Monday, May 23, 2011

Being Prepared

See? This is what I've been afraid of... it's bad enough waking up in the middle of the night from a nightmare in which you're being chased by unrelenting zombies--especially when the neighbours' dogs are barking madly--but when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention begins taking the possibility of a zombie apocalypse seriously you know there's trouble coming. The CDC even released an emergency plan of what to do in such an emergency.

Ah, it's all going to end so badly...

On another note, a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Richard Harland for winning an Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story with his brilliantly creepy tale "The Fear." Well done, Richard!! "The Fear" was first published in Macabre and also reprinted in Ellen Datlow's US anthology Best Horror of the Year #3. It's a top notch story, that one.

Congrats also to Kirstyn McDermott, for picking up a gong for Best Horror Novel with Madigan Mine, a truly excellent book. If you haven't read it, go git yerself a copy. Go on, do it. Well done to everyone else, too--a good night was had by all, so the photos would suggest...

And on just one more note, Amazon recently announced that the sales of e-books topped print books for the first time, with 105 electronic books sold for every 100 paper books now. Kindle e-books are outselling hardcover books two-to-one (not really surprising there). The times, they surely are a-changing.

Alan Baxter posted an interesting post on how it is now vital for us, as readers, to provide some kind of quality control over what's published. With the advent (and success) of Print-on-Demand and e-books, anyone can write a book and get it published, regardless of how good--or more likely how bad--it is. Read his post; Alan makes some very good points.

Now then, I'm going to tuck my tail between my legs and slink off with my exhaustion... Damn that Amanda Pillar and her hubby....... Damn their bacardi.....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wait! What? Oh, that's okay then.

So I got up the other morning at 4:30am and trundled outside in me undies to stare up at the sky. And there I saw Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, all bunched together as if they were commenting on what I sight I was.

Even had a number of shooting stars joining me in this pre-dawn steak (the eta Aquarid meteor shower). For a space geek like it, it was quite something.

A time like this gives you an interesting perspective on the world; most sensible folk are still curled up asleep, blankets and doonas tucked in tight and pulled up under chins to ward off the cold, the streets are silent, the world pretty much yours and yours alone--other than the billions of stars above (oh, geek coolness number two: the Photopic Sky Survey - a 5,000 megapixel photograph of the entire night sky stitched together from 37,440 exposures! Just awesome).

Under such massiveness, all the little things seems petty. It's almost like a cleansing of the soul; left alone with yourself and your thoughts--and those untold stars and their planets and who knows what life that flitters and twitches on them--it really is quite liberating. You just shuck off all the arguments and problems and worries, and enjoy the moment for what it is and what it only ever is--a moment in time. And when you're given such a stunning backdrop in which to live that moment, why on Earth--or anywhere else--would you want to fill it with turmoil and bitterness?

Well shit, that was deep. BBBUUUURRRRPPPPPP.

On another note, I've just ordered The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction - 792 pages (it's bigger than Macabre!) covering 150 years' worth of the best science fiction stories. It has 52 stories. That should keep me entertained for a while.

The countdown to the UK and Germany is on--15 days til this wee lil' fella goes and gets lost somewhere in the land of beer steins and pork. Oh woe is me.... It's going to be, well, just terrible.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Last Days of Macabre

Correction (17 October, 2011): It turns out that news of Brimstone Press' demise was a bit premature and I'm happy to say that the furnaces are not closing down. 

Brimstone Press, the awesome Aussie small press and publisher of some damn good horror collections, is closing down. This is sad news; these kids, whether you like 'em or not, have done a hell of a lot for Aussie horror and those writing within this genre over the past decade.

From the ground-breaking online magazine Shadowed Realms in the early 2000s--the only Oz mag to pay professional rates for at least the last decade--to The Year's Best collections, their products were always very stylish and filled with top notch stories. None more so than Macabre; A Journey through Australia's Darkest Fears (of course :) How could I not say that?)

SPECIAL CLOSING DOWN SALE - Get your copy of the Australian Shadows Award winning and Bram Stoker nominated Macabre for only AU$25 (plus postage). With 38 stories, that's 66c/story (man, is that all our hard work boils down to??). This special ends on Saturday the 8th of May, or while stocks last.

While you're there, you might also want to snaffle up the wickedly awesome Paul Haines' The Last Days of Kali Yuga for only $20 (this title will still be available at the Author’s Melbourne Launch to be held at Dymocks Southland on Sat July 2nd at 12 noon).

There are other short story collections featuring many of the biggest names in Aussie horror available at discounted prices during this final week. These include:

Shadow Box CD - $5
Black Box CD - $8
Book of Shadows - $5
Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror volume 1 (2006) - $8
Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror volume 2 (2007) - $13
Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror volume 3 (2008) - $8
Shards - $8 (this title will still be available as an ebook available through Amazon, Smashwords, etc – but due to the format, it does not contain the art work of Andrew McKiernan)

So--wait, let me get my scotch...okay--so here's to Brimstone Press, thanks for all you've done and may your future be stress free and fun.

Screw this glass, gimme the bottle...What is it? Maker's Mark. Okay, that'll do then.

Shut up, muse, you shifty sideshow freak. I'll get to you in a second....