Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Metaphysics, Angels And Quantum Theory

Could a plausible theory be extrapolated for Angels/Paranormal Activity being an aspect of Quantum Physics?

Having an interesting discussion on MetaFilter. I posed a question: Could a plausible theory be extrapolated for Angels/Paranormal Activity being an aspect of Quantum Physics?

A number of varied responses, but I’m really interested in seeing whether answers from writers would be different in approach. If you’re keen, I’d be most appreciative for you to either post thoughts on MetaFilter or on my blogger page, Facebook or Livejournal. The thread can be found here:

Left Of Center

That’s how I’ve been feeling the last couple of days. I wrote my last exam for my BA on the 6th of November and promptly spent the following three days melting my brain with TV because I was unable to do anything else. I felt like I’d been high for a week and had finally crashed in the worst way possible. Three weeks’ worth of anticipation caught up with me like a bad rash and there was nothing to do but blob in front of the aforementioned moving images, as well as snuggle up next to Jen at intermittent intervals to watch (and help) her play Monkey Island. Good times.

Lots of tea, too.

As of today I am finally feeling like I’ve caught up with myself. I feel guilty when I take days off and don’t write, but I’ve been told that this is the kind of thing to earn you a degree in Burnout (had that before, not fun), so I’ve been a good girl and rested my brain. But today I did write a little and it felt great. Good to be back. The flow will start readily again as of tomorrow.

Tonight, I still have some Fringe episodes from Season One to catch up on and I must say that I do love that show. It’s nice to see all those freaky things you’ve been trying to get your friends interested in for years being dished out to the general viewing public. Good job, J.J. Now please, don’t screw us over on LOST.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Can Hear The Sound Of Christians Fuming

As part of a paper on Children’s Literature at uni, we studied Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. It’s so much more of course than a retelling of Paradise Lost, but even if approached on that level it works rather well. So I for one am looking forward to Pullman’s new book, to be released around Easter 2010 – ‘The Good Man Jesus And The Scoundrel Christ’.

I can already hear the gnashing and gnawing of teeth over this. The book tells the story of how St Paul apparently embellished the story of Jesus having been the son of God.

Personally, I don’t particularly care what anyone believes, as long as they don’t hurt anyone in the process and refrain from forcing their beliefs on others. What is good about books like these is that they make people ask questions; hopefully they make children ask questions (even more so than necessary), because while it is most of the time beneficial for children to heed their parents, there are times when they should blatantly reject what grownups tell them.

So here’s to you, Mr Pullman. We’ll be seeing you a lot in the news come egg-hunting season next year.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Moon - Directed By Duncan Jones

Phenomenal. This is the kind of movies we want to see, Hollywood!!!!

H.P. Lovecraft

Because I feel the man and his work deserves all the attention it can get.

“If we knew what we are, we should do as Sir Arthur Jermyn did; and Arthur Jermyn soaked himself in oil and set fire to his clothing one night.”

-- "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" 
 by H.P. Lovecraft

The Weight Of Paper And Ink

I usually try and not print out chunks of what I’ve written so as not to get bogged down in edits. But Jen has been asking to read what I have so far, so yesterday I printed out 20 000 of the 30 000 words I’ve got down for book one of the Strickland Diaries.

Strangely enough, I haven’t had the urge to go sit down and read it all. Apart from making note of a few things courtesy of some crits from a fellow scribbler (inspiring red underlines and circles) I don't really feel the inclination to go and pour over it at all. Which is a good thing. Besides, I’m much to keen to figure out what happens next, and which characters jostling for attention will get the first say.

It must be said though – it feels good to hold 20 000 words in your hands.

If you missed it, Alex Strickland (of Strickland Diaries fame) has a Facebook profile.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Night: Changes

Was going to see ‘Moon’, but a change of plans now has that happening tomorrow night. Snuggled in bed with cats and lovely. Tea next. Then some mindless TV.

Saturday Night Word:

collywobbles: intestinal cramps or other intestinal disturbances. (also known as tummy ache)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Prologue. A City Before.

I was recently asked to write a Steampunk novelette for an anthology (deadline 2011, so still off in the future). Almost immediately, the notion came to me to write a prequel story to the book I'm working on, set in the Steampunk era of Juno City. Once that idea took root, another piece my universe fell into place. I'm continuously amazed by what an organic process writing can be, especially when you're working within your own newly created universe. It's like discovering history books about places you never knew existed. Pretty damn awesome.

Here then is a small introduction from that story.

When the Starfarers came—first came fear, of course. They were different; how they thought, the tools they used, what they ate. Their craft specs completely boggled our scientists, who were used to the noisy airships that hovered in the air above the city. In the end, our differences were too great. We scared them; they made us suspicious. We endured one another for seventy odd years before they left. One morning we woke up and they were gone, leaving behind a lot of tecc and a lot of junk. Some say that's the reason the Aldermen first came. There were plenty of conspiracy theories about where they had come from, that they were in fact Starfarers that had stayed behind, hoping to amass and one day take over the planet. No one really knew. But the tecc was what the Aldermen loved. They did nothing to hide their inclination to the strange, foreign science. Steam meant nothing to them.

Wherever the Aldermen came from, they were here and didn’t look like leaving. Soon the scales will tip. You can feel it in the air, an unspoken balancing act of dread and action. There are riots and violence, everywhere things burn. Cycles; these things have happened before. The prophets say the city is cursed. And behind the smoke that seems to rise perpetually from its ten rings, the stronghold of the Spider Queen cowers behind walls that no longer keep anything out, but simply delay the inevitable. The Queen—she has gone mad. Thrown us all from her bed, her silken web. She has poisoned herself up there, locked away, haunting the dark halls of her fortress and not even dead yet.

She will die, eventually. And so will we. But the city will live again. Not even the desert of aeons has managed to permanently swallow its great walls. A new name will find it. Perhaps the Aldermen will succeed. Until then there is life here still, what little of it refuses to back down to the whims of an insane ruler. Before history ends and begins again there is time still for a story or two to be told.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Alex Gets Her Own Facebook Page

The protagonist of my novel in progress, Alex Strickland, now has her own Facebook page.

There is also a Wordpress blog dedicated exclusively to the novel in progress called Strickland Diaries. Head on over to read more about characters, places, guilds and music. Oh, there are pictures, too. Updated continuously.

Protestant Guilt And Shifting Landscapes

Those are but two of the cool topics
I recently talked about the World SF Blog
in a short piece about the influence of
background and environment on writing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Talking To LOTL About Periphery

I recently did an interview for Australian magazine
Lesbians On The Loose, talking about Periphery and
the stories published in this Lambda Award shortlisted
queer SF anthology. (Click pic for bigger resolution)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Getting Ranty Pays Off

Sometimes it helps to go on TILT.

As noted in the rant-fest of an entry below this one... The day after said rant was posted, I emailed a very nice email to said lecturer explaining my position and why I thought certain of her comments had disadvantaged my grade. Result? Lecturer remarked essay and bumped grade from a B+ to an A-

Her email in response stating that she appreciated my commitment to the subject was nice. I had no intentions for feeling vindicated, just to make sense.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Learn To Recognise Good Data When You See It: A Rant In No Particular Parts

It's been hard at times, but for three years I've kept my mouth shut. About what, you ask? Well, most of the time Stephen King (because the man can be a joy to quote). But on the whole—genre fiction.
  • Context: University. Double major—English Literature and Religious Studies.

In three years, I have never raised contentions about either a grade I was given or the content of an essay. Until today. Today, while I tried not to froth at the mouth and head-butt the pillars of academia, I lost my pip. I lost it quietly, because I still had lectures to attend, but still enough to write down a mini rant. And I rarely rant. Today, then, must be a rare day.

  • Point of contention: Quoting Stephen King as an expert in the field of writing.

So I'm writing this nifty little essay for my Religious Studies paper "Myth And Ritual". In said paper, I propose to put forth the notion that the act of writing is a ritual comparable to that practised within ancient Shamanic traditions. I got all my quotes and lovelies for the shamanism theory down, no biggie. During the course of this little essay, I manage to quote both Clive Barker and Stephen King. [if you're curious, the quotes are: "I work to loud music—hard rock stuff like AC/DC… Metallica… but for me the music is just another way of shutting the door. It keeps the mundane world out.(KING); "I think novelists go out into a space that is essentially a psychic space… report back and say 'That's what I saw' (BARKER)].

Notes in the margin, how we love them. So on the page where I offer up the quote from King, Mr Pet Cemetery's name is circled, and in the margin next to it, the following note: GOOD DATA ARE NEEDED.

Excuse me, what? That's funny. Because when I was writing this essay, I thought the best possible "data" you could get when it comes to what goes on during the creative writing process would be to quote a fucking best-selling writer. Now, it is interesting to notice that, on the very next page, Mr Clive has no angry circle around his name, and there is no mention of any GOOD DATA. Two things: 1)either the marker got sick of telling me to offer up GOOD DATA, or said marker didn’t recognise the name of Mr Clive, therefore having no clue that he wrote the same nonsensical, genre troll-trash as Mr King.

This is not the first time this issue has come up and I am sure you are all familiar with the biased opinions some academics hold against genre work. Yes, I know that in the academic field we like to have a nice theory from some third party who has, in numerous cases, never experienced exactly what it is they are theorising about. That's a good and a bad thing; good because it allows for a sense of distance and objectivity; bad because without experiencing something, really, can you ever know what the fuck you are talking about? Should academics not by now begin to realise that they can potentially benefit an enormous amount from people who are actually touching the very heart of what they themselves are working so hard at understanding?

I should perhaps mention that, said marker have on many an occasion displayed public disapproval verging on disrespect for Carl Jung's theories, many of which have an extremely close relationship to topics such as the imagination, the subconscious and the unconscious, human attributes that I believe are highly undervalued and underrated when it comes to understanding and interpreting not only literature, but us little Homo Sapiens as a whole. But then, those things are not concrete; they can't be put under a microscope and mapped, so fuck 'em. They mean nothing.

I'm not ranting because I want a better grade. But just once, I'd like you to recognise that, when it comes to fiction--writing it, knowing it, living it, understanding it--Stephen King and any other seasoned writer has something valid to say. And you can take it as "data".

Final comments on the essay? "Some good insights here; best when substantiated with some data." I gave you data. You just blithely ignored and refused to see it because you allowed what you think you know about a "hack" to make you think you know better.

End note: Not all academics seem to live inside a sheltered box of theory. Earlier this year, a different Religious Studies lecturer in the same faculty admitted to me that genres such as science fiction may very well be better equipped to explain metaphysical notions about ourselves and the world. Aces.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging Week

This week is New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging Week. It's all about creating an awareness of spec NZ writers, and getting us to connect with one another better. Which is kinda awesome.

I didn't know what I'd write about at first, because I do not know that many NZ spec writers. (Which is where the awareness thing comes in). I am also of the opinion that the NZ writing culture is largely "literary" as opposed to genre-orientated. (This notion was particularly well illustrated when, at a university writing workshop a guest speaker stated he "doesn't really understand why people write science-fiction… stories about robots from outer space".) Every time I see a lecturer with a copy of The Time Traveler's wife tucked under their arm I want to run up to them and bust them for reading SF.

I am not a New Zealander by birth. I'm South African. In August of this year (2009) I celebrated my fifth year in NZ. Sweet as, bro. I think the biggest influence NZ has had on my writing would be in terms of finding myself in a totally different landscape. I mean really: Africa—New Zealand. Bit of a difference. There's a wild desolateness about New Zealand that I love; it's…beautiful isolation. Particularly the South Island, where I lived for two years. It's not simply the fact that the towns are small and few and far between. To an extent it is also the physical location of the two islands on the planet. It's just a bit off to the side.

Then there is the interweaving of early and fairly new cultures, the notion of which creates a plethora of ideas and possibilities in any fertile writing mind once you examine them within a speculative fiction framework. How will future societies manage cultural differences? Will the differences matter? Will the differences be essential? Of course, Africa also have these issues and others but with New Zealand the scope is smaller, perhaps not so completely overwhelming. The spotlight is all the more vivid, and I think provides a unique opportunity for the writer to feel immersed in what he/she is writing about. One does not feel so completely overwhelmed by sheer space.

What else—oh, politics. I'm not as up to scratch with NZ politics yet. Even after five years, the culture shock remains. (Boy, does it ever). My lack of intimate knowledge offers up a certain measure of estrangement, and that in turn has made my writing stronger. NZ politics does not consume me with passion the same way that South African/African politics do; I can observe and be objective. Both these qualities have sharpened my observations in general, leading to—yes, you've guessed it—better writing.

So what am I trying to say? I guess…thank you, New Zealand. You are two small islands in the Pacific where I never in a million years thought I would go. You've given me insights and spectacular views. You've frustrated me and wooed me and wowed me and instilled in me a tremendous appreciation for lolly cake. You've helped shape me and thus changed the way I write forever.

Speculatively Yours

Lynne Jamneck

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Outer Alliance: Pride Day Post

As a member of the Outer Alliance, I advocate for queer speculative fiction and those who create, publish and support it, whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity. I make sure this is reflected in my actions and my work.

Yup, the first of September is pride day at The Outer Alliance. To celebrate, members will be posting short excerpts of their work. I've decided to post a tiny bit of the novel I'm currently writing. People ask me - "is it SF? Fantasy? Supernatural? Weird?" It's kinda all of those. It has gadgets. It has magic. It has... weird things. Weird people, getting into dark, deep trouble. Alternatively, they sit down and have tea. There are footnotes. It's kind of the global village on a bizarro scale.

Untitled: Excerpt (Novel In Progress)

She found the house on Custard Street without incident. It looked unremarkable. Olivia had expected something gaudier. The zealots must finally have learned the efficacy for flying their cockamamie ideas under the radar. Olivia opened the small white gate and walked up the path. The front door was made of steel; the first sign that those who lived inside had reason to fear for their safety. There was no bell. Olivia banged on the door with her fist.

"We don't want anything!" a voice yelled from inside.

"Open the door."

A hard laugh. "Whatever!"

"I have an appointment."

No answer.

"If you open the door—"

"Who are you?"

"Sarah Smith."

"Lying will get you no further than the porch."

She cursed under her breath. "Olivia Midnight."

Quiet. Olivia waited, already convinced that coming here had been a mistake. The sound of locks being turned held her back. The door opened to reveal a tall, gaunt-looking man in a grey suit. A pink tie set off brightly against his white shirt.

"Whatever brings you here, Harlequin?"

"I told you. I have an appointment with Levin."

The tall man frowned. "I don't see why Levin would want to talk to you." He looked past her, onto the street. The only immediate threat was a small kid on a tricycle. He scowled. "Come in before someone sees you."

The house was old. The fixtures all seemed antique. Not much evidence of computerised control panels. Manual light switches. A sweet smell lingered at the lower level of a more powerful musty odour.

"Stay here," the tall man instructed her gruffly. "And keep your magic in your pockets. None of that Abracadabra bullshit. This place will spike like an irregular heartbeat if anyone's monitoring the area."

He turned and disappeared down a dark hallway. Olivia felt antagonised for having to explain herself. She was used to getting her way easily. And yet… In the past her alliances had always seemed so strong, so clear-cut. When she'd still had a relationship with her father. When there had still been the hope of reconciliation between their differences of opinion. What would he think of her if he knew the things she'd done? Olivia refused to be swayed by her conscience. Not now. She had already risked too much. The idea that all of that had been in vain was unbearable.

While she waited, Olivia noticed the hodgepodge of framed photographs hanging on the yellowed walls. They were old. Most were black and white, a few in colour. Some had been faded by the sun in previous places they had occupied. Olivia wondered if they all belonged to Levin. She knew practically nothing about him. She had accepted his invitation on instinct.

Footsteps approached. The gaunt man paused in the shadows of the darkened hallway. A curious frown creased his forehead. "This way." Olivia followed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

2012 - Showstopper

It's getting closer and the crazies will from now on only continue to come out of the proverbial woodwork. When Jen and I went to see District 9, we saw the trailer for 2012. The first thing I thought (excluding "whoa, CG erection") was "Damn it to hell, they could have made such an interesting movie instead!" Btw, can you imagine what the streets are going to look like on December 21, 2012? On the plus side, everyone will save money on buying Christmas gifts because, you know, we won't be around.


The latest 2012 site that I managed to stumble upon is called The Institute of Human Community. This is some pretty heavy viral marketing for the Roland Emmerich film 2012, due in theaters soon. It's nifty, but it will probably spawn several "real" websites in the coming months that will endeavor to really do what the IHC proposes. Fun.

Among the fun things you can find on the ICH website include:

  • A survivor lottery (not with Jeff Probst, but come to think of it, Survivor: Armageddon has a cool ring to it)
  • An election to choose the leader of the Post-2012 World (Now you too can be The One)
  • A Subterranean city planned in Antarctica (where we will run into the Old Ones and be eaten)
What will you be doing on 21 December, 2012?

Thursday, August 27, 2009


This is what 10pm brainstorming looks like

(click image for larger resolution)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Outer Alliance

Make sure you check out The Outer Alliance, a blog that functions on three levels: education, support, and celebration of LGBT contributions in SF/F writing.

Who can join?

Anyone who supports the community’s positions, beliefs and is committed to engaging in intelligent discussion about LGBT issues in SF/F.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


It's been a long day in front of the laptop. I accidentally started following my own blog. If anyone can tell me how to get rid of myself, I'd be grateful.

Writing And Shamanism

Just finished a university essay on the writer as modern day shaman. Very enjoyable. Pity it was so short. I've grown used to writing longer papers!

Who's your shaman?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Footnotes In Fiction

The book I'm writing has footnotes.

The reason I'm using them is because I've found that it's the best way to convey certain bits of information, whereas if I did it in text it might come across as info dumps. There is another reason, too. The footnotes are a mixture of fact and fiction, and contributes a sense of reality to many of the metaphysical concepts in the books, helping (I feel) to ground it.

How do you feel, as readers, about the combination of the two. I'd be curious to know. It won't stop me using them, though :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Much Writing and Tolkien Philology

Back at university for term 2. Only a Philosophy and Religious Studies paper this time round. No more English untill the research paper over summer term.

I've been getting up early for the last week and am happy to say that I've written 6 000 words in the last 7 days. Whoohoo!

I've a small pet side-research-thingy.

For those who have read Lord of The Rings, I'm researching the possible origins of Tolkien's word 'Riddermark'. If you happen to be a philologist, hey-ho! Though Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in South Africa (my birthplace, woot for the Rainbow Nation!), I'm not sure if he himself spoke Afrikaans, although I'm pretty sure he would have heard the language since the Free State Province (then the Orange Free State), certainly at the time, would have been an Afrikaans stronghold.

The word "ridder" in
Afrikaans means "knight", or more generally, a horse rider. This would fit very well with 'Riddermark', as it is the area of Middle Earth populated by the Rohirrim, famed for their love of horses. The word "ridder" can more generally be applied to Germanic languages, such as Dutch and German. But I have recently become interested in the potential influence that the South African/African landscape could have had on Tolkien's mythologies.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Highlights and Pitfalls of Anthology Editing

I recently blogged on Ripping Ozzie Reads about the highs and lows of putting together a short story anthology, and the first part is now up on their blog HERE.

You can also download a free copy of my short story "Outside The Box" (short listed this year for the Sir Julius Vogel Award) on ROR's Visiting Author's page HERE

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dreams. Dreams? Dreams!

Yes, I'm one of those annoying people who believe we dream what we dream for specific reasons. Why? I have no idea. An interesting article at Scientific American addresses some of the more popular theories. I'm a great admirer of Jung, and most of my own theories tend to relate to his archetypes. I'd be very keen to hear some of your own ideas about dreaming, no matter how far-out they may seem...In fact, the weirder, the more likely that they're true.

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Michael Jackson

What I've noticed most online today is the split between comments of shock and grief against those of derision and making jokes about someone who has just died. The former consists mostly of the generation that grew up with Jackson's music as part of the cultural landscape, while the latter consists primarily of a younger generation. It's a complicated issue, and I won't get into it because there is no way you can discuss a complicated issue like this online. But really, isn't it better to feel compassion than to judge?

I will say that I'm quite flabbergasted at the lack of compassion, regardless of personal opinion. In hindsight, I shouldn't be surprised. Besides, It's easy to make shitty and hurtful anonymous comments online.

That Michael Jackson was a creative genius who forever changed the landscape of popular music remains undisputed. For those who spent their formative years listening to his music, the earthquake that was Thriller at the time of its release, this is a loss that cuts deep. The associations of childhood are powerful. They shape us in ways we are not even aware of and become the mythical landscapes of the personal. I understand where the shock comes from.

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yes Please!

I don't know about you but I certainly can do with a few cocaine drops before and after visiting the dentist.

<<--- Or even better

Saturday, June 20, 2009

So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction Re-Released!

So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction (originally published by Haworth Positronic Press) has just been re-released by Lethe Press.

The anthology features my short story "How Laura Left a Rotten Apple and Came Not to Regret the Cold of the Yukon", as well as contributions by Holly Black, Delia Sherman, Christopher Barzak, Melissa Scott, Laurie J. Marks and Eugie Foster.

Buy it from:

Lethe Press

Barnes and Noble

Giovanni's Room

Kindle Edition

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bilbo, Cram and Me

I recently started taking new medication and on the first day it made me feel quite spacey, thus I made the informed decision to not operate heavy machinery and instead retired to bed with The Hobbit, which I just finished re-reading.

Half an hour later, I'm reading about Bilbo and the dwarves starving of hunger (again), and they retire by the side of the mountain to eat something. All of a sudden the meds take a turn for the unexpected and I find myself starving, too. So I run to the cupboard, which is filled with all kinds of sugary and salty goodness, but my eyes see only one thing: a half eaten box of old cracked pepper wheat crackers.

It's all I want.

I grab a few and get back in bed, pick up my book and start reading while I nibble on an old-ish cracker. I'm telling you: I felt like I was there, on the mountain, like I could feel the wind blowing off the Lonely Mountain and feel the presence of Smaug, and that my cracker really was the same thing as the cram Bilbo and Co. were crunching on. I felt, for a moment, like was in Middle Earth. That, kids, is what the real world can never do for you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Smoking: Yes? No?

Have you noticed that more and more television shows and movies are slowly starting to show people smoking again? (Get the Caprica DVD-they light 'em up almost from the very beginning) This delights me, for several reasons:

  • Most important: from my writer's perspective, it highlights the character with a certain brushstroke; they do what they want, they enjoy a guilty pleasure and (maybe) they take responsibility for their actions.

  • From a social perspective: I'm so fucking sick of all this PC crap around tobacco and smoking, honestly, it drives me batshit-crazy. Governments seem intent on taking every last bit of self-control and responsibility away from people. (The better to control them with, my dear) And if you started smoking within the last 25 (really, 30) years and get cancer related to your habit, for the love of god, DO NOT sue a tobacco manufacturer. Have the balls to accept that you did it to yourself.

I'm an ex-smoker who quit about two years ago. I can still smoke a cigarette, even two when someone offers me one on a social occasion, go home and not have a craving to buy a pack from the dairy ten steps down the road. I don't even consider myself to have the best self-control in the world, but even heroin addicts have said that smoking can be harder to kick than their junk habit.

I usually rant in the privacy of my own home. What set me off this morning?


In my view, this is yet another instance of trying to hide real life from children. What are your thoughts? Should there be no display of anyone smoking anywhere or should we just chill the frak out and let kids grow up, be informed, make their own decisions, and live with the consequences?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Strickland Diaries Soundtrack Vol. 1.1

The first part of the soundtrack for the first book in the Strickland Diaries series has just fallen into place. Music informs how and what I write to a great extent; I still can't really explain it properly, but the two compliment one another in a way that makes the writing complete, what I want it to be.

I'd be curious to know what kind of atmosphere/feelings transpire for someone else who listens to this without having read any of the book. So if you're keen to have a go, email me (the address in this blog's Complete Bio section) and I will give you some more details.

Track List (Listen in given order) :

Enjoy The Silence (Intro)
Haunted - (Olivia)
Inertia Creeps (Where Are We?)
Butterfly On A Wheel (Storm Coming)
Magic (Juno City)
Danger! (High Voltage) (Pandaemonium)
Zwara (The Monarch)
Black Cat Bone (Alex)
Love Kills (Leto)
Magic (Truth Reveals Itself)
Confide In Me (Temptation)
Dirty Deeds (How Things Are)
Dakota (Leaving)
Shape Of My Heart (Cis)
Stand Back (Nothing And Everything)
All Is Full Of Love (End, Beginning)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The New Camera Is Nice!

Jen bought a new camera recently, effectively replacing my old 2.5 megapixel Sony with an 8. I'm looking forward to break when I have time to much around with it some more. Maybe I can even go back to selling some shots again.

<--- (Click for bigger version)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Day Before You Came

I'm a huge ABBA fan. My first memories of the band date back to when I was about ten or eleven, going on holiday with my parents, two brothers and sister, driving up all the way to the Kruger National Park, with my dad periodically popping in their The Singles tape. Sweden's greatest export filling the kombi as the Karoo whisked past outside.

Picking a favourite song is hard, but The Day Before You Came always just edges out above the others. Purportedly the last song ABBA ever recorded, and legend has it that Agnetha sang the lyric track in the studio with the lights off; everyone apparently knew "this was the end". So I guess that's why I like it.
It's somber and sad.

Traditionally supposed to be a song about the routine life of a woman before she met the love of her life, or alternatively, looking back at her life after her lover has left and gone.


I have always found the alternatively speculated meaning much more interesting; that the lyrics are in fact about the last day in the life of the speaker before her death, and that the "you" in question is the Grim Reaper. It's funny how many good songs become really good poems when you remove the musical background; not that they're not when you don't, it's just looking at it from a different perspective, a different context.

I find the second to last lyric the most poignant of all:

"And rattling on the roof I must have heard the sound of rain"

Having sat through several poetry classes at university I can tell you that you can throw several books at that one line alone and it will keep you busy for a while.

Of course, the simple fact that it was the last song ABBA ever recorded is poignant enough. In that sense, it's about the death of a life already.

The Day Before You Came
- ABBA (Lyrics)

Friday, May 8, 2009

And This Is Why I Don't Live In Australia

...Because towns get invaded by giant spiders...

If that wasn't enough, check out the other kinds of eight-legged beasts found in Oz.

(New Zealand has ONE spider that can cause fatalities. ONE. The Katipo, and generally, they prefer moist areas like beaches.)

If arachnids make you tremble, hold on to the table/bed you're sitting at and click at your own risk. There are no pictures with this post because I don't intend to get a heart attack each time I open my own blog, thank you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


A response to John Minto's article on Scoop about South Africa becoming a failed state:

Too bad John Minto doesn't have a fact checker - the ANC didn't win a two thirds majority.

I also think terms like "failed state" is a tad harsh for someone to use who has only been in South Africa
for 2 weeks in his life-ever-and is in his own words a "critical observer". Yes, the government is corrupt. The ANC is making money off the suffering of their own people for the sake of capital gain, the very people they so emphatically promised a better future with the abolishment of Apartheid. But that's the government you are talking about, Mr Minto, not South Africa as a whole. In this year's election, the ANC did not win their expected 2-thirds majority, showing that there is indeed a shift in thinking when it comes to public opinion.

People with deeply ingrained loyalties, who have been oppressed for years, and who are scared of the alternatives are not going to change sides overnight. How long has it been, fifteen years since the first democratic elections? That's a very short time. SA is a nation still very much broken by it's past and stunned by the changes that have taken place in such a short time. That said, I'd hardly call what has happened there in the past 20 years a "failure".

I think Mr Minto should be careful about making statements such as these on the basis of a two week visit and observation from a distance. After all, when apartheid was abolished, how many people assumed that the country would be plunged into a state of chaos? T
he psychology of a nation runs much deeper than the surface observations of a political activist. Corruption runs deep in all governments, but that does not automatically mean that a state is destined for imminent collapse.

I have great respect for activists; how can I not, given my background? But when their subjective statements begin to cloud what is supposed to be objective reporting, I get antsy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Klaatu Barada Nikto!

I watched the remake of the classic SF film The Day The Earth Stood Still
and enjoyed it. I don't particularly understand why people complain about Keanu being "wooden" in the role, because frankly, if I had to walk around in a body I wasn't used to I'd be feeling a bit stiff too.

By the time the end credits rolled I was left with several questions, of course.

  • Why are we so afraid of everything that is foreign to us?
  • Why do we always consider violence the most appropriate action?
  • Why do we think everything/everyone is out to harm us?
  • Why won't the secretary of defence follow her own mind when she knows the president is clearly taking the wrong approach? ("Bomb that f**er"!)
There are so many interpretations for those questions, very, very interesting ones. But I think the most important question to ask is -- Can we really change? Will we be able to stop everything, to turn things around? I'm not sure. The idealist in me keeps getting beaten down but dammit, the bitch keeps getting back up to lick her wounds. I want to believe that we can change. I'm a firm believer in the "big things start small philosophy". It's just that the pessimist in me keeps pointing out the fact that species are dying off at an alarming rate (really, the word "alarming" isn't nearly half alarming enough anymore) while the foremost things on our minds are whether Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will get divorced soon. Particularly troublesome is the notion that those in powerful positions will not disregard the orders of those to whom they answer, despite knowing that catastrophe will ensue. (Especially if it's Kathy Bates. I mean, this is the woman who immortalised Annie Wilkes!).

Begs the question: What
will be our precipice?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kill Bill Rocks

That's both volumes, though Vol. 1 just beats 2 by a hair's breath. Just. Stylistically, it's beautiful. The colour and lighting takes my breath away every time I see it. Favourite scene? O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth) and Beatrix Kiddo (The Bride) squaring off in the snow outside The House of Blue Leaves to the tune of Santa Esmeralda's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". Tarantino has seldom been that good before or after.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Remake Report

So Hollywood's been remaking all these horror movies of late (and others, but that's not relevant to my gripe), and the latest to be put through the remake ringer is A Nightmare on Elm Street. The first instalment in this series scared the shit out of me (I was thirteen); not particularly all the gore and violence, but the psychological freak-fest of Freddy Krueger coming to get you when you fall asleep. Cause really, you can try and stay up for as long as you can, but eventually...

Even though I no longer watch horror movies, I was kind of "ah jeez" when the remake robot announced itself again with this latest pick. The terrifying premise of this film asserts the originality of the plot (something lacking in most films, and especially in the horror genre), and my immediate reaction was "Oh no, they're gonna fuck it up."

Now why would I care if I have no intention whatsoever of seeing the film? Simple. Because I believe in the integrity of original concepts and the underlying metaphors they carry. For those who haven't seen the original, I'm not going to go into too much detail, but the first sign that they're missing the pot already is in that they have replaced the original Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) with the newly cast Rooney Mara who, according to will be "more of an outsider goth girl" as opposed to Langenkamp's "all-American sweetheart".

Well. Anybody else see a huge underlying difference between turning the vanquisher of a child molester from a suburban, blonde-girl-next-door into an outsider goth-kid? Oh wait - does that make it cooler?

The blonde-girl-next-door: innocence, both of self and of the world at large, derived mostly from blonde, white-wearing gothic tropes locked up in castles with scary monsters

The goth-girl-outsider: not so much innocence as an inference of experience and knowledge about the world, found mostly in stories where the heroine already knows what she has to do but comes to her task reluctantly.

I'm making things terribly simplistic here of course, but I'm not going to write an essay about it... But does anyone else see how these different representations of the heroine undermines the event of Nancy eventually overcoming Freddy? In the original, Nancy is a symbol of uncorrupted innocence who gains experience and grows through her trials with Krueger. If the remake posits a character who already (by inference) possess these qualities, will the audience still care as much about her journey the second time around? Will the impact of her actions deliver the same emotional punch? Am I reading too much into what is essentially a two-hour movie of schlock entertainment?

Well, see, my position is this: we go to see movies for very specific reasons, and some of those reasons we may not even be aware of. Symbols and metaphors, when used well, work that way. I can't help but think that, by making Nancy a hip goth-chick, the story is trying to infer that our modern heroines are NOT afraid, are NOT innocent, that we know EVERYTHING right from the start and all we need is a little kick up the backside to make us do the right thing.

Are we that scared? Do we refuse to believe anymore that we are sometimes the innocents who have to face the Monster with no experience, no guns, no goth-attitude? Because that's a lot of bullshitting in the space of two hours.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Six Shooter: Brenda Cooper

The first installment in a series of short interviews I'm doing for Suite101 is now up. The lovely Brenda Cooper gives six answers to six questions about among others favourite books and which fictional character she would like to be for a day.

Six Shooter: Brenda Cooper

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vote, My Beloved Country

It's national voting day in South Africa. I had the chance to cast my vote here in Wellington, on the other side of the world, a week ago. I miss the vibrancy and excitement of the continent, the sense of (slow) change, but change nonetheless. The Rainbow Nation will always be my home. I miss it. But things need to change.

"Because of the role the ANC has played in the struggle, and in the first years of our freedom, most people would have tended to vote ANC...Now, it is no longer quite so straightforward. People are asking questions, which is a good thing, I mean, that is what a democracy is." - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

(Source - BBC News)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lyrics I Love

"That I would be loved even when I numb myself
That I would be good even when I am overwhelmed

That I would be loved even when I was fuming

That I would be good even if I was clingy

That I would be good even if I lost sanity"

That I Would Be Good - Alanis Morissette

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Get Off It.

Christ - I am so over people bashing Dan Brown's books. Right, so he's not Nietzsche, but really, do we need another one of those?

He may not be the world's greatest writer, but damn, he can make you turn a page. He tells a good story. And the cherry on top is that he makes people engage in debate on important topics. Who wouldn't want to see the Vatican get blown up? I kid. But seriously, I think conspiracy theories serve as a means of puzzling over political and religious intricacies, engage us in speculative thinking, because sometimes you need a little torrid imagination to shovel your way through the shit and get to the proper answer. The reason why people roll their eyes when they meet someone who takes conspiracy theories just a little bit serious is because the theories go against institutional analysis. Formal rules and law. God forbid anyone should think that they might be wrong.

Mr Brown - you can write me another Langdon any time. I can't wait for The Lost Symbol and the inevitable controversy that will follow. But Blake was right - standing water breeds nothing but poison. Things need to move. And Dan Brown sure does that.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Say, This Looks Cool...


Donoogle, the donation Google, is a search engine with a difference, we donate our profits to charity. Every time you do a search on, we get paid a little (really little) bit of money. You choose from one of our charities & we will give a big chunk of that little bit of money to that charity.


Friday, April 17, 2009

For Writers Who Like To Listen To Score While Writing...

... I found a great radio station on Live365 called ScifiRadio. They play film scores from a wide variety of sf and genre films, with the odd dialogue clip thrown in to bring out the geek fangirl/guy in you. Great stuff! My new favourite. Best of all -- it's totally free.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Amazon Failed. Now What?

Ok. So. Amazon failed. For whatever reason, when they removed the ratings for GLBT and other "adult" titles, they did authors and publishers a huge disservice. Themselves, too. Apparently, Amazon has already lost a cool $80 mill over this fiasco.

Now what?

Will you stop supporting them? Buy those hard to get books from small dealers who have to order them from Timbuktu (or straight from the publisher on the other side of the world if you're lucky)? Boycott totally and utterly the Giant That Is Amazon?

Personally, I think that's the wrong approach. All that is likely to do is take away from GLBT authors and presses revenue that no doubt make up a very large part of their sales. Whether we like it or not, Amazon means easy access for many folk who live far away from the nearest decent bookstore. Even here, where I am in the capital of New Zealand (Wellington), books are extremely expensive. It's cheaper for me to order a book via Amazon than to buy one locally, even with postage included. If a local shop does not have it and have to order it, it is likely to cost me almost double. (I have eclectic tastes). So in my case, if I don’t buy my books from Amazon, I'm not buying them at all. And all that does is hurt the author financially.

I'm the first one to shout and scream about multinationals. But few things in life are black and white, and if we are really honest with ourselves, the damn grey whiff and wafts in everywhere. Yes, Amazon should have apologised by now, preferably on the home page of their website. Yes, they should accept responsibility. Yes, the GLBT community (and everyone else who rightfully did so) should have reacted the way they did and cause Twitter to be the Twit-Spawn in everyone's side. (I'm a Twit, too). But should we be condemning anything—anyone—before we have all the evidence? Some of the evidence?

Granted, we will probably never know what really happened. But to throw out Amazon like the proverbial baby with the bathwater would be a mistake that could potentially end up hurting GLBT writers—all writers—even further.

My two cents.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Got Nostalgic. Just For A Moment.

Mentioning Alice Pieszecki in the previous post made me think about The L Word, and that really, there was only one good thing about that show. Alice's Chart.

And Dana. And The Soup Chef.

Amazon Strips "Adult" Books Of Sales Ratings

In a bizarre move, Amazon has stripped books that they classify as "adult" from their sales ratings, including work by Alan Moore and -- here's the kicker -- ALL GLBT titles. This is censorship out and out, and we should definitely not let them get away with it.

"In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature."

I'm curious as to what prompted Amazon to do this; their reasons above doesn't convince me. Surely they wouldn't have done so out of their own accord, as it hurts their sales. Alan Moore for instance, is huge, and by making people potentially not find his books earns them less money.) They must have received pressure from somewhere...


PS: Books about Hitler still have rankings. But it probably contains only violence, not sex. And books such as I Love Female Orgasm and PC games like Grand Theft Auto still have their ratings. Alice Pieszecki used to say: "What the fuck!"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eighties Grit

Is it just me or is one of the reasons for eighties movies being so enjoyable the fact that they look real in comparison with current films? Like buildings. They look… solid. And cars look… solid. Maybe it has something to do with the film being used but it seems like they slap filters on everything nowadays.

Or maybe the eighties were just the Best.Decade.Ever.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Break! Break! Break! Mid-term Break!

A mid-term break has never as welcome as this one. From now untill April 27 I am officially on university-holiday! Yay! That means no classes, no getting up early to catch the bus and that I can have a little more time for writing. Fiction, that is. But before I stop talking about school - I have posted a link to Youtube of a rendition in Arabic of the 99 names of God/Allah. The lecturer for one of my Religious Studies papers played this in class this week (for a section on the Qur'an and the Islamic point of view of whether God could have a body). Hook it up to some good speakers if you can. I must admit, it was wonderful to hear at high volume on those kitted systems the lecture theatres have. I'm privileged, and I don't think I realise this often enough. I get to learn about all these things that excite and interest me and it gives me an informed view of a world that is so damn complex we will probably never understand it.

Al-Asma-ul-Husna (99 Names of Allah/God)

My brain is tired, though, and I have decided to do nothing but watch 80's movies for the next two to three days. It's a failsafe strategy that never fails to work. Also, the temperature has decided to drop in the last few days, so I won't need much persuasion that I'm not supposed to leave the bed. I have two cats who will keep me warm - Jen is away in Auckland until Sunday morning. I struggle to shut off though, and though I handed in two essays within the space of a week from one another I am already thinking of my next topics due in two months. I will have to spend some time of the break studying William Wordsworth's The Prelude, which is fantastically long, but splendidly awesome. The man could write, ok?

I have been making notes in my head obsessively for book one of the Strickland Diaries and I need to get them out. It's time I start actually having a notebook. Close-by and always.

What am I watching tonight... The Spy Who Loved Me! Roger Moore - man, that guy - Best Bond ever. I'm sorry, but neither Brosnan nor Craig stands a chance. As for Sean Connery, he'll always be Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez to me.

"You have the manners of a goat and you smell like a dung-heap. And you've no knowledge whatsoever of your potential. Now, get out!"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are Trailer

So, if the trailer made me go teary, what the hell is seeing the whole movie going to do to me?

Where The Wild Things Are Trailer

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ATTENTION: If You Have Read "The Hellbound Heart" --

I'm researching a paper on Clive Barker's novella (for a Religious Studies paper "The Body In Religion") and was hoping that some of you have read the novella, or knows someone who has. The deadline is fairly close, and I know I'm cutting it close, but....
If you have read it, I'd be very pleased if you could mention whether anything about the story struck you in a religious context... Cenobites, Frank's devotion to pleasure-seeking, the ritualistic way in which he reshapes his body... If anything struck you as having religious significance, I would absoloutely love to hear it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Best USB's Ever

Can I Has? Please?

10 weird USB Drives.

What would you like to have converted to a USB drive?