Saturday, December 31, 2016

Birthday musings and end of year thunkings

cause I couldn't not share this
Today is my birthday.
And each birthday I take a moment to reflects on what I've leant that year (yep, it's one of those posts).

That my birthday is also the eve of a new year adds a level of gravitas to the proceeding, while also being a handy marker of time. Some years they are small lessons, with gentle instruction or subtle meaning. Other years, it's a punch in the nuts.

2016 was a punch in the nuts year. After the big year that was 2015, to have another year of big, well, let's just say, I'm looking forward to a year of dull in 2017. If the past two years were a novel, the editor would have told me to cut the number of plot points because damn. Yeah, big. The past few years have been pretty full on, both professionally and personally, but it wasn't all bad. There's been a lot of good this year too. Just big.

So as 2016 comes to a close, and I celebrate another year of existence, here's what I have taken away from the year that was and will take into the year that will be.

    Monday, November 21, 2016

    Aurealis #96

    Over the past two and a half years I've been fortunate to be a book reviewer for Australia's SF literary Aurealis. It's a great gig, allowing me to 1. read, 2. write, 3. publish and 4. work with some awesome editors. Aurealis is filled to the brim with fantastic (and fantastical!) content - editorials, opinion pieces, new fiction, illustrations, and book reviews.

    This year's final edition of Aurealis (#96) is available now for free from Smashwords. Just click on the hyperlink and enter the code LP55Y (not case sensitive).
    Included in this issue is reviewer's picks for the year, that might inspire your Christmas shopping list!!

    Friday, November 18, 2016

    Friday Fix

    It's Friday and time to check-in on the awesome finds discovered during the week.

    The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly (Pan MacMillan)
    Matthew Reilly has been a big part of the Lindorff library for years. From Ice Station to the more recent The Great Zoo of China, Reilly's books are a fast-paced run at history, mythology, politics, and action, and they are a lot of fun to read. More than that, they were the antidote for a very reluctant reader and a healthy discussion point for a family with very diverse interests. Mixing puzzles with explosions, character with technology, Reilly's books are a shock of adrenaline in words.

    The Four Legendary Kingdoms is Reilly's latest release, book four of the Jack West Jr series. Kidnapped and forced to participate in the very secret Great Games, West finds himself at the centre of an international and intergalactic conspiracy to save the world and learn all the things (that will make much more sense when you read it!!).

    Sunday, November 6, 2016

    Lady Parts Episode 2.03: The Girl on The Train

    A trailer has the capacity to make or break a film. A good trailer entices, it draws you in and makes you want to know more. All trailers are designed to speak to a target market, so are designed around specific emotions and themes.
    Ghostbusters is a really interesting example. Already controversial in its conception (holy shit, female Ghostbusters?! Are you mad?! #childhoodruined) the trailer had a lot of work to do. It needed to appeal to a new audience, an old audience, and a skeptical audience - a tricky balance of nostalgia, action, and comedy.

    Friday, November 4, 2016

    Friday Fix

    It's Friday and time to check-in on the awesome finds discovered during the week.

    The Bachelorette Finale (Network Ten)
    True love?
    Georgia Love and Lee Elliott
    The Bachelorette Finale was on last week, with the lovely Georgia Love choosing Lee Elliott over Matty J in a shocking twist.
    While the finale offered very little but indignation and rage from viewers, it's the commentary that I've been reading this week that I most enjoy.
    This years' The Bachelorette was decried as a misjustice, viewers questioning the Bachelorette's choice and parallels drawn between this series and the most recent season of The Bachelor, that somehow the hero had chosen the wrong partner. It's an interesting accusation, and the level of outrage really shows that the producers and team of the respective shows are failing the narrative. We should be rooting for the couple, not raging at their preferences. But it does suggest how seemingly unaware the audience still is that the production team are responsible for the fairytale, that what you see, is not the climax of a lovestory, but a heavily edited story with villains, heroes, sidekicks, and, in the past two series particularly, twists.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2016

    Disney Feminist Series

    Disney films feature strongly in my memories of childhood. I can't remember how it started, but the Disney stories, and particularly the soundtracks, are central to my childhood engagement with story. Fantasia's dark themes, and graphics, terrified me, The Little Mermaid was my life on screen (minus the boy obsession and swimming prowess), and The Lion King soundtrack sits in poll position as my favourite movie score of all time.

    Friday, October 28, 2016

    Friday Fix

    It's Friday and time to check-in on the awesome finds discovered during the week.

    Hamilton's America (PBS)
    I've avoided getting into Hamilton: An American Musical, much to the disgust of my musically-inclined friends. I like to experience a musical in context - music, lyrics, staging and story - but it's been hard to avoid the hype. I managed to watch the PBS documentary (don't ask), and I swoon. The doco is a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the musical, the history of the story, and vignettes of the production. It's not fully comprehensive, but does a fantastic job of capturing the spirit and passion of the musical and its team.

    The song pieces are really well handled. Filming stage musicals is a tricky business (Cats, anyone?) Unlike developing a musical for screen, capturing a stage performance is a complex negotiation between viewpoint and ensemble, hampered by staging and choreography - it's a battle between the intimate focus of the camera and the panoramic view of the stage.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2016

    Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean Review

         "The dark stretches long; the dawn is still far away."
    Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean (2015) is a beautiful anthology of speculative fiction and fantasy writings and illustrations. A collaborative writing project featuring twenty Australian and Indian writers and artists-including Australian favourites Margo Lanagan, Isobelle Carmody and Kirsty Murray-this project was in response to brutal attacks on women in both regions. Artists were challenged to articulate and inspire in the aftermath-'reimagine the world' as stated in the introduction.

    Friday, October 21, 2016

    Friday Fix

    It's Friday and time to check-in on the awesome finds discovered during the week.

    Transparent (Amazon)
    I recently started watching Transparent and  I'm conflicted. The Pfefferman family are not unlikeable, just not likeable. They're inherently selfish and self-centred, but have their redeemable moments and you still want them to win. It's well-written, well-cast, and beautifully shot.

    What's challenging is that for all it's promo, and it's title, the conflict stems centrally from family history, not from Maura's transition. It is a story about change and identity and growing up, and Maura's story is a narrative framework for exploring family history and historical grievances and relationship dynamics. There's little depiction of broader trans issues, and most of the conflict stems from their family history. The series is semi-autobiographical, so speaks to a specific experience, and no series will be entirely representative, but there's more conflict in their personalities than in Maura's transition itself.

    Monday, October 17, 2016

    Hunted Down and Other Tales

    In much exciting news, Hunted Down and Other Tales is a finalist in the Australian Graphic Design Association's AGDA Awards for 2016.
    Conceived by Simon Groth and published by if:book Australia, this little project featured as one of three publications as part of Rumours of My Death, a remix project showcasing early Australian authors and works and thrusting them into the the 21st century (more info available over on the Projects page or on the if:book Australia website)

    Thursday, October 13, 2016

    Lady Parts Episode 2.02: Bridget Jones's Baby

    "Can't go back and keep making same mistakes when I can make new ones."
    What to do when your typically static lovelife takes on a new lease in life, and leads to an unexpected life choice? For Britain's favourite hapless single, Bridget Jones, there is never a simple answer.
    Bridget is 15 years older and still unlucky in love, but gloriously is wiser and more supportive of her own needs, both in a relationship and career.

    Thursday, September 15, 2016

    Not-A-Snapshot Interview

    I was extremely chuffed to be invited to participate in the 2016 Australia SF Snapshot Project, but, life being what it is of late, I managed to miss my deadline! *sad face
    But my interviewer was generous enough to post the interview on her website, and being the extremely awesome Tehani Croft that is a grand honour indeed.
    Check out my interview here, and don't miss all the great artists featured in the 2016 Snapshot!

    Monday, September 5, 2016

    Top Picks for Brisbane Writers Festival

    When  the last of the winter wind makes an appearance and spring valiantly attempts to be sprung, it's time for Brisbane Writers Festival. For readers and writers and thinkers and talkers, BWF is five days of ideas and books and story, and one of my favourite festivals. So here are some of the sessions I'm most excited by this year.

    Monday, July 11, 2016

    So Long and Thanks For All The Fish

    After over seven years and some 1100 events, it's with #allthefeels that I will be leaving Queensland Writers Centre at the end of July. It has been a critical and pivotal part of my creative practice, professional development, and, truth be told, my identity, and I'll be sad to say goodbye. So this is some self-indulgent naff as I take a step out of the arts world for a time.