Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I saw one of these last night. It crossed the road in front of my car on my way home from the ju-jitsu class. I stopped the car and waited for it to cross. It posed in the headlights very nicely, and the boys in the car with me were duly impressed.

The beastie in question is an Eastern Barred Bandicoot, one of Australia's threatened/endangered mammal species. I was really pleased to see it, and it was cute as all hell.

Unfortunately, it's probably in real trouble even here in Tasmania. With the Facial Tumour Disease wiping out the Tasmanian Devils in our area, I see more and more feral cats haunting the forests and roadsides around here. Feral cats are savage, deadly hunters, and though an adult bandicoot is a hefty little bugger -- the size of a very large, well-fed rabbit -- the young are quite vulnerable.

I like cats. But they don't belong here. Bandicoots do. I hope they can hang around.

Heh. I just noticed: the autospellcheck on this blogging system doesn't know what a bandicoot is. Ignorant shit of a thing!

What A Writer Will Do For A Free Drink

Five hundred kilometre round trip? Sure. No problems.

Actually, I was just taking a cheap shot at myself there. And why not? Somebody should. Y'see, I drove to Hobart yesterday afternoon to launch a book. Not mine -- you don't launch your own books. (No, I don't understand this system any better than you.)

Here in Australia, books in SF and Fantasy are traditionally launched by Jack Dann. I'm not sure why. Last I heard, Jack's not sure either - but he does it with great energy and enthusiasm, and when Jack launches a book, you sure as hell know it's been launched.

Anyway, Tansy Rayner-Roberts (a friend now of ten years standing, and a colleague on a number of projects and groups that actually surprised me when I went back over the list) has the second book in her Harper/Collins/Voyager trilogy on the shelves now. The first, 'Power and Majesty' was a damned good read, and it was really cool to see it in print since I'm part of the writers group who helped criticise it into shape, so to speak. But I haven't seen even the MS of the second book, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

And launching it? That was unexpected. I haven't done that before.

It was down at the Hobart Book Store, in Salamanca Square, so I took off around 1330. Made it there by 1645 for a 1730 deadline: plenty of time. The Hobart Book Store is a fantastic place, with a wonderful and eclectic range of books, and perfectly lovely proprietors. They even bought me a beer.

Not only that, but the launch itself came with the requisite bottles of vino, and a bunch of people I hadn't seen in a while (except for Emma Kate, whom I had seen quite recently. Hello, EK!). So I made some kind of a speech, and Tansy made another kind of speech, and lo! 'The Shattered City' was launched. Then Tansy signed some books, and we all went off for pizza. Yay!

And then?

Why then, I turned around and drove home again. As one does. Because, of course, today was a busy day with writing and yardwork and then all the ju-jitsu stuff in the evening... but Natalie made sushi so I didn't have to cook, and now I'm back to work.