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Specusphere Webzine Aug-Sep 2010

The latest issue is up and running and full of cool stuff including reviews from yours truly.  Check it all out here.


Voting, FIFA and the Moon by Stephen Thompson


Do I really like speculative fiction? by Stephen Thompson
Medical Bag: Briar Rose by Brendan Carson
Fantasy genre paradigm shift by Amanda Greenslade

Writing and Publishing

Tips for the older writer by Satima Flavell
Challenges and Denizens of the Road of Trials by Stephen Turner
Patience by Anne Hamilton

Book Reviews

Game Reviews

Machinarium by Amanita Design, reviewed by Marisa Wikramanayake


Serial 8: Toyol by Yusuf Martin


June 500

Not to be confused with the Clipsal 500, I've decided to grab this by the bollocks and give it hell.  The theory goes that in order to keep the motivation to write at a decent level (ie not flatlining) you have to write at least 500 words a day for all of June.  This doesn't necessarily have to be quality stuff, and I'm not entirely sure what is acceptable eg blogs, random comments on other blogs, shopping lists etc, but I'll start aiming high by expanding my collection of short story drafts.  Given the ones I've done so far are mostly 3,000-5,000 words, I'm going to have to come up with some ideas in a rush to hit 15,000 words for June.  I've found a few anthology submission open invitations around the place that have kick-started the creating thought  process:

- More Scary Kisses to open up my romantic side.
- Anywhere But Earth anthology for something a bit off the planet.
- Festive Fear 2 but I'm struggling to think of something for this.

Whether I actually go for any of these or not, they've got me thinking.  I also have some other thoughts including a stab at the Greenies and a couple of full length novels - one for Young Adults and the other maybe a bit more bloodthirsty, but we'll see how these pan out.

I'm open to any comments/suggestions/offers to beta read and blow smoke up me.  Anyone and everyone keen on writing but occasionally allergic to being motivated should have a crack at this.  If you have any more open submissions to share let me know!
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    hopeful hopeful

Urge to something, fading

Ok someone motivate me.  What are some hints for when you write a bunch of stuff that sounded awesome in your head and turned out to be nine shades of ordinary when you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard)?

The neurons are just not firing.
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    disappointed disappointed

Religious Intent

It's just hit midday and so far nothing, however the day is young, especially around the rest of the world.

Just when we thought the Islamic extremists couldn't get any more, well, extreme, along comes Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, quite possibly named after an Icelandic volcano, who advised us all that "Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."  I always knew my earth moved just a little when I spotted the girls out and about, but I never suspected they could be quite literally earth-shattering.

So one smart cookie suggested 'Boobquake' whereby all the ladies let the puppies out for an airing, and all and sundry have a good old look, to see if this here theory has any merit.

Thus far, it's been a bit of an anticlimax, but as I said the day is young.  I'll be the first to admit he was correct if a city is flattened after we all have a good old gawp, but then, if enough mammery power is on show we may not notice.
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    curious curious
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The other hiatus

Ok so I flaked out again.  This one wasn't my fault.  Honest.

My internet connection is having a rare moment of lucidity, and should hopefully be sorted soon once we get the whole frigging house rewired.

What's the plural for hiatus anyway?  Haiti?  That may have already been taken.
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    frustrated frustrated

Intelligent species

It doesn't matter how often people rave on about how humans are smart, we're not just sheep, yes I make informed decisions about everything; as soon as something outside of their routine happens it all goes out the window.

During today's geographically challenged tropical storm there were naturally power failures, traffic jams and almighty distruptions to public transport.  Hitting the station at about 6ish I saw the next train was a good 15 mins away so I settled down to wait and dry out.  Lo and behold, along comes the stops all stations train, and it looks like it needs some sort of shelving installed to accomodate all the people pressed up against the windows.

Despite the driver announcing the it, and the television screen displaying that there was an express train that skipped a good dozen stations 3 minutes behind that one, people had still crowded like sardines on the first arrival and then proceeded to aggravate one another.

I fought the faint urge to join them and felt wonderfully vindicated when the next train arrived a few short minutes later and I and everybody else on the platform managed to get a seat, which is unheard of on peak hour trains.

The best bit was shooting past the other train, with everybody still packed to the rafters.

I like to think that makes me a higher intelligence. That's going on the resume.
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    amused amused
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Monster Madness

I think I'm going to give up my quest to come up with an original monster for a book.

Today saw what is apparently the first ever live footage of an Oarfish, a beastie which has been blamed for many a seamonster myth who I'd previously googled on one of my random tangents.

Coupled with other personal favourites such as the colossal squid, who comes complete with rotating spikes, globsters (Who doesn't like a blob?), one offs like the Zuiyō Maru's New Nessie and my personal favourite the poor old Montauk Monster, it's amazing there's room left in the world for people.

Happily, the hunt for what is possibly the all-time greatest cryptozoological beatie is still inconclusive, so there's still room for a bit of creative licence and no need to let any actual facts get in the way of a good story just yet.
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    cheerful cheerful
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End hiatus

End?  Maybe.  Temporarily break from?  More likely.

I blame Christmas, followed by New Year, my birthday, a house move and the fact I'm a lazy bastard who sometimes couldn't tell you what month it is.

However with the house move settling down (Handy Excuse Delta 5) I'm almost back on track.  I have a new round of reviews all done and submitted for the next issue of Specusphere.  Unfortunately, my habit of not letting myself do 'fun' writing until I have my reviews done and dusted does not combine well with my penchant for putting off doing reviews as long as possible.

However, with reviews done I've managed to get another short story to a point where I'm prepared for people to tear large chunks off it.  In theory this is a good thing.

Speaking of chunks, I've had the pleasure of making acquaintances with one Alan Baxter who was kind enough to (possibly unknowingly) forward me a copy of his free ebook "Ghost of the Black: A 'Verse Full of Scum" which is a wonderful yarn about a future space bounty hunter.  Head on over and check it out.  It's even broken into lunchtime-managable chunks.  I've also spent the last few days getting to know his rather extensive blog.  Thus far I think I may have found a new happy place to stir people and spread my irrelevant opinions.  Whether Alan is happy about this remains to be seen.

But now back to writing whilst the Hiatus Monster is hiding.
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To test one's resolve.

After a week of holidays I've finally found I have a day with nothing on.  One week down, two to go.  How on Earth is it that I haven't found enough time to even sit here and write why I haven't written anything?

Well the opportunity has presented itself, and I will rise to it.  The self-imposed timelines are coming to the fore.
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    cheerful cheerful
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And there was much rejoicing

Well it appears I'm full of more than just hot air.

As of this week (and possibly also last week, they tend to blur with working 6 days a week) I've actually submitted my first 2 (kinda) professional reviews and also finished the first draft of my first short story.  Whether any of it is any good, time and whoever reads them will surely tell.

Initial beta readings of my short story are encouraging (although apparently alot more happens in my head than ever appears on paper, so it's no wonder people get confused).  Plot holes to be plugged, parts to be cleaned up, naturally, but the future drafts, and Charlie and Delta reading should be most telling.

Stay tuned.
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    cheerful cheerful