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Murrumbidgee Cycling

I've just finished up a 14 day cycle/camping trip along the banks of a segment of the Murrumbidgee river, say about 600 kilometers in all. Not particularly long for a cycle tour, but longer than anything I've done before. It was good fun, too. I camped at eight spots, did a bit of fishing (not very good at the fishing...), saw some sights and got some exercise. Made a lot of mistakes and hope to make less next time. It was an experience.

Some photos below the cutCollapse )

Help me identify this bird?

I guess this post is primarily for my Australian bird-watching contacts (yeah, I don't know if I have any either). I just picked up this (possibly) injured bird hopping around my yard. It's about budgie sized, might be a baby. Is has bluey-green and black feathers, the green feathers have a real satiny-sheen to them. It also has a really long beak that it's not afraid of using.

I obviously have no clue what to feed it. I'm hoping its distinctive beak might give a clue?

ETA: With rose_lemberg's help I think we've identified the bird. It looks likely to be a Sacred Kingfisher

14 Years After

I went and re-found my phone data cable, so I thought I'd share a few of the photos I've taken on it recently. Starting with a little tour of the house I grew up in, now that I'm back in the old hometown. Junee, a little rail junction town in the Riverina, inland New South Wales, Australia.

I moved to the coast when I was 15, and while the house has never been unoccupied since, it has a bit of that look about it nowadays. I mean, the place is over a hundred years old, but the years of minimum-maintenance, recent drought-breaking rains and resulting plant growth give it a lost-ruin sort of feel, to me. I kinda like it. Here, I'll show you.

Approaching the house from the side.

Cut for length, the rest insideCollapse )

A tour beneath Hill 60

So yesterday I did what I've been meaning to do for a while now, and that's explore the old wartime bunker system at Hill 60, just a 40 minute walk from my place. I told myself that I had to go for story research (I plan to write a story set in the tunnels), and while that's true enough, my real motivation was just intense curiosity.

The extensive tunnel complex was built to support coastal artillery dug into the cliffs, guarding the approaches to Port Kembla in WWII. Since then it's been sealed up, broken open, made hangout by local teens and lived in by homeless junkies, at different times in its history. It's dark, wet, everything not bolted to the reinforced concrete walls has been stolen or smashed, everything that is bolted down has rusted to hell, and graffiti covers all. And there are bats. So lotsa fun! I went in with a cheap camera phone and a torch, and this is some of what I saw.

Photo #1 The entrance to one of the tunnels. On top of the hill stands a Coast Guard station.

Many more photos below the cutCollapse )

Steampunk is...

...many things to many people. The Mad Hatter asked a few people (me included) to share their interpretation on his review blog. Some very talented authors and editors gave some very interesting answers.

So, what is steampunk to you? I'd love to hear opinions on it.

Shock Totem Update: A Review and a Photo

It took a while to get my hands on these copies of issue 2, containing my story 'The Rainbow Serpent'. There was some drama involving a typo in my name in the table of contents (which is reflected in the following review) so Ken, editor in chief of the Shock Totem team, sent me these from the second, corrected batch. Honestly, it's an issue I've faced more than once in the past. There's just something about the name Pendergast.

But I'm very happy with the final product- very, very shiny, they are. Quality.

The issue also just got reviewed over at Fatally Yours. And the review was a good one! Among other things, Sarah Jahier had to say of 'The Rainbow Serpent':

"I also loved its nightmarish visuals and tone; the story really felt like one of those nightmares you just can’t wake up from (I mean that in the best way possible!)."

So that's cool. Thank you, Sarah, glad you enjoyed it.

Shock Totem Issue #2

Shock Totem #2 is out, and inside it is my story 'The Rainbow Serpent'. I haven't received my copy yet, so I'm eagerly awaiting the opportunity to read it. The first issue I much enjoyed, and it collected some nice reviews, too.

Links are here for Amazon, and here for the Shock Totem shop.

Oh yeah, and a reminder of the cover.

Shock Totem Issue #2 Nears

And it has my name on it. Look, Vincent Pendergast, that's me.

They'll likely tone down the yellow font, but that's basically how it will look. And here is the TOC.
I can't wait to read 'em. The Shock Totem team under Ken Allen Wood still have some final layout details to work out, and then it's off to the printers.

* To Be Titled: An editorial, by K. Allen Wood
* The Rat Burner, by Ricardo Bare
* Sole Survivor, by Kurt Newton
* The Spooky Stuff: A conversation with James Newman, by John Boden
* Sweepers, by Leslianne Wilder
* Rainbow Serpent, by Vincent Pendergast
* Strange Goods and Other Oddities (Reviews)
* Abominations: Hide the Sickness: An article by Mercedes M. Yardley
* Pretty Little Ghouls, by Cate Gardner
* Messages From Valerie Polichar, by Grá Linnaea & Sarah Dunn
* Return From Dust, by Nick Bronson
* Leave Me the Way I was Found, by Christian A. Dumais
* Upon My Return, by David Jack Bell
* Howling Through the Keyhole (Author Notes)

First Novel You Ever Read?

Mine was 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea'. I can only imagine my eyes just glazed over at entire passages full of unfamiliar words like "infusoria" and "cetaceans", but apparently that didn't matter because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I mean, c'mon, they battled a giant squid and visited Atlantis! I remember reaching the end and thinking "I hope he writes another one!"

Any takers?

I have an accent?

Well, at least according to Beth Wodzinski of Shimmer Magazine, first on her blog and now on Twitter. She's referring to me reading an excerpt from 'Otto's Elephant' from the Clockwork Jungle Book, which is now up at my author spotlight at Shimmer. There's also an interview, and Shweta Narayan's wonderful illustration of my story.

Personally, I don't hear it.

While I'm here, I reckon I'll post some reviews of the Clockwork Jungle Book. Four great, and one not-so-great, but hey, it's all gravy.

The Mad Hatter says 'Otto's Elephant' is a "Beautiful telling as if a bard were right there next to you."

Richard Horton especially likes Shweta's story, and puts mine with "Other good work."

Last Short Story digs the whole issue. "whimsical, beautifully written and presented, and with thoughtful stories."

SFRevu says my story "had a nice little ending and it was fun getting to it."

And even Lois Tilton tends to like my sort of ironic lesson.