I had one of those interesting days today, at least, in the ancient Chinese curse sense. In part, anyway. It’s the start of national book week here in Oz, and, I may be trifle biased but a love of reading is greatest gift we can give to children, to the future.
Now, for me, crowds are a hardship. I am very sound and movement sensitive, maybe because I am kind of proof of this whole evolution thing, as in I’m a little primitive. Both little and primitive, that is. Being an urban-dweller requires coping well with a sea of noise and movement, ignoring most of it, and shutting out peripheral stimulus. Your little hunter-gatherer who does this ends up either very hungry, or very dead, or, mostly, both. I was raised in hunter-gatherer tradition, and there’s a lot of it my family history, in my genes, I suspect. I guess I am one of yesterday’s people, to the modern world. But I still have to live in it, a little. Read more
“I really don’t mind if you sit this one out,
My words but a whisper, your deafness a shout.” (Jethro Tull, Thick as a Brick)
I’ve just heard that The Chronicles of Davids is being released on the third of September. I have a story in this alongside such luminaries as David Drake and David Weber (Honestly the only way I get into that kind of company is by having my maternal grandfather and my great uncle’s names. Names were few and far between in those days, and when people found one they tended to keep using them until they wore out. They weren’t like these disposable modern names, that show scuff-marks after a few years, let along centuries. But they don’t make like that anymore.) Read more
“As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods,
They kill us for their sport.” (King Lear, William Shakespeare)
That’s rather how my poor characters must feel. And not a god they can appease, but the sort of rotten bastard whose divine purpose was to maintain the sacrificial stone knife industry. Read more
In a fit of whimsy (I have them often) I set out to write a book which takes as its starting point the idea that the ‘kooky new-age ideas’, everything you might find in the Fortean Times, from Mystic Crystals to Lemuria to Burrowing Llamas… is, if not actually per se ‘true’ but had its origins in something that, with broken telephone style oral tradition, gave birth to the idea. It’s a very tongue-in-cheek story… pure and unrestrained space opera, with disbelief suspended because the reader chooses to let go and enjoy, rather than being (for want of a better word) conned into going along with what superficially seems sort-of plausible.
I say this and I’ll have people in tinfoil hats accusing me of betraying the secrets of the Ancients. The principal secret of the ancients seems to have been to live much shorter lives. The other secrets, such as women having perhaps two dresses, and there being no flush toilets are considered too unbelievable to even be used in fiction these days. Read more
It’s been 50 years (and a few days) since the Apollo 11 mission took the first two men to the moon. I remember clearly (and I was rather young) the black and white grainy images and the US flag flying proudly on the moon, and hearing the crackly ‘One small step…’
I’m sure I was only one of millions of little kids who saw that and dreamed of going out there one day. I was already reading sf (and most of it was mediocre to bad science, but great entertainment, great dreams) so this helped my suspension of disbelief, as well filling me with awe, hero-worship and a life-long support for space exploration. Read more
So today was move da rocks day to patch da road day. I was the young, tough guy, who was collecting and throwing all the bits of granite that had missed the road, into the bucket of the skid-steer, while Alan drove it along at a steady pace (so no slowing down, just keep bending and throwing). I did about three and half tons of rocks… Which ain’t 16 tons of number nine coal. But 1) I’m not young. 2) I’m as tough as a junket sandwich 3) at least with a shovel you don’t have to pick them off the ground by hand. It’s the bending that killed me. I still feel another day older and deeper in debt. Although, as a sensible self-employed writer I avoid debt like the plague. Income is erratic. Don’t owe money. That way you’re only broke. Read more
So Andrew and his husband Tristan are out from the city for a Sunday tour of boutique wineries and an organic produce market in their Prius – complete with its ‘meat is murder’, ‘Gun Free America’, ‘I’m with her’ stickers on the back. Read more