Cheeseburger Gothic

Read Superman #1 for free

Posted Yesterday into Comics by John Birmingham

Okay, it's actually Action Comics #1 but it is in mint condition and it is Supes origin story. The issue, available to peruse at CGC's certification site, was recently bought at auction for something north of a bazillion elephant bucks. It had to be assessed for auction, just like any work of art, and so you get to have a look to.

It's fasincating to see the really primitive art style and story telling and ponder just how far comics and their grown up graphic novel siblings have come. I used to read a heap when I was kid. I still try to get a few in of a Friday night now, so reading Action #1 is a bit like seeing the first rough outlines of what would be become science fiction in the outlandish novels of the 19th century.

12 Responses to ‘Read Superman #1 for free’

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted Yesterday
So stark the contrast to some of the equivilent current comics.

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Zombie_Balzac ducks in to say...

Posted Yesterday
Not that I read this kind of thing meself you understand, but I believe young Spanner buys some of his com- um Graphic Novels from this lot.

https://www.humblebundle.com/books?logo&utm_source=Humble+Bundle+Newsletter&utm_campaign=60fd6241e4-Humble_Horror_Book_Bundle&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_990b1b6399-60fd6241e4-96431613

It has Buffy and Zombies.

Surtac puts forth...

Posted Yesterday

There's some very good stuff to be found in some of those bundles imnsho. :)

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Zombie_Balzac mumbles...

Posted Yesterday
I guess Chuck Dawson never really took off like Superman? (snerk)

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted Yesterday

Hey, Zombie_Balzac (if that's who you really are), you'd have been able to buy these when they first came out.

If you look at the back page there's some wonderful bargains. I'm getting the Midget Pocket Radio, the Wireless Transmitter and the World's Smallest Candid Camera and I'll still have change left over from $5.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted Yesterday
Oh god, that takes me back.

And don't forget the "electric" hand buzzer, the skeleton model and the X-ray glasses.

Zombie_Balzac is gonna tell you...

Posted Yesterday
If I could post images to this blog, I'd show you the World's Smallest Candid Camera. And my crystal set and amazing head phones. You young folk might have to Google "crystal set" but it was an unpowered radio. Yes, NO BATTERIES.

Therbs mumbles...

Posted Yesterday

That's crazy person talk. You must be a crazy old man. And this so called "crystal set" of yours, I suppose you built it yourself did you? And listened to stories on it? Stories about hobbits and supermen? Well I think you're crazy.

Zombie_Balzac has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
Grrrr. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/667503/DSC_0354.JPG
It was a kit, but yes. Note 4QG 4QR 4BC and 4BK. All AM stations of course.

Zombie_Balzac reckons...

Posted Yesterday
And of course: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/667503/Candid%20camera.jpg
(Note these are not freakishly large fingers.)

Alas my Sea Monkeys revolted against their King and set up a socialist autonomous collective run by an elected committee. This resulted in a vicious civil war in which they all perished.

NBlob mutters...

Posted 19 hours ago
Amplitude Modulation?
Is that still a thing?

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Therbs mutters...

Posted 23 hours ago

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ANZAC biography project by the National Archives

Posted Yesterday into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

The Archive Super Nerds of both OZ and NZ have a kind of amazeballz project to profile every Australian and New Zealander who served in World War I. They're digitizing the service dossiers of everyone who served, including the women of the nursing corps and all the support services, and throwing it online with a heap of other documents, linking back to an earier project which crowd sourced photographs, letters and so on from family members.

You can check it out here.

6 Responses to ‘ANZAC biography project by the National Archives’

tqft reckons...

Posted Yesterday
Just sent it to wife for her family history project.

Have some of it already but there are gaps.

I should also look up my father's mother's relatives.

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Surtac would have you know...

Posted Yesterday

Excellent resource for the personal history buffs.

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insomniac asserts...

Posted Yesterday
I looked up my grandfather's records and found that I was "this close" to not being here at all.

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ShaneAlpha mumbles...

Posted Yesterday
Please give thanks to our archivists. If you've ever tried to find things from the U.K. national archives website you'll know how much better the Australian one is.

Obviously, the records are only as good as the record keepers. But you can find surprising things when you go looking. For example, letters from your long deceased ancestors. Or, thank's to JB's link here, that one of your ancestors was involved in TWO mutinies on Australian warships during WW1.

Lulu reckons...

Posted 23 hours ago
"U.K. national archives"

The military archives, or ordinary civil? I've tried finding U.K civil records through Ancestry.com.au and it's impossible.

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ShaneAlpha swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 22 hours ago
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

I've tried to use this site before and compared to the AU one it's utter arse. They seem more concerned with getting you to pay them and pay a researcher rather then making the information searchable.

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The Change. Coming next June

Posted Thursday into Books by John Birmingham

The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth (Change Series)

As many of my own books as I have coming out next year (hint: heaps) this anthology set in Steve's Emberverse is one I'm looking forward to most of all.

It's a double alternate history, a crossover of sorts with The Disappearance. You'll get to spend a little time again with Fifi, Jules and Pete as they raid the tomb city of Sydney. It's not a short story. I think the final version logged in at about 18 000 words, close enough to most writers idea of an ebook as makes no difference. And it was hella fun to write.

Thing I'm most looking forward to though is deep diving into all the other stories. I love the Emberverse series and there's some awesome word wranglers playing in it here.

?

Pete steered them carefully through the sunken and half-sunken vessels that still lay about Farm Cove. The largest was a paddle steamer, a floating restaurant she supposed, that had gone down in front of the old governor’s residence. Tiny waves lapped at the paddles halfway up the giant wooden wheel and slowly poured through the broken windows on the second deck. Only the upper third was completely free of inundation and she watched it closely for signs of movement. As they wove around the abandoned hulls of smaller power craft, their course took them close enough to the flat bottomed steamer to make of them a perfect target, even for rock throwers. The old hulks clinked and creaked in the nor’easter. Magpies and crows cawed and cackled at one another, and somewhere nearby a kookaburra began to laugh. She startled at an enormous black bat that flapped close overhead, its leathery wings sounding just like the whuffling snap of sails in a moderate breeze.
“Bugger me,” she breathed. “This is less fun than the brochure promised.”
“Too late for a refund,” came Pete’s voice softly. “See to the sails, Julesy.”

22 Responses to ‘The Change. Coming next June’

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted Thursday

The important question, is Rhino in it. That'll make it sell.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted Thursday
I, Boylan, approve. I feel privileged to be present for the convergence of such ultra coolness.

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted Thursday


June? Fraking June?

Still, Birmo and WoJo both. Yes I'll be buying it. Sigh.

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Peter Bradley has opinions thus...

Posted Thursday
Looks like a fair amount of my time in 2015 is going to be spent in a number of incarnations of the Birmoverse.

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Bunyip swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Thursday
I think I just had some movement....

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Zombie_Balzac ducks in to say...

Posted Thursday
Is Jules, is good. Books are definitely the go as you get older. Marvel has announced movies for 2018 and 2019 with the Avengers, Thanos and Guardians of the Galaxy tie ins. I can't wait that long!
Also - OT but harking back to an earlier blog - SyFy channel has admitted that making cheap crap was a bad idea and committed to more high quality series, including:
• The Expanse. Series, 10 episodes. Based on the series of books by James S.A. Corey, a thriller set two hundred years in the future, The Expanse follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship's captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history. No date.
That may have been mentioned here before and I missed the memo or forgot but there you go. Also Clarke's "Childhoods End" with Charles Dance.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted Thursday
Yeah. I saw that. Was gonna post something about it.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted Thursday
That's gonna be some fun page turnin'.

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Rob reckons...

Posted Thursday
sweet, Turtledove and Birmingham ..two people I would liketo have a beer with. I will just have to down a few beers while reading this.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted Thursday
What if you learned from a reliable source that Turtledove (if that is his real name) has a tendency to drone on and on about the Byzantine Empire? Would that change your mind?

Bunyip mumbles...

Posted Thursday
Cool. We can stick him next to Bob Ellis.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted Friday
Hold on now: I meant that as an enticement. I personally cannot discuss Byzantine foreign policy enough. It is endlessly interesting, especially when compared to the longevity of the Byzantine system to that of the Romans.

Bunyip ducks in to say...

Posted Yesterday
PNB, you'll have to pin Ellis in for the other side. It only seems fair (for Bob, at least). I mean, you will have to take one for the team, but I'm sure it will be appreciated.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted Yesterday
Can't I merely have a conversation - perhaps share a little sponge cake, a little wine - with Mr. Turtledove (if that is his real name) and leave Bob out of it? Not that I have anything against Bob, but I have a hunch he doesn't know the Napoleonic Code from the Codex Justinianus (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Rob puts forth...

Posted Yesterday
I tend to prattle on about punk rock and hating on contemporary artists, public servants and tattoos. so I'm sure I wouldn't notice much with a few beers inside me.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted Thursday
More Pete can only be a good thing.

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Sparty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Thursday
This I am looking forward to- Birmo is playing in some good company!


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S.M. Stirling is gonna tell you...

Posted Yesterday
A giant ice statue of Superman appears in one of the stories, a colony of the autistic in another, and there are imperialist Venetian Communists in galleys spewing Greek Fire. And one titled "Bernie, Lord of the Apes". Another with attack chihuahuas and Aztec obsidian cellphones. All sorts of good stuff.

I admit to a special fondness for John's, though. I had missed Pete and Jules and FiFi.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted 23 hours ago
"and there are imperialist Venetian Communists in galleys spewing Greek Fire...."

What a tired cliche.

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TexasTeaserPony mumbles...

Posted 13 hours ago
These guys need to write more and more often.

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I never got past the insect nookie in China Mieville

Posted Wednesday into Books by John Birmingham

And now I don't have to because Tor has published this nifty guide to the scary man's fictional realms.

China Miéville’s presence looms over genre fiction. Over the course of a dozen books, Miéville has ranged freely across categories and classifications – epic and urban fantasy, social and hard science fiction, crime, horror and more. And in each case, he addresses, dances with, pokes at and, ultimately, departs from, the traditions and expectations therein. Although many thousands of words have been written trying to put Miéville’s work into neat buckets (“New Weird!” “Fantastika!” “Literary Speculation!” “Hauntological Slipstream!” “Tentacular Metafusion!”), time has proven that a China Miéville book is ultimately, well – Miévillian. The man is a category unto himself.

They've got hand little McNugget sized write ups of all his main novels, and they're almost enough to get me to read them. But I can't get past the insect nookie. I think it was in Perdido Street Station.

No pressure, but Perdido Street Station (2000) is probably the Single Best Fantasy Ever Written. And part of that is because it contains, as Whitman said, ‘multitudes’. A disgruntled scientist and his allies – including a de-winged hawkperson, rebellious, um, steampunk cyborgs?, a bug-headed artist, and a badger – all tackle one of the great mysteries of the universe. Also, a shamelessly corrupt government. And nightmarish dream-eating insects. Also contains: adorably traditional adventuring parties, robot mobsters, the Ambassador of Hell, swashbuckling mantis-armed bandits, shapeless horrors, and Devices That Tamper With the Stuff of Reality. All set in the bizarre and ceaselessly tantalising metropolis of New Crobuzon.

Thematically, Perdido is just as ambitious, with discussions of free will and agency and the rule of law and rebellion and causality and governance and and and and… you name it, and you can find it in here. If you want the One Book to Bring Them All And in The (Oversized) Paperback Bind Them, this is the one.

24 Responses to ‘I never got past the insect nookie in China Mieville’

Barnesm mutters...

Posted Wednesday
yeah I've tried with a couple of his novels and it just seems pointless to me though Tentacular Metafusion is my new favourite genre catagory.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
It's all the tentacles which put a fellow off.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted Thursday
Drax: You! Man who has lain with an Askervarian.

Peter: It was one time, man.


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Spanner is gonna tell you...

Posted Wednesday
You had me at tentacles.

I'm not a pervert! Stop looking at me like that.

Don't judge me. I'm normal. It's you lot that are the sickos.

Zombie_Balzac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Wednesday
Not only tentacles you evil Wrench. I posted a revealing photo of you on twitter last night. With your "friend".

Bunyip would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
Ooh. Does Spanner's "friend", have a "sibling"? Asking for a, um... close relative.

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Surtac mutters...

Posted Wednesday


I had no problems with the insect nookie per se, but some of the other imagery was disturbing as I recall.

I found that by the time I'd got through the first 200 pages he'd done most of the world-building and the story could properly start, which I seem to recall it did at that point. And of course the worldbuilding he did in Perdido Street Station was re-used in The Scar and in The Iron Council.

I'm on record elsewhere as being a bit of a fan of his work. I've generally liked most of his books. I thought The City and the City thoroughly deserved its' Hugo Award, and King Rat and Kraken are two of the best examples of London phantasmagoria I've yet read.

But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Wednesday
Insect Nookie was the name of my punk rock band back in the early 1980's.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday
And we mourn its passing onto the endless dinner-theatre tour.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
Dinner-theatre can be dispiriting. The last time Insect Nookie played I was walking through the venue during a break and someone asked me if I could give them my autograph and get them some more butter.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday
Would it have killed you? Geeze

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted Thursday
I told Buzz-Kill, the band's bassoon player, to get that lady some more butter. He lives to serve.

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trib has opinions thus...

Posted Wednesday
Go back and read Perdido. Really. However, if you can't deal with bug sex, go with WTF Central Europe in The City and The City. Just super good. And no bugs.

damian puts forth...

Posted Wednesday
Second this. There's so much in Perdido and the others in the series. The City and the City is just amazing, too. But I only got into Mieville after reading about how he got into a fight with Eric S. Raymond.

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Blarkon asserts...

Posted Wednesday
City and the City was fucking amazing. When I groked what was going on I thought to myself "you clever evil clever smart talented bastard".

dweeze asserts...

Posted Thursday
++1
I also still retain a great fondness for The Scar. However, I've pretty much given up on CM because I cant be arsed any more.reading half a book just to set up a world.
Paulo Bacigalupi(?) FTW...

Surtac would have you know...

Posted Thursday


Nah. Bacigalupi was just ripping off Ian McDonald as far as I could tell, and not doing it anywhere near as well.

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted Wednesday
Animated snot balls did it for me.

Frankly, I found him to be pretty exasperating to read. Pretty much everything inspired by E. P. Thompson. If I want to read Thompson, I'll read Thompson, not China.

Him and KSR are two writers I do not waste my time on anymore.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted Thursday
Actually, the progenitor of bug sex is the immortal Jack Vance in his short novel the Last Castile (one of my perennial favs). Although Vance did not describe any bug sex, the insect-women "Phanes" were clearly sexually available to the men and women of that decadent society.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted Thursday
Castle, not Castile. Very different.

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TheWah would have you know...

Posted Thursday
I adore Perdido Street Station. Borrowed it from the library when it was first released. Mieville casually throws down wonderful concepts in this novel that other writers would have spent a full novel fleshing out. The city of New Crobuzon felt richer and more mysterious because of this. Though we were following the main characters the world didn't revolve around them and a multitude of wonders were hidden down each dirty alley way. I ended up buying a collecter's edition of Perdido and it sits on my bookshelf proudly next to my Ian M Banks Culture novels.

The sequel novel, The Scar, was also good, but I wasn't so moved by Iron Council which was also set in Bas Lag. I have friends who argue with me about Iron Council. They tell me its the superior book to Perdido Street Station... they are wrong.

Once someone explained New Crobuzon as Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork but without the comedy. I can see where they are coming from.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 22 hours ago
It's more like what you'd get if the elements in Ankh-Morpork were actually present in 19th century London. Though the better way to see this is as referring to the same trope of convention or tradition about a mystical city that Pratchett is referring to. Fritz Leiber's stuff comes to mind.

Incidentally, if the insect sex freaks you out, the Leiber story where Fafhrd is screwing a female ghoul doesn't?The ghoul is depicted as a humanoid with invisible soft tissue, so that normally if they are naked, the bones and only the bones are visible. However when sexually aroused the lips, breasts and genitals become pink... Then there's the story where Fafhrd and the grey mouser both impregnate ice princesses...

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If women played video games like men

Posted Wednesday into Lunch Time Video by John Birmingham

27 Responses to ‘If women played video games like men’

maurizio reckons...

Posted Wednesday
Guys don't all play games the same way (same with females). With all the gamergate crap going on, you're doing a great job of reinforcing stereotypes.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
Actually, I hoping to do something about ethics in game journalism.

Bunyip swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Wednesday
What? Females play games? But....but...

How can they do that and make me a sandwich at the same time?

Barnesm mutters...

Posted Wednesday
So Maurizio are you saying "not all men gamers"?

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Twitter puts forth...

Posted Wednesday
"It's actually about ethics in games journalism."

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted Wednesday
"snerk"... or whatever the sound you make when you try to stifle a laugh on a topical and clever meme at work and don't want to spend 20 minutes bringing everyone up to speed on why this is funny

Spanner would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
Dammit someone beat me to it.

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Alice ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday
The point of the video is to subvert stereotypes.

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Therbs asserts...

Posted Wednesday
Gamergate troll alert. Derp derp.

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DNABeast is gonna tell you...

Posted Wednesday
Agh! I almost popped a lung laughing at "adjustable cock physics".

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Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Wednesday
Gonna watch this in a minute but as I recall, I generally took the sniper rifle and found a place to hide. Then I'd just pop people.

Once I got a mike for my XBox I found there wasn't anything on the other end to talk to so I turned it off. Didn't even bother with IMs.

Oh, I believe the Kansas City Royals just won Game 6 of the World Series. Game 7 tomorrow I think.

Never thought I'd see it happen.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
"Kansas City Royals just won Game 6" which means some raido stations are obliged to play NZ's singer Lorde's "Royals" every hour on the hour.

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Spanner is gonna tell you...

Posted Wednesday
I'd be interested in Tassie Codriver''s thoughts on this as he writes the odd article on gaming.

I've taken my gaming a bit too seriously in the past. Ok way to seriously to the point of team training twice a week before a ladder match. Why are people looking at me funny again? But I stopped that because it turns out that many gamers who are obsessed enough to join a clan and train are also total jerkwads. The teens and early 20s guys are the worst.

There is a cartoon by the Oatmeal that completely sums up my online gaming experience as an adult.


Spanner puts forth...

Posted Wednesday
That's the cartoon.

It's a shame MrsS won't go cave diving or hangliding.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday
Sometimes Oatmeal just strikes a perfect note...

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
That's pretty awesome

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted 22 hours ago
Though I must say, the theme in the videos Vovchara linked seems outlandishly stupid to me. In my own writing I'd think I was overdoing it if I tried to do a character so capable of missing the point. Truth is stranger than fiction I know, but still?

FWIW I find Sarkesian pretty straightforward and simple. She provides possibly the tamest feminist critique I've ever seen of anything. If some of you blokes have a problem with her, I'm afraid the violently militant lesbian separatists will make shepherd's pie out of you. And they'll probably be entirely justified. I mean, really? Sheeet.

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Vovchara ducks in to say...

Posted Friday
isn't it just peachy when so much outrage created by virtually (no pun intended) no issues.
When at the same time there are so many things go unnoticed, which do not require mental acrobatics to fill outrage?

damian would have you know...

Posted 22 hours ago
That's awesome too w. Course anything with Carrie Brownstein in it is awesome.

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Dave Hooper 3, draft 2, filed

Posted Tuesday into Writing by John Birmingham

Now onto/back to the ebooks.

Or maybe physcial collapse.

Yeah, physcial collapse sounds good.

12 Responses to ‘Dave Hooper 3, draft 2, filed’

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted Tuesday
Mate, have a couple of weeks off.
Do as little work as possible. Have some long lunches followed by afternoon naps. Go for some long walks. Relax. Recharge the batteries.
It is just as important as exercise.

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted Tuesday

Next deadline is concocting this summer's beer. We'll need a refreshing and delicious beverage to smash down while we read the adventures of this Dave bloke. Call it Hooper's Monster Ale.

Zombie_Balzac mutters...

Posted Tuesday
Quote from son-in-law last night: "Erm.. First runnings 1.115... Batch sparge, second runnings 1.060 erm.. Looks like it's a triple."
Now in English - for those like me that don't speak Brewese - this apparently means that he's produced a triple IPA, a beer more alcoholic than most wines but lethally easy to drink. Want some Monster Ale Therbs? Drop in.

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted Tuesday
I was only thinking, at the start of the Emergence, Dave might be a Miller Lite man.

But by the end of the Ascendence, Dave would be a full on Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA drinker.

All part of the narrative arc.

Not being fictional characters, we might just go directly to the IPA.

Therbs asserts...

Posted Wednesday
GB - I reckon the SIL has developed the prototype Monster Ale. He's a clever bugger.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted Tuesday
stop whinging and get back to it!

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sibeen swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Tuesday
For all those who believe J.B deserves a break, are you fucking mad?

Have you perchance forgotten Stalin's Hammer? I writhe in disgust at the continuous sucking up that takes place here. Readers must be hard taskmasters, and a lot of you should hang your head in shame.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted Wednesday
#SuccessfulWriterProbs

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pitpat has opinions thus...

Posted Wednesday

Well done, a bit of RnR is due.

Just don't go all GRR Martin on us.

Zombie_Balzac has opinions thus...

Posted Wednesday
(pictures JB with cap, beard and stomach. giggles.)

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