April 22nd, 2010



I've not been reading up much on this topic, this is merely a response from a piece I read over at the Aqueduct Press blog:

Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, who was Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, has provided a sworn statement to assist the International Human Rights Clinic at Willamette University College of Law in Oregon and the Federal Public Defender who are suing US officials for the wrongful detention and torture of Adel Hassan Hamad. Hamad was a humanitarian aid worker from Sudan working in Pakistan when he was kidnapped from his apartment, tortured, and shipped to Guantanamo where he was held for five years before being released.

In this statement he says this:

Wilkerson said it all started at the beginning, mostly because U.S. forces did not capture most of the people who were sent to Guantanamo. The people who ended up in Guantanamo, said Wilkerson, were mostly turned over to the US by Afghan warlords and others who received bounties of up to $5000 per head for each person they turned in. The majority of the 742 detainees “had never seen a U.S. soldier in the process of their initial detention.”

-- cut --

“The initial group of 742 detainees had not been detained under the processes I was used to as a military officer,” Wilkerson said. “It was becoming more and more clear that many of the men were innocent, or at a minimum their guilt was impossible to determine let alone prove in any court of law, civilian or military. If there was any evidence, the chain of protecting it had been completely ignored.”

Several in the U.S. leadership became aware of this early on and knew “of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released,” wrote Wilkerson.

So why did the Bush Administration not release the men from prison once it was discovered that they were not guilty? Why continue to keep innocent men in prison?

“To have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership from virtually day one of the so-called War on Terror and these leaders already had black marks enough: the dead in a field in Pennsylvania, in the ashes of the Pentagon, and in the ruins of the World Trade Towers,” wrote Wilkerson.

“They were not about to admit to their further errors at Guantanamo Bay. Better to claim everyone there was a hardcore terrorist, was of enduring intelligence value, and would return to jihad if released,” according to Wilkerson. “I am very sorry to say that I believe there were uniformed military who aided and abetted these falsehoods, even at the highest levels of our armed forces.”

For coming up to a decade now, we have been told by people we trusted, people who supposedly we elected to protect us and our best interests, and then repeated by people we love, the media, and others, that we are in grave danger. That there are large numbers of people out there training, building weapons stores and plotting and planning to bring the western world down, to bring hell on earth. And that we need to do all we have to stop that happening. Including removing the very rights and freedoms we uphold in our society as the most precious to us.

What if none of it is true? Or what if only a small percentage of it is true? What if mostly the stories we were told were repeated in hushed tones, had been exaggerated from person to person and all the plot points filled in along the way so that what we had was our very own real life science fiction or alternative history novel?

What IS true? Who CAN we trust? What is to become of what we have now started?

And. I can't help but wonder just what information Australia was privvy to that convinced our leaders to hop on the bus. Were they shown truth or fiction? Did they unwittingly comply or did they find out this was all a big cover up for a big cock up?

Fear is a very powerful tool to force compliance. And I resent being made to feel fearful, and living for the last decade in a world where fear has been used constantly as a means to justify poor judgement and decisions, distract from truth and accountability, and to force compliance, agreement and the turning of blind eyes to justice and the human rights convention. I resent that lies or stretching of the truth made this world darker and harsher and caused people to trust each other less. Shame on you Bush, Cheney et al. Shame.


Glitter Rose Collection now available for Preorder

sketch by Anna Repp
The Glitter Rose Collection will feature five short stories by Marianne de Pierres – four previously published and one new story.

Each copy of this limited edition Twelfth Planet Press print run will be signed and presented in a beautiful hardbound cover with internal illustrations.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Trent Jamieson
* Glimmer-by-dark
* Moon Flowers at the Ritz
* The Flag Game
* final title forthcoming

Plus bonus
* In the Bookshadow
The Glitter Rose stories are set against the background of Carmine Island where a decade ago spores from deep in the ocean blew in, by a freak of nature, and settled on the sands. These spores bring fierce allergies to the island's population. And maybe other, more sinister effects. As we follow Tinashi’s journey of moving to Carmine and settling into island life, a clearer picture emerges of just what is happening.

Glitter Rose is named after the glitter rose dusks that happen at certain tides –  when the last of sunset has fallen, a strange phosphorescence can be seen on the sands of the beaches. Colourless at first, it rapidly changes to a “carpet of tiny, shining, rose-coloured grains” as the sky darkens.

If you are coming to these elegant, truthful and sensuous stories for the first time I envy you. They’ll haunt your dreams, yes, but what fabulous dreams. On Carmine Island as dusk settles into the glitter rose gleam of evening, anything is possible. -- Trent Jamieson

Glitter Rose will be released in September 2010 at Aussiecon 4 in Melbourne.
Preorders will be posted out late June.

Collection: Glitter Rose

Please note: International postage options will be available as soon.
Online payment facilities will be available to prepay and collect at Aussicon 4.

Archiving Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy (short stories)

I've been trying to collate some information for some media kits for Twelfth Planet Press and was hunting around for resource material. Thanks to responders on Twitter, I got started on making the following list. I'm particularly interested in the number of female Australian authors who have been collected. I started making a list and I noticed it was longer than I thought it would be and also that I hadn't heard much about at least half of them. I went on to make the male author list for comparison and that's when things got interesting, to me.

A big thank you to bluetyson who has an extremely comprehensive list over at his Australian SF Reader blog. Also thanks to charlesatan  nyssa_p and Bookbuster for links and directions for query.

This is just my first cut, please let me know what I have forgotten, or gotten wrong.

Australian Female Authors:

Barbara Baynton - BUSH STUDIES (1902)
Deborah Biancotti - A Book of Endings
Carmel Bird - Births, Deaths and Marriages (1983); The Woodpecker Toy Fact and Other Stories (1987); The Common Rat (1993); Automatic Teller (1996)
Merlinda Bobis - White Turtle (1999)
Isobel Carmody - Green Monkey Dreams (1995)
Dulcie Deamer - In the Beginning: Six Studies of the Stone Age and other Stories (1909)
Leanne Frahm - Borderline
Beatrice Grimshaw - The Beach of Terror and Other Stories (1931); The Valley of Never-Come-Back (1923)
Traci Harding - Ghostwriting
Christine Harris - Outer Face (1992); Buried Secrets (1993); Widdershins (aka Party Animals) (1995); Fortune Cookies (1998); Warped (2000)
Janet Turner Hospital - Dislocations(1986); Isobars (1990); Collected Stories (1995);
North of Nowhere, South of Loss (2003)
Margo Lanagan - White Time; Black Juice; Red Spikes
Rosaleen Love - Total Devotion; Evolution Annie; Traveling Tide
Sophie Masson - Walking in the Gardens of My Mind
Rosa Praed - Stubble Before the Wind (1908)
Gillian Rubenstein: Witch Music (1996); Annie's Brother's Suit (1996)
Lucy Sussex - My Lady Tongue; A Tour Guide in Utopia; Absolute Uncertainty
Anna Tambour - Monterra's Deliciosa
Kaaron Warren - The Grinding House
Cherry Wilder - Dealers in the Light and Darkness

Total: 38 titles

Australian Male Authors:

Lee Battersby - Through Soft Air
Damien Broderick - A Man Returned (1965); The Dark Between the Stars (1991); Uncle Bones: Four Science Fiction Novellas (2009)
Simon Brown - Cannibals of the Fire Light; Troy
Bertram A Chandler - Alternate Orbits; Beyond the Galactic Rim; Hard Way Up; John Grimes Reserve Commodore; Rim Gods; Catch the Star Winds; Far Traveller; Up to the Sky in Ships; From Sea to Shining Star
Neil Cladingboel - Tale Spin
Paul Collins - Goverment in Exile
Bill Congreve - Epiphanies in Blood
Shane J Cummings - Shards
Jack Dann - Timetripping; Visitations; Jubilee; Fiction Factory
Stephen Dedman - Lady of Situations; Never Seen By Waking Eyes
Kit Denton - Burning Spear
Terry Dowling - Rynosseros; Blue Tyson; Twilight Beach; Rynemonn; Wormwood; An Intimate Knowledge of the Night; Antique Futures; Man Who Lost Red; Blackwater Days; Basic Black; Make Believe
Greg Egan - Axiomatic; Our Lady of Chernobyl; Luminous; Oceanic and Other Stories; Reasons to be Cheerful and Other Stories; Singleton and Other Stories; Dark Integers and Other Stories; TAP and Other Stories; Oceanic; Crystal Nights and Other Stories; Océanique (different book in French)
Paul Haines - Doorways for the Dispossessed; Slice of Life
Robert Hood - Immaterial; Day-Dreaming on Company Time; Creeping in Reptile Flesh
Trent Jamieson - Reserved for Travelling Shows
Rick Kennett - The Reluctant Ghost-Hunter; No. 472 Cheyne Walk; Thirteen: Ghost Stories; 472 Cheyne Walk: Carnacki, the Untold Stories
Chris Lawson - Written in Blood
Alex Lewis - Notes Towards the Theory of Extinction and Other Stories
Geoffrey Maloney - Tales from the Crypto-system; Six Silly Stories
Chuck McKenzie - Confessions of a Pod Person
Sean McMullen - Call to the Edge
Garth Nix - Call to the Edge
Simon Petrie - Rare Unsigned Copy
Shaun A Saunders - Navigating in the New World
David K Scholes - Essential Reading in SF; Science Fiction and Alternate History
Tony Shillitoe - Tales of the Dragon
Robert Stephenson - We Would be Heroes
George Turner - Pursuit of Miracles
Chris Trappel - Two Girls and Industrial Waste
Kurt Von Trojan - When I Close My Eyes
Michael Wilding - Man of Slow Feeling
Jack Wodhams - Future War
Sean Williams - New Adventures in Sci-Fi; Doorway to Eternity; View Before Dying; Light Bodies Falling; Magic Dirt

Total: 81 Titles

What I was initially interested in is how many authors have had collector's editions produced. But I think that question is a bit irrelevant because of the nature of Australian indie press and also of genre publishing. Before about 3 or 4 years ago, the entire printing/publishing model was completely different. POD didn't exist for example.

But there are some interesting things about the lists above.

ETA: Note - this was written prior to additions. As this post is evolving, I leave and reanalyse at the end.

Female authors get collected at 1:4 of male authors in specfic in Australia.
25% ... that's a number we've seen before.

Secondly, only three female Australian authors have been collected more than once. And no points for guessing who they are - Lanagan, Sussex and Love. Warren's collection was reprinted in USA with an extra story (as The Glass Woman) but I haven't included that here.

Ten male authors have been collected more than once which is close to the maths of overall women:men (1:4). And they are - Broderick, Brown, Chandler, Dann, Dedman, Dowling, Egan, Haines, Hood, Williams.

In both cases, authors with multiple collections are all names that come to the top of any list of Australian specfic authors.


nighttime shenanigans

I was having a conversation with maelkann last night, and missing him terribly, and the rest of the conversation so deserved to be had in person. So I did the thing he normally does, and packed up and drove to see him. Our joke is that we are "only 56 minutes away" - as in "stop talking and get here already." He has driven to me at the last minute a couple of times now so I figured it was my turn.

So I arrive 50-odd minutes later with work clothes, laptop and dog in hand. We finish the conversation. Check our email. And go to bed. And the dog just would not settle down. He is such a creature of habit and I have only just broken him of the habit of barking at 4am (by sleeping with the fan on to create white noise over whatever it is that he is barking at). And sailors start work much earlier than me. I already knew getting up was going to hurt in the morning, but to do it without much sleep? I'm getting too old for that. So I pack up work clothes, laptop and dog and head home.

Dog, by the way, snoozes a little of the drive and then looks at me with puppy dog eyes for the rest of the journey. We get home and he goes straight to bed, settles straight away and doesn't move for the rest of the night. Grrr. Though he was a little sluggish in the morning and easy to catch to put outside as I left.

And that was my adventures last night. Sigh.