Not much going on at the moment, just catching up with stuff. You know, life as usual. However, I do have some new books to help me cope. One of the blessings and curses of the whole convention situation is the dealer’s room. It’s a big room, full of people selling stuff you really want. A deadly thing. It’s also a great place to hang out and chat with people and generally soak up the vibe of a con. As a result of this room of delight, as with every con, I now have a newly enlarged reading pile. Does anyone’s reading pile ever actually go down? Mine just seems to gently swell bigger and bigger at a fairly constant rate.

(On a complete tangent, I really must get around to building those bookshelves. Can you believe we’ve lived here over a year and most of my books are still in boxes. It’s starting to have a deep-seated effect on me, that is.)

Anyway, I got a bunch of cool books at the con and have started ploughing (plowing?) through them. Are plough and plow different words or just different spellings…? Right, according to my Cassell English Dictionary they’re alternate spellings (UK/Australian English versus US English). Seriously, what do you Americans have against the letter U? Did it steal your lunch money in kindergarten and you’ve held a grudge ever since or something?

So, these books. I finally got around to picking up the four (so far) volumes of Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction & Fantasy, edited by Bill Congreve and Michelle Marquardt. I’ve been meaning to read through these for a while. So far I’ve read the first one and it doesn’t disappoint. Some excellent yarns by some quality writers. There are stories from Lynette Aspey, Deborah Biancotti, Damien Broderick, Brenda D Carson, Rjurik Davidson, Terry Dowling, Brendan Duffy, Margo Lanagan, Geoffrey Maloney, Ben Peek, Cat Sparks and Kim Westwood. The real stand outs for me were probably Margo Lanagan’s, Terry Dowling’s and Rjurik Davidson’s stories. And Cat, if you’re reading, your story Home By The Sea has bent my brain. Damn you and your time travel shenanigans! Find this great collection here.

The other thing I’ve read from the con is Paul Haines’ novella Wives, contained in the X6 anthology. This story is one of the best things I’ve read in years. It’s dark, brutal, horrifying and absolutely addictive. I sat down to read it after dinner a couple of nights ago and didn’t crawl into bed until I’d finished it about 2.30am. It’s an outstanding achievement. I haven’t read any of the other five novellas in this collection yet, but Haines’ story alone makes it worth the purchase. You can get it from Coeur De Lion publishing. There’s going to be an official launch on November 12th up in Leichardt. All six authors are going to be in attendance for the launch, so well worth your time if you’re in Sydney. You can learn all about it here. I’m hoping to get to the launch myself. Interestingly, two of the other novellas in X6 are by Margo Lanagan and Cat Sparks, who you may remember from such paragraphs as the one above this one.

Lastly, I read this at Locus Online today:

The winner of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction’s “Win $2010 in the year 2010” contest is Allen MacNeill, for his prediction that handheld computers would exist by 2010. In 1980, Fantasy & Science Fiction held a 30th anniversary contest, asking readers to choose the science fiction concept most likely to be realized by the year 2010. The approximately 2,700 entries were kept securely and, as promised, were recently opened to determine the winner (a few months ahead of schedule).

Heh. I love the future.