Cheeseburger Gothic

Borders, no more.

Posted February 17, 2011 by John Birmingham
So, Borders have finally gone under, here as well as in the US. Taking Angus and Robertson with them, and Whitcoulls in New Zealand. I am actually sorry to see them go, even though they haven't been the stores they used to be for a long time.

A lot of people in publishing and bookselling hated Borders for the obvious reason. They came stomping into a market, often crushing independent bookstores under foot, and applying a mass production sensibility to something which had once been a bit of a cottage industry.

All true. And yet I didn't mind Borders because, in the old days at least, they carried some amazing backlist. In the early days of that chain it was possible to wander in off the street and find whatever you wanted somewhere along the miles of shelving they maintained. They may have only kept two or three copies of backlist titles, but at least they kept them. Along with thousands of obscure titles you weren't going to find in other chains, or at the independents, which simply could not hold that much stock.

I'm not sure when this situation changed, but I was aware during my last book tour–what, eighteen months ago?–that everything had changed. I've done enough touring over the years that I'm allowed out on my own without a publicist these days. A lot of the grunt work of book touring, for instance ringing up bookstores and arranging visits, I would do for myself.

I remember very clearly being told, on the quiet, at the start of my last tour not to bother wasting my time visiting Borders. Some of them, franchises I think, were OK. But the chain as a whole run by Redgroup was considered to be toxic. Poor old Angus and Robertson, also caught up with the same venture capital smartarses was even worse.

I'm not sure whether you've been into an A&R store the last couple of years. Jesus, talk about depressing. They became giant dump bins for failed remainder copies imported directly from the US. Shit books by no-name authors, poorly printed on cheap stock.

So, what does this all mean?

Well, people will still buy books. It may hasten the acceleration towards electronic books which is already underway. It may shore up the position of the surviving chains, particularly well-run operations like Dymocks. What I would like to think might happen is something I've been predicting for a while. That we start to see something of a renaissance in the independent bookshop sector.

I did an interview with a journalist yesterday who was preparing a story for the Courier Mail, where we discussed this very issue. He specifically wanted to know about e-books, but we drifted onto the topic of the publishing industry in general. I told him what I've been telling people for nearly 2 years now.

Electronic book publishing is going to destroy the major chains. The sort of high volume disposable fiction which is their stock in trade, will migrate almost entirely into electronic form over the next 10 years. Their other income streams, recorded music and video are already drying up. It doesn't mean the end of the printed book. It just means printed books will be a much smaller segment of the market, and eventually much more of an elite item purchase. You can expect to pay a lot more for your paper books in future, but you can expect to buy only certain types of books in paper format because of that.

This isn't going to happen overnight, or even in the next two or three years. But it is going to happen over the next decade. At the end of that process I would expect to see most of the chains gone, but many of our much loved independent bookstores will still with us, doing what they do very well now. Providing a bespoke service, with a lot of hand selling of small print run high value books as part of a complete retail experience. What the fuck does that mean?

It doesn't mean sticking Gloria Jeans in the middle of your bookshop hoping that people will buy shitty books along with the shitty coffee. But it might mean something like my local bookstore, which is also a restaurant and café, and a really lovely place just hang out for a couple of hours. It's deeply embedded in the local community and appreciated not just for the books it sells, but the amenity brings to the neighborhood.

I can't think of a single Borders chain store about which you could say that.

93 Responses to ‘Borders, no more.’

Mr Ak swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
Are major chains going to die, though, or are they just going to become digital entities? I mean people like Borders have very recognisable brands in ways which publishers don't. Sure, you can brand by author or by series, but then it becomes harder to push something genuinely new at customers.

Or will it all just be Amazon taking 30% of your profits to distribute on a closed software monopoly.

Disclosure:I don't like Amazon.

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Mr Ak mumbles...

Posted February 17, 2011
Did I say people? I meant companies...

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DrYobbo asserts...

Posted February 17, 2011
Bit surprised Whitcoulls are being taken down, they seem to be in decent health over here.

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Matt swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
A&R wasn't so great twenty years ago, either. If you wanted something a little odd getting them to order it in was like pulling teeth.

Or at least it was for me. Maybe you had better luck.

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Andy Thompson ducks in to say...

Posted February 17, 2011
I started to take note of the demise of Borders the day I noticed more and more DVD's being stocked in my local. I too, used to love being able to find rare copies of books that no one else had. Still, there was no atmosphere. It was like shopping in a hospital ward except the nurses were replaced with spotty teens with lip piercings who wanted to tell you all about the latest vampire novel. Unfortunately the shopping centre I generally frequent has both a Borders and an A&R. I am now a wee lamb...lost in the woods.

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Mirthisse is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2011
And Borders completely failed in their attempt to go online. Ordered a whole lot of speciality manga books for my daughter for Christmas - site stated they were online and I got an email 2 days later that they had shipped. The books actually arrived almost 6 weeks later - well after Christmas - and I swore to myself I would never use them again. And no recourse for the disappointment of my daughter at Christmas time.....so I wont be crying any tears.

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S asserts...

Posted February 17, 2011
Have you seen the UK website Book Depository?

I've bought from this site a few times - the books are cheaper than you'd find in the stores here, and they don't charge postage.

Why would I bother going into Borders, when I can shop from home in my flannie PJs and slippers?

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tqft mumbles...

Posted February 17, 2011
Pulp Fiction - no coffee shop there. Actually it isn't much bigger than a decent sized coffee cup. Ah, but range & service, at least of the stuff I am interested in.

Borders at Garden City is/was good precisely because it had a coffee shop - the only quiet place in Garden City to sit down and away from the horde.

But I have noticed Borders destocking. Garden City store now has a range of homewares in it as well, rather than books.

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Bookworm puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
Well hooray I say. Sick of the shopping mall mentality which seems to pervade every retail experience these days. Been in anything owned by Westfields lately? No wonder half the population is on anti-depressants.

Can I recommend a really good old-fashioned outlet run by a couple of grumps in Avalon called Bookocinos? Now that really is a bookshop!

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Ross reckons...

Posted February 17, 2011
Don't forget the bonus this is for Dymocks in Australia, the stout, continuing defender of their campaign to dump the Parallel Import Restrictions.

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Darryl Mason ducks in to say...

Posted February 17, 2011
As e-book readers, tablets, come down in price and become as common as TV remotes, those who want the fast, disposable read will go for e-books, paying little more than $5 to $7 for top titles. If you read a book you really like, or love, something special you want to have on a shelf or give as a gift, then you'll order a print-on-demand copy.

But a whole new world of minor book markets will open up, where authors will be able to publish small run, limited editions 'packs' around their hardcovers, beautiful maps, photos, toys, art, whatever, as bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails do with their releases now.

Those who want to quick read the new JB thriller on holidays will go for a $5 e-book.

The diehard fans will pay $60 for the hardcover kit, with posters, a memory stick full of digital goodies & author interviews, whatever, and a hardcover copy handnumbered by JB, with a thumb print or perhaps an actual drop of blood splashed onto the title page.

The future of creative book publishing is bright. The future of turning bookshops into overpriced Woolworths is fucked, as it should be.

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Jacob Martin is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2011
It's pretty sad, I know. I bought my rare copy of the out of print Japanese gonzo classic Welcome to the NHK by Tatsuhiko Takimoto there when nobody else had it. But those days are gone I guess. I just hope Kinokuniya in the Sydney CBD hold out a bit longer, since they deserve to stay open for providing a unique book loving environment. Galaxy Bookshop is worth a look too for sci-fi that even Kino doesn't have.

I'm only 21 years old, and I'm worried bookshops will go away faster than I can have children to enjoy them with me. I mean, it's not like I'm The Situation from Jersey Shore either. Nobody's gonna get pregnant fast enough for me to become the father of kids who remember a world with bookshops. Besides, the upside is that in a paternity trial where I'm falsely accused I can submit my D&D rulebooks as critical evidence.

In any case, in the same session my shrink told me that the supposed Road Warrior future was nothing to fear because of how tame the reaction to natural disasters is down here, the iPad is nothing to fear either even though it is a sort of technological Plato's Cave that I can't afford either financially or emotionally to cross out of yet.

Maybe in the next decade I will, just like what happened when I was a late adopter of the iPod because I grew up with less money than sense compared to other kids at school.

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Blarkon puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
I think that believing that there will be a rennaisance in independents is wishful thinking. How many independent video shops are there these days?

Amazon.co.uk now offers free shipping to Oz. A strong dollar and free shipping to Oz remove the last barrier to going online to get your stuff. Free shipping from Amazon and an 8 day turnaround - how on *earth* can a non-established independent bookstore compete with that?

With Apple doing its best to destroy Amazon and rampant ebook piracy - look for a scorched earth ebook war to break out and there to be little clarity in this area until one side wins. Most likely what will happen is that with an ongoing inconclusive war, buying ebooks will become a bit like buying TV shows online - something you only bother with if you are unable to find what you want on a pirate site. This works for Apple because they make a profit even if you read pirated content on their device. Amazon takes a hit because they give you the razor but make money on the razorblades.

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Bill puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
That's a very good point about the backlist. In January last year, I was looking for a gift to take to my father-in-law in the US. Since he takes a keen interest in World War 1, I thought the perfect book for him would be The ANZACs by Patsy Adam Smith. I was appalled to learn that not a single major store in Melbourne had it in stock.

I used to like Borders because they created an atmosphere that made me want to buy books much more than A&R or Dymocks. Not so much any more.

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CC mumbles...

Posted February 17, 2011
While I see JBs point about Borders - i agree with tqft. Borders at Westfield Chermside was/is a nice place to have some time off, think about possible book purchases, browse magazines - a lot of which could not be bought from local newsagents - and have a coffee (as good as a Gloria Jeans one can be). I for one am going to miss it. I guess once they started stocking homewares the writing was on the wall that book selling was no longer their core product offering.

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Emma swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
Yay for the independent bookstore. Like Riverbend in Bulimba, my favourite local, Avid Reader, dishes out the great coffee and snacks as well as beautiful books. The kids section is a favourite of ours, and Fiona is always onto it when we want to order in some obscure title from some strange part of the world! I hope you're right, JB, but we don't need a renaissance, we need a revolution!

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2011
FUCK. There goes my rewards card.

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Blarkon puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
The diehard fans will pay $60 for the hardcover kit, with posters, a memory stick full of digital goodies & author interviews, whatever, and a hardcover copy handnumbered by JB, with a thumb print or perhaps an actual drop of blood splashed onto the title page.

As many an author who has tried to get something like this funded through Kickstarter can attest, even if you are Terry Pratchett there are a very small number of people willing to fork over for premium content that is priced at a level more than $5 more than what they can get it for without premium features.

Don't believe me? Google Warren Ellis Transmetropolitan Kickstarter. This is an art project for a very famous series of graphic novels. There were multiple subscription levels - one of which got you the book, another of which got you the book with a personalized signature. Of the 600 who signed up for the project, less than 20 went for the signed premium product.

There is a fantasy out there that there is a business model where content creators get by selling personalized fan content while taking a loss on their normal books or music. The reality is that there is a minescule number of people who will pay more than $30 for something they can get for $5 and that number won't make up for the losses incurred by selling content at a price that is lower than the cost to produce it.

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ConspiracyCat reckons...

Posted February 17, 2011
The last three times I've gone to Borders, their computers have assured me they had several copies of the book I was after. All three times, even the assistants couldn't locate the alleged in-store copies. (This includes AA).

Kinda makes those cosy reading corners defunct, if you can't find the books you want to read.

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Blarkon mutters...

Posted February 17, 2011
To put the Warren Ellis figure in context:


400,000 followers on Twitter
Less than 600 willing to pay for specially produced unique book
Less than 20 willing to pay for personalized specially produced unique book

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Adam mumbles...

Posted February 17, 2011
Agree with everything you say, except to point out A & R (as Redgroup) bought Borders off the US brand, not the other way around. That's when the end began.

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Taka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2011
Amazing news. I buy Australian but I always buy from Booktopia. They are pretty cheap.

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abigail puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
Feel sorry for the employess; 'twas a good factory for starving uni students. About my only regret. Never went there, well, hardly ever.

Empirical only but independent book stores have always been the subject of our desire because of what they represent, which is encoded in the two words. Independent. Books. Borders = franchise, we don't like franchises.

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abigail ducks in to say...

Posted February 17, 2011
...meant, franchise and books together feels like an uncomfortable marriage of mass commercialism and intellectualism.

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Chaz reckons...

Posted February 17, 2011
Did nearly 6 years in Book retail in the UK before the NET book agreement came to an end and the market rushed for the bottom.

I agree with JB in that Borders were a breath of fresh air when they first arrived. Their backlists were the main drawcard, much better than WH Smith, Books Etc and Dillons.

Of course it's the mainstream inprints that will suffer most. Niche markets such as Sci-Fi,Fantasy & Horror already have their specialist stockists as do sports books.

So its the mainstream Australian authors who will suffer plus your high level imports Amis, Archer, etc etc

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mrblenny swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2011
I second the shout out to Book Depositry in the UK. I wonder what sort of royalty JB makes on an $8 book delivered such as "weapons of choice" here http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780345457134/Weapons-of-Choice compared to someone paying ~$20 for the same thing here in Australia?

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Ken Burgin reckons...

Posted February 17, 2011
Well remember the first time I went into their South Yarra store and the thrill of their massive range. Same in Chicago - buying things you knew you'd never find elsewhere. But their policy in the last few years of marking most books UP by a few dollars beyond the RRP was nasty - now I snap the cover with my phone and check www.booko.com.au for the best price.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted February 17, 2011
I hear some doctors have been doing with out borders for years.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted February 17, 2011
Shouldn't this be a topic for The Geek or even BT? or is JB testing the waters after the frakstorm Tuesday's BT generated. Doesn't Andrew Bolt have an opinion on Borders, does he read? Can he read?

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ConspiracyCat puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2011
I think Mr Bolt is busy with a pork chop right now. You'll have to wait until he's finished gnawing the bone, and has safely buried it.

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sibeen mutters...

Posted February 17, 2011
I just saw this on the ABC news website and thought to myself, "I bet JB's on this like shit on a goose". I seem to have been correct.

My nearest large shopping centre is Highpoint, in Melbourne. It contains both a Borders and an A&R, and until today I wasn't aware that they were owned by the same company. The Borders was split over two levels, with some form of coffee shop on the upper; no idea what 'brand' of coffee store it was, I never lowered myself to the franchise swill. But the bookstore, two levels of packed shelves, just waiting for a dammed good browse. Authors I'd never heard of, books packed check to jowl; it was a wonderland for a poor put upon husband dragged out on a shopping trip.

"I'll just be in the bookstore" was my frequent, plaintive cry, after being dragged through innumerable clothes shops, purveyors of nick fucking nacks , shoe stores and sundry emporiums selling goods of dubious quality.

The A&R at Highpoint just didn't cut it. A store that was smaller then my home office, stocked with a dingy array of casts offs and no names. How can you possibly have a section devoted to sci-fi, about one fucking metre squared grant you, and not have one Heinlein title? It'd be like having a record store and not having any Beatles. Unforgivable!

A&R just couldn't compete as a retreat from the wife and two pre-teen children, running amok in the wonderland of excess that exudes from miles, endless fucking miles, of shopfronts blasting out their tirade of specials - one day only.

Borders was my safe haven. My respite. A bolt hole from the purgatory that surrounded me. It was filled with people who liked to read, a touchstone who's magic powers faded at the front doors.

What am I to do now? Sit in the carpark, ensuring the wrath of the better half? Lurch around, following my family with an inane grin colouring my visage? Pretend to enjoy watching my fashinista 7 year old as she tries on her twentieth pair of shoes for the afternoon? Chortle with glee as the 9 year old ruminates over whether the striking pink or the pale pink dress goes better with the hair ribbon she'd recently acquired?

Whilst many here may cheer, nay celebrate, the demise of Borders, I for one shall shed a tear. A tear of remembrance, of quiet Saturday afternoons, the hours slowly ticking by as I relaxed, entranced by the words flowing around me, as the maddening crowds outside this scene of tranquility flocked in their capitalistic exuberance.

Shed a tear, aye, shed a tear, as the husbands of this world have lost a part, granted a small part but it's there non the less, of what keeps them sane.

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Brian mutters...

Posted February 17, 2011
Yeah . . .Borders.

It was quite something when they ran their in-house coffee joint. Could sit there for several hours. Then . . .they brought in Gloria Jeans. Prices went up, value went down.

The casual sitting . . .armchairs and couches dissappeared.

I'd occassionally drop in and spot check the shelves . . .but, the magic had gone.

Best I can figure , , I've got to go to Lygon Street to find anything similar. Subuurbia is a wasteland. Even Mary Martins has gone from Bourke Street. MacGills went 10 years ago. Melbourne's just about got zip now.

brian

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Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2011
So there is this post here and the same one over at Blunty.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2011
Yeah, I told them they could rip this one if they wanted.

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jennicki mutters...

Posted February 17, 2011
I'm sad to see them go as well. In my city we have just one independent book store that I love to support but it just struggles to keep up. So my alternative is the Barnes and Noble which seems like the literary equivalent to Walmart, and then the smaller Borders.

Sigh.

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yankeedog asserts...

Posted February 17, 2011
Borders is planning to close I think 2-300 stores here in the States.

When they started up, they carried a lot of titles that B&N didn't necessarily have. Not so much toward the end. And while it's nice that they could always order a title they didn't stock, I could do the same thing by going to Amazon.

I don't know if our local Borders is closing or not. They always have a fair number of people in the place so it might miss the axe. I'm going to miss them if they do end up shutting down here. There's something about walking in to the bookstore, actually picking up a book or magazine, and pulling up a chair to look at a page or two before buying it. E-books and Amazon don't quite offer that.

Napoleon said 'Victory goes to the bigger battalions'. In business these days, victory appears to go to the faster ones.

Maybe better dig up those Borders gift cards and get them used-just in case.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
The Borders in the Northland where I spent a sizeable amount of the last decade during the Uniguard Era is slated to shut down. Then again, service there went into the toilet at the end of that era.

I'll make a prediction. There is a bookstore chain here in the States which is doing pretty good. They are called Half-Price Books. Once my teaching peers put me onto it I found that most of my bookstore visits were to their locations in the area.

It is a two way street as well. They buy used books. Since my mom tends to chew through romance novels (present day sci-fi annoys her for the same reasons it annoys me) she'll give me a back of the books to run down there. The sad thing is that the romance paperbacks are worth more than textbooks.

I've managed to find some pretty good deals at Half-Price Books to include some hard to find historians.

I suspect what will happen is that Half-Price Books will not only grow, they'll expand into a limited offering of fresh off the press books.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Puma is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2011
It's Obama's fault for raising taxes.

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Chicken or the egg mutters...

Posted February 18, 2011
I'm a little confused... I thought A&R took over Borders operations here in Australia a few years back? A friend quit not long after citing the introduction of poor management and poor stock systems. So locally, wouldn't it be more a case of A&R causing the demise?

Either way, nothing beats the addictive buzz of a fine book leaping out from the shelves of a character-filled indie store!

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abigail mumbles...

Posted February 18, 2011
Personally I'd never suggest this will enable the rise (or indicate the fall) of indie book shops because I don't know how much money they make interstate, but here they power along. I think it's the Canberra demographic: we really like indie book shops--Paperchain booms (as far as I can tell).

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Monster Yuppy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2011
I used to buy a book every time I got on a plane from the airport bookstore.
I have several hundred books.
Now, I sit in the lounge and download one before I board.
So my spend has gone from $800-$1000 per annum to about $200 odd.
Thats a bit of cash out of the till for the bookshop near the Qantas lounge....

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fknvty asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
reminds me of an old mate moses hadas (note the offspring has done quite well, euripedes, sappho & so on) quote "thank you for sending me a copy of your book, i'll waste no time reading it" endquote.
part of my seppo yiddish connection. larry taub et al
- re print, unless it lands on the ozzy cedar partners desk as a gift or for proof reading i tend to haunt second hand bookshops and have down so for 30 year or so. call me antiquarian, it's a great way to fill in the gaps of our rather ecclectic library ... from memory len peachey & colin steele (ANU) threw a decent reseller guide together late last century if anyone is interested. pz.v.

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robert has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2011
What I find really distressing is that there is no substitute for these bookstores. First, we lost the local bookstores where the help actually read books, now we lose the chain bookstore where the help asks whether we are a member of this or that club.

What is really distressing is my complete inability to sort the wheat from the chaff as someplace like Amazon. At least with books in a bookstore there was some kind of editorial process that ensured the books were relative free of typos and, given a certain publisher one could assume the book was at least well done. I might not have liked the story, but it wasn't gawd-awful self-published un-copyedited drivel.

Amazon throws those self-published books at you every time you navigate to a new page. Distinguishing between something unreadable and something most readable is getting more and more difficult. I do end up going to places like Goodreads online to help find something good.

My other complaint about websites like Amazon is that they have joined the ranks of the "stalking advertisers". Say, for instance, I looked at a bag of cat food on Pets Mart's website, I then go to Amazon and there's an advertisement for cat food. I search for a book by that author Birmingham and beside his books are suggestions for cat books and cat foods and a self-published Kindle book called The Cats of Mars. Sheesh.

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Luke would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
I was just coming here to ask you about this but i see you already have an article.

It's not just the price of online stores, they get money out of me (both Amazon and Audible) because of their "other people also bought" section. That and simply being able to click on the an authors name and get all their stuff. I remained ignorant of anything that wasn't on the shelf and that I didn't already know about in a book store.

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David Crookes mutters...

Posted February 18, 2011
Borders,Angus and Robertson and Whitcoulls are probably only the beginning in this region.

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wolfcat asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
The problem with a lot of these big chains which does lead to their undoing, is they aren't run by book store people.

They are run by Money People, who focus on only making money.

When people only focus on a profit motive, they can and often do come unstuck because they miss the market.

The massive horizontal integration of numerous "stores" across different brands means also when the money dries up a lot of smaller companies get taken down in the process.

But then if you look at http://www.redgroupretail.com/ the "latest news" they have on their website is from May 2010, so I guess web also was just not on their radar.

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Mark Duffett would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
Guy Rundle over at Crikey has an interesting take on this. He reckons it's the beginning of the end of physical shopping, never mind just bookshops. Don't know if I buy it (ha!) but thought-provoking nevertheless. http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/02/17/rundle-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-bookshops/

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robbie smith reckons...

Posted February 18, 2011
the public library - try one

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abigail mutters...

Posted February 18, 2011
Ah Robbie, yes. You reminded me, actually--if iot's out of the way books you want you can some times join the university libraries as a non-student. A reasonable fee I suppose but for what you get...
Condition is normally , borrow but if an academic/ PhD needs it you have to return it and wait till they've finished and they have greater rights, of course. Still.

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jennicki would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
I love the library and use it frequently--just returned four books tonight and have another four sitting on my nightstand--but there are some books out there I'd prefer to own.

Sometimes I don't want to be on a six month waiting list when a new book comes out that I want to read.

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Blarkon mumbles...

Posted February 18, 2011
If you look at the UK and the US, public libraries are being closed and amalgamated like a MoFo as it turns out that many of them are very poorly utilized by the wider ratepayer community.

The other real killer is the AUD. I picked up a Jaspar Fforde yesteday for $22.99 at Dymocks. Cost for the same book (free shipping) amazon.co.uk = 4.29 quid = 6.8 AUD.

So 7 bucks Australian for amazon.co.uk versus $23 from Dymocks at the current exchange rate

THAT is why local booksellers are fucked.

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Summary of stories on REDgroup entering voluntary administration « Fancy Goods has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2011
[...] ‘Borders, no more’, by John Birmingham, Cheeseburger Gothic, 17 February 2011 [...]

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 18, 2011
Speaking of libraries: Quoting from a recent article in the courier mail:

'About $750,000 worth of emerging artist grants have been cancelled and council's library book budget slashed by $928,000.'

I thought the council library budget slash was a bit higher than this, if I remember right I think they're reducing they're budget by 1/3, the guy I heard talking on the radio said that they'd upped the budget by a third last year but after the floods had decided to nix that.

Given that other local councils in Qld & other disaster areas are likely to make similar budget cuts, I can't imagine this will be a good thing for the book industry.

I too used to love going into Borders and that was our standard meeting place in town. I knew it was in trouble when I took the elevator to the second level, blinked, and wondered for a moment if I'd teleported into spotlight or lincraft. My reaction to the display of all that junk was to turn on my heel and run away, very, very fast, fearing that worse awaited me on the third floor.

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abigail ducks in to say...

Posted February 18, 2011
Yes well, if they're fucked, they're fucked; not a whole lot we can do about it,unless we WANT to.Wind back Amazon, and all online sales, stop students relying on quick internet searches to do their work... Not many poeople answer that description. Unfortunately. Not much point even analysing what we're not trying to halt.
Plan B/.
Just watch it all collapse and forget about it.
Seems to be the default plan.

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2011
Watching Nightline last night on this very subject they interviewed the owner of the little independant book shop at Bondi Beach that I patronise...they too will be closing up shop regrettably. Lower sales would be part of the issue there, as would the extortionate rents charged at Bondi Beach. Nonetheless this did sadden me. Further, it's lovely to be able to take my little bloke into a book shop and let him loose in the kid's book section. Inevitably we will walk out with a few books - in part because my wife and I encourage his reading, and also my wife can be a huge shopaholic! But she started her working life as a librarian and as such is quite addicted to the printed book. E-readers may be all well and good, but particulalry when it comes to richly illustrated kids or reference books, I doubt they can take their place.

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seven puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2011
So where to shop for books now, as a not-cool-enough suburbanite the indie shops are out. Say what you want about a sense of community at those shops it is most definitely a closed community. The big retailers are useless and I really hate online shopping for books. Its just not the same as the real deal. I like finding something on the shelves which I would never have thought to look for. Guess its now a choice between paying extra for poor service at the indies or going online.

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Durand would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
I agree with Ken Burgin. www.booko.com.au is the best online bookshop, because it's not an online bookshop at all, just a portal. You enter a book name or ISBN, and it compares the prices of all the online bookshops in the world, including shipping cost to Australia. It includes overseas online stores like BookDepository, Amazon.com, BetterWorldBooks etc, as well as the Australian stores like Dymocks & Collins. I regularly save 60% on my obscure computer books.

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Borderless mutters...

Posted February 18, 2011
[...] of independent booksellers can sprout. As John Birmingham states in his round-up of the issue, e-books will destroy the large chains. But there’s an opportunity over the next 5-10 years for communities –real, [...]

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Andy Thompson puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2011
So I just looked in my wallet and found a Borders Gift Voucher ($50) that I got for Xmas. I then looked online and found that Borders are honouring gift vouchers but are apparently demanding that the customer spend at least the same amount as the voucher...on top of the voucher. I shall test this out tomorrow. If you hear reports of a madman going 'a bit silly' at the Borders at Garden City, assume it is me. It'll take 15 coppers to bring me down...

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18, 2011
I spent my chrissy voucher on Monday, so was lucky. Unfortunately this means that I'll have to come up with a new "no-effort" kris kringle present for my family to get me as the Borders Voucher was a reliable fallback.

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robbie smith ducks in to say...

Posted February 18, 2011
seven - agree with you about up yours indie bookshops - full of braying botoxed bookwankers

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted February 18, 2011
Lets have a LEVY I SAY!

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yankeedog mutters...

Posted February 18, 2011
The whole bookstore experience is a lot like another thing I'd bet most of us used to do-go to the record store. I know-you can order anything you want on iTunes. But I used to enjoy going to Musicland (don't know the Oz equivalent but you all will) and looking through the stacks of LPs and racks of cassettes. There are still a few independent music stores floating around, that have discs from local bands you can't get anywhere else, staffed by people who know their stuff. We might want to patronize their places after hitting the bookstores.

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Blarkon asserts...

Posted February 18, 2011
Where in the past we may have sought the expertise of wisened independant retailers, the "democratisation" of taste and expertise through the internet and social networking reduces the need for such advice. Consider that rather than seeking the advice of such a person, you can instead use social networking to become aware of people and works. This site is an example. Would you follow up on a recommendation from JB or another burger that you respect if they said "this book/movie/TV show is amazing". I am far more likely to try something recommended by someone I respect on Twitter or a blog than because a store owner made the recommendation. Heck the good store owners probably already have social media oytlets for their recommendations!

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lostatlunch puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2011
Bondi... you are not suggesting the awesome G&A are closing?

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abigail has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2011
Seven and Robbie, I just read your thoughts on indie book places and I was thinking about it, trying to eb abit dispassionate given my own attachment. Yeah, I do see where you're coming from, you get an overall impression and that is how you form a decison about where to consume stuff. And w/o knowing what your indie places are like, of course, there's usually some very good stories (from the people working there)in such places, from the people behind the counter/. Well, that's my experience. One of the guys in my fave indie bookshop was a graphic artist originally and what he knew about book cover art was phenomenal. They also knew exactly who I meant when I needed something not on the best seller or common reads list and where to source it. I haven't had that in Borders because of the time pressures --rather than the people. The students working in Borders are really lovely, so it's not them, in fact there's something about bookshops in general that seesm to attract conscientious staff. Just the system is different in a small, one- off place. It's not automatically full of wankers, just people who are sick of an impersonal mass market way of doing business.

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abigail mumbles...

Posted February 18, 2011
..anyhow, I just heard an interview with someone who said Borders could be back up and running again in 6 months time if they are able to resolve their problems.

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Blarkon mumbles...

Posted February 18, 2011
He probably means Zabriskie Booksellers of Bondi.

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Andy Thompson mutters...

Posted February 18, 2011
It has just been confirmed. If you want to redeem a voucher at Borders you need to spend the amount on the voucher first. This makes me a little angry. I hope I don't have to do the same with the "Free Sexual Disease Check Up" voucher I have from my local clinic.

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2011
Re the vouchers, I had a $70 one for A&R or Borders and spent it on line last night. Total price was $77 and I had an email this morning confirming one book had been posted, so I'm guessing it worked as normal. That was on the A&R website. Maybe their web-monkeys haven't caught up yet.

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tqft ducks in to say...

Posted February 18, 2011
I am just wondering about Borders e-books - how long will they work for? Does their e-reader phone home to ensure activation?

Piracy
http://xkcd.com/488/

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nhamilton@iinet.net.au swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18, 2011
We are lucky here in Central QLD we have two book stores K mart and Big W, personally I can't see the attraction of Book Depository.

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18, 2011
Books shmooks. Just go and see the movie.

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NataliatheRussianSpy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2011
I might just have to open a book store so I'll never run out of *new book* smell.

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abigail would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
In case anyone interested:

http://bobcarrblog.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/2230/

BTW--Amazon UK are giving free delivery to Oz/ NZ customers for orders over 25 pounds. I shouldn't say that; Amazon is my natural enemy but others will like it.

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Indie Mebourne bookseller mutters...

Posted February 18, 2011
Bill,

The ANZACs by Adam-Smith is reprinting. I imagine that is why you could not find it on the shelves at Christmas time.

Sometimes what seems like a glaring oversight on the part of the booksellers (i.e. not having extensive backlist) is just the smallness of the industry and books tend to fall out of print rather often.

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hughesy would have you know...

Posted February 18, 2011
Boo fkn hoo for the book chains. I've got as much sympathy for them as I would if Coleworths or Gloriabucks were to go broke. Borders and A&R never lost any sleep over the number of indy bookshops they put to death. The model was never going to work out in this small market. I'm only surprised it took this long.

Berkelouw Books - excellent fast service and for orders over $50, free post! Even the stuff they source from OS! I don't know how they do it, but it works out cheaper than using Amazon. Gleebooks is pretty good online too.

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abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2011
Berkelouw and Gleebooks are guns, brilliant places. Christ I hope they never go broke.

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Trowzers mumbles...

Posted February 18, 2011
I like to buy locally, but as I have little income while I study, I simply can't resist the prices from the Book Depository. I also once received one of my orders just 48 hours after I posted it (and the rest, rarely more than 2 weeks). I still visit bookstores, but they tend to be of the second-hand variety (and the Lifeline Bookfest is simply bliss - all those books and money to charity too!)
So personally, even without an e-reader, the big book chains haven't had any of my money for years. I still buy the occasional book, but mainly from speciality stores like Pulp Fiction or Comics Etc. I hope the speciality stores stick around - nothing like a good browse of a wall full of book covers, searching out that hidden gem.

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Trowzers puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2011
*'still buy the occassional book from a physical bookstore" that was meant to read.
I buy far more than the 'occassional' book (packed shelves are staring at me right now reminding me of that)

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Moko mumbles...

Posted February 19, 2011
Why the Amazon hate? The only thing I don't like about it is that not all sellers post to here.

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ConspiracyCat would have you know...

Posted February 19, 2011
My favourite bookstore is Abe's Books. They have an Australian on-line site as well as an American one, they do second hand as well as new, they're cheap, and they have rare and weird stuff, as well as best sellers and textbooks. http://www.abebooks.com/books/ANZ/

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 19, 2011
Independent booksellers make reading a bit of a secret club - you had to develop special knowledge to find the interesting works - Amazon and chains remove that. The argument for independents (that they stock stuff you can't get elsewhere) goes out the window when you can get anything and everything through Amazon. No more pandering to Bartholomew to get him to order in a copy of something that is getting a limited print run that he heard about - just go online and find it yourself.

As I mentioned earlier, you can get the same (if not better) book buying advice through social media.

Another reason for the disdain of chains is that they stock according to rigorous rules of popularity rather than the personal tastes of the owner (Amazon stocks everything, so this doesn't apply) - which means that the bookstores lack "character". We all know of brilliant authors who aren't popular and there is a supposition that if only there were more independent bookstores, these brilliant authors would be more likely to see the light of day.

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DavidFM would have you know...

Posted February 20, 2011
Rather than focusing on the retail end of the book industry I think it's more appropriate to look at the industry as a whole when considering it's future. There are lessons to be learned from the music industry in it's struggle to adapt to a new world order and new technology. The music industry (except perhaps iTunes) is still struggling to maintain its traditional model despite the public's enthusiastic acceptance of digital media.

The book industry can learn a lot from this. Traditional publishing methods have been rendered obsolete by technology and they need to adapt to this. The music industry has largely failed to successfully embrace digital technology and develop a successful commercial model. The book industry needs to avoid making the same mistakes and needs to look seriously at new digital technology. Ebooks aren’t the only game in town. Digital POD (Print On Demand) technology has huge implications and potential benefits for the book industry as a whole, including authors, publishers and retailers.

With POD, publishers don’t have the financial risks associated with huge print runs of books that may not sell - which should make it easier for authors, particularly new authors to be published. The role of publishers would shift to licensing more than production.

Retailers would have to invest in the POD technology instead of maintaining inventory, but this may not cost more than inventory, especially as the costs of the technology come down.

The biggest problem I see is the actual implementation at the point of sale but surely this isn’t insurmountable. Perhaps it’s as simple as having one copy of the mainstream books available to pick up and read through, ordering the book at the checkout, and having a coffee while waiting for it to be printed. Every retailer could maintain a huge backlists, ready for print on demand.

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abigail mumbles...

Posted February 20, 2011
DavidFM,
If they could make that work it'd be truly fantastic I reckon.
If we can use 100% recycled paper to do this it ought to greatly reduce the environmental impact. But people don't seem keen on recycled paper, still. I also don't know if the technique works with that kind of paper.
But yeah, if they could retain bookshops, your idea is great.

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Nocturnalist is gonna tell you...

Posted February 20, 2011
+++Retailers would have to invest in the POD technology instead of maintaining inventory, but this may not cost more than inventory, especially as the costs of the technology come down.+++

I keep hearing talk about the so-called "Espresso Book Machine". It's a super-compact printing and binding device which takes a PDF file of the book and prints, binds and covers a copy for you on the spot. The process is supposed to take about the same time it would take to order and drink a cup of coffee, hence the name.

If/when these become viable they'd change retail bookselling significantly by reducing or eliminating warehousing and shipping. (Those are major considerations for Australian retailers given the distances involved here.)

Wikipedia page is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espresso_Book_Machine (Heh, it says Angus and Robertson had one but shut it down.)

Company ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q946sfGLxm4 I'm not sure I *quite* buy that its output is completely indistinguishable from a book off a full commercial press, but I'm prepared to believe that it could get there within a couple more iterations of the tech.

I can imagine bookshops looking even more like cafes if this catches on, since the main requirement is somewhere to wait and something to do while this thing is chugging out your book. The stock on the shelves would be there to provide hardbacks and any special formats the machine might have trouble doing, plus a small pool of browsables or popular books that people mightn't want to wait for.

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Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 20, 2011
I dig Abe's Books the most. And his sausages are the awesome. The former are better than the latter by mail order though.

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Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 20, 2011
Those that asked, it's Martin Smith's bookshop that I think is closing - the one at the beach end of Hall St. - oh a quick look on google shows that they are also using the name Zabriskie's. Gertrude and Alice seems to be staying put at the moment. I love a little shop like that, enough quirky or interesting books to enjoy a good browse (and perhaps purchase) but not so big that you get lost or overwhelmed by choice. And the staff actually know what's in the shop.

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Bangar reckons...

Posted February 21, 2011
Mathew, from memory a store in Melbourne had that and it wasn't a success.

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abigail puts forth...

Posted February 21, 2011
Bangar--is that so? Interesting.
Maybe it just needs the critical mass element , change them mindset.
Bookshop/cafes are getting up now. In NZ a library had its own cafe. Sydney has a few great ones--Sapphos in Glebe for example. Does great trade.

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Andy Thompson asserts...

Posted February 21, 2011
I went to Borders on Saturday and saw the very small A4 poster put up in a rather inconvenient place in the store telling gift card holders that they had two options:

1: They could apply to the creditors for 'money' owed to them; or

2: In a 'goodwill' gesture, we could cash our vouchers in if we spent the same amount in the store.

I decided to do the latter and went to the counter with $102 worth of overpriced books. There was very little on sale. In fact, there was nothing on sale and I really enjoyed spending $28 on a novel. When I put my voucher on the counter the lip pierced girl with the monster fringe meekly told me about the voucher business. I said I knew about that and put on my best 'cats bum' face. She then asked if I wanted a bag for my books and when I replied in the affirmative she said they would charge me 10c for a bag.

I thought about bludgeoning her to death with a meaty Dan Brown tome but decided that this was no way for an ordinary human to die.

So yeah, I got butt-raped by the system. It was either that or waiting months for a letter saying I would get no money.

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted February 22, 2011
Nah, the POD stuff is kinda rubbish quality. Fine if you don't want anything better than a pulpy novel that will fall apart while or just after you read it, but not something that you'll be able to keep on your shelves.

It is the old equation [CHEAP][FAST][GOOD](Pick only two)

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Jonathon Campbell reckons...

Posted July 11, 2011
I too am sorry to see Borders go. I have spent hours in their stores both in Qld and NSW over the years and found their general reference and special interest sections first class - much better than anything in my local indy bookstores.

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Melbourne jaunt.

Posted February 13, 2011 by John Birmingham
Thanks to all who popped out on Friday night for the catch up in Melbourne. I was held prisoner in the alcohol free green room from 4.45 til after the show, which ran an hour late, so I missed the earlier drinks. But I hear the weather was pretty foul at the end of the day, so props to all who braved it.

Good to see everyone as always. Very much enjoyed that watermelon margarita at the mexican bar n taco place Bob took us to, and didn't pay too much for it and the rushed drinks the next morning.

Breakfast was a pleasant treat, a change from porridge, with grilled Lyonnaise sausage, smoked bacon hock, beans and a poached egg at Cumulus. It was teh awsm. Had me a long walk thru the laneways afterwards to work off, oh, i dunno a mouthful of bacon probably. The individually made lemon curd madeleine was pretty fkn good too. Worth the fifteen minute wait. Proust would totes agree.

Back home now. At the desk. A tsunami of deadlines piled up in front of me, so I'll get back to it.

13 Responses to ‘Melbourne jaunt.’

Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted February 13, 2011
Great to see the crew, though Barnes, Albion, Naut, and Havock in particular were missed.

Photo of JB at Town Hall http://flic.kr/p/9hp1bd

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted February 13, 2011
Ah, breakfast with lemon curd is a good thing.

And you can never have too much bacon. I hear the Yanks eat full plates of it in the States.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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ConspiracyCat asserts...

Posted February 13, 2011
Speaking of Seppos and bacon.... I just found out that Elvis loved Redeye Gravy, which is made by blending the dripping from a pound of bacon with a 1/4 cup of espresso coffee. Now that is serious gravy.

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Havock mutters...

Posted February 13, 2011
YEAH, only two quick pints, but way better than NOT catching up. Only winning the close game sat, made up for NOT being out on the tear getting pissed with you lot late friday night!.

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Bangar asserts...

Posted February 13, 2011
A good night out, did we have to find so many stairs?

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 13, 2011
How was the weather?

All I know is I had rain from the moment I left Melbourne at 4:00 until Saturday.

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Aaron reckons...

Posted February 14, 2011
Sorry I couldn't make it, had rain troubles to sort but had a beer or in spiritual support. There's always next time at least.

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Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 14, 2011
In the book I am reading (This is not a game by Walter John Williams) the characters are always eating 'candied pepper bacon' at some diner in LA. My mind boggled..

It was great to catch up with everyone again - Orin took some good photos on the night which I think are on flickr.

Next time you are on the lookout for a watermelon margarita look up this place - http://www.mamasita.com.au/

By the way - how did Lobes night turn out? I last saw him prowling down Collins Street in search of a new party...

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abigail puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2011
JB, you mentioned Proust and he didn't even detonate things.
What's happened to you?!
All the best with your with yr writing:)

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Lobes reckons...

Posted February 15, 2011
Bob, got home at 3:30am, up again at 6am for my flight to Perth.

Probably shouldnt have had that third tequila...

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Albion Love Den swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2011
Holy sheet, JB. That's just one step away from a black skivvy. Dangerously close to emulating one Master Jobs who, you must be aware, MUST NEVER BE COPIED!

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2011
It's just a tee shirt. Honest!

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Mandi J would have you know...

Posted February 17, 2011
Thanks for sharing at the Gala, thoroughly enjoyed your story. So sorry to hear that pre-presentation beverages were not forthcoming, not at all good form, and very un-Melbourne like! A little write-up of my take on the evening: http://wp.me/p1iQpY-4v

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Book update

Posted February 10, 2011 by John Birmingham
I'm working on a couple of deadlines at the same time right now. The book, of course. A long feature. And a shorter feature. It'd be nice to have a couple of extra hours in the day, but not entirely necessary. I've found a few tweaks I made to my working routine over the past couple of weeks have increased my productivity by about 150%.

I think I'm going to owe Ms. Jennicki a bottle of something when this is all wrapped up. The simple act of kicking away my chair and doing most of my composition while standing up, pacing around in front of the computer has lifted my daily average word rate from about 2000 to somewhere up near 5000.

There's a couple of other tweaks worth mentioning. Rather than work on the book in a solid block before swapping over to the features or a column, I've been doing a coupla thousand words, then swapping, before swapping back at the end of the day. It seems to refresh the imagination or something.

None of it would possible were it not for dictation software, I reckon. I just don't see typing while standing as being that fast. Not my typing anyway.

Structurally, I've also been composing the book in arcs. Writing one story arc for, say, four or five chapters, before going back and writing another. While the arcs aren't linked up it seems to speed the process to stay within them.

That'll have to change as the stories come together.

Anyway, back to it.

Blunty to come. Another thinky one.

4 Responses to ‘Book update’

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2011
I've been typing on the laptop in our kitchen over the last month since I don't have dictation software. I have to admit that I find it concentrates the mind in a way that sitting does not. The urge to surf the net is markedly reduced and my productivity goes up.

At speed I can type upwards of 80 to 100 words per minute. More if I am angry (which I rarely am when writing fiction).

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2011
What about our Big Thinky Book on Fear?
Damn your mortage, damn the kids school fees. Ditto the bunnies upgrade & the gilting of HV Cad.
I want my Big Thinky Book on Fear.

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Nocturnalist mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2011
How about a Big Fearful Book On Thinking?

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2011
If John writes the book on the fear of thinking then I swear by Grabthar's Hammer I'm going to see to it that I get to adopt it as a textbook in my classes.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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A little world building challenge.

Posted January 30, 2011 by John Birmingham
Murph and I have been playing around the idea of a Combined Fleet in book 3 of the Wave Series.

(Title: Angels of Vengeance.) S'cuse the abandoned alliteration. Nothing was working.

The Fleet's not a major player in the book, more like background color, especially in Darwin. Long story short, it grew out of discussions we had here about the contraction of American power after the Disappearance. We have some ideas about how it's structured, which nations are contributing, and what it actually does.

But given it's not a narrative fulcrum I thought it'd be interesting to throw it open to discussion here.

So. The Combined Fleet is an allied naval taskforce built around the core of the old US Pacific Fleet. (The 7th, I think, without checking wikiknowitall). America can no longer sustain that kind of sea power so it merely contributes to the Combined Fleet.

Which nations do you see playing a part, in what ways?

Parameters: The Chinese Communist Party no longer controls a unitary state. China has fractured into a loose federation based on the coastal cities, although of course, power is still held by many of the same figures and institutions. But rather than, say, the PLA as a whole holding power with the Party, elements of the former PLA have combined with elements of the former state (The Ministry of Industry for instance) and state/commercial combines to establish dominion over certain provinces and metro centres. Sometimes they cooperate. Sometimes not so much.

India and pakistan, recall, exchanged a few nukes. India came off better and survives as a fucntioning state. Pakistan... meh, again, not so much.

North Korea did not collapse. A military coup displaced the Kim family and the junta sought a negotiated peace with the south.

Indonesia riven by sectarian conflict.

Thai civil war.

Chaos still fanning out from north Africa and the Mid east.

Pirates. Pirates everywhere!

Go wild.

65 Responses to ‘A little world building challenge.’

Murphy would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
Well, my net is back up so I'll post my thoughts here.

I think America's contribution should probably be some sort of naval air power. After doing a bit of research on the Nimitz class carriers, I think that is probably going to stretch the bounds of believability for certain readers (personally, I think it is doable myself but that is another topic).

We have real world models for Combined Formations, perhaps the best of which is Combined Task Force 151 off the coast of Somalia. Given that piracy is a serious problem, one probably does not need a super carrier anyway.

U.S. Navy-USMC Element.

U.S.S. Bataan LHD-5 Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Carrier.
http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd5/
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/navy/lhd-5-med03.htm

The second link indicates that the Bataan was on deployment outside of the Wave affected area. Specifications in the next link.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/navy/lhd-5-med03.htm

If one compares cost of operations with the Nimitz Class write up at Global Security, the Wasp is cheaper. Further, it is a multi-mission capable platform with a record of interoperability with the forces of other nations. Finally, it easily outclasses any other platform of similar type in the region.

If one wants to posit a heavy U.S. presence, then it is possible that two Wasp class ships might be available. One could be configured as a sea control ship (basically a light aircraft carrier) with a full load of 20 AV-8B Harrier IIs. The other could be configured for a more traditional Marine assault capability.

That said, given the current situation, I suspect there will be only one Wasp class ship under direct U.S. Navy control. I do see a potential to sell a Wasp class to Australia as a means of replacing the Canberras which are likely not forthcoming from Spain due to the chaos in Europe.

Thus I'd go with a smaller U.S. Force.

-USS Bataan with a mix of aircraft leaning toward a heavy Harrier contingent.

-One Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer as an escort, ID to be determined later. There should be sufficient ships clear of the wave and attrition from the first two novels to chose from.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/navy/lhd-5-med03.htm

-

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sibeen ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
The Aussies, Kiwis and Japan are a given.

Singapore would definitely want in on the action as would Taiwan.

Malaysia may want in but with Indonesia being fractious this may consume a lot of their resources and they may find it difficult. They may be having their own internal racial cleansing.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Vietnam throw their hat into the ring. They've got a busted arse China to the north and in the south Cambodia has probably gone back to the killing fields.

If India still has a functioning government then I suspect they'd also want in, although I suspect there'd be close to a civil war in the country anyway which may keep them occupied.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30, 2011
Pirates? *Steeples Fingers* Excellant.

AoV, not so much.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted January 30, 2011
Well, I wasn't done typing but it posted in mid stream.

U.S. Task Force

-1 Wasp Class
-1 Arleigh Burke class (normally there'd be two).
-1 Los Angeles Attack Sub
-1 Support Ship

Land Based Assets might include a Marine or Navy squadron of F/A-18s or possibly a squadron of F-14s (which might still be handy in this timeline due to their long range reach).

I'd also include a Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

As for the other members of the Pacific Alliance, here are my suggestions.

Australia
New Zealand
Philippines (basing, support, intel, own interests in securing the sea lanes)
Japan
Thailand
Singapore
Possibly India

I would normally recommend South Korea as a matter of course since they are moving toward the development of a Blue Water Navy. Perhaps they still are but they'd have their hands full integrating North Korea back into their economy.

I think command of the Combined Fleet would probably rotate among the major players of the force, much as it does among the CTF-151 presently. I also think this force is probably going to be heavily augmented with smaller littoral craft.

Finally, per the U.S. side, if needs must, they can probably be reinforced from Pearl Harbor. I can see a situation where the U.S. maintains a Wasp class closer to Pearl as a rotational backup to the Bataan.

As for the U.S. Navy outside of the combined fleet, I think it would rely heavily on subs and small patrol craft.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
Ah, Vietnam. Definitely. Same with Taiwan.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Big Pete reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
Sibeen beat me to the punch on what I was going to say. How are the Philippines fairing?, If they still have a functioning government, (perhaps not as they tended to be propped up by the Americans anyway), might join in.

The more stable groups in China might be involved, especially if trade is still happening, and if there is a high incidence of piracy, even more so.

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Jyggdrasil mumbles...

Posted January 30, 2011
Pardon my ignorance as I have not read the books, but what about France? It, currently at least, considers itself to be a major power in the South Pacific.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
France is not in the best of shape.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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sibeen swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 30, 2011
Murph, I considered Thailand but I'm not sure they'd be capable. Malaysia in the South tearing itself apart, ditto Cambodia. Throw in Burma to the west, where the Generals have been emboldened and a Vietnam dominated Laos on the other side. This coupled with shitloads of incursions from Sumatra and I suspect what boats the Thais have will be kept busy just trying to stave of the problems in their part of the world.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted January 30, 2011
Fair enough on the Thais. However, I see this Pacific Alliance as an organization which probably has primary and secondary members. The Thais may not contribute ships directly, but they'd probably have a consulting/advisory role of some type.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
So how are they maintaining these ships given that supply lines were borked? The amount of components that need to be swapped in and out of complicated machines on a regular basis is pretty high and they would likely have started running out of spares a few months after the wave hit. 's not like you can scratch build those advanced missiles and computer systems, especially when 99% of your advanced aeronautical and military technology geeks were turned into goo.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
Oh, we've had this discussion before, Blarkon.

I'd say, given the number of Wasp Class ships in inventory, it would not be an issue to find the parts. There is the also the fact that depots are available with parts and the like.

Furthermore, the U.S. still retains some capacity to maintain and repair in the areas unaffected by the Wave. There is a major naval installation at Puget.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/puget_sound-nsy.htm

There is the Boeing Facility in Seattle. There is Pearl Harbor. As for spares, as I said before, I'd contract with overseas suppliers such as the Japanese and the South Koreans for this. Many of the needed components are likely as not produced under license.

It is an old discussion, Blarkon. There'd be sufficient spares to last for quite sometime of husbanded carefully.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
Per Puget from Global Security.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is the largest and most diverse shipyard on the West Coast, as well as being the northwest's largest naval shore activity. Additionally, it is the second largest industrial facility in the State of Washington, both in terms of plant investment and in the number of civilians employed. The shipyard mission is wide ranging in that it possesses the capabilities to overhaul and repair all types and sizes of ships of the United States Navy while also serving as home port for a nuclear aircraft carrier, two nuclear cruisers and three fleet support ships (two fast combat support ships (AOE), one replenishment fleet tanker (AOR)). The shipyard's other significant capabilities include alteration, construction, deactivation, and drydocking of all types of naval vessels. The shipyard has a state-of-the-art emergency power generating system capable of providing backup power for all ships. In addition to in-yard work, the shipyard has a very active program of providing repair teams to accomplish on-site repair work on a variety of naval ships at their home port locations. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard has been recognized as the Navy's best installation worldwide and is the recipient of the 1991 Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award.

I wouldn't be surprised if ships from other countries make their way to Puget for servicing. The US would have the advantage of charging cheaper rates than many other similarly equipped facilities.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Scott ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
Blarkon, I think that the tech base may have slipped back a few decades. Especially with things like GPS who if anyone is maintaining the GPS satalites? As for other equipment Japan could provide the tech base. I guess that rules of engagement for dealing with pirates are more like the 1850s than the 2000s?

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
I suspect there are gaps in sat coverage by the third novel since there would likely be no replacement launches. Each sat has a life expectancy of seven to eight years. That said, they could probably last longer.

The main thing you'd need is a master control station. The primary is located in Colorado, Wave affected territory. However, there are alternate stations outside of Wave affected territory.

I suspect GPS performance is akin to what it was during Operation Desert Storm, when the network was still not complete.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted January 30, 2011
Tangental link to the ruins of Detroit.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/26/detroit-decline_n_813696.html#218521

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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fknvty has opinions thus...

Posted January 30, 2011
the lads (ask for steve) down at the iron bottom sound pub (point cruz, solomon islands) would hafta sort you out with this one laddie, 'tis where 40 or so seppo navy warships were sunk during ww11 if i recall correctly.
note: can recommend the local home brewed karva it's fkn lethal if not equivalent to that uni lab acid stuff that therbsey is so fond of.
- mindinao has also been an interesting hot spot both currently and in former times. locals are pretty well out there or were the last time i dropped by.
- & don't forget them fkn israeli warmongers, apart from financing the whole tincan and 'floxim' flotilla they're fair to middling at illegal naval operations world wide.
they can also lie most of their gold teeth off under any circumstances, a definite asset with any 'allied taskforce'. pz.v.

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ConspiracyCat puts forth...

Posted January 30, 2011
What's Hawaii's status post-wave? Did Elvis survive?

But seriously, there was an article a couple of weeks back about a handful of Somali pirates in a tinnie trying to overpower a British cruise ship. Imagine if they succeeded? "Ahoy there, scurvey land-lubbers! It be the plank for ye all! Arrrrgh!" And the cruise ship sails off over the horizon, leaving the passengers floating in the sea like so much pommy chum. Now wouldn't that make for a quirky plot tangent in AoV?

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
Blarkon, that's why you're looking at a Wasp Class LHD, rather than a proper carrier. Australia naval engineering capacity is up to maintaining one of those, especially cannibalizing stores and personnel from the US. They're a lot less complicated than subs or AWD's. The Japanese are more than capable of maintaining Aegis tech. A Wasp centred battle group is an order of magnitude less capable than a true carrier based group. But good enough for maintaining sea lanes in this scenario and interdicting pirates, of course.

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OzarkOrc mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
Satelite coverage will probably be reasonably complete for a decade or so; It's the fuel to move ("retask/retarget" the things (Photo) that is the limitation. One of the original Space Shuttle Missions was to top them up...

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OzarkOrc asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
This is (was?) the 2003 PLAN, not the 2010 model; Anyone have a Jane's or Combat Fleets (Or even IISS?) publication for the relevant year? Keep it handy.

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 30, 2011
Okay - my main thought was after reading some bits and pieces about the increasingly complicated supply chains that are involved with aircraft - so while there is that facility that Murph pointed out, it is just sort of the endpoint of a massive web of components that come from a brazillion different locations.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
There are over three hundred harriers in the U.S. inventory alone. A Wasp class maxes out at 20, more than a match for anything in the region. It'd be easy enough to get parts. I suspect most of those Harriers would be out of the country in any case.

It should also be pointed out that in addition to Australian facilities, there are facilities in South Korea and Japan which could do much of the maintenance work.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Anders asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia (possibly), Taiwan Australia and New Zealand would be the likely key players as there's already a good deal of interoperability.

Brunei would throw in for protection purposes. The Philipines are a possibility as well. An independent South Eastern chinese coast (or group of them) would be on board simply for the commercial opportunities.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
I can see the villain from WW Cerski(? don't have copy handy) gettin' in on some sweet sweet recovery & reupply gov contracts.
Perhaps with some not so legit off the books customers.

Which kinda leads to an idea I've read a couple of times now of corpretised state/s, some with Org Crime links. If HyperGlobalMegaBusiness were to become the defacto government of a smallish failed state. Say Sumatra.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted January 30, 2011
After America alludes to the fact that the Australian Navy is growing along with the rest of the Armed Forces. I suspect that National Service would be implemented, which would not be popular. Given what I have read in Paul Ham's book on Vietnam and the attitude toward current operations that I've seen in Australian media, there would probably be resistance to National Service.

That said, in surveying Australian Naval Strength, it seems to me that the logical additions from former U.S. forces are as follows.

-1 Wasp and/or Tarawa Class ship.
-10 to 30 Harriers to operate from those ships or FOBs as needed.
-2 to 4 Arleigh Burke class destroyers, perhaps more. I am aware of Guru Bob's frequent comments that the ADF has trouble obtaining the human resources it needs in the current timeline.
-2 to 4 Perry class frigates

If Australia can get past the issues with nuclear power, I can see Los Angeles subs as well.

The Australian Army would likely expand. I suppose a wet dream is that they'd field the 2nd Armoured Regiment again. I'm not sure they really need a large tank army for defense purposes. I can't imagine anyone actually getting down there with the combat power to knock off the tanks they have.

I'm not all that sure they'd go with Brads either. I suspect the most reasonable solution would be to go with Marine surplus LAVs which are similar to the ASLAVs.

As for the RAAF, I'd think they'd want to get some F-14s for long range defense and strike. I also suspect that the United States would probably maintain the F-14 in service for territorial defense (in our timeline, the Tomcat was retired as a budget cutting measure).

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Havock reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
The primary group, those with Voting rights, will be the founding countries of the alliance. Banded together initially. All other will be non voting.

LHD's are great units, but lets also face facts, the Harriers whilst great birds have really short legs and why use Naval air power, which BTW, has high maint units, is dangerous and are vulnerable, when land based units can deliver three times the fire power. Reach further and by virtue of the fact the assets are not on the ship. Infinitely safer.

So, teh focus will be bases, but LHD's could sail into trouble spots, provide convoy escorts and the likes.

Dont think that carriers will be scrapped, the world still is not a safe place. Remember also, that carriers are a great ASW platform and birds launched from a carrier pack a greater punch.

LHD's...VTOL, they aint no ski jump mini carrier either,

Figure the US would in conjunction with other countries have at least a carrier for the IO..thats prolly gunna be Aust and other subsidising it heavily, most likely in Port Most of the time. At least one in the Pacific, centered around Pearl.

I've made my thoughts known in scribbles. Brunei, great place for a base. I discounted the Phillipines as being to far Nth and east, plus its instability is also an issue. Then add logistics to it as well.


If you check a map, jmup off points, well you have Aust, then you have Brunei, then Taiwan, then Japan and its islands. thats a chain of bases.

Nuke subs will still be roaming about somewhat, but SSK's are far far cheaper to run and by a large factor, better suited to the littoral environment.

You will have hunter groups of surface vessels. Very mnuch a sword and shield arrangement with these groups. One flagship with significant ASW / AAW and perhaps OTH SSM's. The a number of smaller attack craft and missile boats.

Fact is, the Burke class cans are very good for the flag role, possibly nothing anywhere else as good. Also, they migrated away from Aluminium in the construction of these ships after the Falklands. They found out that Ali ships tend to really fkn burn when hit. Burke class are STEEL, designed to take hits and especially designed to take hits from gun boats etc. NOT armoured like a battle ship...but good enough. You would also find that ADD"S would be made in terms of organic type weapons on these vessels too.

malaysia / singapore, will have help from Brunei, Australia and the likes. The Malacca strights are gunna be swarming with Pirates, shipping getting thru will be an issues.

Look for ships forming into convoys, possibly 5-10 ships plus escorts and then utilising the Lombok or sunda straights. Also means aircover from Brunei, and Nthrn Aust is able to be deployed. subs at points etc.

You will also find merchantmen doing solo runs, getting attacked and screaming for help.

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Havock ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
Pretty close I think Murph. The tom's wouldn't be needed I think, I suspect the RAAF would opt for additional Hornets or F15's as we have the F111's in the time line. They would stay, possible purchase additional frames etc from US at some point. So in terms of STRIKE, long range strike thats covered. Its short haul and Air superiority, the Echo's would be a first choice.

4-6 burkes would be about right, and 3 LHD's. 2 operational at any one time and one in for minor works repairs etc and crew rotation.

manpower will not be an issue either i think.

1 National service.
2 Oversea's personell that want to stay and hence have a continue to serve period as well.

LAV's will be the option, as they fit better than the Brads like you say. HOWEVER, its not beyond possible that the US would ask for Aust to raise heavy combat units?????...whats their longer term plan, what do they see coming etc. It not really about defending just Australia any more and the Pollies will be thinking strategically.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted January 30, 2011
Havock, you use a carrier when you need to put air power on a target which is outside the reach of your land based forces. Further, in an ideal world, you would go for forward air bases. However, all one needs to do is look at the U.S. experience in that respect to see why . . . well, we have so many carriers.

The LHD doesn't have to go with a full 20 Harrier load on every mission. In fact, they normally go helicopter heavy as needs must. Still, when the Brits went to retake the Falklands, they configured their carriers for maximum Harrier capacity.

As for a Nimitz, it costs eight times as much to operate a Nimitz class. While Puget Sound could maintain a Nimitz, and there are carrier pilot training facilities in the area, I suspect that folks like Orin and Blarkon would argue that the lack of money would bring a halt to such operations.

Me personally? If I were Kipper, I think I'd want to hang onto a Nimitz operationally with two in reserve. If my population were closer to 72 million (roughly what Britain's is) then I could probably get away with that. However, a population of 20 million tops? And the economy is in the tank?

The more I think on it, the more I believe the U.S. would use her remaining naval capacity to provide deterrence and to keep the Pacific/Indian Ocean Sea Lanes open.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted January 30, 2011
The Tomcat has the longest reach, as I understand it, Havock. I'd have to check. Still, if you went with the F-15, you'd have resources from Korea and Japan to draw upon.

I simply can not see why the Australian Army would need more tanks. As I understand it the Army has less than sixty Abrams tanks now? Even if you double that number and fit out another regiment, I'm not sure what you'd use it for. Invading any of the regional neighbors would require a far larger force. Given the terrain in the region, I'm not sure how much value an Abrams would be.

Conversely, I suspect Australia herself would provide excellent opportunities for tank warfare, IF an opponent were able to land in sufficient force. Given the situation, I can't see a D-Day style invasion taking place.

I can see a refugee overflow problem, but that would likely require an increase in light infantry and police.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
Hmm, actually the F-15 would have a wider combat radius. I stand corrected.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Havock ducks in to say...

Posted January 30, 2011
Murph, ref the Tomcat, its got the longest reach inn terms of Fighter cover projection. For ASUW, then the F111 eats it alive. So I was basing the F15's or additional Hornets on mainly only requiring fighter cover, that can double as air to mud if required. Tankers will be aplenty I suspect, so legging some F18's further is not a drama. Main surface surveilence will be prop jobs. P3's will be working flat out, I see MORE being acquired from the US, once again for SLOC protection. Once threats are identified, the P3's can deal with it, ours are Harpoon capable, or F111's.


depending on the scenario of the book, you would want or not, the additional MBT's. Now if its trade goods being swapped over, I see some additional units, if its for other strategic purposes...most definately. Other wise its light infantry, mech mobile and chopper mobile. NORFORCE and Light infantry for the northern reaches.


Perhaps some of the heavy units ( elements of the First) armoured are redeployed OS into the northern area's to lend assistance.

Its not about open tank warfare. its about presence really with those units.


here is a real kicker, the M1 req nearly three times the maint man hours of a leopard 1, 2 times the maint man hours of the leopard 2 and parts....all parts come from the US.

Vehicle availability will be a bitch to maintain. I see additional units being delivered here and then units being cannibalised for parts as required.

The Hornets will be the bird of choice..we do nearly ALL maint here, have nearly all parts, but again, given a draw down on carriers, birds will be available to strip if required.

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Havock reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
OK..ref ya fleet.

if operating in say the sth china sea or that kind of open water, not real close littoral stuff.

1 x LHD ( choppers)
1 x LHD ( Harriers )
2 ( my pref would be 3) DDG's maybe swap out a DDG for a CG ( tico).
1 x RAS ship
1 x munitions
4 x FFG's or
2 x FFG's and 4 DDH's type vessels. remember that the contributing states do not all have state of the art combat power..


PLUS..hunter / killer ready reaction surface warfare groups.

2 x FAST ATTACK CRAFT
2 x Armidale type craft
1 x DDG or FFG.


SSK's will operate independently.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 30, 2011
Well, with the Abrams, I assure you, there will be no shortage of spare parts. As for reliability, aside from fuel consumption (the U.S. Army is looking to transition away from the turbine as I understand it), the Abrams is pretty reliable.

The Hornet is a good plane.

All of this is background material and probably will not be vital to the plot. I can't say anything more than that.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted January 30, 2011
Yes. It's all back story. But good fun.

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted January 30, 2011
South Africa as part of a 'Pacific Alliance'? While one might argue that they don't quite have the military machine they did in the 1970s and 80s, they do have some ability to grow food, a fairly strategic position, mineral wealth, and some Commonwealth ties. They should be able to at least protect themselves, project some limited power in neighboring countries, and generally keep order in its region of the world.

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fknvty reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
'background material' (no toys) from the dark side:
- mention of the major players (IF you can think objectively) throughout history.
i distinctly remember this list ...
sandiego.indymedia.org/media/2007/02/125025.pdf
or here:
http://redantliberationarmy.wordpress.com/us-interventions/
enjoy.v.

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Havock has opinions thus...

Posted January 30, 2011
DAWG!...its one of th reasons in the fan fic I had them are part of the alliance. PLUS. if the SUEZ is closed, all shipping transits STH, that makes the saffers vitally important!

HELL YES JB.

I'm not in the habbit of giving away secrets, but JUST nth of Darwin harbour is some islands. great from a tactical perspective in controlling what should and should NOT get into DARWIN, free port or not.

PLUS, the SIGNIT facilities will be relocated and being a freeport and kinda laced with ferals, the asset is to vital to have lost. RELOCATE IT and other elements to BATHURST!.

Expand NORFORCE, more littoral boats etc and they fan out from Bathurst Island, plus other locations along the coast.

Remember also, that just sth of Sumatra / Java and Timor, running east to west is a rather deep ocean trench. This just might afford NUKE subs, to transit back and forth, in deep water for policing and pirate duties. Plus, with Towed arrays deployed, its a fkn great sound channel. Operationally, any traffic ( surface) heading for OZ, crosses it.

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Havock has opinions thus...

Posted January 30, 2011
Murph. not surprised on them looking at alternate, we run diesel in ours ( its a Multifuel engine), but running av gas, cant generate smoke and its still a fuel hog no matter what you use in really.

But it was designed for EUROPE, short or small operational theater of operations.

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Havock reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
something else. All traffic from ME etc to Nth of Australia has to utilise one of three locations unless they wish to sail thru the Torres straights ( not an option for large commercial shipping) or sth down the Bight and passed Tasmania.

These are the main route of the Malacca straits, then you have the SUNDA and Lombok straits.

Sunda is the deeper and wider of the two. Splitting bali on the left heading NTH and the Island of LOMBOK on the right. Lombok runs on the east side of the island, is shallower and the current is much faster as well.

These three choke points...would be a pirates happy hunting ground, apart from about a bazillion other locations in the northern archipelago.

Surface fleets of some sort would definitely be required for these!

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Havock asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
The heavy lifting JB will be Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. The first two have very good navy's, by far the most powerful in the region with all three together.

Missile gun boats, frigates, corvetts, all good vessels for the AO they will play in. PLUS, Singapore has 4 LSD's as well,

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Sir Snagger is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30, 2011
firstly, just like to say - LOVE THE BOOKS & BLOGS!!! been following for a while now so thought I might as well comment :P

As for the groups, the last couple sound about right I suppose but I definitely thing It'd be Australia and Singapore running the joint. The US obviously has it's own problems to deal with in the North Pacific.

Also reckon South Africa would take up a good part of partrols etc around their part of the Indian/Atlantic, but dunno bout spreading themselves too far out. Would the UK have any imput down this way or are they now just Atlantic based? Any other European countries still got their crap together? or Russia for that matter?

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Murphy asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
I've been reading up on the South African Navy. They aren't in good shape circa 2003. Given the chaos in Europe, I do not see them getting their upgrades as they do in our own timeline.

That said, a base in South Africa may be vital.

Deployments and missions should probably be dictated by likely trading partners and trade routes.

Forex, while the South American Federation is nominally hostile to the remnant USA, is that the case with everyone else?

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Bunyip asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
What an interesting thread for a Sunday arvo and a beer. Or three.

Korea: What is happening with the surplus military? Given that NK and SK biggest threat is each other, and China has turned on itself, there could be leftover ground and air assets.

Apart from some of these turning mercenary*, there is the industrial might of South Korea. Some of this may retool to assist in the integration of NK, but some could go fishing for maintenance and supply contracts for the US military. Possibly for salvage concessions at the derelict facilities of their former competitors.

As per Murphy 2:06pm, refugees. Send them to California etc?

Last left field question: Burma aka Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Given my scant understanding international politics, as far as I understand they are a cryptic client state of the PRC, with a little support from IIRC France, in return for some gas and petroleum. If this is the case, to whom could/would Burma jump for support? India? Singapore?

Final comment: JB "Angels of Vengeance", working title or the one mooted in a Tweet in regards to discussion with publisher?

*Not thinking of "Die Hard III" and the former East Germans and Magyars. Honest.

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Moko asserts...

Posted January 30, 2011
The Pacific Islands love a good stoush. Not much in the way of hardware, but the Fijians can't go anywhere without the Kiwi's and the Tongans and Samoans hate eachother enough to fight along side and fuck EVERYONE up. As for the Maori Battalion ... well ... 'None', as in the Ockers "Second to None".

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Bunyip has opinions thus...

Posted January 30, 2011
Postscript: Invasion of Australia? By whom? Where is the capacity within the region? And why? For land / living space? Resources, maybe, but that would imply a capacity to use those resources.

Indo is in no position, if I understand JB's cannon correctly, to mount a supported invasion. China? Cannon seems to imply otherwise.

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Chaz reckons...

Posted January 30, 2011
Japan, Aus, Singapore (although they're really going to be concerned with keeping their SLOC's open) Taiwan (can't remember what happened to them), Malaysia (although they have same problem as) singapore, Vietnam (need protection form warring states to the north and the fallout of problems to the west).

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Havock swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 31, 2011
hmmmm, I'm still thinking more on the Indo going to shit issue. thats a MAJOR head FK for shipping no matter what way you look at it.

Maybe a left field one, coalition assumes control of Bali / lombok, helps keeps those straits open for shipping. Indo gummit ( in exile) of sorts , sets up camp in Bali?.

Jihadi specialists...will go beserk in Indo ( as its gone to pot). Thats RPG's and christ knows what else being shot at ANY SHIPPING which happens to take their fancy.

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Brian asserts...

Posted January 31, 2011
Havock.

Indo Generals own Bali. Lots of Indo money in Queensland. Also Bali historically has fought Muslim incursions from Java.

Hmmph . . . .no one's mentioned Papua. Now that could cause problems . . . .big ships and tanks aren't going to play well in that country.

Scenario could play out as some sort of fundamentalist ethnic cleansing insurgency movement. Hmmm . . . .Fiji could become a player for one reason or another,

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Havock reckons...

Posted January 31, 2011
Brian, rodger that!.

I was thinking that given Bali relies so much on the Tourist dollar has exposer etc, that Landing troops to secure the sea lanes might not be viewed by the locals as real bad, given the rest of Indo has descended into hell!.

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Guy mutters...

Posted January 31, 2011
I strongly believe that Britain would want to contribute if only to stake a claim to continuing or increased influence in a radically changed world. The UK might well consider sending a destroyer or maybe just a token frigate. However, I admit the the calls on the Royal Navy post-wave would be likely to be severe (defence of the home islands, the continuing situation in the middle east and trying to help protect the east coast of North america from pirates/looters/jihadists etc) so perhaps there would be no surface craft to spare?

Perhaps London might send out one of the hunter-killer nuclear subs? They are powerful weapons but not perhaps as well suited as surface craft for some of the other roles the RN has to undertake. One of them might be spared and HMS Tireless or HMS Turbulent, armed, I think with cruise missiles and torpedos, would make a useful addition to any task force.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted January 31, 2011
Righto. Ya'll have been thinking about the Good Guys.
Let's put an eyepatch on & say arr for a minute.

Piracy, like all commercial endeavours spans scales cottage industry to well equipped professional operations.
Bottom line is intercept, board and assume control of a target vessel.
The cottage industry end of the scale may only control for a few hours & only be the top decks while a team opens a couple of random de3ck height containers looking for trade goods to grab & go before the cavalry arrive.

Any attempt at holding a ship for ransom or proper unload requires taking the wheel house and sailing to a safehaven. Unloading anything more than a dinky little coastal trader (say 5000 ton) requires a port of substance with steveadore & crane capapcity. I don't believe it's possible to 'crane off' full containers @ sea. There are stories of pirates tieing off to top loaded containers and yanking them over the side, hoping A: that the containers float and B: that they can be towed to somewhere you can get at C: the hopefully unspoiled goodies inside.
I suspect any such port would be pretty quickly identified & put out of action. (Would make a crackin air strike target - a pirated oiler [refueling vessel] pumping out into improvised bunkering [fuel storage] at some pokey 3rd world port.)

So that leaves small scale Ma & Pa operations or politically / organised crime motivated & intel informed attacks.

If I was so inclined I'd use speed boats & motherships operating out of a minor minor minor port (Eg Brandan Barat, Sei Leppan district Sumatra). But that neccesitates an adequate supply of good quality Diesel & Unleaded. Not usual cargo on Maersk sized shipping.

Could the Malays / local Indon big man concoct a Mafia styled protection racket? That then gets away from them?

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mckinneytexas reckons...

Posted January 31, 2011
No more alliteration? Damn.

Final Force

America Avenged

After, After America

Republic Reborn

Action Astards

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2011
On a somewhat related note, I was pondering the future of U.S. fighter planes based on the fact that Boeing was the primary survivor in the post Wave environment. Even if the U.S. was cash strapped, the reality is that many other nations would still need fighter aircraft.

The F-22 program and the F-35 program would probably go by the wayside. Too expensive and Lockheed Martin would probably be a shambles. Boeing, on the other hand, is responsible for building the F/A-18 Hornet.

In fact, I suspect the plane of the future for the United States would probably be the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Most likely there would be a push to make this the fighter plane for all services.

Just a thought.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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savo mutters...

Posted February 2, 2011
Where's Madoc?

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Bob Lingalong swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2, 2011
Hmmm? Beyond America? I wouldn't include anything Brit in the pacific arena, the Royal Navy was very much Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf deploymetns in 2003. But what about the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean? Where might they be?

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Murphy mutters...

Posted February 3, 2011
Bob, whatever was left of the 6th Fleet exfiltrated out of the region and made for home.

In fact, aside from token forces maintained in Puerto Rico (5 million citizens there with significant resources) and additional support along the East Coast as part of the effort to interdict illegal immigrants/migrants/settlers/jihadis.

The rest would probably be pulled back to Washington State at the Puget Sound Naval Station, Pearl Harbor, various locations along the Alaskan Coastline and finally various strategic depots in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Those ships which could not be used or sold to allies would be stored, guarded and used for spare parts. In the event of a worst case scenario the ships could be remobilized as needs must.

The only potential reason I can see for a full mobilization of those ships is an effort to evacuate the remaining population of the United States in the event of a catastrophe which threatened to wipe out the rest of the population. It would have to be a slow building catastrophe.

In fact, I suspect my opposite number, Lt Gen. Murphy in the Wave Universe, would probably recommend maintaining a number of Nimitz class carriers as evac/refugee ships.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy mutters...

Posted February 3, 2011
Token, in my mind, is probably a U.S. Naval Reserve formation manned by Puerto Ricans with previous naval experience augmented by those who wished to resettle in Puerto Rico. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a large formation consisting of frigates centered around an Arleigh Burke destroyer with a sub or two tossed in.

In fact, I suspect Puerto Rico is probably one heavily armed, newly admitted state to the Post Wave United States of America.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 4, 2011
Murph I'd imagine it'd be kept on a very short ressuply leash.

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Scott Stanley mumbles...

Posted February 7, 2011
Howdy,

Instead of the wasp class, I think it would be more interesting to have a Nimitz class carrier.

The supply chain would not allow a full air wing, but the nuclear power would mean you wouldn't need underway replenishment.

The carrier would be minimally manned, I'm thinking the catapults and arresting gear wouldn't work due to lack of parts, manpower, but it's huge size and unlimited range would make it very flexible.

Have 20 harriers and 30 helicopters, stuff a battalion of marines on board, escorted by one Virginia class submarine, and then the multinational force providing escort. Home port being hawaii. The Burke class ships are offensive weapons that can lurk off the Chinese coast.

And finally, a throwaway line about a surviving Halifax class frigate would be a great addition for the Canadian audience. The Canadian east coast navy base would have survived the wave, and Vancouver/Esquilmalt would be able to provide support.

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flakkie ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2011
I can see so many possibilities here. australia has been buying naval assets from a parlous US. (assume aircraft carriers, aircraft and probably nukes). Oz and NZ are largely untouched so any fleet would be largley of that composition. Throw in some German, french and Italian craft as well, those that escaped the upheavals and pollution storms in Europe.

Australia also developed nuclear deterrents on its Northern coast and is constantly dealing with incursions of refugees from Indonesia.

Fleet in Darwin has several functions: a deterrent against invasion from the north, guarding disputed natural gas/oil resources around the South China Sea, and the Spratly Islands,piracy and people smuggling. New Guinea and Timor are largely left to themselves however a small naval contingent near Lae and Dili keep the peace - at least in the towns.

An addition to the fleet: a contingent from Israel, which is used to conduct legitimate piracy of its own.

Indonesia is bolstered by remnants of the Iranian navy that escaped the Israeli pogrom in the middle east.

Pirates have overrun and captured the Cocos Keeling islands, and have command of two captured virgin blue Embraer E190s. while the Islamic Jihad has overrun Christmas Island and have one small passenger jet. This operation is discreetly funded from Jakarta.

A second combined fleet is based in western australia to counter these two threats.

Back to the Combined Fleets: well they have a few problems, ammunition supply is erratic (though there is a growing munitions industry in australia ) however fuel poses a big big conundrum: Middle East oil is largely useless to refine due to contamination. Oil from south america is expensive, and that which is extracted from resources near Australia is high in sulphur content, which may cause problems with the more modern diesels. Enter Norway, which has largely intact oil assets in the North sea.

Elements of the Norwegian navy are used to interdict pirate and people smuggling activities to the northwest of Australia though they are not officially attached to the fleet based in Darwin or Freemantle.

A new asset to defend: with the demise of Nasa, Virgin Galactic has established a spaceport in Cape York, using salvaged spacecraft from the US. the facility is used mainly to launch surveillance craft into orbit.

Australia also revives its Coastal Watch programme which largely comprises of volunteers equipped with radio equipment who liase with the Fleet. I might also add Australia has acquired some hurricane watch aircraft from the US at a bargain price,.

Fuel: I mentioned oil, but everything more refined, such as kerosene, Jet-A1 and petrol are also more scarce and expensive. Home heating oil is a luxury for the very rich.

As for US craft? Well there aren't many left as they have been sold off to Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Maybe there were a small number of ships in or near Hawaii, but they are needed in that area of operations, dealing with Indonesian, chinese and russian pirates marauding near the marianas, tonga and fiji.

Meanwhile the island of Diego Garcia, is bristling with ordinance and has rejected the authority of the US and UK governments.

A radar installation in the Marshall islands is extremely vulnerable.


New Zealand has established it's own naval presence in the Cook Islands .

Pirates (possibly from South America) have been repelled from Norfolk and Lord Howe islands.


There you go Mr Birmingham its a bit of a ramble but I enjoy your books.

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flakkie asserts...

Posted February 9, 2011
I can see so many possibilities here. australia has been buying naval assets from a parlous US. (assume aircraft carriers, aircraft and probably nukes). Oz and NZ are largely untouched so any fleet would be largley of that composition. Throw in some German, french and Italian craft as well, those that escaped the upheavals and pollution storms in Europe.

Australia also developed nuclear deterrents on its Northern coast and is constantly dealing with incursions of refugees from Indonesia.

Fleet in Darwin has several functions: a deterrent against invasion from the north, guarding disputed natural gas/oil resources around the South China Sea, and the Spratly Islands,piracy and people smuggling. New Guinea and Timor are largely left to themselves however a small naval contingent near Lae and Dili keep the peace - at least in the towns.

An addition to the fleet: a contingent from Israel, which is used to conduct legitimate piracy of its own.

Indonesia is bolstered by remnants of the Iranian navy that escaped the Israeli pogrom in the middle east.

Pirates have overrun and captured the Cocos Keeling islands, and have command of two captured virgin blue Embraer E190s. while the Islamic Jihad has overrun Christmas Island and have one small passenger jet. This operation is discreetly funded from Jakarta.

A second combined fleet is based in western australia to counter these two threats.

Back to the Combined Fleets: well they have a few problems, ammunition supply is erratic (though there is a growing munitions industry in australia ) however fuel poses a big big conundrum: Middle East oil is largely useless to refine due to contamination. Oil from south america is expensive, and that which is extracted from resources near Australia is high in sulphur content, which may cause problems with the more modern diesels. Enter Norway, which has largely intact oil assets in the North sea.

Elements of the Norwegian navy are used to interdict pirate and people smuggling activities to the northwest of Australia though they are not officially attached to the fleet based in Darwin or Freemantle.

A new asset to defend: with the demise of Nasa, Virgin Galactic has established a spaceport in Cape York, using salvaged spacecraft from the US. the facility is used mainly to launch surveillance craft into orbit.

Australia also revives its Coastal Watch programme which largely comprises of volunteers equipped with radio equipment who liase with the Fleet. I might also add Australia has acquired some hurricane watch aircraft from the US at a bargain price,.

Fuel: I mentioned oil, but everything more refined, such as kerosene, Jet-A1 and petrol are also more scarce and expensive. Home heating oil is a luxury for the very rich.

As for US craft? Well there aren't many left as they have been sold off to Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Maybe there were a small number of ships in or near Hawaii, but they are needed in that area of operations, dealing with Indonesian, chinese and russian pirates marauding near the marianas, tonga and fiji.

Meanwhile the island of Diego Garcia, is bristling with ordinance and has rejected the authority of the US and UK governments.

A radar installation in the Marshall islands is extremely vulnerable.


New Zealand has established it's own naval presence in the Cook Islands .

Pirates (possibly from South America) have been repelled from Norfolk and Lord Howe islands.


There you go Mr Birmingham its a bit of a ramble but I enjoy your books.

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flakkie reckons...

Posted February 9, 2011
more chaos
Singapore is severely effected by the Disappearance. Up until 2003 it was the busiest port in Asia. Now it is thrown back to the days of the Malayan emergency, not only wary of the issues in Indonesia, but also communist and islam threats from Malaysia and beyond.

.

elsewhere, Koh Samui is a pirate haven and any luxury cruises into the south china sea bathtub must have a destroyer escort. These are provided from Darwin - at a high price.

On the western coast of Malaysia, Malacca is a hub of pirate activity in the straits, while Penang's Georgetown becomes the new Macau. The Brunei sultanate is a luxurious peaceful haven, which covertly funds piracy in part to disrupt islamic elements.

After recalling it's citizens the singapore Air Force bombs the road link to Malaysia and employs two mercenary american destroyers and a nuclear submarine to police the area. An invasion is thrown back, and Malaysias capital is reduced to radioactive dust by three 300kt warheads.

This brings the mercenaries into conflict with the australian fleet whose government denounces Singapore and declare the mercenaries as outlaws along with their employer.. A battle ensues, with Darwin, Dili, Port Moresby, Cairns, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Georgetown and Malacca rendered uninhabitable.

Brunei remains untouched and with one nuclear warhead, purchased on the black market, seeks advantage.

Burma subjugates Thailand assisted by several hundred thousand north Korean army personnel, who are unable to reconcile the union of their beloved country with south Korea.

Japan deploys naval resources to the remanants of the combined fleet, which still has assets near Townsville, Cape York, and Freemantle.

Pirates freely roam the pacific and indian oceans and sea travel without naval escort becomes erratic and expensive.

Meanwhile, Tasmania, sits alone and dreaming to the south, unaware that pirates, now organised into a semblance of order, and commanding a ex-UK aircraft carrier, french destroyers and Iranian and Lebanese fighter jets are approaching, with only to destroyers and a submarine in Melbourne in the way....

well the world's gone awry so might as well go all the way..

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flakkie ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2011
America: President Kipper has razed New York which is now a decaying ruin holding nothing of value. The americans continue to repopulate the midwest, fanning out from Kansas to Missouri, Iowa, Ohio. Middle America is very like the old West. The Greens turn nasty and try to disrupt the new expansion, and narrowly fail in an attempt to kill Kansas City with a dirty bomb. The perpetrators are found, and executed.....the highest of that echelon being very close to president Kipper.

China's civil unrest begins to reverse with a central government taking hold in the Rust Belt, a region formerly dominated by communist era steel factories. Taiwan remains a separate, and prosperous entity, for now.

North Korea, recently reconciled with the South, is devastated by an eruption of Mt Baeku, close to the chinese border. Thousands die in the pyroclastic flows and ash falls.

South Africa proclaims itself the Black Republic, expelling all white-skinned people and erecting a massive concrete wall along the length of its border.

India and Pakistan, which are in the majority radioactive wastes, fight a final war with knives, shovels and various farm implements. Afterwards the river Ganges is choked with bodies.

In south america, Argentina, realising there will be no UK SAS troops to contend with, retake the Falkland Islands.

Scientists find the cause of the Wave, and the revelation is shocking: (insert guesses here)

Russia has descended into chaos, with no central government and the mafia in control. Ukraine and belarus have hold over nuclear missile silos.

Eastern europe is uninhabitable, though a few people here and there exist, scratching out a living from the polluted earth, In major cities like Prague, Warsaw, Brussels, and Amsterdam, bodies rot in the streets.

In Rome, a juvenile Pope John XX sends forth a crusading army to invade Switzerland, France, Protugal and Spain, a new Roman Emipire is at hand.

Tel-Aviv realises a massive mistake as fallout and contamination begin to affect the state of Israel, in a few short years, Israel, Iran, Syria, greater egypt, Lebanon and Turkey are toxic wastelands.

Germany and France declare themselves Islamic Republics, in response the UK collapses the England-France Chunnel.

Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark unite and invade the north of Germany. The Battle of the Bulge is fought again.

and then god, who purportedly does not exist, picks up the earth, looks at it, snorts in disgust before scrunching it up and throwing it in the bin.

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El Coqui asserts...

Posted February 10, 2011
If we sell the Nimitz to other nations, they will have to create an infrastructure to support them and the US can tap into that to support those we choose to keep.

I see the main US contribution as providing naval aviation and long range strike capabilities.

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Respond to 'A little world building challenge.'

Rhino Fan fic.

Posted January 14, 2011 by John Birmingham
Flipper’s Bitch

By Roger Ross

Based on Characters Appearing in After America by John Birmingham. Also Based on Characters Appearing in Secondary Mission WW Fanfic Cmdr Havoc by Andrew “Havock” Porter.

WARNING – Some NSFW language and situations. You have been warned.

Financial District, Manhattan, New York City Federal Controlled Area

“Tell me, again, please, why it is you dragged your half-recuperated carcass out of bed to go on this fool’s errand?”

The very large man wedged behind the wheel of the dented and dusty Range Rover battled with the shift in a futile attempt to slow down in time to weave around the mid-street pile-up of taxis that would never take another fare, a losing battle from the sound of grinding rising from the gear box, just scowled and mumbled around his cigar, “Well, Miss Jules, word was they was lookin’ for some rated seamen to help out on some search and rescue ops and I was sick of lying around and I figured you were probably bored too and it might be nice to spend a day at sea to blow the stink off us as it were”.

“Rhino, my man, how is it that you think that a day of patrolling in a polluted bay off the coast of a dead city and potentially mixing it up with pirates and other assorted scum constitutes a leisurely day at sea?”

“A Rhino is a sensitive creature Miss Jules and you could hurt his feelings with such talk as not so long ago we were some of that ‘assorted scum’ as I recall.”

Lady Julianne Balwyn couldn’t stifle a smile as she replied, “Point taken. OK then. Drive on Jeeves and please blow some of that foul smoke out of your own window would you”?

The Range Rover pulled around the corner slowed to a stop before a road block surrounded by sandbag bunkers armed with .50 cal machine guns and a couple of armored personnel carriers for backup. “They sure are taking port security seriously now aren’t they”, said Rhino as an MP in full battle rattle and his backup walked up to the window and requested IDs and work orders. Rhino handed over the requested documents and waited patiently for the MP to work through them. Looking at the IDs and then looking at Rhino first and then taking an appreciably longer look at Jules, the MP handed the documents back to Rhino and said, “You can park your vehicle over there sir and then head over to the command hut for an assignment. Keep your IDs prominently displayed and don’t stray from the general area as there is a standing shoot and ask questions later order in effect. We’ve had some trouble with infiltrators testing security.”

“No problem son, and don’t call me sir, I was a Chief and we work for a living.”

The MP laughed and signaled for the gate to be opened and passed the Rhino and Jules through.

Temporary Naval Coast Patrol Command Center, Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Manhattan, New York City Federal Controlled Area

The command hut, really a very large tent, was a scene of controlled mayhem as Jules and Rhino were intercepted by a sailor situated just inside the door. The sailor scanned their documents and directed them in the direction of a desk further inside.

Moving against the crowd they made their way to their destination, a desk manned by an ensign fronted with a neatly lettered sign that said Civilian SRO Assignments. He took their documents and wasted little time getting down to business. “Your role will be search and rescue for any asset requiring assistance in your assigned area of responsibility. Scuttlebutt is that something big is going down today and we’re heavy on boats and short of trained personnel to man them. I see you’re rated to skipper utility boats so that’s where I’m sending you. What about your crewman?”, he said looking at Jules, “What can she do?”

Rhino blew a smoke ring and responded, “Let’s just say that she can play a deck gun like a Stradivarius fiddle.”

“Good enough” the ensign replied, “Because we’re short of shooters as well so it’ll only be the two of you, a medic and another shooter out there.”

“Mighty thin, dontcha’ think?”

“Well, the idea is that when you get there all the shootin’ should be over. Just sign here.”

The Rhino signed the orders and pocketed a copy.

“Good luck and please bring my boat back in one piece.”

“Oh yeah” chuckled Rhino, “We’re real gentle with equipment”.

Onboard UTB-41387, Lower Bay, New York Federal Controlled Area

After greeting his “crew” for the day Rhino piloted the old, but well maintained, utility boat away from the dock and guided her gently into the sea lane between Ellis and Liberty Islands on the right and Governor’s Island on the left and set a course that would take them into the lower bay. There they’d check-in with SRO command for their assigned area of responsibility. It felt good to be back at the helm of a utility boat and it took Rhino back years, “Oh, yeah, I was fulla’ piss and vinegar back then.”

“What was that Rhino?” Jules asked as she prepped the deck mounted .50 cal just aft of the open helm.

“Oh, nothin’ Miss Jules, just reminiscin’ is all. Don’t mind an old salt”.

A low rumbling bass, quickly building in intensity, brought him out of his revelry and he stepped back away from the helm he began searching the sky eventually finding what he was looking for. Reaching over he tapped Jules on the shoulder and pointed skyward, “Well, would you look at that.” The flight of the squadron of B-52s and leading attack aircraft coming in from the west rumbled over the bay and, climbing, continued out into the open ocean. “I wonder what the propeller heads are planning this time; looks like they’re not heading for the city.”

Jules, shielding her eyes, stared after them as they droned past. “I don’t know what they’re after either but I hope they give them a jolly good rogering before they can get to us.”

The utility boat made its way under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and continued out into the lower bay. Rhino steered a general course that would take them near the center of the bay so as to be best positioned when, or if, a call came in. Rhino took a moment to radio in to SRO command to report their readiness.

Forty five minutes or so of slow trolling along the gentle swells and enjoying the salt air ended with what sounded like rolling thunder. Looking east Rhino could see flashes of exploding ordinance. The explosions continued for close to 15 minutes before they stopped as quickly as they started. “Holy Hannah, someone took one helluva’ pasting. I hope that whoever they’re giving it to doesn’t have anything that can reach them.”

As if on cue the radio broke the sudden silence as SRO Command hailed them.

“UTB-41387, you have a task order. Over.”

“Roger, SRO Command, this is UTB-41387 ready to receive. Over”

“UTB-41387, you are to proceed at your best speed to the following coordinates, latitude, 40.500747, longitude 73.838425, and begin S&R activities. We have one downed bomber out there and we need to get that crew back. Over.

“Roger that SRO Command, UTB-41387 is to make way to latitude, 40.500747, longitude 73.838425, and begin S&R activities. What the hell happened?”

“Word is that some hotshot colonel decided that it would be a good idea to showboat and do a low flyover of the engagement area. Evidently, he got his wings clipped by a survivor with a SAM.”

“Roger that SRO Command, UTB-41387 out.” Rhino turned to his crew of three and shouted, “Grab onto to something cause we’re about to see what this ol’ girl can do and we don’t have time to turn back if you go overboard”. With the warning given, Rhino pushed the throttles forward and the Cummins diesel responded with a throaty growl and quickly got up to speed. Soon they were flying over the waves, with no clue whatsoever of what they would find when they got there.

Onboard UTB-41387, Atlantic Ocean, Latitude, 40.500747, Longitude 73.838425,

As they approached their designated search area Rhino brought them onto a heading that would allow them to begin a standard grid search pattern. “Keep an eye out for any emergency rafts or parachutes and one eye out for any unfriendly types as well” Rhino instructed as he tuned their radio to the frequency for emergency transponders. It wasn’t long before they picked up the monotonous beeping of a transponder nearby and soon after that the volunteer manning the gun on the foredeck shouted back that he had spotted one of the bright orange emergency personal life rafts about 100 yards off their starboard bow. Rhino eased the utility boat in that direction, taking his time and keeping an eye out for anyone floating nearby. As he eased closer to the raft he could see that there were three people in flight suits hanging onto the sides of the raft, waving and yelling for his attention.

Jules and the Rhino quickly hauled the downed air crew into the boat as the medic unpacked his gear in anticipation of treating injuries. Ejecting from a wounded bomber was not the most gentle of activities. The crew was shaken-up, all suffering from various bumps and contusions and one of them had a broken leg, but that was the worst injury and at first blush it looked like all of them would pull through.

One of the airmen with captain’s bars on his flight suit grabbed Rhino by the arm and said, “You’ve got to find Colonel Porter and Lieutenant Van den Hurk. The Colonel kept us in the air long enough for us to eject and the LT’s chute fouled and we didn’t see her reserve deploy until she was almost in the drink.”

“What’s your name son?”

Captain Hernandez, sir.”

“Now don’t go getting’ all formal on me son, I’m just a retired Chief that happens to work for a living. But if your Colonel and crewmate are out here I will sure as hell do everything that I can to find them. So, just lay back and let the Rhino do what he does best. What heading was that bomber on when you ejected?”

Captain Hernandez replied, “She went in west by southwest of here. We saw the Colonel’s chute deploy but he was too far away for us to get there.”

Rhino turned back to the helm and set a course to look for the downed Colonel. Captain Hernandez laid back and closed his eyes as he felt the boat come up to speed. He was surprised to hear a cultured English accent asking him if he would like some water or whether he needed anything else. He opened his eyes to see a striking woman standing over him, bottle of water in one hand and blanket in the other. He could only stutter a “thank you” as he took the proffered bottle and drank it greedily. “Mam, may I ask you a question?”

Jules turned back to the Captain, “Sure, go ahead.”

“Did that really big man say that his name was Rhino?”

Jules, laughing, replied, “That he did, and do yourself a favor and don’t go asking him about petting any kitty cats.”

Completely confused, Hernandez just nodded and laid back thinking, “I must be delirious. Thank god that I decided to fly planes.”

As Rhino continued on a course that he hoped would bring him to the downed Colonel and Lieutenant he heard Morse code coming over the emergency transponder frequency of the radio.

“Hey, Jules, c’mere and tell me if I’m hearing what I think I’m hearing.”

Jules made her way to the helm and listened to the radio, “Sounds faint, like a short range signal. Let me see if I can boost the signal”. Jules fiddled with the radio a bit and the beeps came in much clearer. “I’m a little rusty but it sounds like a group of people talking back and forth. Very odd, it sure doesn’t sound like any kind of conversation you would expect out here.

The longer that Jules and Rhino listened to the transmission the more confused they became. It sounded more like a pack of drunken louts at a sporting event than any kind of nautical activity they would have expected this far out. Jules broke the silence saying, “Did I just hear what I think I heard?”

“Well, if you just heard, ‘It’s my turn, you’re taking too long” then, yeah, you heard right.

They continued to listen to the broadcast and mentally translated the conversation, “This one is for the marines fly boy”

“Don’t break him, I want another go around.”

“Oh yeah, a little skinny, but any port in a storm I say.”

“My turn to salute the colonel”

“Hey, I think I have enough squid ink now.”

With that last comment Jules looked at Rhino and said, “Oh my god, do you think he was captured by pirates and they are sodomizing him?

“We’ll find out soon enough, that signal strength indicates that we should be right on top of them - odd that we haven’t seen another boat yet. Keep a sharp lookout. I don’t want to walk into an ambush before we have a chance for a little payback.”

Moments later Jules spotted the bright orange personal life raft and pointed it out to Rhino. Once again slowing the boat to keep from swamping the small raft Rhino came to a stop and looked down to see an unconscious man draped over the side of the raft with his legs in the water. There was blood everywhere on the sides of the raft and in the water and Hernandez came to the rail and said, “The Colonel” as he and Rhino quickly pulled the man onto the utility boat. “Thank God he’s breathing”. Rhino did a double take as something else stood out as extremely odd about the scene; there were dozens of dead squid floating on the water. What the hell kind of mess did they sail into? This guy was only out here for a couple of hours. Rhino laid the unconscious man down on the deck and let the medic get to work finding and treating his injuries. Jules looked over at Rhino from behind her machine gun and shrugging her shoulders said, “There isn’t another boat in sight anywhere. Where did those signals come from?”

“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, as soon as the medic tells me he is stable enough to move we are tearing ass out of here.”

The medic, finding no open wounds on the front of the Colonel turned him over to search his back. Gagging, he jumped up and ran to the rail where he spewed his breakfast over the side. Rhino turned to look at what caused the man to lose it and though he thought that he’d seen just about every human depravity since the wave changed the world there was nothing that could explain what he was looking at. The Colonel’s flight suit looked as if it had been chewed through around his buttocks area and it was plain to see that was the source of all of the blood.

Jules gaped at the Colonel’s bloody orifice, stifling her gag reflex, and muttered, “Christ almighty, who in the hell did that to him?

Rhino replied, “We’re not waiting to find out”. He turned to the medic and said, “Get your ass over here and help that man. If he bleeds out it is on your head and you don’t want to answer to me.” With that he turned back to the helm and as he began to push the throttles forward another burst of Morse code sounded from the radio, “Hey, Big One, don’t be so fast taking our boy toy”.

Jules, an incredulous look on her face, looked at the radio, at Rhino, at the Colonel and then back at Rhino then realizing someone was speaking to them she began swinging her gun in an arc behind the boat looking for a target while saying, “Where the hell did that come from?”

“Look down cutie, maybe you can play next” came from the radio.

Jules looked overboard and saw a dolphin with a metal harness and headset strapped around its head and body, almost like tactical radio gear for a soldier, and what looked like a short radio antenna mounted just behind the dorsal fin. Another spurt of code came over the radio, “Yeah, sweetheart, you like what you see? I got a little something for you, come on in, the water is fine”. Jules saw more movement in the water and made out several more dolphins, all similarly attired in that unbelievable gear.

“Fat fucking chance of that happening shark bait” Jules replied, stopping short as she realized that she was fending off the advances of a randy dolphin.

The radio chatter continued, “Just throw the skinny one back in and we’ll call it even. I think I’m in love. Or, better yet, push the fat one out, he’s got more cushion for the pushin’ and he’ll float” Jules could swear that the dolphin was laughing as it rocked its head back and forth while emitting a high pitched squeaking sound. The squeaking suddenly ended in the equivalent of a dolphin scream as Rhino emptied the clip of his semi-automatic .45 into the head of depraved creature.

Watching the dolphin sink out of sight, Jules turned to Rhino and said, “I think that’s our cue to get the hell out of Dodge as you Yanks like to say.”

Rhino ran to the helm and pushed the throttles all the way forward and the boat quickly gained speed. The dolphins kept pace, leaping gracefully in the wake of the utility boat, but not able to overtake her. Eventually the dolphins fell behind and a fading Morse code message was received, “We know what you look like fat man so I wouldn’t go swimming anytime soon if you know what’s good for you”. That was the last message received until Rhino called in their status to SRO Command and piloted them back to the docks where an ambulance was waiting to take the aircrew for treatment. Thankfully, the Colonel did not gain consciousness during the entire trip.

Temporary Naval Coast Patrol Command Center, Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Manhattan, New York City Federal Controlled Area

The naval Captain, Flinthart was the nametag on his uniform, sitting across the desk from Jules and Rhino said, “That has got to be the damndest after action review that I have ever heard. Dolphins you say? Wearing metallic harnesses and speaking through the radio using Morse code? Are you sure it wasn’t pirates that raped that colonel?”

Rhino, as titular commander of the SRO spoke for the pair, “I know it sounds crazy, but I swear on my sainted mother’s grave that is exactly what happened.”

“Well, there were always rumors about the intel geeks trying to train dolphins to find subs and that kind of thing. But this sounds like something from a B-movie.

Rhino just shook his head, “It was insane. It was almost like those dolphins had a personal vendetta for the poor guy.”

Just then the doors to the Captain’s office burst open and two men in suits walked in and closed the door behind them. The one on the left flashed credentials and without preamble one of them launched into what sounded like a practiced speech, “I am Special Agent Birmingham and this is Special Agent Murphy, what happened today is a matter of national security and is classified as above top secret. You are to never speak of this to anyone, ever. If you do so, trust me, I will find out, and you will be hunted down and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Do you understand?”

Rhino and Jules looked at each other and simply nodded assent.

“I am glad to see that you are cooperating. Considering what you two have been up to recently, I would say that cooperating is the wisest decision you have made in awhile. Now, I would strongly suggest that you two make arrangements to leave the Federal Controlled Zone and get about your business elsewhere.” Evidently saying everything they came to say, the agents turned and left, closing the office door behind them.

Captain Flinthart looked back and forth between Jules and Rhino and said, “Who are you people? Belay that, I don’t want or need to know. I believe that we are through here. Good luck to you”. With that dismissal the pair stood and walked out.

“Jules, before we go, I want to stop over at the hospital and see how that Colonel is”.

“Do you think that is wise at this point?”

Rhino considered her point as he cut and lit a fat cigar, “Hell, girl, for as long as you’ve known me now has that ever been a consideration?”

Mercy Class Hospital Ship, USNS Comfort

Jules and Rhino peeked around the curtain to see a nurse removing a pair of surgical gloves and tossing them into a pan filled with bloody bandages, “Its OK, you can come in as long as you don’t wake him. He is resting comfortably but he still has the occasional screaming fit”. It didn’t look so comfortable to Rhino. The poor bastard was situated on his knees with his ass in the air, supported by a complex harness and pulley system and it looked like his face was pushed into his pillow.

“How is he doing nurse?”

“Oh, he’ll be fine … eventually. The physical wounds are healing. It is the mental wounds that are going to take time. I doubt he’ll ever be fit to fly again. A shame, really, I’ve been doing this for over fifteen years and this is the first case of man rape I’ve ever seen. What kind of depraved people could do such a thing? A Captain Hernandez was by earlier, another boat recovered the body of the last member of their crew, and he was confirming the identity, and when he saw Colonel Porter it was everything he could do to not break down.

“Well, thank you nurse, we’ll just be going now.

“I’m glad you stopped by, this poor soul is going to need all of the support he can get. I mean, not only raping the poor man but tattooing him as well? Barbaric.”

That stopped Rhino dead in his tracks and as he turned back he asked, “Did you say tattooed?”

“Yes sir, it was on his buttocks. Looked like a prison tattoo – the ink was imbedded under the skin with a large needle or some other sharp object. Almost like a tribal design – doesn’t make sense”.

Rhino, remembering the dead squid around the Colonel’s raft mumbled, “Like a needle sharp tooth, maybe?”

The nurse paused, “I guess so, but I don’t think that something like that would be possible.” Anyway, it was gibberish”.

“Do you mind if I take a look?

“Well, I should protect the patient’s privacy but if you can shed any light on what it means, then I guess it would be OK”.

The nurse drew the curtain around the bed and pulled the Colonel’s gown aside to display a series of crudely formed dots and dashes etched into the fleshy part of his buttocks. As Rhino and Jules stared at the pattern it came into focus:

. - - .    . - . .    . .    . - - .    . - - .    .    . - .    …

- . . .    . .    -    - . - .   . . .

As realization dawned as to what she was looking at Jules hands flew to her mouth in an attempt to suppress the inappropriate laughter bursting forth. She turned and quickly fled down the corridor with a “Rhino, I’ll see you outside” over her shoulder.

Shocked, the nurse looked at Rhino angrily, “What was that about. I don’t see the slightest thing funny about this poor man’s situation”.

Rhino replied, “Mam, that isn’t a tribal pattern, That is Morse code.”

“OK, so, what does it mean?”

“I think it means that our dear Colonel here has a boyfriend”.

“What are you going on about?”

Rhino, slowly shaking his head said, “Mam, it says “Flipper’s Bitch”.

44 Responses to ‘Rhino Fan fic.’

Therbs mutters...

Posted January 14, 2011
ROFLMAO! Well played, Rhino. Give your self a big fat seegar.

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Bunyip swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 14, 2011
Excellent trope.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 14, 2011
Fucking KICK ASS!! The Rhino rules!

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted January 14, 2011
This is great stuff.

Ah, only one slight problem.

Captain Hernandez is female. Reference Page 452 in the American version.

Still, good stuff.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Scott has opinions thus...

Posted January 14, 2011
Rhino you bastard now I have to clean up my keyboard. Coffee spray! Funny! Now was the colonel wearing hot pants?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 14, 2011
Count on Murph to identify the continuity error...

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted January 14, 2011
PNB, it was an easy enough mistake to make. The gender reference was fleeting at best.

It is a good piece of writing, Rhino. If only my students had just a smidge of Rhino's ability to write.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted January 14, 2011
Keep in mind, I let the mistake about Alaska's capital slip by me. It happens to everyone.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted January 14, 2011
No it doesn't.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 14, 2011
I put that Alaskan error in on purpose. ON PURPOSE I tells ya!

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Havock is gonna tell you...

Posted January 14, 2011
NOT TO SHABBY AT ALL!.


BUT!, you are a MARKED MAN!...oh how you are a fkn marked man!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 14, 2011
LOL @ JB

Inspector Clouseau: "Everything I do is planned perfectly."

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Murphy mutters...

Posted January 14, 2011
I'm never going to live it down. The fuck up over the Hopper I can drink away but Alaska is always going to give me nightmares. I wake up in cold sweats over it.

"Fuck me, the capital is in Juneau, not Anchorage? AUGH!"

Trinity has to douse me with cold water to get me out of it.

:)

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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FKNHVK is gonna tell you...

Posted January 14, 2011
FARK! Bestiality? ROIT. You want to turn it up to 11? I can FKN go past 11.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted January 14, 2011
This shit is already cranked up to 11. There is nothing past 11.

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Havock mutters...

Posted January 14, 2011
I think the BIG FKN GIT needs to meet up with a BIG..FK OFF FKN Orangutan in INTENSE!..the fkn BASTARD!

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FKNHVK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 14, 2011
The great FKN thing about INTENSE! is that as I write the FKN SEQUELS I can add more FKN !.

INTENSE!
INTENSE!!
INTENSE!!!
INTENSE!!!!

Sometimes I FKN amaze myself with my FKN genius!

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Trashman is gonna tell you...

Posted January 14, 2011
God, you need serious help!

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Scott mumbles...

Posted January 14, 2011
I'm never going to feel comfortable around wildlife again. Thanks guys.

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yankeedog asserts...

Posted January 14, 2011
Murph, don't sweat the whole capital of Alaska thing. Could've been worse. You could've screwed it up in Final Jeopardy and pissed away $10,000 and the game!

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 14, 2011
All,

Thank you - all of you are very generous with your praise. Honestly, though, I'm a little embarrassed by the effort as it is the first draft that I wrote in a few hours last week to try to get it out as quickly as possible while Havock's dolphin chapter was still fresh - and it is very rough. Unfortunately, massive flooding in Brisbane postponed it.

And, Murph, this is the Captain Hernandez from Havock's story - who I think is a guy. I don't think it is the same character as in the book. If I'm wrong - great eye.

R.

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Havock mutters...

Posted January 14, 2011
Yeah well, to be brutally honest, its like Murph said, as for the rest of it. Well, to be honest, its not one step over the mark, its gone passed the mark by about eighty miles, deep into cunts act territory as far as I am concerned. Didn't see anything funny about it.

And whether you do or don't care or have a differing opinion, I do not really give a flying fuck.

I'm out
H

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted January 15, 2011
H,

I'll reach out to your personally, but I truly did not mean anything harmful or disrespectful. I thought that you'd have a laugh and bust my balls back. I completely respect, and am a fan of, your writing and what you do. I've obviously stepped over a line and I'm hoping that you will accept my most sincere apology.

Regards,
Roger

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Flipper’s Bitch – AA Fan fic – Roger Ross « The Mini-burger mutters...

Posted January 15, 2011
[...] Rhino Fan fic. [...]

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Stevo 73 asserts...

Posted January 15, 2011
With all due respect, I think that its Havock that is a marked man, and the mark reads "flippers bitch".

Damn funny fan fic, almost soiled myself reading it, keep it coming Rhino, and you too Havock.

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Havock reckons...

Posted January 15, 2011
Rhino,
Apology accepted. I hate that term to be honest; there is something about its formality that grates on me and I will elaborate further because I have too. It’s a powerful set of words, too often utilised lightly, but when done so with a clear intent, very very......... strong. That’s not even clarifying it like I want to. But I understand and accept it with the sincerity its intended.

But I have unfinished business.

Firstly, calling you a CNT, was totally out of line, it’s not you as far as I am concerned, certainly It should not have been done here on CBG either. So on that Rhino, you have my apology, and once again, for doing it here JB.

It’s also folly laden to comment at 0100 hours, but I guess that’s how wound up I was about it at the time, it actually would not let me sleep. It’s a rare day that something like this provokes such a reaction, some will say its normal, but no, it’s totally different and I will tell you why, I will also tell you why, I am doing so here, that’s also part of the issue.

I’m not even sure where to start to be honest, so I’ll just kick off and cover what I want too.

Posting when pissed off, leads one to right where I am now, but its deeper than that and it’s taken me a good four hours or more having gotten home from cricket, to think this through and come up with some satisfactory answers for myself.

And the big one is ego, I don’t let it get punctured very often, I also do not think its overly large, but your post slammed home and I reacted, late at night and without due consideration of the ramifications of replying in the manner in which I did and doing so in such a public manner.

For that you have my apologies.

It’s also tied to the next one as well, because there was no harm intended, it was without malice your Fan Fic, I should have taken that into account. Maybe then I would also have sent you an e/mail, rather than going off in an open forum. Yes, I’m not the first, possibly not the last, but I do try to do things in the correct manner.

And I should have known better!.

Lastly and assuredly not least of all, it has not affected the friendship as far as I am concerned, by your note, you either. Its great here, rough at times, but hey! We are adults and mistakes do happen, I’ll just make sure I don’t make this kind again,... well I will certainly try, put it that way.

Rhino, all’s good.

Cheers

H ( Andrew P )

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ConspiracyCat asserts...

Posted January 15, 2011
If he is, Stevo, they've picked the right bloke for hotpants. Havock has a magnificent arse.

(Sorry, Havsy. But the truth about your arse must be told).

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Havock puts forth...

Posted January 15, 2011
lol..CAT!, Ive always considered my sexy arse! to be a defining feature..intelligence not withstanding of course!

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Rhino reckons...

Posted January 16, 2011
H,

It's all good. Just don't expect a man-kiss. I'll hug it out though and buy you several pints and a fat steak when we meet up in the flesh.

R

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Havock would have you know...

Posted January 16, 2011
lol..rodger that!

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted January 16, 2011
OK all. You can come out from the bunkers and continue commenting.

We have reset to DEFCOM 4.

I need to know if I should try my hand at future stories.

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Havock mumbles...

Posted January 16, 2011
Was just having a chuckle at that, Kinda " Clash of the fkn TITANS" and the natives all fkd off!

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damian would have you know...

Posted January 16, 2011
Seriously people - we need to get these guys a plane ticket and a room.

:/

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Havock mutters...

Posted January 16, 2011
MATE!..DO!, you right them well, I...Might make a few...er..Suggestions, but that would be kinda me FOCUSED..lol, but fk yeah, dont stop!

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted January 16, 2011
Its sort of icky.

Havock and Rhino being soulmates. Or twins seperated at birth . . . .like Danny Davito and Arnie.

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The Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted January 16, 2011
Oh man. A Havock and Rhino team-up. Fuck ya!

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted January 16, 2011
Buddy teams.

Abbott and Costello.
Laurel and Hardy.
Bonny and Clyde.


Batman and Robin.

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ConspiracyCat swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 16, 2011
I was thinking more like Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer.

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Brian reckons...

Posted January 16, 2011
CC

Oooh . . .now that's a deep memory.

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FKNHVK would have you know...

Posted January 16, 2011
's more like Tango and FKN Cash cept I'm FKN Stallone.

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Stewart Robertson is gonna tell you...

Posted January 17, 2011
Well, at least there was no monkey rape in the story

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savo mutters...

Posted January 17, 2011
"WARNING – Some NSFW language and situations."
"Some New South Fkn Wales language" ???

What are you - a closet Queenslander?

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted January 19, 2011
Nice One Rhino. P!ss Funny & well put together.

Yes you should do more Fan Fic.
Everyone should. Skilled or otherwise.
For me at least it's about opening up another little slice of the Birmoverse. Birmo is a creative & skilled Mothfkr to be sure, but there's no way his creativity can compete with the combined effort of the Global Burgers.

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 24, 2011
Great stuff.

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Respond to 'Rhino Fan fic.'

NaNoWriMo

Posted November 3, 2010 by John Birmingham
Ms. Jennicki has asked for a writing blog. Because it's national novel writing month. Any of you with twitter accounts would be familiar with the hash tag #nanowrimo because of the thousands of tweetenvolk who seem to have signed up to crank out 50,000 words this November.

I'm one of them. Although I have a professional reason for doing so. I really wanted to get something down on screen that I could use for my e-book experiment we discussed a couple of weeks ago. Consequently I'm cranking out 2000 words a day on The Demons of Buttecrack County. It's a story idea I've been playing around with for couple of months, after some film guys asked me to come up with a couple of plot lines for them.

I'm not sure whether I had ever discussed Demons at any length in public before, and I'm so happy with the concept and the way it's turning out that I am disinclined to do so now for fear of putting the story into the world before it's ready. But what the hell? Long story short, the path to the Under Realms opens up for some reason (fuck knows what, probably unscrupulous oil drillers, or scientists messing with powers beyond their comprehension). Some demons spill forth. Into a redneck town. Hilarity ensues. And bloodshed. Lots of hilarious bloodshed.

At the same time as I'm cranking on this, I'm also trying to work up some momentum on book 3. The advantage I have in all of this, is that I am paid to sit on my arse at the keyboard. Most people are not. The disadvantage is simply the sheer volume of work I have to get through.

So, how am I doing it? The Pomodoro technique. We have discussed this in the past, and I am still using it because it works, at least for me.

I'm not sure if anybody else has signed up for this November madness, but if you have time happy to run the occasional entry here checking on everybody's progress.

44 Responses to ‘NaNoWriMo’

Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 3, 2010
JB I sighend on for ti, on the spur of the moment on Nov , never having heard of it before. I'm loving it because it feels very like a group project and I like to feel involved with the masses more than operating alone, so it is spurring me on a lot. It also brings out one's competitive streak when you have people doing the same thing. Sort of a "write off".

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Abigail reckons...

Posted November 3, 2010
whoops typos , and first line should read November *1st*.

I've written 1700 -ish -which is probably what you do in three mins, JB. Good luck with yours.
Am trying my hand at something set slightly in the future and "what if?"--hmm, not my usual thing but committed to seeing it through.

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Medway mutters...

Posted November 3, 2010
Well I've got the beginning of a chapter going off fairly well, in a scifi post apocalyptic story with ex-military mercenary squad running around and collecting particular objects across the naturally terraformed earth and devices to prevent something or other (still working that one out).

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Medway asserts...

Posted November 3, 2010
Oh and I'm only at a few hundred words so far.

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Medway is gonna tell you...

Posted November 3, 2010
And to help myself out, I think I'm going to figure out through the work days where I want to steer the story and figure out what little plot twists I'll have in it.

Seems like a good use of 8 hours.

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Ms Pulp would have you know...

Posted November 3, 2010
I'm a little over NaNoWriMo this year. Last year I failed spectacularly. This year I've decided it just all feels very amateurish and haphazard. I'm not going to just plonk myself down and write a novel for the sake of it.

Someone like yourself JB, I can see how you'd get more out of it than the average punter but it's just not for me.

I don't like bullying myself into writing. If I'm having an ideas-drought, it's much easier to write letters to friends in far away places to get the juices flowing. (You start off writing about your life, and then soon realise how boring it is. Elaboration ensues, and voila - story seeds have been sown.)

Anyway, good luck with it all.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted November 3, 2010
Is Buttecrack County part of the Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare landscape?

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jennicki is gonna tell you...

Posted November 3, 2010
Yay! Thank you!

I think I'm going to try the Pomodoro technique too. Turn everything off and just write for that period of time and see where that gets me.

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girlclumsy puts forth...

Posted November 3, 2010
I feel guilty every year because of this damn Nanowrimo business. I feel like I *should* be able to crank out 1700 words a day. Of course it's time though. I'm still working, still improvising, I've got theatre newsletters and 2011 brochures to plot out - so I'm writing, but it just can't be for a book right now.

Having said that, I've actually begun a short-blog writing project for November, called "Remember November". It's actually the opposite of Nanowrimo - I'm trying to actually discipline myself to write shorter, sharper blogs.

I'm also trying to will myself into entering the BITS festival, and do a basic draft version of a one-woman show. Hopefully it will be funny. So I guess I've got some writing to do there.

Anyway, sorry for blethering on. Just want to feel part of the cool gang. :)

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted November 3, 2010
"the path to the Under Realms opens up...Some demons spill forth. Into a redneck town. Hilarity ensues."

I cannot fucking wait to read it.

"Dayamm, Bubba, will ya' lookit all o them demons! Let's shoot at em."

"Hey, why not?"

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DrYobbo reckons...

Posted November 3, 2010
We scientists NEVER mess with powers beyond our comprehension, because nothing is. Sometimes we like to fuck shit up, though.

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girlclumsy mumbles...

Posted November 3, 2010
I forgot to say - JB, your short novel idea sounds great. Looking forward to it. :)

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted November 3, 2010
"I forgot to say - JB, your short novel idea sounds great. Looking forward to it. :)"

Damn. You are so polite and nice. I'm not sure I've ever seen you use the word "fuck." Are you sure you are Australian? Because if you are not, that would be fucking AWESOME!

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girlclumsy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 3, 2010
Hey Paul - yes, I was in fact born here. Although I have a mongrel background of Irish, Polish, English and even a bit of Indian thrown in there for good measure, so I'm hardly Crocodile Dundee. :)

I actually drop the f-bomb fairly regularly in conversation. But for some reason I tend to avoid it in writing, or use asterisks. Not sure why!

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted November 3, 2010
Would a breach report prepared for court count?
Stupid dumb black marketing arseclown.


Oh & on a tangerine, am re-re-reading AA and getting heaps more out of it. It's wierd, when I first got it I ripped through it and while I enjoyed the explodey goodness the "Story Continued" gripped me considerably less than the initial installment.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted November 3, 2010
& PNB, just to keep it real.
Fk.
Fkn Fk.
Fkitty Fkn Fk

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted November 3, 2010
PB - She's an Aussie, true blue, fair dinkum and I've been told she incorporated writing "fuck" at least once into her "30 things to do before turning 30" project. I'm sure I saw it either in the "porn" venture or the "writing the word 'fuck'" episode.

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girlclumsy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 3, 2010
Therbs - I made a very deliberate decision to avoid any naughty words during the porn venture!!! ;)

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Moko puts forth...

Posted November 3, 2010
HA, fucken scientist bastards fucking shit up. Fuck ya's. Can't say I'm surprised.

I've got four game reviews sitting waiting on the fricken rapture or something, so I've got NO chance.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted November 3, 2010
So, Lord Bob, distracted by the explodey stuff were you? Forgot to attend to the deeply sensitive consideration of the human condition that is the lietmotif of After America did you? Well then. Easily dealt with. NO explosions for you in book three. No explosions for ANYONE!!!!

DIALOGUE DRIVEN CHARACTER STUDY HERE WE COME!@@!!!!

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted November 3, 2010
Sensitive fucking writers eh? "Oh, look at my subtle depth of character development entwined within the multiple plot narrative" and "challenging the reader with profound existential questions" they say.
Nothing which can't be fixed with a fully laden B52 pilotted by Havock.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted November 3, 2010
Sorry, forgot to add the epithet "Bongingham", 'cos that's like really fucking funny innit.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted November 3, 2010
Okay, okay, okay, I got this GREAT idea. John, your story needs a character who is, let's say, sort of like a professor, maybe even of Greek/Irish ancestry, who explains what has happened:

Big JIm: Hey, Professor, you got any eye-dee-a where these things came from?

Prof: Could be anything, JIm. Could be a secret government experiment gone wrong. Could be an invasion from another universe.

Bubba: Ya mean like in the Star Trek episode where Spock had a beard?

Prof: Precisely, but not quite. Instead of a collapse of the field density between two universes caused by a transporter malfunction, what we got here is an inter -dye -mentional breach. Sort of a tear in the fabric of time and space.

Bluey: (running in with shotgun in hand) They got the liquor store surrounded!

Big Jim: Let's roll!

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 3, 2010
I'm there at the coal face with you JB. Ok not exactly at the coal face more like in the corporate head office far far away from where the actual resources are being relocated.

Anyway got only 700 odd words done on monday. Obviously nothing got done yesterday. Doubt I'll get my 1700 odd words done today as am feeling tired already.

My story? Zombie fic intially based in London

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted November 3, 2010
Chaz is the twiggy forest to your chilean miner. Good luck digging yourself out.

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted November 3, 2010
" No explosions for ANYONE!!!!
DIALOGUE DRIVEN CHARACTER STUDY"

Now that's the scariest thing I've read in a while

"cientists messing with powers beyond their comprehension" Yeah I'm with Dr Yobbo on this one, NOTHING is beyond our comprehension, but Fraking shit up will get you an ARC grant.

I too eagerly look forward to reading the Ballad of Reading Buttefrak.

Moko, no benefits of science for you for two weeks for that little outburst.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted November 3, 2010
No explosions for ANYONE!!!!
DIALOGUE DRIVEN CHARACTER STUDY HERE WE COME!@@!!!!
That's scarier than halloween.
Scarier than my latest water bill.

Some people can't re-read a novel, some don't have time. I'm a habitual rereader. Probably born of prolonged budgetry embarassment. Just because I know where it's going I can still get more out of each reading.
All that justification & back pedalling aside, I think the "Holy crap, where is this going to go?" in WW really grabbed me by the short & curlies. EG The Israeli pre-emptive strike & The Aswan Dam as a target.
Where as AA was more of a (forgive me) conventional adventure story without any really shocking plot twists, except of course the drowning of some unfortunate surplus Mormons.
On this reading The Kipper felt more fleshed out & dynamic as in changing through experience. & Fred F'kn rocks.
Despite a really long & ugly day yesterday I still read way later than I should have to finish the Library fight. Which made today (another long & ugly one) just that little bit more suckful, but there you go.

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Moko mumbles...

Posted November 3, 2010
B. DAMMIT. Hope there's no advances in coffee till then...

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ConspiracyCat would have you know...

Posted November 3, 2010
Sorry, JB. You aren't allowed to write Dialogue Driven Character Studies. The OTHER John Birmingham already dibsed them. (For five year olds, no less).

So get back to writing your explodey sequels, thank you very much. No hurry. Now will do.

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tqft is gonna tell you...

Posted November 3, 2010
If I had the energy to do a 1,000 words/day I would be writing documentation at work like I am being paid to do and job applications (so I don't have to write documentation).

But Monday Morning Marine Core Blues really does want to be written :-(

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Havock mumbles...

Posted November 3, 2010
I'm on it now. Took a bit to work out JUST what the fkn hell we would write about.


" The arseheaded, camel drining clowns thought their approach was unseen, little did the tool headed Taliban gits know, their Camels were slightly taller than themselves, obviously the other sentry and myself had already detected their foul stench as it seems from the odor they had dags, the Taliban, not the Camels.

I had thought about brassing them up, but realistically I needed the rest of the squad, unfortunately, our dish licking corporal was off munching some rug somewhere, our real CO had departed back home after her sister had gotten an abortion, which the rest of the guys in the section all voted yes for, little did we know she was pro life, resulting in a severe are kicking for all.

Still, I guess, it could have been worse, well, not quite as bad as the Lycra cladded camel jocky we had seen later in the day, banging posts into the ground at what seemed like random intervals, until of course somebody piped up and mentioned he might be making a land rights claim.




I reckon it might be a best seller

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Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted November 4, 2010
Just a small thing but it might help separate your identity from that of the childrens' writer, JB.
His name is actually John Burningham.Yeah like we all notice but still..

And, I'll believe you develop characters along "p/arty lines" when I see it, lol

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted November 4, 2010
I didn't notice at all. Wow. That IS different.

Makes me imagine a hippy-inspired and attended free love festival with a pork product theme that ends with a giant burning ham. The Burning Ham Festival. I would most definitely attend such an entitled festival - especially if attending brought with it the opportunity to procure otherwise illegal intoxicating substances.

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted November 4, 2010
Mmmm Hammmm

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted November 4, 2010
Ham is good.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 5, 2010
As are "otherwise illegal intoxicating substances."
Well some of them.
Some of them are better than ham.
Yes, that's right, I said it Better Than Ham. Possibly even Batter than Bacon.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted November 5, 2010
Spoken like a young man who knows nothing about the finer things in life. Or like an old man who has never had a really good ham sandwich. On rye. With a little mustard.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2010
You speak like a bitter porcinecentric old man who never supped at the devils teat.
Your top shelf chairman's bourbon, nasty Ouzo & water, malty Irish stouts & cheeky reds from Napa are all well & good but compared to the silibant joy found on the dark path of cosmetic neuropharmacology they are like field rations to haute cuisine.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted November 7, 2010
I've imbibed cheeky Napa reds that caused symptoms similar to LSD flashbacks from the 1960's - and for $15 a bottle! - and acceptable side-effects. Top that, dot ("descendant of transportees).

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted November 7, 2010
similar shmimilar.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted November 7, 2010
Can't argue with that. Nothing beats the real thing.

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted November 8, 2010
NowhereBob @ 10.10, wow, that's excellent. You should be a writer.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted November 8, 2010
Thankyou miss Abigail.
However IF there were any justice to this world, I'd be a Bunny Test Pilot, Megabullionaire, or big time Greybeard hunter.

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Scott asserts...

Posted November 8, 2010
Dude, fk you make it seem effortless. Everytime I read one of your posts/blogs/twitters etc I can't help but think you found your niche (just as the rest of us are searching for ours). Thanks and (hopefully without sounding like a burke) well fkn done - I reckon there's a shoite load of people out there that get a kick from your writing!!

I know this is a bit off topic but hey, felt the need to verbalise and somebody said you could do that on the internet.

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