good God, could a routine be re-establishing itself?


Friday September 9th, 6.30pm, at Fantastic Planet bookstore: froodmaster author-you-should-have-read-by-now Stephen Dedman launches his new collection Never Seen By Waking Eyes.

Everyone who knows us, knows what I think of Stephen. Which is why I was honoured beyond measure when he asked me to say a few words at the launch. The trick will be choosing which superlative to begin with.

Although I could always resort to the traditional “Your Honour….” 🙂


Nothing happens on a Tuesday.

Seanie rang.

I haven’t seen Seanie since I flew to Sydney for his wedding in 2003. I’ve known him a lot longer than that. 16 years in fact: my oldest, longest, best friend. Living rebuttal to anyone who thinks I can’t keep a friend once I make one 🙂

He was in town: along with wife Terri, and kids Jessie and Ellie, he’d driven from Sydney to Boyup Brook in a 1984 Ford Laser. (This car is so damn tough it could take on Nazis!) It’d taken 11 days, all up, and the move they’d planned hadn’t worked out, so they were in town for a night on the way to the train station for the trip back to Sydney. Would we be in if they dropped round? Would we?

I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed the boy. It’s been seven years since he moved to the other side of the country. Apart from Luscious, I don’t think there’s anyone alive who understands me as easily as he does. We have the world’s most disturbing synchronicity going, like, eerie, man. Met on the first lecture of the first day of the first year of Uni, and it’s been separated-at-birth stuff ever since. Same TEE scores (down to the decimal place), wives of the same former religion, babies born at the same time, houses moved on the same day in different cities…… there’s a long list, and it gets weirder each time we talk.

I wish they’d stayed. I wish we knew someone with a furnished house for rent. I wish Lyn could get to know them better than their first meeting last night, when she just fell in love with the whole family. We sat on the couch, like we did a million times in our younger days, and talked, and talked, and bantered and told stories, and it was all so easy and funny and natural like it really isn’t with anyone but Luscious.

I’ve missed him. And until we can do it once more, I’ll miss him again.

Song of the moment: Last Train To Clarkesville The Monkees


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:


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


  • 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)


WinnerDisenchantments, Briony Davis
2ndThe Feast, Colin Gan

Highly Commended-

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


  • 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…


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!


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…


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 🙂


The Premier League is back!

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


…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…..


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.


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.


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…


A huge hello and welcome to Vincent John Parker, who joined us all at 9.50 last night, much to everyone’s delight.

Lovely to have you on board, little guy.


Received an email from the froody editors at ASIM last night. They want to buy Instinct, a story I wrote in cahoots with Nigel Read, for their special collaborations issue, number 22, due out this December. Which is cool, especially as I’d forgotten about it and had no idea where it had been sent out 🙂

Could be an interesting issue: Luscious and I have just completed our own collaboration entitled C, which we’ll be submitting to the same market by the end of the week. If it gets picked up, I could have my first double-banger!


I’ve been banished to the Fremantle office for 2 weeks, before entering my permanent work posting at Booragoon. How much do I love being there?

One of the women asked me what else I did (Her exact words were “So why don’t you want to work full-time?”). When I told her I was a writer, she replied “Yeah, but that’s like the kids at school doing their art.”

Later in the day, one of the other women (there are three, plus myself in the office) complained about the “raucous rubbish” the radio station was playing, and bemoaned the fact that we’re not allowed to switch channels so she could listen to something decent. Which radio station? MIX 94.5FM, known to all and sundry as Bland FM. All INXS, all of the day…..

I’m in hell.


Picked up a copy of The First Book of Lankhmar the other day, which collects the first 4 of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & The Grey Mouser books in one volume.

Ill Met In Lankhmar, which I haven’t read for a few years, is still the best fantasy short ever written. Yes it creaks a bit at the hinges, and the dialogue is overblown and unnatural, and filled with comic book portent. But for all that, it is still the best fantasy short ever written. Read it again, or if you’ve never read it before, get your nose out of that fucking Harry Potter box of toilet paper and read it for the first time.

Fantasy with consequences.

A pox on your Fiests, Mays, Brooks’, Jordans, and their evil brood.


Saw the last episode of Dr Who on Sunday night, many thanks owing to the Sunday Night Crew, who came through for a Batfam in need.

I should have guessed the owner of the voice, shouldn’t I? That’s what comes of trying to be too clever and second guess the obvious. As to the Bad Wolf, hmmm. When is a deus ex machina not a deus ex machina? When you’ve set it up all season, and yet it still manages to feel like you’ve written yourself into a corner and had to jump free with a mighty bound? Because that’s what it felt like, in a lot of ways. Sigh: I can’t wait until you’ve all seen it, so I can discuss it properly without dropping spoilers.

A flawed ending to a series that has seen some amazing highs (Dalek and The Empty Child being the absolute pinnacles, for me) , and very few genuine lows (Only The Unquiet Dead and Father’s Day missing the mark). It’s going to feel like a long time before the second series. I’m hoping there’s a box set before Christmas: I want to hear the commentaries on these episodes.


Hi Vincent!

Song of the moment: Dancing In The Moonlight Thin Lizzy


Well, the three chapter package is complete, a whole bunch of beta reader volunteers are offering their comments, and I’m beginning to fashion a synopsis that reflects the goings on in the novel. Nouvelle Hollande is less than a week away from being sent to the agents who requested a look.

Wonder if they’ll remember me?

Time to start thinking about the next novel. The paranoid SF tale about identity loss, or the sprawling architectural fantasy about bridge civilisations? Or should I just say “fuck it” and write an 18000-line linked haiku about cats?


Boy it’s been fun listening to Luscious and Martin Livings talk about how far into their Fading Twilight stories they’ve been getting, while my block kept piling higher and higher, and the deadline loomed over me large a large hairy bloke with a hood and a sharp axe…..

Fully polished and complete 10 000 word story by the end of August? Like Hell it was going to happen.

Sat down last night, with no excuses left, and forced one finger after another onto the keyboard, trying not to look.

2800 words in 24 hours.

Block over 🙂


Luscious and I have co-habited three magazines so far: a jointly-written article in Gynaezine, an interview in the latest issue of ASIM, and of course, the approaching-legendary ASIM 11, which she edited and I appeared within. But we’re yet to appear in a magazine as separate entities, that is, to submit stories independently of each other and have them accepted just like any other writer.

Well, it’s on for young and old now: Borderlands Issue 6 is due out sometime between now and the end of the year, and we’re both in it. And Luscious’ story Hush has just been accepted for the Shadow Box anthology that accepted I Can Make You Famous… a few days back. It’s a bloody creepy story, too. Shadow Box will be launched at Halloween.

Maybe Luscious and I are the only ones who care, but that’s what you get for reading the blog…