Cheeseburger Gothic

Butte Crack comes alive!

Posted January 5 into The Dave by John Birmingham

I just hit send on the mailout and created a dozen or so new minty-fresh published writers. Huzzah.

From the Introduction:

My first book tanked. At first anyway. And then it went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, and to be adapted for the stage and the big screen. He Died With A Felafel In His Hand was first published in 1996. The internet was a thing by then, but not much of a thing. Book publishing was still an old world business, yet to be disrupted by Amazon, the torrentz and the Great Recession. I sometimes wonder what might have happened to that book if it was released now.
Nothing good, I suspect.
I was lucky to be published by a small, independent house. Michael Duffy, the publisher, literally bet his own house on the business. A couple of months after release, with only a handful of copies sold, it must have looked like a bad bet. Happily, it did eventually pay off.
A couple of readers picked it up here and there. They told a couple more. Word spread slowly, and then quickly. After about six months it was suddenly an overnight sensation.
I’ve always remembered that. I wrote that book, but the readers made it. All writers live and die by their readers, but not all of them remember that. I try. This book is me, remembering. Over the years I’ve always been open to my readers playing in the story-worlds I make up. I created those worlds because I wanted to see what happened in them. For me, reading a story in my own imagined space, but one which I didn’t write, is a special sort of revelation. I love it.
So, I’m an unusual writer who actively encourages fan fiction. Or ‘reader fiction’, as I prefer to think of it. I’ve read some cracking stories set in all of my fictional universes. It was only this year, dipping my toe into indie publishing, that was I able do something more than just post these pieces as an entry on my blog.
The book you hold now is the first of many more to come, I hope. In that way, it’s a rough draft for the future. I’d like to do more, and I’d like to get better at doing them. If you’d like to try your hand at spending a little time in the worlds of Prince Harry, The Dave or Caitlin Monroe, feel free. If you’d just like to read more stories set after the Transition, the Wave or the Emergence, that’s cool too. So would I.
The stories that follow have been written by some of my blog regulars. I’ve edited lightly, but it’s not a highly polished commercial release. It’s just for fun. And for members of my bookclub, it’s a little gift to say thanks for your time and attention.
I hope you enjoy these stories.
If you’d like to write your own, let me know.

15 Responses to ‘Butte Crack comes alive!’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted January 5
Well fuck. Is it too late to correct one typo. My fault if no, but if yes:

Page 62 of the draft I have: "These were college kids." Change to
"These were not college kids."

But other than that, you made me look good, mate.

If you are up to it we all gotta do more of this.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted January 5
Mate, you will be the death of me. I tells ya.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 5
Sorted.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted January 5
I promise to make it up to you, in grand style.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted January 5
Good timing, I till have a few days off so I can leisurely read the output of the Burger Collective. Had a quick look at mine and cringed a tad. Have a better one worked up but its at least double the word limit.
Love the concept, great stuff JB.

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Bernie ducks in to say...

Posted January 5
I bought a copy of Felafel back in 96, and when I got to the section about the hallway golf I had flashbacks, I used to be a motorcycle courier in Sydney back in the day and I'm sure I attended a few parties in that house.
I've been a fan ever since.

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foreverwar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 6
thank you, kind sir.

In the spirit of Pay It Forward, I've bought a copy of Felafel for my son to read on his flight back to Oz (he was over there from the UK for a year, came home for Christmas, and flies back to Melbourne (well, Albury/Wodonga, actually, but he lands in Melbourne) at the end of January for a couple of years.

Keep up the good, nay, great work, JB

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted January 6
Cheers guvnor. Hope Felafel doesn't put your kid off the outside world.

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jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 6
And it's a big thanks from me for making me feel like a real writer. Sad about the couple of stories that didn't make the cut but amazing to see my stuff in a genuine publication.

Gotta say I loved reading everyone's contribution.

John thanks for letting us play in your world for a little while.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted January 6
Jason, the only reason I had to cut a couple of yours was it looked weird that HALF THE STORIES IN THE BOOK WERE WRITTEN BY ONE GUY.

There'll be more books for them to go in.

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jason asserts...

Posted January 6
No problems John. Figured that might be the case.

The down side is i promised myself I would get a tattoo as soon as I had any sort of publication. Looks like I am off to the needle shop pretty soon.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted January 6
How about a large American flag waving in the just and free breeze? That's the tattoo I would choose if not for the instruction in Leviticus mandating death for all who defile their bodies with a tattoo. If not for that I would have a picture of Old Glory on my chest right now.

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted January 6
I would like to make two points.
1. My wife is not that old, and
2. Why would you have a tattoo of her on your chest?

Rob asserts...

Posted January 6
maybe get an old persuader tattooed on you, Not me though I stick to pin up girls, fish and Picasso.

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jason reckons...

Posted January 6
Predictably I am looking at a typewriter on my forearm. Symbolic and aspirational. Also Old Glory would be inappropriate as (based on this thread) it represents another man,s wife or a country that I don't happen to live in.

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Grab an advance copy of Butte Crack

Posted January 4 into The Dave by John Birmingham

I haven't settled on the final copy yet, but this is pretty close. I'd like to,send it out tomorrow. If you have a story in there, give it the once over for any howling errors that might have crept in.

Copy available here.

Or just cut and paste this link:

http://dl.bookfunnel.com/xvn69bofer

It took a lot longer than I'd hoped because of formatting issues. Looking at you, Sparty. I also disinterred a bunch of fan fic from the blog which I was tempted to run, but didn't. Maybe a second volume.

I'd like to do more of these in future, now that I know what's involved.

Anyway, if the contributors have changes, let me know below.

15 Responses to ‘Grab an advance copy of Butte Crack’

Sparty2 mutters...

Posted January 4
Bows head in shame.
Spotted some mistakes (mine ) I'll send on asap.

MUST focus on work (and not goofing off to read this ) -the entire book looks really good - really pleased to see it up!

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted January 5
Loving it. The world of "the Dave" expanding outward.

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sparty2 ducks in to say...

Posted January 5
Great story Boylan- this constant reader enjoyed it

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted January 5
Thank you. I had significant help.

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jason would have you know...

Posted January 5
Looks like my afternoon suddenly became booked out.

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Jevon Kasitch reckons...

Posted January 5
Not sure if they count as typos, but in your own story you use British-isms to describe the car parts 'tyre' 'bonnet' 'boot'. For story set in the US with US characters they seem a touch jarring. My apologies if this was intended.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted January 5
No, it's not. What are the US terms? Wheel, hood and trunk?

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Jevon Kasitch has opinions thus...

Posted January 5
Tyre = Tire if you just mean the rubber part. Wheel for general coverage of the Rubber and metal rim together.

Bonnet = Hood

Boot = Trunk

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted January 5
Cheers.

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insomniac would have you know...

Posted January 5
I've got a double "enough" in my story somewhere.

Given I dashed these off basically as a first draft I now see the great value in a second rewrite and editing. Thanks for adding a few deft touches to my story.

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted January 5
Ok, just checked my contribution. It's a little different in some places to what I submitted but not substantially so and I think I can understand why the editorial changes were made (happy to discuss John if you have a spare five minutes sometime).

I note the Firefly reference came out, but the Neal Asher one is still there. :)

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted January 5
Serious fun, dudes and mates. I am honored to be included in such a talented crowd.

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Rob mumbles...

Posted January 5
awesome. I knew the ending wouldn't stand as originally written. Otherwise the continuity of the Dave would be wrecked.

There is a typo. "lotto panel damage' should be 'lots of panel damage? '

That story was bought to by the Tasmanian Government, sponsors of wannabe artists pretending to work (but really writing short stories and dicking around on the internet)

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ShaneAlpha has opinions thus...

Posted January 5
JB's magic blue pencil excised some utter crap from one of mine (thank god.) Ended better and also removed a whopper of a mistake that I didn't pick up on until I read the published version today.

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"SEAGULLS! (Stop It Now)" -- A Bad Lip Reading of The Empire Strikes Back

Posted January 3 into Funny by John Birmingham

This may be their finest work yet.

5 Responses to ‘"SEAGULLS! (Stop It Now)" -- A Bad Lip Reading of The Empire Strikes Back’

Rob reckons...

Posted January 3
how good are puppets? so good. CGI just isn't the same.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted January 4
Damn, haven't laughed like that since Trump won. Thank you, John.

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pedrogb ducks in to say...

Posted January 14
I was introduced to this on Boxing Day by friends in Sydney. My kids watched it over and over. They now like to sing it in the car. Hilarious.

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DNA Dunc is gonna tell you...

Posted January 15
Seems like some people have too much free time on their hands - which is just as well, or we wouldn't have class nuggets like this. Brilliant. Laughed like a drain

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted January 15
These brilliant artists are doing this for profit.

Take a look at "Bushes of Love" by the same blokes.

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2017

Posted January 3 into Blunty by John Birmingham

First Blunty.

So far 2017 is off to a cracking start. It hasn't killed any meme-worthy celebrities. Donald Trump isn't president. And I'm not even scrambling through a post apocalyptic wasteland fighting for rat meat and potable water. So, yeah. Good times. This is a great year so far.

I was going to do piece on this Centrelink datamatching fiasco, but the more I looked into it, the more I needed to look into it. So I might do that in a week or two.

Today's column was a simple and silly return to the keyboard while I sort out my shit for the year. There is a lot of shit to sort.

4 Responses to ‘2017’

Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted January 3
Happy new year JB, & the rest of you lot.

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ShaneAlpha asserts...

Posted January 3
Another book project there for you JB.

JB's Rat Du Jur, 25 fabulous recipes for cooking in a post-apocalyptic Trumpenesque wasteland.

Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted January 3
As long as it includes the delicacy Rat-onna-stick.

Happy New Year to all!

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Don Bagert asserts...

Posted January 3
JB, I wonder if you've noticed that Trump is scheduled to still be President (although a possibly lame-duck one) on January 15, 2021 - the AoT date of the Transition.

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NYT on bringing Peter Cushing back for Rogue 1

Posted December 29 into Movies by John Birmingham

SPOILER WARNING. Seriously. Stop now if you haven't seen the film yet.

I heard Cushing had been digitally reborn for R1 just before I saw the film. I wish I hadn't. I couldn't help but watch his scenes with a hypercritical eye, looking for the contours of the uncanny valley. I don't know that I'd have noticed much if I hadn't already known.

The New York Times has an interesting piece about the process of bringing Grand Moff Tarkon back to life. As the producers point out, it wasn't something they could avoid. “If he’s not in the movie, we’re going to have to explain why he’s not in the movie,” said Kiri Hart, a Lucasfilm story development executive and “Rogue One” co-producer. “This is kind of his thing.”

From NYT:

In striving for a balance between a digital figure who seemed real and one who looked precisely like Cushing, the “Rogue One” creators said seemingly minor tweaks could make significant differences — and these details were tinkered with constantly.
For example, the original “Star Wars” film (also known as “A New Hope”) was lit differently than “Rogue One,” raising questions of how to adjust the lighting on the character.
Hal Hickel, an Industrial Light & Magic animation supervisor, said that lighting him “the way he was in ‘A New Hope’ improved his likeness as Tarkin, but it worsened the sense of him being real because then he didn’t look like any of the actors in the scene.”

13 Responses to ‘NYT on bringing Peter Cushing back for Rogue 1’

insomniac puts forth...

Posted December 29
I don't see what would have been wrong with digging up Cushing's corpse and draping it over some sort of robotic skeleton.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted December 29
I didn't know in advance and I thought it looked amazing. Sure, if you look close enough you can tell Cushing was CGI, but the uncanny valley has narrowed significantly.

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Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted December 29
What I noted, after playing both the original and CGI on YouTube after I saw Rogue One, was that they did pretty good with the face. However, Guy Henry's voice is just a notch off. Henry's voice has a bit of crackle in it, especially when he says he want to speak with Lord Vader.


Cushing's voice always rolls, and sounds as smooth as silk, even when he is menacing.


But that wasn't enough to wreck the moment, anymore than the CGI did. However, Princess Leia looked downright creepy. Her skin too flawless, too translucent and milky. Carrie Fisher does, if you look, have some texture to her even at 19.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted January 4
With you on that synopsis Murph. I was pretty impressed with the job they did on Cushing - not so on Leia. I had to google to see if they just got some look-a-like for her role and mashed the makeup on good and proper.

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MordWa asserts...

Posted December 29
Peter Cushing was always sufficiently creepy - odd even, in the way Hammer Horror icons always seemed to be - that having him as CGI didn't bother me. I'm not sure it would work for anyone else; with the obvious exception that Yoda has of course been CGI for 20 years, and no one seemed to care...

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w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted December 29
I haven't seen the movie yet, but regarding the Peter Cushing CGI and prejudicial judgements etc, I read an interview with the Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia. He moved to America and worked hard on the audition circuit but struggled to be cast. He presented as an Australian but was sure his American accent was spot on. The casting people would say, we like you but we don't think your American accent is quite right. To overcome this, he decided to tell them he was American and all problems with his accent disappeared. He ended up with seven years as the lead actor in the very successful TV show, 'Without a Trace'.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted December 30
That is the exact reason why I've stopped telling people that I can read their minds.

Oldy ducks in to say...

Posted December 31
Well of course I knew you were going to say that

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted December 31
You are totally creeping me out, dude.

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McGuffin is gonna tell you...

Posted January 1
I suspect much of the uncanny valley effect has to do with fore-knowledge. My wife and a couple of other people I've talked to weren't especially aware of Peter Cushing, or the fact that he's dead, and didn't notice he was a digital creation.

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Don Bagert puts forth...

Posted January 2
It really was good to see the lengths they went to make this movie "Star Wars, Episode 3.9" (or is that III.IX lol) - they wanted to make it reasonable for future generations to watch "Rogue One" followed by "A New Hope" with as few differences as possible.

Now, it's good that Carrie Fisher has already filmed her scenes for Episode VIII - I hope that they can write around her death so they don't have to CGI Leia again for Episode IX :P

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Rob would have you know...

Posted January 2
I think I'll wait till the dvd to see it. My star wars fandom has lost its shine (and you should see my toy collection) , plus my TV is great as is my new stereo. I'm pretty sure there is nothing that is going to spoil it for me.

I got bored with reading the Star wars novels because they essentially just rehashed the first 3 movies in each novel. Yet another Death Star/suncrusher/darksabre and not enough R2D2.

The young Han Solo novels were Ok and gave him some extra depth. What we really need is a return of Jaxxon the Rabbit, now that's a character!

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Aaron mumbles...

Posted January 3
I could tell there was some sort of effect but didn't really care, they are trying to tell a story and the original actor is gone. I would prefer they cast real actors with make up or something. They did a fantastic job I felt like I was watching a movie not a prequel.

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She is one with the Force

Posted December 28 into Movies by John Birmingham

By sad, unplanned coincidence we chose A New Hope as our first pick of the front yard outdoor cinema season last night. I wasn't thinking of Carrie Fisher when we settled on that. I just thought it'd be cool to revisit the story after Rogue 1.

However, watching it a few hours before the news that Fisher had passed away, I was struck by how much agency her character enjoyed, and how well she played a 1930s Saturday matinee tough grrl, updated for the 1970s. Other things occured to me as well, including how much the film owes the classic war movies of the 1950s and 60s. But Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia stood out.

I'd say she was an amazing character for that time. But given the way things have gone, she'd be pretty fucking amazing if she turned up for the first time tomorrow.

I might go read her books.

6 Responses to ‘She is one with the Force’

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted December 28
This one has hit me hard, I think because I refused to believe she could succumb to that heart attack. Princess Leia was an incredible character for any era, andCarrie Fisher was simply incredible. I definitely think I need to read her books and find out about all the wit and wisdom that has just returned to the Force. Vale Carrie :(

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w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted December 28
Princess Leia is a great character partly because Carrie Fisher brought more to it than was on the page. Nice to hear that Carrie was a joy to be around. It is a special person to 'have personsl issues' but still be consistently great and nourishing company.

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WarDog asserts...

Posted December 28
She wrote one of my favourite movies "Postcards from the Edge". Vale

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Rob reckons...

Posted December 28
Carrie Fisher and Gary the Dog used to like my tweets. Top chick.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 29
Personal sadness on a surprisingly profound level. She stood for, represented so much more than I realized until I learned that she died.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted December 29
And there goes her mum to join her. Vale Debbie Reynolds.
:(
The Force must be FKN superpowered by now after all those who've returned to it in the last year.

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