Category: News

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo what have I been up to this past while?

Well, check the video below and you can see!

There’s also an interview up on the Writers’ Victoria site, ahead of my master classes there in September. Not too late to sign up for them! There will be a session in Melbourne and one in Geelong.

And I was delighted to see this mention of my Branding workshop in the Bayside Bulletin. The Macleay Island writers are a great bunch of people!

Probably my biggest news though, is that I received a scholarship to pursue my Masters of Philosophy (research–creative practice) at the University of Queensland next year. I’m terribly excited, and can’t wait to begin in January 2015. Never too old to be a student :)

GOTG-posterWell, yes it was fun! S’plosions, one liners, music (Cherry Bomb!), abs a-plenty, Groot (‘we are all groot!’ sob!), some good old fashioned heroics, and Rocket the smart-mouthed raccoon.

I watched the film trending on Twitter for days before I went to see it. In our immediacy-addicted world, that’s a lifetime of people talking about the movie.

While the story wasn’t particularly riveting, each member of the rag tag band made up for it with their charms. Zoe Saldana as Gamora was as understated as always and won my vote for the coolest blue/green chick ever. And Chris Pratt as Peter Quill was a wholesome hero. Rocket, however, stole the show. Not only did Bradley Cooper give enormous personality to the role, but Rocket’s Meerkat swagger was hilarious! And then there was Groot: perfect in every way.

So many comparisons have been made to Star Wars, and I don’t really see them as valid. GOTG is its own thing, complete with a winning soundtrack of 70′s and 80′s classics. Ooga Chaka! Let it be…

gAIMAN_The Ocean at the End of the Lane CoverNeil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a masterful work of speculative fiction, which recollects an unnamed narrator’s childhood, which he is reminded of upon visiting a property known as the Hempstock Farm.

The novel relies on a framing narrative where the narrator is driving around the town where he grew up. He is inexplicably drawn to the property where his childhood home once stood, and then further along the lane to the Hempstock Farm and the pond that his friend Lettie had referred to as ‘her ocean’.

Framing narratives that surround a recollection generally work to instil confidence in the reader that the characters will remain safe from harm within those memories. However, Gaiman manages to destabilise this belief as events unfold, successfully creating discomfort and mystery for the audience. This destabilisation is increased by the unreliability of the narrator.

There are several factors contributing to the unreliability of this text’s unnamed narrator. Firstly, the fact that he isn’t given a name works to distance him from the reader and makes it more difficult to trust his narrative. Anonymity can sometimes give a person the freedom to be honest without judgement, but can also cause a person to lack the accountability required for them to tell the whole truth. This uncertainty is combined with the idea that many decades have passed between the narration and the narrated, and the impact of time can cause memories to shift and change. The story is told predominantly from the perspective of a child, and the memories of a child are often skewed by a misconception of time and space. The narration is made more unreliable still through the recurring theme of memory; it is highlighted that different people remember situations differently, and the inference that the Hempstocks have the power to change and manipulate time to suit themselves makes it difficult to determine what actually happened and what has been altered. The unnamed narrator has duplicate memories of some events, so it’s impossible to determine which are the ‘true’ events and which were changed, or didn’t happen at all.

The contrast between adult and child in this text is apparent through the shift of time and also through language use. Characterisation is achieved through the language utilised within the narration and dialogue. The Hempstock family has a slightly different dialect than the unnamed narrator and his family, and this is different again to the language used by Ursula, the opal miner, and other secondary characters. This highlights the age difference between characters, as well as their differing social contexts. It also works to separate the unnamed narrator in the framing narrative to him as a child in the recollections, while showing similarities between the Hempstock woman that he meets at the farm and those in his memories, adding to the mystery of who the Hempstocks are and how long they have been at Hempstock Farm.

Mystery is an important element in this text and is introduced through the strange, unexplained and magical themes. More importantly however, the mystery is continued through the questions that remain half-answered or entirely unanswered, even after the novel is finished. Throughout the book, it’s accepted that certain areas and people have magical properties or inexplicable traits, and the importance of these elements is described without their origins being explicitly stated for the reader. In this novel, Gaiman refuses to hold the reader’s hand, revealing the idea of different worlds, immortality and a magical ocean without truly explaining how or why these things exist, or if they were really any more than the fantasies of a child with a passion for reading about and creating stories.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a magical tale, with setting descriptions and characters that transport the reader to the lane where the unnamed narrator and the Hempstocks once lived. But its these mysteries and unanswered questions that truly cause this narrative to linger with the audience and encourage a second read-through.

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Sisters in Crime Australia -- 2009 Best Crime Novel

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
2010 Best Science Fiction Novel

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