This has very little to do with this blog, other than there are dragons in many of my stories. And the spec fic stories of others. Fuck it, that’s all the excuse I need. Frankly, I just want this totally awesome dragon on my website.
Colour me seriously impressed. Sometimes the evil internet is used for good, even when it’s used by the Access Of Evil. I know, I’m making no sense.
Chuck McKenzie threw out an idea to the interwebz about getting US and UK books into Australia which are otherwise unavailable due to parallel importation restrictions, or getting Australian small press books into bookstores that don’t have great distribution channels. Chuck runs a book store, so things like this are very real for him. And as writers, we all struggle with getting our work out there, and readers struggle to find the overseas and small press titles they want. See how this affects everyone?
Well, Gillian Polack and Nyssa Pascoe thought Chuck was onto something, so the trio formed the aforementioned Access Of Evil. Together they developed the idea into the Great Australian Booklist. It’s a ‘wish list’ of overseas, local small press and out of print publications, which will be made available to Australian publishers, distributors and booksellers, to be taken into consideration when purchasing copyright, choosing titles to republish, or stocking shelves.
What a brilliant idea!
The Australian public and book buyers now have their say in the industry. Go to the list, nominate all the books you wish you could get hold of, but that your local bookshop doesn’t stock or, if it’s already up there, use your voting powers to add your voice to the demand. Share your choices and news of this list on Facebook or Twitter or wherever else you hang out, get others to vote for your choices and add choices of their own.
Of course, my books, being small press, have very little distribution. Naturally, I’ve added them to the list. Do me a favour and add your vote to them if you would. You know how obsequiously grateful I’ll be. And please, share this post, retweet the notification, share the Facebook update and so on. Let’s make this thing a success.
I found this TED Talk via m1k3y over at grinding and it blew me away. Basically, suspended animation (the reduction of metabolic rate to near death for extended periods of time) is not just science fiction any more. It’s real, and they’re busy with human trials.
As the guy says at the start of the talk, they’re not designing things to send people on long space flights or anything like that right now; they’re developing technology to put someone into a suspended state to buy them time to receive medical treatment in the case of trauma and so on. But it’s clear to me, being a geek, that this is a massive step on the path to interstellar space travel and all kinds of other cool shit. The talk is about 19 mins long and well worth a watch.
I am extremely pleased to announce that my dark fantasy thriller novels, RealmShift and MageSign, have been acquired by Gryphonwood Press in the US. This marks a move from the books being indie published through my own press to being “traditionally” published by a small press in the US that is really going places. They have some great authors and books available, so check them out.
Apart from joining a great stable of authors, I’ll also be eligible to apply for membership of the International Thriller Writers group, as Gryphonwood Press is one of their recognised markets. Interesting turn of events for this little dark spec fic writer.
I’m currently working on re-editing both books for release on April 27th. The books will be taken off the Blade Red Press roster, but there are still some copies available from the short print run that was done here in Australia. Gryphonwood are happy for me to sell those on until the stock is sold out. I’ll be running a special offer on those to coincide with the April 27th Gryphonwood release.
So yeah, can I get a “Woo” with a big old “HOO”?
I love Twitter. The things that happen there are great, especially when the big stars show themselves up to be geeks like the rest of us. A conversation between Simon Pegg and Nathan Fillion this morning cracked me up. For those not versed in geekery, Simon Pegg is the British comic genius behind TV shows like Spaced and movies like Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. He was most recently in Star Trek, playing Scottie.
Nathan Fillion has been in numerous TV and movie roles, currently in Castle, but most famous (in geekdom) for playing Mal, the Captain of the Serenity in Joss Whendon’s series, Firefly.
On Twitter today:
@simonpegg I’m calling you out @NathanFillion. Your spaceship vs my spaceship. Last one to the crab nebula gets the beers in. Spacedock, 1 hour.
@NathanFillion Yo, @simonpegg, be reasonable! My ship was a filming set, while the Enterprise is obviously real. Perhaps a drinking contest?
@simonpegg @NathanFillion You’re on. To be honest, somebody keyed my nacelles so the old lady’s in the shop. I’ll get the first round in. Romulan ale?
Heh. Bless ‘em.
Can you believe there’s such a thing as a horror photographer? I had no idea, but this guy is simply awesome. Not only does he make horror into a photographic artwork, he does it all for real. Well, not actually real, but with sets, special effect make-up and so on. Like this:
He shot the blood separately and shopped it in post, but even that was shot on set.
How about this one:
All the people in his shoots are family and friends working for free. That baby sitter is his eldest daughter and the baby is his niece. Somehow that just makes it cooler. This guy is my new hero.
Hat tip to the effervescent Felicity Dowker, who originally blogged about this.
As the alt-text for this cartoon says:
“That card holds a refrigerator carton’s worth of floppy discs, and a soda can full of those cards could hold the entire iTunes store’s music library. Mmmm.”
I share that fear and reverence. It’s amazing that so much can be held in such a tiny space. Everything I’ve ever written could be stored on the tiniest MicroSD card with loads of room to spare. *shudder*
I’ve been using a fitball at my desk for years. It was an attempt to keep some kind of decent posture during all the hours I spend at my computer. What it actually did, however, was subsconciously teach me numerous ways to slump and slouch on a fitball. Bugger this, I thought. So I’ve just bought myself a late Xmas present.
It’s leather and everything. You know the most outrageous thing about it, though? Given that we have an old house with wooden floors, I thought I’d better get one of those vinyl mats to protect the floorboards. The mat cost more than the chair!
That’s just weird.
And yes, those boxes by the desk are from when we moved in here, well over a year ago. That’s all my books. It’s horrible that they’re still in boxes. I really must get around to building those bookshelves I keep talking about.
I have to thank Michael over at aNadder for this one. I’m a big fan of collective nouns. There are the old favourites like a murder of crows or a parliament of owls. But what about collective nouns for supernatural creatures? We’ve all heard of a host of angels. Well, thanks to Michael pointing this out to me over at Wondermark, here’s a full list of all the collective nouns for supernatural critters you could want. I have no idea how accurate or made up this is, but I like it nonetheless. There are some absolute blinders listed here:
I’ve been away for the last week, enjoying the peace and quiet of the Bega Valley with Halinka and Penry the Spacklehound. We did all kinds of sight seeing, visited cool little towns and gardens, went horse rising with friends and generally had a ball. It was very relaxing. However, the highlight of the trip for me was finding some treasure.
You know how you look at the bookshelves in antique stores, desperately hoping to stumble across that elusive and rare first edition… Wait, is it just me or do other people do that too? Well, it’s what I do. And last week, in an antique store in Cobargo, I saw something on the shelf that made my heart race.
Not quite the first edition that would have been an incredible find, it’s actually a second edition and a little bit scruffy, but it’s so damn cool. It’s a copy of the second edition from Rider & Sons of Eliphas Levi’s The History Of Magic (translated by A E Waite). This book was originally published by Rider & Sons in 1913 and that edition is worth over $2,000 now for a good one. So a slightly scruffy second edition from 1922 is still a very exciting find. Here it is:
As you can see, it’s far from a mint condition example, but it is fantastic nonetheless. The full title of the book is The History Of Magic, including a clear and precise exposition of it procedure, its rites and its mysteries. For those of you not so up to speed on the study of the occult, maybe I should make clear why this book is so cool.
It’s by a guy called Eliphas Levi, whose real name is Alphonse Louis Constant. He was a French occultist and he was largely responsible for the revival of interest in magic in the 19th century. He wrote a number of things including The Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, Transcendental Magic, The Key of Great Mysteries and others. Levi “believed in the existence of a universal ‘secret doctrine’ of magic throughout history, everywhere in the world.” It’s worth bearing in mind that Levi’s work has been called “highly imaginative but not very accurate”. Regardless, from a historical point of view, for a scholar of all things occult, Levi’s work is very important. The translation from the French in this case is by A E Waite. Waite was an American occultist, member of numerous societies such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Freemasons. Incidentally, as a point of interest, Aleister Crowley, one of the Golden Dawn’s most famous (infamous?) members, claimed to have been the reincarnation of Eliphas Levi, as Levi died while Crowley was in utero.
You can learn a lot more about Levi, Waite and Crowley with internet searches if you’re interested. For me, fascinated as I am by all things occult, this book is a genuine treasure. It’s a real grimoire as well as an incredibly interesting historical document. It’s also rare, which makes it all the more delicious. I am an unrepentant bibliophile, after all. Maybe I’m a bit weird, but this is the kind of thing that I get very excited about. (I don’t know this for sure, but I would also bet that this book was a large inspiration for Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel. This book, with footnotes by Waite, could easily be a part of Clarke’s story.)
You can still buy The History Of Magic in paperback from Amazon, so for scholarly reasons you can still read the text. But for me, finding an edition like this, nearly a hundred years old, has a magic of its own. As much as I love ebooks and firmly believe that ebooks will become the mainstream before too long, it’s things like this that will ensure that real books never die.