Cheeseburger Gothic

An End of the World Project

Posted October 27 into Writing by John Birmingham

Having lain fallow for most of the year, I now find myself ready to do A LOT of work. The white board that hangs by my desk has a bunch of projects on on it, probably three years worth.

One is called EOW.

I think of it as my nod to The Stand, the book that got me into reading and, as it turned out, writing.

I had been thinking about what to do with it. Trade? Indie? One massive volume. Lots of individual serial stories?

Now I've decided. I'll write it naked.

Not just pantsless like all of my other books. But out in the open, where anybody can watch. Well, anybody willing to pony up the admission fee.

Some of you have already signed on, and for that, many thanks.

For anybody who's interested, the link is here.

I wont waste Burger pixels explainging the idea. Just hit the link.

For anyone wondering, shit, when is he gonna do all the other books... Answer: right fucking now.

The Four Horsemen, as I'm thinking of this new project, will take two years. WW 3.1, Smith and Cady, even The Dave, they'll all get their moment in the sun first.

11 Responses to ‘An End of the World Project’

jl reckons...

Posted October 28
This is exciting sh*t.

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insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted October 28
I think the opportunity to see the sausage being made is well worth the small amount of money. Transparency is not something to be afraid of. I happily supply complex, or even simple, search strings to everybody. It gives them the tools to replicate what I do, to be able to bypass me, but it doesn't give them the magic, the dark arts of whatever you excel at. You have the magic buddy.

insomniac puts forth...

Posted October 28
Oh, does this mean the Solar Project is dead and buried, or perhaps just long forgotten.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 28
Killed by spam

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Sparty has opinions thus...

Posted October 28
Top tier sold out already!

jl ducks in to say...

Posted October 28
Guilty as charged.

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted October 28
Done! Although The Dave and Smith and Cady are the ones I look forward to.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 29
They'll be out in January, I reckon.

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insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 30
Are you sure you can wait 2 years?

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/30/mystery-of-octopuses-found-walking-on-welsh-beach

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Sparty reckons...

Posted October 30
The post image is typical Aussie Brit bashing , you can tell the Ashes are coming up ;-)
WHY does it ALWAYS have to be London destroyed.....gives me PTSD about an event which has never happened...

Dave W would have you know...

Posted October 31
Because destroying Taunton will never bother people in the same way?

"Oh no, Taunton is destroyed, can life ever b... oh, look, we can just move up the road to Monkton Heathfield."

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Genius art guy

Posted October 26 by John Birmingham

I should do a little gallery one day of all the art work I've had done for me by Will Heavey. I found him via 99 Designs and was so pleased with the early stuff he did for me that I just kept commissioning him. I should really get a few fallback designers for when he gets too busy and famous for me, but the whole process is so easy with Will that I can never quite bring myself to send the work anywhere else.

His latest cover is a great example.

A couple of years ago I wrote a novella for Steve Stirling's anthology The Change. Took Fifi, Jules and Pete, moved them out of the Disappearance storyline, and into Steve's Emberverse. It worked really well.

Decent fellow that he is, Lord Stirling had no probs with me eventually self publishing the story as a standalone. The question of cover art arose and I asked Will if he could give me something that spoke in the design language of Steve's series, while being something all of its own.

I think he did well.

Behold, Fifi, Pete and Jules in the cannibal realm of Sydney.

Most of you will have had the email about the book's release. But if you haven't, it's on sale for 99c for a couple of days.

9 Responses to ‘Genius art guy’

Nocturnalist mumbles...

Posted October 26
Hunters & Collectors reference?

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted October 26
sush, spoilers

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Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted October 26
Love the artwork - gotta start reading the story though! It's sitting in the iPad waiting for me to finish something else....Which happens to be 'How To Be A Man' which I found at the Bondi markets at the weekend!

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jl asserts...

Posted October 26
It's a good cover- when I first saw it, I thought immediately of the other Change works. Success.

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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted October 26
Fifi lives!

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she_jedi mutters...

Posted October 26
Such a genius art guy! He really nailed the look of the art of the rest of the series.

Really loved the story too; got a kick out of the cameo from the King of Darwin, your majesty :P

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted October 26
I will never live that down.

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted October 27
Thoroughly enjoyed it. Genuinely LOLed when I realised what the second part of the King's 'commission' was. :)

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Leftarc puts forth...

Posted October 27
Jumped into this as soon as I saw it, and as for the cover, it does look like a Emberverse book. And Pete must have some big cahoolies to take Lucille from Negan and Rick. Why though, can't I get other Emberverse books onto my kindle?

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Back to the Cruel Stars

Posted October 25 by John Birmingham

I spent most of today reading the draft chapters of The Cruel Stars on Dropbox Paper. It had been so long since I'd been able to do any concentrated work on it that I thought I'd better familiarise myself with the story and characters again. I'm glad I did. I really like this story and hope it gets a chance to stretch its legs.

Before I went into shutdown earlier this year I did spend a couple of days just tweaking Lucinda's chapters, rewriting the scenes with a view to emphasizing the character flaws I'd built into her bio. It was just a few lines here and there, but it made a real difference. I'll have to do the same with the others.

I have so much work to catch up on.

1 Responses to ‘Back to the Cruel Stars’

HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted October 26
Never having been a Sci Fi Fant Action bookie reader I've found this FKN BRILLIANT!. CONVERTED and loving it!

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Dark clouds lifting

Posted October 24 by John Birmingham

About three weeks ago the depression which had overtaken me while my dad was dying finally lifted. It felt as though grey and leaden clouds parted to let through a few shafts of light, then broke up and drifted away.
It's been a year, I tell you.
For most of it I'd drag myself to my desk every day and try to grind though whatever work was in front of me. As I failed and failed again at that, day after day, the work piled up. I just kept grinding.
I did a lot of short writing this year. The private column was a left handed gift in that way. It forced me to keep writing, twice a week, every week, whether I felt like it or not. And mostly I did not.
Not at all.
I put on a lot of weight. Maybe ten kilos or more. That started in the hospital, eating shitty food for the want of something better to do. It got worse later, as I was eating for comfort and a sense of control.
I had some back problems too, which restricted my ability to exercise. But I kept exercising. Like the writing, it was a grind, but I did recall from my psych degree that regular exercise was as effective for treating mild depression as any medication or therapy.
So this has been a year.
However, as I said, a couple of weeks ago, my mood lifted and I suddenly found I had the energy to write again, and a renewed interest in doing so. My publishers were very understanding, so my first priority is finishing The Cruel Stars for them. I've given myself a deadline of November 24. For those of you who were beta reading, I'll be adding new chapters as they're written, rather than in longer sections. Thanks for your indulgence as well.
The ladies of the family will be travelling for a few weeks from late November, giving me a clear run to do some concentrated work and get in a bit of extra jujitsu training. (Jujitsu was one of the few things I didn't lose enthusiasm for this year. In fact, it kept me sane).
November/December then I'll be writing The Golden Minute, the next of the Smith and Cady time travel books.
I have a couple of other irons in the fire I'll discuss a bit later this week, but I'm pondering what to do here at the Burger too. I let it lie fallow because most days I had enough of a struggle to get any paid writing done. But I'd like to reboot.
I'll probably start modestly. I might even revisit the early journalspace days and just keep things very personal. I have a new puppy, after all. She's good for some posts.

14 Responses to ‘Dark clouds lifting’

WarDog puts forth...

Posted October 24
Glad you are through the tunnel John. Depression's a bitch and then some. If you ever need a beer, a coffee and/or an ear you have friends both near and far.

Looking forward to more Birmingham to add to my collection.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted October 25
Hey mate. I should pop into town for lunch some time before Xmas.

WarDog puts forth...

Posted October 25
Definitely up for that. How about duck dumplings at Madame Fu? Ping me anytime (except Mondays - doing 4 days weeks now :-))

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sibeen asserts...

Posted October 24
Welcome back, JB. The black dog can be a bitch to get away from My old man died 10 months ago and it knocked me around quite a bit, though not at your level. I just hope it is all good for you now.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 25
Sorry to hear about your Dad, Shiv. They do leave a hole behind don't they.

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Sparty puts forth...

Posted October 25
when things are tough I can imagine nothing can be harder than having to be creative on demand - I hope you get your groove back, but in your own time, without pressure.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted October 25
It is pretty tough, yeah.

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happy buddha is gonna tell you...

Posted October 25
The black dog can be a tenacious bugger.
Glad to hear you're getting out from under.

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Brother PorkChop would have you know...

Posted October 25
Great to hear you've come out the other side JB. It hurts doesn't it! I'm over 50 and I still well up pretty much anytime I think of my Dad after 10 years.
Selfishly, I am overjoyed to also hear that the words are flowing again - I've missed it and look forward to getting some reading done on Fraser in January.

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insomniac mutters...

Posted October 25
Glad things are getting back to normal, or as normal as can be. It will be good to see some words again. I know I've missed them.

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Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted October 25
For Miguel, who died in Kansas City.

For Fifi, who died on that boat.

And for all of the other characters, up, back in the saddle again.

Time to ride for new projects.

Onward.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted October 25
I've really loved the ASB columns this year, and there was no clue to the epic struggle to write them. I'm so sorry you've had to suffer this darkness on top of your loss and grief, but also so glad for you that you are on the mend. Much love JB, baby steps on all the work piled up, we can wait xx

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Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted October 26
Yes the black dog is a bastard of a thing. That you had some things to enjoy, like martial arts, gives hope for coming through things....I've been there and its not fun. For you, and yours, it's very heartening to hear that you are coming good!

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Surtac mutters...

Posted October 27
I have to admit I did wonder if the black dog had put in an appearance, as I've seen it happen before to other creatives. Props to you for getting through it.

My own experience with depression is vicarious - my Eldest Daughter is a longtime sufferer - but the effects are serious and obvious and very real.


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The maximum playboy goes to the hot tub in the sky. Or Hell. One or the other

Posted September 29 by John Birmingham

Yeah. I went there.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the Bunnies crying with a sexy saxophone. Silence the eight-track disco, and with a muffled drum, bring out the tiger fur-lined coffin, let the mourners come. Let the Playboy Jet circle overhead, scribbling on the sky the message, Hef is dead.

The alpha perv is no more.

So glad they turned off the comments on this one.

13 Responses to ‘The maximum playboy goes to the hot tub in the sky. Or Hell. One or the other’

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted September 29
So I take it that you now own the crown for the largest collection of bunnies.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted September 29
I am the King.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted September 29
It does appear as if Hef was the wan King.

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jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 29
I owe the Hef. The first naked woman I ever saw was due to him, in some 1970's issue of Playboy that my older brother found somewhere.

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Dave W mumbles...

Posted September 29
What about your part in his success? Did you sell any of your early scribblings to playboy?

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted September 29
Lots.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted September 29
Before Playboy the only perv material I guess would have been pictures of half clad lasses in National Geographic. I wonder if that magazine's subscriptions declined when Hef launched his titty mag.

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Bernie would have you know...

Posted September 30
Apparently, this is the stiffest he's been in the last decade....

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 1
Perhaps indicative of the circles I frequent, but there was much gnashing of teeth over the Heff's passing, essentially laying the exploitation of "thin pretty women" and the subsequent creation of Rape Culture at his robe's hem.
I thought it a touch over the top.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted October 2
Lucky you had this Safe Space to which you might retreat, then.

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girlclumsy reckons...

Posted October 2
JB!!!

I don't like to claim "great minds" necessarily, but this is the "tribute" I wrote to Hugh on my FB page last Thursday:

ATTENTION: A "Tribute" to Hugh Hefner, Pre-eminent Pornographer (with apologies to WH Auden).

Stop all the cocks, cut off testosterone
Prevent the dog or you playing with a juicy bone
Silence the jacuzzis and with ruffled bum
Bring out the Bunnies, let the mourners come

Let centrefolds open moaning over head,
And dribble on their thigh the message He is Dead
Put silk robes round the fake racks that he so loves
Let the lonely Playmates wear white latex gloves

He was my North, my South, my East and West
My perky cheeks and my Sunday breast
My wang, my willy, my shaft, my schlong
We thought we liked him for the articles, we were wrong

His pipes are not wanted now, put out every one
Pack up the poon, watch the nipples grow dun
Pour away the lotion, and timber the wood
For the Mansion now has lost its Manhood.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted October 3
There was an... inevitability about this. No?

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Rob reckons...

Posted October 16
I have to admire Hef, not for his treatment of doting, blonde females that rummaged around his palace or anything like that. But for the way he paid for Bettie Page's lawyer and agents to recover royalties owed to her after her mental health collapse in the 70s.

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Sparty on the New Star Trek

Posted September 26 into Telly by John Birmingham

I watched both eps last night and I have some thoughts. But Sparty sent me his recap before I could get them down. So we'll go with his.

Spoilers below so don’t read until after you’ve watched first two eps of Discovery

Sparty

SPOILER COUNTDOWN

10

9

8

7

6

Zero

Discovery notes (Which I wish could be as funny as Girl Clumsy, but I don’t have it in me).

Poor Bill Shatner, must have been rolling in his Captains chair (don’t tell me he doesn’t have one somewhere). CBS go all the way to Jordan to film a throw away opening scene on a god damn TV budget, while Star Trek V – a major motion picture still had to do with a polystyrene rock monster…

Cue Credits where we see that the producers took Gene Roddenberry’s original brief that Star Trek be “Wagon Train to the stars”, a western in space, so literally that they just reused the Westworld title sequence with a bit of added Technical Drawing (UK speak for draughtsman’s sketches).

Take a ways from the credits – there are more Executive Producers than alternate time line NCC1701-D Enterprises from the ST:TNG episode Parallels (but one is an original timeline Roddenberry which is good).

An area where perhaps they should have copied A Game of Chairs would have been in casting spoilers. Was Ned Stark credited as “a very special guest star who will not be with us very long”, nope and neither should Crouching Tiger. (Yes I know Michelle Yeoh has had other parts and shouldn’t be defined by an ethic focused part - but on the other hand she pretended to be a Japanese Geisha, which is like saying just anyone can play a Klingon. (David Warner I am looking at you). But back to the good – we certainly were treated as Trekkies (Trekkers just feels a little bit like Alt Right - a made up name to make something more respectable) - Sarek appears and no need to Xposite that he’s a Vulcan with some pretty big political heft although George Michael Jnr does do some pretty heavy mid mission Xposition briefing to her Captain, who clearly takes the Donald J approach to paying attention to critical information.

Anyhow a few (buried under some pretty damn good latex) cultural analogies later Sasha goes full Jyn Erso and rebels (BSG took four seasons for that to brew and they didn’t even have indoor toilets on the Galactica) and Big Space Fight happens. I’d describe it but I doubt the script writer did, so why should I?

Another take away, the Klingons only respond to power etc, so maybe the way to fight Kim Jong is with our own big trousered idiot and they’ll respect us - wow I get it- Startrek is about NOW….

I’d go on, but to be honest I’m still no closer after the pilot (but was it a pilot?, with damn near 1000 eps of Startrek of one form or another out there, I guess not) to understanding what sort of show BattleTrek Orville is actually going to be. Third episode should show that. It’s usually the one where the crew act completely opposite to their personalities cause the best way for the audience to know what someone is , is to see what they are not (trade Mark Mid-eighties US TV writers bible).

Oh and the second officer played by the X-files cigarette smoking man was great and will hopefully transfer to Orville if CBS can Discovery….

Damn who am I kidding, I enjoyed everything – it WAS Star Trek – back on telly where it belongs and while not perfect did not make the Aliens 3 / Terminator 3+ / JJ films mistake of somehow reducing what has come before. Did you see the command pips on their uniform badges, subtle department coloring, and proper looking phasers!!!

Oh Discovery you had me at the Starfleet Delta in the sand…….

10 Responses to ‘Sparty on the New Star Trek’

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted September 26
Good wrap up.
I want to watch more of this series. I'm a fan of Trek so that was never going to be in doubt. Did I think its the greatest trek ever, no! But did it set my soul ablaze, also No. But I was entertained, interested in the characters and enjoying the callbacks to the old series. I agree it avoids many of the pitfalls of recent reboots. I love the Battletrek Orrville nickname. If anyone who wants to judge it too harshly before commenting do you honestly remember the first couple of series of Star Trek: The next generation or Deep Space Nine? Tell me it's worse than some of their earlier episodes?

Sparty puts forth...

Posted September 26
You’re right – has anyone here ever watched even rewatched clip of the first season of TNG or Nine other than Data saying he can pleasure in the bedroom or Sisko at Wolf 259? This first season will be so far ahead pf those first seasons.

The Orville was interesting because its third episode was as late seasons TNG Trek as anything could be. A cultural interference dilemma along the lines of Riker falling in love with LGBT community and Worf asking for assistant suicide, directed by Braga and the music , even the beat tempo of the script. I’m sure CBS could have killed the series long ago if they had felt the need so it’s clear that they are going in a very different direction – and also now very clear why they had to kill “Prelude to Axanar” (which given the behaviour of the guy running it, was probably justified). I’d certainly recommend giving Orville a go to anyone with an interest in Trek.
And the new Trek as Spock often says, is “open to possibilities” – imagine if Garth of Izar turned up to rescue the Shinzhou in a Constitution class, instead of Admiral Mansplainer getting Shinzoned, or Kor and Kang go to war against the house of Duras…….

Barnesm asserts...

Posted October 4
I am still hanging out for the TV series of Scalzi's Red Shirts based on his book.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted September 26
I very much enjoyed it in spite of a few basic flaws. There's a lot of starchy exposition to chew through in the first 15 minutes and the camaraderie between Burnham and Captain Tiger Lady felt a little forced. But go back and watch every series of Star Trek ever and you'll find the same thing. Often much worse.
This series looks like it will really benefit from the lessons of the new Golden Age of television. (Remember how Orin told us nobody would pay for this stuff?). But also from the streaming play that CBS is making by locking it up behind a paywall. They need to give people a reason to pay for this, so we got a cinema worthy cast and production values.
I want to watch it again before commenting at length, but I like what I see so far.
One bowl of claim chowder I have to eat, the only culture war push back I've seen so far is a writer in the LA Times complaining that the portrayal of the Klingons is deeply racist.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted September 27
Frankly, I thought it was utter crap. I skipped the first episode based on the crappy reviews and moved onto the second.

My thoughts?

Vulcans again?

The Klingons sound like they just started talking yesterday. It is almost like some very sad, racist dare I say it, parody of previous depictions of American Indians in movies.

This white haired prick of an Admiral who was around for all of about five minutes NEEDED killing. I think I would have killed him anyway even if I wanted peace just to make a point.

The ships don't look right, or even impressive. The explodey was not quite satisfying and the SFXs were crap as well.

I consider myself a pretty big Star Trek fan. I've watched them all, even ground my way through the disappointment that was Enterprise.

Now this crap.

I unsubscribed from their service this morning. I won't waste another minute of my time, or dime for that matter.

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Dave W mumbles...

Posted October 11
I'd just like to say that I haven't watch this or any other star trek. I claim no reason but that it just never caught my fancy. But I thought that Mr Murphy's screed here was most excellent and I'm disappointed that no one else has thought it worthy of comment.

Especially the "white haired prick of an Admiral" who "NEEDED killing".

Kudos to you, sir.

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Dick reckons...

Posted October 12
Agree Dave. Excellent rant by Murph. I was going to respond to Murph with a "tell us what you really think" but given the tone of his post thought I might get a heated response.

Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted October 25
STD sucks.

But then, STDS always suck.

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Sparty mumbles...

Posted October 12
When TNG came out I hated the look of 1701-D and some silly early CGI space ships, spandex one piece uniforms looked shit, phaser design awful and what was it with an english accented frenchmen and a kid on the bridge? EVERY episode had a A and a B story and i watched the first season on word from the US that "it gets better". well it did by the 42nd episode. I'd give discovery a bit more of a chance?

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Dave W asserts...

Posted October 13
42 episodes. Dedication, thy name is Sparty.

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