December 13th, 2005


Thoughts and Requests

In World War 2, I think, maybe, at least this is what my memory tells me, there was a group of nuns called the Sisters of Mercy. I've no idea which side they were on, but it doesn't matter, cause they were obviously fucked up in that special human way. Being fucked up like they were transcends whatever side you may find your sympathies with. But anyhow, what they would do, you see, is that they would be given prisoners of war, and they, these Nuns who called themselves Sisters of Mercy, would amputate the soldiers hands. Maybe it was protection, maybe something else. Too fucked up to justify; but it gets worse. For you see, these nuns, they would ask the soldiers where they would like the amputation to be done, because, depending on how high or low on the arm, the soldiers would exit the procedure with the bones of their forearms exposed or not, and if they were exposed, they could use they bone ends as makeshift hands.

And the thing--

--The Thing--

--that I cannot get out of my head, is the image of a young man sitting there, making this choice. Making it. Actively sitting there and trying to make a rational choice about where these crazy fucking nuns with their bone saws should cut through his tendons and bones. Imagine that.

I am probably going to write something about what's happening in Sydney. Maybe. The short of it is this: now you are seeing the underlying tensions of the city emerge. Fanned by the medias representation of race throughout, the general climate, all of that stuff in the world, the years of buildup, all of it, now the cracks are showing--but what is also showing is the good stuff, if you look for it, like surfers and bikers joining together to condemn the violence. What happened in Cronulla, however, was different. More calculated. More planned. More in doing with those white supremacy fucks who should've been drowned in anonymous sacks by now. But I want to read around first, see if I'm right, see if I'm wrong, just plain old see. Maybe this is all I'll say about it.

And lastly, does anyone know where I can download a copy of the Herd doing a cover of 'Only 19'?
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Review of Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy

It's an interesting review, actually, and I do find it amusing that I'm not part of the authors who have an 'unselfconscious ‘Australianness’ ' in my writing, though McHugh is unable to explain such a quality, as would I. It's even a stranger critique to have when the stories he finds with this quality are about vampires and are compared to David Lynch. Taste is taste and all that, but I could've done with a bit more time given to that idea, I think.

Anyhow, about 'The Dreaming City' he writes,

"Ben Peek’s ‘The Dreaming City’ similarly flirts with not-quite-right American characterisation. Nonetheless, ‘The Dreaming City’ is impressive both for the Ash-esque style attempted and its ambition—to capture the essence of the city of Sydney, through a fusion of real and alternative Australian history. Ironically, while the blurring of fact and fantasy is successful, an idea of the city as a unique entity never quite (for me) emerges."

I have no idea what Ash-esque style is, either, but I assume it relates to Mary Gentle's novel, which I haven't read. I've heard only good things, though.