Cheeseburger Gothic

Travelers and Van Helsing. (Spoilers)

Posted February 9 into Telly by John Birmingham


I've been following two new shows on Netflix the last couple of weeks. Travelers and Van Helsing. Travelers is the smarter of the two, with a stronger cast and deeper script. It also seems to have more money, given it's clear advantage in production values. But I still enjoy both.

Spoilers follow. (Although mostly conceptual rather than narrative).

Travelers is a simple premise, a reworked cliche of people coming back from the future to prevent bad shit happening. That could be tedious in unskilled hands but it pays off with interest here if you're willing to ignore a couple of difficulties.

The tweak in Travelers is the way they move backwards. Unlike Smith and Cady they don't just conveniently jump into an era. Instead only the conscious mind can travel, and it can only insert itself into the mind/body of another human being, completely overwriting the personality, memories, and life of the previous occupant. For this reason the travelers take over the bodies of people about to die.

The pilot provides a series of WTF mystery moments as this process repeats itself again and again until you figure out what's happening. Things have gone horribly wrong in the far future and it seems all of the dwindling resources of mankind have been devoted to the Traveler program, to sending not just individuals back in time, but whole teams to carry out missions which will change the future and presumably Grandfather Paradox away all the bad mojo.

It could just devolve into a mission of the week series, but it doesn't. One of things that's hooked me is the prosaic difficulties the travelers have taking over the lives of people from hundreds of years in their past. Much of the drama comes not from the purely kinetic adventures, but from the lies they're forced to live and the compromises demanded of them.

It's great. Give it a look.

Van Helsing is different again. Based on a graphic novel it's more gloriously B-Movie inspired, although not as batshit B-grade as, say, Z Nation. A volcanic eruption which blots out the sun allows vampires to come out of the shadows and establish themselves at the top of the food chain. This could set up a standard Walking Dead rip off, except for the eponymous female lead: Vanessa Helsing, a woman bitten and killed in the early moments of the vampire uprising, but one who doesn't turn because of a pre-existing blood disease. Instead she becomes a sort of Buffy/Typhoid Mary imbued with vampire-killing physical skills and, more importantly, blood which is toxic to the biters. It turns them back into humans.

The first couple of eps are a bit wobbly, the acting a little wooden and even splintery, but by about six episodes in, the writers and actors have settled into their roles and it all accelerates nicely. It helps to remember that the source material is a graphic novel and that you should suspend your disbelief just that little bit harder.

But again, it's great escapist fun and well worth bingeing a couple of eps to get into.

12 Responses to ‘Travelers and Van Helsing. (Spoilers)’

Surtac reckons...

Posted February 9
Adding them to the list now,

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted February 9
I was looking at Van Helsing but it made it towards the bottom of the list because it looked so cheesy - only so much time and i'm way behind on other stuff. It has been bumped up the list based on recommendation. Travellers i haven't even got around to noticing yet. Hell, i'm still watching Dirk Gently i'm that far behind.

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted February 9
Yes, I enjoyed Travelers more than I expected. Action, SF concepts, but with more attention than usual to relatable human drama/melodrama about relationships and, dare I say it, feelings. I liked it.

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Aaron Campagnone is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9
Spoiler for Van Helsing (minor)

Did anyone follow it until the bitter end.....really really poor twists (Mohamed) and silly silly character choices (doc). I think it started strong and then ran out of ideas and just threw the kitchen sink at the plot!!

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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted February 10
Have you seen Westworld yet? I want to like it but it has been a slow slog for me.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted February 10
My mother loves that show! I've been meaning to buy it on iTunes because I don't subscribe to the only streamer here.

she_jedi asserts...

Posted February 10
Westworld was incredible, you'll love it

Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted February 11
I find it a bit frustrating, though I love the scenes with Anthony Hopkins and Jeffery Wright (who starred in Ride with the Devil and played Felix in the Daniel Craig Bond movies). However, I do get a bit tired of Ed Harris, an actor I like, with a character I should like, going on about, "The Maze is all that matters now."

she_jedi mumbles...

Posted February 12
I found it to be one of those shows were so much stuff like "the Maze is all that matters now" only makes sense in the final episode, where all the disparate threads you've been following either get tied up, or enough other threads get tied up to give you an insight into a particular thread. A colleague watched the whole thing again last week and said that so much of it made more sense the second time around, when he knew where it was going.

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Miss Maudy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 10
I've just finished Travelers, and I really enjoyed it. A lot more than I was expecting - proper story and all that and not just drama of the week. I'm hoping for a second series sooner rather than later. I'm watching Riverdale and The Expanse at the moment.

ntwinter would have you know...

Posted March 3
I absolutely loved The Expanse. Very 'true' feeling sci-fi - gritty and down to earth with very believable concepts and characters. Hanging out for season 2!
I'm also 80% through Travelers and found it very entertaining, though I did inwardly groan at the addict character with thoughts of some predictable paths they would take.
If I had to choose I would go The Expanse with a clear win.

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Gutz asserts...

Posted February 10
+4000 for Travellers.
I thought Eric McCormack needed to find a role far removed from Will & Grace and this is a good fit. I like the little things where they experience every day things that do not exist tine the future. Oh and MacKenzie Porter is Hawwwt!

Van Helsing? its a car crash you cannot help to watch on the off chance it gets better? C'mon it can't get worse!
Z Nation has the silly Zed shtick market locked down, so it does now leave many avenues to go down. Er if they go time traveling zombies? I will drop it like nuclear waste!

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Alien Side Boob archive now open to subscribers

Posted February 3 by John Birmingham

I didn't want to build a website. When I decided to test the waters with a subscriber-only column I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

That idea crashed and burned on the laser turret defences of a couple of corporate firewalls and Gmail's aggresive spam filtering. Apparently too many clusterfuckturduckens in one email means I'm selling time shares in Nigeria.

So, I built an archive. Or rather, Dan did.

Any ASB subscribers can check out all the back issues at aliensideboob.com

Including today's transcript of how that phone call would have gone if Paul Keating had been PM.

17 Responses to ‘Alien Side Boob archive now open to subscribers’

Brother PorkChop puts forth...

Posted February 3
Journal friend came up with this beauty Regardless of your politics, or your position on hair tablets/cream, or the condition of your prostate, I think we can all agree that President Trump has a reeeaaally, reeeeaaaaly long bit of hair at the front, that needs to be coiffed over and sprayed into submission, and a short back-and-sides. A kind of 'reverse mullet'. Or, TRullet, if u will. #trullety

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Brother PorkChop has opinions thus...

Posted February 3
Journo Friend. Not Journal friend. Bloody spellfixer

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Therbs asserts...

Posted February 3
So its all well and good for arsewombles to spam me with "You have $4683 in your account" scam emails but not okay to receive some sweary copy to subscribers?
Once again its one rule for scam artists and another for those seeking enrichment of the intellect.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 3
Gmail spam terminators may be brutal, but the ones at my uni email address have laser blaster eyes like Bronwyn Bishop. It's incredible what uni will block, all that's left after that purge is little smoking piles of dust whimpering sadly in the trash receptor.

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insomniac asserts...

Posted February 3
You made ms insomniac lol with the PK phone call

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted February 3
I've been taken aback by the ferocity of the firewall defences. Hence the site and the FB group

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted February 3
If you start out with "boob" it probably doesn't matter what you say next

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jl has opinions thus...

Posted February 4
Luckily, haven't had a single issue with Boob emails. For those of you who haven't subscribed, what are you waiting on? It's well worth the little bit of scratch- my kids can go without lunch money for a while. Their sacrifice was for a worthy cause.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted February 4
My plucky @hotmail equivilant of a Fairy Swordfish don't have laser defences, rather a moustache to twirl, a natty leather helmet and guts.

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Swordfish

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 4
I really should subscribe one of these days, I'm sill puzzling out what it is you plan to do one you have my credit card details

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Lulu puts forth...

Posted February 6
The Keating response made me think of Malcolm Tucker from "The Thick Of It" (as played so wonderfully by Peter Capaldi; the reason I could never watch him as Dr Who, because I always expected him to be breaking out the swear stick).

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pitpat would have you know...

Posted February 6
Still chortling.

Could I suggest the use of 'shit for brains' and possibly 'rat fucker' if you choose to reimagine the life and times of PJK. I reckon Keating would have used the term 'rat fucker' way before Rudd if and when cabinet got rowdy or the reporters got uppity

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Legless mumbles...

Posted February 6
If you want a mailing list service that won't get blocked by Gmail or most firewalls, drop me a line and I'll build you one. Gratis.


I'm a very minor IT godlet who's been around the Net since before DNS was a thing. When you had to type the IP address directly and the web was web 1.0. I've been around.


I've even got a Twitter-bot lying around that I wrote in a fit of rage when my very expensive aircon refused to work at the start of a heatwave. The manufacturer told me they might be able to get an engineer out in about 10 days. So I wrote and unleashed my Twitter-bot.


It sent a message to Twitter using the manufacturer's name as the hashtag every 5 minutes. It used 20 different insults based around how crap their customer service was and then recycled them but added a random 6 digit string to the front of each message. After an hour, it doubled it's output from 30 messages an hour to 60. Next iteration would have been 120. But it didn't get that far. I got a call from the head of marketing asking me to turn off the bit and there'd be an engineer round at 7am the next day.


I did, there was. Aircon fixed.


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Legless ducks in to say...

Posted February 6
On firewall madness, I once had the unfortunate job of wrangling a massive mail server with hundreds of thousands of users. We had a terrible, Yank designed, mail gateway/firewall that kept me up late at night. It would block mail and give enigmatic, generic, messages as to why the mail was blocked. When it blocked an entire town council's messages I had to dive deep into the guts of the monster to find out why.

It didn't like Scunthorpe. An unassuming little town in England and who's mail system we were responsible for. All users could send mail internally, to each other, but any and all inbound and outbound mail was blocked.

Profanity.

That was the message in the logs.


Then it dawned on me.


There's a cunt in Scunthorpe.


So I added Scunthorpe to the whitelist and all worked again. But, as I was going through the database of disallowed words or phrases I found:

"Antique farm machinery" as banned.


That threw me. What could possibly be offensive about that?


Turns out it's an insult to black people on the USA.

Nocturnalist ducks in to say...

Posted February 7
I gather that the problem of false positives in filter software is actually known as "the Scunthorpe problem" for exactly that reason.

Finding this out was a cause for some hilarity in my family since my mother is from there.

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Lulu mutters...

Posted February 7
OT (because Fairfax hasn't enabled comments on today's Blunty): I have to thank you for coining 'Hair Gropenfuhrer'. It's definitely my new favourite.

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Burger Lite

Posted January 31 by John Birmingham

Been a while since we've done one of these check-ins. I've been following Murph's swimming routine, and Jennicki's general awesomeness over on the Book of Face, and every now and then I run into a lean and hungry looking MonsterYuppy on the streets of New Farm. So some of you are fighting the good fight.

Myself, I'm about four kgs overweight and looking to cut that down this year. I had a very heavy publishing schedule last year, getting the ebook business up and running, which meant that I didn't get myself up and running, or lifting weights or doing much of anything that I should have been.

The saving grace? I wasn't drinking last year either, and now that I'm back on the booze, I'm keeping it moderate. I did wonder if that'd be impossible but it turns out that not drinking for a year teaches you how to keep a rein on your thirst.

I've also been grading for my brown belt which has recently meant a lot of ground work and hours and hours of throws. I wish I could wear a fitness tracker onto the mat, but that's verboten so I just have to guestimate the calorie burn. Heaps seems about right. We hit it so hard last Saturday that I couldn't really sleep that night. My body was shaking and aching too much. I felt every one of my 103 years.

Good times.

Now the kids are back at school I'll revert to my usual routine of going to the gym at lunchtime 2-3 days a week in addition to the jujitsu training. Hopefully, with some chicken salads that'll get me back to my fighting weight by winter.

And you?

66 Responses to ‘Burger Lite’

Aaron swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2
Two kids under 2.5 years full time work and study means very unfit but always kept a good diet and little booze thank Lordy. Would like to embrace swimming for my aging body so if murph would like to share his tips I am all ears.

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted February 3
What would you like to know?

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Miss Maudy mutters...

Posted February 2
I have been indulging in mindful consumption and yeah, lost about 6kg without depriving myself of cake and pizza. I've also cut back on the wine, but that was an accident. I nearly need new pants. Or a belt.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 2
Six kilos??? Respect!

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insomniac asserts...

Posted February 2
Still creeping up slowly. Probably about 20 too many. I really need to kick myself in the pants. I will have corporate games later this year so there is some sort of goal. I'm trying no alcohol this year but I don't/didn't drink that much to start with so I haven't noticed yet.

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balri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2
I went back to full time work last May after 7 years of being a stay at home dad. The exercise disappeared and beers became a nightly thing.

After reading your article, I decided to get off the booze for at least six months. I haven't had a drink since NYE and have lost a couple of kilos.

I've also made a commitment to do some form of measurable exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. Usually that's walking but sometimes swimming, running, cycling or kayaking. I missed a day last week when I was sick but apart from that it's going well.

Now I just have to improve my eating which still includes too much crap. I am trying to cut down on my portion sizes though.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted February 2
Yeah, the booze is a fucking killer for empty calories. Delicious empty calories.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mutters...

Posted February 2
I looked at the scales recently and despaired. Clothes starting to get a bit tight so decided to up the exercise a bit. Which means definitely walking the dogs every day and including something that i never did before: running. Only small sections but there are some hills involved. Watching food a little bit as well. But for a few years now i seem to have a pattern of holding weight through the year - hit the festive months and it jumps up a step. Hold for a year and repeat.

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dweeze puts forth...

Posted February 2
When I was training hard for my brown belt in Yoshinkhan Aikido, I took a year and a half off the grog. I was a hopeless lush before that break but have been able to moderate my drinking quite easily for the 20 years since. Unfortunately, I trashed my knee so badly doing said training that I haven't been back on the mat since. Ooops...
And I'm only 101 old fella.

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jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2
Started running after an Achilles injury, Achilles was no problem but I have pulled both calf muscles. My wife tells me it is an old man's injury. I am still eating as much but feeling more guilty. I assume guilt will help with the calories.

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WarDog would have you know...

Posted February 2
Swimming for 20 mins every day but still 6-8 kilos over. Have new impetus now that I'm due to become a parent in the next few weeks.

But sill can't shift it.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted February 2
My partners doc was saying that swimming is okay as long as you watch what you eat afterwards - as you are immersed in water your body temp is lowered and you get hungrier (as opposed to other out of water exercise). Makes sense but haven't put it to the test.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 3
Whoa, Wardog! Another kid? You're a machine.

Gilligan reckons...

Posted February 6
In 2011, our impending first munchkin got me on the C25K running app when I realised I was approaching dirigible dimensions with 0 cardio endurance and a family history of Type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

Fast forward and I'm down from about 108kgs to around 86 (86.3 as of this morning) and I can comfortably (for a given value of "comfortable") run 10kms.

Turns out I like running. Who knew?

I keep having moments where I wonder what 20 year old me would think if I told him I'd get to the stage where I consider 5km a quick run. :)

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 6
They're some pretty impressive numbers, G.

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted February 2
I had a severe reaction to some antibiotics last year which resulted in me losing nearly 4kgs in a very short period of time. I used that as a catalyst to doing that diet I have always been promising myself. Combine eating a lot smaller meals with moving house of Xmas equals another 2kgs lost.

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Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2
I'm fat, bloated and lazy, and I eat too much. Hot chips are my enemy and since I've discovered the secret to thrice cooked chips, I'm somewhat addicted and heading to the fryer far too often.
Had a salad for lunch. Probably 10 KG overweight and the worst part is that I don't carry it well as much as I might kid myself.
Aside from that I am so much better than last year, its not funny.

NBlob mutters...

Posted February 2
Testify comrade PorkChop testify!

Brother PorkChop would have you know...

Posted February 3
Testify to the quality of the chippies? Soft and fluffy on the inside, glassy crunchy outside. A little Trinidadian fire salt sprinkled on my bucket full and I am as happy as Donald sitting on a gaudy, ugly, gilt chair.
Testify that this year is already better than last? Easy, the black dog has been banished and I'm no longer having those fucked up cowardly thoughts that men get when well, you know.
Testify to my fatness? Yep, its there for the world to see and I need help. Maybe someone could eat half my chippies?

FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted February 3
I would put my hand up for that job but i know if someone tried to take half of mine they would lose said hand : )

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 3
There are two fish and chip shops across the road from the caravan park at Dickie Beach, but it's only one of them that I still think does the best chips in SEQ. Name of the place escapes me just now. In terms of chips I could only identify as a seeker. Like sex, when they are good they are great and when they are bad they are better than nothing.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 4
Dickie Beach eh?

damian puts forth...

Posted February 4
The one closer to the beach. Total mind-blank on the name

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 4
@BPC All of the above.
Except the Black Dog. Huzzah & huzzah again you've collared that mangy mongrel.
I'm still there.
I had a 'scene' @ work 10/16 that I know has altered the opinions of admired colleagues. >6ft, > 110kg, broad shoulders, beard & bad manners and a face full of tears is not something people respond well to.

jason would have you know...

Posted February 4
I have always been of the belief that people understand our problems (we all have some of them) but they judge us on how we handle our problems. The simple fact you are working on it or through it should garner you a monstrous amount of respect from your colleagues and the other people around you. The problem we might face is people not knowing how to show that support.

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4
On the other hand, I think the well-known advice, "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind", is pretty wise advice.

insomniac mutters...

Posted February 4
Been there done that NBlob except no beard and I was so nuts by then I was down to 92kg after losing one a week for a couple of months.
Fuck'em I say. I'm friends with those that cared and not with those that didn't. Keep talking and if you're medicating do that too. You'll get there. I have mostly. I'm in a state I call "happy enough".

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 4
">6ft, > 110kg, broad shoulders, beard & bad manners and a face full of tears"

By the grace of dog I'm still a little under 110kg, otherwise this is pretty much me too. But it's a struggle. If you dress like a dandy, hunch your shoulders for the men and for the women throw them back but bend your hips and knees to be a little smaller, you can infiltrate the right sorts of ideas just by not being a threat. Then you also have size as a tool in reserve. I suggest only to use it when sarcasm fails, but that might seem flippant.

NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 5
Jason, W, Sleepy & Mr D. Kind words appreciated.
For a man "of the mind" there is little worse than knowing one is being irrational.
But it can be a gateway to compassion for those I have disrespected in the past for their irrationality.

Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 6
NBlob, I don't know you, wouldn't know if we'd run into or past each other, but I'm with you.
I still get these episodes just thankfully not constant. Friday I attended a funeral for a 21 year old. Incredibly sad of course but what a lass!! Gave me a bit more strength amidst the tears to keep going and to keep getting my shit together, for myself nevermind my kids.
Keep going mate!! Life is for me, all the good bits and fuck the bad bits.

jason is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6
Pretty impressed by the support being shown here. I'm in Melbourne Australia. If anyone ever feels the need for coffee and a chat I am happy to buy the coffee.

Gilligan puts forth...

Posted February 6
Ditto for Canberra.

I know a great restaurant that has pizza and board games. :)

Don't have the Black Dog myself (that I'm aware of, and I suspect I would be), but I know lots of folks that do and just acknowledging it makes you all mighty. Keep on keeping on, and remember how awesome you all are. :)

insomniac mumbles...

Posted February 6
Jason, that moment has to be one where you could never be more alone, even if, as in my case, I had people who cared around.

NBlob reckons...

Posted February 6
I Caution. Triggers & soppy shit.
.

appreciate, really really appreciate the supportive words, but, when I'm in _that_ place I'd rather sledge-hammer a star picket up my own arse than talk to people. My dogs are good. Best is dark and alone.
I've never considered harming myself, but anything that takes the black dog away would be given due consideration. For me the anger at my inability to pull my shit together fuels it. I know I'm being irrational. I know it's a luxury of a first-world softc0ck. But I just can't throw it.
Stranger still is the SSRI's my Dr prescribed. When dosed up they do fill in the worst depths, but TANSTAAFL, Squid pro quo it clips the tops. Those things that would give one pleasure are profoundly staggeringly Meh. A great meal, a tasty tasty beverage, special grown ups time all meh. I don't like it, so I _With Dr's Advice_ started an exit strategy. Month by month 1 less pill per week. When I got to 3 days between pills I crashed harder than Jimmy Dean. I've never experienced anything like that. Far far far worse than ever I was before medications. So now I'm trapped. I don't like being medicated, but life is unlivable off them. Which, naturally enough gets me down.

I don't want sympathy.
I want you to know how it is for me, so if you know someone else you may have a fraction of an idea of what is going on I their head.

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted February 6
Are you sleeping OK, NBlob? A psychiatrist I know says he finds poor sleep a regular feature in depression/anxiety sufferers.

NBlob mutters...

Posted February 6
Never have.
Insomnia eats more hairy balls than Corey Bernardi.

jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 7
Thanks NBlob. Gives me a better insight into what it must be like. Friend of mine is going through this at the moment.

He can't talk about it at all. Just gets very angry very quickly. I know some of the reasons but not all of them.

I know I cant fix it but the desire to help him through in some way is very strong. Understanding how he feels is the first step I reckon.

Gilligan ducks in to say...

Posted February 7
The desire to help is strong, innit? Most of my mates who run out of spoons follow the blanket-burrito-on-the-couch model, so I mainly try to just touch base and let them know I'm there when/if they want/need me.

w from brisbane reckons...

Posted February 7
Re: poor sleep. With anxiety and depression sufferers, for the well-regarded psychiatrist I know, finding the right pill to give the patient a good night's sleep is pretty much priority one in his treatment.

insomniac puts forth...

Posted February 9
I sleeps ok

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JG ducks in to say...

Posted February 2
Congrats on your year without alcohol and grading for your brown belt, JB. I gave up running after over three and a half years of it almost
four weeks ago. In the running years I ran two full marathons, five half marathons, and other races. Anyway, at age 53, I'm over it as haven't enjoyed running for the past 18 months. I do, however,
practise yoga, strength and core work five or six days a week, and also walk heaps. I'd like to take up swimming again,
probably when I move back to the Gold Coast
in April. Maybe also take up dancing and tai chi or
similiar. I also changed to a vegan diet a couple of weeks ago,
which is going fine. I'd planned and researched this way of eating for weeks before deciding to give this a go. Also into spiritual fitness now with meditation. All good. This is a terrific year for new beginnings.

Joanna

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Lulu ducks in to say...

Posted February 2
I need to lose .... well, let's just say probably the equivalent of a small child or so.

I've been wearing a pedometer for the past couple of months, which confirms that I do a fair bit of walking (6000 - 10,000 steps most days), but this is not enough. I need to get back to the gym, to get fit enough to start seeing a personal trainer again.

Giving up booze isn't an option because I already don't drink anyway. I should probably cut down on the cheese though; and the chocolate. Also the peanut butter (allegedly healthy).

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 2
still hadn't lost the weight from the first kid, when wife had the second one.

Wait no, I was awesome when I had kids, long hair, tanned, slim. 20 years on ... not so much.

so yeah , still over weight, but I have an exhibition in 3 weeks so I might walk down to the opening to work off the wine.

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DaveC mutters...

Posted February 2
This time last year, I was recovering from open heart surgery. It was for an aortic valve issue I'd been born with rather than a heart attack. I'd known since my mid twenties that I'd need an operation when i was 'older.' I inhaled, ingested, imbibed, and deep-fried an awful lot of unhealthy shit for near-on ten years after that. Then kids. BMI calculator said borderline obese. Stupid BMI. Ate carrots and raw broccoli for lunch. Cardiologist described me as getting 'older.' Pooped kale and raw broccoli. Ran. Stupid running. Got exercycle and wrote... and blew shit up on xbox. Awesome exercycle. Started taking the family on bush walks. Survived heart op. BMI calculator's consistently told me I'm a smidgen overweight for the last five years. Totes ok with that. Congrats to Wardog!

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 2
I may have to amend my handle.
I took on the L in Blob to indicate my girth was approaching GreyBeard dimensions. Things have not improved. As mentioned up thread a nightly tipple becomes habit forming. Then compulsory.
I'm beginning to think I need a second L.

On the upside I'm pretty much off the stinkerettes. Pretty simple really, if you don't own 'em you don't smoke 'em.

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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted February 3
I'm afraid that the stress of the last six weeks has packed the usual winter gain back onto the carcass.


What I normally do in the pool is about 500 yards, or meters for the rest of you if that is the kind of pool you have. I'll start with a 100 yard warm up, then switch over to sprints. I'm not very good with sprints and I am trying to lose weight so here is what I am doing for that:


-Four sets of 25 fast/25 easy.
-Two sets of 50 fast/50 easy.
-100 yard cool down.


I'd be more aggressive or diligent with swimming a more involved program but the swimming is mainly needed for my lifeguarding efforts. I'm rarely asked or required to swim further since I a not a beach guard.


Otherwise I lift, at the campus gym, at the community center, or increasingly with weights I pick up for a home gym I am setting up.


The next goal on the list, long delayed, is to purchase a bicycle for rides to and from my summer aquatics facility. That is an eight mile round trip and if I do that every day, plus the running around I will do as a lifeguard, that should strip the fat right off.

Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted February 6
Naaah no sprints for me, except at Sunday races (50m and 40m - sprinting so my 11yr old son doesn't beat me). I just do a steady 1000m no stopping - the idea (besides knocking off some flab) is to be able to swim out to rescue someone at the beach when doing volunteer lifesaving at Bondi. Do that 2 or 3 times a week, although I've had a break over the school holidays, Mix that up with at least one day in the surf either surfing or body surfing or just swimming about after the nippers kids.

Also get out and cycle about 30-40km at least once a week with the little bloke, either training or following the kids at the cycle club around the circuit.

Eat pretty sensibly, drink too much beer (average one or two most days, maybe 3 or 4 weekends.). Should cut that down. Gave up the durries 2 years back and instantly put on a few kilos that seems reluctant to move. Turning 50 probably didn't help. Still, I'm about 75kg and 180cm so thats still ok, just want to reduce it about 3 kg.

Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted February 6
A thousand in the surf or a thousand in the pool? Either way, I got a lot of respect for that.


I rarely have a need to swim much further than fifty meters and it generally has to be at speed. The sprints help with that. Different working conditions.


My diet, of late, is total shit though. I need to work on it. :)

Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted February 7
Nah in the pool. Used to do more open water swimming but its a bit hard first thing in the morning these days. I just go swimming when the little bloke does his squad training. Still get in the ocean some afternoons and most weekends.

Speed is kind of handy for me - but as most rescues are further away that what you might encounter in a pool, along with waves etc, I go for the endurance side of things so I can a) get to the person b) so something to help and c)not require saving myself in the process! Also helps when surfing anyway as per point c).

insomniac would have you know...

Posted February 9
A thousand in the pool isn't too difficult. A slow and steady rhythm is necessary. I haven't been swimming for a while but it usually took me about 250 to settle down into that rhythm. I was so slow I'd cover 500 in 15 minutes, so I was usually swimming for 45 minutes sometimes 60

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Gutz reckons...

Posted February 3
Hospital + Diabetic diet = 105kg > 90.9kg. "You have esophageal varices and you may explode" Cue better living through fucktons of medication.

Cue a 70% reduction in the bad life (aim for 100% blah blah) even my GP is happy (70% happy) with that.

So now hover round the 90's

Gutz or less Gutz?

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damian mutters...

Posted February 3
I still occasionally cycle to work, since there are off-road tracks most of the way and dedicated lanes for most of the rest. Job changes have held this sort of unreasonable behaviour down lately though. We're moving office again in the next few weeks too so I'm avoiding getting into that now, but I'm hopeful of finding motivation in cooler months. Of course the actual work pressure and long days makes it hard anyway, but we'll work on that. My next steps are actually simply using a weight set consistently with lunges and squats a few times a week. If I could get my knees and ankles to cooperate, I'd run to work (still a 30-ish km round trip). Course I'm still over the tun, so the knees might have a point. Back in December I re-sprained the ankle I trashed when the Boylans were here the time before last, and it's still kinda recovering.

My 30-ish officemate is currently doing something called F45, which means she's mostly hobbling around on muscles that are more microtear than fibre.

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DarrenBloomfield mumbles...

Posted February 3
Yep. Sadly, it's impossible to outtrain a bad diet.

I'm easing in to the no booze thing. And very low carbs. Carbs easier for me than booze - because preferences.

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Blake asserts...

Posted February 4
I can report that brewing your own is not conducive to reducing alcohol intake. I have a lot more self control when shopping then when its sitting there waiting to be drunk. Availability did not help in the first portion of 2016 but i seem to be getting the hang of leaving it in the shed through the week. (Possibly the last batch or so wasn't great)

Keeping a steady exercise routine around the dad business has been a challenge - kindy starts sufficiently late that i'm in at work late at the start of the week and making it up by working late at the end.
The trick might be some alarm clock discipline and kid friendly home exercise on the nights the mrs works.



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Ceramic asserts...

Posted February 6
Ughh I've put on quite a bit of weight lately.
Before that I had a personal trainer for a while, was off the booze for a month, and cut down to about 8 cigarettes a day.
Now i'm smoking more again I've got stuff all energy. A lack of oxygen getting to my muscles. I walk about 6,000 steps a day, which is the one good thing.

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Gilligan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 6
I wanted to run 1000km in 2016 (more than some, less than others). I managed it, but because of my inherent "Bro, do you even math?"-ness, I ended up covering 22.5mk over the 30th (15.5km) and 31st (7km) of December, but by gum I done did it.

In 2017 I'm Chasing the 1000 again, but this time it's all going in a shiny Googledocs spreadsheet so I don't get the numbers wrong. I'm keeping track of run dates, distances, average pace, calories burned, where I ran and, for shiggles, how many bikes pass me vs. how many ding their bells and how many rounds of "Hey, cow!" I get in as I loop around the Dairyflat Road end of Lake Burley Griffin (and how many points I get).

Thus far in 2017 I'm on 17 runs, 127kms covered, and 12122 calories burned (because chips, guys. *chips*!).

Weightier than I'd like, but my average paces are down, so I guess it's swings and roundabouts. And chips.

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Bangar ducks in to say...

Posted February 6
I ended up at 90Kgs down from a 100Kgs, but not done in a good way ;) They put me on a new med that sent the blood sugars out of control. How high? the meter didn't read it just went HI. With my blood sugars so high I had no appetiete and was barely eating. Part of that weight loss was also muscle mass.

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HAVOCK21 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6
Well I am not sure, it might be the FKN GOD thing , it could be dumb luck or hell, it really might be just being pure FKN HAVOCK.

Then again, Dropping from 97 to the now very stable 82kgs could be the following.

1 Dont eat as much for breakfast,
2 dont eat as much for lunch
3 Eat better for eat better for breakfast and lunch.
4 Eat normal for tea and yeah....snack in between.
5 Don't have three stubbies of beer per night.
6 Dont have 3-5-to a fucking bazillion stubbies on the weekend.
7 Restrict week drinking to no consecutive nights and limit that to two beers.
8 Do mild and infrequent exercise.
9 Take up Deer Hunting
10 Take up shooting all sorts of stuff
11 Get walks in at work....... with random frequency and length.


Yeah....reckon it might have something to do with dropping off metric truck load of fkn beer. either ways, pretty happy to be at 82 and if that roams to 85 thats all good.

Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted February 7
I'm cool with few beers i.e. 2-3 at a time....but jeez I do like a post work beer and don't like the 'days off' concept! Sigh...must work on that.

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted February 8
Well, BB, I'd better not supply a list of happy hours around Bondi.
Really, I don't find it hard having "days off" (AFD's). Although for a while I did develop a habit of having a couple of happy hour quiets after work while devouring books on my kindle.

Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted February 9
Yeah me too - albeit with actual paper books. The Nelson at Bondi Junction was favoured..$4.50 schooners after 4pm!

FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted February 9
this is my favourite pasttime on friday arvo waiting for my bus home. Pub/beer (or two)/book. A little quiet time before getting back to the madhouse and the kids that day.

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Senator Texas asserts...

Posted February 9
Coming late to the party. Here's a diet that works and won't break your ass:

Like most diets, all the protein and veggies you want.

Good stuff: eat all the beans you want (black beans, pintos, kidneys, whatever), all the nuts you want, a nice piece of cheese every evening with or after dinner AND 2-3 glasses of red wine every night. Not white wine and not beer or spirits. Red wine. Don't know why this works, but it does. With the beans (or hummus), you don't feel like shit when your blood sugar drops from lack of carbs.

Do not eat: bread, crackers, potatoes, rice, pasta, sweets, etc, except:

Best of all: one day a week, eat whatever you want in whatever quantities you want.

I lost 27 pounds on this one. It works. It's called the 4 Hour Body. Look it up.

You'll lose 2-3 pounds a month after an initial loss of 2-3 pounds in 10 days or so. Going to the gym accelerates the process.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted February 9
This sounds great.

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted February 9
Middle age is a time when things like to slither out of the trapdoors of our psyches.
Sometimes it helps to feed the Dog.
i.e. Research that Mediterranean diet can have a significant effect improving isshews with depression.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-31/mediterranean-diet-can-help-in-fight-against-depression-study/8224522
There is a great book on CBT by Sarah Edelman, printed by ABC books, which is a really good tool for digging your way out of anxiety & depression. It's blurry good, I tell everyone to read it.
Hugs, Dog Walkers.

Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted February 11
Depression had me in my teens.


My forties are where I kick that motherfucker's ass.

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Respond to 'Burger Lite'

Stalin's Hammer Complete. Audio and eBook

Posted January 25 into Books by John Birmingham

The audiobook of the Stalin's Hammer sequence is out! As a big consumer of audiobooks this makes me very happy, and not just for the royalties coming my way. I had a quick listen to the sample, and it seems pretty fucking schmick.

I've also released the complete series in one volume which I've made free for a couple of days so anyone who bought the individual titles can grab a copy without feeling they've been double-charged.

The ebook is everywhere.

The audiobook is exclusive to Audible.

I've also just pulled the lever for a print on demand copy, so that should be available in a couple of weeks. A Girl in Time has done better than I expected in print, especially given the price, so that's an experiment that seems to be working.

If you're not an Audible customer, you can sneakily get the book for free by trying the service via this link.

I'm mostly working on AlienSideBoob and The Cruel Stars at the moment, but a good result for the Stalin's Hammer collection will set up WW 3.1 nicley.

And you know what garauntees a good result?

Reviews.

You know what you must do.

24 Responses to ‘Stalin's Hammer Complete. Audio and eBook’

Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted January 25
OK, I think I've reviewed the shit out of it all now. And signed up for the booby project thingy.
But a question about the audiobook business. By the sound of it, you have no input into the voice of your books nor anything else? Just sign on the line and watch the bucks roll in?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted January 25
That's exactly how it works.

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jl puts forth...

Posted January 25
Ha. I've been waiting for this moment.

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Surtac mumbles...

Posted January 25
Yeth, marthter. We knowth what to do.

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SAS reckons...

Posted January 26
5 star review left on UK site, as usual.

Will pick up the audio version next month, will this mean that the rest of AOT will be available on Audible UK soon?

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted January 26
IN fact, yes! My agent has been pushing this forward since late last year. I don't know why the rights were never done in the UK/ANZ region, but it's being taken care of now.

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DaveC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 26
Doneburger

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted January 26
Grazie

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Dirk puts forth...

Posted January 26
The total Hammer is as of yet not available here, but I gave the Girl a five star thumbs up here: https://www.bol.com/nl/p/a-girl-in-time/9200000072733978/

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted January 27
I did the audible thing. I hadn't got around to getting the hammer collection yet (yes yes i know, bad boy). So the audio book is perfect timing. Although i'm not sure how i'm going to go switching from 70 plus hours of listening to sword and sorcery with Steven Pacey pronouncing grimACED to a guns and fists with a US accent. Any tips out there on audiobook change over? Go cold turkey and jump straight in or ease into with something else?

insomniac mutters...

Posted January 27
I think if you're going from one poorly pronounced subject to an unknown reader and a different subject you should be ok. Your biggest problem would be a similar reading style and/or accent, but then my only experience is going from Crime and Punishment to Cryptonomicon via an hour of some piece of crap chosen by ms insomniac.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted January 27
I worked today like chump in an empty office. Subsequent bus trip requires reading Bill Gammage's The Greatest Estate on Earth or doing the audiobook. I may have to drown out fellow passengers with earphones :)

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Don Bagert mumbles...

Posted January 29
It's Saturday and I'm surprised that I actually haven't been on Cheeseburger Gothic since Wednesday, thus missing the freebie days. Oh well...

Just curious JB: Did you change "Harry Windsor" to "Harry Wales" in Stalin's Hammer: Rome to line it up with the other parts (as well as events that occurred in OTL between Parts 1 and 2)?

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DarrenBloomfield has opinions thus...

Posted January 30
reviewed.

I staretd listeing to the audiobook on Saturday on my run. Even better when read to you by someone else!

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NBlob reckons...

Posted January 30
I still can't leave reviews, because I haven't spent $X.
I call this out as rank discrimination against tightarses.

NBlob puts forth...

Posted January 30
I pimped the hell out of it & ASB on the Farcebook tho.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted January 30
This is why you're my cheapest favourite.

Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted January 31
NBlob's alive?

NBlob mutters...

Posted January 31
Barely comrade, barely.
The reign of Xmas Derp has been punishing.
Had a big boatyboat ride out of Gladstone over New Years. Bad new for scallop fans.

Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted February 1
I hear potato scallops are in trouble as well. White Spot?
Out of Gladstone where the harbour fish are somewhat extreme?

NBlob mutters...

Posted February 4
No white spot [to date] has only been detected in Logan River. If one doesn't look, one will never find.
Scallops are down to ~%6 biomass. The shell that is being caught shows sign of having been through sizing tumblers at least once. [Think a tube of security screen expanded aluminium mesh, used to sort size, like a sieve.

NBlob asserts...

Posted February 4
*no, white spot...*

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Legless swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1
I'm fascinated by your attempts to grope your way forward in the new publishing paradigm. You're doing so much better t

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Blake is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4
Picked up the audiobook. My written word consumption has been terrible this year, but i'm burning through the audiobooks and podcasts like noones business. I've got a backlog of JB which goes back to the second Dave and includes the entire Stalins Hammer Series - and yet I've listened to the Nick Earls collection. (It was good, but generally not where my allegiances lie)

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The Interstellar Valley

Posted January 19 by John Birmingham

Jason Lambright has started a blog. Go bookmark it and read regularly.

Go on.

5 Responses to ‘The Interstellar Valley’

DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 19
Done. I really enjoyed his two books. Can't wait for the conclusion.

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DaveC ducks in to say...

Posted January 19
Done too. Cool az.

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Gutz asserts...

Posted January 20
Schwing!

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jason asserts...

Posted January 23
Highly recommend this blog. Particularly the detail on weaponry and military issues. JL. Has some great stuff to share.

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jl ducks in to say...

Posted January 24
Hey all, thanks for stopping by and checking it out! Thanks to JB as well for making the crew here at the 'burger aware of this.

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I think we should all win a Hugo

Posted January 18 into Writing by John Birmingham

Is anyone eligible to nominate works, or to vote in the Hugo's? It occurs to me that not only should Cady and Smith try their luck (granted, they have zero chance), but the Hugos have categories for fan writing and everyone in Buttecracke is eligible! I don't see why that crazy Vos or Vox or whatever the fuck his name is should be the only one gaming this system.

I'm not a member of WorldCon or any of the baby cons that would afford nominating rights, but maybe somebody here is.

The relevent link is here.

24 Responses to ‘I think we should all win a Hugo’

Ceramic would have you know...

Posted January 18
Ha, certainly not mine though.
I'd like for the stories to be updated with new edits first! I'm changed the ending a bit for example. Very glad the book is doing so well!

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted January 18
Yeah. I have an attending membership for Worldcon in Helsinki this year.

But I won't be going. The original plan had me and Eldest Daughter going, but she has decided she wants to go back to Hong Kong instead at a similar time of year. So no Finland with a side trip to St Petersburg for me this year.

And no more US based Worldcons for me either while the Trumpenfuhrer is in charge. I'll have to wait and see whether Dublin or New Zealand get up in 2019 or 2020.

But happy to use my nomination powers for good as suggested. Hmmn. Haven't seen nominations actually open yet - it must be soon though.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 18
ALL HAIL SURTAC.

Stephen swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 18
Surtac,

nominating has opened - I got my email about it on the ninth of January. Check your mail and spam folders - it should be from hugos@worldcon.fi

There is no pin this year though, you get a unique URL to go to instead. If you can't find the email, send a message to hugohelp@worldcon.fi

Nocturnalist mumbles...

Posted January 18
Surtac, if you're not going to use a full membership I might know some people who'd be interesting in buying it off you, or in doing a part buy/part trade for an associate membership. Let me know if you'd like me to ask around.

Surtac mumbles...

Posted January 18
I want to keep at least a supporting membership so I can nominate and vote. My daughter's youth attending membership may be available - I don't think she wants to follow through with actual voting. I'll check with her and advise in here later.

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MickH reckons...

Posted January 18
A Hugo for fan fiction?...wow
something to shoot for (Q7S) :D

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Nocturnalist mumbles...

Posted January 18
Pretty sure the Fan Writer category is not actually for fan fiction, but for the sort of thing that goes into the fanzine and newsletter community that that particular convention circuit grew out of - reviews, critical writing, news from the genre scene. Writing about the stories rather than the stories.

The parade, I rains on it.

Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted January 18
Yes. The Night Manager is correct. It's not for fan fiction, but for other fannish activities. It's also not a category I usually pay much attention to.

But there's nothing to stop me nominating Girl for best novel, right? I mean it was was one of my fave books of the year after all.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted January 19
I would not stop you.

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Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 18
Slightly off topic, but who's doing your PR these days, Nick Earls??

http://blog.booktopia.com.au/2017/01/16/vote-finals-favourite-australian-author-2017/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=_20170118_VoteNowInPoll_amgroupa

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted January 18
Meh, I just couldn't be fucked organising The 10000

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Kristophr mutters...

Posted January 18
I wish you luck.

The "truefans" have made it clear that anyone who is politically incorrect in their eyes will be no-awarded.

They even no-awarded Butcher, the Dresden Files author, because people not in their little club like got him nominated.

Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted January 18
Lost cause trying to push that narrative. Just wait five seconds for someone to tie it all to Gamergate.

Kristophr swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 19
The no-awards happened. Simple as that.

I wish you all luck. I would like to see this anthology hugo-ed. I rather liked it.

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jason mutters...

Posted January 19
At the risk of sounding like I am sucking up something savage...

I think the best thing about Butte Crack was the ability to fully engage people in a fantasy world and let them be a real part of it with the participation of the author. Is there a category which would recognise the new model for fan interaction, so the model rather than (or as well as) the book?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted January 23
I doubt it. Eric Flint is very encouraging of fan writers and baby authors in his 1630s world, but that's still a very controlled trade publishing project.

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Legless mumbles...

Posted January 19
I can't fucking believe it! You only went and included my monster trucks story.

I'm a cocking published author!

I'm so chuffed I could lay an egg!


Thank you. Thank you a million times

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Kristophr has opinions thus...

Posted January 20
Go for it, John.

Real fans should be able to nominate good work without having a clique of holier-than-thou "trufen" no awarding them.

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ShaneAlpha asserts...

Posted January 20
Is it wrong to dream of beating Adam Baldwin to death with my Hugo?
Yes.
But it's oh so enjoyable.

Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted January 21
Have you actually seen what Adam Baldwin looks like? I suspect that contest would not go the way you might imagine.

Sudragon puts forth...

Posted January 22
He robbed from the rich and he gave to the poor.
Stood up to the man and he gave him what for.

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Brother PorkChop puts forth...

Posted January 23
I'm with Legless. Astonished and egg laying. But more than ever amazed by what authors create. Go on, someone nominate it for the award. A nomination would be amazing in itself.

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