Episode 179: James Bradley, Garth Nix, Sean Williams and Australian SF

Faced with another relentless summer’s day in Perth and icy Chicago winter evening, Jonathan and Gary turn to long-time friends of the podcast James Bradley, Garth Nix, and Sean Williams, luxuriating in a cool Sydney summer afternoon, to discuss Australian fiction, young adult fiction, and the works of Neville Shute in a wide-ranging conversation that is only occasionally interrupted by the vagaries of Skype.

As always, our thinks to James, Garth and Sean, and we hope you enjoy the podcast!

High Hopes! – Four nights of rocking….

As readers of this blog know, I have just returned from Melbourne where I saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for the 3rd and 4th time on the 2014 High Hopes Tour. There’s a lot to say about it, but here’s some stats on what I saw:

Four shows

  1. Perth 5 February
  2. Perth 7 February
  3. Melbourne 15 February
  4. Melbourne 16 February

Two album shows

  1. Born in the USA (Melb 15/2)
  2. Born to Run (Melb 16.2)

Songs played (total songs 117, individual songs 68, songs only played once across four nights 43, songs I’ll remember, 117)

Badlands 4
Born to Run 4
Dancing in the Dark 4
Heaven’s Wall 4
High Hopes 4
Just Like Fire Would 4
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 4
The Ghost of Tom Joad 4
The Rising 4
Thunder Road 4
Death to My Hometown 3
Hungry Heart 3
Shackled and Drawn 3
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day 3
Bobby Jean 2
Born in the U.S.A. 2
Darlington County 2
Land of Hope and Dreams 2
Ramrod 2
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) 2
She’s the One 2
Shout 2
Twist and Shout 2
Working on the Highway 2
Wrecking Ball 2
American Skin (41 Shots) 1
Atlantic City 1
Backstreets 1
Because the Night 1
Cover Me 1
Darkness on the Edge of Town 1
Downbound Train 1
Factory 1
For You 1
Frankie Fell in Love 1
Girls in Their Summer Clothes 1
Glory Days 1
Growin’ Up 1
Highway to Hell 1
I’ll Work for Your Love 1
I’m Goin’ Down 1
I’m on Fire 1
Johnny 99 1
Jole Blon 1
Jungleland 1
Kitty’s Back 1
Light of Day 1
Lost in the Flood 1
Lucky Town 1
Meeting Across the River 1
Murder Incorporated 1
My Hometown 1
Night 1
No Surrender 1
Out in the Street 1
Pay Me My Money Down 1
Roulette 1
Save My Love 1
Seeds 1
Seven Nights to Rock 1
Sherry Darling 1
Spirit in the Night 1
The E Street Shuffle 1
The River 1
This Hard Land 1
Two Hearts 1
We Are Alive 1
Youngstown 1

While some songs were more special than others (“Jungleland”(!), “For You”, “The River”), all had their charms. Songs that weren’t on my favourites list became better loved, and all were terrific.  And those ten songs that appeared every night? They weren’t the same every night.

The thing with a Springsteen show, for me, is that no matter what you get it’s going to be special. I’m just happy I saw him now and got the shows I did.

Two nights to rock

After a very difficult Wednesday where my ears continued to act up and bother me, I opted to visit the doctor again. That lead to a new advanced even more serious anti-allergy medication and a referral to see an allergy specialist. I then headed in to work in time to have a farewell lunch with my work colleague, Ivy.

Ivy’s been amazing to work with and will be sorely missed, so the team (Sarah, Drew, Garth and I) headed out to the Gordon Street Garage for lunch. It was my first time and it was not too bad.  Great staff and a nice atmosphere (with good air-conditioning, so take note Marianne), was slightly compromised by a short menu, no real dessert selection and the lack of a chance to really kick on. I did have a moment where I realised the reason it was called “Garage” is I that it formerly was a garage and that I used to get my car repaired there back in the day. The interior still retains some of the original structure. Weird.

We did not give up, though, for OLS is a formidable good times seeking machine. We headed in to the city to Bar Halcyon where mid-afternoon cocktails were definitely on the menu, and espresso martinis were chased down by a Smoky Berry Smash.  Wonderful drinks (though I’m still reeling from seeing Laphroaig poured down the sink!) and great company made for a good farewell.

I then headed home where the new medication seemed to do my head in and for a moment or two I seriously wondered if I’d make it to Melbourne, but by Friday morning the all-new improved vertigo had disappeared and under slept and a little washed out, I headed to the airport and Melbourne (after farewelling the family and wishing the youngest luck on her quest to become a school counsellor).

The Qantas flight was uneventful.  I watched some Justified and Person of Interest to while away the flight, and arrived late afternoon. A short cab ride saw me, rather surreally for me, back at the site of the 2010 Melbourne WorldCon. As I type I’m sitting the executive lounge of the same hotel where I had such a memorable time (for good and ill). Great breakfast with Stan, panicked conversations with Cheryl, prep for the ill-fated Hugos and all sorts of things. Last night a maxi-taxi stopped outside the hotel, and I was flashing back to jumping into a very similar cab with Bob and Karen Silverberg, Marianne, Jessica and Sophie.  I had a lovely dinner with Stephen and Jenny in the same restaurant where a samba bad just about deafened us four years ago. And I’m pretty sure I’m sitting at the table where Greg Benford, Stan Robinson and I had a terrific conversation, so it’s interesting to be back.

But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here for the music. Assuming my old ears hold up, tonight will be the first of two nights to rock. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play AAMI Stadium. I saw them twice in Perth and, to round out MidLife Crisis 2014, I’m seeing them twice hear too.  I expect the shows of my life.  If they’re a patch on Perth they’ll be astounding.



Reach for Infinity – Contents

Cover for Reach for Infinity
Reach for Infinity. Coming in June 2014 from Solaris Books!

This coming June the team at Solaris Books will publish the third book in my ‘Infinity Project’ series of anthologies, Reach for Infinity.

I’m still tinkering with the running order, but these are the stories you can expect to find in the book when it hits the shelves:

  • “Report Concerning The Presence of Seahorses On Mars”, Pat Cadigan
  • “The Dust Queen”, Aliette de Bodard
  • “Break My Fall”, Greg Egan
  • “Wilder Still, the Stars”, Kathleen Ann Goonan
  • “Amicae Aeternum”, Ellen Klages
  • “Hiraeth: a tragedy in four acts”, Karen Lord
  • “The Entire Immense Superstructure’: An Installation”, Ken Macleod
  • “The Fifth Dragon”, Ian McDonald
  • “Attitude”, Linda Nagata
  • “Invisible Planets”, Hannu Rajaniemi
  • “In Babelsberg”, Alastair Reynolds
  • “Trademark Bugs: A Legal History”, Adam Roberts
  • “Kheldyu”, Karl Schroeder
  • “Hotshot”, Peter Watts

Many thanks to all of the authors, to my editor Jon Oliver and the Solaris Team, and to Adam Tredowski for a very fine cover indeed!