Thursday, February 26, 2004

The 2005 National Science Fiction Convention will be held in June 2005 in
Tasmania. The theme of Thylacon 2005 is 'a walk on the wild side,' and the wild and woolly committee of this ferocious event are very excited to
announce that hot new writer Marianne de Pierres will be our Australian
Guest of Honour.

For those who like their SF conventions with a hint of mystery, danger and the occasional fanged creature, we promise a tangled web of aliens, mutants, tigers and the occasional science fiction fan. Obviously we couldn't risk inviting any wishy-washy, feeble guests who lack the proper defences to survive our feral landscape, so we look forward to welcoming the leather & nylon-clad creator of Parrish Plessis to the deep wilderness of inner-city Hobart, in the hope that she will protect the Chair and Committee from the various perils and parasites that our event will no doubt attract.

So if you're brave enough to leave the safety of the mainland for the savage and unknown territory of Tasmania, please join us and Marianne for Thylacon 2005, from the 10th to the 13th of June 2005 -- -- to explore the wild side of science fiction, horror and fantasy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Mocklore is back!

In March/April this year, US publisher Scrybe Press will be publishing a new Mocklore novelette, "Hobgoblin Boots," as a printed chapbook and ebook. It should be widely available from various sources, including the publisher's own site (, Amazon and Fictionwise.

So if you wondered what the story was behind Bounty Fenetre, the chick in chainmail who enjoyed making Aragon's life a misery in Liquid Gold, check out Hobgoblin Boots.

The very exciting news is that Scrybe Press are interested in publishing more Mocklore adventures -- short stories, novelettes and novellas. They're currently considering the Delta Void series, plus some Bounty sequels and a series of stories from Mocklore's ancient and complicated history. Obviously, high sales of Hobgoblin Boots makes a Mocklore series a far more likely prospect, so keep your eye on Scrybe Press over the next few months...

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Reading update:

After keeping a spreadsheet last year (quite obsessively, I might add) to document the books & stories I was reading for the Aurealis awards, I thought it might be interesting to do the same this year to log every book I read. The results so far have been a bit disturbing -- I didn’t think I could possibly read more than 50-60 books a year, but in January alone I read 21! Hate to think what the score will be by the end of the year...

So as far as statistics go, I’ve read 13 new books compared to 8 re-reads although one of the re-reads is questionable -- I would be willing to swear I’ve never read the original Wizard of Oz before, but considering my dodgy childhood memory and the sheer thousands of books I read between the ages of 3 and 8, chances are I actually did.

I also read only 2 non fiction books compared to 19 fiction (that will change when I start delving into thesis land again), 9 by UK and 10 by US authors compared to only 2 by Australians (shocking, I’ll have to make up for that next month).

I read 6 books by new authors, including Jacqueline Susann and Arthur Conan Doyle (logging my reading habits has the odd effect of making me want to read famous books that I’ve never got around to before like Sherlock Holmes and Valley of the Dolls).

Theme-wise, I’m actively reading a lot more historical stuff than I usually do, trying to borrow historical influences for my new novel. I’m also feeling the urge to read more ‘classic’ SF and fantasy, probably again because I’m documenting what I read and I want to be proud of this list in ten year’s time!

I’m ranking books with a number based on an average of scores out of ten for character, plot & writing (or in non fiction -- interest, information and writing). Highest scoring book this month was Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillip, a truly wonderful piece of fantasy fiction. I’ve always been in awe of McKillip’s writing, she constructs some of the most beautiful sentences on this planet, but her characters have left me a little cold in the past. Not so with this almost-perfect and poetic short novel, which brings its protagonists vividly to life. I’m planning to track down her other recent works now, it’s exciting to see an excellent writer get so much better.

Second-highest ranked novel was a re-read, Pratchett’s Night Watch, which is just as good this month as it was a year ago. Pratchett & Robert B Parker were equal first for most read author, with 3 books each. Lowest-ranked was the Life & Death of Superman by Roger Stern, which doesn’t turn into a better book every time I read it, no matter how eagerly I hope it will, and it’s still a book I insist on re-reading every two years or so. Sometimes I just don’t get me.

Best non fiction of my measly two this month was Courtesans by Katie Hickman, a very good exploration of women who belonged to the demi-monde in the 18th & 19th centuries.

Finchy insisted that I put in a category about where I got the book from (I think so he can figure out exactly how many books I buy each year!) and because I’m poor and being very good about using the library at the moment, the results aren’t too damning -- 9 borrowed, 6 from the bookshelf and 6 bought. And if you’re reading, hon, three of those were on sale and the other 3 were bought with bookshop tokens! Of course, I only get bookshop tokens because I buy so many books, she added in a little voice. But I have been very good this month.

Oh, and the book I was most squeamishly embarrassed about logging in my reading list for posterity? Grange Hill on the Run, by Phil Redmond. What can I say, my Grange Hill fetish is a childhood obsession that still runs deep -- and it still scored better than the Superman book!