I’ve been all words, words, words this week, resulting in big long posts both here and elsewhere, so today I’m aiming for short and brief. Lots of getting in, doing the pimpery, and getting out. And this time it’s not *all* about me, just like, two thirds about me. You know how it is.
Cool Stuff: The Outlandish Voices Podcast
A project set up by Laura E. Goodin, a friend from Clarion and fellow believer in the power of the middle initial, to deliver readings by Illawarra’s established and emerging science fiction, horror, and fantasy authors. Laura is one of those folks whose not content to be contained as far as her creative ambitions, so she’s managing this while simultaneously picking up momentum as a short story writer and playwright (with, I suspect, a host of novels getting written as well). I get tired just reading her blog and trying to keep up with her various projects, especially given her propensity for making them all work. The first three installments of Outlandish Voices (featuring readings by the Rob Hood, Cat Sparks, and Richard Harland, a trio of writers with some pretty damn impressive credentials) are online now and there’s more to come.
The Stuff of Glee: Horn Reviews
Two reviews hit the world in recent weeks. One from Genrereviews, which (quite-rightly) says some awesome things about the cover art before kicking on to the discuss the story. My favorite bits, excerpted:
In a lot of ways, Horn sticks pretty close to what have become the standards of urban fantasy. … On the other hand… dude, the underaged victim has been raped to death by a unicorn in a nasty snuff film.
I spent awhile trying to figure out how to review this one, because the dark elements are so unexpected it spun my head around. It’s not the sort of thing I could recommend to anyone, but odds are good if you read “unicorn” and “rape” in the same sentence and instead of having your brain explode, you thought “wow, that sounds really interesting and original,” this is probably something you should be looking deeper into, because a premise like this one isn’t something you’re going to come across again.
The other review was in the Courier Mail courtesy of Jason Nahrung two weeks ago (I was slow on the uptake that weekend) and doesn’t seem to have migrated online yet, but there’s a good selection of excerpts over on Girliejones’ blog. And to borrow a phrase from my redoubtable publisher: Copies of Horn are available from Twelfth Planet Press, Pulp Fiction in Brisbane, and Fantastic Planet in Perth.
So here’s the thing about my plans to awesomeify my year – I’m kinda hesitant to blog about it, in specifics or in general, because I’m assuming it’s very uninteresting to watch from the outside and lots of it will come off like bad self-help book cliches when I try to pin the process down and put it into words. And none of it is big, life-changing stuff – I’m not trying to reach Kathmandu or walk around Australia for charity. I’m just trying to put together the life I want to live as best I can, and that largely comes down to pretty basic stuff (write more, read more, spend more time with friends). The list is mostly about reconfiguring mental processes, reminding me to compartmentalise bad stuff until I can do something about it, and prompting me to *do more* rather than endlessly fritter away time on the internet. It’s about doing things that scare me a little, which is why the Spokesbear finally made it onto the site (if you look at the bio, you’ll notice I’ve been threatening to post pictures of the bear since I started petermball.com – it just took nine months or so to work myself up to it).
This week I’ve read a lot. And I’ve danced around the house a lot too. This, by me, is awesome. I got interested in stuff again – discussions, books, music, ideas – rather than falling back on the stuff I already know. Somewhere along the line, probably during the PhD and the “comfort food” binging after my life went kablooie (twice) over the last few years, I fell into a heavy groove of repetition – the same bands, the same books, the same jobs. New stuff went in, but slowl, and often it’d just become part of the groove again. I’d see new films, for example, but only if they seemed like they’d produce a similar *feel* to something I’ve already seen.
So this week I read new books. I listened to albums I haven’t heard in over five years. If I hadn’t signed up for a media fast over August (no TV or film), I would have gone and rented a bunch of films that looked like they weren’t my cup of tea. I tried to be interested in stuff again, even if it wasn’t my thing. And here’s the interesting side-effect of that: I think, for the first time in ages, I can actually look at my week and say “yeah, I did *enough*.” For someone who never feels like I’m doing enough to be productive, that’s fairly huge.