Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More Clarion South Achievements.

Editormum has posted a list of the Australians mentioned in The Year's Best Science Fiction Twenty Sixth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois.

Among them I noticed Western Australians Lyn Battersby, Lee Battersby, Stephen Dedman, Alisa Krasnostein and Jonathan Strahan.

Clarion South 2007 did well too with Peter M. Ball, Jason Fisher, Ben Francisco and Chris Lynch as well as Lyn Battersby. Tutors Lee Battersby, Margo Lanagan and Simon Brown figure too. No wonder it was such an amazing time.

To see the complete list go here

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Writers of the Future

I was very excited to hear my Clarion South mate, Jason Fischer, is a finalist in the second quarter of Writers of the Future after having been a semi finalist in the first quarter this year. He's having quite a year with his writing achievements - and thoroughly deserves it.

Not quite as spectacularly I have an Honorable Mention in the second quarter, my second this year. I'm very pleased. Next story about to be sent.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Got the 'Flu?

I'm just emerging from it and it's the 'ordinary' seasonal kind, not the panic inducing swine 'flu. I'm well aware that influenza is a serious illness but I'm not at all convinced that as 'swine' 'flu has spread out from its source that it is anymore serious than any other kind. But I'll tell you one thing ... I'd rather not have had either.
BTW sorry to those of you who came across the unfinished version but there's the proof of how sick I was. I actually was struggling to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes and must have touched Publish by accident instead of Save.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I learned a lot during my time at Tom Collins House - and not all was related to writing.

Before I go any further let me say that I am very much in favour of there being more use of bicycles for environmental and health reasons and I understand that there is a serious lack of suitable cycle paths in Perth. I'm not talking about people forced to ride on the road because they have no other option.

What irritated me as I drove to and from the Centre every day was the total lack of consideration of many cyclists for other road users. The route I took has a cycle way along one section and a cycle lane on both sides most of the rest of the way. It's a busy section of road which takes a large volume of traffic travelling at the speed limit of 70 kmh. A cyclist is vulnerable in these conditions but every day without exception there would be cyclists either not riding on the designated sections of road, blocking traffic and putting themselves in danger.

I would have thought that riding in the section of roadway where cars do not go would be the most appealing options not to mention the safest but apparently not. Many compounded this situation by listening to music and apparently not even being aware of the cars coming up behind them as they wandered over the road.

Then you get the cyclists who think the white line marking the cycle lane is the appropriate place to ride. They wobble along it, their bodies swaying into the vehicle lane, causing traffic blockages because to pass them the cars have to move into the next lane.

There were responsible cyclists, of course. Unfortunately over fifty percent - I started to count after a few days - were not.

Ditmar Results

You can find them here - and many other places.
They're all well-deserved. Congratulations to all especially two of the 2007 Clarion South tutors Margo Lanagan whose novel Tender Morsels was awarded Best Novel and whose short story The Goosle tied for Best Short Story and Robert Hood who received Best Fan Writer for Undead Backbrain as well as Western Australians Alisa Krasnostein and Angela Challis who also scored.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

One of Those Months

It was full of highs and lows with much sadness at times but much joy at others.

Among the joys was the Tom Collins House Writers Residency. It made the point that if you want to be a professional writer you have to be professional in your approach. That means you go to work every day and write. This is not news or rocket science and it's the way I try to do my writing. The problem is that my workplace is my home and even if I manage to ignore the household chores (this is not something I find all that hard to do, you understand) interruptions still occur. The phone rings. Someone comes to the door peddling something I don't want. A friend drops in. I'm sure this applies to most writers, for that matter, to most folk who work at home but it's not easy to overcome.

I was quite amazed (although I probably shouldn't have been) at the volume of work I achieved while working at the Writers Centre. It's brought home to me that I need to make my office a place more apart so I can shut the door, figuratively if not actually, on the world for a set time every day. I'm not entirely sure how but I'm starting by removing all the clutter that Pisces and Virgo have dumped in here. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Andrew Mallard Compensation

It's amazing how soon things become old news while those who were the focus of that news are still having to deal with the fall out. In the case of Andrew Mallard we have a man who was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 12 years in prison before he was released. He understandably feels entitled to substantial compensation. The Western Australian State government has made him an ex gratia payment of $3.25 million and has not denied him the right to take legal action over his imprisonment. This figure apparently includes the $200,000 previously given to Mr Mallard.

The State Government has described the payment as a 'gift' to allow Mr Mallard to get on with his life. It does seem a rather strange 'gift' though because, according to newspaper reports, they have also said that if he receives a payout from his legal action against those involved in his conviction he will have to repay this money out of such a settlement. Isn't a gift something given freely with no strings attached? It is according to the dictionaries I have consulted.