Godot by coffeem

It's the End of the (Fringe) World As We Know It...

I didn't get to the Fringe World Awards because I was volunteering at another venue at the time, which is also the reason I saw almost none of the shows that won said awards (I did see the first few minutes of Yummy Deluxe at the end of a shift, but bailed because of the stage smoke). I'm particularly sorry to have missed multiple award winner YUCK Circus, which other volunteers enthused about, as well as Orpheus, which also received great reviews. But I did see 36 other shows, only one of which I regret (and which I'd regret even more if I'd paid), so here are my personal 2019 Fringe World Awards.

Best Experience Overall: A Midnight Visit
Cabaret Award: La Soiree 2019
Circus Award: La Soiree 2019
Comedy Award: Kate Smurthwaite
Theatre Award: Woman of the Hour
Children's Event Award: 450 Years
Best Male Comedian: Martin Mor Is Blocked
Best Magic Act: Kevin Quantum: Vanishing Point
Best Surprise: Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale's Feelgood Factory (I've never seen a hypnotist show before, and enjoyed it more than I expected)

Other shows good enough that I'm hoping to see the performers' back again next year: Baby Got Back: Size Queens; Captain Spaceship: Maiden Voyage; Trash Test Dummies; Dr Felicity Rickshaw's Celebrity Sex Party; Scotland!; SPIT and Elizabeth Davie - Super Woman Money Program.
greenpeace bp logo 2

SFTV 101

SFTV 101: 1952 to 1980

For anyone interested in the history of science fiction, fantasy and horror on television, here is a list of episodes recommended as an introduction to the most significant series of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Feel free to use it to plan a video stream at an sf convention, a class on science fiction, or just a marathon to satisfy your own curiosity.

Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century

The Twilight Zone: ‘The Monsters are Due on Maple Street’, ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’, ‘To Serve Man’.

Doctor Who: ‘The Pilot’ *

The Outer Limits: ‘The Zanti Misfits’

Jonny Quest: ‘The Robot Spy’

The Addams Family: ‘The Addams Family meets a Beatnik’

Lost in Space: ‘Island in the Sky’

Star Trek: ‘Balance of Terror’, ‘Errand of Mercy’

The Avengers: ‘Return of the Cybernauts’

The Prisoner: ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’, ‘Hammer Into Anvil’

Doomwatch: ‘The Plastic Eater’

The Night Gallery: Pilot episode

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: ‘The Heart of New York’

Star Trek: The Animated Series: ‘Yesteryear’

UFO: ‘A Question of Priorities’

Kolchak, The Night Stalker: ‘Horror in the Heights’

Land of the Lost: ‘The Stranger’

The Six Million Dollar Man: ‘The Last Kamikaze’

The Survivors: ‘Law and Order’

Wonder Woman: ‘Spaced Out’

The Tomorrow People: ‘Hitler’s Last Secret’

Planet of the Apes: ‘The Trap’

Sapphire and Steel: ‘Assignment 1’, episode 1

The Incredible Hulk: ‘Married’

Battlestar Galactica: ‘Saga of a Star World’

The Omega Factor: ‘Visitations’

Salvage (pilot)

Blake’s 7: ‘Orac’

Collapse )
Bathrobe, by chaosmanor


Ok, time for me to get serious about self-publishing some e-books.

I need a cover for my crime novel Immunity: thinking of a photo of a petri dish (probably with a germ culture) on a black background with some handgun ammunition (9mm parabellum, by preference). Anyone able to help, please let me know, and we can talk payment.

Also, I'm thinking of compiling a collection of my short stories - mostly reprints of my sf and fantasy, with a few horror stories that I've written since my collection Never Seen by Waking Eyes was published, and a couple of new works. That comes to 42 pieces and 193k words, so I may split it into two volumes. Working title is Mass, Strangeness, Charm and Spin. I'll post a list of the stories shortly, and am interested any feedback on how to organize them.


Movie Quotes Acrostic

Partly to let me know whether anyone still reads my dw or lj accounts, but mostly just for fun, a collection of movie quotes. Guess the titles: the first letter of each will spell out another movie title.

1 “Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril.”

2 “Your work is puerile and under-dramatized. You lack any sense of structure, character and the Aristotelian unities.” 

3 “It’s a good job I’m in the Navy and you’re in the Army.”

4 “But I didn't. I only knew that you'd know that I knew. Did you know THAT?” 

5 “I thought maybe we could hang out, you know, do some stuff back home like... like regular stuff, get to know each other a little bit better, and *then* I'd see you pee.” 

6 “Well, at least we can all agree the third one’s always the worst.”

7 “You’re darn right I am. And you should have caught me before my operation!”

8 “I heard that one myself, Bob. Hell, I even thought I was dead 'til I found out it was just that I was in Nebraska.” 

9 “As it turns out, he really was being given daily doses of LSD for 11 years.” 

10 “Abby someone. Abby who?”

11 “Dick, I’m very disappointed.”

12 “Sir, I accept your general rule, that every poet is a fool, but you yourself may serve to show it, that every fool is not a poet.” 

13 “Do you suppose Stanley Kubrick ever gets depressed?”

14 “Sal, Wyoming's not a country.” 

greenpeace bp logo 2

My predictions for this week in US politics

Wayne LaPierre will blame the audience at the concert in Vegas for not carrying high-powered sniper rifles. A congressman voting to allow everyone to buy silencers will say that if Paddock had used a silencer, people would have been able to listen to at least one more song before evacuating. And the President will meet with the families of the victims, then fire one of his staff because the crowd was too small.


The future of Australian higher education

From GetUp!

"The Turnbull Government is inviting students, parents, employers, higher education providers and peak bodies to consult on its proposed changes to higher education – including slashing federal funding and fee deregulation for flagship courses.

"Let's leave no doubt in the committee's mind what the community thinks about the Coalition's privatisation agenda for public education. Will you make a submission before the deadline this coming Monday 25 July?"

I have written the following email, but not yet pressed send. I'm hoping it's sufficiently polite as well as adequately forceful. While I doubt submissions that aren't accompanied by large sums of money will sway anyone on the committee, Feedback would be appreciated - and please, if you care about this issue, please follow the link above and make a submission of your own by Monday. Thank you.


To the members of the Government Inquiry into Higher Education Funding,
I am a lecturer and tutor at the University of Western Australia and Murdoch University, and I have first hand experience of what has already been done to the universities by making them increasingly dependent on up-front fees. Classes are nearly twice the size they were a mere four years ago, and the number of tutorials per semester has been reduced, purely for budgetary reasons. Rather than pay tutors for the hours needed to mark twice as many assignments, assessment has been reduced from two assignments per semester to one - meaning that students no longer have a concrete indication of their progress in a course until the end of semester, a week before the exam. Tutorials are being replaced by lectures, meaning that students receive less individual attention. Administrative staff have been downsized, and the academic staff have had to shoulder the burden of the extra administrative work on top of the demands of teaching and grading the increased number of students. The current system is already unfair to both students and teaching staff, and the proposed short-sighted changes would make it far worse.
Australia's economy can not afford to rely on mining booms and the demand for its non-renewable resources. As automation reduces the need for human labour, leading to a decrease in job security and rising underemployment, this country will need a greater proportion of educated, innovative people to ensure our future.
Yours sincerely,
Stephen Dedman PhD
  • Current Music
    Leonard Cohen, "Closing Time"

Ratfan's Book Blog: North of the Dragonlands; by Stephen Dedman

Originally posted by ratfan at Book Blog: <i>North of the Dragonlands</i> by Stephen Dedman
This book is YA, probably fine for reasonably literate children from around 10 or so through teens, but also readable for an adult. It's very well and clearly written. On one level, Dragonlands is a fantasy novel where a civilization that has domesticated various kinds of dragons tries to take over the territory of another people. These people take slaves as just another valuable commodity for trade, which is how the main character comes into play. She’s a child from a primitive village who finds herself in the wrong place at about the worst possible time.

This is an alternate world to ours, a world where a small population of dinosaurs and pterosaurs survived in sub-Saharan Africa. When people came from Britain to colonise Africa, they domesticated the “dragons’ they found and created a new mythology based on the Dragon as god. The society of the Dragonlords is medieval in nature and there is a lot of ignorance about different races, leading to the belief that golden skinned people with epicanthic folds to their eyes are really elves who can do magic.

Although the young slave girl Zuri experiences some terrible events, the book faces these without dwelling on elements which would not be suitable for young readers. There are several strands of the story, each showing the point of view of characters crucial to events. The first is Zuri herself. The second is the Dragonlords King, and also his identical twin brother, who is in the uneviable position of being born second. That close to being King! It’s got to hurt. The third strand is the samurai Dhan, who has come seeking his son, taken as a slave by the Dragonlords.

These strands come together when the Dragonlord army moves across northern Europe and holds the town of Cavalis , where Zuri is now a slave attached to a scriptorium, to siege. I felt the pace of the story really picked up here, where for perfectly logical reasons, a small group of teenagers are the only people with a chance to get through the siege for help. I’ve read so many YA stories where it doesn’t really make sense that the POV teenager is somehow the “chosen” one with special powers no one else possesses.

Magic, in the real world, is literacy, and here this is a rare talent indeed. Zuri can read and write because her trader grandfather taught her and this power will be what saves her. It also leads to my favourite line in the book:

"He [Brother Dantius, Zuri’s supervisor] says people who love books never have any

So true. Painful, but true! While the story does have a definite ending, there are enough loose threads to be woven into another book. I hope that happens.
  • Current Mood
    pleased pleased