Dreaming in the Dark: seeing the light in Brisbane

dreaming in the dark

A reminder, friends: I’m chuffed to be attending the Brisbane launch of the Dreaming in the Dark anthology, edited by Jack Dann and published by UK-based PS Publishing. Still gotta pinch myself when I look at the contributors to this epic tome of Aussie speculative fiction.

So yes, it’s worth a party with contributors (edited to add more — huzzah!) Veny Armanno, Paul Brandon, Kirstyn McDermott, Angela Slatter, Janeen Webb, Kim Wilkins and me in attendance; Paul and Sarah Calderwood will provide some musical atmosphere; Jack will do his thing; the book will be launched and you’ll be able to get your copy signed by a third of the contributors in one fell swoop!

Please join us, at Dymocks Brisbane in Albert St, on Thursday 8 December from 6pm. It’s free, but RSVPs are being taken here.

Dreaming up a story: Eromon No More

dreaming in the darkWhere do your ideas come from, folks ask. Good luck answering that (aisle 3 at the shopping centre doesn’t cut it, I’ve found). But here’s an insight into the making of my yarn Eromon No More, which I’m bloody chuffed to have included in Jack Dann’s anthology Dreaming in the Dark (now available to order) where it rubs shoulders with some truly impressive talents — and is also a rare occurrence of Kirstyn and myself having a yarn in the same book.

So, I can trace the spark of the idea back to a panel at a Continuum convention in Melbourne (happening again June 9-12 2017) where the absence of variety in high/second world fantasy was noted. Not many old people as protagonists, for instance. And I’d been taken with the portrayal of Lamb in Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country, a damaged soldier trying to find some peace.

I nutted out a short yarn, deliberately generic, in which an old coot and a young thing have fled war for the peace and hard yakka of a farm, only war comes to find them — it was meant to be kind of a satire or a critique, but never really got there.

I sent this to Jack for Dreaming. And he said: Give me more.

My story in Jack’s Dreaming Again remains one of my favourites: his faith and commitment to that yarn kept me in the game at a time when I could happily have given it away. Then, as now, he said to give him more. Now, as then, I went looking.

winds of change anthologyThe original skeleton of the yarn remained much the same, but I tapped the feel of a fantastical Australia (most of my yarns are set here, one way or another; I need a very specific reason to not set a yarn in my country) I’d conjured up for another story, Wraiths (Winds of Change, 2011) to breathe life into the setting and add some cultural nuance.

But where did those two characters come from? They’re probably a construct or amalgam of stories read and watched, maybe even some D&D played, their characters assembled consciously and subconsciously … Who knows? Aisle 3 is as good a suggestion as any.

I do know the story title is a nod to the suburban habit of naming houses Emoh Ruo I first encountered in My Brother Jack, and perhaps was a call to George Johnston’s desire to escape that reality that ultimately he didn’t seem able to. Maybe it illustrates the characters’ motivation and ill fate. Or perhaps it had no deeper meaning than a bit of fun wordplay for a dark story that tries to end on (for me) an uncharacteristically lighter note.

Funny, too, how what was meant to be just a bit of scenery, in this case a chicken, came to have a metaphorical role in the story. That idea must’ve been on special in the supermarket that day.

Funnily enough, I’ve still got another iteration of this story in the back of my brain. One with a goose. And even half an idea for another story involving these two characters. Another trip to the supermarket may be required!

  • Dreaming in the Dark has 21 stories from writers including Sean Williams, Garth Nix, Angela Slatter, Terry Dowling … it’s a cornucopia of Aussie writing. Check it out here.

  • The Brisbane launch is at Dymocks, 17 Albert St, on Thursday 8 December from 6pm. There will be readings, live music, drinks, signings and bonhomie! It would be lovely to see a few Brissie pals there! Free to attend, but please RSVP!

     

    2017 Calendar of Australian Literary Events

    calendarThe calendar for the remaining weeks of 2016 is still pretty darn busy, but with next year’s literary calendar already getting busy, it’s time to cast ahead to 2017 and get those literary motors running. So here is the 2017 calendar of Australian literary events!

    And if you’re still at a loose end for what remains of this year, you can still check out this year’s calendar.

    As always, updates, notifications and corrections are appreciated!

    Dreaming in the Dark: shining a light on Australian speculative fiction

    dreaming in the darkThis is an exciting anthology of Australian speculative fiction. Back in 1998, Jack Dann and Janeen Webb put together Dreaming Down Under, an anthology that helped shine a light on the speculative fiction talent in Australia. Then, in 2010, Jack revisited the field in Dreaming Again: 35 yarns, of which I was privileged to have contributed one. And now he’s combined with PS Publishing to produce a new taster of established and up-and-coming writers: Dreaming in the Dark. Check out the contributors list below! Here’s the link to order this gorgeous tome. Launches are in the works, but why not get your order in while it’s hot? The signed, slipcased editions are limited to 200 and they look pretty darn fancy.

    Introduction: Welcome to the Golden Age: an Introduction of Sorts
    JACK DANN

    Sing, My Murdered Darlings
    SEAN WILLIAMS

    Falling Angel
    PAUL BRANDON

    Martian Triptych
    JAMES BRADLEY

    Northerner’s Farewell
    RJURIK DAVIDSON

    Midnight in the Graffiti Tunnel
    TERRY DOWLING

    A Right Pretty Mate
    LISA L. HANNETT

    Eromon No More
    JASON NAHRUNG

    Luv Story
    KIM WESTWOOD

    The Luminarium Tower
    SEAN MCMULLEN

    Neither Time Nor Tears
    ANGELA SLATTER

    His Shining Day
    RICHARD HARLAND

    The Liquid Palace
    ADAM BROWNE

    Heat Treatment
    VENERO ARMANNO

    Snowflakes All the Way Down
    ROSALEEN LOVE

    Served Cold
    ALAN BAXTER

    The Dog Who’d Been Dead
    ANNA TAMBOUR

    Fade to Grey
    JANEEN WEBB

    All Those Superpowers and What Are They Good For?
    GARTH NIX

    Burnt Sugar
    KIRSTYN MCDERMOTT

    In Hornhead Wood
    KIM WILKINS

    Moonshine
    SIMON BROWN

    Words Out Loud in Ballarat – November edition

    words out loud in ballaratWords Out Loud returns to Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, November 24, 7-9pm, for its next session of spoken word.

    To mark the final event of the year, Jessica Wilkinson will headline. Jessica is the founding editor of RABBIT: a journal for nonfiction poetry, which celebrates its 20th issue in November. She has published two poetic biographies, marionette: a biography of miss marion davies (Vagabond 2012) and Suite for Percy Grainger (Vagabond 2014). She is currently writing up a third, on choreographer George Balanchine, research for which was undertaken at the NYC Public Library and Harvard under the Marten Bequest Travel Award. She is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at RMIT University, Melbourne.

    Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. Babushka has excellent sound and backing tracks can be accommodated. You won’t find a friendlier venue. Sadly, Babushka has announced it is likely to close at year’s end, so this a chance to farewell this most excellent host.

    The event has a nominal theme of “on the edge”, but as always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it for their 5-minute slots — or ignore it altogether!

    Entry is free.

    Keep up to date at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/.

    Reflections on a wet September, Lake Wendouree

    Spring clouds over the lake.

    Spring clouds over the lake.

    Winter still has its wet, icy hands on Ballaratia (September was our wettest one yet), but there have been a few days when spring’s been in the air: cherry blossoms have been and gone, trees are showing their shoots, cygnets are on the water. The botanical gardens and the Lake Wendouree shore opposite have become valued places of peace and fresh air — with bonus Pokemon. But mostly a tranquil stroll with seasonal reflections. Here’s a few shots snapped on the hoof when the sun’s been out. As Eric said, it can’t rain all the time.

    Cygnets, Lake Wendouree

    Cygnets, Lake Wendouree


    Walkway cut by the overflowing lake.

    Walkway cut by the overflowing lake.


    Flowers in the gardens.

    Flowers in the gardens.


    Spring statue, botanical gardens.

    Spring statue, botanical gardens.


    Marooned bench.

    Marooned bench.

    More pictures

     

    Words Out Loud in Ballarat – October edition

    words out loud ballaratMake a flap. Aim for the sky. Let your words (or someone else’s) soar. Words Out Loud is “winging it” when it returns to Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, October 20, 7-9pm, for its next session of spoken word.

    Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. Babushka has excellent sound and backing tracks can be accommodated. You won’t find a friendlier venue.

    The event has a nominal theme of “winging it”, but as always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it for their 5-minute slots — or ignore it altogether!

    Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event.

    Keep up to date at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/.