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Dispicable Me

Dispicable Me

As you know I’m not above pointing out other people’s typos. It’s not because I’m perfect and have none of my own but more because I can.

Little Library A frame

Little Library A frame

The Little Library is a free library in Melbourne Central, it’s somewhere on one of the upper floors and I was taken there the day of my English exam. Don’t ask me to navigate you there as I can get lost quite easily.

It’s in a little shop, holding several book shelves in a row and a little space to wander around. People donate books as they choose and some librarian processes them at some stage so they end up with a sticker identifying them as belonging to the Little Library. When I was there it was challenging to take a photo without people as four or five people creates little space for photos.

Little Library Bookshelf

Little Library Bookshelf

Some of my badges

Some of my badges

I don’t know why I collect badges. It’s something I started when I was very young and although I stopped for many years I never got rid of them, now I just keep collecting. I prefer pre-loved badges as they have a story which I never hear but it’s still there. I do end up with some new ones as there are some which are ‘must haves’. My collection is of the many and varied type, one day they’ll get sorted but it’s getting harder and harder as they seem to multiply rapidly.

Alphabet by Author – Male Science Fiction Authors Summary

As promised here the summary of the male science fiction authors I’ve written about. It looks as if I’ve done two ‘J’s and missed ‘K’ entirely for which I apologise and appreciate no-one calling me out on it.

A is for Isaac Asimov

B is for James Blish

C is for Michael G Coney

D is for Samuel R. Delany

E is for William B. Ellern

F is for Philip Jose Farmer

G is for Hugo Gernsback

H is for Lee Harding

I is for Eric Idle

J is for Sagan Jeffries

J is for Carl Richard Jacobi

L is for Stanislaw Lem

M is for George R. R. Martin

N is for Grant Naylor

O is for Fitz-James O’Brien

P is for John T Phillifent

Q is for Thanas Qerama

R is for E. F. Russell

S is for Olaf Stapledon

T is for Theodore L Thomas

U is for Dănuţ Ungureanu

V is for A. E. van Vogt

W is for Jack Wodhams

X is for Xu Zhuodai

Y is for Nir Yaniv

Z is for George Zebrowski

And there you have it, the alphabet according to male science fiction authors. Next week I’ll repeat the same exercise with female science fiction authors and see what mistakes I’ve made.

Going Postal – Terry Pratchett

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

You knew I’d talk about Terry Pratchett one day, didn’t you? I wasn’t planning on doing a reread right now but it was the day before my English exam, the nerves had finally hit and I needed to calm myself so I could sleep, I turned to an old favourite and went to bed to read…it worked and I slept.

Nothing in Pratchett is there by chance, every little word is there by design and every word or phrase means something, whether it has one meaning or many depends on the reader and the amount of knowledge you have in your head. Let’s start with the title.

Going Postal is found in the Urban Dictionary

originally coined from a series of real life shootings in the postal service, it now usually means that someone is about to go nuts or off the deep end. the reason for going postal is usually trivial. also, means person on psychiatric meds that is off their pills.

And that fits the book beautifully. Not only is this book about the postal service in Ankh Morpork but Moist von Lipwig goes off his head on many occasions only to move things on substantially.

The book starts off with Moist von Lipwig trying to escape from prison as he’s about to be hung, he wakes up from hanging to be given a choice; take over the Ankh Morpork Postal Service or walk through the door to the scorpion pit.

The postal service has many issues, one of which is nothing has been delivered in many years and all the letters are taking up residence in the post office. Moist von Lipwig takes this on board while trying to escape and ends up doing a very good job.

This character, who happens to be my favourite character in the Discworld books, is a con man. He’s very good at staying one step ahead of the problem and the law but in this case it catches up with him and he finds himself riding the wave of popularity and redemption. He uses words to get himself out of trouble and sleight of hand to make himself pots of money, he understands that people need ritual and someone to look up to so he plays to both of those in part by wearing a very gold, showy suit and giving people something for them to cheer about and bet on. He knows when to stand out and when to fade into the background.

So, the suit he wears is made of gold fabric to look showy and has wings on his hat and boots to symbolise Mercury the Messenger but also to symbolise speed. The Ankh Morpork Post Office building has the same creed as the United States Postal Service

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

von Lipwig takes the time to find the missing letters and have them reinstalled. I took a picture of the US building in NY when I was there and if you look carefully you might be able to read the letters.


von Lipwig also invents stamps and makes Stanley the head of the Stamp Department. Stanley has issues but he understands collecting as he’s collected pins for years, at this stage he feels he’s growing up and leaving the childish pursuits of pins behind for stamps.

The names used in Discworld are not chosen out of a hat, I do wonder why he’s called Stanley. It could be for Stanley Bruce, the 8th Prime Minister of Australia, it could be for Stanley Tools, it could be a reference to something much older than either of them or it could be a reference to someone Pratchett knew. Research is the key here and I’ve spent five seconds on it.


Yes, I recommend it. This book will help you see through the hype of some organisations, it will help you understand collecting a little more and you’ll have a ball reading it. There is a chain smoker in it and von Lipwig falls for her, his thoughts about kissing her include ‘kissing an ashtray’ but he can’t help himself.

Gundagai, Victoria

Gundagai has become one of those iconic places, if you’re driving from Victoria to NSW or to Queensland (or the other way round) you’ll almost certainly stop at Gundagai. I actually stopped there twice, going to and from Sydney for the Book Expo 2015. Most people don’t go into the township instead stopping at the Dog on the Tuckerbox several kilometres away, there you can find petrol, places to eat and the Dog. It’s a lovely area and includes a couple of rather broken down houses and some old farm machinery.

Joseph Carberry's Inn

Joseph Carberry’s Inn

My apologies if this photo makes you ill but I was trying out some different angles, not sure they worked.

The Dog on the Tuckerbox is an old poem about Bill the Bullocky who upset his dog who then shat in his tuckerbox. At some point this word either lost the ‘h’ due to a typo or was deliberately sanitised and instead the dog became the ultimate in loyalty, sitting on the tuckerbox until the return of his master.

Poem about Bill the Bullocky

Poem about Bill the Bullocky

So those of us who put the ‘h’ back in out of sheer perversity have actually been doing the right thing. Although many people do know the real story nowadays. And when I say ‘real’, I mean the story as we have it from the poem as there’s a chance it may not have actually happened.

Dog on the Tuckerbox

Dog on the Tuckerbox

Here is the photo of the statue, nicely surrounded by a moat where people throw coins (for some reason). The box looks to be moderately difficult to get into and while I know there are some dogs capable of some quite clever feats I suspect this dog would not have been able to break and enter the tuckerbox, and if he did then he would have eaten the food rather than leaving a less than savoury deposit. My thoughts are more along the lines of the bullockies being rather bored and inventive of an evening sitting around the campfire wrote some songs which eventually ended up written down. It is only a supposition, unless someone has a time machine and is able to go back to the 1850s or further and follow them around we’ll never really know.

Friday Photos – Book Expo 2015

This is the last article dedicated to the Book Expo of 2015. I’ll try to remember to mention it when I scribble a few words about the books I got there.

Waves in the Desert by Kimberley Beadles

Waves in the Desert by Kimberly Beadle

Beadle is donating some of her sales to Oxfam, putting her money where her mouth is.

Whitefella Dreaming by R B Clague

Whitefella Dreaming by R B Clague

This book is now on my To Be Read Pile, I’ll get to it this year or early next, if you want to buy it now it’s available right here.

Wombat Stories by Tony Harris

Wombat Stories by Tony Harris

Deja vue? No, it’s just Harris does so much I had to put him in twice. You can see more about him and buy his books here.

Musings on Authors by Alphabet

I’m giving you two weeks of recap while I consider if I want to continue with Authors by Alphabet. I’ve had a ball but it’s a 26 week commitment for each heading and I’m hoping to study full time next year so if I start it’ll be challenging to finish and I’m already wondering what I can drop next year to fit in all the study…the thought had occurred to me I could drop Thursdays and only write three days a week.

What I’m planning is to give you one week for male science fiction authors and the other for female science fiction authors while I ponder the wisdom of doing another. Originally I was intending to go straight on with fantasy authors and then possibly crime, or thriller or something entirely different and doing two more weeks with links back to the original articles will give me some thinking time.

Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven – Fannie Flagg

Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg

Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg is the author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and co-writer of the movie of the same name. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, most of you probably know the storyline and the kicker near the end. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven but as it turns out it’s the same laid back writing with a kicker near the end.

Elner Shimfissle, eighty-something has been told not to climb ladders anymore but she’s spent a lifetime doing what she needed and being the one to get things done so she doesn’t listen and this time pokes a wasp nest. 17 stings later and she’s out for the count – actually she’s dead but she comes to life again and causes much consternation. During the time she’s dead we see what kind of person she is and that the whole neighbourhood grieves as do some people outside as Elner has been a big influence on a great many people.

This book is Flagg at her finest. The story is well told, every time we see something that doesn’t quite fit we find it woven back into the fabric of the story sometime later on. It’s a feel-good story with so much good in here that it’d be a good one to read right now. Elner Shimfissle restores one’s faith in human nature.

Edit: I completely forgot to give you the link, this is one book you need to read.

Chiltern, Victoria

My first proper stop in my drive up to Sydney for the Book Expo was Chiltern. I figured it’d be a good place to stop for a break, some lunch and a bit of a walk to get the blood pumping again. It was beautiful. In looking for a park I found an op shop and several antique shops. Naturally I stopped in at the op shop but the books didn’t catch my attention, instead I picked up a couple of CDs to help me while away the hours. I had planned carefully and put many hours of podcasts on my iPad but it turned out that wasn’t loud enough so I ended up talking to myself on my phone or just musing in silence until Chiltern.

Chiltern is a goldrush town, so established in the goldrush of 1858-59 but surveyed five years previously. During the drought it looked like it would overtake Beechworth in gold production as it used a different production method and therefore attracted a different type of miner.

With its Victorian era facades it’s been used to shoot several movies so you might want to keep an eye out for some of these buildings. It was also the home of Henry Handel Richardson for some time and is featured in one of her books, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, you can buy a cheap copy here.

The Addams Family

The Addams Family

Found this little beauty in a shop window. I was upset to miss it the following week, I had meant to put this on Facebook in case someone could get there but I forgot.

A beautiful display in the pharmacist's window

A beautiful display in the pharmacist’s window

Loved this display in the pharmacy window. As it turns out there’s a pharmacy that’s also a museum and it could indeed be this window. It was operated by the father of our former Prime Minister John McEwen.

A very musical floor

A very musical floor

Some of these old buildings are amazing. I found this music stave painted onto a floor in an antique shop.

Loved this wall advertising

Loved this wall advertising

No idea how old this advertising is but I fell in love with it.

World famous grapevine

World famous grapevine

Planted in 1867 the grapevine mentioned in this photo is apparently the largest in the southern hemisphere. And here my brain turns to the idea of a grapevine so large it’s taking over the country. Time to turn the brain off and do something else.

Friday Photos

More authors from the Book Expo 2015.

Monkey Business by Flavia Ursino & Kevin Coleman

Monkey Business by Flavia Ursino & Kevin Coleman

Where else can you find psychics and AIDS but in Monkey Business?

Opal Ridge by Victoria Capper

Opal Ridge by Victoria Capper

Written by a lady who knows about the bush as she’s lived there, it’s the first in a trilogy of outback romances. You can find it here.

Tangle of Thorns by Lorel Clayton

Tangle of Thorns by Lorel Clayton

A little fantasy and mystery combined.

Z is for Valentina Zhuravleva

For my final entry in Female Science Fiction authors I’ve chosen Valentina Zhuravleva for two reasons: the first is because she’s Russian and; the second is for this review written two years ago.

James Lecky, author of the blog, goes into raptures about Zhuravleva’s short story The Astronaut and affirms it as one of his favourites. Like me, he loves the short story format and talks about The Astronaut at length, examining the writing style and enthusing.

Often Zhuravleva wrote with her husband who was the inventor of TRIZ, the name is translated as “theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks”, but sometimes wrote by herself. Their collaborations were all published under her name due to anti-Semitic restrictions.

She’s mentioned in The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters which I’ve happily found for you to look at and not buy, should you decide you want to pay half price for an ebook a quick google will find the link for you. She’s also mentioned in Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature which is a little cheaper but it’s another one I link to for your edification and not for your buying.

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I want to thank the Koolin people for their thousands of years of guardianship and caretaking of the area where I live.