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Friday Photos

Today I’m looking at new borrowing procedures at public libraries. I was at the City Library on Tuesday and found I didn’t need to speak to anyone at all. There were lots of people there but very few staff. The photo is not good so I’ll move onto the next photo.

City Library

City Library

This photo isn’t too good either but gives you a better idea of the layout. First you put your card in the spot provided so the computer can identify you. Then you lay your books, CDs or whatever out on the pad for the computer to see. Then you press Exit or Finish and it prints out a slip. You don’t need to speak to anyone and except for returns everything is automated. There were two staff members nearby to answer questions and one lady came up to me to ask if she could help me when she saw me taking this photo…I didn’t explain.


Carnegie Library

Two things I’m not happy about with this new procedure. Jobs, how many people will lose their jobs over this? And this now means that those people who struggle to have even a few words with people now have an excuse not to talk at all. They can remain totally within their own little world and not interact with anyone in the library, before they at least had to say ‘hello’ to the person behind the counter and that little interchange is no longer there.

W is for Jack Wodhams

Jack Wodhams is Australian! I’ve found another Australian science fiction author…I know there are plenty of you out there but I’ve never really worried about the country of the author when reading so finding out where they live has been an interesting experience.

Wodhams wasn’t actually born in Australia but came here at a youngish age. He was born London and either came here as a child or a youngish adult, I’ve seen various stories and they don’t agree.

But you’re really after his writing. A lot of it can be found in Analog although he has written a few stand alone books which some people feel don’t hang together as well as his short stories. I have read Looking for Blücher but couldn’t find it despite looking for it on my shelf. Can you get a more clunky sentence? I was looking for Looking for Blücher on my shelf. At one time he was Australia’s premier science fiction author.

Wodhams did write for other publications and this issue of New Writings in SF-11 proves it.

New Writings in SF-11

New Writings in SF-11

Despite being such an important author I couldn’t actually find any new copies for you to buy. What I did find was a reference book Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction which looks absolutely fascinating and wonderful, you should look at it.

Six Years!

So, as of today I’ve now been blogging for six years. It’s been an interesting journey and I’ve watched myself acquire various skills, some better than others.

My writing has improved. It’s not super duper fabulous but it’s better than it was. My confidence level about my writing is at an all time high and I’ve found myself much more able to write. The act of forcing myself to write five days a week by a certain time of day means I’ve had to improve and be able to sit and write even when I don’t feel like it. Whether this will translate to being able to write fiction is a point I have yet to find out and I’m not ready for that at this point.

I have ideas and I’ve been writing most of them down so I can’t forget them but whether I’ll actually be able to follow through to produce a competent story is something for the future. What we’re being taught in both English and English Language is blowing my mind and increasing my skills. I’ll find out at the end of the year whether I’ve picked up enough skills to pass but at the very least I’ll have more skills and a greater understanding of English.

I’d like you to share this anniversary with me and I’m giving away a 12 month digital subscription to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, available world wide but you’ll need to do one of three things to enter. Everything you need to know is below. Entries are already open and close at midnight on the 27th April 2015.

Edited: Adding in the method of choosing. This time I think I’ll let Rafflecopter do all the randomisation and choose a winner for me.

sixth anniversary random

Sample of the print editions of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (ASIM) you are competing for.

I’ve mentioned ASIM several times before but to bring you up-to-speed here is a link to one of my articles. If you want to read more on my blog I suggest you put Andromeda into the search engine as putting in ASIM brings up lots of words about Isaac Asimov.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nullus Anxietas 5 again

I know I promised more photos but they may not be forthcoming for a while. There were two official photographers and one of them took over 700 photos, it will take a while for them to process and upload as they check and label each one. Both ladies are in the middle of studies and that has to take precedence so photos will have to wait. I’ll also have to take the time to ask permission to publish them here.

Remember the guy who gave me $20 to go away? He was Matt Falloon with some amazing talents with balloons. I’ve got a couple of his creations here.

Death of Rats

If Death of Rats were my size then this balloon creation would be lifesize.


This is the lovely Marion doing Death. The whole costume was seriously amazing. She can still use her hands but they’re covered in black gloves so they’re only visible close up. She’s got Death roughly the right height but she can still see, although there is a problem when the doorway or room is too short for her and she received heaps of help from people.


Another of Matt’s creations is again larger than life. A Nac Mac Feegle, complete with sword.


And here are two real Feegles and a Kelda with the balloon Feegle so you can get an idea of size. Aren’t they all clever?

So many workshops and things to do. I’ve already mentioned the origami elephants. You could sign up to join the Plastimake workshop, join the Chain Maille workshop, work on your cosplay in the Chaos Costuming room. There were games happening in abundance, Pat ran Werewolf, new games were turning up. I’ve already mentioned the Galah Dinner, the auction and the Dealer’s Room. There was always someone hanging around to talk to. I think I can safely say much fun was had by all.

Wednesday I’m planning a giveaway. It’s the sixth anniversary of this blog and I’m putting together a pack of books for people to choose from. It will be open to Australians only for postage reasons and I’ll have an incredibly hard question for you to answer. Thursday I’m up to W and I’m considering writing about Jack Wodhams but that may change and hopefully I’ll have more photos for Friday.


Friday Photos – Nullus Anxietas 5

A few photos from the Australian Discworld Convention in Sydney last weekend. Have I really been back less than a week? So much has happened it feels like a month.

Badges Loot

I raided the Dealers Tent and bought badges for my collection. One was given me for my volunteering work. The Be More Terry was was to every attendee by Rob Wilkins and there’s a little one of Rincewind played by Troy Larkin in Run Rincewind Run comes from the Adelaide Mini Con in 2012, they were only issued to attendees but Danny knows I have a collection so he gave me a spare. My joy knows no bounds!

Death in crochet

I took some wool and a crochet hook, while I got little useful done it served as an introduction to some people (I was also waving at people I didn’t know and saying hello but that’s rather beside the point). This amazing scarf was displayed to me by the owner on the Friday, she’s made Death into a scarf! Such amazing talent.


This is my reading loot. The top book was in my con bag, donated by Galaxy Books. The other four I bought from the ASIM table. I have so much Simon Petrie as he kept adding in more books and giving me discounts, I put in an Edwina Harvey as I didn’t want to buy only one author. They had lots of ASIM magazines for sale which I neglected to buy as I have them all…except for the first issue and that’s out of print.

Portfolio cover

It was decided to publish a very special portfolio to be given to everyone who attended the full convention. We had to line up for signing by both Rob Wilkins (Terry’s PA) and Stephen Briggs (massager of Terry’s books into play form). It’s only a little book but I will treasure it.


Here is the inside of the Portfolio. I was near the beginning of the queue when Rob was still asking people if they wanted one stamp or two. I couldn’t make up my mind so I copied the person in front of me who asked for random stamps and we were given both, I think he used both stamps thereafter. Rob signed this page while Stephen signed another page.

V is for A. E. van Vogt

The World of Null-A

I thought van Vogt would be a good person to do today as I have some of his books on our shelves…yes, well, I still need to find them. I have memories of seeing them in the dim, dark past but I cannot find them today and today is what counts.

Van Vogt is a name from my childhood and that makes perfect sense as he commenced his publishing career in the late 1930s, somewhat before my time. According to everything I can find his book The World of Null-A was an ‘interesting’ novel which became a classic despite everything being totally wrong. You can read an essay by Robert Silverberg on this subject which mentions an essay by Damon Knight both of whom are now competent science fiction authors in their own right, although Knight wasn’t when he wrote his essay.

Something I didn’t know is that van Vogt wrote some stuff for TV; some documentaries and parts of TV series. The one that pokes a hole in my memory is The Outer Limits from 1999 and 2002; some of them being screened after van Vogt’s death in 2000.

He’s got an interesting name and I found this webpage talking about the pronunciation. They vacillate between rhyming with vote or pronouncing every single letter. My money is rhyming with vote purely because it’s easier to say. One pronunciation mentioned only once is voite which is how I’ve said it all my life for no good reason.

Anyway, you need to read him yourself in order to make your own judgement as he is one of the giants of the science fiction industry. Here is The World of Null-A and The Voyage of the Space Beagle. I’ve always found this second title a rather strange one for no reason I can actually remember.

Nullus Anxietas 5

I left home at stupid o’clock (not really, it only felt like it. I beat the peak hour traffic) to drive west in order to drive east. That is such a strange thing but the way Melbourne is organised that is what one has to do, the fact that I was picking up my driving partner in crime in the west is only partly relevant. We had a really good trip, Deb is good company and the 12 hour drive felt a lot shorter. I’d made the mistake of organising a dinner with my book blogger friends that evening, I was an hour and a half late! That’s a mistake I’ll never make again, next time I’ll get the timing right. Possibly not helped by picking up another loquacious friend in Canberra, it’s only a slight detour.

Enough of the driving and onto the Con! What an awesome time I had. My Facebook is jumping with my new friends and will be more so when all the photos are uploaded so I can start sharing them. I was kept incredibly busy, I had to change costumes so many times I was worried I’d get the wrong one.

Saturday was the most challenging as I was in the XXXX Factor as both an assassin and a thief (thank goodness I was able to keep the one costume as my two lines came one after another), but that was after being in the warm up act as a dwarf (I threw my ‘chainmail’ over my assassin’s costume and picked up my axe, it was such a big change). Later in the day I had to change for the Galah Dinner, I went as Sybil with a most delightful dress made by someone else and a crinoline (hoop skirt) underneath. I only wore that for an hour or so, it’s impossible to dance in it as the dress was made for someone taller and I had to pick it up in both hands in order to walk without treading on it, I somehow managed to eat my meal with spilling a drop and ran off to change into something more suitable for the entertainment before dancing till I dropped.

The Opening Ceremony had everyone in tears. The Committee had the unenviable task of providing a time and place for people to grieve and they did a beautiful job. During Nullus Anxietas III in Sydney the Committee presented Terry Pratchett with a hat which he rarely took off, Rob Wilkins, his PA and righthand man, brought it back to Australia to present to Australian Discworld and it will now be presented to each Australian Discworld Convention in turn. It sat on stage on a number of occasions and everyone wept when it came out the first time.

With drink

The drink you see there came later when Rob Wilkins had an intimate conversation with Beth.

Stuff I did

Elephants, I made elephants. So many panels and activities led to things happening later. One activity was making Origami Elephants. We were trying to make 1000 of them but only managed 100 in the first session, and another 100 or so later on. The lady running this session had people making them while they were waiting in signing queues. I was keeping this queue in line with my squeaky sausage inna bun toy and trying to sell them my Dibbler stuff at the same time…I can’t think why they laughed so much. I can’t find a photo of my Dibbler tray to post for your edification. Just for the record, people were buying my Dibbler sausages inna bun and my named meat pies, all money went to the auction fund which raised $8,888 for the Orangutan Foundation and the Indigenous Literary Fund. Someone even gave me money to go away!

Anyway, that’s enough for today. I’ll put up some photos on Friday and by Monday I’ll have pinched some photos of me from other people to show you. Some people took 100s of photos and will need time to upload them.


The day after the weekend before

If you’re reading this…no, I’m sure I’m ok you lot read too much. Sheesh! Get out and get something called life for a bit and get your head out of that book!

All this means is that I haven’t had time or internet to write anything for today. As I write this (Wednesday morning) I’m preparing for a long drive to Sydney, three days of Nullus Anxietas 5 followed by a long drive back to Melbourne. I hope to have enough energy to start blogging again Wednesday but you might here nothing unscheduled from me until Thursday when I’m supposed to be writing about a male science fiction author starting with the letter V, I’ve chosen van Vogt so I might have time to do this today in which case you’ll get some photos for Friday Photos.

I’m determined to stay on track with my male science fiction authors so you’ll get someone with W next week and the rest of the week will be about the convention. There will be tears, there will be laughter and I hope there will be sleep. I will take as many photos as I possibly can and put them on various social media sites.

Friday Photos


This was a lovely room in an op shop in Oakleigh. They’ve taken over a whole house and one room is entirely books. If I moved in there I’d keep this room as my library.

Calmer Sutra

I’m not certain is someone can’t spell Kama Sutra or if it’s a play on words.

No Durian

Loved this sign at the entrance to a hospital. Don’t like Durian but I love the sign.


U is for Dănuţ Ungureanu

Just like me I’m sure you’re asking lots of ‘wh’ questions.

Born in 1958 he is a Romanian science fiction author and journalist but I won’t hold that last bit against him.

Romanian has a burgeoning science fiction community. Whenever I have an awkward letter to fill I end up finding a Romanian author and my googling leaves me with good feelings and a reminder of what it must have been like in the early days of pulp fiction. One thing I did find in my searching was an Australian blogger who visited the Romanian Book Fair in Bucharest two years ago and plans to visit this year’s book fair.

Ungureanu was also the founding member and first president of the Romanian Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy which gives me great heart. He won a national award in 1981 and a European award in 1992 and has written more than 100 stories and sketches in collective volumes. He seems like such an amazing person and I’d be honoured to meet him.

Struggled to find anything published by Ungureanu translated into English, I’m not say it’s not there just that I haven’t managed to find it. I’m sure the day will come, though.

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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.