Monthly Archives: August 2007

First assignment results

13.5 out of 15. Fairly happy with that 🙂 Now I just have to maintain it.

Quoth the lecturer:

You mounted a sound and solid argument.

Presentation: This was an elegantly written and arranged essay which made of use of arguments in not only a logical and lucid manner but in an agreeably readable manner as well. Just be careful of word length, though, as this is 500 words over-length.
Analysis: Your synthesis of points was sophisticated and stimulating.
Referencing: You used footnotes (unlike other students who used in-text referencing), and your referencing was impeccable.

Marks: This was an excellent response to your first assignment, Tehani.I very much enjoyed reading it.


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Mini Book Review – Robin Hobb’s Renegade Magic

Renegade Magic: Book Three of the Soldier Son trilogy
Robin Hobb
Harper Voyager


While I am supposed to be reading for the Aurealis Awards, when I came across the final book in the Soldier Son trilogy in a second hand bookshop I had to pick it up. I hadn’t realised the series had concluded, and was a bit shocked to find it so soon. It’s a weighty volume, and took me quite a few nights to plough through it. Poor Nevare, the hard done by protagonist of the series, faced still more trials on his journey, and at times it was challenging to see how this story could possibly be concluded satisfactorily. Robin Hobb did it again though, and this time, in a far more hopeful finale than say, for example, the Liveships books. I actually got a bit teary in the end, because the climax worked so well for me. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a happy ending, but I was so pleased with the resolution drawn that it provoked me emotionally. 

Thoughout the series, Nevare, the second son of a noble family, and thus the designated Soldier Son, has fought a battle inside himself to do what he sees as right, and to be loyal to what he believes in. His other half though has different loyalties, and this creates a conflict within Nevare that impacts upon three different cultures, torn by politics and magic and drawn into a war between nations.

The world presented by Hobb in this series is one reminescent of the Wild West in many ways, but it is splendid in its detail and difference. The three unique cultures of Gernian, Speck and Kidona are so divergent from one another that it is inevitable that a clash has occurred. Nevare, torn between Gernian and Speck life, thrust to the battle by the Kidona, takes up a role he is ill equipped to follow, and the reasons for his continuing failure are made clear in this last book. It is not until he finally accepts himself that he is able to achieve the path carved out for him to follow.

The books are interesting in that Hobb seems to suggest that destiny is set for the characters – any time Nevare attempts to wrest control of his life from the magic, he fails spectacularly, or at the least causes unforeseen calamity. Only after he commits himself to achieving what the magic wants him to do, does he finally gain some measure of peace, and along with it, free will.

These aren’t terribly easy books to read. There is a great deal of depth to them, and the narrative is at times ponderous, but in the end, the purpose of the weight of words becomes clear. The characters are challenging to like at times. Nevare is portrayed as selfish, immature, unthinking, self centred and even an object of ridicule, and the implication Hobb makes of his size when he first starts to put on weight is confronting. Even this though, reveals itself to have a purpose, and it’s worth the effort. Of the other characters, few are truly likeable throughout, although Sergeant Duril is perhaps the most steadfast. It is Hobb’s gift though, that unlikeable characters are redeemed, or at least the purpose of their unlikeability is eventually revealed.

The ending as I said worked particularly well for me, although others might find it a little too Pollyanna-ish after the angst of the three books. Perhaps that’s why I liked it so much – it was hopeful, and that works for me.



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Wow – productiveness!

My very good grief. My Inbox only has 7 items waiting to be actioned, as opposed to more than 60 this time yesterday. Only ONE of the seven is a job I need to do – and it’s ready to be done right now, as the housework is completed.

It’s AMAZING how much you can get done when the kids are staying with their grandparents!

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Melbourne Writers Festival

The Melbourne Writers Festival is on soon. Not sure if many people on my flist are in or around Melbourne, but it looks like it there’s some brilliant sessions happening, so I recommend checking it out!


Saturday 25 August 2007

Last chance to read
Extinction looks imminent for short story. The multitudes that once roamed across the pages of most of our newspapers and magazines can only be found now in isolated specialist publications and the artificial breeding colonies of creative writing courses and competitions. Rjurik Davidson, Nam Le, Cate Kennedey, and Kalinda Ashton wonder whether the species can be revived.
Time:     4:30pm – 5:30pm
Venue:     Beckett Theatre
Presented by Overland Magazine

Fun on Grub Street

‘We want to invent the stupid thing everytime.’ Irreverent, experimental, innovative, risky and maybe a little cocky, the literature enterprise now called McSweeney’s, which pushed out a few thousand copies of first issue into the New York market in 1997, has quickly grown into American independant publishing. Dave Eggers and his wife Vendela Vida talk to Louise Swinn about the mag, its numerous spin-offs and how being uncommercial sells.
Time:     7pm – 8:30pm
Venue:     Merlyn Theatre

Free and easy – Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow is one of the young cyber-savvy novelists who don’t feel any threat in this downloadable age. In fact, you can download his work for free. The first question The Chaser’s Charles Firth has got to ask him is: ‘Is he out of his mind?!’
Time:     9pm – 10pm
Venue:     Merlyn Theatre

Sunday 26 August 2007

Creative commons or common theft?
Can copyright be defended in a downloading world? A free-for-all about whether books should be free for all.
Under the Australian Copyright Act of 1968 artistic ideas are protected from plagiarists and plunderers. Forty years on, as the electronic environment overtakes the real one, information is no longer seen as an artistic privilege but as an individual right. This raises many questions about how we can preserve and protect the intellectual property of authors who publish in an online environment and how we can predict the future of the printed word and the publishing industry.
Award-winning author, Cory Doctorow has published three science fiction novels, which can be downloaded from the internet for free under the Creative Commons License ( Leading by example, Cory has championed the need to bring copyright issues in line with the online environment of the 21st Century, arguing that e-books should be seen as a way of winning new audiences rather than losing sales. Join a lively debate, chaired by Dr Mark Williams (Senior Adviser, jdrlegal pty ltd ) and featuring e-author Cory Doctorow, Jessica Coates (Project Manager of Creative Commons), who assert that the e-age will empower online authors, and Jeremy Fisher (the Director of the Australian Society of Authors) and Sandy Grant, (Publisher and Director of the Copyright Agency Limited) who see the shift as cause for concern.
Time:     11.30am – 12.30pm
Venue:     Merlyn Theatre

Publish or perish: An A-Z of alternative ways to get your name in print
B is for blogs. E is for e-books, O is for online, P is for print on demand, S is for self-publishing, T is for tie-in publishing, W is for websites and Z is for zines. Breaking into the commercial world of publishing is increasingly difficult for emerging writers. Luckily the digital age has heralded a number of easy and affordable alternatives for aspiring authors.
Join our panel of e-age experts and learn all there is to know about alternative methods of publishing. Featuring Dan Kelly (publisher of Boolarong Press) Euan Mitchell (self-published author), Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing blogger and e-book author) Paul Hardacre, (editor of Paper Tiger) which is published in three formats – CDROM, ezine and print, and Adam Carrel (co-founder of the website Writers’ Connect).
Time:     5.30pm – 7.30pm
Venue:     Tower Theatre

Thursday 30 August 2007

Get the picture?
Words and images work well together, but never completely without tension. Manipulators of word and image, picture book writer Shaun Tan, scriptwriter Keith Thompson and graphic novelist Eddie Campbell, discuss what can be said and what can only be shown.
Time:     11:45am – 12:45pm
Venue:     Merlyn Theatre

Saturday 1 September 2007

They’re a weird mob
The migrant experience is not all unremitting alienation. Often there is deep curiosity and even amusement about the habits of one’s new countrymen. Peter Behrens, Anita Rau Badami and Shaun Tan take a Martian view of their fictional adopted countries.
Time:     12:15pm – 1:15pm
Venue:     The Bagging Room

2B or not 2B: Evolution or Disillusion?
Ladies and gentlemen, please turn ON your mobile phones! Real people, Judith Bessant, Jeff Sparrow, Julie Faulkner, Lisa Dethridge and Michael Webster will be joined by Second Life avatars in this RMIT interactive panel discussion on how written language is being corrupted by new technology.
Time:     6:30pm – 8pm
Venue:     Festival Marquee
Tickets:     FREE EVENT
Presented by RMIT University

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Spooky books

It’s been a long long time since a book gave me nightmares. Night before last, I stayed up til nearly midnight to finish Kim Wilkins’ book Grimoire.  I’ve been meaning to read Wilkins for a while now, given the love I see around the traps. Now I’m sooo glad (and a little disturbed) that I did! While I wasn’t scared actually READING the book, the plot must have stuck in my subconscious because I had the most awful dream about it! Needless to say, I am now looking at the books of hers on the library shelves and thinking hmmm, those will be coming home with me on the holidays!

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