Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Reading, writing, and jumping at dinosaurs

It was a surprisingly good weekend - I read the new Jasper Fforde book about Thursday Next, First Among Sequels. As always, I admire the startling twists and turns of his BookWorld and the parallel universe where Swindon is the most exciting city anywhere in Britain ... but honestly, I was a little disappointed. 16 years have passed since the previous book so instead of finding out about married life for Thursday and Landen, we jump forward and they're middle-aged parents with teenaged children. SpecOps has been officially disbanded, and Thursday has been lying about the true nature of her carpet-fitting job to her loving husband for many years. It just doesn't quite ring true.

I made it to the Perth Museum, which has a moving gallery telling stories of the Stolen Generation (more to come in a future post) and a colossal statue of a Tyrannosaurus Rex glowering down at you as you enter the gallery, its claws outstretched and jagged teeth dripping mucus. It's huge. You quail, looking up at it. And just as I was walking in, surrounded by families having an educational excursion for their toddlers and kids in pushchairs, the behemoth let out a ground-shaking roar. Now, I don't know if it's on a timer, or if there's some hidden curator snickering behind a screen who presses the "Growl" button when they see a group of susceptible looking children - but the response was panic. Shrieking, crying, needing to be picked up and bundled away ... that's the toddlers, not me, although I may have jumped a little.

I then took part in a random downtown drum circle (this is why I like Perth) and visited a couple of art galleries.

I am delighted to report that I finally moved out: I'm now in a much nicer (although more expensive) hostel. It's small - there are maybe 30 people there at the moment as opposed to over a hundred - and clean, and they grow their own herbs and mushrooms and have recycling facilities! It's surprising how few hostels do this, considering the amount of bottles and cans travellers seem to go through.

And in other news, I'm joining the ASif! crowd in an exciting one-week-only project. In 2005, Sydney writer Ben Peek interviewed 43 people on his blog to create a snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. This week, a group of ASif! reviewers are updating this, blogging interviews which will also be archived on ASif! as we go.

You can see the results so far at:

I'm very excited to be in such great company!

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