Tansy Rayner Roberts

Snapshot: Ben McKenzie and John Richards

August 7th, 2014

Ben McKenzie is a Melbourne-based actor, comedian, writer, feminist, improviser, voiceover artist, presenter, game mechanic, scientician, rogue nerd and ginger. He’s also one of the organisers behind the recently crowdfunded Girls On Film Festival 2014. John Richards is writer of the acclaimed ABC1 comedy Outland, and former host of the iconic Melbourne-based TV podcast Boxcutters as well as a filmmaker, media journalist, and presenter. Check out John’s upcoming workshop on podcasting.

Together, they FIGHT CRIME. But more importantly, they make magic. In 2013, The Year of Doctor Who, Ben and John created Splendid Chaps, a Doctor Who live show podcasting event spread over 12 months. In 2014, they spun off from this project to run a successful Kickstarter campaign for Night Terrace, their very own comedy science fiction audio series, starring Susan from Neighbours and a house that travels in time and space.

It seemed appropriate to interview them together…

splendid chaps comedy festival

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Musketeer Space Part 12: An Assignation at the Mecha Graveyard

August 6th, 2014

Fleur de lis littleIt’s Musketeer day again! Conspiracies, mecha, romance and the spaceship equivalent of grand auto theft. Thanks so much for joining me on this wacky adventure. I’ll be away from the computer for the next two Wednesdays, but my trusty silent producer will do his best to keep the show on the road.

I still haven’t quite got over reaching my $200 milestone which means the festive Christmas prequel story is go. Next milestone, at the $300 mark, means I’ll be commissioning artwork, for here on the blog as well as the final ebook. I’m longing to have my Musketeers depicted in art, so that’s where we’re headed next.

And in the mean time…


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Missed the last installment? Track back to Part 11
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 – and that means getting into as much trouble as possible. Right now she’s tangled up in a Royal conspiracy, having just rescued the Prince Consort’s tailor and teammate Conrad from the Cardinal’s secret agent Rosnay Cho. And she stole a spaceship. Did I mention that Conrad is super pretty? It’s worth saying.


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Snapshot: Foz Meadows

August 5th, 2014

P1000733Foz Meadows is a bipedal mammal with delusions of immortality; she also writes fantasy novels, makes with the geeky criticism, and loiters with intent in the presence of cheese. An Australian expat, she now lives in Scotland with a philosopher and a Smallrus. Surprisingly, this is a good thing.

1. Congratulations on your Hugo nomination for Best Fan Writer! Your blog has formed a core part of your writer identity for so long – which piece of your “fan” critical writing are you most proud of?

Thank you! It’s still a bit weird to me that I have regular readers: in one form or another, I’ve been writing online since my early teens, but it’s only in the past year or two that I’ve actually started to develop an audience. Which inevitably colours how I now perceive my own work, because I can never tell how a given piece is going to be received, and that makes me a bit biased in favour of the stuff that gets less widely circulated. I still don’t have any one thing that I’m most proud of, but generally, if I come away from a post feeling like I managed to articulate something important in amidst all the ranting, then it goes in the win column.

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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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