Cheeseburger Gothic

Did an interview. Did not disgrace myself

Posted July 11 into Books by John Birmingham

I spoke to Pete Wells from the Herald earlier this week abut writing for audio. I seem to recall meandering through the convo like a complete mofo.

But he has some pretty sharp editing chiops, so it came out all right.

Considering the very bleak premise of Zero Day Code, I asked if Birmingham is optimistic about the future of humanity.

“Look it depends what time of the day you catch me. Whether I've had a cup of coffee or not,” he laughs. “There are times, like everyone, where I feel pretty bleak about the future.

“But then I see some of the work that's being done, some of it by technologists, some of it by activists, some of it by people who were bad guys and became good guys … There's an awful lot of people who used to work in petroleum who've left it and they are working very, very hard to repair the damage they've done.

“And of course, you know, once we develop a carbon-free energy market there will be trillions of dollars to be made out of it. And never, ever underestimate the motivational power of human greed to solve the problems that human greed has created.

“But right now I'm in my nice office, looking out into the forest. It's a sunny day. So today, I'm optimistic. Ask me in an hour.”

Full report here.

6 Responses to ‘Did an interview. Did not disgrace myself’

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted July 12
Sometimes I wonder what sort of world my young grandchildren will have to grow up in. Yeah there's lots of good stuff happening out of sight but I still think it's going to be a shithole with widespread and catastrophic population declines.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 12
I'm a pessimistic optimist : ) but i must say i have caught myself in the dark wee hours thinking about my kids future. Not the usual "are they going to be successful, will they get on okay" but more "is there going to be a future". Terminator 2 is seeming more like an instruction manual on what to teach your kids. Although i think the "AI is going to kill us all" is a red herring with years we have left. We are going to do it ourselves way before AI is smart enough to do it for us.

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she_jedi asserts...

Posted July 12
That was a great piece from Mr Wells, you did more than simply not disgrace yourself!

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pitpat puts forth...

Posted July 14
Just finished it . Fantastic Thanks for the effort in research writing, and editing. This is only my second audio book ( first was World War Z) and it was a right up there with that. I loved the Rupert Degas's narration although I found some of the dialogue didn't mesh with my mental image of the accents and intonation. I'm not sure the medium is suited to wordy, snappy, info dense conversation - for me at any rate.

Hope it kills it and that you have a follow up ready to roll.

Will get a five star review on audible once I've bought a gen set, some long life supplies, cans of beans, some seeds. Have the Hilux and a good little petrol driven pump, need a winch tho - a manual one-, some decent fishing kit, maybe another compound bow and a fletching kit, a couple of flints, epoxy resin and a few other things that might come in handy. The rest can be sourced during the early days of the pillaging. Getting peeps out of the kill zones will be the tricky part.

Generally a bit of an optimists simply because the alternative seems such an interminable drag on the very limited time we have on this watery rock and enormous enjoyment can be had simply by sticking your head in some nature and sucking back. But love a good catastrophe novel to bring it back to the mean.

Cheers and Beers, Get Some Fun.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 15
Thx mate. I'm taking notes on your To Do List.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted July 15
If there's one thing which Zero Day Code tells us is that go-bags need to be really handy. One in the car, one at home, one at work.

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Digital siege

Posted July 9 into Blunty by John Birmingham

It's book launch time, it must be thinky column time too.

At the Instrument.

Cod, Mark Kurlansky’s enjoyable history of the big mouthed Atlantic all rounder, is just as much a history of human politics, economics and warfare, ranging from the murderous adventures of maximum Viking Eirik the Red to the three strange and mostly bloodless "Cod Wars" between Iceland and Great Britain in the decades after the Second World War.

A thousand years of human folly and conflict, with the cod swimming through it all; European colonisation, the American War of Independence, the rise of the slave trade.

The seemingly porous state of Australia’s defences against cyberattack has been exposed by serious intrusions or attempted intrusions.
The seemingly porous state of Australia’s defences against cyberattack has been exposed by serious intrusions or attempted intrusions.
In living memory, Germany lost two wars in part because of that fish. While first the Kaiser and then the Führer’s Volk suffered privation and malnutrition in the First and Second World Wars, their English enemies harvested the North Sea for megatons of protein to feed millions of soldiers and factory workers.

Crediting an Allied victory to plentiful supplies of fish and chips might seem an amusingly hot and salty take on such a grim topic, but it does go to a hard truth in the history of human conflict. Starving your enemy can be just as effective as bombing, shooting or stabbing them.

In any future global conflict involving the post-industrial West, siege and starvation, the most medieval of tactics, are likely to be among the first deployed.

And the more advanced the belligerent, the more vulnerable they are to digital disruption of real-world supply chains...

6 Responses to ‘Digital siege’

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted July 9
Invest in paper, typwriters, and analog.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted July 9
I can see a book coming on. One about the end of civilisation. Erm, hang a bit ...

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NBlob asserts...

Posted July 9
"The seemingly porous state of Australia’s defences against cyberattack has been exposed by serious intrusions or attempted intrusions."
Are they? Have they been significantly interrupted?
Hodgepodge, Jerry Rigged, post-Hoc? yes, indoubidably.
But, vulnerable ?
Every target of $ value, or just worthy of a "digital wristy in an anonymous chat-room" has been atacked 9 wise west of Tuesday for the past decade.
Possibly by Corrupted Nerds of the spotty oik variety, not weaponised hackers with Skillz.
But Shirley said services have mirrors, redundancies, fail safes?

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted July 10
They haven't been interrupted because the purpose of a probing attack is to probe. Not to attack. You establish you can penetrate the system. You survey the weaknesses. And you leave. There's no point collapsing anything until you need to.
They do it to us. We do it to them. It will end badly.

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Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted July 10
Having not read Cod, I don't know how much it goes into the whole supply chain logistics of feeding a war with only (or mainly) northern European resources v a global opposition.

But there's a reason that the word ersatz entered the anglo lexicon: so many German items were. From memory, everything from painkillers to rubber had to be fabricated rather than harvested.

And yes, break today's supply chains and we're in trouble, I believe. Three weeks of fuel. No domestic car manufacturing capability (because why would we need to think about retooling to a military capability when the US is on our side, right?).

In a way, though, I think Aus is better off than a place like the UK. I believe that if we could solve the fuel issue, we can at least feed ourselves. The UK's food supply chain is based on just in time from across Europe, North Africa and the Americas. Oops.

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wyvernsridge puts forth...

Posted July 24
1. I hope that Alvin Toffler's "War and AntiWar" is in your reference bookcase. TL:DR "Societies make war the same way they make money".
2. "Effects based Operations" or "Effects-based Strategy" depending on the level you are working on. lots of reading out there - good examples from WW2 - lots of more wonkish stuff from the US think tanks. The problem is how to do BDA (ie. "Bomb Damage Assessment) meaning how to check that your actions actually had the effect you envisaged.
3. If you ever get a chance to, talk to the author of the NRMA paper on Fuel Security in Australia (AVM John Blackburn Retd) - if you do, take your notebook, you'll need it!

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Frank Grillo is doing some really cool shit for Netflix

Posted July 8 by John Birmingham

I loved his last film about the getaway driver scammed into an underworld shakedown. This looks even better.

(And yes, I'm trying very hard not to post shit on Twiiter and da Book that should really go here. Which means everything).

5 Responses to ‘Frank Grillo is doing some really cool shit for Netflix’

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted July 8
Netflix has a budget B grade saturday matinee type alien invasion movie called ‘Beyond Skyline’ starring Frank Grillo that is quite enjoyable.

On the subject of Netflix Sci-Fi, there is a movie on Netflix called ‘Spectral’ with hard-nosed military people fighting supernatural beings. It didn’t get a cinema release because I think it was perceived as crap. It’s a quality entertainment if you like that sort of thing.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 9
Yeah, seen it. Top shelf B grade. Loved it.

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Thalesian asserts...

Posted July 15
Have you seen ARC on Netflix? It's a one-room 'time resets' movie, which is surprisingly riveting. Each reset has a different twist.
4-stars, would recommend

Thalesian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 15
Dammit... ARQ with a Q...

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 16
Yes, it was one of the first Netflix movies I watched. Very much enjoyed it.

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Listening to ZERO DAY CODE

Posted July 8 by John Birmingham

It's a weird thing, listening to somebody read something you've written. Not at all like re-reading it yourself. By the time a book is published I've usually read and re-read the manuscript so many times that I'm wordblind to it. It cant see errors. I an't really see anything any more.

But listening to Rupert Degas's reading of Zero Day Code for Audible was like encountering the story for the first time. That's often how it feels with audiobooks, at least for me. But the effect was exceptionally pwoerful with this title, probably because Degas is an exceptionally powerful reader. I'm in awe of how he manages to craft so many different voices. His Jonas Murdoch in ZDC is even better than the Jonas in my head when I write him.

<u>Jason Lambright has a nice post over at his blog</u> about the experience of listening to a book being akin to sitting by the camp fire with your favourite garrulous uncle.

I started listening last Friday and kept sneaking away form the family over the weekend to find more opportunities to revisit the story. It realy helped get my head back into the narrative world for book two. I think I'm gonna restart the narration and just keep replaying it until I've finished the draft of the new manuscript.

<u>If you're not an Audible listener, you've got about a year and half to wait for the paper and ebooks to come out. Or you could get yourself a free copy with a trial account, right here.</u>

13 Responses to ‘Listening to ZERO DAY CODE’

she_jedi mumbles...

Posted July 8
I've been so impressed with Degas' reading of ZDC. Not just for smashing it out of the park on characters like Jonas and Damo (OMG the Damo voice! *kisses fingers*) but C level characters like Mikey, Jonas' flatmate. Degas captures EVERYTHING you've written about Mikey in his voice; we know that while Jonas is biased in his contempt for Mikey, there's a solid foundation for that contempt because Mikey IS that contemptuous sort of guy. And all of that is conveyed through the voice Degas gave him, and all in a single scene. Just amazing.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 8
Yeah, I'm beginning to understand just how narration is a strange, obscure but utterly amazing ART form.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted July 8
i have this queued waiting for a day of burning blackberry canes and biddy bush (headphones in, a log to sit on and a bottle to sip and watch those buggers burn). I got sucked into audio books because of long car trips and the kids. Best thing to zone them out was to put on a book and let them get involved. The best ones were ones we could get into as well. Miriam Margolyes and her effort in Matilda was transforming. Simon Callow does a damn good job too. Then i got an audible account. But we also supplement with a library one. Current cracker is a YA fantasy by DM Cornish, Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling. Damn fine job they did on that one.. . . . but i just need that weekend to watch a fire burn whilst listening to the world burn : )

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 8
Have you got into Borrowbox? It's a library based audiobook app from Bolinda.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon would have you know...

Posted July 9
Yeah Bolinda is the one our library uses . . . i think there is another one as well. We rack the kms up on the car living rural and the radio is always a constant battle: "i want to listen to this topic on RN, well we want to listen to music, no not that one the other one". Audiobooks are the sanity restoring middle ground.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted July 8
Listening to an audio book after having read is almost like experiencing a new book. I find that the voices I construct while reading are rarely the same as those on audiobooks. .
It's almost like experiencing a new book and with a skilled narrator such as Degas it adds another depth.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted July 8
It really is!

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted July 8
My inner head 'canon' voices are nothing like Degas', so listening to this I've had a bit of "Oh! That's what Damo/Jonas/Mel/Rick sound like." Like it's official now that Degas has voiced them. It's weird but immensely pleasing all at once.

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Vovchara puts forth...

Posted July 10
I honestly hope it will come out in written form. Audiobooks are just not for me. I was trying to listen for almost a week, just can't remember characters, and my imagination is also completely idle. Got through the first interlude, if you ask me what it was about I wouldn't be able to tell. Don't get me wrong, it is a good book, just need it in writing.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 10
It will eventually drop in print/ebook. But Audible bought exclusivity, so they get exclusivity. The upside is that when it expires in about 18 months, the entire series will be written. No waiting for sequels.

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Thalesian mumbles...

Posted July 15
Got a copy, listened to it, loved it.

I really thought Degas' accent work was well done, and the story itself was great.
Kudos.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 16
Cheers Guv

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Leftarc would have you know...

Posted July 29
Just bought the audible ZDC to listen to as part of a long weekend of driving and camping.
The narration and editting was very good. The book was great, and hand in hand there are several call outs I want to mention:
The introduction of Nomi was a curveball.
When the NSC tells you to eat your pancakes, eat your pancakes.
The epilogue was a nice little homage to the King.

Well done JB, Well done.

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Alternate Caitlin

Posted June 18 into Book Extract by John Birmingham

Got these in the mail today, from John Ringo's publishers at Baen. A while back John asked me if I'd be up for doing a story in the anthology he was collecting, set in his Black Tide Rising narrative world; a zombie epic. I like those books, because the lead character, unusually for an American title, is Australian, and even more unusually for zombie fiction, they're great fun and they hold out the real prospect of hope. A bit like Max Brook's World War Z, BTR is as much about the fightback as the collapse.

Having enjoyed teleporting the crew of the Diamantina into S.M. Stirling's emberverse, I decided to catch up with an old fave with this one too. Caitlin Monroe. The story begins exactly as it does in Without Warning. And then things get bitey.

EXTRACT.

...She was about to cut the call when Wales spoke again.

“Caitlin, your immunisation. It worked? You were exposed to the blood borne pathogen when you were bitten. You’re still good to go?”

“Still got my pants on and I haven’t bitten anybody,” she said. “Not even peckish.”

“Good. Be aware that Bateman and Le Clerc have not been immunized.”

She regarded the thick smears of drying blood on Le Clerc’s face.

“Thanks.”

Caitlin cut the call as they emerged from the corridor through another set of swinging plastic doors into what looked like the ER. It was a medieval vision of Hell on Earth. A writhing mound of human bodies had piled up at the exit where a hundred or more people had been trapped while trying to escape. They could not all fit through the sliding doors at the same time, and nobody was inclined to wait patiently while a dozen naked, blood drenched fiends raked and tore at the edge of the crush.

Caitlin, who had seen some shit in her time, froze for a second, paralysed by horror as a ravening cannibal pulled a small limb, a child’s arm she thought numbly, from the living heap as though tearing off a chicken wing.

Monique screamed, and for half a heartbeat Caitlin thought she had cried out in distress at the sight of the dismembered child, but the tenor of her cry, a shriek of pain and outrage and deeply personal horror draw the assassin’s attention away from the atrocity at the exit.

Le Clerc had turned.

Voices of the Fall. John Ringo and Gary Poole (eds).

2 Responses to ‘Alternate Caitlin’

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted June 18
Oh my.... time for Caitlin to kick some zombie arse!

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted June 18
That teaser is more of a rundown of the summary of a precis of an extract. Still gets one itchy though.

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Zero Day Code

Posted June 14 into Books by John Birmingham

Those of you who've been following my End of the World project over at Patreon will know by now that Audible picked up the exclusive rights to the series a couple of months ago. The first audiobook drops on July 4, but there is a sample chapter available now on Soundcloud.

You can have a listen here.

Some of you may want to grab it on pre-order. If so, hit up this link.

And if you don't have an Audible account, you're in luck because you can get the whole book for free, by signing up for a trial. You get one title to keep, no charge, even if you cancel out.

Zero Day Code started life as my homage to Stephen King's The Stand. I've always wanted to write a big, conventional end of the world epic. ZDC is that book, and the start of a much longer story. It bakes in elements of cyber-war, espionage, climate crises, civilisational collapse and a classic old school military techno-thriller, with my favourite part of the whole of apocalypse genre - shooting and shopping as the world burns.

My thanks to everyone who's helped out over at Patreon.

14 Responses to ‘Zero Day Code’

Dave W would have you know...

Posted June 14
Wait just a gosh-darned minute, does this mean that it won't be available as something that I can absorb using my eyeballs?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 14
Eventually. But the Beast paid a pretty penny for audio exclusive rights.

Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted June 14
Coollio- I'll investigate my options.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mutters...

Posted June 14
Absolutely no offence meant to our stateside friends - i find a british voice over more listenable for some reason. But Rupert Degas seems to smooth in straight away. Sometimes the various US accents take a while getting used to . . . how does he go voicing the female parts? . . . . i guess i should get a copy! . . . . and i just looked him up - he's British/Australian, maybe that is why it fits in so easily! : )

jl mumbles...

Posted June 15
Ha, not so odd I have the opposite problem! I did find that Degas did an excellent job. Very smooth, enjoyable.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted June 15
I'm on-board, though with all these pre-orders I have, that recent experience when I went to pre-order the Cruel Stars only to find I have already pre-ordered its a ridiculous combination of happy surprise and 'do I have enough money in that account?' when they are released.

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jl reckons...

Posted June 15
This summer is going to be amazing. Two hits from JB in the same season. Spoiler: Cruel Stars is a very good book; I've pre-ordered two. One for me, one for my sci-fi junky dad. And yeah, of course I claimed my copy of Zero Day Code when it hits.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted June 16
Please Sir will a dead tree version available for Bribane based #1 daughter to procure for my late August birthday?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted June 17
No! No soup for you!
(Because the contract is audio exclusive for 18 months)

NBlob mutters...

Posted June 17
Sad face.

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she_jedi would have you know...

Posted June 17
Right, I have finally succumbed to the Beast and I've set up an Audible account. I have used my free credit to pre-order Zero Day Code. Huzzah!

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 17
This. This is how you become my favourite.

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Oldy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 18
Same. Looking forward to it.

Reading chapter by chapter on the Patreon is super-cool, but getting the finished version all at once will be another great experience.

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spiral reckons...

Posted July 7
preordered it as soon as i could, i'm listening to it right now, the only gripe i might have with it is that almost all the women seem to be valley girls :D

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