June 29th, 2008


Well hello there Tel Aviv!

Phew - no jetlag to be seen around here - my last trip must have been a fluke (although, yeah flew in the opposite direction that time).

So ... it was so bad, now. But looking back on it, the haul sucked ass!!! I was soooooo grumpy by the end that I was deciding that my cousin was definitely getting me at the weddding as her present. We'll see if I change my mind on that one. I still fucking hate airport security. Which means I still have a price on Osama's head. The Israelis are actually more strict than anyone else and it makes you realise how much of a joke the rest of it is - they are the only ones who have their own security at the baggage check in. They do the passport review, check your details on a computer and the 20 questions before you even get issued your ticket. Then the gate lounge for your flight is closed off till 4 minutes before boarding and they recheck all your details before they let you in, then they do xray scans and look in your laptop and stuff and then they check you again on the other side. Phew!

Anyway. I thought Emirates was fine. I'd fly em again. I was extremely impressed with their radio stations on the in flight entertainment - very very good selection of albums, I didn't even need to pull out my mp3. I watched The Jane Austen Club on my flight to Istanbul and I also worked on some TPP stuff. I was totally fucked by Istanbul where we had to get out, get a visa, go through passport, then customs, collect our bags and then go through passport and customs and check back in. And there were no instructions anywhere to tell you you had to do this. And we had not slept in a very very long time. Then we waited some more. And then we got on Turkish airlines to Israel. Yeah ... so that was not so flash - small plane and it was *grubby*. Yuck. I sat next to an unaccompanied kid and some guy and the three of us slept the whole 2 hour leg. A good plan.

And then we touched down in the Holy Land! And people clapped - I forgot they did that! And then we did passport and customs and 20 questions and passed through the pearly gates past airport security to freedom!

We got to our hotel at 3am and I think I must have been mostly awake for close on 40 hours. Something like that anyway. My room is not flash and I have the double because we stuffed up our booking and will have to swap to a single today. Yeah so ... am hoping the single is just smaller cause the facilities are a tad on the crap side. I was worried as we were travelling that my OCD was going to be back by the end of this trip - I was not *so* great with the public toilets etc in Istanbul and was back to the hand sanitizer etc. And then ... the bathroom here is old... But ... my toilet is leaking and I am okay. Like, its the hose that leads to the cistern so that's clean water on the floor, right? Heh. I'm gonna be fine! Plus, I get to move rooms today.

So ... we slept in till noonish yesterday and then went downstairs to meet my uncle's friend who will be travelling with us. I mentioned I was travelling with my uncle, didn't I? Anyway, his friend from Canada is doing the whole trip with us and then we are meeting up with another friend in Turkey who is bringing her husband and their son and his gf. The rest of them are going onto a conference in Turkey and I am heading home after the first week.

So I think my uncle was worried about whether his friend and I were going to get on. But, yo, we hit it straight off and the three of us are in fine form. We headed out for coffee and um ... we cafe crawled up and down the Tel Aviv main drag for like 10 hours. How is that not fun! We drank soooooo much coffee! We talked about everything under the sun - politics, cultural studies, gender studies, swapped stories! And I realised I am off having a holiday in the Mediterranean! (der!) Haha! And I was thinking that my exact perfect holiday is this! Sitting near the beach, drinking coffee and this kind of talk. And T had said to me to have a holiday and not take "work" with me. But ... I did those kind of holidays with vacuous talk about the weather and whatever and it's *boring*. My kind of holiday is exactly the one where you strip back all the crap and your brain has time to sit back, spread out and *think*. So .. yeah.. I have caught up on a bunch of TPP reading, have brought along some NF, am hanging out with academics for the next fortnight and am having a great time!

That's probably it for now. Except to say that the coffee is fabulous. I have already eaten too much hummus. I forgot this is the land of the forced salad eating. I can hear and understand the Hebrew. I already have sore feet. I am remembering to take the stairs but have only just started drinking the water (supposed to drink 3L a day...).

Today is Sunday which is the first day of the week here. No jetlag for me (I've been online for an hour and it's just coming up to 7am). I think we might be going to Jerusalem today but am not sure, could be a shopping day. The world is my oyster and a beautiful day awaits. Miss you all!

Call for Submissions: Art

This is a shout out to artists - so often there's a submissions call for an anthology or a magazine, but we rarely see them for the artists! New Ceres: The Anthology, the new collection underway from Twelfth Planet Press, is seeking cover artwork and possible internal artwork. Pay rates have yet to be determined but will be respectable.

Originally conceived as a shared world webzine, editors Alisa Krasnostein and Tehani Wessely are taking New Ceres to new places with the print anthology. We anticipate artwork that is innovative and gorgeous to behold, and welcome enquiries and submissions from established and new artists from across the globe.

Meet the world of New Ceres, an exciting and dangerous place. Its water is green and its inhabitants are sophisticates.

New Ceres is precarious: its New Enlightenment constrains society as well as liberating old thoughts and literature and drinking customs. The planet plays interstellar politics to defend its independence and it recruits refugees from Old Earth and the conquered New Alliance planets to maintain some dangerous habits.

On New Ceres you will find coffee houses and highwaymen, drinks, gambling and illegal hi-technology.

For more information about New Ceres, and to download a free PDF of the original webzine to have a prowl in the world, please visit http://www.ceres.dreamhosters.com/doku.php

Submissions and enquiries to ceressubs at gmail dot com

Please feel free to pass on to other forums or artist friends!


Wheatland Press Special Offer

From now until July 4 (at midnight Pacific Time), if you buy any two Wheatland Press titles at the regular price, you'll get one copy of any volume of Polyphony free.

Just order as usual using Paypal and in the comment box of the order form for the second title, indicate which volume of Polyphony you would like to receive.


(You know want some of their books ... )

Clarion South 2009

Next week sees the close of applications for the 2009 Clarion South workshop. The six week speculative fiction workshop will see Sean Williams, Marianne de Pierres, Margo Lanagan, Jack Dann, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant tutor 17 lucky participants. If you want to know more about the workshop go here.

(I should be updating ASif I spose not here ...)

Tehani Wesseley does Stars of Speculative Fiction

And says some lovely things - thanks Tehani! - check out the rest of the interview here

I met Alisa Krasnostein, founder of Twelfth Planet Press, through her involvement a few years ago with ASIM – she’s one of the most visionary and dedicated people working in Australian SF right now, and I have always been a fan of TPP productions. Because of my “real life” job as a secondary school teacher librarian, combined with my editing experience, Alisa thought I would be capable of coming on board as a Shiny editor when she had a vacancy earlier this year, and I was pleased to be part of something so exciting

In terms of New Ceres, in 2007 I was given the opportunity to review New Ceres and I offered to do some layout for the ‘zine. This year, Alisa and I had some big discussions about the project and decided we could do it justice as a print anthology. It’s a fascinating world and the authors have wonderful ideas that they are more than willing to share with other contributors. I think it’s a great concept and I’m looking forward to working on it for a long time!

You know, I've been down a lot for a long time about the New Ceres project which is really unfair. Firstly, the stories have always been excellent and it has been supported by some of the best writers we have to offer in Australia (and New Zealand *grins*). Secondly, its the project I get approached about at cons the most by writers intending to submit to it. And thirdly, I got such an enthusiastic pitch for the antho idea by Tehani and she has totally reenergised the whole project. The anthology already has a bunch of kick ass stories already accepted and the project is definitely got a bit of buzz about it. I think Ben is right that it's this sleeping dragon that is very slowly awakening. I'm really looking forward to seeing the anthology in print.