August 19th, 2009


Forthcoming in September from Twelfth Planet Press

Announcing the next volume in the Twelfth Planet Press novella series

Two novelettes - "Roadkill" by Robert Shearman and "Siren Beat" by Tansy Rayner Roberts - published in tête-bêche format will form the first Twelfth Planet Press Double.

"Roadkill" offers a taste of the new full length collection by Robert Shearman, closely following in November.

Roadkill by Robert Shearman

“Do you want some music?” he said at last, "would some music be nice?” He fished around for a wad of CDs with his spare hand. “I think some music would be nice,” he said, “I’ll see if I can find Elton John.” And then she didn’t so much hear it as feel it, there was a thud, and a quick streak of something very solid against the windscreen. “Jesus,” he said. He didn’t drop the CDs, she noted, he put them back safely into the glove compartment. “Jesus, what was that?”

“Pull over,” she said. And he looked at her with bewilderment. “Pull over,” she said again, and he did so. The car stopped on the hard shoulder.

“Jesus,” he said again. “We hit something.”

You hit something, she thought.

In "Siren Beat", a minor group of man-eating sirens on the docks of Hobart would not normally pose much of a challenge for Nancy, but she is distracted by the reappearance of Nick Cadmus, the man she blames for her sister's death.

Siren Beat by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Sirens and mermaids tend to be bitter. You can't blame them, really. Their tales don't tend to have happy endings. Still and all. That doesn't give them the right to come to my city, to seduce its children and dump them in the river. It should never have happened, and it's my bloody fault. But I can stop them. If the push-push-push of the beat they play doesn't get to me first.

Roadkill/Siren Beat is due for release late September.


Roadkill/Siren Beat

cassiphone has blogged a nice summary of the evolution of the Roadkill/Siren Beat project here

(this is btw the project that has had Alisa Twittering about 'tentacle sex' for some time now. In the interests of accuracy I should state now that there is less actual tentacle sex in "Siren Beat" than there was unicorn rape in "Horn" - but tentacle kink there most definitely is, oh yes. Also a very sexy sea-pony. No, really)

There's a sexy sea-pony. You HAVE to buy a story with a sexy sea-pony. I mean, that's a rule or something.

I ended up writing a piece I was incredibly proud of, featuring a broken, disabled immortal hero, Nancy Napoleon, and transforming the Hobart docks into a world of seedy magic and skanky nightclubs. I love it to bits, and I plan to write Nancy Napoleon novels at some point... in the mean time, the anthology project fell through, and I handed the orphaned project on to Alisa to see if it was something she would be interested in.

Sadly, though Siren Beat skates the lower end of novella length, technically speaking, it was still going to be far too slimline for the TPP novella series - on its own, that is. But Alisa also had Robert Shearman's "Roadkill" up her sleeve, and being the evil genius that she is, she decided to bring the two together and force her layout person (hi Tehani!) to figure out how to publish half a book upside down.

Start hassling her now for a Nancy Napolean novel. Tansy has a ton of projects on her to do list but I promise you, you WANT more Nancy Napolean. Heck I know I do!


Newscientist: Why geeks get the girls

Hmm, where to start with this article? Why geeks get the girls

Let's see ...

Is smart sexy? Our knee-jerk reaction – reinforced by cultural stereotypes of Star Trek-convention attending geeks and a seeming obsession with ditzy, pretty starlets – would argue otherwise. Nerds are, well, nerds.

*Our* knee-jerk reaction? Or perhaps just yours, Ewen?

But consider Peter Orszag. As director of the US Office of Management and Budget, he is the nation's most powerful pencil-pusher. Yet Orszag was recently named one of the hunks of Washington DC . "He's made nerdy sexy," Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said of the 40-year-old, glasses-wearing son of a maths professor.

They may be onto something.

Firstly, I believe *Obama* made nerdy sexy and the fact that he is so modest about it, well it only makes him sexier. I'm quite intrigued by this "Yet" - the dude is the Director of the US Budget ... *yet* he is named one of the hunks of Washington? Ewen, don't you know that *power* is sexy. *Money* is sexy. tsk tsk tsk

Increasing scientific evidence shows that brains count for a lot in mate choice. And now – for the first time – researchers have directly linked a male's cognitive performance to his luck with the ladies.

oooh ... luck with the *lay-dees* ...

Dude, women not only *read* your magazine, we're even allowed to vote AND be scientists now. Its the 21ST CENTURY.

"Males that are better problem-solvers are mating with more females," says Jason Keagy, a behavioural ecologist at the University of Maryland in College Park, who studies not the mating rituals of the political elite in nearby Washington DC, but those of a bird native to the forests of eastern Australia.

Check it OUT y'all! Turns out, male birds who can solve problems can figure out how to mate with more females. Presumably this AWESOME ability to like, identify a problem and figure out a solution to prevent said problem from happening again next time, means they can also "mate" with more males too. Should they so choose.

However ritual is still the best word to describe the sexual behaviour of satin bowerbirds.

Uh? Cool? What do bowerbirds have to do with the shagging of the womenz?

Males construct elaborate shrines – bowers – to woo females, who judge males by the quality of their ornately decorated grass bowers and elaborate mating dances.

Ohhhhhh, well sure. I much prefer ornately decorated grass bowers and elaborate mating dances. There was this one guy once at ...

--skipping more stuff about birds IQ on the grounds of relevance--

Psychologists studying human mate choice don't often have the luxury of tracking their volunteers in the wild, and so have traditionally asked females to rate the traits they value in a potential suitor.


In search of a more relevant test of human desire, a team led by Mark Prokosch at the University of Elon, North Carolina, presented female university students with videos of males performing various cognitive and athletic feats, and then asked the women to judge each male's intelligence and desirability.

Oh right, that makes far more sense - asking the women - see that? I bet that was a *nerd* who solved that there problem.

Females weren't very good at determining which were the smartest males.

Tell me about it!

But when the women were simply asked to pick out which men they found most attractive, those men turned out to be the most intelligent.

Well fuck.
Just fuck.
You mean all this time I spent not judging a book by its cover, opening it and reading a couple of chapters, and all I fucking had to do was judge a book by its fucking cover?

Similarly, Keagy isn't sure how female satin bowerbirds – who were absent when males performed the tests – judged the brainiest birds.

Why didn't they just fucking ask the female bowerbirds?

How did they know which were the brainiest birds?

--skipping the rest of this article to the final para--

However, Botero thinks that it isn't so much of a stretch to look for common ground in between satin bowerbirds and Homo sapiens. "If we have other systems in which we do find that mates are being selected on the basis of intelligence, it could lead to novel insights about our own species."

Ahh Newscientist. I used to subscribe to you. And now, I don't. It's totally cause I started judging you by your cover. But really, I'm glad I didn't pay for this sexist drivel dressed up as "science"
. Seriously, Cosmo does this crap better than you.