David Stevens

Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

Meditations for the new year

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2013 at 3:56 am

“Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.”

-Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

“Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don’t allow our enemies to have guns, why should we allow them to have ideas?”

– Joseph Stalin

“An answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths. All your gold and your silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body, it was a burning fire that you stored up as your treasure for the last days. Labourers mowed your fields , and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out, realise that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury, in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them, they offered you no resistance.”

-St James

“And of course I’d lie to myself, telling myself there was still time, it wasn’t too late, there were novelists who didn’t get started until they were fifty, hell, even sixty. probably plenty of them.”

– On Writing, Stephen King

These are some of the things I think about when I wake up very early in the morning.

Happy new year, happy campers!

No, men are from Anu’udria …

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Well, I laughed at it anyway. And its about writing, so I can justify including the link here. Plus there are no allegedly cute pictures of cats. (Do feral cats really kill 75 million native Australian animals each night? Mindboggling.)

SF subscriptions … Crossed Genres …

In Uncategorized on December 12, 2013 at 7:35 am

A shout out here from Crossed Genres magazine, requiring 600 subscriptions before the end of the year so that it doesn’t close its doors forever. A year’s subscription for $15. There are few enough professional markets for speculative fiction, so check it out and see if it interests you, before the chance is lost forever …
…and while on the topic, think about subscribing to Aurealis

Needy as anything

In Uncategorized on December 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Story J*:
From Daily Science Fiction – “PS This was an almost for us”.

Story E*:
From someone else – “Probably your best attempt. Very well written, and I loved how descriptive it was, but, frankly, the competition is tight here, and I’m forced to turn down otherwise good stuff”.

Thanks heaps! Great to get some positive feedback. Still, you wouldn’t want to be doing this if you didn’t enjoy the whole process! That reaching feeling, almost there, but not quite …

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent as they travel from slush pile to slush pile

Something to look forward to …

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2013 at 11:28 pm

… other than Sigrid Thornton’s birthday, or celebrating the anniversary of the start of the Bathurst gold rush* …
February 12 2014# sees the launch of Regime 03, “the world’s most frivolous of serious literature magazines”, this time including a story, “Good Boy” by yours truly.


*thanks Mrs Wikipedia
# wonder what I’ll be blogging about in February?

Aurealis

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2013 at 9:52 am

Aurealis has been promoting Australian speculative fiction and supporting Australian writers since 1990. Their latest endeavour is to seek to become a Science Fiction Writers of America qualifying market, one of the prerequisites for which is to pay writers 5 cents a word (soon to be 6 cents) for stories published in their magazine. In order to do this, they require 1000 subscribers. They made the half way mark in 2013, and they are aiming to make it all the way in 2014.
A subscription is $20 Australian per year, which is less than $20 USD, which comes to two bucks an issue, received electronically. If you are interested in science fiction, fantasy, horror, or Australian writing, you might like to have a look here and consider subscribing for yourself, or as a reasonably priced Christmas present for a SF reader in your life. (I’ve put my money where my mouth is, I have subscribed again.)

School massacre

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2013 at 4:08 am

I had to have my dog put down before Christmas last year. There is no art in that, nothing but bathos. Orwell may have made something out of shooting an imaginary elephant, but there is no poetry or great message in the death of my cute little dog. I stayed with him as the vet went about her work, because loyalty, a dog of a virtue which excuses cover ups and mass murders, is amongst those I admire most, and having made the decision that he was to die, it is not in me to simply walk away and leave the dog alone to the process. (In the waiting room, while I held him up so he wouldn’t engage in battle with animals ten times his size, fool that he was, he pissed blood down my shirt, his incontinence and internal bleeding a reassurance that I was doing the right thing.) He wagged his tail standing on the stainless steel table, happy at the attention, trusting me, and blubbering though I was, I hope I did not betray that trust. Afterwards, I reflected on my sentimentality regarding animals, and how useless I would be on a farm, unless I had some reconditioning, and my brain went into ridiculous analytical overdrive: did I do the right thing? how dare you feel like that about an animal? how dare you do what you did? do I feel enough? do I feel too little? And I was left with the knowledge, I don’t want to go through that again any time soon.

Then a day or so later I awoke to the news of the murder of 20 little children and others in yet another school massacre in the US, and everything was put in horrifying perspective. I am a broken person, filled with my own darkness, but empathy failed me when it came to contemplating the killer. I can think about the pain a person may have, the anger, and draw a path that may lead to bad deeds, but I cannot colour this particular picture in, cannot give it substance. To do this thing. That this choice could be made, and the tools were readily available to act on that choice. I did not dare put myself in the position of any of the parents who lost a child. For most adults who have had their fair battering from life, that is too easy an imaginative leap to make.

There is no causality between these events, they are just the order in which I experienced them. My family had its small sadness, from which we quickly recovered. News came from a distant country of great tragedy which has permanently marked lives, from which parents and others will never, ever recover. There is no connection between the events, they are an infinite degree of both kind and magnitude apart. We lurch from day to day, getting by as best we can, hoping for small joys, experiencing our small sorrows, and hear news from afar of great horror. We hope that if nothing else, some small meaning can be taken from disaster if it leads to us changing our ways. This happened in Australia after the Port Arthur massacre, but gun ownership is less entrenched in our culture. It seemed then that this tragedy would lead to no great change in the US, and subsequent murders and political reactions have confirmed it.

Gun fetishism is very alien to me. It is difficult as an outsider to comprehend the depth of feeling moves towards gun control, or for that matter, improving the health care system, generate in the US. The introduction of Medicare in Australia did not lead to the collapse of capitalism. Measures taken after the Port Arthur massacre did not lead to the establishment of a Stalinist state. Our planet continued to turn, despite the many failings of our country. The whole world looks at the cult of personality in North Korea, sees images of military processions and choreographed movements of masses of people, and shakes its head at the weirdness. Many people outside the US have a similar reaction to the American love of guns, it is as bewilderingly strange to us as the behaviour of North Koreans.

Earthquakes raze cities, tsunamis and cyclones devastate coastlines in distant places. We carry on, we endure, keeping our heads down, sad but not wishing to think about it too much, not wanting to think about when it will be our turn. We live our little lives, suffer our small sorrows. There are other forces that individuals are powerless to conquer, powers in the lives of humans that cannot be overcome in a single generation. We must do our little bit, with no promise and little prospect of seeing change ourselves, but always hoping for the future.