Sunday, February 25, 2007

Learning the hard way

Have been on many 4.30am starts lately, hence my lack of Kemblogging.

However, I heard the other day that an article I wrote, "Learning the Hard Way" -- recounting all the stuff I've learnt from having my novel-length manuscripts not published -- will feature (hopefully) in the April edition of Writing Queensland.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Terry Pratchett: conventions, guilty pleasures and orang-outangs

If you haven't heard of Terry Pratchett or at least seen the rows of Discworld books monstering the fantasy section of your local bookshop, then welcome to Earth.

You're unlikely to know Pratchett, who has sold about 40 million books worldwide, is in Australia this weekend for the first Australian Discworld Convention.

It's also possible you're not totally au fait with the role Pratchett has played helping amateur dramatics groups save the orang-outang, or how reading Discworld books is one of life's guilty pleasures.

Read on to become enlightened!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

'Feast or Famine' makes Macabre

My short story "Feast or Famine" -- about a war correspondent and photographer trapped in a bunker in Afghanistan -- will be published in the upcoming Brimstone Press title Macabre: A new era in Australian horror.

The story has been significantly improved since its appearance as part of The Writing Show's Halloween podcast, thanks to the judicious editing of Angela Challis and Marty Young.

It is certainly the most macabre story I've ever written.

The contents list is a veritable who's who of Australian speculative fiction, with authors such as Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Stephen Dedman, Terry Dowling, Russell B Farr, Paul Haines, Richard Harland, Robert Hood, Kirstyn McDermott, Kyla Ward, Kaaron Warren, Sean Williams and more.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Australian Shadows judge

I've accepted an an invitation from Australian Shadows Award director Kirstyn McDermott to join the judging panel.

Myself and two other judges will prepare a short-list for the guest judge.

It's a great honour to be asked and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into Australian horror and also contributing something to the community.

(For those who don't know, the Australian Shadows is an annual award presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association and judged on the overall effect - the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance - of a work of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian and published either in Australia or overseas.)

True lies with Ben Peek

Writers tell lies - it's their job. But when they present lies as truth, readers are often outraged. Sydney writer Ben Peek explores the nature of truth, and the history of literary hoaxes in his novella Twenty-six Lies, One Truth - billed as "an autobiography by a man who has been nowhere, done nothing, and met nobody" - and found enough room to mount a spirited defence of the c-word.

Read the feature...

Save the robotic zombie assassins!

On the Million Penguins wiki-novel project, blogger Jon Elek, says he is pumped but he's also expecting the worst.

"In an ideal world, we could throw in a sense of plausibility, balance and humour. That's asking a lot, and in truth I'll be happy so long as it manages to avoid becoming some sort of robotic-zombie-assassins-against-African-ninjas-in-space-narrated-by-a-Papal-Tiara type of thing."

It's going to be boring, in other words.

What I say is, there should be more robotic zombie assassins and more African ninjas in space.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Frontiers of Technology: air travel (c1983)

From Frontiers of Technology (Marshall Cavendish, 1983)...

Airlines have booking offices in every big city. Within minutes, a booking agent can confirm a flight, reserve a seat on the plane and confirm a ticket! There's no fuss, no long form to fill in ... the agent just presses a few buttons. What's the secret?

It's all done by computer
An airline's bookings are stored by computer. Each booking office is linked to the airline's computer, which may be anywhere. For example, British Airways offices the world over deal with their computer at London's Heathrow Airport, and British Caledonian offices deal with a computer that happens to be in Los Angeles!

The visual display unit
Messages sent to the computer and its replies show up on this TV-type screen. The VDU can find out what flights there are, take bookings, list fares, or send special instructions about what the passenger wants, such as vegetarian meals. It can even arrange an entire round the world trip complete with hotel reservations.