We have launch: Shadows on the Wall by Steven Paulsen

Steve Paulsen launches his collection Shadows on the Wall

Steve and Kirstyn


 
Kirstyn and I were stoked to be asked to launch Steve Paulsen‘s Shadows on the Wall, a collection of 14 spooky, at times extremely poignant, occasionally funny short stories penned over the past 30 years.

The launch was held yesterday at the Printers Room, the new home of Words Out Loud in Ballarat, and what a splendid venue it is. It was an excellent launch, with an eager and appreciative audience helping to celebrate the milestone. (Steve had a Melbourne launch earlier in the week, shared with IFWG stablemate and fellow good guy Jason Franks.)

The picture above is of Kirstyn and Steve chatting about the book and his career to date: very gratifying to hear he has more tales on the drawing board, and one might just be set in Ballarat!

Find out more about the book, and where to snaffle a copy, at Steve’s website.
 

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Ecopunk! The end of the world as we know it

Ecopunk anthologyTiconderoga Publications brought this rather splendid volume out this year — 19 tales of how we might adapt to climate change. It’s an important topic, and given I’ve spent the best of three years studying it for my (ongoing) PhD, one that’s close to my heart. So I’m doubly chuffed to have a story in this, one written as part of my PhD project. I talk about it over at the Ticonderoga site — please do check out the book should you visit (it’s colourful, would look grand under the Xmas tree, eh!). There are some damn good writers there, collected by editors Liz Grzyb and Cat Sparks.

2018 Calendar of Australian Literary Events

calendarOh my, it’s almost December! That means it’s time to cram in the last literary events of the year, take a breather (and maybe do some reading) over the festive month, and then get back into it for the new year. Yep, it’s time to cast ahead to 2018 and get those highlighters out — it’s looking like a big one. So here is the 2018 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. There are events in Wollongong, Brissie and the Clare Valley to finish off the year.

As always, updates, notifications and corrections are appreciated!

Late SF additions to the calendar

Sean Williams,  a guest at WestWordsFest

Sean Williams, a guest at WestWordsFest

Two events on this weekend in NSW have just been added to the 2017 literary events calendar.

Both running September 15 to 17, they are: WestWordsFest in Dubbo, and Sorcery to Spaceships in Armidale. Both look fab!

  • I’m always keen to hear about literary festivals to add to the calendar, in whatever genre. Drop me a line if it’s not already listed!
  • Collide & Android Lust – new albums to take you away

    Collide album Color of NothingCollide is one of those artists I turn to for background music — which isn’t to say that the duo’s music is without its edges, just that usually it’s the kind of cruisy, atmospheric electronica that makes the rest of the world fade away.

    Not so with their new album, Color of Nothing.

    Statik and kaRIN have come out fighting, with guitars leading the attack.

    Opener “Wake Up” announces this urgency, the swell and subside of electronica topped by explosions of buzzing guitar as the song unfurls. The energy runs through the entire album, taking on a dance-floor groove in “Soul Crush,” an infectious swagger in “Side to Side”, a slow burn in love song “Fix”.

    It’s still distinctively a Collide album, with Statik commander-in-chief in the studio and kaRIN’s bringing the evocative vocals (indeed, here there’s more of a consistent collision of those smooth vocals with spiky instrumentation than before). She touches on themes ranging from the global (“Blurring the Edges,” “Pale Blue”) to the intensely personal (“Intruder,” “Freaks Me Out”); from comfort, to resignation, to defiance.

    A fitting soundtrack for 2017.

    Android Lust album BerlinSpeaking of soundtracks, fresh on the download is Berlin: Crater Vol.2, from Android Lust. Oh my!

    Funded through Kickstarter, the album was developed in part from Shikhee’s found-sound adventures in Berlin. On early listens, I’m not sure I’m getting much impression of that particular place, nor a sense of an unfolding narrative such as drove the (predominately) soundscapes of the water-themed Crater Vol.1, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the outing – one of sonic postcards, perhaps, possibly as much in time as space.

    Which is not to say this album isn’t transportative – far from it. There’s an air of the urban – a subway feel on the analogue styling of “Daughters of Dawn” (think Glass Candy), a rain-washed city scape perhaps seen from the cab or bus window in the fetching “Heart Tunnel”, and the familiar touch of AL-style industrial (“In Memory”, “Insects”). And is that a ghostly callout to AL’s “Stained” on “Plaza Steps”? Elsewhere, muted conversation and bird chirps, the beeping of an alarm clock and patter of rain, offer a feeling of melancholy enlivened by digital rays of sunshine.

    As always, the Android Lust journey rewards multiple, close listens, the layers revealing – suggesting – more the deeper one submerges. Down here in the depths of winter, it’s the perfect weather for it.

    And while I’m getting excited about new music, on the near horizon is a new EP from Nine Inch Nails, Add Violence, in which it appears we’re getting songs of resistance and defiance. First taster “Less Than” shows some retro-style frustration, while second release “This Isn’t the Place” feels like a bridge at song No.3 on the five-song EP. Bring it on!



     

    Keeping up, when the future is now

    wind-powered greenhouse in victoria

    Image: reneweconomy.com.au

    One of the hardest parts about writing a near-future novel is keeping ahead of the news, but that’s not always a bad thing. For instance, here’s a news article about an awesome project in Victoria: a massive glasshouse for growing vegetables that will be totally powered by an adjacent wind farm. Extra rehab points for being built on the site of an old gold mine!

    Meanwhile, the federal government and the Queensland government appear intent on dropping their dacks for Adani’s Carmichael coal minean unconscionable project by any metric you want to apply.

    And here I am, with a mosaic novel* set in near-future Queensland (mainly Brisbane) in which the Galilee coal mines feature prominently — as stranded assets, now being converted into, you guessed it, giant greenhouses. (One of the three stories involving Galilee has been selected for the Ecopunk! anthology, coming from Ticonderoga Publications — the TOC looks amazing!)

    It’d be really neat to have to rewrite the stories because the governments in question grew some social conscience (and economic nous) and canned the entire idea (I can hear the Asia-Pacific nations who are begging the world to stop building coal-fired power stations from here), but I can’t see that happening.

    It’s a bit like the narrative spike I copped when BP (boo! not forgiven for Deepwater Horizon) pulled out of exploration in the Great Australian Bight, only to be replaced by Chevron. And so the battle, and the story, goes on …

    * mosaic novel = a fictional work made up of interconnected short stories; the form has many names (composite novel and novel-in-stories are just two of the more common ones, but I prefer mosaic)
     

    Carmichael mine a ‘white elephant’

    Photo: nealehaynes.com

    Two telling quotes from a fascinating interview with lawyer James Thornton, the driving force behind environmental law firm ClientEarth:

    Climate change is so real that people in charge of other people’s money need to understand that it is now a financial risk

    And, about Adani’s proposal for a huge coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland (with their hands out for massive government assistance):

    If it is ever built, it will be the biggest subsidised white elephant in the world

  • Read the full article
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