HOODWINKED

Is a damn good idea ruined.

Too adult for the four year old, too slow for the adults, and the animation was bad in a way I haven’t seen for years (C’mon, how could you forget to put shadows under people so they don’t look like they’re walking three inches above the ground?). The few moments of genuine humour are spaced too far apart to justify even the short 80 minute journey. It’s hard to see who this movie is aimed at. To be honest, it didn’t seem aimed at anybody, rather, it felt as if they just threw a whole bunch of ideas at a wall and kept what stuck.

In a way, it reminded me of Hudson Hawk in that there are some lovely bits (Patrickk Warburton’s Big Bad Wolf and Glenn Close’s Granny are great, as is the banjo-playing hillbilly goat) but the movie as a whole leaves you hollow and regretful.

I’m really disappointed. Presenting the Red Riding Hood story like a crime movie a la The Usual Suspects was a great idea, a chance to do something hip and self-aware and still throw enough light and movement in to keep the kiddies satisfied. But they blow it. What a pity.

YOU. WILL. BE. LIKE. USSSSUH.

I’ve been somewhat underwhelmed by the new season of Doctor Who. I thought the first 3 episodes were well on the lame side, and whilst episode 4 represented a big increase in quality, I looked forward to the 2-part Cyberman revival with some trepidation.

Heh.

I am, perhaps, in the minority in that while I’ve always liked the Daleks, I’ve always loved The Cybermen. They are my monster of choice, and as soon as the resurrection of the Doctor was announced I knew they’d be back to join him. Some things, like Daleks and the TARDIS, simply cannot be done without.

For the most part, Saturday’s opening episode was solid without being spectacular. The zeppelins were cool: I mean, hey, they’re zeppelins. The Ricky/Mickey storyline was looking interesting. But the flaws and logic holes that have plagued the first 16 episodes were there in abundance, large and obvious for all to see. And then….

You. Will. Be. Like. Usssuh.

I actually jumped in my seat for joy. They were back, just like they were meant to be. Logical, implacable, desperate, terrifying. As Luscious will testify, I was still breaking out into fan boy giggling fits three hours after the episode was finished. And then, the next morning, the A-boy reminded me of that other great Cyberman quote, and I can’t wait another 5 days to find out if the writers think it’s the perfect ending, like we do:

We. Will. Survivvvvvuh.

Pleasepleasepleaseplease…..

THE MEMORY GETS BIGGER

Luscious received a phone call from Producer Matt during the week. Seems my script for the The Memory of Breathing movie has been well received. So well, in fact, that they want me to prepare a second draft. At feature length.

It’s a long, long way from here to there, but if everything that needs to fall into place falls into place, Memory could be a feature film, written (at least the first two drafts), by me.

My guidance counsellor didn’t see that one coming…

PRIDE

Luscious starts her job on Monday. A wee while ago, we decided to swap places– she would go out to work and I would stay at home and be the house husband. I’m so proud of the way she’s gone about looking for work, and the way she negotiated to create the position she wanted out of the one that was advertised, it makes me determined to keep my end of the deal up: she deserves the best home envirnoment possible to reward her dedication and care for this family.

Anyone know the number for a good cleaner? πŸ™‚

FINAL DAYS OF DARYL HANNAH

I’ve always liked Daryl Hannah, because I think she’s been a better actress than much of the material she’s chosen, and you know, she’s hot. But we sat through the first episode of The Final Days of Planet Earth during the week, and oh God, everyone involved should be hauled off to the salt farm and have their skin flensed from them before being put to work. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a derivative, illogical, badly acted (although calling what Gil Bellows does ‘acting’ would be gilding a field of lilies), incompetently produced pile of crap.

We didn’t bother with part 2, which is unusual for this family of completists. But I only have one life span: I have to make it count.

DAY OFF

So my wife woke up yesterday morning and decided to kick me out of the house for the day, to reward me for recent housey-put-togethery activities. Had me a water massage, shopped for some personal effects, lazed about the library reading gardening books (I’m really getting into designing our backyard at the moment, along with Aidey-baby), and took myself off to watch Aeon Flux, which I’ll chat about in the next paragraph. ‘Twas a brilliant day, and I came home a happy and refreshed Battboy. If you make it as far as Whitfords City shopping centre, I do recommend you lash out 20 bucks on a water massage. It is so choice.

But Aeon Flux: I’ve always defended Charlize Theron, because, you know…. but did the director have to remember she was a beautiful woman every 5 seconds and give us the obligatory ‘babe’ shot? Had this just been a B-grade dress-fest puff piece (you know, like a Matrix sequel) I could have got on with hating it and been happy. But the damn thing looks so beautiful, and suddenly, about two-thirds of the way through, they drop what could have been a brilliant philosophical core into the thing for no reason (and ultimately, no purpose), and so I left the cinema not hating it, but being disappoiointed at what the film could have been.

There was potential here for something that transcended the subject matter’s origins, and could have been a genuine genre classic. And they missed it, because they needed to dress the beautiful people. And despite all that, it was still a watchable 90 minutes of illogical puff. It just could have been something special. Damn damn damn. I am so sick of SF movies that leave me explaing to friends and family that no, that is not what I write.

NERDS RULE

So it was 10.45 am on a work day, I was in a cinema to see Aeon Flux, and there were something like 60 people in there with me, and 2 of the 3 previews were for X-3 and the latest Superman revival, and a significant percentage of the audience cheered to see both of them.

And the normals sneer at the nerds why?

QUESTION

Philip Seymour Hoffman is in Mission Impossible 3.
Vingh Rhames is in Mission Impossible 3.
Laurence Fishburne is in Mission Impossible 3.

So my question is: WHY? FOR FUCK’S SAKE, WHYYYYYYY?

SHREDDER

Officially, my shiny new office shredder is here because it helps me to keep things neat and tidy in the office. Unofficially, I love my compost bin, I love it and want to give it special papery treats every now and again…

Is that so wrong?

SWANCON MEETING

The first meeting of the Swancon 33 committee is tomorrow, at our house. Which makes me realise just how not-ready we are for it. Much cleaning is in evidence, including the 2 miniskips parked out the front. So much to do… On the other hand, I know who I want to invite as guests (Yay for guest-wrangler me), and I have some pretty strong opinions on what I want to see at the Con, so it should be an animated conversation. And we’re providing a taco lunch with vegetarian options, and if there’s anything more wrong in the culinary world than a vegetarian taco, well, I hope they bring it tomorrow πŸ™‚

DR WHO STORY

So, let’s tick off the career goals I had when I started, shall we?

Story in Aurealis. Done
Story in Eidolon. Through the rise of Borderlands, done
Winner in the Writers of the Future. Done
Produce and perform an orginal Goon Show play. Done
Write for Dr Who. Oh well, nev…… STOP!

Thas right, peeps (don’t ask me, my fingers have gone all gangsta for a second). The frabjous Steven Savile, for whom I’ve just finished the first draft of my story The Ballad of Dwight & Renfield for his upcoming anthology Monster Noir, has contacted me and asked me to pitch an idea for an upcoming anthology of Dr Who stories he’s been commissioned to produce.

So I sent him two. Trust me, it took time to cut them down to that many…. More news as it happens, but if he picks one up I’m going to have to create some new goals. Like, you know, finish the second novel, sell the first one, that sort of thing.

HAND ME MY RUBBER SUIT, WOMAN!

Boys and I are off to the FTI tonight to see Godzilla: Final Wars.

Yeah, baby!!!!

SIGHS OF RELIEF ALL ROUND

Oh, I’ve been blocked lately, and how.

There’s been the sale of the house, and trying to find one we like in Clarkson. There’s been the worry about making sure Aiden gets to come to us like he wants to. There’s been work. There have been the babies. There’s been the compensation case. There’s been such a long list of things that have taken my attention and focus away from the word-crunching. And frankly, I thought I was over, at least for a while. I couldn’t find anything inside me. I was dry, empty, kaput, kershplunk, kerschmuttered.

But at work today, in a fit of boredom, I was leafing through my notebook, and came across a single line I’d jotted down between a whole bunch of other things, and something went ‘chk chk whooooof’ (imitation of an igniting fire) somewhere toward the back of my mind.

Came home, informed Luscious that tonight was writing night (like she’d argue: she’s just annnounced she’s put 1100 words down on a new project), and threw 1300 words of the new story at the keyboard before I stopped, content in the knowledge that I’ll have the rest of it wrapped up by the end of the weekend. It’s a nasty little thing called Mister Snopes, and I’m going to be very thankful to it for some time. It’s rescued me from being just a Normal, just a desk jockey. I’m even going back into my archives and taking a look at some of the half-pages and not-finished thangs I’ve got kicking around.

I’ve spent so much time wrapped up in The Divergence Tree and the preparation of Napoleone’s Land (have I told you that the novel’s changed name again? I forget.) that I’d forgotten the joy involved in just writing. Think I’ll ride this wave while I’m on it.

SOME FIRST LINES

Nicked from Shane Jiraiya Cummings’ blog, the first lines of some current projects and projects that, after tonight, are back to being current projects:

I do not intend to go into details, but Mister Snopes was the most evil man the village had known in centuries. Mister Snopes

The sand of Easter Island is a curse. Napoleone’s Land

I know. Amygdala, My Love

My name is Hideshi Nakata, and though it be the greatest of honours, I do not wish to die for my Emperor. Most Divine of Winds

Walk like a monster. Walk Like a Monster

Mrs Thornapple was a large woman, and she began to smell after the third day. A Good Year For The Roses

My Name Is George Dawson. Manuscript Found Upon the Body of a Hanged Soldier

SPIKE

Picked up a copy of the DVD documentary I Told You I Was Ill: The Life & Legacy of Spike Milligan the other day, and got around to watching it last night. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Milligan, but I was reminded just how much his work has been a part of my life: The Goons of course, but also the poetry, the cartoons, Q, A Show Called Fred, the war memoirs, the live LPs, the letters, the public persona. Granted, the man often defined the difference between eccentric genius and arsehole, but I would be a very different man if not for the way his work has insinuated itself into my consciousness.

I’ve always liked Kurt Vonnegut’s notion of the karass– that group of people who are linked to you by the influence they have had upon your life, either (or both) good or bad. Milligan sits close to the centre of mine.

Luscious made an interesting observation, afterwards, that she had never drawn inspiration from ‘pretend people’, that she had always found herself influenced by people in direct contact with her, such as grandparents and children. There’s probably a deeper link into our psyches from these statements, which I’ll leave it to future discussions between us to discover, but it makes me wonder: what about you lot? Who are your influences? I have a message board, you know…

SNIFF, SNIFF, SNIFF

What is my playlist trying to do to me? All in a row:

Vincent by Don McLean
Cat’s In The Cradle by Harry Chapin
Send In The Clowns by Joni Mitchell

I swear, if it plays Pink Floyd next I’ll be in the bathtub with a jar of leeches before I know what I’m doing….

Song of the moment: Send In the Clowns Joni Mitchell

IN WHICH CALLISTO SHAMPOO AND CHESHIRE NOIR DISCOVER THAT WHAT THEY’VE DONE OVER THE LAST NINE MONTHS WAS THE EASY PART

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.

ANOTHER SALE, AND A SURPRISE ONE TO BOOT

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 πŸ™‚

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!

WELCOME TO MIDWICH

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.

WHY I HATE FANTASY, or READ THE MASTERS BEFORE YOU TELL ME HOW GOOD JULIAN BLOODY MAY IS

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.

THE PARTING OF THE WAYS

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.

I’VE SAID IT BEFORE, AND I’LL SAY IT AGAIN

Hi Vincent!

Song of the moment: Dancing In The Moonlight Thin Lizzy

THOUGHTS ON A TRIP TO FREMANTLE

Playstation Console, $299. Foxtel, $72 per month. DVDs, anywhere up to $50 a pop.

Eating fresh bananas, chasing seagulls, and playing roly-polies with your daughter? Priceless.

A DEEP EXISTENTIAL QUESTION TO WHICH I HUMBLY REQUEST AN OPINION

So who is the most crap: Godzookie or Scrappy Doo?

DOCTORIN’

I haven’t been this excited about watching a television program since I discovered The Prisoner last year. I haven’t been unable to wait a week to watch the next episode of something since I can’t tell you when. I have to know. I have to know how it all turns out. It was over two hours after last night’s episode before we finally stopped discussing who Bad Wolf might be, and who owned the voice we heard in the preview of next week’s episode. Luscious, myself, and the Triffkids: we couldn’t think of anything else for ages, and even today, L and I still find ourselves going “What if it’s….” at odd moments.

And let’s be honest, the sight of thousands of Daleks screaming “Exterminate” in unison as they rise into the air and exit their motherships into the vacuum of space had my interior child sitting on the edge of his seat whispering “Oh. My. Goddddd….”

For the record, these are our predictions, after having decided to eliminate thge Dalek from Dalek, as we all would have chosen it if allowed… (Those who already know: feel free to laugh, but if you spoil the surprise I’ll fucking kill you)

Lee: The voice is Adam, and Bad Wolf is the Doctor.
Luscious: The voice is either Davros or Adam, and Sarah Jane Smith is Bad Wolf.
Cassie: The voice belongs to either Davros or The Master, and she has no idea who bad Wolf is.
Aiden: Despite getting us really excited with a very well-worked out theory about how the Doctor’s grand-daughter Susan could be Bad Wolf (we spent about 20 minutes working through the repercussions of this one), eventually the A-Boy decided that Sarah Jane Smith or the black journalist from The Long Game was the voice, and the TARDIS was Bad Wolf.
Blake: Davros or the Master for the voice, and the TARDIS or the Doctor for Bad Wolf.

I just can’t wait a bloody week to find out!

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

Lee: What do you want to this evening?
Cassie: We could play Samurai Greg?

After several minutes of not knowing what the heck she’s talking about.

Lee: Do you mean Safari Jack?
Cassie: That’s it!

Close enough…

DON’T LET IT HIT YOU IN THE ARSE ON THE WAY OUT

Sean Connery has been quoted in the press this week as saying he doesn’t care if he never makes another movie again, as he’s sick of the stupidity of movie studios and the crud that comes out of the Hollywood system.

If it means I never have to sit through The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Rock, A Good Man in Africa, Finding Forrester or Entrapment again, I wouldn’t care either. The Hill and The Man Who Would Be King were a long time ago, Sean. A long, long time…..

JUST LET THE BARBIE DREAM DIE, OKAY?

When your daughter starts singing the “Hey Ho, let’s go” refrain from Blitzkreig Bop when you tell her you’re going out for a car trip, you start to realise that all the things you’ve done to circumvent the grandparents’ desire to see her evolve into some Disneybarbie domestic princess are proving successful.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?

I had the most disgusting dream I’ve ever had last night. One of those really vivid dreams, where everything is in bright colour, complete with full-strength smells, sounds, and (as shall prove important to this post), tastes.

Analyse this, my little friends:

A doctor leads me into a room containing a chair and a metal table. Everything is very friendly and cordial, as he gives me some anaesthetic and I sit in the chair. He takes a knife and cuts open the front of my skull. Then he removes my brain, places it on the table, and separates out a few pieces, cutting the whole brain into several large lumps in the process.

That done, he stuffs my head with the dismembered grey matter, and sews me back up. I thank him, and stand. Which is when my brain starts to slither out of the hole at the back of my cranium, down into my mouth, and I have to vomit my own brains out of my mouth so I can breathe.

Told you.

Song of the moment: Blood Makes Noise, Suzanne Vega

HANGIN’ WIF MY PEEPS

What a fun weekend to be out and about with friends and family.

Friday night we shared our recently discovered Curry Restaurant Of Choice with fabbo duo Callisto & Cheshire, in the hopes of a spice-induced entry into the world for little Callicheshbub. No luck, but wine, laughs, conversation, and plate after plate of bloody lovely korma, butter chicken, mango chutney, papadum after papadum….. one day we shall gather you all and crowd out the 16 seat capacity and more.

Finished the night off by coming back to our place and gathering round the table for a game of Give Me The Brain, one of only two Cheapass Games games we own. If there is a funnier game to play in a group, I’ve yet to play it. We spent as much time bent over with our heads on the table, laughing until tears soaked the cards, than we did fighting over who had possession of the ‘brain’. There’s a rumour that the Cheapass Games guys may be coming over for Swancon next year. I hope so. I truly hope so.

Having the three Triffkids with us made the night truly memorable. They love being around our friends: they’ve just never met anybody quite like them, and you can see the kids just soaking up the personality on display. And having a chance to interact in such a wonderfully social atmosphere rewards us all. It doesn’t hurt that the kids themselves are 3 of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and I love hanging round with them.

Then , on Saturday afternoon, we had the utter joy of catching up with Adrian and Michelle Bedford for coffee, where we were able to express our deep envy at the sexiness of Adrian’s new book cover, and listen with unconcealed excitement as he hinted about his big writing news. Adrian has honoured us with a mention in the acknowledgements to his newest novel, and we’re just happy to know that there will be a time when we can tell people “Oh yeah, we knew him when he was just a folk singer…” πŸ™‚

Sometimes you forget how lucky you are to have good friends. It’s people like Calli, Chesh, Adrian and Michelle who remind you.

SO PROFOUND IT SHOULD BE ON A T-SHIRT

So halfway through the card game, apropos of nothing, Oor Cassie drops this into the conversation:

You know, it’s almost impossible to play Cluedo with only two people.

Almost?

DR WHO

Have any aliens sucked as much as the Slitheen? Okay, yes, but have any who sucked as much been given encore screenings, and proven so central to the plot arc of the series?

The Slitheen suck. No more Slitheen. Bring back the bloody Sontarans!

On a sidenote, my personal Badwolf theory: it’s the Doctor, and the whole thing is a setup to haunt him for whatever actions in his past he’s hiding from the others.

HOW THE HELL DO I RECONCILE THIS WITH BEING HAL CLEMENT?

As if you needed any more prove that these memes are retarded: first I’m a hard SF writer, now this?

GenreFantasy
FANTASY! – Mystical, magical mayhem! You feel the
urge to write of fantastic worlds that never
were and the beings that might live there. Are
they Lands of Wonder or adventures of Magical
Folly? JRR Tolkien and Tanith Lee are your
guides.

What Kind of Novel Should I Write?
brought to you by Quizilla

A DOCTOR WHO JOKE WITH SPOILERS

Warning: if you’re one of the three people in this country not watching downloaded versions of the new Doctor Who series, look away now.

Thanks to the kindness of friends (and I can’t help but think it was their way of contributing to snapping me out of my depression. If so, it worked) I have a shiny DVD filled with the 1st seven episodes of the new Doctor Who series. We sat down with the kids and watched them on the weekend. We had to: the boys wouldn’t go back to their father’s house until we did πŸ™‚

They’re all pretty damn good, but episode 6, Dalek, is perhaps the best episode of Doctor Who ever made. They’ve done with a single Dalek what nobody in 26 years was able to achieve with whole armies of the buggers: turn it into a genuinely terrifying machine of war. Based loosely on an audio play (I think) called Jubilee, the plot can be narrowed down to Single Dalek stalks entire compound of heavily armed and scared shitless humans. The story is by turns frightening, tense, and filled with such pathos and tenderness that you find yourself with tears in your eyes at the possible fate of a giant pepperpot with a latex muppet inside.

It gives nothing away to tell you that at one stage, in order to gain knowledge of his enemies, the Dalek accesses and downloads the entire internet in less than a minute.

Cassie’s comment? “My God. How much porn must he be watching?”

Dalek Porn. Don’t think visually…

I AM SERIOUS, AND DON’T CALL ME SHIRLEY.

How frustrating! Martin brought the comedy classic Flying High to the Sunday Movie Night (It is a comedy classic! It bloody is!), but the disc went spla part way through and so we didn’t get to see the whole thing. Mind you, as someone pointed out, Martin and I could probably have recreated the rest of the movie in 3D, so constantly were we quoting along with the action πŸ™‚

I was having weird time traveller comedy moments all the way through: laughing at jokes that were 15 minutes away from being on the screen, as my memory ran ahead of what was being shown…

The biggest pain is that I now have to rent it out, and Flying High 2, so I can watch it properly.

THERE IS NO SAVING HER

What’s sadder than watching Big Brother? Watching it on the TV and at the same time having the webpage up on your laptop and scrolling through pages reading about it.

THE BLUE REVOLUTION CONTINUES

A lucky 2-all draw on the weekend, but we’ve got another point in the bag and remain undefeated. The mighty Bassendean Juniors juggernaut rolls on.

Aiden got some quality minutes under his belt, played as a striker in the first half and in central midfield in the second. He even got in a good, crunching tackle and made a header!

You know, the Premier League season has just ended, and clubs will be looking for holding midfielders…

POTATO PROGRESS

The boys and I placed the second tyre on the potatoes on the weekend, leaving a few shoots above the rim as the vaguely-remembered Better Homes & Gardens magazine had advised (I think). I went out to the backyard this morning, and those shoots are already high enough that I could put the third tyre on.

I think I’m raising triffids…

PISS OFF, DOROTHY

A tornado! A frigging tornado! A frigging tornado ran straight through Maddington, turned left, came down our street, destroyed the roof, fence, trees, and backyard of the guy across the street and left us completely alone!

Okay, some tubby girl and her dog knocked on the door and asked us if we’d seen a witch anywhere, but I just gave her 5 bucks and told her to see a counsellor. But a tornado! A frigging tornado!

Un-fucking-believable.

SMOOOOOOOTTTHHHHH….

Had a job interview yesterday, and as we were blacked-out because of the tornado, (A tornado! A frigging tornado!) I wasn’t able to shave, running razors across my face in the dark being one of my least favourite activities. There was only one thing for it: off to the barber’s.

I’ve been married twice, and each time wanted to have a proper shave at a barber’s on the morning, only to find it was unfeasible for various reasons. I tell ya, I was missing out. That shave was smooth, and I got a bit of an understanding as to why women and local gangsters in crappy mafia movies spend so much time and money on getting their hair and faces done. It ain’t cheap (44 bucks for the shave and a haircut) but the sense of confidence it gives you is worth a packet. This self-pampering business is seductive.

CONSTANTINE…

…is surprisingly enjoyable. And (I can’t believe these words would ever appear from my consciousness), Keanu Reeves doesn’t do that bad a job. Okay, the film is riddled with weaknesses, and it’s so far from the source material that changing the title from Hellblazer to Constantine is a damn good idea, BUT: if you want someone to play a character who has suffered so many spritual blows that he is dead mentally and emotionally, who can’t raise a vestige of optimism to save his life, and whose knowledge of damnation is enough to scare any sense of vaitality from his every waking moment……. the Canoe is your man.

Of course, it didn’t hurt to have Lyn and the boys snuggling into me every time a scary moment happened πŸ™‚

BORDERLANDS 4

I enjoy Borderlands. I think it fills a valuable niche at the top end of literary SF in Australia, and I both submit and subscribe as often as I can.

I have a deep and abiding love of truly crappy SF. Hey, I’ve just told the world to watch Robot Monster. There is a level of badness beyond which something becomes amazingly enjoyable, like watching a car crash full of smurfs. True badness is as enjoyable as true class. Borderlands recognises this: Grant Watson’s ‘Bad Film Diaries’ are an hilarious attempt by my favourite film maven to defend the likes of Masters Of The Universe, Alien 3, and Alien Vs Predator.

Borderlands 1, 2, and 3 have included some brilliant stories, such as Simon Brown’s Ring Ring!, KJ Bishop’s Beach Rubble, and Dave Luckett’s By The Sweat of Your Brow.

Borderlands 4 contains the worst story I’ve read in years. Enjoyably bad like whole busloads of smurfs impacting each other. I’m not going to tell you which one. You have to buy the issue and find out for yourselves. And be aware: this isn’t me telling you not to buy the issue. I want you to buy it: Borderlands is a fantastic magazine, and needs more subscribers. You should own it.

And if screenings of movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space, Star Wars, and Robot Monster can attract hundreds of fans of the deliciously awful, if Mathew Reilly can sell novels like most of us can only dream about, if Usher and Nelly can flog off more albums than any 3 good bands from your memory, then the story in Borderlands 4 should be read by as many people as possible.

It’s fabulous!

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME

Christopher Eccleston is an engaging cross between early Peter Davidson and Colin Baker. Billie Piper shows enough spirit and ballsiness to indicate that she’ll be a more than acceptable foil. They keep the awful control room from that abysmal Paul McGann travesty (or at least, it looks like I remember and buggered if I’m going to watch it again to confirm), and there are some lovely bits of business going on that make me believe that this reincarnation could have some legs.

Yup, saw the first episode of the new Dr Who last night, crowded around Splanky’s laptop with Luscious and the Sunday Night Crew.

I just wish Eccleston had worn something a little more Who-like. Sharp and stylish doesn’t belong.

HOORAY, WE’RE DEAD!

Had a very strange moment coming home from dinner on Friday night. Luscious and I were driving past the WACA and fireworks were going off above it, obviously from the trotting track tucked behind the venerable cricket ground. But from where we were situated it looked as if they were emanating from the tiny cemetery on top of the hill, overlooking both parks.

Wonder what they felt they had to celebrate?

SOME SORT OF SF FAN

Sigh. I have to admit to a rather large attack of ennui when it comes to genre stuff at the moment, a result of reading a bucket load of submissions for Ticonderoga Online, my manuscript assessment work, my normal prodigious reading load anyway, and the mountain of my own work that I’m trying to shift with a literary teaspoon. Which is good news for sellers of biographies (just finished an Asimov and am barreling through a very entertaining one about Douglas Adams) but bad news for conversations that require me to offer an opinion on Lost or the new Battlestar Galactica.

About all that might happen is that six months from now I’ll write a story about a transsexual cyborg being chased by something vaguely Jurassic after he/r spaceship crashes on an island, and wonder where it came from.

DOCUMENTARY (-EEE) GOODNESS

As a treat for ourselves, Luscious and I bought the DVD box set of Simon Schama’s History of Britain, and have been watching our way through it with great delight. I’m a huge buff for archaeology, and particularly British history, so I’m soaking it all up with a big smile on my face. But: boy, isn’t Schama a pillock? This is the second offering I’ve had from him, and does he ever get off centre screen and let the history tell the story? And what’s with the adjectives? He really, truly, magnificently, almost incredibly, loves his bloody adjectives…

READ SLADEK!

I’ve had the great joy over the last day or two of getting reacquainted with the writings of John Sladek. If you haven’t discovered him yet, you should. Sladek, who died a couple of years ago, was part of a generation that gave us the likes of Barry N. Malzberg, Thomas Disch and Ed Bryant. (And if you don’t know who they are, let’s begin with the simple stuff: It’s called Science Fiction, and it started with Mary Shelley…)

Sladek was the master satirist, the black little heart pumping poison into the smiles of SF readers. Find a copy of Keep The Giraffes Burning (my vote for ‘Best Title of All Time); The Focker-Mueller Effect; Bugs; The Best Of… or his masterpiece, the anti-Asimovian novel Tik-Tok, in which a murderous robot decides that the best way to harm as many humas as he can is to become Vice-President.

Black genius. As black as the humor in Dr Strangelove or A Clockwork Orange, or an Aubrey Beardsley print. Sladek is almost forgotten now: when he died in 2000 there wasn’t a single volume of his work still in print. This is a genuine shame. Do what you can to reverse it. Sladek should not be forgotten while the likes of Matthew Reilly get to live on…

DOING A FATHER TED…

Is the phrase Luscious and I use for a show that we remember with great fondness, but which turns out to be rather awful when we sit down to watch it again, after watching a video of the abovementioned series a couple of years ago, with nary a laugh between us.

Splanky was very lovely, and loaned us her entire collection of The Brittas Empire DVDs last week.

We gave up halfway through the first one.

Most depressing.

SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF 1932

Actually, it’s …And The World of Tomorrow, but my title is more accurate. Wow. What an odd movie. For those who have ever wondered what an entire issue of a 1930s pulp SF magazine would look like if they ever filmed it.

I honestly don’t know whether to recommed this one or not. There was such a lot to like: giant robots, giant ornithopters, seriously cool giant airborne aircraft carriers, Angelina Jolie in a leather flying suit….

But for all the things that made seeing an issue of Astounding made flesh, there are the equivalent weaknesses: the dialogue is truly awful until well into the final act, the verisimilitude just shoots itself to hell (someone want to explain to me how he’s flying a plane in the late 1930s that wasn’t built until 1942?), and the performances by the two leads are as wooden as, well, as the hero and heroine in a pulp magazine. And you have to have grave doubts about a movie that can make New York being smashed up by 100 foot-tall robots boring.

Watch it, and watch it at the cinema because I’m not sure it will translate that well to the small screen. And if you get past the first 25 minutes, tell me what you thought.

SHE LOVES ME

My sweetie bought me The Last Goon Show of All and Kenney Everett Naughty Bits DVDs and a Dalek BBQ apron for Hallmark Day.

‘Nuff said :)))

BLATANT AUTO-EGO-EROTICISM

Read this in Tangent Online’s review of ASIM 16 today, and I include it for no other reason than to blow my own trumpet πŸ™‚

A princess, a king trying to get her married, a wise advisor, political maneuvers, and a stable boy: Lee Battersby gives us the classic fairy tale tropes in “Through the Window Merilee Dances.” And, yet, this isn’t a fairy tale. For even as grim as the original Grimms’ tales were, what with the cannibalism, self-mutilation, and other such cheeriness, fairy tales leave you with the dream that the world can be an all right place, that, in the end, you too can live happily ever after with your prince or princess. This story leaves you with no such illusions. While it’s not a story I would recommend to anyone hovering on the edge of a major depression, I have to admit to a certain perverse fondness for it.

That’s right– Battersby, OzSF’s answer to listening to Pink Floyd in the bathtub…

MY DARLING AND CRICKET

There’s an advert showing during the current test, for a brand of mobile phone. Glen McGrath walks so far back in his run up that he’s forced to ring the batsman and say “I’m coming” to let him know to take guard.

Luscious sees this advert for the first time this morning, and remarks “You know, it’s different to when Shane Warne rings someone and says “I’m coming…” “

OKAY, WE’RE IN…

Finally, the move is over, and the cheap-ass, slack as crap, less-brain-cells-than-a-PE-teacher removalists have crawled back under their rock. Hey, they managed to break my computer desk and the Indian pipe Luscious bought me for my birthday last year, so I figure I have shooting rights. This pack of morons had tricks like double-packing the cutlery but not wasting a single piece of paper on wrapping my flat-screen computer monitor, so you know we’re not dealing with the deep end of the gene pool here. And they ripped us off, the bastards.

Lucky I’m not bitter about it or anything.

Anyway, we’ve turned the living room into a big library with a couch and TV, the cable’s been connected (spent most of yesterday watching Invader Zim, and Batman:The Animated Series, and Johnny Bravo, and I Am Weasel and Catdog, and… well, you get the idea), the patio guy’s working out a quote for hard-roofing the patio, the curtain people are coming later this week… it’s all go.

Want to extend a big “Youse is a legend moit” to Sheldon, who came over way early on Saturday morning and worked like a Trojan to help us unpack, and Chesh & Calli who came round a bit later and helped with the mammoth task of emptying the house of a million boxes.

ON THE SUBJECT OF TROJANS

Watched Troy the other night for the first time. Would have thought it impossible to turn The Iliad into a boring pile of crap, but there you go. Never underestimate the powers of Wolfgang Petersen and Brad Pitt when it comes to stinky-toilet cinematic experiences.

I LOVE MY FAMILY!

It’s my birthday on Thursday. Luscious and the kids couldn’t wait that long to give me my prezzies.

The kids got me a watch. To understand how excited I was by this you have to have been with me when I’ve taken my phone out for the umpty-thousandth time to check what time it is. I’m a constant time-checker. It’s a sickness. Hey, it could be worse. I could work in IT.

Anyway, this watch is beautiful, a magnificent analog (Call me old-fashioned; I prefer hands) in silver and gold. It’s far too beautiful to belong on my hairy old wrist.

And Luscious, well, what can I say. A weird and wonderful statue (the present, I swear!) made from nuts, bolts and screws, of two robot-type people wearing glasses and playing soccer. Very hard to describe, but it’s odd, disturbing, and impossible to look at without finding something to comment about. In other words, perfect πŸ™‚

I’m a lucky guy with a great family. And yes, this is an utterly diabetes-inducing post, but hey, it’s my birthday πŸ™‚ Well, in two days, but you know…

WHAT, AND LEAVE SHOWBIZ?

Everybody in Perth SF is waiting to see the Angriest Video Store Clerk TV show. Creative force Grant Watson emailed me today and asked me if I wanted a bit part as a light-bulb worshipping Siberian Yak Herder.

How can a guy say no to an offer like that? πŸ™‚

COKESPRAY!

Every now and again I have one of those moments where laughing and drinking mix together in an explosive way.

Luscious and I have been watching The Practice recently, mainly due to James Spader’s fantastic performances: they’ve given him all the lines I like to refer to as “Groucho lines”. Now they’ve added William Shatner to the mix, and frankly, it’s hilarious. Last night, however, it reached a moment of true comic genius.

To whit: Shatner takes Spader out shooting. He explains to Spader that to help you concentrate, you shout out the name of someone you hate as you pull the trigger, then proceeds to demonstrate, shouting out “Clinton! Bin Laden! Saddam!”. Then it’s Spader’s turn, and we get this exchange–

SPADER: Mother! (shoots, misses clay pigeon by the proverbial country mile.)
SHATNER: I’m sorry, did you just shout ‘mother’?
SPADER: (Deader than the deadest deadpan ever deadpanned) I only meant to scare her.

The coke was coming out my nose, out my ears, out my eyes…

OFF FOR A FEW DAYS

The movers are coming this afternoon to pack everything away, and we don’t get the phone connected until early next week, so I’ll be offline for a few days. I’ll leave with you this quote, aimed in my direction earlier this week. A friend discussing my current level of ‘fame’:

“I knew him when he was just a folk singer. Actually, I knew him when he was just a folk talker…”

See you next week.

WASTELAND

Had a mixed time at this excellently-run Convention. Cheshire and Callisto did a fantastic job, and everyone had a great time. The writing guests were excellent: Sean Williams is genuinely one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, and it’s always a real pleasure to run into him. Paul Kidd was brilliant: I sat on a panel with him and discovered a real connection of shared humour, irony, and outlook that made it an absolute barrel of laughs. And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience every time he was in the room: he’s a genuinely funny and engaging man.

On the downside, our Saturday night suffered a major interruption when a tiny kitchen fire prompted hotel staff to evacuate the entire building. Luscious had to drag her heavily pregnant self down three flights of stairs, which caused her to suffer terrible leg cramps, which resulted in her waking twice in agony, screaming and panicky. The night was so bad she had to leave the Con at lunchtime on Sunday in order to come home and get some rest. I dropped her off and returned, but I was so tired and grinchy I don’t think I did anything positive for the rest of the day, and left the Con feeling very down and depressed.

But all in all I thought the Con was a good experience. Luscious and I don’t get a chance to get out and indulge our fannish sides as often as we’d like, and Cons like this are the perfect opportunity to catch up with people we rarely get to see. Let’s hope someone picks up the franchise next year and gives us another gathering of the Clan to attend.

4400 REASONS TO SIGH

The most anticipated television event of the year, huh? Well, maybe if you’re not an SF fan. Seen it before. Seen it all before.

THE KIDS ARE BACK!

Woohoo! It’s our turn to spend a week with the kids for the second half of the holidays! Fun fun fun fun. We’ve got some serious fun lined up. The kids belong here, and we belong with them.

MORE EBAY MADNESS

Won me an ancient Greek arrowhead from circa 1000-300 BC today (Nice how they can narrow it down so easily πŸ™‚ ). That should spell the end of my Ebay adventure for a while: I’ve not got enough of my spending money left to make a tilt for anything impressive. Luscious, on the other hand, decided to have a bit of a search while we were waiting for my bidding to reach the last 15 minutes, and ended up buying a ruby ring for (wait for it)……

A buck.

One dollar. For a ruby ring. And it’s a real ruby, nothing cultured or paste.

One buck.

NO, YOU DON’T GET A SHOWBAG

It was Luscious’ first ever voting experience on Saturday. She used to be part of a religion who are exempt from voting, and this is the first election since she left.

I’m striding across the carpark to the polling line, eyes front, dismissing the likes of Christian Democrats and Family First lunatics with a curt “No” or “I’ve decided” whilly nilly. And I realise that the Luscious One has fallen behind.

Because she’s merrily accepting how-to-vote cards from all and sundry and getting excited because she didn’t realise you got handouts and oh wow these ones are green! and……

I swear, if they had a bumper car stall we’d have been there all day.

ELECTION RESULT

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Fuck!

BLAKE AGAIN

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

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

………Fair enough………

THE END IS NEAR

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

SO CLOSE…

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

BOOK-IN-A-DAY

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

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

MOON LANDING + 35

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

WOOHOO!

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

SIGH

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

TICONDEROGA ISSUE 2

Is up! Short stories by the altogether groovy Geoffrey Maloney and Trent Jamieson, interviews with fabbo Perth writer KA Bedford and Agog Press’ Cat Sparks, book reviews, an editorial by yours truly, and more free items of gonzo goodness. Go see!

WHO IS NUMBER ONE?

Watched the 2nd DVD in The Prisoner series the other night, comprising episodes 5-8. I’m still loving it: I haven’t been this excited about a TV show since I discovered Red Dwarf about 10 years ago, and I don’t remember an SF movie or series this dense, intelligent, and enigmatic. Good pal Cheshire sent me a list showing various orders in which the episodes can be watched: Patrick McGoohan’s order for the ‘core’ 7 episodes leads me to ponder the phrase “Movie Night”… πŸ™‚

GROUPS, AND WRITING IN THEM

Attended the monthly KSP SF writing group today, and came away with mixed feelings. To my mind, the main function of a writing group is to write, and I’m bemused by a group that doesn’t take the opportunity of being together to do just that. Being the obsessive writer-geek that I am, I’m aware that all I need to write is an excuse, but I’ve never been terribly interested in getting together and spending 3 or 4 hours critiquing everyone’s work with nothing else involved. It’s important to get another’s view on your work, b ut it’s not the only thing you can do with a dozen like-minded people in close proximity with the sole purpose of being SF writers.

It brings back to me very strongly the notion that it’s important, if you’re going to be part of a group, to be part of one that fits your needs. After all, it’s voluntary, and any activity that doesn’t involve writing is taking you away from the reason you’re in it for the first place: the writing. I’m coming to the same conclusion with some of the mailing lists I’m on: a quick scan of the members shows that almost none of the big-name Oz SF writers are present, and it’s impossible to escape the feeling that while the rest of us are gabbing, they’re off somewhere else, writing. And I don’t know anymore if I can afford the time…

Events in the real world over the past few weeks have left me pondering my approach to most of what I do, and it’s beginning to feel like I need to turn that re-assessing eye onto my writing practices as well.

SYMPATHY

A message of sympathy and support for pal KA Bedford, who lost a good friend to cancer in recent days. Both Luscious and I know what it’s like to lose those close to you: we’re thinking of you.

THE PRISONER

Saw the first 4 episodes of Patrick McGoohan’s extraordinary TV series from the 1960s, The Prisoner, the other day. I’d been on the lookout for years, amidst constant raving from addicted friends.

I’m addicted. Now to find the box set…

A GOOD DAY FOR WRITING

For the first time in a few weeks Luscious Lyn and I have a full, uninterrupted working week ahead of us, and our weekly meeting last night seemed to be a chance for us to try and write a longer to-do list than each other. It felt good to get up this morning and come back from our walk (Lyn’s able to exercise again, although it’ll be a while before she’s back to full health: the operation took a lot out of her and I’m probably being overprotective to boot) and launch into it.

I sent another poem to ASIM, inspired by my recent sale to them, and got through a bunch of critiques for both the Online Writer’s Workshop I belong to and the KSP SF group. I sent my submission for this year’s CSFG anthology, Encounters away. I even got stuck into plotting for Nouvelle Hollande: 20 plot cards now adorn the wall of the office, a start on the probably-more-than-100 I’ll have by the time I’m ready to put pen to paper and start. Combined with getting some reading in, it wasn’t at all a bad day.

Tomorrow shapes as another biggie: I have a bunch of stories to draft, and 2 that I’m looking forward to starting- the elephant story has just about crystallised in my mind, and I want to start the story from the KSP SF writing exercise I mooted last meeting. For the record, I’m going with the Simon Brown quote. (see further down the page)

I’M THE DOCTOR, AND THESE ARE MY COMPANIONS…

One of the fun things about Dr Who being back on the telly is that it’s given me a chance to revisit one of my great childhood memories, and visit it upon a whole new generation of kids. Morley Library has a great catalogue of videos, so on the few occasions when we get Lyn’s boys Blake and Aiden over, we love to put one on and explain why The Master’s cool, why Leela is the best companion, why Lee goes all wet at the mouth when the 2nd Romana’s on… vital education the boys don’t seem to get at home πŸ™‚

So how proud a step-Dad was I this morning when we got out of bed to discover the boys had got up, got themselves dressed and ready for school, and were happily watching The Greatest Show In the Galaxy? How even prouder was I when when they became truly annoyed at the thought of having to wait until the next time we have them (Wednesday afternoon) to see how it ends? My boys!!!!!!