Tansy Rayner Roberts

Mickey Mouse the Musketeer (2004)

August 4th, 2014

Mickey,_Donald,_Goofy_The_Three_Musketeers_DVD_CoverWords fail.

Or at least, they might if I wasn’t me. Because I can always find the words.

I didn’t have high expectations of this one, because – well, it’s Mickey Mouse. Come on! But for a Musketeer movie, even one aimed at children, there was so little actual Musketeerness in it that I did rather feel like I was wasting my time.

It didn’t help that thanks to a dodgy library DVD copy, I missed the first two minutes of the movie which explains the connection between the real Three Musketeers and the actual protagonists of the movie (assuming that the flat dog versions of the characters who rescue our orphan heroes in the comic book style opening sequence are Athos, Porthos and Aramis – Wikipedia says so, but there’s no narrative evidence of this). This is a bit like watching Life of Brian without that scene at the beginning that points out he is definitely not Jesus.

It also meant that we spent a lot of the movie trying to figure out which of the original Musketeers mapped onto Mickey, Donald or Goofy, when in fact we’re not supposed to think that at all. (Though I maintain that Pluto is D’Artagnan, while Raeli argued on the grounds that Daisy Duck is obviously meant to be Constance, so surely Donald is D’Artagnan, and I’m pretty sure the Mickey-Minnie romance means he is Aramis and oh my head HURTS)

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Snapshot: Amanda Rainey

August 3rd, 2014

headshot-arAmanda Rainey is a graphic designer from Perth who designs books for Twelfth Planet Press and FableCroft. When she’s not designing books she is either: working on a PhD looking at election campaigns, working as a freelance graphic designer for clients who have slightly more money than Australian small presses, or – most likely – talking nonsense on Twitter.

1. You designed the striking cover for Kaleidoscope, the brand new YA anthology about diverse characters that will shortly be released by Twelfth Planet Press after a crowdfunding campaign last year – what was your brief for the project, and how did you get to the final design?

Kaleidoscope was such an exciting/terrifying brief! It’s such an exciting book, and important too – a lot of people were (literally) invested in it so I really wanted to get it right. The brief was that they wanted something that would fit a truly diverse book, both in the sense of the characters, but also the themes and styles of each of the stories. So, quite a bit of (terrible) freedom…

KaleidoscopeCover-679x1024It needed to appeal to YA readers, and stand out on a bookshelf next to other anthologies, so there’s always that question of how similar and how different you should be from all the other books!

The first thing I did was rule out using faces or people. It was kind of a gut instinct, but using faces just creates so many problems when you’re making a book about diverse characters. There’s a danger that you just end up treating faces as “paint chips”, which would have absolutely not been giving proper respect to the book’s purpose.

Finally I just channelled my 16 year old self, and tried to make something she would like. I started playing with the idea of “sugar and spice”, and how just in that concept, which seems to imply that all girls are the same, when really – spices! – there’s so much variety there, right in the phrase.

I messed with the colours to give it more of an alien feel in keeping with the SF/Fantasy themes. Plus, hello, it’s Twelfth Planet Press. It always had to be pink! Then I just spent 1298 hours aimlessly changing the proportions and the patterns until I was happy/the print deadline arrived.

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ROBOTECH REWATCH 10 – Even Educated Fleas Do It

August 2nd, 2014

dolzaRobotech will be rewatched after these messages!

This is the one with some snogging in it.

Episode 11 – First Contact

According to the narrator, Lisa bravely volunteered for this mission – which does not dovetail at all with my recollection, that Captain Gloval pushed her into it. Then again, this episode seems to be working quite hard to reinvent the story slightly from the week before. It’s almost like they didn’t know that in the future DVD machines (and YouTube) would enable us to watch episodes over and over again!

For instance, Max Stirling is now clearly part of the small posse being beaten up by Breetai, though I’m sure he wasn’t in the scene in the last episode.

Also we are told that Lisa had a pilot on the Cat’s Eye who was killed in action, even though there was no sign of him last week – really, had the script-writer for this one even watched the previous episode?

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Friday Links Meets Chris and Roz

August 1st, 2014

Damaged_Goods_book_coverA blast from the past for this week’s Friday Links – Big Finish are finally admitting that they really want to drag more New Adventures material into their stable, with a series of audio adaptations of the mostly-out-of-print original novel range from the 90′s. They recently announced that they were adapting the excellent Gareth Roberts novels featuring the Fourth Doctor and Romana – finally bringing Tom Baker and Lalla Ward in to work together for the first time since their divorce in the early 80′s – but the next announcement was even more exciting for me.

Big Finish recently recorded an audio adaptation of Damaged Goods, the only New Adventures novel to be written by Russell T Davies (and correct me if I’m wrong, but also the first canon appearance of a blowjob in the Doctor Who universe?). This is exciting because we finally get audio casting for Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester, who were the Seventh Doctor’s companions for a good chunk of the 90′s. Given the phenomenal success of Lisa Bowerman’s Bernice Summerfield as a flagship hero and all-around iconic character of the Big Finish range, it’s amazing that they waited fifteen whole years to bring back our favourite Adjudicators.

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Snapshot: Alexandra Pierce

August 1st, 2014

AlexAlexandra Pierce is a reviewer (www.randomalex.net), one third of of Galactic Suburbia, and an interviewer with Galactic Chat. She also teaches History and English.

1. Congratulations on your Ditmars! Tell us about your recent work on Galactic Chat, and how the project has developed over the last year.

Thanks! Galactic Chat started as the sister podcast of Galactic Suburbia – the idea was to interview Australian authors, and especially Australian women. I never got involved, really, when it was officially run by GS… but when Alisa and you, Tansy, were sensible and offloaded it to Sean Wright, it seemed to coincide with me having more time and I jumped on board to do some interviews. The goal is still the same – to lean towards Australian women – and as far as I can tell, we’re succeeding. I’ve had a great deal of fun in the interviews that I’ve conducted thus far. Probably my two favourites so far have been Rosaleen Love and Nike Sulway, mainly because I was in total fangirl mode. Many of the other interviews were with people I had already spoken to at cons and the like, but not these two! The other contributors, and there are a few of us, have also done some very fine work – and Sean puts in an enormous amount of time to make us all sound good, and deal with issues like Skype dropping out in the middle of an interview…

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Snapshot: Ben Peek

July 31st, 2014

godlessBen Peek is the author of Black Sheep, Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, Above/Below, Dead Americans and Other Stories, and The Godless. He can be found at www.theurbansprawlproject.com and @nosubstance on twitter.

1. Your epic fantasy novel The Godless will shortly be released from Tor. Given that I completely stuffed up the details last time I tried to describe it publicly, can you tell us about your book and what you are trying to achieve with this series?


Nah, you didn’t do too bad a job, but either way, here it is: The Godless is the first novel in the Children Trilogy, my ensemble cast fantasy set in a world where the bodies of gods lie across the ground, in the ocean, and orbiting around the planet. They are both dead and dying, and their divine essence is bleeding into the world, infecting men and women. In some parts of the world, this is known as a curse. In the part of the world Ayae lives in, it is known as a curse, and unfortunately for her, she is going to find out exactly what that means as an army marches up the mountain she lives on. For Bueralan, a saboteur, he has taken on a job to find out what the army marching on Mireea want, and how to stop them. Unfortunately for him and his band of mercenaries known as Dark, they are worn out, emotionally exhausted from their last job, and they should have stayed home.

And then there is Zaifyr, for who the less is said about, the better, really.

The series is a kind of love letter to my teenage years, where I lived on a steady diet of fantasy novels, but written by my adult self, who perhaps would have very little to do with the person I was, then (which, really, is what most of us think, I assume). The adult me took a much more measured view to the world building, and began it from an ideological point of view. When I say that, I don’t mean the bit about the gods being dead, but I mean the world beyond that, the interactions of men and women, and race. A lot of fantasy is, either through design or not, conservative. Monarchist, patriarchial societies filtered through psuedo christian values. Not all of it, mind you, and sometimes that’s the exact point – but in a genre where dragons can appear, personal hygiene is of a higher standard than usual, and people kill without any real pause, I don’t really see much of a point to adhering to that conservative side. Which is a long way round of saying I approached my world building from a point of equality in terms of race and sex and sexuality, and I have used that as the base from which I have grown everything in the book, both in terms of basic prose, and in terms of plot, themes, etc.

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Musketeer Space Part 11: The Friand of Aramis, the Espresso of Athos, and the Convenient Boyfriend of Porthos.

July 30th, 2014

Fleur de lis littleMusketeer Day again! For those of you who listened to the SF Signal podcast on space opera, we had a discussion on how space opera needed more bagels – and I claimed that mine, at least, had friands.

Friand, by the way, is a terrible word to try to type if you have any kind of predictive text activated.

But they taste good.

This is, by the way, my favourite chapter title so far in the Musketeer Space project. It’s going to be hard to top. This is also a month with five Wednesdays in it, which means I was totally entitled to skip a week and take a small Musketeer holiday. But I didn’t, because I <3 you all.

50 Patrons! And only $8 away from that tantalising Christmas festive story that I am dying to write. I accidentally started plotting it the other day. Had to sit on my hands to stop myself typing…

Start reading from Part 1
Missed the last installment? Track back to Part 10
Main Page & Table of Contents

PREVIOUSLY IN MUSKETEER SPACE: Dana D’Artagnan is a Mecha cadet who longs to be a real Musketeer like her friends Athos, Aramis and Porthos. Dana’s landlady Madame Su has begged her to find her abducted husband, Conrad, who works for Prince Alek of Auster, consort to the Regent. Intrigue is afoot, involving an old scandal, zero gravity sports, the Duchess of Buckingham, and the sinister Captain Rosnay Cho. It’s really getting quite complicated now, isn’t it?



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Snapshot: Kim Wilkins

July 28th, 2014

KIM WILKINS AUTHOR PHOTOKim Wilkins was born in London and grew up the seaside north of Brisbane. She has degrees in literature and creative writing including a Ph.D. from the University of Queensland where she also serves on faculty as a senior lecturer. 2014 will see the release of her 25th and 26th full-length work of fiction. She is published in 17 countries and under her pseudonym Kimberley Freeman has been a bestseller in Germany and the United States.

1. Daughters of the Storm is due out from Harlequin in November – a big historical fantasy novel under the Kim Wilkins byline. What excites you most about this release?

What excites me the most is that this is going to be my first major publisher release under my own name since 2005 (almost 10 years). I have loved being Kimberley Freeman and writing under that name has given me opportunities and successes that I couldn’t have imagined. But fantasy has always been closest to my heart. I’ve been very lucky to do a wonderful collection with a small press, and write a few short pieces, but the big fat fantasy novel that reaches a wider audience has been my unfulfilled dream for many years. Also I fucking love it. It’s easily the best thing that I’ve ever written. Truth.

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Galactic Suburbia 105 Show Notes

July 27th, 2014

drowned vanilla coverThis episode of Galactic Suburbia is brought to you by the flavour vanilla and the colour of fairytales. You can download or stream the new episode here or via iTunes


Drowned Vanilla Cover reveal – order the book at the publisher’s site.

Tansy’s Drowned Vanilla Pinterest board

Wiscon Update

Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot is on again.

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Announcing the Australian Spec Fic Snapshot 2014

July 27th, 2014

Snapshot has taken place four times in the past 10 years. In 2005, Ben Peek spent a frantic week interviewing 43 people in the Australian spec fic scene, and since then, it’s grown every time, now taking a team of interviewers working together to accomplish!

SnaphotLogo2014-300x287In the lead up to Worldcon in London, we will be blogging interviews for Snapshot 2014, conducted by Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright.

Last time we covered nearly 160 members of the Australian speculative fiction community with the Snapshot – can we top that this year?

To read the interviews hot off the press, check these blogs daily from July 28 to August 10, 2014, or look for the round up on SF Signal when it’s all done:

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