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

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

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

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

Well, maybe not in those exact words ๐Ÿ™‚ But something in me knew: this guy was going places.

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

Well done, mate.


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

I’m a fan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sexual assault.

Where’s the argument?


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

Oh God. I’ve turned into that guy.


Benedict the Umpteenth, ppppphhhhhhh.

Wanker. Because electing right wing Germans to posts of international power has worked so well in the past…


Sucks more than any movie has any right to suck. This film is nothing more than the end result of executive bunnies deciding that any movie with Baldy Vin in it is going to sell by the trailer load. Unfortunately, on the basis of the full house I was surrounded by (and the fact that 3 kids and a wife had managed to drag me screaming and protesting into the theatre in the first place), they’re right.

I would rather contract cancer than ever see this movie again.


I wrote most of the epilogue to Nouvelle Hollande today. A small scene to finish it, and spending a few thousand words on the climax, and the thing is done!

I have a couple of agents waiting, so this is a very good thing. Also a priority.


I have a foot-high model of the TARDIS on my computer desk, that the kids gave me for Brianmas. It’s been there since Brianmas. It’s not hidden behind anything.

Erin comes barrelling up to me yesterday, points dramatically at the model, and exclaims “Daddy! It’s Doctor Who’s house!”

I think she was disappointed when a teensy tiny little Tom Baker didn’t emerge to say hi.


I am a Spike Milligan fan of the first order. I am a Spike Milligan fan to a degree that would frighten your children.

For no reason at all, Luscious presented me ith a copy of Spike Milligan: The Biography the other day.

I’ve barely climbed out of it since.

She loves me ๐Ÿ™‚

She didn’t even wince when I played The Goon Show to the boys in the car yesterday and they decalred it the funniest thing they’ve ever been exposed to. And I have so many episodes to play them…


Aiden had his first game of soccer on the weekend. He’s not a hugely sporty kid, and while we love and support him, all we hoped for was that he didn’t hate it too much.

Dude, he can play! He’s not the quickest, and he’ll take some kicking practice, but he can play. He has an understanding of what he needs to do, and his reading of the play is really good. He’s got a soccer brain, something you can’t really teach.

And we won 4-2. And quiet little Lyn went off her face. And he set up the last goal. And he wore the Nottingham Forest top we bought him with pride during the practice session, even when surrounded by kids wearing Arsenal, Real Madrid, and Manchester United tops.

Next game’s in two weeks, and 2 weeks after that and 2 weeks after that.

We’re there with bells on. I’m just a big, fat, hairy proud soccer Bonus Dad ๐Ÿ™‚


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.