New RealmShift review at Horror Bound

I was very pleased to read a new review of RealmShift over at Horror Bound today. Among other things, the reviewer said stuff like:

“You’ll be hooked. And then, you’re in for a fast-paced, white knuckle ride.”

“Alan Baxter excels at writing action.”

“All in all, Realm Shift is a worthwhile read. At the very least, you’ll have explained to you, in depth, an interesting theory for why the gods exist. At best, you open this book, and you’ve punched your one-way ticket aboard a runaway hell train on a raucous ride you’ll want never to end.”

Blimey. I’m happy with that. You can read the full review here.


Continuum 6 – The report

It’s Monday, I’m feeling sleep deprived and have a sore throat from talking too much. I was clearly at a con this weekend. Continuum 6: Future Tense, in fact. And what a great con it was.

I caught up with many friends and finally met for real some people I know quite well online. It’s always good to put a real human fleshy face to the avatar. On Friday afternoon I caught up with Paul Haines and we headed in to the Con to be interviewed for the Radio National “Book Shelf” program. It was a recorded interview and will be broadcast at some future date – I’ll let you know when I find out. I think we came across as vaguely aware of the subject matter. The interview largely focussed on a panel that Paul and I did with Lucy Sussex on the Saturday called Aussie Horror vs Other Horror. We were basically trying to pin down what, if anything, makes Australian horror unique. There was a lot of stuff postulated both at the interview and on the panel and the final answer is this: dunno, really.

There is definitely uniquely Australian horror when it comes to setting, but is there a uniquely Australian horror trope or voice or subject? Or can any Aussie horror be set elsewhere and not lose any of its whack? The wonderful Kim Westwood was also interviewed about the same thing after us, so hopefully the radio wizards will distill two hours of us all crapping on into a coherent and interesting little piece. We’ll see. Leave a comment if you have any thoughts on the subject.

Saturday at the con was great. The first thing I caught was the Guest Of Honour speech by futurist, Mark Pesce. Seriously, Mark is one smart, funny and interesting guy. (Aussies, you’ll have seen him on The New Inventers). He gave a talk about the nature of human development, the increase in communication, the fact that the mobile phone (which he calls “the device”) has already put us beyond the Schwartzchild radius of a new way of being. I’m not explaining this very well, but I’m not Mark Pesce. You should have been there. My brain was vibrating after his talk, by far the highlight of the entire con for me. Later on that day I sat on a panel about Self-Promotion. I really can’t understand why they chose me for that one, but there you go. Some perceived expertise, I guess. Then it was the Aussie Horror panel.

After that things start to get a bit sketchy. Halinka and I went out to dinner in fine company (Paul Haines, Cat Sparks, Felicity Dowker, Christian Tamblyn) and the drinking started. We dropped back in on the con Maskobalo and there were many costumed fans dancing to the Buffy theme tune. More drinking. We went out again and caught up with our good mate Wayne. After that things are hazy, so I’ll move on to Sunday.

Had trouble getting up on Sunday, can’t think why. Had to check out of the hotel by eleven, then went down and caught the other Guest Of Honour speech from Kim Westwood, author of The Daughters Of Moab. She gave an interesting talk on her writing and within it the exploration of identity and sexuality.

I sat in on other interesting bits and pieces and then I got to share a panel table with both Guests Of Honour (Mark Pesce and Kim Westwood) and m1k3y, and we talked about “Ten reasons why the world should/should not end in 2012”. It was a really good panel and I enjoyed the company. I hope I didn’t hog the chat. It’s a subject I’m really interested in. Apart from my general love of religious mythology and ancient history, the Mayan culture was something I researched quite extensively when I was writing RealmShift. It meant I had that rare feeling of being on a panel and feeling like I actually knew what the fuck I was talking about.

Then I had to leg it right after that panel to catch a flight back to Sydney and then drive home in pouring rain. It seems that I always travel home from cons in adverse weather conditions. The rain even delayed our plane for an hour.

But no matter, a great con, great friends, great times. And I got to meet and be on a panel with Mark Pesce! [nerdgasm]

EDIT: Apologies – post-con mush brain alert! I meant Kim Westwood all those times above when I said Kim Wilkins. Sorry Kims! I’ve corrected the post above.


Continuum 6: Future Tense

Continuum 6It’s convention time again. This weekend I’ll be at Continuum 6: Future Tense. Continuum is a Melbourne con that has a cool, intimate vibe. There’s always good people and interesting things going on.

For my part, other than hanging out with friends and hopefully making some new friends, I’ll be on a couple of panels and doing a reading.

Friday arvo I’ll be interviewed with Paul Haines by Radio National for their Book Show program. I must admit, that’s a very exciting turn of events! I’m not sure when the interview will go to air, but I’ll let you know more as I find out.

Saturday afternoon at 4pm I’ll be on a panel with George Ivanoff, Narrelle M Harris and Christian Tamblyn talking about Self-Promotion.

Saturday at 6pm I’ll be joining forces with Paul Haines again on a panel talking about Aussie Horror vs Other Horror, discussing what makes Australian horror unique.

On Sunday at 2pm I’ll be sharing a reading session with Cat Sparks. I’ll read an excerpt from MageSign.

On Sunday at 4pm I’ll be on a panel with Mark Pesce, Kim Westwood and mIk3y debating why the world as we know it should or shouldn’t end in 2012.

So there you go. Not too busy, but a fair bit of stuff happening. There’s also a few other panels that I’m very interested in attending to listen in. You can find the full program for the weekend here. If you can get into Melbourne, come along and join in the fun. Come and say hello if you see me wandering around looking lost.


All 90 Australian SpecFic Snapshots 2010

You may remember this post about the Snapshot of me done as part of the 2010 Australian SpecFic Snapshots. It’s basically 5 questions answered by as many of us as the people behind it could find. Mad fools that they are, they managed to find 90 people to interview this year. A truly sterling effort.

You can find all 90 Snapshots linked here, including many far more interesting people than I. Visit Tansy’s site for the links, but below is a list of who you’ll find there:

The Australian SpecFic Snapshot 2010: Marianne De Pierres, Richard Harland, Karen Miller, Margo Lanagan, Ben Peek, Narelle Harris, Paul Collins, Damien Broderick, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Angela Slatter, Dion Hamill, Garth Nix, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Trudi Canavan, Thoraiya Dyer, Keith Stevenson, Juliet Marillier, Gillian Polack, Jason Fischer, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani Wessely, Amanda Rainey, Justine Larbalestier, Rowena Cory Daniells, Glenda Larke, Adrian (K.A.) Bedford, Kaaron Warren, Nicole Murphy, D.M. Cornish, Deborah Kalin, Jonathan Strahan, Alan Baxter, Gary Kemble, Lezli Robyn, Kate Eltham, Robert Hoge, Will Elliott, Trent Jamieson, Felicity Dowker, Jack Dann, Lee Battersby, Peter M Ball, Nyssa Pascoe, Lucy Sussex, Andrew McKiernan, Amanda Pillar, Deborah Biancotti, Kim Falconer, Gabrielle Wang, Kim Wilkins, Paul Haines, Karen Healey, Stephanie Campisi, Stuart Mayne, Christopher Lynch, Simon Petrie, Alison Goodman, Russell Blackford, Rhonda Roberts, Ben Payne, Christopher Green, Kylie Chan, K.J. Taylor, Robbie Matthews, Kirstyn McDermott, Russell Farr, Simon Haynes, Kate Orman, Cat Sparks, Sean Williams, Penni Russon, Robert Hood, Tracey O’Hara, Cassandra Golds, Dirk Flinthart, Kathleen Jennings, Tessa Kum, Helen Merrick, Jenny Blackford, Martin Livings, Marty Young, Lisa (LL) Hannett, Nick Stathopoulos, Lorraine Cormack, Edwina Harvey, Ian McHugh, Matthew Chrulew, Shaun Tan.

I know!