Updatery, updated

18 10 2018

A couple of weeks back, I backgrounded recent and upcoming happenings in my orbit. It seems both apposite and timely to provide a short update on this…

First, as foreshadowed in the previous notice, I’ll be signing and selling books at BookFace in Gungahlin, from 1 to 2 pm this Saturday (20th Oct). Or more reliably, I should say I’ll be seated at a signing table during that time; whether there’s any signing or selling is in the hands of the customers. If you’re in a position to drop by during the appointed hour, whether to chat, to peruse, or to purchase, you’d be most welcome.


One of the books I’ll have at the signing is 80,000 Totally Secure Passwords That No Hacker Would Ever Guess (as recently reviewed by the ever-perspicacious Tsana Dolichva: the grab from her reading of the collection is ‘there’s much to enjoy here’, but I’d encourage you, as always, to check out the full review). 80K TSP (one of the disadvantages, of course, of giving a book a long title is that it’s a long title) is also featured among many other low-priced Australian specfic offerings in Ashley Capes’ imminent Oztober promotion, which runs from the 19th to the 21st of October (hence, I’m guessing, the promotion’s name). There’s enough specfic on offer to constitute the perfect ebook TBR pile, so give Oztober a look, here. (Link may not yet be active; if not, I’ll edit for activity as it comes onstream.)

On the filmography of the late Cyrano de Bergerac, astronaut-prévaricateur

23 09 2017

(Signal-boostery follows:)


Adam Browne, whose The Tame Animals of Saturn was published last year by Peggy Bright Books, is looking to produce a short (ten minute) film based on his deliciously-idiosyncratic debut novel Pyrotechnicon: being a True Account of Cyrano de Bergerac’s further adventures among the States and Empires of the Stars. But even shoestring budgets can add up, so he’s holding a Pozible fundraiser to raise $2000(AUD) to provide a special-effects budget for the film.

If you’ve read Pyrotechnicon, you’ll likely remember it as a masterwork of gloriously weird spacegoing-ness, brimming with invention, speculation, and wordplay. If you haven’t read it, it’s still available from the coeur de lion website, in both print and ebook formats; I can wholeheartedly recommend it. And if you’d like to help make a film version possible, please throw a few pennies into the hat.

A quick signal boost

3 07 2017

I’ve been asked to help publicise an upcoming fan-oriented SF convention, Medtrek 6, which is happening in Penrith (which would be the Australian Penrith, rather than any of the other Penriths) at the end of this month. Details as follows:

Medtrek 6 will be held over the weekend of 28-30 July at Nepean Shores, 6-22 Tench St, Penrith (NSW) to celebrate 50 years since the first episode of Star Trek aired on Australian TV.

If you went to the first Medtrek about 35 years ago, or any of the Medtreks since then, you’ll know Medtreks are fun, relaxed fan-run SF conventions for fans of Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Serenity, Battlestar Galactica etc to meet with like-minded people. It offers talks, panels, a writing contest and dealers tables.

Full Membership  for the weekend is $160 for the full weekend. This price includes morning and afternoon teas and lunches on both days as well as a sumptuous Banquet on Saturday night. If you just want to go for one day, the price is $60 per day (this includes morning and afternoon tea and lunch) or $100 for Saturday if you want morning/afternoon teas, lunch and the banquet on Saturday night. Contact Susan Batho by e-mailing Medtrek6@hotmail.com for full details.

(Incidentally, if you’re curious as to how a convention gets the name ‘Medtrek’, it’s because the first few such conventions, back in the eighties, were held at the Medlow Baths, up in the Blue Mountains. The convention has since moved to different venues, but the name has stuck.)

A spot of signal-boostification

15 11 2016
The powers-that-be at Peggy Bright Books have alerted me to the following, which I’m passing on for your edification and delectation:
Peggy Bright Books is having a November E-book Giveaway and Summer sale!
We have 5 e-copies of our latest titles, Walking by Sean O’Leary, and The Tame Animals of Saturn by Adam Browne to give away.

To enter the draw, just send an email to editor@peggybrightbooks.com stating which title you’d prefer, and what format. Both
Walking and The Tame Animals of Saturn are available in mobi, epub and PDF versions. (NB: due to the large number of illustrations in TAOS, these are large files: 2MB–7MB).

Entries close 25th November, 2016.

Our two anthologies, Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (featuring stories from Joanne Anderton, Adam Browne, Sue Bursztynski, Brenda Cooper, Katherine Cummings, Thoraiya Dyer, Kathleen Jennings, Dave Luckett, Ian McHugh, Sean McMullen, Ripley Patton, Rob Porteous, and Anna Tambour) and Use Only As Directed (stories by Stephen Dedman, Dirk Flinthart, Dave Freer, Michelle Goldsmith, Alex Isle, Lyn McConchie, Claire McKenna, Charlotte Nash, Ian Nichols, Leife Shallcross, Grant Stone, Douglas A Van Belle, Janeen Webb, and M Darusha Wehm), are only $AUD15 each (including postage within Australia) until 23rd December.
Support Australian small press and get yourself a bargain!

An exercise in third-party signalboostery

21 05 2016

It’s come to my attention that Adam Browne’s The Tame Animals of Saturn has been reviewed, by Stephanie McLeay, in Aurealis 90. While it would be unseemly for me to repost the entire review here (and obviously there are plenty of good reasons to buy the latest issue of Aurealis), it is, I think, fair use to snurch the review’s first short paragraph:

Few books have created a ‘What the hell is this?’ reaction as strongly as this illustrated novella. The Tame Animals of Saturn is a brilliant, utterly unique piece of writing that transports you to not so much another place as another state of mind.


Adam has a few other reviews / readers’ assessments for the book over on his blogspot. But, reviews belonging to that rarefied group of entities for which too much is never enough, there’s always scope for further reviewage. I’m given to understand that Peggy Bright Books remains keen to find further reviewers, both for Adam’s book, and for the other recent release, Sean O’Leary’s Australian noir lit / crime collection Walking. Review e-copies of both of these books are currently available from Peggy Bright Books, in exchange for honest reviews.

One Signal Boost Deserves Another (Part One)

25 03 2014

On a day which, as the fates would have it, has been marked by my receipt of no less than three rejection notifications, it behooves me to bring to your attention a couple of pieces of information.

First (as snurched from an email from CSFG committee member Ian McHugh):

CSFG e-books (including, one would presume, the exceptionally well co-edited Next anthology) are half-price at Smashwords until the beginning of May. People just need to go to the CSFG website to collect their coupon codes and follow the hyperlinks in the book titles to Smashwords.

See here: http://www.csfg.org.au/2014/03/18/half-price-csfg-e-books-until-may/

Call for Submissions: The CSFG’s Next Anthology (Not To Be Confused With…)

21 02 2014

… the CSFG’s Next anthology.

A bit of background: in 2012 Rob Porteous and I issued a call for submissions for the ninth in the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild‘s ongoing series of speculative short fiction anthologies, Next. It’s now time for the groundwork to be set towards production of the next (i.e., tenth) CSFG anthology, and while the new editorial team of Mitchell Akhurst, Phillip Berrie and Ian McHugh have rejected any and all of my eminently sensible suggestions to badge it as something like Next Next, The Return of the Next, or The Son / Daughter of Next (delete as appropriate), they have come up with a title and theme which is just (about) as good: The Never Never Land.

The full details for the anthology’s theme and the submission process are on the CSFG website, but I’ll snurch liberally from them here by way of signal boost:

The Never Never Land will be an anthology of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror stories edited by Mitchell Akhurst, Phillip Berrie and Ian McHugh. It will be published in April 2015 as both a trade paperback and in e-book formats.

What We’re Looking For

CSFG anthologies have been elsewhere and encountered the other, we’ve met the outcast and seen behind the mask and what happens next. Now we want to bring the stories back here, in our new anthology with the working title of The Never Never Land.

For The Never Never Land, we’re looking for Australian stories, whatever that may mean to you, or stories that are inspired by this country.

If you send us Peter Pan stories, you’re probably missing the point.

Think On the Beach, Mad Max, Two Hands and Tomorrow, When the War Began. Think Terry Dowling’s Rynosseros and Wormwood stories, Sean Williams’s Books of the Change, Patricia Wrightson’s The Nargun and the Stars and the stories in Gillian Polack’s Baggage anthology. Or step outside and look around you, and think something completely different. We want to capture the diversity of what an “Australian + speculative” story can mean.

Submissions will open from 1 June to 31 August 2014. Stories submitted outside this period will be discarded unread.

The Details

You do not need to be a CSFG member to submit, but you must be Australian (see note below).

Submissions will be read blind (ie, the editor’s won’t have the author’s details when making their selections) to ensure that CSFG members compete on equal terms with other writers and that stories are selected on merit.

We’re paying a flat rate of AUD$30, one copy of the trade paperback and one copy of the e-book on publication of the anthology. We’re buying first English language print and electronic rights.

Stories must be between 1,000 and 5,000 words in length and must contain some element of science fiction, fantasy or horror. We’re open to any subgenre of SF and fantasy, but see the note below on horror. We’re not seeking poetry.

No simultaneous submissions (i.e. please don’t submit your story anywhere else while it’s with us, or vice versa). We’ll endeavour to respond to submissions as quickly as possible.

No multiple submissions (i.e. only send us one story). If your story doesn’t suit us, but we see enough in it to ask for a rewrite or to see something else, we’ll let you know. If your story is rejected, please only send us a rewrite or another story if you’re invited to do so.

[As alluded to above, the full details — and there are a few further points — are over on the CSFG website, so if you’re interested, make sure to hie on over there and check them out.]

Another quick spruik, unrelated to the previous quick spruik

2 10 2013

I should also announce that, in recent days, Doug Van Belle and his henchpersons have released a second promo clip for the embryonic space-adventure-comedy TV series Johnny Ruckus.

(And for reference, the first clip can be seen on the relevant kickstarter page, here.)

As noted previously, I’ve known Doug several years now, and have tremendous respect for his ability in blending comedy and action without compromising either. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the show a reality. I’m not going to say that Doug will send round his team of mutant zombie cyborgs to pressure you into supporting the show’s Kickstarter, because Doug just wouldn’t do that kind of thing. (You wouldn’t, Doug, right?) But I will say that any help you can offer would, clearly, be an action of benefit to all mankind …

Looking to raise a ruckus. A Johnny Ruckus.

21 09 2013

You might recall, a few weeks back, I posted on (ASIM author and professional non-Canadian) Doug Van Belle’s plans, alongside his brother James, to bring to the attention of TV audiences in New Zealand and elsewhere the interstellar misadventures of one Johnny Ruckus. Oh, look, here’s the link to my earlier post. If it’s the Johnny Ruckus Facebook page you’re after, it’s here. (The Facebook page is well worth a visit, for the llamas and so much more.)

Johnny Ruckus

Things have snowballed, as things sometimes have a tendency to do, and it appears as how there is now a kickstarter campaign seeking to raise the funds to pay the actors and the technical staff involved in shooting the pilot. The kickstarter page for the project, here, gives some background on the show’s premise, on the actors involved, and on what’s required to get the show aloft. (And I should probably explain that when I say ‘shooting the pilot’, I don’t mean shooting Johnny Ruckus, I mean shooting Johnny Ruckus, if you get my drift. I mean, I think Johnny Ruckus is a pilot, or I think Johnny Ruckus thinks he’s a pilot, even if it’s the sort of pilot who doesn’t actually have any current valid sort of piloty license thing, if that’s not maligning the gentleman on my part. If, indeed ‘gentleman’ is the sort of word which gets used in the same sentence as the words ‘Johnny Ruckus’, which maybe it doesn’t, no more than ‘pilot’, nor ‘responsible’, nor ‘safe pair of hands’. I’m not sure I’d want to meet this Johnny Ruckus; but I would definitely like to see the show. From my experience of editing various of his stories, I know that Doug has a rare talent for serious comedy which sounds like it should translate very well to the small screen.)

If you, too, would like to see the show come to fruition, then I’d urge you to (a) get behind the kickstarter — there are some impressive rewards as incentives — and (b) help to boost the signal. Because if Johnny Ruckus is the sort of interstellar maladroit that I believe him to be, then clearly he’s going to need every bit of assistance to launch. And, in all probability, to fund repairs to the spaceport afterwards.

An Amazonian(ish) Miscellany

26 07 2013


1. I recently did the e-book layout for Dave Luckett‘s Legacy of Scars, which is Book 2 in his ‘The Dragon War’ series.  As you might guess from the series title, the book is epic fantasy, and a very good example of the genre too. I haven’t yet read Book 1 (Heritage of Fire), but based on the second instalment, the series looks like a lot of fun. Dave writes with humour, warmth, and wisdom. It took me longer than it should have to finish the e-book, because I kept stopping to read the story. If you want to check out Legacy of Scars (and I thoroughly recommend it), here’s its Kindle Store page.


2, And while I’m on the subject of very talented writers (who both just happen to have stories in Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear) for whom I’ve contracted to do the book formatting on the second book in a series …

Ripley Patton (whose YA debut Ghost Hand has been getting a lot of positive attention) is putting the finishing touches to Ghost Hand‘s sequel, titled Ghost Hold. And to celebrate the first novel’s recent hundredth Amazon review, she’s holding a Goodreads giveaway which offers a chance, to those who enter, to win one of five ARCs of the new book, Ghost Hold. If you want to be in it to win it (and if you’re into YA, I can heartily endorse the first book), the giveaway page is here.


3. Not so much a signal boost, more an expression of ‘I didn’t realise that’ … apparently, due to the Balkanization of Amazon’s online store, reviews are not global. That is, if you post a review to Amazon.co.uk, the review will only show up on the UK site, not on any of the other sites such as the parent Amazon.com. (The exception seems to be that reviews to the parent US site are mirrorred to the other national Amazon sites). I have no idea why a store which aims for global coverage embodies such regionalism in its review-displaying policy, but there you go. (And don’t get me started on Amazon’s predilection for paying overseas authors by cheque, in USD (thereby incurring massive currency-exchange fees), rather than by–oh, I don’t know–PayPal …)


4. Finally, not directly Amazon-related, although Book Depository is now a subsidiary … I received my copy, today, of Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. It is–and I kid you not–a thoroughly wonderful book to dip into, replete with outlandish, singular, and memorable examples of grammatical concepts, exquisitely word-pictured with recourse to samovars, assassins, gargoyles, dirty rats, and lederhosen-eating goats. If you’re labouring under the misapprehension that grammar is a thing both dry and dusty, this book proves that it is anything but. If all nonfiction were this wonderfully constructed, no-one would ever bother reading fiction.