Cheeseburger Gothic

The 1440-minute news cycle

Posted March 10 by John Birmingham

Some thoughts about the president's Twitter addiction. From aliensideboob.com:

According to Russian folklore you do not question a dancing bear. You marvel that the bear can dance at all. Likewise, perhaps it’s time for the world to stop marvelling at the tweets of a massive unsheathed zoo penis, and marvel at the fact that we live in a world were a glistening zoo penis of unusual size and fragile psychology is even allowed to tweet in the first place. Because it seems to me, three months into Donald Trump’s unpresidented reign of error, that the big mistake wasn’t a minority of the American people electing him. The big mistake was not hiding his fucking phone as soon as they did so.

This week the pantsless bear really worked the pole in the strip club of our modern polity by busting out a couple of early morning grievance tweets about former President Obama wiretapping his phones. (And about Arnold Schwarzenegger leaving Celebrity Apprentice because “the time for trivial fights is over.”)

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A sample chapter before I go: The Cruel Stars.

Posted March 8 into Book Extract by John Birmingham

The rock turned silently within hard vacuum and the young woman with it. She pressed her nose to the porthole which fogged with her breath while she waited for night to sweep over this part of the base again. It would come, dark and frozen, within a few minutes, revealing the star field of the local volume, the vast blue-green pearl of the planet far below, and the lights of the nearest Hab, another naval station, like this hollowed-out moonlet, but not.

Lucinda waited for the stars. In the right mood, in a rare abstracted moment, she sometimes wondered at the way they wrapped themselves around you, seeming both intimate and infinite at the same time. As she wondered, dusk came pouring over the small mountain range to the east, advancing in a wave of fast shadows and lengthening pools of inky blackness. She could not see the darkness coming for her on this part of the rock, but she imagined it now swallowing the local area point defences and the gaping maw of the docks. The entrance to the port was always illuminated, but the lights would soon burn with a severe brilliance in the accelerated night.

She was not floating, but she still felt light and only barely in touch with the deck in the standard quarter-gee provided by the moonlet’s mass here at the surface.

“Lieutenant Hardy?”

Surprised out of her reverie, she jumped a little, reaching out reflexively to nearest wall to arrest herself before she could take gentle flight. She was embarrassed at being caught out so.

“Yes,” she said, her voice catching just a little as she turned away from the view, reorienting herself to the spare, utilitarian lines and angles of the transit lounge. As grim as were the outlines of the RAN base and the lunar surface from which its outer shell emerged, the transit lounge was altogether less pleasant to contemplate. At least she thought so after the third hour of waiting here. The glow strips on the carbon armour walls were old enough to need replacing months ago. Rows of hard o-plastic seating looked bleached and brittle under the weak lighting. She was the only other officer in the space. The only other person for the last hour. This part of the facility was restricted and foot traffic was thin.

“Sorry for the delay, ma’am,” said the young man, saluting. He was a second lieutenant, just out of the Academy she guessed from his age and eagerness and his eyes went a little wide as he took in the campaign ribbons on her jacket. He wore dark blue general duty coveralls and carried a sidearm low on his thigh. Lucinda, in her black and white dress uniform, felt awkward in spite of her advantage in rank and experience.

She returned his salute and tried to ignore the feeling that seemed to steal upon her with every new posting, that she was simply masquerading as an officer and would soon be found out.

“You have the advantage of me, Lieutenant…?”

He stared at her blankly for a second, amplifying that sense of dislocation and fragile pretence. Then he smiled.

“Oh. Sorry. You’re not plugged into the shipnet yet. Wilkins, ma’am. Lieutenant Tym Wilkins. Junior Grade.”

They shook hands, close enough in rank for the informal gesture. His eyes flitted briefly to the colored rows of decorations again, but she could forgive him that. He wore no decoration beyond the stitched half-bar on one collar tab.

“Sorry,” he said, when he realised she’d caught him checking out the fruit salad, but he smiled as he apologised. He had a boyish grin that Lucinda imagined had been getting him out of trouble his whole life. He looked very practised in its use. “They told me you fought in the Javan War,” he said, catching sight of her duffel bag under the front row of seats and reaching for it before she could. Lucinda almost told him not to. She preferred to look out for herself. But Wilkins held the lesser rank and it would have been a slight to her if he had not offered. He lifted it carefully in the low-G, testing its mass. Nodding when had the measure of the load.

“They said you were promoted in the field,” he said, leading her toward the exit. “From ensign to lieutenant.”

His enthusiasm was getting away from him. Not looking where he was going, he banged his knee into a chair and cussed, then apologised for cussing. The bag floated up slowly, like an improbable novelty ballon.

“Whoa there,” he said, adjusting his grip and stance and nearly tumbling over while he wrestled the duffel bag and his own mass back under control.

“Damn,” he grinned. “Been in spin and ship grav too long.”

He shrugged off the moment where she would have blushed fiercely with embarrassment.

Lucinda found she could not help but like him. But also, she could not let him go on.

“Thank you,” she said, nodding at the bag. “But I went into the war as a baby Louie, just like you. And I came out a fully grown LT simply because it went on long enough for my turn to come around.”

Wilkins, unconvinced, gave her a theatrically dubious side-eye as they exited the Spartan surrounds of the transit lounge.

“No. The Chief told me you were promoted in the field. And the Chief is never wrong. He told me that too.”

She shrugged and essayed a small uncertain smile.

“I would never want to correct a Chief Petty Officer,” she said—and she was not lying—“but the first promotion, from ensign, that wasn’t in the war. It was nothing, really. Just a small engagement during a counter-piracy patrol.”

“Okay,” he grinned, as though he knew she was hiding some greater truth. “If you say so.”

They walked down a long, wide corridor. The passageway twisted like an elongated strand of DNA, and curved down into the body of the rock. She could feel their descent in the slope under her feet and in the increasing pull of gravity. There were no more portholes to the surface, only screens carrying data feeds and imagery from around the base. At first they passed by no other personnel, but the traffic in automats and bot trains was moderate to busy, and once an Autonomous Combat Intellect floated past. They saluted the black, ovoid lozenge. It pulsed in acknowledgement, turning briefly purple, before a male voice, said, “Lieutenant Hardy, Lieutenant Wilkins, good evening to you both.

The Intellect drifted on serenely.

They watched it disappear around the twisting curvilinear passage.

“Those guys,” said Wilkins, shaking his head. “So chill.”

The corridor spiralled down for another five minutes. Lucinda’s duffel bag grew visibly heavy in her colleague’s hand. She did not so much make conversation as ride it downslope. Wilkins, unlike her, wasn’t shy of talking about himself. By the time they left the long spiral passage they had completely inverted themselves relative to the surface and stood in a secure reception bay, enjoying one Earth-standard grav, provided by the moonlet’s power-assisted spin. She also knew all about Wilkin’s family (wealthy but not yet ennobled), his service (just beginning), and the ship’s command group (pretty chill, except for…)

“Except for this guy,” he muttered out the corner of mouth.

“Wilkins! Where the hell have you been?”

Hardy started at the barking voice, as much at the accent as the volume and sharpness. The rich, stentorian tones of someone who grew up at court on the Armedalan home-world were unmistakable, especially when the speaker made an extra special effort to gild their speech in gold leaf.

The reception bay was a small area, not much larger than the transit lounge where she’d spent so many hours. The walls and ceiling were bare rock, save for a thin but obvious coating of sealant, shining under the glow strips. Three of the four security checkpoints were closed. The fourth stood open and a man in day uniform stomped through. He wore the insignia a First Lieutenant and Wilkins snapped to attention. Hardy stood at ease. The man did not outrank her. Not in any military sense.

His expression turned dark as he took in her lack of deference.

“Lieutenant Hardy?” he asked, giving her the impression that it was an onerous and unwelcome duty to even say her name.

“Yes, Lieutenant?”

She left the question open. For the merest second he had almost elicited a ‘Yessir!’ from her, his long experience of assumed privilege conspiring with her trained obedience to the chain of command to force a submission to which he was not due. Not while he served in uniform.

“You took your time, Lieutenant,” the officer complained.

He did not offer his name. Perhaps she was supposed to know him, or know of him?

“I was waiting at surface level transit, as per my travel orders… Lieutenant,” she said, annoyed by how much his tone of voice seemed to compel her to call him ‘sir’. Wilkins, she sensed, remained at attention beside her.

Lucinda guessed herself to be in the presence of some minor scion of the Royal House, serving his three years before taking up a directorship on one of the Habs or possibly even down on the planet below. He was a First Lifer, like her. Like all of them. Junior officers were always First Lifers. After all, who would go back for a second bite of that cherry?

The anonymous princeling, or count, or whatever he was, lost focus while he consulted his neural net. A lieutenant, she reminded herself, he was just a lieutenant, like her, possibly with even less time in service. He stared through her and Wilkins, who was still standing rigidly to attention and saying nothing. It was the first time he’d shut up since she’d met him. Lucinda was tempted to grab an image cap of the nameless officer and run a personnel search while he made them wait. See if she could track down his ‘legend’, the public record of his naval service. See if he’d been the sort of second or third tier wastrel who kept the scandal services and gossip archives busy before he had to sign on.

But she kept her interface shut down and her expression neutral. She didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. He seemed to getting altogether too much satisfaction from Wilkins’ discomfort and her irritation.

His eyes came back from searching the middle distance and he smirked.

“A charity case, eh?”

She felt her cheeks beginning to burn and knowing that she was blushing only made it worse. Lucinda stared at him, refusing to drop her gaze. Her anger growing. Beside her, Wilkins remained as silent and still as the hard vacuum outside.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Did Naval Records get it wrong?”

He made a show of checking his neural net again, although she doubted he even bothered pulling it up. He simply pretended.

“It’s says you were recommended for officer training school by Habitat Welfare because…” again, the play of consulting records, “…because your father was transported to a debtor colony.”

The still anonymous lieutenant sucked air in through his teeth. “I wouldn’t go lending money to this one, Wilkins,” he snorted. “Would you?”

Wilkins took just half a second too long to answer.

“Well?” asked the Lieutenant, sensing more fun to be had in that moment of hesitation. “Would you?”

Still at parade ground attention, Lieutenant Wilkins seemed to be struggling to lift a great weight, as though Lucinda’s kit bag, which he still carried, had somehow increased its mass tenfold.

“If Lieutenant Hardy was in need of a loan, Lieutenant Reence,” he said at last. “I would be happy to help her. As, I’m sure, she would do for me.”

Lucinda smiled. She knew who he was now. Or who his family, at any rate. House Reence. And that was the same thing really.

“Of course I would, Tym,” she said.

Reence did not smile. He seemed about to double down on whatever game he was playing when he suddenly came to attention as rigidly as Wilkins. Lucinda followed his lead. Something or someone behind her had brought the young man’s theatre of cruelty to an end.

“Ah. Excellent,” said a gruff male voice. It sounded bearish but kindly.

Lieutenant Reence performed a textbook salute.

Lucinda and Wilkins followed suit as the eerily glowing, spherical jewel of an Autonomous Combat Intellect floated up at chest level. It was smaller than the Intellect they had passed on the upper levels. That had been oblong in form and at least a metre in length.

This entity was much smaller, a ship’s Intellect, rather than a Fleet Level adept. About the size and shape of a baseball, it looked like nothing so much as an itinerant blackhole, turned sentient and footloose.

“Is this our new tactical officer?” it asked, although it knew full well who she was. The Intellects knew everything. “Lieutenant Hardy? Welcome aboard, young lady. I’ve heard marvellous things about you from Admiralty, and from the Intellect 4717, who was with you during that spot of bother with those dreadful pirate fellows in the Archon System. Come along, Reence!” The Intellect scolded. “We have a genuine hero piping aboard. I hope you’ve seen to the supper arrangements. Captain Dickinson will expect the silver service. It’s not every day we welcome a Medal of Honour winner to the wardroom. Remind me again, Reence. Do you have a Medal of Honour? I can’t quite recall you winning one, which is odd, because as you know my memory is virtually infinite and actually infallible.”

The Intellect moved off with regal grace, clearing a path through the security barrier and humming a tune Lucinda thought she recognised from a musical she’d seen back on Armedale, during a rare weekend off from the Academy.

“You didn’t tell me about the medal,” Wilkins stage whispered as they fell in behind the merrily humming super-intelligence. Lieutenant Reence stalked ahead of them, but behind the Intellect.

“The records were sealed,” she said.

The Intellect should not have known, and if it did know it should not have revealed that it knew.

But the Intellects were like that.

You never really knew that the hell they were thinking.

43 Responses to ‘A sample chapter before I go: The Cruel Stars.’

EMM puts forth...

Posted March 8
Benevolent asshole AIs? Sign me up!

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WarDog asserts...

Posted March 8
Oooh, I'm going to like this one. How long do we have to wait?

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted March 8
Who knows!?! It's trade published and I'm submitting in about six weeks. Could be later this year. Could be next.

Jerre is gonna tell you...

Posted March 12
HELL YES!!!!I like the sample...a lot.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted March 8
I'm thinking that Reence gets his beans cashed in the maw of a Space Lizard's laser cannon set on full auto. Globules of Reence floating in zero g.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted March 8
I'm guessing Reence is a reference to Reince Priebus, of Trump's admin fame, who reminds me of Christopher Pyne, so yes, I agree wholeheartedly to the bean cashing and more.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted March 8
I do love Reince Priebus as a villains name. And Reence is too close to that. But maybe Reinz?

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted March 8
I dunno, but this is why you need us

she_jedi asserts...

Posted March 9
Yes you should totally get us to choose your villain names for you :)

LOVE THIS! Can't wait to see more.

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Surtac would have you know...

Posted March 9
I'm loving this already. Want moar. Now.

<Goes to wait (im)patiently in the corner.>

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Jevon Kasitch mumbles...

Posted March 9
Very good fun. I like the world building already. Excellent character definition in so short a space.

Typo on the bottom of page 6: "He wore the insignia a First..."

I assume that should be "...of a First...'

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Gutz asserts...

Posted March 9
Coming from someone with zero writing chops and better suited to a Steve Buscemi style comic relief, i say Schwing!!

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Oldy mutters...

Posted March 9
Possible typo?

P2
"...reaching out reflexively to nearest wall..." should it be "the nearest wall"?

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Bondiboy66 has opinions thus...

Posted March 9
Nice little appetizer! Looking forward to the main course!

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Surtac puts forth...

Posted March 10
Oh, and should it be 'what the hell' rather than 'that the hell' in that last line?

(Just had to re-read it this morning.)

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Gilligan mumbles...

Posted March 10
Super excite. The "Cruel Sea" audiobook was a staple of road trips in my youth (that and "633 Squadron"). I'm also loving the clear world building and 40s/Napoleonic mashup of tone re; officer class, etc..

For my devalued 2c, I'd suggest Reinz reads a bit easier and is nice and punchy. Will he be a Bennett, all shirker and bluster, or do we get a grudging respect 'cause he can actual do stuff?

10/10, would military sci-fi again.

Spanner reckons...

Posted March 10
Brilliant. I read the Cruel Sea as a kid many times. J.E. McDonald's Gimmie the Boats.

Imma go download these to listen to again.

Gilligan has opinions thus...

Posted March 15
Several of the audio books we used to listen to Canberra-Sussex Inlet and 1CAMD-Sussex Inlet (both about 2-3 hours, depending on traffic) have particular passages that have stuck with me.

"Cruel Sea" has a post-torpedo description of dealing with casualties that includes a seaman holding an arm "flayed from wrist to shoulder by scalding steam", and the interaction between the new toff-y officer and the more experienced officers discussing Bennett and his use of the phrase "do not come the acid with me".

And all the Hitchikers' Guide audio book versions with partial soundscapes and a bit more production value than just some guy in a studio. And ready by Stephen Moore, so Marvin was definitely Marvin.

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Dave W puts forth...

Posted March 10
I very much like.

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Spanner mumbles...

Posted March 10
Shut up and take my money.

Oh wait you did that already.

Refunded it.

Dammit now take my money again.

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Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted March 10
There's space lizards and splosions coming though right? Character development kinda has to be there I suppose, but splosions and space lizard turn Space Opera into Space Literature.

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Turlogh Dubh O'Brien has opinions thus...

Posted March 11
I'd like to know more about the Javan War...I love little side notes like that. Needless to say, I'm hooked.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted March 11
Good.
Tricky to put human scale drama in a very spacious neighbourhood.

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Sudragon has opinions thus...

Posted March 11
Physics problem.

The base is spinning to produce 'gravity', with our protagonist 'not quite floating' in a quarter G (mass of rock gravity) at the outside edge of the asteroid and walking in one G (spin gravity) at the reception bay deeper within the rock. This is backward. If the spin produces one G at reception, the transit bay would have the windows in the floor and be running at more than one G, not a quarter.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 12
Would it, though. It's not just under the surface, or 'shell' of the moonlet. It's ON the surface. A quite conventional moonbase. That's why they have the DNA loop to turn you upside down as you go int the interior.

Sudragon mumbles...

Posted March 12
Is the whole base spinning...or just an internal structure?

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted March 12
It's a hollowed out moonlet so when they do the DNA thing are they now standing on the inside of the shell? Like an easter egg perhaps. I'm no physics genius but that works doesn't it? You're being pushed onto the "floor" by the spin, whereas on the surface you're being held by conventional mass gravity, although you have removed a lot of the mass now. The more mass you remove the weaker the gravity, and you'd need a pretty big moonlet to get quarter g. Earth sized maybe.

Sudragon has opinions thus...

Posted March 12
Hokay.

Using spin to make 'gravity', you have minimum radii you can use to prevent side effects from Coriolis forces (basically..things falling in curves from the viewpoint of the people spinning with the vessel. It's going to make Cricket interesting in the big habs, but I digress). One of these things is pressure gradients in the plumbing. (Human body...lots of plumbing...Bad Things happen)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_torus
1 rpm at 900m equals approximately 1 G. Outside edge of torus is moving at 2*pi*r per minute

thats 5655m/minute or 1.5m/s. 5.4 km/h.

Let's look at 'surface gravity' One quarter 'G' is about 2.54 m/s^2, putting the base in a body between the size of the Moon (1.62m/s^2) and Mercury (3.7m/s^2)

Surface gravity of Ceres, biggest local 'rock' (not counting Pluto) is one fortieth of a G (.27 m/s^2) and it has a diameter of 945 km.

I am not an astrophysicist. Or a rocket scientist.

insomniac asserts...

Posted March 12
Agree on the moon/mercury g thing but that's the mass you need. A hollowed out moonlet would have to have a larger radius to achieve the same mass, and resultant quarter g.

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted March 12
All that plus
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrarium_(space_habitat)

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted March 13
Insomniac gets the gold star.

insomniac mutters...

Posted March 13
I will proudly display it alongside my next greatest physics achievement: a C+ in an open book physics 101 exam.

Sudragon would have you know...

Posted March 13
A question, if I may? Does our erstwhile Author confer with Military types concerning details of military attitudes, weapons and tactics?

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted March 14
Sometimes. Mostly with Murph. IN this case though, because the series is so far in the future, I can just make shit up.

jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 14
Jason Lambright is my go to guy for any weaponry and tactical advice. Just reading his books gave me a good education in that sphere.

sharky is gonna tell you...

Posted March 15
When is it supposed to be, in an Earth timeline like 2645 AD, or just "once upon a time, a long way away"?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 15
It's about a thousand years from now

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pedrogb mumbles...

Posted March 11
You guys are so thinky.
I enjoyed it, looking forward to a good read.
Splodey is good.

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Don Bagert puts forth...

Posted March 12
Space opera?

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted March 13
Get in my Kindle!

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jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 14
This is the type of stuff that drew me into sci-fi as a kid and never let up. When it comes out, I'll put more pennies in the Birmingham Bank.

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Dave C is gonna tell you...

Posted March 15
Finally had time to read properly. Like much.

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HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted March 15
FKN YEAH BABY!. Not to shabby at all bimminghum. She reminds me of a younger version of Jane Willet! yummy, very very fkn yummy!

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Respond to 'A sample chapter before I go: The Cruel Stars.'

The Next Year Here

Posted March 7 into House keeping by John Birmingham

I think I've figured out what I'm going to do with the Burger, for the next twelve months or so, anyway. I've been feeling guilty and anxious about the amount of time I'm not putting in here. So guilty and anxious that worrying about it has been taking up even more time and energy than simply posting would have.
It's all down to time and energy, and how much I don't have any more. Family commitments aside, without the safety net of big publisher advances I have to earn every dollar that comes in. The last 12 months have proven I can do that, but it's hard work. Good work, and fun, but hard. I'm looking at my whiteboard right now, where I have my major projects for the year listed. All of them 100 000 word novels.
The Cruel Stars.
World War 3.1
The Golden Minute. (The sequel to A Girl in Time).
Sleeper Agent. (A conventional thriller).
Stronghold. (Dave Hooper 4)
In addition to this, I have my remaining media commitments and my new investment in Alien Side Boob. That turns out to be a lot of work, writing a private column to a standard that people are willing to pay for. There's also the fanfic collections, a couple of collaborative projects I'd like to work on, and a screenplay for A Girl in Time.
It doesn't leave a lot of time left over from blogging. And yet I'm not willing to simply close down the Burger. As I explained in a comment in the entry below, I trust this place and the people here in a way that I don't trust, say, my 3000 closest friends on Facebook. I can put out a call for beta readers here and know that the manuscript isn't going to turn up on BitTorrent 24 hours later.
But I don't have time to run a full service blog any more. Not for the next 12 months anyway, while I get my indie publishing business up to full speed. Last year was just proving the concept.
So what I've decided to do is keep the Burger open, but basically as a link blog. Mondays Tuesdays and Fridays I'll put up a link to and an extract from whatever column I have written that day. That will mostly be it. I won't be writing book reviews or movie reviews or even personal entries unless something really strikes me. I just don't have time. As more of the fanfic entries come in, I will publish extracts from them. And as my own books come due for release, I'll drop sample chapters here, but also at Medium, FB etc.
That should be enough to keep the place ticking over, but not so time-consuming that I hesitate to even open the page.

17 Responses to ‘The Next Year Here’

Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7
Food on the table is what's important, you've been more than indulgant with us fans/friends and we appreciate it. Your work and time has to pay for itself in a timely fashion. So continue as you think is best. Bangar

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Halwes mumbles...

Posted March 7
I don't surf the net much and was initially drawn to CBG because I'd reread Falafel and wanted to find out what else you were doing. My point being that without CBG I probably wouldn't have known about much of your other work nor been drawn to it. I've read five of your books that I wouldn't have probably even known about without CBG. I have always read your newspaper stuff and enjoyed it immensely. I'm loving ASB because it's so much more irreverent than you'd be allowed to be in a mainstream newspaper. I think that CBG may play more of a role in your book sales than you imagine however I fully understand how much work it must be to maintain.

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jl ducks in to say...

Posted March 8
500k words is a whopping big chunk. I've written 290k over a four year period and I thought that was a lot- young grasshopper bows to the master!

Think of us here at the 'Burger as your backbench- if there is a tough nut to crack, just holler and we will produce.

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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted March 8
Decommissioned and froze The Pondering Tree years ago. It was simply proving to be too much of a time sink. Where it once seemed to be at the intersection of the internet it now feels like a backwater bypassed by other social media services.


I do far more networking and market research using FB, as well as building a potential fan base. Something I was never quite able to do with The Pondering Tree.


It is what it is.

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she_jedi mumbles...

Posted March 8
I think you've hit on the best strategy; you've invested a heap of time and energy into building the burger into the trusted community it is, and it would be a shame to mothball it. Leverage the best elements of the community you've built here (the beta readers, word of mouth referees for new works via sample chapters, fanthology contributors) and focus on the things that we chose to stick around for - 'splosions, occasional monsters, time travel and thinky, and more 'splosions. If I had my druthers I'd rather have Burger Lite and get 5 new JB novels this year :)

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Surtac mutters...

Posted March 8
Sounds like a sensible plan to me.

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Oldy asserts...

Posted March 8
Ditto she_jedi.

Between FB, ASB and the Instrument I'm getting bulk JB updates. And that's a big whack of work you've got ahead of you. Blogging on top of that, other than announcements and shit, is a big overhead (oh wait, you said that already).

Blah blah support blah blah focus blah blah on your team*





*Millennial members: just substitute # for blah blah...

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Gutz would have you know...

Posted March 8
Hey, whatever keeps fuel in the hovercraft!

Plus i am lazy, i have found your books and this place...i am in no great rush to go anywhere else. i have even managed to bookmark so it saves me some carpal-tunnel.

If you build it we will come. no wait..we are already here...um..

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted March 8
Set on 'idle' is good. Its easy to increase revs if required.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted March 8
as long as you don't let havoc get a hold of the keys to the burger it should be here when and if you want to get back to it.

HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted March 15
OI FKN. Thats prolly the best FKN IDEA I HAVE HEARD ALL FKN DAY!

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Don Bagert asserts...

Posted March 9
Thank you, John. Best wishes to you, and I'm glad that WW 3.1 is high up on the list!

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Dave C asserts...

Posted March 9
Burger lite sounds good. Do what you need to do to get those awesome new stories out, JB.

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Dave W reckons...

Posted March 9
Sounds like a plan.

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jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 9
Just did a quick bit of project management for you. 500,000 words worth of novels, plus columns (let's call that 50,000 words). You have two options, stretch time (which comes with it's own issues) or buy at least two coffee machines.

Tough schedule.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted March 11
Do what you've gotta do.
It's been a hoot.


(Greybeard smells like old newspapers.)

NBlob asserts...

Posted March 12
Silence = assent

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Respond to 'The Next Year Here'

Ten Years of Blunt Instrument

Posted March 7 by John Birmingham

I dont want to alarm anybody, but it's been a decade since I published the first entry at BT.

Link's here.

I seem to recall thinking I'd probably last a year or so there.

Of course, I've been doing this blog a lot longer in one form or another. It's been hard to find the time to update recently because of the publishing schedule I've set myself for this year. Five books, all long form. Two trade published and three indie.

The two long form releases (GIRL and STALIN"S HAMMER) have gone very well. They've totally proved the model. So now I have to ramp up to full production.

I've thought about putting the Burger to sleep for six months, like I did when drafting Weapons of Choice (or maybe it was Designated Targets). I seem to recall it helped, both with the book writing and with my enthusiasm for blogging when I got back to it.

Still pondering that though. I have reasons for not putting it on hiatus.

Curious to hear everyone's thoughts.

12 Responses to ‘Ten Years of Blunt Instrument’

Dave W would have you know...

Posted March 7
It's good to get the odd random thought or discussion instigated by you. But it shouldn't distract from the stuff that pays the bills.

So low maintenance blogging, I guess.

My $0.02.

Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted March 8
THIS - and perhaps the odd book update or relevent opinion/information seeking. Low maintenance, engine on idle I guess.

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insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted March 7
what dave w said

i'd also add that what with asb and the twitterz and this and writing and family and whatever, you're spreading yourself thinly, so if all we get is a smear of olive paste on our sandwich, or burger even, then that will have to do.

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jason mutters...

Posted March 7
You should look at "How to be a Writer" by John Birmingham, lots of good advice there. But seriously...

This stuff is fun but I am all about the writing. So happy with less burger, plus i get my fix from Alien Side Boob which I would recommend to everyone.

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Surtac puts forth...

Posted March 7
I have to agree with the earlier commenters. Do what you need to.

The sweary glory that is ASB more than makes up for the sound of crickets in here, imo.

And I should be working on my AoT fanfic anyway.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted March 7
Blogs are turning out to be like archaeological markers anyway. It's good for a sounding board for the group in here but it don't pay the bills.

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Don Bagert swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 7
It seems like you couldn't stop all posts e.g you would need somewhere for your posts related to the new books. You're still planning to use us as volunteer editors, right? Also you usually ask for feedback concerning a certain aspect of the book (especially with AoT)?

Also, would that mean that your AoT and Disappearance "fanthologies" would be on hold? :(

jason mumbles...

Posted March 7
Or is this an opportunity to allow for greater fan input into the fanthology with us doing the work and John polishing it once it has been well edited, cover art, etc.?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted March 7
And this neatly captures my reluctance to put the Burger on hiatus. I trust this channel ad the people here in a way that I wouldn't trust, say, my three thousand very close friends on the Book of Face.
To answer your question, yes. I am still planning to do the beta reading program.

jason puts forth...

Posted March 8
I am happy to do proof reading of any fan fic to allow you more writing time. I have a little editing skill to if that helps.

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trib is gonna tell you...

Posted March 8
JB, you do you. It's not like The Instrument generates dollars for burgers and beers; OTOH publishing does.

So, drop in here for "shit you idiots should be checking out", rather than trying to maintain a schedule of publishing you can't legitimately keep.

It's not like most of us aren't reading ASB (where such things could also go).

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Chirurgean swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 9
Seems a wee bit trite to say, but change is inevitable. No ancient Chinese proverbs here, but it is true. Do you want to spend the rest of your life doing the same stuff? I thought not. Enjoy — plan your next 20 yrs and move on. Human beings are remarkably plastic and are moulded by events around us. Heck, I am affected and changed by reading your books (in a small but significant way).
Looking forward to the future!

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More of that Ranger interview by Jason Lambright

Posted March 7 by John Birmingham

There's another entry available and worth a look.

At the Interstellar valley.

Me?

I'm busy as hell.

1 Responses to ‘More of that Ranger interview by Jason Lambright’

jason has opinions thus...

Posted March 7
Less posting more publishing works for me. I want my space opera and I want it now.

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Pete's Ranger School Overview

Posted February 22 by John Birmingham

You'll find this entry on JasonL's blog interesting. The first of a couple of interviews with former war fighters.

Check it out.

7 Responses to ‘Pete's Ranger School Overview’

jason reckons...

Posted February 22
I've been keeping an eye on this and I am hooked on Ranger Pete. I want him as my friend and to rescue me from a besieged embassy in sub Saharan Africa. Hopefully both will happen.

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jl ducks in to say...

Posted February 23
Pete would be fine with that. He's versatile. Just as long as you keep him supplied with Grizzly chew and Natural Light (or its local equivalent).

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Senator Texas puts forth...

Posted February 24
Got a link?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted February 24
Hit the test link that says Check it out.

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 24
I remember reading of the Rangers Course years back - it's certainly up there in terms of difficulty with courses like SAS Selection for intsance.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27
Did Pete get f*ked by the fickle finger of fate?

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Senator Texas asserts...

Posted February 28
Magic!

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