Friday, July 30, 2010


I'm a writer and a reader. I love words. As a nine year I used to sit on the floor with the enormous Webster's Dictionary open in front of me (because the book was so big and heavy I couldn't lift it) and read - for pleasure. I love the way words can make something come alive or explain something.Above all I like the clarity of words - that each has a specific meaning and function.

So, as you can imagine, I hate it when words are abused - and one thing that is certain about an election campaign is that they will be abused. We have entered the world of pre-election spin here in Australia where the vacuous and illogical slogans emerge, designed not to inform but blur. Some are, if you bother to look at them, simply insulting to the electorate. There is another abuse of language too that seems unique to politicians. This is, once you've pinned down your slogan you repeat it at least twice because all voters are so stupid that they don't get it the first time. I'm not talking about repetition for emphasis here. This is just repetition for its own sake. You know the kind that shouts at you, 'Look at me. I've thought up this really cool phrase. It's so cool I'm going to say it again. See. Isn't that cool?'. So I begin my list of these absurdities now - in alphabetical order and with no interest in which party is responsible. I'm sure you can think of many more.

'Dead, buried and cremated.' Doesn't even make sense, does it? As far as I know if you're buried you're buried and if you're cremated and a burial is planned it comes after the cremation.

'Great big new tax.' What is this tax? Is this a new tax replacing an old one? Does it mean that this is a bad tax? If so why not say it is and explain why?

'Moving forward.' From what? To where?

'Working families.' Who are these families? Those where both parents go out to work full time? Those where one works at home - caring for children or an ageing family member? Those where both work in the home caring for children and in the workforce part time? The retirees who voluntarily work for a charity? Retirees with adult children with disabilities who need on-going care not provided for by the government? Retirees with adult children still living at home?

Feel free to tell me your personal favourites.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just a Few Books

There's one thing about being convalescent. You get to do a lot of reading - and I spent a lot of time this year convalescing.

So I thought I'd make a list of the novels, collections and anthologies I've read so far this year. They are by no means all speculative fiction as you will see but it does tend to predominate. Some time in the future I might list the non-fiction books read in the same period - but not today
First the novels in alphabetical order by author which was not necessarily the order in which they were read.

Joe Abercrombie:
The Blade Itself
Before They Are Hanged

K.E. Bedford:
Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait This is a reread that will be read again.

Marion Zimmer Bradley:
The Mists of Avalon

Trudy Canavan:
The Magician's Apprentice
The Magicians' Guild
The Novice
The High Lord

C. J. Cherryh: Three old favourites
Fortress in the Eye of Time
Fortress of Eagles
Fortress of Dragons

Robin Hobb:
The Dragon Keeper
Dragon Haven

P.D. James:
The Lighthouse

Margo Lanagan:
Tender Morsels Another reread that I keep going back to.

Justine Larbalestier:

Glenda Larke:
The Last Stormlord A reread while I was waiting for
Stormlord Rising
The Aware Another reread
Gilfeather and another reread
The Tainted as was this

Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy:
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,
The Girl who Played With Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Bevan McGuiness:
The First Weapon

Fiona McIntosh:
Bridge of Souls

Juliet Marillier:
Hearts Blood
Heir to Sevenwaters

K. E. Mills:
Witches Incorporated
Wizard Squared

Audrey Niffenegger:
The Time Traveller's Wife

Ruth Rendell:
The Monster in the Box

Alice Sebold:
The Lovely Bones

Then there are the novellas:

Peter M. Ball: Horn

Robert Shearman/Tansy Rayner Roberts: Roadkill/Siren Beat which are two novellas by different authors in the same book.

Finally the anthologies and collections:

Belong ed. Russell B. Farr

Book of Endings by Deborah Biancotti

Dreaming Again ed. Jack Dann

The New Space Opera ed. Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan

Scary Kisses ed. Liz Grzyb

The Starry Rift ed Jonathan Strahan

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Karrinyup Writers Club Inc. 25th Anniversary Writing Competition

Well now that's a nice surprise. I was notified recently that I have been awarded third prize in the short story section of the Karrinyup Writers Club Inc. 25th Anniversary Writing Competition. I was delighted to find the names of so many people I know on the winners list. I'm proud to be among them. Congratulations to all the winners but especially Joanne Mills, the multi talented Pamela Blackburn, Marlene Fulcher and Pat Fletcher.

Poetry Section

First prize: Kevin Gillam (WA)

Second prize: Joanne Mills (WA)

Third prize: Pamela Blackburn (WA)

Commended: Lorraine White for two poems (NSW), Janeen Samuel (Vic) and Marlene Fulcher (WA)

Short Story Section

First prize: Pamela Blackburn (WA)

Second prize: Pat Fletcher (WA)

Third prize: Helen Venn (WA)