Archive for November, 2009

I Heart Clive James

Am sitting at home watching Andrew Denton’s Elders – he’s interviewing my all-time crush, Clive James.

Writer, thinker, reviewer, humanist, poet, essayist, all-round Renaissance man. He’s seventy years old and smart is so sexy.

“I do the secret thing that writers do: I do nothing … Because it might happen tomorrow.”

“The idea of being dead doesn’t bother me – just glad to have gotten this far!”

Read Unreliable Memoires … it’s one of the funniest things you’ll ever pick up … I used to read his work on the train and hurt myself trying not to laugh, inevitably snorting loudly and scaring other people in the train carriage. http://www.clivejames.com/


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On Monday 30th November … well, an American Monday … which means it will be most of the way through the Australian Monday … how about I just let ya know then?

My point? My story The Chrysanthemum Bride is up at Fantasy Magazine then … http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/

AMENDMENTERY: Have been advised by Fantasy that ‘Ooops, it will be next Monday’ – so 7th December. Talk among yourselves, a topic of your own choosing. Starting … now.

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Thank God for Tarzan

    There are many reasons to love Tarzan movies – especially for a spec-fic writer because they show that anything is possible :-).

The main reason I would like to thank Tarzan’s Three Challenges is that it meant there was no cricket disturbing my Sunday morning sloth in front of the teev. I know it’s unAustralian, but I cannot bear the sport. My memories of cricket torture as a child are too strong: Boxing Day matches with relentless tv coverage and the droning commentary of Bill Laurie and Richie Benaud (although nowadays, I admit that I get quite nostalgic for the old guys – especially when the moronic likes of Warnie are burbling on … but I digress). Lying around the day after Christmas, full as a goog from leftovers, trying desperately to stop your hand moving towards the lolly dish, but not quite able to do it … flat-out on the lounge room carpet, which was hot and sticky and highly artificial, always with the chance that it might just spontaneously combust on a Brisneyland summer’s day. The drone of the commentators was often drowned out by the drone of the flies, some of them large enough to throw a saddle on … All you could hope for was a glimpse of Imran Khan taking Australia’s bowlers to task.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m immensely proud of the years when a combined Lillee-Thommo attack decimated the ranks of the English batting line-up. I just don’t understand why I had to watch it. There is a reason why The Goodies were able to parody cricket and have it win the Cannes Le Boring Festival. And with that image fresh in the brain, back to why Tarzan shows that anything is possible:

  1. Kookaburras (native Australian birds) are frequently heard in the soundtrack to movies set in Africa. As we never issue them with passports – they behave badly when allowed out – they do not get to travel, so the chances of them having a holiday house in the African jungle are not good. I love Hollywood.
  2. Two of the characters in Tarzan’s Three Challenges were African-Americans, both with plumy accents, who were playing characters that may or may not have actually been Tibetan or Mongolian. Other extras in the cast appeared to actually be Mexicans and there may have been a few Chinese actors in the cast, but don’t quote me on that.
  3. The landscape through which Tarzan and The Chosen One (oh, don’t ya love The Chosen One?) travelled looked in places suspiciously and variously like: someone’s backyard in a canyon outside of Los Angeles; a plain where the Mongol Hordes might once have roamed; an Indonesian jungle, with biologically inappropriate monkeys; part of Bhutan; and waterway markets in downtown Bangkok.
  4. There’s a baby African elephant, which happily followed The Chosen One to Faux Tibet – henceforth to be know as Fauxbet.
  5. What’s not to love about a man in a loincloth? It was great in the old days – clapped out swimmers always had a possible career choice as Tarzan.
  6. I must also ask about the logic of setting tests for someone who is already designated as The Chosen One. What if s/he stuffs up? What do you do then? How many do-overs does The Chosen One get? Is there a back-up Chosen One? Like an understudy?

I wonder if I had a point when I started this post? Very likely … but what with the end of year malaise and everything, things just seem to peter out … I’ll just post this under ‘Random’ … I’ll be in the corner playing with a ball of string if anyone is looking for me ….

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Buy at Art.com

The Frog Prince

She was never a big fan of the castle pond.

It lay at the fartherest corner, hidden by scrubby shrubs, and gnarly trees that dropped leaves into the nasty brown water. Frog spawn clung to the edges of the pond like an unfashionable necklace. Really big spiders waited for short-sighted flies. Pretty awful, all in all.

Princess Felicity generally stayed away but one day when she was playing soccer with the stableboys (because she was an egalitarian sort of a princess), she mistimed a kick. Her golden soccer ball spun off into the nasty tangle of foliage. There was a splash. The stable boys disappeared speedily…


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I have, under my desk at work, a pair of slippers. Comfy, white, towelling slippers, piflered at some point from a Stamford somewhere around Australia.

Why? Because they are comfortable. If my feet are happy then the rest of me is relaxed. My brain works better. One of my colleagues says ‘Wow, you look like a newsreader: elegance up top, purebred dag at the foot end.’ I gave my boss a pair of office slippers.

But I am happy. So, I say unto you all: make next week ‘Wear Office Slippers Week’. It will change your life. Report back to me next Friday … off you go, I’ll wait. Maybe get a coffee, a cherry danish … mmm, cherry danish.

Any of these are good:





These ones, not so much:


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Where’s My Jetpack?

This guy’s got it and he’s putting it in the water!! Buzz Lightyear FAIL.


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Marshall Payne interviews John Kessel – awesome sauce.

John Kessel has been publishing short fiction since 1978 and since then has gone on to make his mark in the field of SF/F. He won a Nebula Award in 1982 for his novella “Another Orphan,” and more recently (2009) for his novelette “Pride and Prometheus,” a story melding the tales of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. With friend and writer James Patrick Kelly he has edited three anthologies, included the just released The Secret History of Science Fiction. Since 1982 he has taught American literature, science fiction, fantasy and fiction writing at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. I’m a pleased to offer this interview with one of the finest writers in the field of spec. fiction today.

Follow ze link http://marshallpayne1.livejournal.com/96692.html

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