The ASA Bulletin

Australian Society of Authors
18.04.14 7:49 am


Read here

Read more



Hobart Bookshop: Keeping Time

The Hobart Bookshop
18.04.14 7:45 am

We are pleased to invite you to the launch, by Peter Timms, of a new collection of Tasmanian articles, sketches, and essays.

Keeping Time, edited by Megan Schaffner and published by the Fellowship of Australian Writers (Tasmania), includes writing that highlights our need to manipulate time, to hold it still for a few moments, in order to observe events more closely—before time hurries us on to an unknowable future.

Join us in holding time still for a few moments: Thursday 24 April, 5.30pm, at The Hobart Bookshop (22 Salamanca Square).

Free event, all welcome.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Read more


Books | What's On

Naked Girls Reading: 25% discount for online tickets on June 17

Sarah Ellis
17.04.14 7:30 am

The invitation to the April 15 event ... the next event is below, and listed in TT What’s On

As a thank you for supporting the very first Naked Girls Reading in Tasmania we are offering you a 25% off discount for online tickets.

Simply go to and type in rock in the promotional code box.

This is exclusively for people like you have who supported us by promoting the event or buying your tickets online nice and early.

The next Naked Girls Reading will be held on the 17th June at the earlier time of 7:30pm at the Homestead.

The theme is Naked Girls Rock.  The women will be reading about rock music in all its forms. Biographies, lyrics etc. The evening will be followed by a live music set by all girl punk rock band Straddle Puss.

We hope to see you there.

Read more


Books | What's On

Hobart Bookshop:  Janet Upcher’‘s ... The poetry and prose of Margaret Scott

The Hobart Bookshop
13.04.14 10:19 am


The Hobart Bookshop and Ginninderra Press invite you to the launch, by Mary Blackwood, of Janet Upcher’s Changing Countries, Bridging Worlds: The poetry and prose of Margaret Scott.

Where: Hobart Bookshop
When: 5.30pm. 1st May

All welcome to this free event.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Read more


Polynesian Princess is a crowd pleaser

Paula Xiberras
10.04.14 8:09 am


Literary life began early…at birth!, for Tehani Wessley when her Mum decided to give her the exotic literary name of a Polynesian Princess from James Mitchener’s ‘Hawaii’. Tehani is a Tahitian name meaning ‘the soft caress of flowers’ which is quite ironic for Tehani Wessely’s latest project. The soft caress of flowers doesn’t sound like something the fearless females she is compiling in her book would be interested in. The women Tehani profiles in her book are ‘cranky ladies’, women that wanted to impact on their communities and the world.

The women canvassed come from diverse backgrounds, international and national with a variety of careers, ethnicities and beliefs. Some of them are well known, others are unfamiliar but have made no less a potent contribution to history, one example being Queen Kristina of Sweden who dressed as a man during her reign and was friends with the Pope of the time.

Tehani works in Canberra by week, as a History and English teacher, and then returns on weekends to her Launceston home where she has been living since 2012.

Through the process of crowd funding by ‘Crowbar’(A new crowd funding incentive of Arts Tasmania that offers a lift, as its name suggests, up to $2000 dollars in support of projects to Tasmanian artists. Tehani ‘s cranky ladies will have original stories by selected authors on very original women from history who rearranged and changed the normal understanding of the role of a woman. They are ladies that assumed a powerful influence by going against the grain, and social norms to do and achieve what they wanted in spite of what others told them they were capable and eligible to do!

This inspiring collection garners involvement from the public by their choice of contribution and gaining ‘rewards’ for their contribution, including some lucky contributors choosing what ladies will have an illustration in the book. Award winning author Tansy Rayner Roberts also a Ph.D. classicist specialising in Roman history takes on the role of co-editor for the project.

Tehani says her definition of cranky is not derogatory, but rather denotes a passion for getting things done, and if that is the definition to go by Tehani herself with her passion to bring this project to fruition by her own admission is bit of a cranky lady herself ; )

Read more


Books | What's On

Submissions are open for Transportation

Rachel Edwards,
03.04.14 5:39 am


Transportation is an exciting new literary project that will showcase and promote work by writers based in London and Tasmania.

From the time of convict transportation to the present, London and Tasmania have established rich historical links, and despite their geographical distance there has always been a sense of cross-cultural exchange.

This can be traced right back to the 1820s, when East End convict and supposedly the inspiration for Dickens’ Fagin, Ikey Solomon, was transported to Tasmania.

The first Australian novel was written by Henry Savery, transported for forgery to Van Diemen’s Land:

( TT: )

Transportation will modernise and strengthen these ties by publishing a collection of short stories on the theme of Islands and cities.

Writers in London and Tasmania are invited to submit work to the project on the theme of ‘islands and cities’ and the selected work will be published in book form late in 2014.

The project ‘Transportation’ is already fostering a contemporary interchange between writers in Tasmania and London, with work from the London editor, Sean Preston, recently published on the Tasmanian literary magazine, Island’s website.

The Tasmanian editor, Rachel Edwards, former editor of Island and host of a weekly books and publishing show on Edge Radio says “Transportation is a wonderful opportunity for Tasmanian authors to appear in an international publication.

“Transportation is fostering real international connections and creating an international writing community between Tasmania and London. There’s nothing like it.”

London editor Sean Preston is the editor and creative director of Open Pen ...

... an innovative literary journal. He is also a production coordinator at record label, Ninja Tunes.

Transportation will launch a crowdfunding project in June.

Submissions will be accepted until June 18 and more information can be found here:

Read more


Books | What's On

Richard Flanagan’s Road to Indie success

Stephen Romei, The Australian
28.03.14 5:19 am


TASMANIAN writer Richard Flanagan has dashed from the blocks in this year’s race for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, with his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North last night named best fiction and book of the year in the Indie Awards.

The Indies, voted by Australia’s independent booksellers, are usually a reliable guide to the literary prize season. In 2012, Anna Funder’s All That I Am was named Indie book of the year before going on to win the Miles Franklin.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North, set partly on the Thai-Burma Railway, prevailed over three novels that are sure to be contenders in this year’s fiction awards: Tim Winton’s Eyrie, Christos Tsiolkas’s Barracuda and Alex Miller’s Coal Creek.

In his acceptance speech Flanagan said 2013 was “a golden year for Australian books” across all genres.

Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites was named best debut fiction, David Hunt’s Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia took out best nonfiction and Alison Lester’s Kissed by the Moon was voted best children’s book.

The Australian, here

Read more


Writers | Richard Flanagan | Books

Ghosts of Ireland: A Shanachie’s Tale published on Amazon

27.03.14 10:58 am


Ghosts of Ireland: A Shanachie’s Tale has been published on Amazon (kindle, Ipad, Iphone etc; hard copies soon).

Ghosts of Ireland: A Shanachie’s Tale is an Historical Fantasy thriller and love story with supernatural elements, and set in Ireland and Australia.

Synopsis: A flawed and wayward son discovers his inner steel when he journeys through death’s dark vale, in Ireland’s past and present to rescue his stricken mother and long lost baby sister from a supernatural curse .

The writer Anthony Fitzgerald has been a teacher, a copywriter, freelance journalist, TV documentary writer, a short story writer and has two screenplays currently optioned. He has had two Oscar winning actors attached to his first screenplay and is co-producing a TV pilot he wrote - with an Oscar winning producer - this year. This is his first published novel.

Earlier on Tasmanian Times: Beam me up, Scottie ...

Read more



Write Your Memoir - two places left in this Launceston course

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
27.03.14 7:21 am


How do you craft your life story?  Memory is such a tricky medium and a well-written memoir requires detachment, a critical eye and some well-honed writing skills.

The aim of this course is to complete a well drafted manuscript or a structural prototype for your finished work.

During this series of monthly workshops we will explore:

The structure ...

All the details here

Read more


Books | What's On

Island at the Farm Bar - Friday 4 April 2014: Launching Island 136

Island Magazine
26.03.14 11:48 am


Island Magazine’s 136th issue is ready to be launched and scattered amongst the masses! The Autumn 2014 issue is full of what you’ve come to expect from Island; fiction, non-fiction, poetry and beautiful art throughout. We’re pretty proud of this baby…even if we do say so ourselves.

Our new fiction editor, Geordie Williamson (yes that dapper gentleman also known as the chief literary critic of The Australian) ...


To get out to the Farm Bar, there is a bus departing at 5.30pm from Hobart Tourist Information Centre (cnr of Elizabeth and Davey streets) and returning around 10.45pm ...

Read more about the Launch, here

Read more


Arts | Books | Poetry | What's On

The Hobart Bookshop: Splendour of the Shore

Ralph Wessman
25.03.14 4:44 pm


HOBART BOOKSHOP and WALLEAH PRESS invite you to the launch of David HM Wright’s poetry collection, Splendour of the Shore.

Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tas 7000
5:30 pm, Thursday 27th March 2014

“First, and most obviously, Mr Wright has a marvellous command of language which he uses to great effect. The poems “sing”.

Secondly, he creates powerful images: we can almost see and smell the scenes he describes.

And thirdly, there is, underlying the lyrical description of scenes and events, a spiritual, almost metaphysical quality which makes the reader turn again to each poem to think about its meaning.”

— Philip Grundy

David Wright was born in Zimbabwe where he came to be recognised as one of Central Africa’s White poets. He emigrated to Australia in 1982. He served as headmaster of Oxley College, Bowral, from 1982-1993 and of the International Grammar School, Sydney from 1994-2000.

He is a graduate of the universities of Natal, Oxford, Rhodesia and Sydney. He is now retired and lives and writes in Kingston Beach, Tasmania.

ISBN 978-1-877010-44-6 20 pp $10 RRP

Download flyer:

Read more


Books | What's On

Falling for a Pod of Dolphins. Story Competition ...

© Copyright, Les Harris and Diane Caney, 2013
25.03.14 6:57 am

• Les’ family has decided to set up a Story Competition in memory of Les. They will seek stories about the beautiful waters in and around Tasmania. Les asked that stories be sought from Tasmanian residents. For more information, please follow this link ... </b>

Photograph taken in March 2014 near Bruny Island, Courtesy of Rod Houghton, Tassie Photographer @

Photograph Courtesy of Duncan Giblin, Stormboy Photos,

When living in Melbourne in 1990, I saw a wonderful performance of some poems written by Heathcote Williams. Knowing that my father loved dolphins, I sent him a hardback copy of Falling for a Dolphin, a poem which describes an incredible encounter between a man and a dolphin.

Afterwards, I received the following letter from Dad.

I think it is so beautiful.

At the end of all things, what will stand out as the pivotal moment in our lives?

This story is Dad’s response to that question.

He asked to have part of this story read at his funeral.

And, we did that today (June 2013) .

It’s a wonderful story.



To Diane,
Friday, Eleventh of May, 1990

After receiving Falling for a Dolphin on the morning of Friday the eleventh, and reading it immediately, I was inspired to write to you ‘instantly’ to relate to you my experience with Dolphins.

Reading this book has unlocked memories of a lot of sea-related experiences, or more aptly, treasures of my mind, which I would like to share with you. I am very emotional at this stage of writing to you, which I can only put down to feeling that the things I am about to share are the closest things to my soul.

Lots of tears … now.

The experiences happened when I was between 11 to 18 years of age. I lived in a house on Bellerive Bluff, a little to the east of the Bluff, towards the beach. My bedroom was at the rear of the house, and on the beach side. Money was scarce, so I slept on a straw filled mattress and the smell of straw was always with me while I was in bed. You would have to experience this to realise that having to use straw by necessity actually was a bonus, except that after a period of time the straw flattened out.

My first feeling for the Sea was when I was in bed at night, and for the previous two to three days the wind had been blowing from the South West before stopping to a dead calm, only leaving the ground swell that had built up. This swell would catch the beach on the quarter and after starting at the Western end the waves would clap all along the beach on a roll which seemed to last for minutes, but was probably only a few seconds. This was a marvellous experience and I yearned for these conditions to occur so I could go to bed early and soak them up and dream of the Sea.

Because money for food was scarce, I thought perhaps there may be fish in the Sea around the Bluff. I had trouble getting the old green line to cast out over the rocks, so I fashioned a fishing pole made from a piece of bamboo stolen from a fashionable garden. The pole was most successful and the fish – squeaker, perch and cod – were there in abundance. There were also mussels which I cooked in an old tin on the rocks, using she-oak twigs. I found the mussels tasted good, as well as being excellent bait. So, I now had lots of high grade food that I’d found, discovered through necessity. The Sea seemed to call me and encourage me to use its contents, as if it had all been put there especially for me, and just me.

While foraging for mussels I noticed some tiny fish in the rock pools. I was told they were called ‘Bullies’ or ‘Bull Fish’. I can’t imagine why, as they were so small, although they did have tiny, poisonous spikes. I had an urge to catch them, so I modified a small tin by creating drain holes so I could use it as a scoop. I then collected the Bullies out of their pools and put them into a smaller observation pool after first testing the temperature to see that it was not too hot, as this caused them to get distressed. I would spend hours watching the Bullies, enjoying each one’s personality and differences.

So, the Sea had now provided me with a leisure activity that could be enjoyed each day, and it was always changing as the tide ebbed and renewed the experiences with variations every time. At the waterline, in the more exposed area of the Bluff, the various sea slugs and different types of coloured seaweed were always there to be enjoyed as well. My days were long and enjoyable, and it seemed as if they would go on forever.

Living near the Sea, I was always interested in the various types of boats, so when I grew older and had an income, I built an eleven foot yacht. It was extremely stable and I found in light weather, if I balanced the sails correctly, I could tie the tiller centrally to the floorboards and set it on a windward course. I could then travel on one long tack with the sails cleated off. I would travel in quietness, except for the natural noises, such as the waves slapping against the bow and the sea birds making the occasional call.

So, the Sea was still providing me with enormous pleasure and it always seemed as though it was put there just for me.

One day there were several of us in our yachts on our favourite course from the Bluff to Long Beach, Sandy Bay. There was an average strength sea breeze and the Sea was quite choppy when an enormous number of Dolphins appeared all around us. They seemed to be greeting us and wanting to play.
The more they stayed around us, the more excited I became. Eventually I called to one of my brothers on a nearby boat and said, ‘I’m going to jump in with them and swim over to you. Be prepared to pick me up.’

I dived in and started to swim.

The Dolphins streamed past me, so close that I could touch them, but they were moving too fast, as if they were on another mission, but still had time to pass with us. I can relate to the idea that there is an enormous field of bio-electricity given off by Dolphins, especially when there are large numbers of them in a confined area.

Being with them was the greatest feeling.

It was the best experience I have ever had.

It might have been excitement, or adrenalin, but I think it was the electricity which was all around, in the air and in the water – it seemed to pass though me in pulsating waves of ecstasy. The feeling, in my body and on my skin, and in my head, lasted for hours after the Dolphins had dispersed and I was back on land. So, I will be forever grateful to the Sea for giving me the pleasure of a lifetime, as well as all the other pleasures, which became minor after the Electric Dolphins.

The Sea is still calling me to settle closer to it, so as it is more able to continue to pass on to me all its teachings and all its pleasures.

And I still know that they are put there just for me.

Many thanks for the book.

I think that you will understand how much it means to me from this letter.



Les passed away on Friday 14th June 2013 in Hobart, two hours after Ryoji Ikeda’s Spectra lights were switched on to make an enormous beam stretching 15 kilometres into the sky. His children, Diane, Frank and Steven sat with him for a while with their mother and aunt, and then went and wandered by Les’ beloved Derwent River in the rain, staring up at the amazing, brightly lit pathway to the world beyond. They believe that Les is sailing the balmy seas of heaven now, under halcyon skies, regularly ditching his yacht to take a dip with divine pods of Electric Dolphins.

Copyright, Les Harris and Diane Caney, 2013


Les’ family has decided to set up a Story Competition in memory of Les. They will seek stories about the beautiful waters in and around Tasmania. Les asked that stories be sought from Tasmanian residents.

For more information, please follow this link:

Read more


Books | What's On

Hobart Bookshop: The Language of Water

The Hobart Bookshop
24.03.14 6:32 am


Striking in conception and craft, The Language of Water traces an odyssey, a journey at once mythic and breathtakingly individual. Kathryn Lomer. 

The work includes colour images of paintings by Marianne Stafford.

You are invited to the launch of a new book of poetry by Anne Collins The Language of Water (Walleah Press).

It will be launched by Lyn Reeves. 
When: Wednesday the 2nd April, 5.30pm.
Where:            The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square, Hobart.

All welcome

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Read more


Books | What's On

Intelligent infidelity

Paula Xiberras
24.03.14 4:34 am


Author Hugh Mackay loves Tasmania and he has long standing links with the state. His Great, Great, Grandfather left England, first settling in Hobart before later moving to Melbourne and Sydney. I had the opportunity to speak to Hugh recently about his latest novel ‘infidelity’.

The name Hugh, in many languages means ‘intelligent’ and it is indeed an intelligent novel that Hugh delivers.

The cover image of ‘Infidelity’ features, in Hugh’s words, a ‘striking’ portrait of a woman, naked under the wrap around her shoulders and it’s those shoulders that she rests on for support, a telling body language. Hugh notes ‘the woman sits with her back to us and ironically her physical nakedness actually masks something ‘hidden’ about her.

This picture chosen by Hugh’s publisher sets the tone for the book because it puts into visuals the story of a woman somewhat alienated from both her emotions, and expressing them to others. Hugh says it is this cover and that of his other recent book ‘The Good Life’, with its hot air balloons which he considers the best covers of all his books.

This beautifully crafted novel addresses the many types of infidelity, both physical and emotional. While the most common definition of infidelity is ‘physical unfaithfulness’ it also encompasses emotional unfaithfulness and unfaithfulness to one’s self.

The protagonist Sarah, is an academic, a literature lecturer, whose speciality is interpreting fairy-tales and nursery rhymes, a position which Hugh selected for her in part to contradict Sarah’s ambivalence to having children.

The other main protagonist is male clinical psychologist Tom Harper (The character of Tom has appeared in other books by Hugh, however his appearance here can be read as a stand alone book. Perhaps,Ironically his surname ‘Harper ‘might inspire readers to insert some ‘harp music’ for Tom, who finds himself in the UK to escape the aftermath of an ‘indiscretion’. Like Sarah, Tom’s job is interpreting, not fairy-tales but reality,that Tom is grounded in reality more so than Sarah.

Tom says Hugh, ‘knows how to dish out advice to others’ but when it comes to his own situation all his clinical criteria can’t keep him seeing through the fairy-tale fantasy, fairy-tales that also have to deal with the darker side of relationship psychology and so our two protagonists are caught in their own fairy-tale of light and darkness.

The novel demonstrates how having two major characters with careers based on interpretation doesn’t make them immune to how easily misinterpretation can totally renovate or wreck the landscape of a relationship.

Hugh agrees that Morris Gleitzman’s comments about the ‘magic spaces’, where the reader and author meet rings true to him, and is thankful, even if he can’t meet all of his readers he can by virtue of email get feedback of how they are receiving his novels.

Hugh ultimately wants in ‘Infidelity’ and his other books to offer ‘illumination about ourselves’ to his readers.

Hopefully Hugh will visit Tasmania later this year or early next year promoting his next book.

‘Infidelity’ is available now.

Read more



From Head to Toe: Men and Their Roles in the First Two Generations of Christianity

Karina Woolrich ACORN PRESS
24.03.14 3:58 am


Acorn Press Limited –
New Book Information

Title:  From Head to Toe: Men and Their Roles in the First Two Generations of Christianity
Author: Ross Saunders (1926–2005)
Edition: 1st edition
Formats: paperback and eBook
Publication date: 30 April 2014
Launch details: 6.30 pm
Wednesday30 April 2014
Koorong Books
4-8 Vicki St
Blackburn Sth VIC 3130
RRP:  $29.95 (paperback)
  eBook price will vary depending on retailer
Acorn website quick link:


From Head to Toe invites us to into the world of men in the first two generations of Christianity as they come to terms with what it means to follow Jesus. We share in their struggles and triumphs as they make the journey ‘from head to toe’ – from status-seeking to serving.

Ross Saunders shows us how to read the New Testament with new eyes and hearts, exploring our own understanding of authority, leadership and service within the household of God.

Author biography

Ross Saunders (1926–2005) served as an Anglican minister and spent many years in religious broadcasting. He was the author of Outrageous Women, Outrageous God: Women in the First Two Generations of Christianity and Were You There: People of Christ’s Passion.

Additional details
ISBN:  9780987428691 (paperback)
  9780992447601 (eBook)
Book details:
• Pages – 256
• Weight – TBC
• Dimensions – 224 x 148 mm
• Paperback can be purchased through Acorn’s website ( Wholesalers can contact Acorn’s distributors, Rainbow Book Agencies.
• EBook available for purchase through the following sites:
o Amazon Kindle
o Apple’s iBookstore
o Kobo
o Barnes & Noble
o Koorong


For a church that has been steeped in patriarchy, it is quite a shock to see Jesus as a feminist. But that is exactly what Ross Saunders documents. Scholarly but readable, From Head to Toe examines the lives of dozens of men in the Bible as they are called to relinquish status and accept Jesus’ radical view: that true leadership means becoming a servant to all. Along the way, Saunders unfolds in extraordinary detail the lives of these men and their struggles and triumphs with Jesus’ message. The message for us now is no less radical. To follow Jesus, we men must abandon all claims to privilege or power. Only then can we be free.

Steve Biddulph, author of The New Manhood

From Head to Toe makes a significant contribution to understanding the culture of the first two generations of Christianity and provides an important opportunity to stimulate fresh discussion about servant leadership in the church.

Jackie Stoneman, Director of Studies, Mary Andrews College

Read more



Four places left in Arnold Zable’s The Art of Story full-day course

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
21.03.14 9:51 am


The Art of the Story with Arnold Zable: Saturday 29 March 10 am - 4pm

What is the story you need to tell? Is it personal or is it a passion you need to express?  Is it fiction or is it an essay? Do you know the best way to tell it?

At the heart of every good story is the art of using your imagination and the craft of words. Join us for a day with Arnold Zable to explore the techniques of writing and shaping your story.

Arnold Zable is the author of numerous stories, essays and features, and works for theatre. He has conducted numerous writing workshops throughout Australia and overseas, and lectured extensively on creative writing and the art of story. He is a human rights advocate, the immediate past president of International PEN, Melbourne and has a doctorate in creative arts, Melbourne University, where he is currently a Vice Chancellor’s fellow. More details here:

There are FOUR PLACES left in this full-day writing course. Book now - email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or phone 62240029.

Cost: $88 for TWC members; $120 for non-members (membership available from $25)
Where: Salamanca Arts Centre, 77 Salamanca Place, Hobart

Don’t miss Arnold Zable and Maureen Scott Harris at the Lark Distillery on Wed 26 March from 6pm (free event, all welcome) More details here:

Read more


Books | What's On

New series on our Australian Bushrangers separates fact from fiction

Sharon Evans Big Sky Publishing - Marketing & Communications,
20.03.14 5:34 am


What do you get when you put super-uber cool nicknames together with a raft of legendary exploits from daring no-gooders?  Six of Australia’s renown Bushrangers of course. But, are the stories surrounding them true?  Author Jane Smith reveals all….
The stories of the bushrangers have become the stuff of legend and with time many of the tales have been distorted and falsified until now! Queensland author, historian and Concordia Lutheran College librarian/archivist Jane Smiths new series The Australian Bushranger sets out to separate fact from fiction.

The series features meticulously researched, stand alone books, each detailing the colourful lives of six of Australia’s most famous bushrangers of the gold rush era - Captain Thunderbolt, Captain Moonlite, Frank Gardiner, Ben Hall, and the two men known as ‘Captain Starlight’.

Intrigued by the sheer audacity of their behaviour Smith set out discover why they acted the way they did – unravelling their lives, from their background and the circumstances and events that led them to crime, and, where relevant, their capture and death. Society at the time is explored and for the first time many of the myths around their lives and their legendary exploits are busted.  Thunderbolt for example took over a year to write due to the many contradictory stories regarding his ‘career’. 

Smith explains, “Many myths have been told about the bushrangers and many books that are currently in print are little more than transcriptions of oral histories. My books are based on extensive research and consequently they correct these myths. I hope that my books will give the reader a sense of the different world that was 19th century Australia, and a better understanding of the factors that led these people into their desperate lives of crime.”

Full of interesting facts and loaded with images, newspaper clippings and records the first two books in the series provide an insight into the careers of Captain Thunderbolt (NSW), whose lacklustre skill with the gun lead to the belief he abhorred violence,  and Captain Moonlite (VIC),  a charismatic lay preacher gone bad, although, he protested his innocence until his death on the gallows!

The Australian Bushranger series is aimed at late primary to young adult readers and is a useful adjunct to the national school’s curriculum in English and History. However with shootouts, acts of courage or no-good daring and new facts the lives of these Australian Bushrangers will please young and old.  Concise , intelligent and easy to read the series are sure to entertain.

Australian Bushrangers will be launched next Thursday 20 March, 4pm at the Concordia Lutheran College Library, Toowoomba by Toowoomba Regional Council’s Special Collections Librarian Jayne Fitzpatrick.

Book Launch Details
Thursday 20 March, 4pm
Concordia Lutheran College - Library
Redlands Campus, 154 Stephen St, Toowoomba

About the Author – Jane Smith is a school Librarian and Archivist at Concordia Lutheran College,  Toowoomba, QLD. She grew up in Brisbane and practised as a physiotherapist in country NSW before moving back to QLD and retraining as a librarian. She is married and has two teenage children who are nearly all grown up and in the process of emptying the nest. Jane enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to live music, singing in a community choir and spending time with her family and cat. She is fascinated by history and love visiting old houses. For over nine years she has met monthly for ‘Book Club’ meetings at a café with a group of loyal friends;  they call it ‘Book Club’ but it’s really about the coffee, the cake, and the friendship.

Read more



Visiting writers@ the Lark - Arnold Zable and Maureen Scott Harris

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
18.03.14 5:12 am


Visiting writers: Arnold Zable and Maureen Scott Harris will share the limelight on Wednesday 26 March from 6pm.

Come hear these two captivating writers as they share their stories and writings.

Arnold Zable is an acclaimed writer, and novelist. His award-winning books include: Jewels and Ashes,The Fig Tree, and Café Scheherazade. His most recent work is Violin Lessons, a collection of stories about the lives of people he has met over the last forty years.

Poet and essayist Maureen Scott Harris lives in Toronto and has been in Hobart over this summer. Her three collections of poetry are: A Possible Landscape, Drowning Lessons and Slow Curve Out (Pedlar Press, 2012). Harris’s essays have won the Prairie Fire Creative Nonfiction Prize, and the WildCare Tasmania Nature Writing Prize

When: Wednesday, 26 March, 6-8pm
Where: Lark Distillery, 14 Davey St, Hobart
Free event, all welcome.

All the details here

Read more


Books | What's On

Hobart Bookshop: The Unspeak Poems

The Hobart Bookshop
16.03.14 5:48 am


The Hobart Bookshop and Walleah Press invite you to the launch, by Giles Hugo, of Tim Thorne’s latest collection of poetry The Unspeak Poems and Other Verse.

When: 5.30pm Thursday March 20
Where: The Hobart Bookshop

Free event, all welcome.

Please see our Upcoming Events page ( ) for more information on this and other bookshop events.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Read more


Books | What's On

Lynne Champion conqueror of mountains and canyons

Paula Xiberras
14.03.14 5:46 am


The name says it all, Lynne Champion is a champion in name and deed, a person who has managed to overcome obstacles to triumph in many situations that would have deterred or hindered most of us.

As a young girl, who grew up in relative poverty in Tasmania, Lynne went on to establish ‘Excessories’ an accessory store she ran in San Francisco for 12 years, now the store is a fully fledged boutique chain in Australia and Lynne has notched up a 25 year involvement in retail.

Lynne is based in Melbourne these days but continues to be a globetrotter, but for all that she retains a deep love of Tasmania, in fact when I ask her to nominate places in Tasmania she loves the most it is more or less an impossible task finding a place she doesn’t love!

Among her favourite places are Battery Point, Bicheno, the Huon Valley, Freycinet, Sandy Bay, Salamanca and the Midlands where some of Lynne’s aunts still reside. Lynne concludes Tasmania is a ‘special place’ and has only positive things to say about the people who ‘are uncomplicated’ and ‘not as superficial’ as people in other parts of Australia.

So much does Lynne admire Tassie that in April she will be accompanying a group of overseas guests to Tasmania for very special birthday celebrations.

Like other famous Tasmanians, Crown Princess Mary and Judith Durham, Lynne has links with Taroona. Why is the suburb so well represented by Tasmanian ladies on the world stage? Lynne has a lot of admiration for the suburb and especially for the progressiveness of Taroona high school with its ‘excellent and fun’ teaching methods. ‘The great teachers,’ says Lynne, were ‘‘inspiring and fun. In addition she credits her time in Taroona for forming a firm circle of friends and admired the fact Taroona High was a co-ed school says Lynne, also gave it an advantage.

When Lynne and languages didn’t link she opted for woodwork and so became the only girl in the woodwork class and as the only girl was spoiled with extra assistance.

It was this solid education along with Lynne’s natural talent that has enabled her to create an amazing life, putting pen to paper with the book, and plans have been put into motion for a movie.

When we speak Lynne is literally getting together with her film team following a coincidental meeting. After watching an hour long ABC documentary on the Australian film industry Lynne met a film director in a restaurant.

Lynne gave him a copy of her book to read it on his plane journey and he asked her if she had thought about making the book into a film and it didn’t take long for plans to be penned.

With a keen business acumen Lynne plans to be involved in all parts of the realisation of the film, including budgeting and auditions, already she is impressed by the young actresses arriving for auditions. They have a commitment to the serious message of empowering women and addressing female emancipation in what she hopes to be a thought provoking as well as a funny movie.

But Lynne’s story is also the story about her companions, a coat, a sunny duck and Cosmo the dog. For some wonderfully witty writing see Lynne’s chapter narrated from the viewpoint of her sometimes misunderstood but much loved coat and the chapter narrated by her oft companion the wonderful, gentlemanly Sunny Duck. Cosmo is the present representative of a long line of dog companions and make no mistake says Lynne, Cosmo will most definitely have a cameo in the movie.

As well as working on her film Lynne has found that at her various book launches around Australia, people are coming to her asking for advice in setting up their own businesses and even though it is a time when Lynne is content to sit back on her achievements and enjoy the luxury and freedom of being in ‘a really wonderful place’  she is in high demand to be a mentor and Lynne has never shirked a challenge and so begins a new career.

It’s perhaps the cover picture of Lynne’s book that illustrates her story best with its combination of pure white cover of the woman that was once the little girl growing up in Tasmania. The splashes of red in the photo on Cosmo’s bow-tie and Lynne’s sharp shoes clearly show a red hot passion for life that has created her own business, conquered The Grand Canyon, had a career as a race car driver, mixed with the rich and famous and a guest at The Academy Awards which is an apt point to end on as Lynne’s story is fit to film and perhaps see a return invitation!

‘Champion Tales’ by Lynne Champion is out now.

Read more



Hutchins taking flight

Paula Xiberras
13.03.14 5:06 am


A flight simulator still sits at Hutchins school.  Its the legacy of flying lessons that had once been taught as an elective by the school at the ‘Cambridge aerodrome with the onsite simulator providing a back-up’. It’s a good metaphor for a school that has taken flight and has striven to develop boys potential for a number of years.

I recently spoke to Margaret Mason-Cox who has completed an impressive chronological study of the history of the Hutchins school.

Hutchins is a school that has always been about developing boys best capabilities and over time expanding this to include and celebrate their specific interests. It has evolved over time and no longer is the emphasis solely on the classics, now it is encouraged and supported if a boy wishes to pursue a career in acting or music, woodwork or sport. No discipline is considered more worthy than another.

The school has moved physically as much as it has in curriculum content. The school moved from what is now the Mercury Print Museum, where it was situated from 1846 to 1849 to the impressive Macquarie Street building designed by William Archer to it’s present home at Sandy Bay.

Margaret skilfully relates the many outside and inner influences that have gone together to form the school, one of these has been the gradual introduction of the female contingent both in the teaching fraternity (pardon the pun) and as students. The first female student was Agnes Anderson the daughter of headmaster Anderson.

Margaret believes the introduction of girl students and the ties between Hutchins and Collegiate, and to an extent with Fahan and Mt Carmel at Matric level, has made a positive impact on the school. It has as Margaret said ‘helped keep the boys here’. When parents were considering the benefits of co ed education another   positive factor of having girls at the school has been the softening effect on the boys by having girls in class. The fact that having the girls there means co coordinating buses etc and the unavoidable impacting on time and finances does not deter or outweigh the benefits of having female participation at the school.

The addition of having girls in the class has also helped widen the options open to boys studying subjects not traditionally offered at an all boy school like Hutchins.

Another feature of Hutchins has been it’s highly qualified teachers staff members and headmasters with the ability to introduce a number of unique subjects in most cases ‘options’ or ‘electives’ such as hot air ballooning flying lessons. In these cases the subjects were always options or electives.

Margaret’s father was a headmaster at Hutchins when he moved the family here from Melbourne in 1954. Margaret is a Hutchins alumni too, having been enrolled at Hutchins kindergarten.

Margaret doesn’t like saying much, but its acknowledged that under her father’s watch that he ‘was a breathe of fresh air’ and was instrumental in getting the school moved to Sandy Bay.

With a love of sports Margaret’s dad engendered a revitalisation of school spirit.

There are some record making stories too, such as the headmaster Buckland who held office for 28 years to be followed by his son; which saw ‘a family ownership’ of the role for 50 years.

Margaret believes each headmaster proved a foil for the one after him and each one added something to the school.

Margaret has given us a book that illuminates the story of a school that has evolved both in physicality and in the staff and student body, and all along gives us a history that is as exciting as it is exact.

Margaret’s book ‘Character Unbound: A History of The Hutchins School’ is available from the following link.

Read more



Island: Wilkie reveals Gillard seat proposal, ABC Hobart Radio 10am today

Island Magazine
12.03.14 8:40 am


Andrew Wilkie, the Independent Member for Denison, discloses new details of Julia Gillard’s proposed deal with him, amongst other critical reflections on Australian politics, in a 5000 wd essay to be published this week in Island magazine, a leading quarterly of ideas, writing, and culture.

A live radio interview with Andrew Wilkie will be on Statewide Mornings with Leon Compton, 936 ABC Hobart at 10.05am today to discuss these revelations.

A 1700wd edited excerpt has been published today online at

Highlights of the essay include:

On Gillard Deal
“A curious twist in the story is how Gillard effectively offered me Denison for keeps in mid-2011. We were holding one of our frequent meetings in Canberra and out of the blue she said I needed to think about my future and, in particular, whether I wanted to be the ALP Denison candidate at the next federal election or wanted Labor to not even run a candidate there at all. The alternative, clearly, was business as usual – and by implication a tough Labor campaign directed at me come election time.”

On 43rd ‘hung’ parliament
“The popular misconception at the time, that the ‘hung’ parliament was dysfunctional and somehow illegitimate, was to a large degree the mischievous work of the Liberal–National coalition and some in the media. The reality was that it was simply a power-sharing parliament similar to many effective power-sharing parliaments right around the world; the logical outcome of an effective democratic system where voters are required to elect the members of a parliament, and not a majority government as some critics of the Gillard Government would have you believe.”

On Independents vs Political Parties
“History shows that governments often crave the imprimatur of well-regarded independents and will just as often pork-barrel their seats if only to try to win such sanction, or the seat itself, off them. But of course, much of this effort can be counterproductive because the more a government talks to and about an independent, and the more it dispenses largess, then the more the electorate sees the benefit in holding on to their independent. It’s not lost on some mainland politicians and commentators that the Abbott Government is pushing ahead with the $16 million grant to Cadburys in Hobart while at the same time refusing SPC’s plea for $25 million in federal government investment in Victoria.”

On Political Parties
“Examples of party members failing to follow their conscience, or to effectively represent their constituents, are many, but none are more striking than the parliamentary votes on asylum seekers, marriage equality and animal welfare. Time and time again otherwise good members of parliament have been on the public record making principled statements on these important areas of public policy and then walked in to the Chamber, sat with their party and made a complete mockery of their previous behaviour.”

On the Greens
“In early 2008, I left the Greens and have been on the receiving end of the Greens’ vitriol ever since. There were many reasons for the Greens’ behaviour. Among the rank and file, and even among some of the party leadership, I enjoyed a pleasing level of support. But key figures had taken quite a strong personal dislike to me for reasons, as far as I can tell, as diverse as my army and intelligence background, my moderate views and my preoccupation with social justice and peace issues rather than a strong track record in environmental activism. One very senior Green in particular seemed to be mindful of the possibility that I might one day succeed Bob Brown in the Senate and replace him as party leader.”

On Independents
“There’s certainly a hunger for more independents by many in the community who are sick and tired of politics, politicians and the political parties. But it’s a tough road to hoe for independents and the parties will do their best to make it all the tougher. After all, the parties like their cushy duopoly on power and don’t take kindly to those who come along and threaten it. Bad luck, I say, they’d better get used to it because we’re here to stay and hopefully prosper.”

Island will be available from today (12 March 2014).

Andrew Wilkie’s Tasmanian Times’ inaugural Lecture: Has Politics Failed Us?: No, but there’s a lack of authenticity, passion and leadership

Read more


Forthcoming epic adventure novel examines impact of global warming

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media W:
11.03.14 1:08 pm

The Ross Ice Shelf in the Antarctic, a lump of Ice about the size of France, is forecast to collapse into the sea creating a fifteen metre tsunami that will race around the globe destroying much of the world as we know it. This dire prediction, made by the British Antarctic Survey, New Zealand Scientists, and the Pentagon, is ignored by most of the world’s population, and forms the basis for the forthcoming sci-fi adventure story, Icefall (Short Stop Press, May, $29.99).

Icefall follows the story of street smart Tanya and her family, who after recognising the threat to their existence abandon their city lifestyle to create a secure settlement in the Blue Mountains, enabling them to survive the catastrophe and witness the complete destruction of Sydney and all of Australia’s coastal cities.  From this, the depths of despair, they find ways to start to rebuild the vibrant society that once existed. A fast-faced sci-fi adventure epic based on true climate change research, Icefall is the compelling fifth novel from Sydney writer Guy Hallowes.

Read more



Geordie Williamson to join Island magazine as Fiction Editor

Island Magazine
06.03.14 8:49 am


Island is Australia’s most dynamic quarterly of ideas, writing, and culture. It is also one of our oldest and most respected literary magazines, based in Tasmania, Australia.

Geordie Williamson is chief literary critic of The Australian and winner of the 2011 Pascall prize for critical writing. His book about neglected Australian authors, The Burning Library, was published in 2012 (Text Publishing). He recently won the inaugural Merlyn Meyer Biography Stipend for his new book, Kings of Rapa Nui, a history of his Scottish merchant forbears and their half-century of dominion over Easter Island.

Island 136 is Williamson’s first issue as Fiction Editor. It contains new short fiction from Jessica White, Ashley Hay, Laurie Steed, Paul Griffiths and Colin Oehring.

On his joining the Island team, Geordie Williamson said:

‘I have been either reading, writing about, or writing for, Island for years now. My respect for, and sense of engagement with the journal has only deepened over time—particularly with the arrival of the indefatigable and manifestly intelligent Matthew Lamb as Editor in 2012.

‘The paradox of our contemporary moment is that the margins have the most to teach the centre: about place, about localism, and about the ways in which we must resist the benign imperialism of the literary metropolis.

‘There is valuable news still to come from Tassie; and there is a depth of talent, as well as a magnificently oblique angle of approach to both home and the wider world that I find winning, and urgent. As the great man sings: “from little things, big things grow.”

‘I look forward to managing my small patch of that verdant market garden of ideas and words.’

Matthew Lamb—in his editorial to issue 136—states:

‘Why have we asked Williamson to join the Island team? Because he takes Australian literature seriously.’

WHO: Geordie Williamson and Island magazine
WHAT: Geordie Williamson to join Island magazine as Fiction Editor
WHEN: Island, issue 136, published March 15 2014
WHERE: All good book shops, or online

Read more


Books | What's On

Hobart Bookshop: The Unspeak Poems

Tim Thorne
05.03.14 6:13 am


You and your friends are invited to the launch by Giles Hugo of Tim Thorne’s The Unspeak Poems and other verses at the Hobart Bookshop, Salamanca Square, at 5.30 pm on Thursday March 20.

Read more


Books | What's On

Beam me up Scottie! The SF Connectionnn ...

Copyright © A.P. Fitzgerald
03.03.14 5:06 am


T’pockit, t’pockit, t’pockit, BARSOOM!! The dreaded mind numbing warning that

often preceded landing came `a juddering through Blodwin’s Osiris Space Pod

like a muted sonic boom. As the sleek craft spurted into the hovering

mists swathing Gannymede Minor his mind raced:

“Must be the Sniveling factor,” he thought as his steel grey orbs fell upon

the Hawking Temporal Differential Extrapolator stapled to his wrist. The

zirconium HTD had been a grateful gift from Kud, king of the ruminant Klingons

from the bicuspid stellar artery of the Anthrax Nebula. These unfortunates he

had saved from the Ringworld Moorlocks of Epsilon during the Sirocco and the

Fohn Wind Wars. He gulped down his fear and flicked a thoughtful glance at his

pregnant wife Barbarella that was glued to the computer console.
“Say it with flowers: give her some Triffids,” piped in the mincing voice of

JCN the super computer, who, like his second cousin HAL from 2001 was named as

an Irish acronym for IBM and could read human thought with consummate ease.

Meanwhile, back on Eo, the Gamma Mutants of the Omegatron had penetrated the

Sony Cobalt shield, and Hydra Blue and the Sleep Wizards were interfacing with

Kurt Vonnegut’s Tralfamadorians…… who could only communicate by farting and tap

dancing at the same time… which explains why when the first peaceful

Tralfamadorian landed on Earth and immediately ran to a nearby alfalfa farm to

warn the Scientologist occupant that his house was on fire, the redneck beat him

to a pulp with a nine iron and…...and..”

And, like garlic pizza, yodelling and boot scooting, SF is an acquired

taste, even though in a sense it’s been with us since most human beings lost

their tails, learnt to perambulate as bipeds and started telling the first mono

syllabic tales, probably with the visual aid of a dead gecko. According to the

mythologist Joseph Campbell, there are only twelve stories, and each is

borrowed from, warped, tweaked, and often immersed in loghorraeic jargon

and pseudo-science to become hi fi sci fi.

Humanity’s search for worm-holes and the meaning of the universe, its desire to

transcend its mortal coil and the constraints of gravity, or even its need to be

able to walk and chew betel-nut at the same time, reaches back to an era when

fire-side chats constituted not only the main form of entertainment but also the

best opportunity of learning how to survive puberty. When the greater part of

every day equated with a sustained sprint through an over-crowded zoo without

bars, when a twenty eight year life span qualified you as a geriatric, and

when death by tusk, tooth, claw, or simian SARS, was virtually guaranteed,

it’s not surprising our venerable ancestors wanted to escape to some imaginative

place, a better place or a more interesting place in their imaginations.

Freedom of flight: `here’s a cliff, so make like a Pteradactyl Grug’; or Icarus

attempts the Immelman turn with the wax in his ears; immortality (`Methuselah

makes a horse’s bottom of himself at his 601st birthday bash); and enterprising

sand viper snaffles Gilgamesh’s tad-awkward-to-replace elixir of life; conquest

(Charlemagne’s Paladins: Have Armies Will Travel); Heaven (a celestial

place with a good dental care system and no sabre toothed tigers); Xenophobia

(stranger danger)and the riddle of the stars, represent some of the themes

and ideas in the earliest Science fiction.

Way, way, back in time, when “Fast Food” was a reference to speedy gourmet

Marsupials or monitor lizards, the pride of the tribe were the story tellers,

but the only sure-fire method of curbing the wandering ways of these

yabberers was to poke out their eyeballs with a burnt stick. This

practice of the blind leading the bland became so widespread that the Celtic

word `bard’ for a story-teller also meant `blind’. These days Hollywood gives

these hacks three million smackers and locks them in a piano bar at the Beverley

Wiltshire with a laptop and ten crates of DOM for six months at a time to punch

out humanistic SF like Star Troopers and Cyborg, originally titled Jo Zeff and

his Full Metal Jacket.

All ancient societies had their concepts of Creation, ranging from the sexually

charged Big Bang theory to the more scientifically convincing Rainbow Serpent

and Ra. Astronomer, novelist and futurist Arthur C. Clarke even speculated that

nebulous cloud floating in the seventh heaven viewed through the Hubble Bubble

Technical Trouble Telescope may actually be composed of amino acids, those

gregarious little boogers that are the building blocks of life. He further

speculated that if he is correct, it could mean the universe was seeded, much

like your Johnny Apple-seed, but on a more ambitious scale. Let’s hope that if

he’s right, that most of the potential weeds get winnowed in the direction of

the sun or some lunar icescape with a diurnal range of 2000 degrees.

Likewise in his follow up novel 2010, Clarke opined that Europa, a celebrated

moon of Jupiter, might support life. This theory, like Europa, and the beers

served at my pub - “The Wookie and Child” - is said to hold substantial water.

The recent finding of a bottle of Mylanta tablets on Pluto have engendered a

Scientific rethink on the matter. 

Unfortunately, with much SF today, the reader or watcher often gains a nagging

feeling of déjà vu…..didn’t I just say that? I mean, it’s always the twenty

ninth century (and I thought MY watch was fast), youth is still rebellious, more

of those ratbag gung Ho Outcasters want to take over the planet and vaporize

anyone with a mullett, essentials such as Moet and other creature

comforts still cost a fistful of plastic, there’s yet another heretical mystic

on the Jihad horizon, and as Woody Allen once avowed, Epsilon girls still prefer

French kissing to hand shaking.  I also have to agree with him that what most

people want to know about the universe is not so much whether there’s life in

outer space, but, do they have Ray Guns?” Film title idea flash: Venus in Blue

Genes AKA Sheer Folly.

Science Fiction as a genre is a shape changer and a shameless plunderer of

everything from myths and magic to high science. Science versus Creationism led

to ripping yarns like the one about that big goombah, Frankenstein’s monster, a

man of many parts. Unknown to many SF afficionadoes is the fact that the first

SF story was not Goethe’s cerebral talking food opus “Die Meisterschnitzel”

but the sublime novella “The Dream of Ogg”, a pat mini epic written in

tapir-stool. Its protagonist was a precocious prehistoric Neanderthal Goliath

with halitosis -a “C’ Class Honours student of the University of Tundra and

Cavern who attempted to build a space ship made out of a mussel and oyster shell

midden to carry him out of the Dordogne Valley to greener pastures and forty

leagues closer to the burgeoning Pinot wine district. Not surprisingly the

would-be astronaut died of bivale cigeuretea just before blast off.

Given the onerous task of identifying some very readable SF literature (a

Visigoth to a Vandal: eaten any good books lately Genseric?), even

devotees, Sfans, Trekkies, Vogons and the like, would vacillate, obfuscate and,

most likely, oscillate before plumping for SF such as:

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series (Tarzan masters Physics) Wells’

Time Machine (Eloi! Eloi! oi oi oi! AKA “Cannibal Tours”; Herbert’s DUNE

(The Worm Turns); Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” (a Literary

companion for celebrity assassins in the U.S); Paul Theroux’s “Ozone” (3 Mile

Island goes continental); Orwell’s “1984” (Mogadishu on a Sunday night); “The

Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (A “How To” book for restaurant bolters at the

end of the universe); or Dan Simmons’ Hugo and Nebula award winning “Hyperion”,

in which budding Starship captain Het Masteen twigs that it’s time his tree ship

Yggdrasil branched out for Hyperion, where hurricanes hoften happen in pursuit

of the deadly Shrike…(I kid you not).

So when the temperature reaches “Fahrenheit 451”, drop the burning book and

seek out searing titles like H Potter inspiration “A Wizard of Earthsea” where

you’ll find Ged,  a “Speaker for the Dead” who’ll tell you to head to Westworld

thence navigate the drowned “Riverworld” und……blah blah “und zo it goes” alzo

sprach sour kraut Vonnegut. Ergo, if you’re gonna read a classic, gonna read a

Jurassic, gonna read it in an attic…better read the guide first.

On celluloid though, the SF best” lists could comprise: “Metropolis” (New York

without the traffic snarls); The old eastern bloc’s Solaris (Spaced out Spouse);

“The Omega Man”(Charlton Heston’s last Swiss watch); “Logan’s Run” (The Old and

the Dutiful)”; “Village of the Damned” (Cuckolds Anonymous); “A for Andromeda”

(a B.B.C dramatization of the alphabet); “2001” (My Mentor Woth a Monolith, or

1470 man finds atomic inspiration before lunch); Ridley Scott’s “Alien” (Jaws on

acid); “E.T.(a Bell TELEPHONE CO promo spectacular);“Blade Runner”(`I Robot You

Jane)”; “Star Wars” (Merlin, Arthur and Mordred transmogriphy in a galaxy far,

far, away); the mind boggling 3D PANDORA (“Dances with Wolves” reconstituted

meets The Navii Gator and Beyond Blue); and the high tech/low plot Arnold

Schwarzenbeefeneggenberger blockenbusters “Total Recall” and the Terminators

(“It’s not a toomer!” I tink maybe it is) The sequels were both scary: “The

Governator”; and The Presidentinator”

Another film that could be included is the Close Encounters of the Worst

Kind megahit was “Independence Day - I.D. 4”. essentially summarised as follows:

(U.F.O’s. stop./ NYC RSVP E.T’s. Stop./ FBI, CIA S.N.A.F.U stop./ E.T’s  

S.O.B’s. stop./ S.O.S I.B.M, F18’s. stop./ E.T’s D.O.A. stop/ U.N. A.O.K.stop.

Over and out. 

Or, also on ID 4: Israelis, Palestinians and interested parties vigorously

reject Alien Middle East solution; Inter Galactic Terra-formers Poleaxed by

Computer Nerd; or “Feisty President kicks arses of Aliens with Altitude Problem”.

And as for the genetic engineering romp “Jurassic Park”, basically it was “What

Dinah Saw”.

Then there were major Directors’ shots at the genre:

Spielberg’s “Minority Report”-(Foxy Precog gets bad vibe about Cruise marriage);

SIGNS (Mel’s Field of Bad Dreams – If you build crop circles They Will Come);

and “Matrix Reloaded” and “Matrix Revolution” (NEOphyte Computer Whiz Hacks Into

Techno Babble and SFX MOTHERLODE). And with “I Robot”, “the first two rules of

robotics are that a robot cannot harm a human”. Riii—ight, Even Godiva’s Peeping

Tom, Blind Pugh at the Admiral Ben Bow Inn and Tutenkamen’s mummy saw that

one coming!

Steven Spielberg’s disconcertingly discomforting take on H.G Wells’ “War of

the Worlds”, however, managed to be something altogether different again: a

chilling thrilling visual parable for the holocaust and other genocides from the

primordial murk of human behaviour and history.

Every viewer of this film possessing a modicum of grey matter and humanity,

regardless of their ethnic and cultural origins, was left in absolutely

no doubt about what genocide must be like for the victims.

And just like the S.S and all malevolent maggots before them and after them,

Spielberg’s alien Martians articulated the same timeless catch cries of all well

armed, strongly motivated and viscerally ambitious “Visitors”: We come in peace,

come in peace: Shoot to kill! Shoot to Kill!

In the past half dozen years the SF fare has been popularised and diversified

immensely, in terms of imaginative scope not so reliant on SFX. Of course

when you’re on a good thing in terms of Box Office receipts, general advice

says don’t mess with it! Which is why “Star Wars” released prequels like “Attack

of the Clones”, and why Terminator and its kind become franchises that could

even release Parts 11 and 12 if they so wished. There will, however, always be

some adolescent pap with laconic heroes comprised of teak or mahogany

propped up by high tech SFX excess as in “Transformers”, and a spate of teen

angst SF like “Twilight”-inspired “I am Number Four” (I vote to retitle it, “I

am Number two”)and forget the spate of expensive Hollywood schlock stuff based

on join the dots, writing by numbers scripts like “Battle for Los Angeles” and

“Chronicles of Riddick”. That said, there is also a growing number of thought-

Provoking and insightful audio-visual material for viewers who are tired of

seeing a predictable plot plodding from A to E, and who really hope for a plot

ranging from A to J via P and a secret LBJ home movie and the discovery of giant

mutant marine life in Fukushima.

There is arguably a rising standard in the best of SF branching into hybrid

genres (not “Cowboys and Aliens so much), including Comedy, Drama and

Psychological genres.

Other relatively recent offerings like SF comedy “PAUL” managed to break some

new ground despite trotting out myriad homages to so many Alien on

Earth stories that came before it, which included the story of Jesus.

The best SF comedies so far were the laugh out loud John Carpenter film

“Dark Star”, whose evil alien closely resembles a large $4 K Mart beach ball

with legs and attitude.

He deviously and hilariously torments the space ship’s crew, whose job entails

an endless trip through the galaxies exploding potentially unstable stars and

this crew’s very existence has been forgotten by NASA decades earlier. They

encounter an unexpected problem though when one of their talking bombs develops

a “personality disorder” and starts to channel Rousseau, Sartre and a plethora

of other philosophers and argues the logic of “his” purpose and his very

existence shortly after being armed for release and detonation. The countdown

continues with the increasingly “ticked off” and terrified crew desperately

trying to convince him his purpose is to head for the targeted star immediately

or “stand down”.

The ironic and darkly hilarious South Efrikaaner Dramedy/mockumentary “AREA

9” is almost as good. It features giant intelligent prawn-like aliens

incarcerated in a Soweto style township outside Johannesburg after their

space ship encounters mechanical trouble. Seeing these repugnant and terrifying

looking monsters being racially maligned by their intolerant tawny Soweto human

neighbours, and watching them having their citizenship documentation checked by

dull Government officials who address them by their newly allotted names, such

as Charles Potts or Alistair Smith, produced much spontaneous audience laughter

in the movie session I attended and was well worth the price of the ticket.

The new Tom Cruise SF film “Oblivion” is close to being the goods but some

critics and audiences have targeted a few the script’s burgeoning black holes

and that appears in Act 2, as well as its unevenness.

The film “Gravity”, by Alfonse Cuaron, is, however, a breath of fresh air

for SF lovers – though not so fresh for its two protagonists – and this

inventive original audio-visual alchemy truly mines space-junk for a golden seam

and it is film storytelling at its finest.

So, irrefutably, SF is a rapacious looter of the entire world catalogue

of histories, mythologies, yarns and ideas, but it has also added a new

dimension to literary storehouses for an aeon and a millisecond; and inarguably, 

in Hollywood, When an Alien Stalks, Money Talks.

Read more



The Hobart Bookshop: Michael Denholm

The Hobart Bookshop
01.03.14 6:17 pm

Hobart Bookshop and Carlton Street Press invite you to the launch of Michael Denholm’s In The Vineyard Of Tasmanian Art Volume Two - Tasmanian Art Since The 1960s.

When: 5.30pm Wednesday 12th March
Where : The Hobart Bookshop
Free event , all welcome

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Read more


Books | What's On

The Hobart Bookshop: Tansy Rayner Roberts, Dirk Flinthart

The Hobart Bookshop
01.03.14 6:09 pm

Hobart Bookshop and FableCroft Publishing are delighted to present the launch, by Lian Tanner of two new novels by Tasmanian authors. Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Ink Black Magic and Dirk Flinthart’s Path Of Night.

When: 4.30pm Sunday 9th March

Where: Hobart Bookshop

Free event all welcome

For more information go to or

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Read more


Books | What's On

Tim Thorne Book Launch

27.02.14 7:00 am


You are invited to the launch by Bruce Penn of Tim Thorne’s book The Unspeak Poems and other verses:

At the Aspect Tamar Valley Resort, Grindelwald on Thursday March 13 at 7.00 pm.

Read more


Books | What's On

This engaging story ...

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media W:
26.02.14 10:19 am

In the upcoming book, Herbert Peabody and His Extraordinary Vegetable Patch ($18.95, May 2014), Melbourne author Bianca Ross has crafted an engaging story that aims to connect children with where their food comes from. It’s a great story about Herbert Peabody, a local vegetable farmer, and his relationship with his niece and nephew as he teaches them the benefits of gardening and growing sustainable produce, with an emphasis on problem solving and community values.

Bianca has had a career in marketing dairy and juice products, and observed a disconnect between children and their understanding of where food originates, and has set to change that through writing the book. “Studies have shown that if children get involved with growing and preparing fruit and vegetables at a young age, they’re more likely to try different food,” she says, “so I saw an opportunity to inspire kids to grow their own food through having someone that they could identify with.”

The first book in the series, Herbert Peabody and His Extraordinary Vegetable Patch will be available at all good book stores on 1 May. The official website includes teacher’s notes, colour-ins and gardening information for youngsters. For a review copy or to speak with Bianca please contact me.

Scott Eathorne
Quikmark Media
38 Warrs Avenue
Preston South, VIC 3072


Read more