Cheeseburger Gothic

Thinking about writing small iPhone novels.

Posted August 4, 2009 by John Birmingham
I was browsing the app store tonight, checking out the new Navigon GPS which I'm thinking of buying while it's still available at a loss leader price. On a whim I dropped into the book section of the appe shoppe and was unsurprised to see a lot of old, out of copyright titles, and a lot of other unattractive books.

Got me to wondering if there might be a market for me to directly release into the app store, particularly for something I wouldn't necessarily want to release somewhere else. A novelette (say 15k words) set in the AoT universe. Or a WW spin off. Perhaps even a collection of fan fic with a couple of contributions from me bracketing the thing. It's appealing because it wouldn't involve the investment of time involved in a full novel.

It'd have to be something my publishers wouldn't want, but enough readers would.

Interesting idea, or waste of time?

51 Responses to ‘Thinking about writing small iPhone novels.’

Kieran puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2009
I think there might be a market for shorter-form stuff. Something episodic that you can read between bus stops. People often use apps to kill time - 5 mins here and there. Failing that, what about an audiobook/podcast? How's yer reading voice?

Respond to this comment

Markus Wolf is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2009
I would like the WW spinoffs, say Quiet Room missions.

You could do it a different style of writing as its a short stories, do it more in the style of those Boys Own Adventure books which was out when we were kids, where its just basic storyline, then evil baddie, confrontation, baddies shakes fist and utters words like a commando comic e.g Gott in Himmell, Actung Tommy etc... Well that's my sad idea.

The 39 Steps was a slim volume,yet a classic, would that even be 15k words?

Respond to this comment

beeso mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2009
I like doc yobbos ITWPT book that he has on his second blog. It's just long enough that it doesn't get tiring and the episodic nature keeps me coming back.

Respond to this comment

beeso mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2009
Is be so down organising some podcast stuff jb. Big big fan of podcasts.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2009
I don't think it's a sad idea at all, Markus. I always liked the idea of doing some Quiet Room stuff. And i think Kieran is on the money with the emphasis on short form. I do a lot of reading on the iPhone, but all short stuff. Mag articles etc. You'd need lots of cliff hanger breaks. But I already do that.

Respond to this comment

Flinthart mutters...

Posted August 4, 2009
Actually -- if you kept the prices down, I think the fan-fic idea is very fucking clever. Because there are a zillion people writing fan-fic, and it seems to me there'd be an instant market. And of course, the feedback-to-fandom thing would get tighter and more powerful still.

Definitely worth considering, Mr B.

Respond to this comment

Orin reckons...

Posted August 4, 2009
This form of fiction is very popular in Japan (where people read on their phone during commutes) - there are some people that made some serious cash out of it. At some point iPhone exclusive fiction will go nuts - better to be too early to the party than too late.

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo would have you know...

Posted August 4, 2009
The shorter stand-alone stuff would be easier to dissect away from the 'core material' but perhaps better for hooking a long term audience would be just serialising a longer piece in easily chewed regular lumps? Kinda what I did with ITWPT (In The Worst Possible Taste) which Beeso kindly mentioned above - though picked that format not for any commercial reasons, just because I thought the ideas in it deserved better than gathering dust and 5-6K lumps is kinda how that story gets told anyway. Commercial model would just be to have a new ep out every week or two a week or something, content by subscription from the app store. I'd have guessed that would do you more consistent business than one-offs or fan fic compiles - though the latter would presumably involve less manhours on your part.

Respond to this comment

tc forest asserts...

Posted August 4, 2009
Good idea, except for those of us that don't have iPhones or use itunes. Bittorrent will come to the rescue I suppose.

Respond to this comment

jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2009
I wanna know about Fifi's adventures before she ended up on the boat with Pete and Jules.

Respond to this comment

jennicki puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2009
Or Caitlin's adventures before she ended up as Cathy in a Parisian hospital.

Respond to this comment

jennicki is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2009
But I don't have an iPhone (silly Macs!) so that sucks for me.

Respond to this comment

BrianC puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2009
All of those would be good, but i would be looking for the fan fiction selection stuff. As a bonus you could later point to the books and say to your publishers see they want more AoT stuff, and they we could get more AoT stuff, and then i would be happy, and isnt that what its all about.

But dont be a snob, make sure you make it available to us trailblazers on the Google Phone.

Respond to this comment

PeterMoore is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2009
Hi John.

Another Aussie writer, Max Barry has been trying a similar thing, through email, RSS feed etc called Machine Man. It's an episodic novel, where he writes a page a day, taking on board stuff left by readers in a comments section. The first 30 pages were free then you signed up for the rest for $US 6.95. Last I heard he had about 6,000 people signed up.

His motivation was that his readers were complaining about the time between books. But I like your idea of harnessing the App thing - especially now that 3.0 has push capabilities. And with Pre and Android coming along nicely I'm sure you'll be able to tweak the App so it can work with them and their stores too.

Respond to this comment

PeterMoore is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2009
BTW Max's website is www.maxbarry.com

Respond to this comment

sparty would have you know...

Posted August 4, 2009
xcellent idea. Will be a while before everyone kindles etc but more and more (esp your audience) read stuff on an iphone - pity its so hard to do, given amazon geographical restrictions on kindle content outside us (ie reading on an iphone in europe). 15K AoT novella sounds good and lets face it- it could be a little more rough and ready so quicker to do - bookending some fan fic sounds great idea too

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted August 4, 2009
Nods to those trapped in Satan's own operating system hell. I'll expand my horizons to consider other smart phone platforms.

Respond to this comment

Front Porch Philosopher mutters...

Posted August 4, 2009
Definitely intriguing, but why limit yourself to the Iphone? There IS an Iphone App store, but no Kindle equivalent. There ARE or will be App stores for Blackberry, Android (Google OS), Symbian, Palm Pre, Nokie and other App stores within 2 years.

You could do it yourself and license the distribution and get your agents to handle it. You write and upload, they edit and you argue it out, then publish electronically.

You could do what several science fiction authors have done and create the "universe," and let them (fans) publish to IT, and then let your publishers/agents deal with licensing and downloads and etc.

A whole new universe of possibilities. If you currently buy a John Ringo book in hardback, you frequently get a CD-ROM with several OTHER books to peruse. You could do illustrated books.....

Respond to this comment

mckinneytexas puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2009
A good plan--just what you need, more work. Good for us, maybe for you, not so much. Actually, why not serialize a book? Main question is: how do you get paid? Subsidiary question: if it's a financial venture as well, do you have your legal ducks in a row? Copyrights, waivers, etc.

Respond to this comment

Roscoe reckons...

Posted August 5, 2009
Well, I am an iPhone newbie myself - and downloaded the app Stanza - which in turn gave me Weapons of Choice for free through Random House 'Free Novels' thingymajiggy.

Yes - I will claim the word thingymajiggy for New Zealand thank you very much, before you Aussies start on it!

But is there an app to download quality books to read?

I'm chomping through Alice in Wonderland at the mo...re-connecting with my youth...

Respond to this comment

El Coqui would have you know...

Posted August 5, 2009
Front Porch:

The CDs in Ringo and other Baen books are part of Baen merchandizing strategy. Give away the first one free and hook them for the rest (it works with drugs too, kids)

I would go for it, if John let me explore my alien scenario of the biggest collateral damage incident in history. Or my Puerto Rican take on the WW. I even have a non-canon "what if" if the Venezuelans had not surrendered and we have been force to do a "coup-de-main" at Gitmo.

Jose

Respond to this comment

El Coqui swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2009
We can seek advice with the folks at 1632, Inc who had done something similar with the Grantville Gazette, websubscriptions and similar items.

Respond to this comment

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted August 5, 2009
On a somewhat related note, I seem to recall that Charlie Stross was toying with the idea of trying to write a novel using a cellphone. This was a few years ago, before the iPhone era. I don't know how far he got with it.

Another thing to consider is a twitter style flash fiction format. The Shine Anthology, edited by Jetse de Vries, is running something like that via Outshine. I don't know if it is generating any revenue though.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2009
Oh, an AoT project would be cool. I think I have one laying around here somewhere. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the OuterMarches

Respond to this comment

El Coqui puts forth...

Posted August 5, 2009
This is what I mean, I think that it maybe 6000 words long if I ever finished it.

WITHOUT QUARTER

A Without Warning Non-Canon Fan Fiction

By Jose J. Clavell

Airfield, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

1035 Hours Local time.

Captain Roberto “Robert” Cabrera used his boot to prod the body of the dead Venezuelan soldier. It was more procedure than any serious attempt to find anyone trying to play dead. Besides, with half his face missing and the remaining covered by a thick layer of black flies, the young officer was quite sure that aside from a sudden onset of a Zombie’s plaque, that dead man was not going anywhere. He looked wearily around the hard fought ground to check how the rest of his men were doing. His command, Bravo Company, First battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment had suffered heavy casualties on the assault. His first platoon and his XO, had been on the first C-130 Hercules that attempted to land under Warthog cover, and their funerary pyre now added a black and oily smoke to the gray haze that covered the battlefield.

Cabrera would have been on that first plane but his battalion commander had given him a direct order to take a later one, assuming correctly that given the expected opposition, Command and Control was likely to get decapitated in the first few minutes of the assault if they were on the lead. It was a damn shame that any of those precautions failed to save his own life, as his fire-engulfed C-17 had gone nose first into the harbor with no survivors. From Cabrera’s point of view, the first combat engagement for the 65th since the Korean War was far from the glorious action over which future military historians would pour in minute detail trying to glimmer a higher truth.

Despite that, Cabrera still considered himself lucky, a company of the 82nd Airborne had volunteered to jump ahead of the assault landing. So far, he had not encountered or seen even one live or unwounded paratrooper. Yes, he was lucky despite his strong suspicion that he was now his battalion senior surviving officer. He had started the battle with three radio operators and now PFC Luis “Luisito” Gutierrez, the youngest man in Bravo, was the only one remaining. Young, of course being a relative term, because when he looked into his eyes, Cabrera could not find any trace of the boy that had been but only of the new man that seemed to had seen too much. A similar expression was in the face of almost every surviving member of his company.

“Hey captain, you better come up and take a look at this.” Of course, there was always some glaring exceptions and his First Sergeant, Hector Pabón, was one of them. Standing beside a gun pit while peering inside, he seemed as nonchalance holding his M4 carbine like a hunting piece as if they had been conducting a routine weekend drill exercise back at Camp Santiago in Salinas. His casual manner even included puffing a rather smelly cigar, his trademark, whose obscure brand, he fancied. However, as Cabrera made his way towards him while trying not to step into the dozens of smelly, bloated, fly-covered and rotting corpses of the initial casualties of the Venezuelan airborne and amphibious assault on Gitmo. He started to understand the true value of his prop and wished that he had one of his own as he started gagging over the stench.

Keeping his stomach under control was not exactly one of the things that Cabrera had learned at Ranger School but he manfully managed to do so as he stopped beside Pabón and took a peek inside the pit. Luisito loyally stayed with him to cover his back and kept the radio handy. But one glance and he turned to face the other way with a strangled sob. Cabrera could not blame him. He already suspected that given the Venezuelan casualties disposition that this had been the last stand positions for the airfield defenders. So as he expected, the pit was full of American bodies, mostly Marines but with smattering of the other services, to include armed civilians, possibly volunteers from the refugees that had not found temporary resettlement in Puerto Rico. All were men, except for one lonely woman in a distinctive and very out of place Air Force service uniform.

That forced him to pause and stare, too. Cabrera had joined the Puerto Rico wing of La Patrulla Aérea Civil or Civil Air Patrol at age 15, so her blue uniform was achingly familiar. Heck, growing up, Cabrera had seriously toyed with the idea of going Air Force until he finally decided to stick with family tradition and joined the Army. The woman wore the shoulder epaulets of a lieutenant colonel in her blouse and her presence in the pit made him felt uncharacteristic weary and sad, and for a moment to forget everything else. It was difficult to figure out how she had looked, because someone had shot her in the face while she lay pinned under one of her own troops but Cabrera could read her partially detached nameplate.

“Colonel Pileggi, the airfield defenders’ commander I presume, Top,” he heard himself comment in a detached manner.

Pabón nodded once. “Must be, sir, she is the only Air Force field grade officer that we had encountered so far.” The First Sergeant didn’t have to mention that there were perhaps hundreds of other women, mostly civilians, whose bodies lay all around Guantanamo. On this day, death had been an amazingly equal opportunity equalizer.

“However, she took a hell of a lot of jonnies with her,” Pabón said looking around with great admiration. “If we still have a nation, she would be a shoot-in to be the first woman to get the medal for sure.” Cabrera nodded thoughtfully, gazing back at the terrain around the pit, the dozens of bodies and the thousands of shell casings around and decided that her actions must be recognized somehow, even if he had to push the report in person through whatever channels were left.

“Heads up, Captain. We got company coming of the cute variety, sir,” Pabón warned him. He looked up to see a lieutenant of military police making her way towards them through the bodies strew field escorted by two of her MPs and instinctively moved to block her view of the pit. Being protective of her was an intrinsic part of his make up and had done that for all her life.

His little sister, Carmen was four years younger than him and since childhood had looked up to him with both a mixture of admiration and sibling competition. Whenever he did something, she would try and do it too. So she had dogged his steps all throughout school and sport competitions. He joined CAP and as soon as she reached the minimum age, Carmen even joined the same squadron. He took Army ROTC while studying at the University of Puerto Rico and she did that too. Like him, she had ended up as Cadet Commander and distinguished military student on her senior year. No one in their family has been surprised, that after her own commissioning, she had followed him into the Army Guard. However, he was glad that as a woman, she was barred by law to follow him into the Infantry. Of course, being Carmen, she had chosen the next best thing, military police.

So given her track record, Cabrera wondered why he had been so surprise when she followed him into combat. Both had been in orders to deploy to Iraq with the follow-on forces when the wall hit. Of course, it was now part of her job and intellectuality, he could understand that not only was she ready but was superb at it. However, he was still her big brother and did not have to like it. So he had boarded his plane cursing a blue streak under his breath after recovering from the shock of watching her lead her platoon at a trot into the next C-130 waiting on the flight line.

But his concern was also tinged with huge amount of pride. Because, when everything was said and done, she had demonstrated to be a child of First Sergeant Joaquin Cabrera, US Army retired. A man who once had sported the tower of power in his left sleeve, the so-called juxtaposition of the Airborne, Ranger and Special Forces tabs. Together with the tabs, he had also sported an impressive collection of medals for valor in his chest. Most of whose citations to this day remained classified and his dad still refused to discuss the particulars with his grown children despite their security clearance and the many years passed since his retirement.

On top of everything, Carmen was also a very attractive young woman, a fact that even her camouflaged face, helmet and battle rattle could not failed to conceal. The effect that she usually had in any breathing, living non-related male with enough blood left to pump a heartbeat, finally convince him that there were no Venezuelans pretending to be dead around. Even Luisito, managed to momentarily forgot his weariness to stand tall, puffing his chest out. Of course, he knew that was a wasted effort on his part, because like many attractive women, Carmen seemed totally unaware of the effect that she had in men. The only one that seemed wholly unaffected by her arrival was Pabón but after meeting Mrs. Pabón, who even at forty and four kids could easily turn heads around, he could easily understand the why.

His sister stopped in front of him, with expertly held M4 muzzle down at her side but did not salute as there may be snipers still hiding around. “Sir, we are secure. We had taken all the civilians that we found still alive to the aid station. I got my platoon canvassing the area again in case that anyone is still hiding but I seriously doubt that we are going to find any more.” Cabrera did not immediately reply allowing for the noise of a C-17 in its take off run noise to subside. The airfield had been opened by combat engineers just as the last remains of resistance were finally put down. The plane was now on route back to Puerto Rico with the latest load of wounded and survivors. Cabrera took the opportunity to look around once again as he nodded in agreement with his sister assessment. The bastards have fought with the ferocity of trapped rats and went for the “soft” targets first.

“Very well, LT. I heard that you talked to the Cubans. What they had to say about themselves.” Cabrera had not liked when Pabón told him that her sister had been sent to liaise with them. However, given her appearance, diplomatic skills, and native Spanish speaking prowess, it was a wise move from the command staff.

“You mean after they stopped drooling, Robert…sir,” the short female MP Sergeant taking a knee at her sister’s side, wisecracked. But come up short when an angry look from Pabón froze her on the spot. Being in the Guard was not exactly like being in the Regular Army in respect to fraternization. Noelia Rodriguez was her sister best friend since high school and a classmate at the UPR law school. So, Cabrera personally knew well that under her battle rattle and painted face, she was not too far off from his sister in the looks department either but found her odd sense of humor at the few times that they gone out together, perplexing.

His sister accustomed to those antics, ignored her and kept reporting in a correct but mechanical manner. Cabrera noted a haunted look in her eyes and his gut told him that’s something was very wrong but decided to wait until she brought the matter herself. “No much, Robert. They denied having any knowledge of this Cuban government–in-exile that Chavez claimed. I tend to believe them, some of Chavez’s thugs sought refugee with them. They showed me their bodies. In the other hand, they provided shelter for close to 300 of our refugees, mostly women and children and had asked if there is anything else that they can do to help. Command is thinking over their offer.”

Cabrera nodded and was going to pull her aside to ask what was wrong with her, when Luisito interrupted. “Captain, I got a FLASH message for you.” He almost slapped the handset out of his hand on his haste.

“This is Bastard six actual, go ahead,” and listened.

To be Continued.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted August 5, 2009
I can see there's gonna be some actual research needing to be done here. There are already a coupla dozen small web publishing outfits which will turn your ones and zeroes into phone novels, and push them out across as many platforms as possible. Of course, to do that they take a huge bite out of your royalties and the thing that attracts me to the App store and it's imitators is the 70% royalty they pay. I think it's worth mastering the new publication process and doing it all myself to maintain that royalty.

I've been doing some work on the future of media/publishing for a feature story, and although I'm not entirely despondent about the collapse of the current business model, especially with trad book publishing, I do see massive changes ahead and agree with Orin that it'd be a wise idea to get in early with direct distribution and a micropayment model. I don't see it as a direct challenge to my mainstream publishers. Indeed it's likely that allowing an AoT or WW universe to spawn in this way would feed back into increased hard copy canon sales.

It is also the surest way I can think of to actually get a fan fic operation properly commercialised.

Respond to this comment

lostatlunch mumbles...

Posted August 5, 2009
just needs more than the iphone platform... otherwise you have your junkie here.

JB:- the new media publishing mogoul.

Respond to this comment

MickH puts forth...

Posted August 5, 2009
well i know of an MS that is sitting in a corner some place gathering dust. Perhaps this may be the place for it JB?

Respond to this comment

Moko mutters...

Posted August 5, 2009
A few of 'em couldn't do any harm as advertising...

Respond to this comment

Lobes reckons...

Posted August 5, 2009
Sounds like a good idea in theory. Though must admit have some reservations, See my comments re the Kindle thread at geek.

Respond to this comment

Friendless is gonna tell you...

Posted August 5, 2009
I vote interesting idea. I read the Sherlock Holmes stories on my Palm. It needs to be cheap though, not like Steven King's attempt where he tried to sell a serialised story for much more than it was going to cost if it ever came out as a book.

Respond to this comment

jp ducks in to say...

Posted August 5, 2009
From a reader's POV, I think the idea of a serialised thriller would work. Eg, perhaps book ends written by you, then X amount of fan fic chapters in between, where each author takes over from the last.

I did this recently for a project with 15 or so other writers. Jeff Deaver did the book ends, then the rest of waited for our turn where we'd have two weeks to write a chapter in the story. One author acted as a running editor to keep some sort of continuity going, and then Jeff did some slight tweaking so that his final chapter would come together (we needed to resurrect a key antagonist). It was a heap of fun and a challenge - the amount of twists and turns was a mindf*ck. First it comes out as an audio book, called "The Copper Bracelet" (which I think on release they serialise it in chapters and then follow with the full book... I think... it's been several months since I've thought about it), and then a published/paper book "The Watchlist".

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 5, 2009
OT, just picked up your latest from my po box, JP. Sweet lookin cover.

Respond to this comment

Luke has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2009
Yeah sure, if you want to sell one copy and then have a zillion on peer to peer. I think you'll find the price will just not be worth the effort. While the writing might be 10% of a normal book, I think it will still be 40-60% of the usual effort. Really, I have no idea, I'm just guessing.

Respond to this comment

Quokka reckons...

Posted August 5, 2009
John/anyone else in Brisbane who has renovated recently

Sorry, way off topic, but can anyone recommend a cabinet maker to do wardrobes/home office stuff?

I wasn't happy with the work that the last mob did over June/July, so I still have two rooms at Casa Quokka to fit out. Preferably by a company that uses dust sheets, builds cabinets that resemble the plans that you've agreed on, and doesn't take chunks out of the freshly polished and painted surfaces surrounding said cabinets...grrr...

The Bloke is an architect and when he heard you on By Design he looked it up on the website. Looks good to us.

Respond to this comment

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2009
Definitely a good idea. Fan fic and episodic publishing would lessen the workload and give the fans more explodey goodness. That Quiet Room idea FTW.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted August 5, 2009
Quok', our cabinet maker was a genius, but a solitary, reclusive genius who doesn't take on clients unless they've been sent to him via our builder.

However, I have some other sources. i'll ask around.

Respond to this comment

Quokka reckons...

Posted August 5, 2009
Thanks John.

Our builder was great but unfortunately he's in England now visiting his twin who is dying of cancer, so the last thing I'm going to do is hassle him right now.

The cabinet maker was someone that the bloke found independently, and while the end result looks OK, something went wrong with the design in every room that they did so the thought of having them back here is enough to put me into foetal, twitching, on the sofa.

Although at some point I will need to get them out here because the drawers that they built to store my CDs & DVDs don't actually have the height clearance to put the GD things in there...

Can't offer advice about Ipods as we don't use them. Although while my bloke was commuting for the 9 weeks away by train from Sandgate, he did come home with some creative suggestions for what he'd like to do with the overloud doof doof ipods on the spotty teenagers seated beside him for the journey.

I'm off to seek consolation from Goran.

Respond to this comment

savo is gonna tell you...

Posted August 5, 2009
sounds like a great idea. Love the thought of you letting other authors play in your universe. My vote: Go for it

Respond to this comment

Tarl is gonna tell you...

Posted August 5, 2009
Whimper....Don't limit it to phones...

Some of us have been resisting carrying around those electronic leashes, and if you released a story only readable on a phone, I might have to go out and buy one. And then I'd curse you every time I got a SPIM or robo-dialer call.

Respond to this comment

Quokka would have you know...

Posted August 5, 2009
Oh! Iphones! Misread it, that's what you get from twitching in foetal staring at an unpacked box of DVDs.

Respond to this comment

aaron has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2009
didnt the count of monte cristo, one of the greatest epic adventure stories ever told start as a newspaper serial? actually i think the book was the collected serial.

basically, it could be a whole book on the fly although i do love the idea of extra helpings of AoT universe.

Respond to this comment

Markus Wolf swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2009
All the tinitin books were just the collection of the newspaper stories. They were successful as at the end of every third frame, there was a dramatic ending forcing you to wait for the next paper. Could you even do The Quiet room illustrated say 3 -5 panels daily and 5c per daily download? Its a pity that nothing like tintin exists anymore in the papers, just the same bland/inoffensive cartoons and forcing toons likes doonesbury to be so overrated as no one else is aiming for an intelligent audience.

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2009
I like the idea - we had a UK guy here last year who did a community publishing project where they put out books of short stories opf different lengths that were written tlo be read on public transport - opne was called 'Commutes' (with longers stories) and the other was called 'A couple of Stops' (for short jaunts)...

Respond to this comment

nhamilton@iinet.net.au mumbles...

Posted August 5, 2009
I think it is a fantastic Idea, I think it would give you a chance to write back stories to any of the WW characters that interested you. I would love to see a real range of writing styles too, newsreports filed by the reporter, diary type stories by other characters, even officiasl report type writing by some of the officials. Long time since I read WW, can't remember character's names that good.

Maybe after a certain time it called all be published in a book for us that don't have iphones to get hold of. Similar to Hovercar Racer years ago.

Respond to this comment

sparty ducks in to say...

Posted August 5, 2009
yep mastering the app development for books is the thing - although the book side of teh app store is going to have to shape up now its kind of hitting critical mass.

El Couqi - best line ever!

"This is Bastard six actual, go ahead"

Respond to this comment

David S. has opinions thus...

Posted August 6, 2009
Michael Stackpole is already doing this:

www.stormwolf.com/

He sells ebooks from his site as well as via iTunes and has said that it's been very successful for him. Maybe you could drop him a line and get the skinny on it.

Respond to this comment

El Coqui is gonna tell you...

Posted August 6, 2009
Thanks, Sparty. My little homage to John Ringo's The Last Centurion.

:)

Respond to this comment

Front Porch Philosopher asserts...

Posted August 6, 2009
Specific to the discussion in question:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks/index.asp?r=1&afsrc=1

Respond to this comment

adam keys swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 8, 2009
i am never going to get an iphone but i would be very keen to read AoT stories.

Respond to this comment

Lolly mutters...

Posted August 10, 2009
Interesting aricle from NY Times on point....

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/world/asia/20japan.html?_r=1

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Thinking about writing small iPhone novels.'

North Coast Weekend.

Posted August 3, 2009 by John Birmingham
Turned out I did the trip on my own thanks to the perfidious tummy bug which invaded the house. (I dodged the bullet, which makes it twice in the past month for me that I've got off with a pass).

Drove up in the Swedish tank, with a few tunes balring at max volume. It's a much nicer drive to the north than the south coast, even with the inevitable delays for road works around Morayfield. Once you clear them you're pretty much free of the northern edge of the city and it's all rolling paddocks and pine plantations until you pass that subtle climate gradient and pass from temperate into true subtropical. All of a sudden the pines disappear, the hills started ridging up towards ancient volcanic plugs, and their slopes are denser and darker with rainforest.

A great drive, as I said. Had Cooroy plugged into the iPhone's GPS and made it to the venue with an hour and a half to spare, and with nary a false turn along the way. I was hungry though, having done a long treadmill run and a sesh of the hundred push ups program in the morning. (A nice light workout for me these days).

Cooroy was still pumping, which isn't always the case with country towns by late lunch time on Saturday and I hazarded the main strip for a feed with some trepidation. I've done a lot work in the country and in my experience country-cookin', at least in Australia, is a wretched greasy-battered, deep fried affair best avoided.

Wrong in this case.

There's a bistro in Cooroy called, a little worryingly, Bistro Bistro, but it looked a lot more inviting from the steet than the bakery or caf across the road. The menu board propped up against an outside wall was promising and although the cake cabinet inside looked like a chilly prison, at least the contents seemed to have been made on site.

On a whim, a possibly dngerous whim, I ordered the duck risotto. I almost never do this, because I know of only a few places who cook their risotto the way it should be done,  from scratch. Most cook it part of the way, refrigerate, and the reheat on demand.

Not Bistro Bistro (damn that name). A perfectly balanced and freshly prepared duck, mushhrom and spinach risotto arrived after about twenty or so minutes. Given the lack of crowds (it was sometime after the lunch rush) I had to ask ... and yes, said the waiter, the chef does do the dish properly.

God shit fuck damn why can't city fucking restaurants learn that lesson. This dish was simple and just about perfect. Even the seasoning was balanced just so - another trap for risotto fans. The pinot noir came with the option a cellar-like chill and my espresso afterwards was creamy smooth and just he right temperature.

Obsessing much, JB? Yes I am, because you rarely get such simple mastery in commercial food preparation, and certainly not in country or hinterland towns. For anyone passing through the north coast, in need of a feed, I can recommend this place as a worthy detour.

Fed well, it was onto the Butter Factory for the gig. There I found Beeso and his mate Simon waiting for me, and we were soon joined by Hughsey's man Geoffrey with a rather nice paper bag full of hot chips which he shared around. Beeso unveiled some cold smoked bacon he'd brought up and we chatted for a bit before Annabell Crabb and George Megalogenis arrived. I'm a big fan of both their work (although apparently not as big a fan as Abe, who had sent through a long series of questions he wanted me to ask).

We had a full house and taking my chair on the little stage I looked down the back and saw someone who could only be Lord Bob of Nowhere. Despite never having actually met him in Real Life, his lordly bearing and baronial airs were impossible to miss. Both Beeso and NBob have dropped comments on the thread below providing details of the panels so I wont repeat their performance.

We repaired to the courtyard afterwards for a barbecue, expertly cooked by Geoffrey. There was plenty of wine, although I had to pace myself with a lot of mineral water because I still had to drive out to the farm. Had big chats with everyone and was struck again by what a weird thing the old interwebby is, creating  friendships and familiar bonds across great distances between people who've never met.

Crashed at the G-Man and Hughesy's farm overnight and drove down to Noosa in the morning for breakfast with Mega-George and Annabel and her fam. Didn't realise the Noosa traithlon was on and got caught in road closure hell for a while. Then had to pull out every sneaky fucking trick I knew to locate a park anywhere near the village centre. Luckily I know Noosa very well so was able to pull that one off, because I didn't have time to walk in from the far side of the national park. We breakfasted at Bistro C, which looks out over a booming view of the bay and coastline. It's also one of the most reliable dining spots I know of on the north coast, with consistently good food and very friendly, welcoming vibe for kids.

From memory I had potato and leek pie in basil cream with crispy bacon and an artichoke salad. I ate up so I could head off right after my second panel, which started at eleven. I arive with one minte to spare having driven like the good Doctor Thompson from the coast back up into the hinterland. Sunday's sesh was focussed on Aboriginal/Australian history and I was pleased to see Lord Bob had ridden down from his estates again. We had a quite fascinating discussion in which I learned a few things from my panelists Prof Anita Heiss and Bruce Pascoe and picked up an idea for a brilliant feature article I might soon write.

Then, it was time to saddle up and head home.

Another long but pleasant drive and a freshly cooked chocolate and banana cake waiting for me at the end.

30 Responses to ‘North Coast Weekend.’

Quokka reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
So that explains the risotto. I was wondering WTF you had to do to screw that up.

And Gah. I thought the Noosa triathlon was usually held in October? They are usually cluttering up the pool at Somerville all month in a last minute bid to get fit. Last time I got caught in that mess it looked like a plastic surgery and spray tan convention gone horribly wrong. Just as well you had the tank to protect yourself.

Respond to this comment

NBlob asserts...

Posted August 3, 2009
Aint it funny, we talked about different perspectives of a historical event on Sunday.

From my POV.

Cooroy, so long a refuge for the international jet set of malcontents & eccentrics, hardly turned a hair as the dampened & baffled turbofans slowed, the air cushion deflated and HV Cad settled on her undercarriage. The yoof on the council skate-ramp had to study their indifference as four Bunnies took up high ground defensive perimeter positions. I was touched, but not surprised that Jeeves had brought up the Swedish battle wagon so JB could maintain his "common people touch." During a smoke break between sessions I spotted one Bunny kitted out as a construction worker on the new library site next door, but the others had blended in beautifully. They are a credit to their Special Forces training.

The ride down from Chateau Nowhere on Saturday was on my trusty old Clydesdale called Hilux, slow, steady & most importantly Zed Proof. As JB saw on Sunday I borrowed SWMBOs 200c Kompressor show pony – a much more civilised way to travel, but it makes it difficult to maintain the Marxist warrior façade.

What really separates the A list from mere mortals such as myself - while JB returned home to a freshly cooked chocolate and banana cake, a loving show-quality family & bunny stacked grotto, I returned to find SWMBO suffering Chronic Assignmentitis, a truculent “I’m soooo tired from work” Bobette and a downstairs freezer door ajar with a puddle of bait jus expanding across the garage floor.

Nice.

Respond to this comment

Moko asserts...

Posted August 3, 2009
Crikey. You could spend your 'super' on all the little foody good spots throughout that area.

Triathlon's are hell on two wheels. Extra large spattering of arseholes who are convinced they own the road.

Respond to this comment

Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
NBob. Rofl Got images in mah head of Ninja Bunny Battalion 2 air dropping in the night before...

Respond to this comment

Quokka mumbles...

Posted August 3, 2009
Bob you want one of those fridges that yells at you if you leave the door open.

While we were away there was one at the unit and if you left it open a smidgeon I swear it would start cussing like a trooper if you didnt shut it pronto.

Not sure what it was saying but I think it was Skynet for 'Quick men! The carrots are escaping!'

How did you JB manage to spot you sitting quietly at the back?

I suppose you took the crossbow to pick off the ferals. Get any?

Respond to this comment

NBlob would have you know...

Posted August 3, 2009
Quokka, JB said nothing about "Sitting quietly."

Respond to this comment

NBlob mumbles...

Posted August 3, 2009
Fermenting dissent, rabble rousing, causing ructions and / or giggling like 8yr old girls in the back row of the bus with Beeso all spring to mind. But not sitting quietly.

Respond to this comment

Abe ducks in to say...

Posted August 3, 2009
Well in my defense, in my 7 or so years in the p/s, I have developed a somewhat "yumcha" writing style, so the long list of questions was meant to be a smorgasbord, offering what I hoped would be plenty of choices, depending on which avenues you wanted to head down.

Plus it turned out twice as long as I planned, as I thought asking questions of just one of the panelists may have appeared tacky and perhaps just a tad transparent.

Respond to this comment

Chaz asserts...

Posted August 3, 2009
Sounds all good and it's nice to see JB that you didn't starve or have to suffer more traditional outback tucker (eg soggy chips with a greasy pie and gravy, or a dodgy chicko roll)

Respond to this comment

Quokka puts forth...

Posted August 3, 2009
My mistake Bob.

But you did take the crossbow, right?

I mean, like the man said, the Noosa Triathlon was on.

You must've known it would come in handy.

Respond to this comment

simon bedak asserts...

Posted August 3, 2009
We need a Bistro Bistro here in Book Book

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted August 3, 2009
Quokka, I find a DIY bolas (3X 5 ounce snapper sinkers and some 100lb mono) very effective against joggers & cyclists - slouch style or otherwise.

The crossbow tends to leave evidence that can prove ah, akward.

Respond to this comment

Quokka would have you know...

Posted August 3, 2009
Bob so long as you target the ones with the thinning lycra across their buttock cheeks I do believe it counts as a mercy killing.

Respond to this comment

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
I'd like to open up to the Burgers mastication a tricky little piece of intelectual gristle.

On Sunday during the Aboriginal / Australian history session there was discussion of first hand accounts and satatements given by people and the weight given to those accounts. JB spoke of his Leviathon research where diferent reports of the same event were so contradictory that he had to check & recheck that the dates times & places ligned up.

Specifically in the context of the NW Cape gas field developments, but with reference to the "secret Womens Business" of the Hindmarsh Is. kerfuffle.

Some members of the Indigenous communities affected are big supporters of the development of an onshore processing facility, others are dead against the proposal citing cultural values of specific places / land forms.

Interestingly all the Pro voices are male, in a society where women usually have a Big say. (Like Chateau Nowhere - but that's beside the point.)

To whom does the credibility go?

JB (always good for a cracking line) said "I'm not an equal credibility kinda guy."

An argument can be made that the proponents of the project have been "Got to" by the companies involved and offered the 21C version of trinkets & beads (jobs, health & edu facilities etc.)

The other side make an argument that the Nay Sayers have been influenced by sandal wearing slouchbiking greeny luddites.

But for me the interesting crux of the matter was; with whom does the "Traditional Owner" authority rest? Are they exclusively entitled to speak on behalf of the mob, or are others entitled to their views.

No one can reasonably expect a uniformity of opinion across any group of more than 2 people, so does the gap in opinions just create a lawyers picnic?

Respond to this comment

Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted August 3, 2009
NBob, saw an interesting article last year about how many elders have told the greenies to stuff off. Basically the greenies have problems with anyform of development (even if it really helps the communities) and of cpourse the old veggie attitude prevelent amongst the slouchriders doesn't go down to well with many communities either.

However what really allegedly hacks off many of the elders is that again it's the whitefella's again telling the blackfellas what to do and how to live their lives.

As to your question well it would seem that there'd have to be a meeting of minds in the communities, maybe a sex strike would help...

Respond to this comment

Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2009
NBob. I was watching a show yesterday on ... ten ... maybe ... about how some indigenous rain forest clans successfully (in their words) negotiated some many thousand acres of land for the education of their youth and for tourism to educate anyone else who's willing to learn and understand.

Unfortunately you need the right people doing the speaking on behalf of everyone else involved before you can get dialogue that benefits them and the environment.

I think with the NW Cape Gas field the main proponent was the premier of WA (I think) who was stating the impact was NOTHING MORE than a few dozen acres of environment which is quite obviously bullshit when you consider support projects keeping the joint running.

What was the question....?. lol

The people who spoke on behalf on the lot in the example I gave were the elders of the individual clans that made up the tribes of the traditional owners then the most senior of them spoke to the government on behalf of the clans. But they had agreement, honesty, and what was best for the tribe to work with from the start.

Maybe they need to fund their own environmental impact study to start with...

Respond to this comment

Quokka mumbles...

Posted August 3, 2009
Chaz I've seen the results of a sex strike or other attempts at disagreement and it usually ends with the woman in the hospital ward +stitches and/or -teeth.

Memory is a tricky one - its one of those things that psychologists love to test because you can prove that ordinary human beings are just so bad at recalling the same incident. Probably because we all find something in it that's meaningful and memorable only to us.

And there is always widespread dissension within groups.

I guess you'd have to have an understanding of power structures within aboriginal communities and one 14 week course at uni in understanding aboriginal approaches to knowledge left me with the conclusion - you just ask the blackfellas what they think. And accept that it may be different tomorrow. Its complex. Clannish. And affected by the breakdown of communities and families and the widespread social problems.

I mean, just look at what happens when one group within a community wants to take it dry. There is inevitably some kicking and screaming from within the same group that this is patriarchal and paternalistic and you're taking away a man's rights and dignity by refusing his right to have a quiet drink in his own home after work at the end of the day.

Louis Nowra got stuck into this topic a few years ago, wish I could remember the name of the book he wrote, its a couple of years old now. 'Bad Dreaming,' maybe?

Well worth looking at, he was brutally honest and didn't tiptoe over any eggshells.

Respond to this comment

Moko would have you know...

Posted August 3, 2009
Quokka. Interesting review of Bad Dreaming.

http://www.colloquy.monash.edu.au/issue013/nowra.pdf

Respond to this comment

Otto swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
spooky. I had duck risotto with pinot on Friday night at the Metropolitan in Melbourne. It was excellent, but no claims down here to being an expert on whether it was cooked/cooled/cooked again. It was certainly better than my own efforts and I can recommend the place if you're in Melbourne.

Respond to this comment

Quokka reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
Here we go. Bad dreaming. Here's the review by The Age.

I know he looked at the history of violence by men against women and children and made a case that it had always existed.

The book is well worth reading.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/book-reviews/bad-dreaming-aboriginal-mens-violence-against-women-and-children/2007/05/18/1178995392576.html

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2009
I made paella. That's sort of risotto except not.

I'll get me coat.

Respond to this comment

Quokka reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25875734-952,00.html

Alas, poor Kyle.

Respond to this comment

houyhnhnm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
Glad to hear that your trip was eventful. By the accounts i hear it was also successful (the houyhnhnm is north coast, althouth the developers have [also successfully] traded the name sunshine coast, for 30 pieces of add rev).

disagreements among Indigenous communities (rarely violent) have been occurring for 40-60,000 years as a result of 400 plus clans/tribes and over 200 language groups spread over the continent. never an issue 'cos there was nuff resources to go round.

the sitrep wont change till there is legislative change that ensures, not the right outcome for Indigenous Australians (its too late 4 that), but electoral protection for any govt that actually does wot is required.

EG, it would be helpful perhaps if Fed funds used in say, fighting land-rights claims, were not then allocated as part of the Indigenous Affairs budget. the poor old taxpayer may assume that these were funds actually spent for the 'benifit' of Indigenous Australians. again, this is just a minor example

anyway, nice 2 hear u were well fed, housed and had a safe trip

Respond to this comment

houyhnhnm ducks in to say...

Posted August 3, 2009
sorry "the sitrep wont change (in my opinion) till there is....

Respond to this comment

Abe mumbles...

Posted August 3, 2009
After Oz Story tonight, I reckon your $10 from Dirk is looking good. Possibly not the $10 from me. Chris Uhlman's comments were very damning.

Think the gummint will use the Oz Story focus on utegate to release the ANAO report (which has reportedly been drafted for circulation, but doesn't need to be tabled until the end of the month apparently) in the next week or two. They might then let it die down a bit and then orchestrate another little flurry in the summer with the AFP report before calling an early election in say Feb or March.

Alternatively, they could go Blitzkrieg and pull out the AFP report sooner than later, in which case my guess is (i) you'll take $10 from me too (as Bulli won't see 1 Dec) and (ii) we're looking at a double dissolution election in Nov, with Julie Bishop leading the Libs and going down like a dog's dinner.

Respond to this comment

hughesy ducks in to say...

Posted August 3, 2009
Very pleased to entertain birmo and bergers in my little neck of the woods.

BTW JB - that gooey stuff on my pate turned out to be pomegranate molasses. mmmmm, pomegranate molasses

See you tomorrow.

And Nowhere B - get in touch - I need to speak to you about events people to contact

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted August 3, 2009
Sounds like an excellent weekend.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Abe has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2009
Think he's toast...

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25877628-5013871,00.html

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2009
Abe, they can't leave the seat vacant. Who do you see in it?

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2009
Just leave the tenner on the fridge, Abe.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'North Coast Weekend.'

And while you're at it... another challenge.

Posted July 29, 2009 by John Birmingham
Imagine you're the new (Post Wave) Poet Laureate of the US.

It's your first gig at the (western) White House.

You're reading from your first epic bit, entitled, 'The Disappearance'.*

Gimme what you got, poets, it may be your only shot at mass market publication.

And don't be too upset if I totally cut and paste your couplets in with somebodyelse's.

Like William Burroughs used to do.

* For those poetically incline coming here from Twitter, the Disappearance is wot happened in my last book, Without Warning. One day, everyone in Nth America just Disappeared. Much post apocalyptic hilarity ensued.

55 Responses to ‘And while you're at it... another challenge.’

NBlob mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2009
Excellent work JB. I line my poet traps with sharpened stakes, but had never thought to bait one with kudos.

Respond to this comment

damian has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2009
Hee:

And now for once, you must try to face the facts.

Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts.

Not a submission, but homage to the above named late, magnificently awful poet

Respond to this comment

Chaz would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
I'm not a poet,

And I know it.

Respond to this comment

jennicki mutters...

Posted July 29, 2009
Hmmm...a challenge.

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2009
There once was a man from Nantucket...

which was lucky for him really since the Wave ate most of the rest of the US.

Respond to this comment

Twitted by JohnBirmingham asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
[...] This post was Twitted by JohnBirmingham [...]

Respond to this comment

Therbs puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2009
Jen is soooo going to own this one. Mind you, Dr Y's classical approach has merit.

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
Actually scratch that, for some reason I thought Nantucket was in Alaska.

There once was a man from Nantucket...

but now there isn't.

Respond to this comment

Medway would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
I went to the loo

to do a big poo

when when I looked down

there was nothing to be found

surely a big plop

secures the dramatic plot

But sound is a sound

and there was no one else around

my hearing was declining, that is for sure

but the pressure and effort was for something more

else i wouldn't have released such vile

so leaving the room I thought "Do I have piles?"

Respond to this comment

Lobes mutters...

Posted July 29, 2009
There once was a girl from Wasilla

The only survivor in a Techno Thrilla

She avoided the Wave

Not by being brave

But by being out on tundra with drillas

;-)

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted July 29, 2009
Jeez . . . .poetry, yet.....

Stuff that . . . .a concert.

Springsteens 'Born in the USA' . . .'The Devil came Down to Georgia' . . . .AC/DC "Highway to Hell". . . Jackson's 'Thriller'. . .'All Along the Watchtower' . . .'Khe San'. . .a singing fat lady.

I couldn't work in the 7th Cavalrys signature tune . . .Garry Owen. PIty . . .an allusion to Custer would have been cool.

Respond to this comment

Lobes reckons...

Posted July 29, 2009
I wake up everyday it’s a daydream

Everything in my life ain’t what it seem

I wake up just to go back to sleep

I act real cool but I’m in too deep

And all I care about is sex and violence

A machine-gun is my kind of silence

Y'all say I got to get a grip

But I let sanity give me the slip

(With Apologies to Dizzee Rascal)

Respond to this comment

Tony Foley puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2009
Damn! haven't read "Without Warning". Sounds like it's right up my alley.

From the cornfields of Iowa, silence...

From the plains of montana, silence...

From the streets of Chicago, wind...

Lady Liberty mute.

Respond to this comment

Thor asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
These now empty unquiet miles abhorrent

As if some giants hands pickd clean

Of life and vibrant ugly human kind

The voices gone the roads un traffickd

A twisted authors daydream horror

Now the dawn beyond a dream

Breaks daily and those left

Wish to forget

Respond to this comment

Michael reckons...

Posted July 29, 2009
Shadows on the prairie,

Rustling in the grass,

A tree branch creaking in the breeze,

The Disappearance coming fast.

A boot print with no boot to fill it,

A empty, swinging tire,

A broken truck with none to drive it,

Resting in the mire.

The Disappearance comes, they say,

Not tomorrow, but yesterday,

As empty streets yawn on and on,

Yesterday, there is no-one.

No-one comes and no-one sees,

And no-one hears the creaking trees,

The night that falls is cold and dark,

The sky itself has grown stark.

There are no stars, nor moon, this night,

Because there is no living sight,

The Disappearance claimed it all,

The planet rests in deathly pall.

There is no sadness, nor alarm,

For those have vanished too,

There is no rising of the sun,

Because there is no me, or you.

There is no way to stop it,

No way to wind it back,

Because the very point of this,

Is that it all turns black.

Respond to this comment

lostatlunch asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
Maya Angelou is rolling in her pile of gloop.

By The Darkman

The nation has gone

the mightest has fallen

the vultures circle and feed from the corpse,

Then from the west

where the liberals reside

the spirit abides

a nations staggers and stubles

and looks to the light

the dawn rises over the east

... Fergawdsakes JB, you earn the bucks, you fix it up

Respond to this comment

Patricia ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
One day we woke up to silence

One day we woke up to emptiness

One day we woke up to chaos

Armageddon upon us

A holy war unleashed

The fortress breached from within

(to be continued)

Respond to this comment

John Lease puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2009
We are the ones who have remained.

The ones that are here to see.

What we have become our world of the free.

We remember those that have gone.

But we dont feel we need to pine.

The world that has been created we will make stonger with time.

We will bring together those peoples of the world that are with us.

To ensure that this world is stronger in God we trust.

John just something off the top of my head I hope u like but "Without Warning" is a book that I cant stop thinking about. It is a book that will go down as a master in literature.

thx John

Respond to this comment

Steven Danno reckons...

Posted July 29, 2009
There was an old farmer from Young

Who made little balls out of dung

He'd shape them and roll them

And try to control em

By keepin' them under his tongue

True story, well nearly true he kept maggots under his tongue when he went trout fishing but couldnt get maggot to rhyme with 'ung'

Hope you written yourself into a corner with this one JB, I think epic poetry has seen its day after Tolkein croaked but a lofty ambition all the same

Respond to this comment

Brian would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
*He died with a techno-thriller in his hands*

Early one cold winter morning,

On the fridge we discovered a note.

The US had moved out without warning -

"Screw y'all, suckers!", quote/unquote.

Though they'd left all the bills half-unpaid,

And dishes stacked-up in the sink,

We were not upset or dismayed,

For now there was more beer to drink.

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2009
Birmingham! First the insult to American "cowboys" - now the slight to American poets... Admit it; you hate the US. The wave is your way of dispensing of what you cannot have. What did the editors say about your "cowboy" cliches?

J.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 29, 2009
John Lease, thx buddy. Quite like that opening line of yrs.

Respond to this comment

Bendweb ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
Men and women, children all

Millions of us vanished

Buildings burned and choked the earth

Our innocence was banished

With one fell swoop the wave destroyed

The lives and loves we'd known

Sweet Liberty and Uncle Sam

Unseated from their throne

But from the farthest point northwest

A light dawned bright and clear

Noble deeds and love prevailed

To drive away the fear

A shared resolve to build again

The country we revere

And when we're done to not forget

The ones no longer here

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2009
SJS, that's NO way to talk to the captain of your nation's cricket team. Respect the baggy green red and blue stripy thing.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
SJS : 'What did the editors say about your “cowboy” cliches?'

Err..? . . .Yippee Kiyay? . . .err . . .Yeeha?

Respond to this comment

JB’s poetry challenge at The Blue Corner reckons...

Posted July 29, 2009
[...] The brief was: Imagine you’re the new (Post Wave) Poet Laureate of the US. [...]

Respond to this comment

Respond to this comment

Brian ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
Classic quote ; "Yahh mule, yaah . . ' . . . .Y. Sam

Respond to this comment

Nick has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2009
We say to those who left us:

We Remain

We Rebuild

We Remember

America Abides

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
All right, like the rest, ya get this straight from head ta paper first draft.

Our Nation once strong, its still here today

The envy of some, others wish us away.

The wave, it arrived like a biblical menace

wrought terror, destruction, some called it penance.

But now its our time,

once more we shall shine.

With true friends discovered and our enemies defined.

Our Nations still strong, still proud, we're not meek

With help from our friends, in time we shall peek.

Opportunity it knocks, we might wind back the clock, those things we did wrong, shall we re write that song.

This future , this plan , some say its too grand, but with toil and sweat we'll rebuild our great land.

Hope, Faith aspiration we need, keep sowing those seeds of freedom, not greed.

As time trickles by, prosperity shall follow, but keep your gun close at hand, as you furrow and plan.

our Country, our freedom its all still at there, make it better, make it stronger, don't ever despair.

Liberty and justice, free men we are still, the land of free men, hope glory and strong will.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
I want to give it a shot, but am hella busy. Is there a time limit on this thing?

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
Coupla weeks.

Respond to this comment

Brian ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
'Coupla weeks'

Prolly take that long for all the limericks to work out of our systems.

Havock's effort deserves a gold star but . . .

The mental image of him sitting around composing this stuff is right entertaining. Personally I did all me better work in pole dancing clubs.(used to get free tickets . . .and snacks)

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted July 29, 2009
Reasonable.

Respond to this comment

Patricia ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
can you lot stop rhyming?

that is just not on...

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK mutters...

Posted July 29, 2009
PNB..REASONABLE!....FUCKING REASONABLE. down right go dam generous I reckon, seeing as all the rest of us had a crack straight up, non of this bloody I'M BUSY SHIT, stop having them nanny naps during the day ya big god dam sook and get crackin, before we dispatch some ...members to deal with ya. Poor form...very, very..very poor form

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2009
The joints been fucked over, I reckon ya could say. That sheet thing, the wave, its gone washed'em all away.

Yippe i shout, long with other here about, no bull shit, bad films and fucking about.

have a laugh, its them, not us thank fuck.

Just imagine the planet with the seppos still here, killing and burning, seems it bout all they know.

Can't build cars, can't run plants, fuck it up is there gift, that wave thing, OH YEAH, it gave the fuckers a short shift.

I guess we should help, not much, just a bit.

After all we all know, most yanks are just gits

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2009
I'd write you a poem, a masterful prose

laden heavy with words, that nobody knows.

Alas, I despair, I haven't the time, I'm working my arse, thats why that I cry.

How long do we have, an extension if you please, my names PNB, I'm a god overseas.

I'll return, after all, but I'll check out the comp, get some ideas and maybe then write.

Alas, I'm bust, gotta run from this fight.

Respond to this comment

Brian ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
See . . .a little praise and there's no shutting him up.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
NAH...IT WAS PNB BRIAN..lol

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2009
Havock... the Rupert McCall of Bacchus Marsh.

Here would be placed an emoticon to suggest I mean that in good humour but as I believe emoticons are the currency of the stupid, I will refrain.

;-)

Respond to this comment

houyhnhnm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2009
these last two blogs read quite blatantly as if you're using the position to garner intellectual property, ie, other people's ideas for your own use. this is not my criticism, by all means go for it. my criticism is that if that's the intention, then go where the result will be exhaustive...these blogs won't cut it

Respond to this comment

Monster Yuppy ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
This has been one of the more fun pieces that I have read

A ditty about all of the Seppos turning up dead

A big "wave", was what JB said...

Could only have been better, if done by Zed

Respond to this comment

jennicki is gonna tell you...

Posted July 29, 2009
Havock, you are a natural!

Michael, I really really like yours!

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
Uhhm . . . yeah . .. .hmm.

Houey sounds like he's getting screwy.

Ahh . . .shoot . . .you got me talking in rhyme, i hate that . . .it tales time . . .y'know? . . . to stop the flow . . .

Respond to this comment

brentcu ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
Our Debt of Duty

Fifty stars rest on the blue of our flag,

Forty seven rest in peace.

A triad of the young will stand tall

Where their elders have fallen,

And give their blood of freedom,

Proving through that long night,

Against all enemies,

Under rockets, under bombs and under Wave

That our flag is still there, Our land remains free,

Our people evermore brave.

Respond to this comment

NataliatheRussianSpy would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
These opening lines came pretty quick:

They had no warning.

Despite it calling

In whispers and a shout.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2009
These opening lines came pretty quick:

They had no warning.

Despite it calling

In whispers and a shout.

We picked it up and ran with it, a mess we made, the norm. Go off we do, on tanged too, its what this mobs about

Respond to this comment

Michael reckons...

Posted July 30, 2009
Thanks, Jen!

Respond to this comment

Marian Dalton ducks in to say...

Posted July 30, 2009
(found this challenge via Twitter - hope this is the right place for an entry!)

We mourn for those who are gone

For every loved one not beside us

For every hole in our lives

We hold the questions in our hearts

And even now, cling to slowly-fading hope

That one day we will understand

But we do not mourn America

There is no headstone for America

For America is more than the cities that lie silent

Crumbling towers and paper blowing in the streets

More than the cars abandoned on the interstates

Doors open as though every driver just got out and walked away

More than the empty houses with their photographs on the mantels

and the schools with their dust-covered desks

echoing with long-gone laughter

America is the memories we carry with us

and the dreams we will never give up

America is the strength of our hands

Reaching to lead each other out of the dark

America is every man, every woman, every child

Who says 'we will not lay down and die'

Who says 'we will rise again'

We do not mourn America

We are America

Respond to this comment

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted July 31, 2009
Quick JB, close the trap now.

Respond to this comment

jennicki asserts...

Posted August 2, 2009
Just got my copy of WW so I'm studyin' up!!

Respond to this comment

Murphy asserts...

Posted August 3, 2009
Did anyone read Ray Bradbury's Poem America in the latest edition of The Saturday Evening Post?

http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2009/06/25/art-literature/fiction-poetry/ray-bradbury-america.html

You know, that poem fits the bill but you'd have to sell off quite a few of the hovercraft in order to get that into the book.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

DK puts forth...

Posted August 5, 2009
Laughing and weeping... well here's an attempt:

Letter To My Vanished Mother

Dear Mother,

How are you?

I have good news.

I finally have that inner city apartment you wanted me to get,

With good parking facilities.

In a quiet neighbourhood.

Close to the city centre, yet away from the hustle and bustle.

I'm eating less these days,

That's what you said I should do right?

I'm not seeing my ex-wife so much these days,

Or the kids,

Or you.

I miss you all,

In America.

Respond to this comment

tygertim mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2009
Not seen, deeply felt

did the Wave strike,

The blow snatched my loves away.

The night wind did blow on a silent and burning land.

Cities bright, glowing red in the dark,

drowning the sky with poison.

All that was left of you, my love-

a smoking little pile of goo.

And I, whom was away, yet I still remain

grief my refrain.

By my own hand did I nearly die -

for Alone shredded my heart.

Somewhere though; however faint, still remained some spark

that bent my will to live.

Through the long months We all worked (to forget my pain)

striven to survive to return to our land,

as Chaos and the Four Horsemen rode the wide world

leaving wrack and woe in their wake.

Til we reached the end of wait, the Wave standing no more.

Now we begin again, from west to east

wrest from sorrow's feast our dreams -

and to love once more,

as the Eagle becomes Phoenix.

First draft. I'm not sure I like it though.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'And while you're at it... another challenge.'

Traps for old players.

Posted July 20, 2009 by John Birmingham
The ladies of the household were both occupied with ladylike goings-on yesterday, leaving Thomas and I to amuse ourselves for the better part of the day. I had Stargate Continuum recorded on the magic TV box and had been saving it for a post deadine sesh, but the day was bright and warm and the park beckoned first, so we repaired down the hill with a frisbee and football.

I decided, having lost so much weight and improved my fitness that I was gonna give him a harsh lesson in the sort of tricks old lions can get up to in winter, and for a good half hour I was all over the wee devil. Then, a poor frisbee toss saw the disc pop up high and fall into no man's land between us. Thomas saw his chance and took off. Right, I thought, we're not having that. And so I engaged the hyperdrive and lit out at maximum warp aiming to reach the estimated impact point well before him.

RRRRIIIIIIPPPPPPP.....

That's not the actual sound a hamstring makes when it fails spectacularly. But that's what it feels like deep inside your leg.

Because no matter how much weight I've dropped, or how much excerise I've done, there simply is no way that 88 kilos of 45 year old aged beef can cover twenty metres of open ground from a standing start as quickly as 17 kilos of sugar powered spring chicken.

Much limping, a hot bath and a very large glass of red wine later we settled down to watch Stargate instead.

28 Responses to ‘Traps for old players.’

Chaz mumbles...

Posted July 20, 2009
Don't you mean '45 year old aged and marinated beef'?

yep none of us of getting any younger. the only upsdie is that I know you've got three years on me!!

Respond to this comment

Therbs puts forth...

Posted July 20, 2009
And why is it that next time we go out to kick a ball around we forget the pain of the previous time? Ah yes, that's right, its called alcohol.

Respond to this comment

simon bedak puts forth...

Posted July 20, 2009
Ouch, baby. If you can find one, grab an old fashioned three-armed Flo-Bo to play with in the park. Much more chance of getting it stuck in a tree and forgetting about it than a Frisbee.

Nice tasty read. Get better soon.

Respond to this comment

drej reckons...

Posted July 20, 2009
Thats the problem with those aging hyperdrives, punching max warp always carries higher risk of suffering either some form of minor structural integrity failure as in your case, or even more embarrassingly, total loss of containment.

Best remember, "old age and treachery..."

Respond to this comment

YB asserts...

Posted July 20, 2009
A hammy can actually 'pop'. I've heard it. Two people vomited. All the best getting better, and enjoy the teev sessions. I'm on a paint miniatures and teev marathon due to being sidelined by the flu. Joy.

Respond to this comment

Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 20, 2009
Tough work being a Spartan sometimes.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK asserts...

Posted July 20, 2009
LMAO.... The good news.mmmmm. THERE IS NONE. But to impart some HARD FUCKING WON WISDOM, be prepared for the following.

1 He will at some point bowl a bouncer at you and almost take your head off.

2 A tackle ( football), will be laid, it won't be you doing the laying either, which WILL result in your arse being splattered on the ground.

3 A day is coming where the phrase, " You have to come home at some point", will be uttered by you, its a result o you no longer being FAST enough to catch the little shit.

We have not YET, hit the point where he can bench press more than me..alas, its approaching I suspect.

Respond to this comment

MickH mumbles...

Posted July 20, 2009
so if the hammy is gone, it's off to the hospital for a stay?

Respond to this comment

Flinthart ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2009
Owtch. Fortunately, I limit my competitive suff with the kids to the mats in the dojo, where experience really counts. I know better than to try and take 'em from a standing start...not the hams with me, but the knees.

Respond to this comment

Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 20, 2009
Ouch, at least it was in a good cause.

PS any thoughts on parallel importation of books? I'd have more respect for the idea if the buggers had gone after the GST on books first.

Respond to this comment

Domestic Daze reckons...

Posted July 20, 2009
So good to see another forty-cough loudly person growing old in such a wonderfully disgraceful way. Keep up the good work!

Hope the leg is on the mend for you.

Respond to this comment

houyhnhnm@yahoo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 20, 2009
since i suspect that u r quadreped, rather than simian, and notwithstanding the obvious differences, i empathise, to the extent that that is possible. How's the hock? so to speak. However, one suspects that the efforts reulting in hamstring problem are a result of being hamstrung, by stubborn pride. "get thee behind, tarsal." Sorry, my tendon-ness appears to have departed prematurely

Respond to this comment

savo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 20, 2009
No fool etc.

Wait until the two of them work out, that by co-operating, they can bring down the old man.

You'll be on the plus side of 50...

snigger snigger snigger

Respond to this comment

Patricia has opinions thus...

Posted July 20, 2009
JB - i have great tips for recuperating on that one:

[a] there's this dude in Sunnybank, does cupping and bleeds you - not as painful as it sounds and it works wonders name of Lewis Lee Accupuncture;

[b] go to a physio- a good one- my one is in Kelvin Grove and looks after the Broncos- Optima Sports Therapy ;

[c] yoga - there's actually a yoga physio out there try www.yogaphysio.com.au - you'll be back on you feet in no time.

I just did my ankle in on Saturday, and did the RICE thing, and yoga. I'm maintaining range of motion and flexibility with yoga and cycling, but hammies are another matter. Also seeing both my physio and my accunpuncturist. Be careful, at 45 it takes longer to heal

Happy 45 by the way!

Respond to this comment

sparty ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2009
on the subject of sport...one nil, one nil, one nil .....

although you have my apologies on the catch Strauss claimed.....

Respond to this comment

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted July 20, 2009
Yeah, they ain't growin' replacement parts in tin buckets yet so one had best watch themselves as they advance past forty.

I'm getting there myself. Things don't heal quite the way they used to.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 21, 2009
Murph 20/7/09 22:42.

"growin’ replacement parts in tin buckets "

Please please please please please (ad nauseum)

C'mon - what's your VA hospitals doin over there? In Bobworld they're the goto guys for bit culture & replacement. *

With the cold my knee is starting to pain me - might be time to get some of the shark fin gear.

*Bobworld may or may not bear much in common with reality.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted July 21, 2009
Given the warnings now laid out here, I'm shocked i have done this and shall continue. Seems that with cricket season upon us, the gym set being firmly established in the shed an the fact the shed is CLEAN ( has been for a while shock horror), I have a the eldest pestering, taken up sessions with him on a nightly basis. THIS, started SUNDAY.

WTF went through my head I have NO FUCKING IDEA!, the WHOLE god dam body is killing me and we are due tonight AGAIN......THIS will end badly. But ya have to do it....

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted July 21, 2009
I should also point out for those who have not perhaps observed such, that Injuries tend to occur more frequently the older you get. Now, whats not been noticed, or has but stated incorrectly is the JB is NOW, approaching 50, not 44, not 45, but approaching 50...... thats really starting to wind the OLD clock up a bit.

Respond to this comment

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted July 21, 2009
But Havoc, he doesn't seem that old. Hell, he glides across the floor like some rapper in a Spike Lee Movie.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK reckons...

Posted July 21, 2009
Murph...that glidin shit...its the wheel chair, they only shoot him from the waist UP

Respond to this comment

Steven Danno asserts...

Posted July 21, 2009
Have you noticed the inverse relationship between pain/suffering/disability and sympathy/tenderness/additional lurvin from our significant others? Not that in my case sympathy/tenderness/additional lurvin were ever on the cards anyway but are noticably even more absent in the case of serious and debilitating injury. The only caveat might be JB when the injury occurs while in the service of the War Office, instead of doing things designed to enhance enjoyment, fitness and healthy outdoor living that isnt gardening, house painting, digging holes cleaning up dog shit, transplanting perfectly happy giant shrubs, cleaning out gutters... an injury sustained in these pursuits would be because you weren't doing it properly...I don't mean to go on but sheeeeit..Good luck with your recovery, do you retain control of the remote? That is the final ignominy in my view when that is taken from us.

Respond to this comment

Otto mutters...

Posted July 21, 2009
At 44 I decided to go back to cricket after 15 years off. Survived the first game - but could not walk for a week. Second was rained off, but the physio appointment was booked for the tennis elbow from batting practice. Third was a 1 day game at which I excelled by hitting some runs. On the last ball of the match, while trying for the winning run I tore my left calf muscle and right hamstring.

The physio laughed a lot on the Monday morning.....

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted July 21, 2009
Ah yes, Steven, those poor, happy stupid shrubs. Why can't they just be left alone?

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 21, 2009
ROTFLMAO. My return to cricket lasted two hours, at a drunken bucks party. The next day I was in so much pain I could not even lift my head from the pillow.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 21, 2009
yeah but I'll bet you were not training at that time either JB. Its the reason I have started the gym sessions already, I don't want a week off to recover from the FIRST training session. Squats will get incorporated next week or this keeper might end up pulling all sorts of muscles.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 21, 2009
Jumping box squats Mr Havock. There is no substitute for quality.

Respond to this comment

NukemHill asserts...

Posted July 22, 2009
Well, I guess I'm in good company. Shortly after bragging about my wonderful exercise program, I torqued my back. I've been on and off the regimen for the last 2 1/2 weeks. I'm going back tonight for the first time in a week. Hopefully, it'll go well.

It really sucks, because part of the point of my exercising is to strengthen my back so as to avoid fucking it up!!!!.

Yeah. How's that workin' out for you Greg?

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Traps for old players.'

JB's deadline workout.

Posted July 10, 2009 by John Birmingham
Well, we're back as you can see. The host got hacked, but had the sense to have maintained proper back ups.

I've been spending the day reliving my youth as a pol sci post grad, reading heaps o' journal articles about the coming superpower rivalry in the Indian Ocean. Why? Cos someone's playing me to.

I sent the draft manuscript away this week, but rather than having time off I had to swing into this hasty commission. It's interesting, after having been on the novel/blog treadmill for so long. But at this very minute I've just got back from a family lunch at CrossTown Eating House, so until that settles there wont be much deep thought from ol' JB.

Instead I'm gonna blow off a few minutes doing something I've meant to do for a while. A few folks who've seen me the last few weeks have commented on how much less JB there is to go around. About ten kilos less so far, but I'm looking to trim another 4-5kgs to get down to my fighting weight of low to mid eighties.

Partly it's cos I'm about to go back to the dojo and didn't want to embarrass or, more likely, injure myself. Partly it's because I did enormous damage to my health and fitness during last year's restaurant review season and I only dropped weight again after that little pnuemonia incident in January. I figured that with being on deadline for a few months I could either harden up and regain control, or lose it totally and finally and embrace my Inner Blob.

Deadlines are like that. They can go either way. This time, thankfully, it broke the right way and been able to pull my belt in five notches so far.

So for those who asked how...

Well, lemme tell you.

Not eating in cafes and restaurants three times a day is a start. But not everyone has that problem.

I switched to just having a coupla pieces of fruit for breaky. Usually a banana and a mandarin with a cup of tea.

Then a light lunch, often just a sandwhich.

Then I'd eat what i wanted for dinner, but less of it. In the past I've always filled the plate right out to the edge. Now I try and leave half the surface uncovered (without cheating by piling up the goodies on  other side).

I'm still drinking a glass or two of wine at night (what parent doesn't!) but I've cut that right back from 4-5 glasses, and it helped that when I finally put pedal to metal on After America I had one month alcohol free. Lost two kgs right there.

The exercise though is what's really helped.

I started very light, after being so sick early in the year. Kicked off with just 20 mins of relatively gentle walking, a few push ups and sit ups, some very light weight training.

I've gradually increased that to the following work out.

10 mins dynamic stretching.

15 mins tredmill, maximum incline, interval setting.

20 mins floor exercises. 5 burpees. 16 rotating crunches. 1 burpee. 8 jumping box squats. 1 burpee. 10 diamond push ups. 1 burpee. 20 low side lunges. 1 burpee. 5 dorsal raises. 1 burpee. 8 inverted press ups. 1 burpee. 10 Bulgarians each leg. Repeat all. (A burpee is a nasty bit of gear where you get into a push up position, before pulling your knees quickly up to your chest and driving up thru your heels so you leap about a foot off the ground).

15 mins heavy bag work. (My fave bit. Lot of anger to work out by this point).

25 mins various weights, with the sets broken up by front, side, crescent, roundhouse kicks. 20 reps each.

Stretch and cool down.

I've try and get a session in 5-6 times a week. It takes for fucking ever, but it's been stripping the rest of the blubber away from me and once I get down to my target weight I'll cut back to 3 times a week + 1 sesh at the dojo.

Anyone who has any favorite work out tips (I'm looking at you Lobes) feel free to leave 'em below. I need to break this routine up every now and then.

As for me, lunch is settling, so it's back to the Indian Ocean.

57 Responses to ‘JB's deadline workout.’

CraigWA puts forth...

Posted July 10, 2009
Good to hear. At least you haven't decided to do the diet to try and lose weight. Just the sensible eat less, do more.

Respond to this comment

Lobes would have you know...

Posted July 10, 2009
Thats a good 90 minute workout. If you're doing that 5-6 times a week I'm not surprised you've gone in so many notches. Well done.

It all sounds pretty good but I agree you want to mix it up a bit so it doesnt get too repetitive. I like the use of the burpee. I do a lot of those myself. I dont bother with crunches anymore, find them useless to tell the truth and have replace them with burpees almost altogether but I digress.

Something a bit different if you dont allready use one get a swiss ball (giant inflatable ball) and try and involve it into every part of your routine. ie feet on bench with hands on ball for push ups. Lying back on ball for crunches, sitting or kneeling on ball when doing weights etc. I use examples from your current routine but you can make up your own.

Also I'm reluctant to recommend running as I hate it and its such a punishing exercise to recover from but short distances are usually ok. For explosive power shuttle sprints are really good. I set out cones (conveniently spaced trees actually) about 10m apart. Sprint to 10m touch the ground then sprint back touch the ground, sprint to 20m, then 30m, then 20m then 10m then 20 burpees. I usually do that 3 times. 4 if I'm feeling frisky.

If you can stay above 75% effort for the whole set you're doing well.

My main exercise these days is SUP paddling though. Its a great workout. Much better than any gym and most sports I've played. Its a lifestyle though.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 10, 2009
In fact I just bought myself a swiss ball this week. Been meaning to get one for a while. Used them quite a bit in the past but the dog chewed thru the last one we owned.

I've just started to integrate it into the overall routine, but yes, you're right about using it with weights etc. I'll have to look online for vids and tips.

Respond to this comment

Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted July 10, 2009
yeah i could see you expending a lot of anger on the heavy bag if you've cut down on your drinking....

Respond to this comment

Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 10, 2009
Me I'd be happy to see the underside of the ton, so I'm envious, congrats JB.

PS yes I could stop drinking but I'm a mean sober.

Respond to this comment

damian would have you know...

Posted July 10, 2009
I have been wanting to get back into the "waving a sword around like a fool" method of fitness training, and for various reasons don't care to go back the group I'd been doing that with, for now anyway. I'm actually quite interested in having a go with the group who practice in Hawthorn Park, which would be in your stomping grounds.

These guys do German longsword, which is a kind of two-hander that weighs 2-3kg. From the bouting I used to do with two-handers in the previous group I played with, I can attest it's about as much fun as you can have standing up. Sparks and fluid motion and all. Drills are fantastic core muscle workouts, similar to what you'd get with kettlebells. And bouts are like squash, with 2-3kg racquets...

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 10, 2009
Hawthorn Park you reckon? Damn. Never seen that. Have to keep my eyes peeled. Sounds like something the kids would love to watch.

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo asserts...

Posted July 10, 2009
Smaller plates. It's stupid but it works. Makes more of a difference than almost anything else.

Respond to this comment

WalkingShaw would have you know...

Posted July 10, 2009
Thought about the pool? I swim laps, great way to freshen the body up, great for increasing lung capacity and strengthening back/shoulders. You've also got some great outdoor climbing along the river in Brisbane [not like the freezing conditions in climbing gyms in Melbourne!] - it's dynamic, explosive and works completely different muscle groups. Maybe good as a change up?

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 10, 2009
Ben, my wife is a swimmer, and I totes recognise the benefits, but I hate it. I'm no good at it. And I've built a gym under the house where I can train without having to organise child care. Parenthood is the enemy of fitness. It's partly why I dont run any more. (And partly cos, like Lobes says, running is dull and hurts a lot).

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK mutters...

Posted July 10, 2009
mm, at 68 kgs I guess weight is not an issue, neither is being selective on what I eat. also, playing sport ( nil in winter), but its a bitch the first two weeks back and pre season starts shortly. I have no doubt the hamstrings, quads and calves will bitch like crazy and I reckon I'm gunna steal portions of your regime I think JB.

Swiss BALL, thats what they re called, I have one, got it for rehab on the knee. If you like squats, try wicket keeping..fucking heaps of'em, occupational hazard.

Maybe one day I might have to worry about my weight, but to be honest I would LOVE another 10-15 kgs.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2009
OH, and the WIFE being a swimmer...YEAH, mine was as well, its like a fucking outboard motor in the pool and not only does she kick my arse, its fucking depressing as well!

Respond to this comment

Moko ducks in to say...

Posted July 10, 2009
I want a machine that I can strap myself in to and just let it do the weight loss/fitness thing for me.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2009
JB: "I’ve built a gym under the house"

Ah, so THAT'S the secret. Well done for being so self motivated that you train well alone.

Respond to this comment

damian mutters...

Posted July 10, 2009
John: http://collegiuminarmis.com/classes/

I intend to make it along to either the 26th or the 2nd after.

Respond to this comment

WalkingShaw would have you know...

Posted July 10, 2009
Parenthood is the enemy of fitness. True! Man, please tell me it gets better - twin girls almost at 2 only thing they like doing is swimming, dancing and at the moment screaming! So swimming is only exercise that my wife, kids and I can do together!

Respond to this comment

Lobes puts forth...

Posted July 10, 2009
Pick something and master it. I suggest either skipping or chin ups. If you went hard on chin ups you'd be able to bust out 10+ in a row within a few months. Not many people can do that. But start on about 3 or so.

If you're willing to lay out the dosh get a rowing machine. The Concept2 ergometer is the best by far. If I could only afford one piece of indoor gym equipment thats what I'd get. Better than a treadmill IMO.

Respond to this comment

Naut asserts...

Posted July 10, 2009
I have been thinking about hanging a chinup bar for a while now.

I'm a fan of running because if you do enough of it you can eat what you want and still lose weight.

I tend to do pyramid training, pushups 2 then hold 4 then hold etc up to 10 then back down again.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted July 10, 2009
Lobes: "The Concept2 ergometer is the best by far. If I could only afford one piece of indoor gym equipment thats what I’d get."

Word. I have thought the very same thing many times.

Respond to this comment

Lobes mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2009
Helps to have a rowing background or at least some coaching on the device though. I have seen so many people rowing like absolute muppets and not exercising effectively at all.

Just noticed the Concept2 website has a world rankings list. Back when I was right into ergos I would have given the top 100 a very good shake. Theres your challenge JB, try and get in the top 100 for your age group. Looking at the times even making Top 10 for Australia is very achievable.

Respond to this comment

damian has opinions thus...

Posted July 10, 2009
Personally, I'd love to have a good rowing machine but it'd be no substitute for getting on the water. I actually hope to build my own one of these days, but that's another story.

JB, the German longsword group I was talking about are these guys: http://collegiuminarmis.com/classes/

I probably wont make the 26th but possibly the sunday after

Respond to this comment

damian asserts...

Posted July 10, 2009
Oh, I did mention it. Duh, no short term memory loss here

Respond to this comment

lostatlunch reckons...

Posted July 10, 2009
just making the rest of us look bad.. AGAIN.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted July 10, 2009
NO DARKMAN..there are those of us who are FIT, not FAT and require no EXTRAORDINARY training to stay the NORMAL shape. We can eat what we please and our body weight varies about 2 kgs if we are lucky. These people are like gods, I should know, I am one of them

Respond to this comment

Murphy puts forth...

Posted July 11, 2009
The fruit and carb for breakfast is probably the best way to go. I did that for years during the Rent-A-Donut era and managed to maintain a tolerable weight level.

China-India issue, I read a recent article in Foreign Affairs (and it figures that I can't remember the title) which suggested that the United States could play the role of intermediary between the two growing naval powers, creating a coalition security force from the navies around the Indian Ocean. The author seemed to suggest that if our moderating influence was present, it would mitigate the traditional tension between India and China, prompting them to look at their common interests in a secure and stable ocean going environment.

Wish I remembered what the title was. I read it this past spring so I suspect it is on your stack. Ref Foreign Affairs Journal.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Matthew K mumbles...

Posted July 11, 2009
All depends on the quality of those in power doesn't it Murph. The recent bollocks about "racist" atacks on Indians in Oz and the attendent rabble rousing by Indian pols showed the level of sophistication we can expect from there. Painful as it may be to admit but undemocratic China might have better government than democratic India.

Respond to this comment

sibeen ducks in to say...

Posted July 11, 2009
I can't be bothered with all that crap. I pull on a pair of shorts (why are shorts always in pairs?), do 60 odd sit-ups, 40 odd push-ups, 8 to 10 chin-ups and then hit the running track.

Mind you, the sprogs do put the kybosh on this on a regular basis; but I do find that when I've gained an extra pound or two (sic) that it only takes me about a month to shed those unsightly few kilos by running.

I like running, I really do. It's my equivalent of the heavy bag. All my worries and anger seem to drain away with the copious amount of sweat that I manage to produce. Sometimes it's strap the iPod to the arm and listen to some decent music whilst pounding away, on other days it's podless and some decent thinking can go on.

Respond to this comment

girlclumsy mumbles...

Posted July 11, 2009
Oh, goodness. This is very impressive - and everyone else's tips as well.

I'm so bad fitness-wise. I've tried various things over the years and lose interest and/or motivation.

I enjoy going for long walks with the Wah at a reasonable pace, and I've a few home exercise videos that I pop in from time to time. But you've all given me inspiration that I should be doing better!

Mind you - I just did an impro show tonight that had lots of action and running about, and I feel like I've done a proper workout. Maybe I just need to perform a lot, lot more. :)

Respond to this comment

mckinneytexas mutters...

Posted July 11, 2009
Keep in mind that what works at 20 doesn't work at 30, at 40 and so on. Degeneration occurs regardless of training although musculature can compensate significantly. North of 45, ligaments, rotator cuffs, cartilage, disc material, etc. start to fail. Bicycles, treadmills, etc. for heart and weight control, medium weights, stretching, etc. for the rest.

And cutting back on the booze, as you've noticed. Glad to see you are in the health mode. Moderating your work load? Not likely. Oh well.

Respond to this comment

NukemHill swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 11, 2009
I like it. I've just started working out again myself. Started losing weight last Fall, after getting on Concerta. Reduced my appetite, and the weight has been peeling off. Haven't been working out 'til now, 'cause I still had too much poundage for my knees, ankles and feet, which couldn't take the punishment. I'm running on the treadmill now, and rowing on the rowing machine (trading off each day, so I'm not doing too much to either my lower extremities, or my back). Up to 30 minutes on each, which is phenomenal for me. The weight loss has clearly made a difference in my capacities.

I think I'm going to start working some karate moves into my routine. Your mention of it above really struck a cord. I'm also ordering a new exercise ball for home stuff. My previous one met recently with a sharp object wielded by an unknown junior assailant. Crime unsolved. Perpetrator remains unknown. Oh, well. I know itwern't the twins. They're pretty honest about the mayhem they instigate.

I peaked at 242 lbs. I'm 6' 2" so, while not devastating on my frame, it was clearly too much. I'm currently floating between 217 and 222, depending on the day. My target is to be between 205 and 210 by the beginning of September. My eldest will be Bar Mitzvah'd then, and I want to look good, both for myself, and also for him. He's worked his ass off for this, and I want him to be proud of me, so I'm willing to work my ass off for him.

Best of luck, JB. If you can tolerate it, I highly recommend rowing. It's absolutely brilliant for your back muscles, and a great cardio workout. Once I get into really solid shape, I'll probably row every day, and tack on jogging every other. When I was in grad school, I got into a workout jag, and put in a solid 9+ months of just about every day. I had previously been suffering from back problems. But I went over a year-and-a-half with absolutely no pain during and after that stretch of exercise. My bad for not keeping with it. But now I'm pretty committed to making it a lifestyle issue.

Respond to this comment

NataliatheRussianSpy is gonna tell you...

Posted July 11, 2009
Lots of uphill walking with handweights...keeping your middle sucked in and your spine stretched. Great for general core strength.

Respond to this comment

damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 11, 2009
mckinney: "And cutting back on the booze, as you’ve noticed."

Noooooooooooooooooooo!

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted July 11, 2009
Nukem', you inspire me. I had exactly the same probs starting off. I was carrying so much weight that it was actually dangerous to consider any exercise. I think that's why people get put off. Because to begin with progress is so slow and incremental. Congrats on your efforts.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 11, 2009
Unfortunately I have no rowing experience. Used the machines a bit in my old gym, but I was probably one of those wallies doing it All Wrong.

Respond to this comment

GT asserts...

Posted July 11, 2009
re: Indian Ocean & Murph's article, I think the local Financial Review picked up that article and ran with it in their Friday Review supplement a few weeks ago. If interested, I would hazard a search would bring it up ?

Cheers

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted July 11, 2009
I'm 6ft 2 & 105 Kg (Approx 220Lbs I think.)

Lots of my friends are doing the late 30's stress about weight. I weigh myself about 3 times a year. While I have never been overly concerned I know that I'd benefit from losing 15, but I'm not about to make my life a misery about it. Not being a beer drinker & not having much of a sweet tooth puts me ahead of the game.

I have a good mate "Innapropriate Donny" who has shed > 30 kg in the last 12 months and gone from "Heavy set" to "Weekend at Dachau." I'm seriously concerned about his weight loss. Cutting out 2 cans of Coke per day was good, the 150kms on the bike per week was understandable if a little excessive, what really freaks me out is his no carbs after 5pm policy.

No carbs! Why not just slit your freakin throat? What's next no lamb?

Respond to this comment

savo would have you know...

Posted July 11, 2009
Love the rowing machine. The treadmill can't keep up with rapid changes in speed and effort and the stationary bike feels like, well.. I have something of an endomorphic shape so the bulk is where I sit.

On the weekend I like to do what me exercise physiologist calls Centuries. It's as much aerobic as weights: pick as many exercises as you need (15/20 whatever)and do one hundred reps nice and fast. Weights not too high but don't be a girl about it, it's only 100 reps. Beats the crap out of doing a fixed time because you know that you still have to do a certain amount, with a timed amount you can slack off and still reach your goal. Some faves are weighted punch outs, situps (15kg on chest) and a count down 1 star jump run 15m 1 push up run 15m 2 star jumps run... 10 star jumps run 10 push ups run 9 star jumps same back down to one. Star jumps are my nod to burpees (God I hate burpees) Some of you have see me and so should realise getting both feet off the ground at the one time is a major major achievement.

Doing it with a training buddy helps (I've 2 skinny mates my age - skinny bastards!), have a well balanced and correctly programmed series of work out sessions that spread the workout load around the body is essential, just "knowing what works for me" don't cut it.

Breakfast is fruit (narnie for recovery) and carbs in the form of a Sanitarium 'Get Up & Go' = 2 weetbix and milk.

Lunch a salad sango

Dinner anything but a lot less of it.

Oh yes and anti inflamatories and analgesics.

Senator & JB: I haven't kicked all of that last 25kg but I buy off the rack now :o)

About India and China playing around the Indian Ocean with the US on the other side, I seem to remember Tom Clancy doing a novel based on that, them threatening to take over the Southern Economic Zone (Australia)

Respond to this comment

damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 11, 2009
savo: Rising Sun, but it was Japan not China. Not a particularly compelling thesis really. Some of the free-trade talk was practically insulting to non-USians who attempt to engage in said practice. The book was notable in that it predicted using a large plane with full fuel tanks as a bomb, annihilating everyone in a building (actually, Congress I believe, thus turning Jack Ryan into the POTUS).

Give me Jenkins over Clancy any day ;)

Respond to this comment

Bangar reckons...

Posted July 11, 2009
Savo, a Dale Brown book perhaps?

Respond to this comment

beeso is gonna tell you...

Posted July 11, 2009
i train with a few Aussie touch boys who put me through a fair bit of pain, lots of sprints. Thursday we did a 12 min interval run, 5x150 on the 30 1min 10x70m on the 30 sec 15x30m on the 15sec. Absolutely killed, especially the ones into the wicked headwind.

However its not shifting the weight and anyone whos read the food blog knows what my attitude to food is, none of that no carbs after 5 madness, so I bit the bullet and I'm doing 3 bike classes a week at the gym.

we'll see if that helps...

Respond to this comment

lostatlunch puts forth...

Posted July 11, 2009
Havock... you are still using a lot of caps since th4 whole holocost thing... have you been off the prozac? God has also been kind to me and maintan a lovely 90kg's with minimal effort & gross neglect and as I hit 40, I am being more aware of taking care of it..

Did god bless with with a 9" penis as well?

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK mutters...

Posted July 11, 2009
SAVO, the dogs you were talking about were, India, china and IRAN!, that was Debt of Honour and it was HALF a plane load of jet fuel. It was because the JAPANESE..MAFIA / Industrial mega corp players had built nukes and threatened to utilise them, these guys were in cahoooots. Stage one was NEC ( northern economic zone), from memory and then Southern . Executive Orders is on the NTH one,.....I THINK..NO sorry. That book deals with IRAN / IRAQ. The BEAR & THE DRAGON, is based on the Northern one. But they theme is ambitions both those players have ( china / india ) , they are not against each other..YET.

However, in real life...I suspect its one that has yet to be played out, I've said it before elsewhere, possibly here as well. have a look at where the majority of India's water flows from and who just happens to be sitting on top of it!.

Respond to this comment

damian reckons...

Posted July 11, 2009
Yes, Debt of Honor (not sure what Rising Sun was. Crichton?) Definitely thinking of the same book, but I won't read Clancy more than once. Which is twice more than one should read Cussler, I'd add.

Respond to this comment

Lobes reckons...

Posted July 12, 2009
Rising Sun was a Crichton book about industrial rivalry and espionage between USA and Japan.

Was turned into a good movie with (I Think) Sean Connery and Denzel.

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted July 12, 2009
Back on topic, Very Very interesting & disturbing program this morning about fructose & it's role in obesity & type 2 diabetes.

Will make me think twice about putting a poppa juice (juice box) in The Bobettes lunchbox everyday.

Podcast isn't up yet but the transcript is there & podcast coming soon.

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2009/2621415.htm

Respond to this comment

Patricia mumbles...

Posted July 12, 2009
JB - I used to do corporate rowing. If you come in one arvie to QUT, we can use one of their rowing machines. I can coach you on technique, posture and rhythm.

Which makes me think I should go back to rowing. Lobes is right. A rowing machine is WAY better than a treadmill. I hate treadmills. I hate running. But rowing? *sigh* one of the greatest things invented.

Respond to this comment

Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted July 12, 2009
Technique, posture and Rhythm with Patricia

Think about it JB....

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 12, 2009
wesley snipes was the other fella Lobs, with sean. Its taken half an effin hour to think of his god dam name..lol

Respond to this comment

savo mutters...

Posted July 12, 2009
Vixen 03 was Cusslers best book, with each progressivly filled with more and more crap. Take Note Birmo, that is how to screw a franchise/universe.

With Clancy must say I prefered the Clark stories to the Ryan ones with Red Storm Rising being his best and having neither in it.

Respond to this comment

damian puts forth...

Posted July 12, 2009
My copy of the 1951 edition Admiralty Seamanship Manual has a marvellous(ly camp) diagram of correct rowing posture through the stroke. Not meant for a sliding seat, but the principles are the same. I'll scan and post it somewhere sometime.

Respond to this comment

damian mumbles...

Posted July 12, 2009
savo - you name the only one that I actually enjoyed reading. All of his others made me angry for some reason or other, usually just some stupid cultural ignorance or other that the twerp couldn't be bothered researching. At least, that's what I seem to recall - I think I've mostly successfully whiskey-scrubbed those memories.

Respond to this comment

damian mumbles...

Posted July 12, 2009
Done. It's actually from HMSO Manual of Seamanship Vol. II, Admiralty 1951.

Respond to this comment

Lobes mumbles...

Posted July 12, 2009
Raise the Titanic was a fairly entertaining romp. I like most of the Dirk Pitt novels but he has now killed off Pitt and replaced him with someone named Kurt Austin. No good.

Damien not a bad rowing diagram. the key picture is figure 6 ('The Release'). Its important to remember that your hands should be moving around in an oval (or ellipse) when viewed from side-on. Its not just back and forth. And you notice the first few diagrams he is putting all the force through the oar with his back. He doesnt try to bend his arms until the oar has some momentum through the water.

Diagrams 1 & 2 show perhaps the most crucial moment 'The Catch'. You're not trying to rip the oar through the water at this stage. You want a nice clean entry which you acheive just by releasing pressure off the oar and let the blade drop in with a plop. Check the height difference in his hands btw Fig 1-2.

Damn... I used to coach rowing at Uni. Didnt realise this stuff was so seriously embedded even a decade later. Hmm, probably should have started my explanation with the catch though, but you get me going on racing starts and I'll never stop.

Respond to this comment

NBlob mumbles...

Posted July 13, 2009
I always new my Dad was a pretty smart dude, then I heard how he picked up my mum - by coaching the womens rowing team.

If you like your women big & strong it's a gold mine.

Respond to this comment

damian asserts...

Posted July 13, 2009
Lobes - what impressed me most is how clearly it shows him keeping his back straight at all times, and his arms as much as possible.

I think the only bit missing so far from this discussion is rhythm. When I last rowed it was High School, and they used to get us to do 4:1 for cruising, and scaling up to 2:1 and 1:1 sprints for racing.

When I was getting to the gym regularly a couple of years ago, I'd do a "virtual" 30km or so in a session on the machine, mostly cruising with a 3:1 (ie, 4/4 time) rhythm, broken up a bit with 1:1 sprints. 4:1 could only work in the gym if the background music is 'Take 5', on a 45rpm single played at 33rpm, IMHO.

Note to Birmo - the numbers are the ratio of time the blade is out of the water (7 to 10) and in the water (1 to 6). The larger number is the time out of the water.

Respond to this comment

Annabel Candy is gonna tell you...

Posted July 13, 2009
Well done on your fitness program and weight loss.

I have a swiss ball I love. The Aussie queen of the swiss ball is Lisa Westlake who has a string of books like Get On The Ball and DVDs such as Hard Core Strength which is full of sweaty muscle men. I recommend you borrow them from the library to see if you like them.

I enjoy doing fitness DVDs as it's like having personal trainer and they make you push yourself. Get a heap of them so you don't get bored and to make sure all your muscles get worked on. I try to alternate days of weight training and cardio such as power walking (look how trim it keeps Kim Day-Knight!) and biking.

Keep up the great writing and exercising!

Respond to this comment

jp ducks in to say...

Posted July 21, 2009
I'm a big fan of pilates -- especially pushups etc, and a lot of stuff with a power band (big elastic band, the ultimate travel-gym for book tour).

The 300 workout is good, as is this one:

http://www.esquire.com/the-side/video/dr-oz-workout-0509

Pretty much everything Esquire does has helped this writer stay alive.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'JB's deadline workout.'

Book recommendation.

Posted June 22, 2009 by John Birmingham
Every deadline I inevitably get distracted by one book I shouldn't read, but do anyway. This deadline it was The Destroyermen by Taylor Anderson. It's alt hist, WW2 based, sort of. Anderson takes a couple of clapped out WW1 era destroyers, pressed into service at the start of the Pacific War, and sends them through a time warp, wormhole, Transition Event, whatever, into a parallel earth where humans may or may nor have evolved, but where they certainly aren't the dominant species. There are two of those, a sexy, peace loving, half cat half monkey species. And a bunch of hungry orcs who eat them.

The destroyermen find themselves drawn into this conflict as the most technologically advanced posse on the planet, even in their clapped out old destroyers. It's interesting to watch how he deals with resource scarcity.

I enjoyed this piece of top shelf airport novelage immensely. Anderson uses the chaos of the war's early days on Earth 1.1 to cram a disparate bunch of characters onto his boats before sending them thru the event horizon. The action is very well handled, and I liked the character development even if, like WoC, there are probably too many speaking roles. The author did make another mistake that I recognise from own early work, shifting in and out of multiple POVs without adequately sign posting the change in the text. I was lucky enough to have Steve Saffel at Del Rey pull me up on that before we got into print. TA wasn't, but then he only does it a couple of times and it may well be that only other writers would notice.

Anyway, if you're in the way of needing some alt hist explodey goodness to tide you over until After America, do yourself a favour and check out The Destroyermen.

As for me, I got another five chapters to write, a Penthouse column overdue, and I lost most of today to a hell meeting.

On the upside, I took my belt in another notch today.

31 Responses to ‘Book recommendation.’

Brian has opinions thus...

Posted June 22, 2009
Keep away from Parliament Play Time. You're whole day could get blown. Half the net is watching the Utegate play offs.

Respond to this comment

Tarl reckons...

Posted June 22, 2009
The first two of the Destroyermen novels are pretty good. I lost interest halfway through the third, though.

Respond to this comment

Chaz asserts...

Posted June 22, 2009
Interesting, similar to an idea i had a way back about a WW1 troop convoy getting sucked into an alt fantasy world.

good news about the belt, however you're going to have to breathe out eventually!!!

Respond to this comment

Moko has opinions thus...

Posted June 22, 2009
Your recommendation of The Winter of Frankie Machine was spot on. One of the best books I've read. It's fighting for a top five spot - for me - with Tales of The Otori: Across The Nightingale Floor, by Lian Hearn (who is a chick). I've read Frankie Machine two and half times now lol. I'll check this one out. Cheers.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted June 22, 2009
Sounds good. Can't wait. Will find it.

Respond to this comment

El Coqui would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2009
John

I like it too, third was not as good but still I want to get the 4th. Right now, I am reading in my kindle, One Second After by Forsham.

The premise is that the US is hit by a series of high altitude nukes and the EMP wave transforms the whole country from first to third world in a moment.Makes Katrina looks like a children tea party in comparision.

However, like John, at the moment I am also writing. I just posted another 17th century NCIS story draft in 1632 slush, check it out. My story The Duchess is a Leatherneck was posted on issue 24 of the online magazine Grantville Gazette.

Plus I am hearing a CD from an Australian rising start Hayley Legg, check her out because she possess the whole package, looks, voice and talent. Her CD is on ITunes and she had posted music videos at YouTube.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2009
Moko, The Winter of Frankie M is perilously close to literature, which Destroyermen ain't. It is, however, great fun.

Respond to this comment

NBlob mutters...

Posted June 22, 2009
When you get the architect in to re-model this place, can we have a dedicated wing for "I read & really enjoyed..."

Recomendations from other readers are so much more valuable than the publicity mavens spins & spells.

Particularly when a book purchase is a saved for event, not a consumable item like for some around here. (I'm lookin your way Orin)

Respond to this comment

lostatlunch reckons...

Posted June 22, 2009
Someone is going to get beaten by his fanbase if he does not get back to work.

Respond to this comment

Flinthart is gonna tell you...

Posted June 22, 2009
Yay for the beltnotch. You're still doing a Penthouse column?

Respond to this comment

Tarl puts forth...

Posted June 22, 2009
Something you just reminded me of - I have to subscribe to Penthouse. I'm too embarrassed to admit I'm doing so for your articles, I'll just pretend that I'm buying it for the porn.

Respond to this comment

Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted June 22, 2009
Tagged the tome, will check it out. Sounds like fun.

Respond to this comment

savo is gonna tell you...

Posted June 22, 2009
"...a Penthouse column overdue..."

I knew I got it for the articles!

Respond to this comment

Orin has opinions thus...

Posted June 22, 2009
Just reminding Havock that he has to go read Enders Game. As always I recommend River of Gods by Ian McDonald. I haven't put up any reviews recently because I've been doing more writing than reading ... but I will be getting back to the polity series now.

Respond to this comment

yankeedog reckons...

Posted June 22, 2009
I've not read any of 'The Destroyermen' because it seemed too much of a ripoff of the AoT basic idea.

Maybe I'll write a book about a Navy ship that gets sucked into a time/space vortex and travels to a parallel universe where intelligent snails rule, or Lichtenstein is the major power in the world, or Keith Urban is a real talented singer. Everyone else is doing it, after all...

Respond to this comment

sibeen reckons...

Posted June 22, 2009
Just reminding Havock that he has to go read Enders Game.

A nice read.

Until I saw this in the last few days.

http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/topscifi/lists_books_rank1.html

This list has Ender's Game as the best S.F book of all time.

What utter, utter crock.

It also has 'Speaker for the Dead' on the list. The fucking thing was unreadable. I suspect a shit load of Mormons voted...that's my only explanation.

Respond to this comment

Murphy would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2009
You know, I can't remember the last SF novel I picked up that really got me excited. I keep roaming the shelves, picking up titles, shaking my head and putting them back. I think the last thing which tripped my trigger was Titanicus by Dan Abnett. Unfortunately it happened at the local library when I was sans library card (I had my NYC card, which wouldn't work there) and some greasy teen probably got it.

Right now I'm reading Pacific Fury by Peter Thompson and I have to admit, it is one of the better history books I have read in the last three years. I'm looking forward to reading some Peter Hamm next.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted June 22, 2009
I should qualify my above statement by saying that I enjoyed Without Warning but that goes without saying. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

mckinneytexas would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2009
Steve Stirling and his group are touting a book called The Foresight War in which two historians, one British and one German, go back in time to the mid-30's when each gains the confidence of highly placed persons and from there, both sides mend the errors of their strategic and logistical ways. Bad for France and the low countries, the Ruskies and no Dunkirk--I am unclear as to whether the Holocaust goes forward--is what I take from the reviews. I've ordered and will post if it's worth the $$$. Will give Destroyermen a try. Glad John is losing weight, though I suspect it's mostly his serial illnesses.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK on lappy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 23, 2009
well, I be here in WET, its pisin down Camperdown Vic and on BLOODY EFFIN DIAL UP NO LESS! Sheez, get onto that fuckwad sol boy or his god dam next of kin will ya and get that roll out completed. Even the cows are faster than the net down here. Sounds like a good book , however, I have been informed by ORIN that..End of Days,ooops, Enders game is me next purchase. This might well mean that post the consumption of this I can say, I offer a balanced and unbiased view on all things, being well read and all.

PS, just a short note: After todys , almost wasted exercise of draggin me carcass down here, that bloody blunty tomorrow had better be a cracker or I just might hav to AMP up the GOIN ORF bit. Now given its eight god dam below, I have dragged me arse all over Vic and its raining effin cats and dog at the mo I figure we might toddle off to bed. At least I mnaged to shave 30 minutes of the old man best transit time down here though, mind you it cost me an exra half a tank of fuel..lol, but thems the brek for speedieness...

Respond to this comment

Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted June 23, 2009
Foresight War eh? I'll check that out.

I am also feeling vaguely ill and have been losing weight, I am turning (back) into a pencil neck geek.

Respond to this comment

Robert has opinions thus...

Posted June 23, 2009
Destroyermen recommended as a light summer read, by John Birmingham. Cool Karma, for it was a recommendation for light summer reading in Time magazine that I sought out and read Weapons of Choice.

I do believe Birmo has just "paid it forward."

Respond to this comment

Patricia is gonna tell you...

Posted June 23, 2009
Houston we have a problem in Blunty. The number codes are not refreshing. You may have a problem updating new comments, JB

Respond to this comment

Quokka would have you know...

Posted June 23, 2009
Hey JB

Thanks for the tip. We are out bayside being renovation refugees, and The Bloke has been reading on the train. He came home very confused while he was reading WW and said that he lost touch with reality several times and kept forgetting where he was. His mind wandered several times during meetings and he nearly muttered 'But America is GONE' during one particularly dull gathering of the white shoe brigade.

The bloke won't normally won't read anything longer than the newspaper, I have been trying to get him to read books for years, without success...so I'm still just shaking my head at the turnaround.

I'm speechless. Thanks for keeping him entertained, you have no idea how much I was dreading 2 months of living with cranky commuter man.

Cheers, Q

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted June 23, 2009
Ah thank you Quokka. It's stories like that which keep me at the keyboard... well, actually it's the royalty cheques and Playboy Bunnies. But I do enjoy stories like that.

Respond to this comment

damian reckons...

Posted June 23, 2009
"On the upside, I took my belt in another notch today."

Go you! I let mine out one today :(

Respond to this comment

El Coqui swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 23, 2009
Guys:

Clear your 2010 TV watching schedules.

Tom Hanks and Stephen Spilberg "Pacific" is coming,as seem by the first teaser, it looks like a worthy successor to their acclaimed "Band of Brothers". I am sure that their AO would be a matter of particular interest to our OZ comrades.

Respond to this comment

andyf mutters...

Posted June 24, 2009
ive read the foresight war,, pretty good

just read an online book, fan fic thing, cracking

http://www.strategypage.com/militaryforums/390-2990.aspx

heaven and hell declare war on earth..

we dislike this..

Respond to this comment

Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 24, 2009
McKinney, here's a taster of The foresight War.

http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/TFW%20Extract.htm

Not bad, historically accurate and credible, description and characterisation a bit thin, a lot of professional weapons porn (Brits go with a Bullpup semi-auto Bren).

Yes I will buy it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Cheers!

Respond to this comment

Mark Orth ducks in to say...

Posted June 25, 2009
I just finished "Without Warning" last night, very good book. You have quite an imagination. It is the first book of yours that I have read. You style is kind of a cross between Tom Clancy and Robert A. Heinlein, Looking forward to the next book in the series. When is it due?

Respond to this comment

Friendless asserts...

Posted June 26, 2009
Hey Birmo, which bookshop(s) do you recommend for buying your books? I'd like to support someone who supports you.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Book recommendation.'