Friday Plant Blogging: happy cactus

We return to the original meaning of FPB because hey, look – one of my cacti has started to flower!

HappyCactus 006

Looks like it’s the only one that will do so this year (my Christmas cacti haven’t even hinted at a late budding, worse luck), but one is better than none.

The weird bit is that this particular cactus is the one that has suffered the most from being knocked over and generally battered by bad circumstance, and came to me after having been sat in a Fratton garden for an entire British winter … the bad-boy just keeps on ticking. Respect, innit?

A bonus photo for those of you of the opinion that plants aren’t a sufficiently manly subject (even spiny phallic plants): here’s my growing collection of sound-mangling boxes through which I run my guitar.

Effects pedal pr0n - show us yer signal chain!

I think the collection should cease growing for now, because the overdraft has suffered terribly. That said, I still need a delay pedal … hmmm.


So, if you’re wondering “why no pictures from Eastercon?”, the answer is simple – I just didn’t take any. I was far too busy watching or appearing on panels and hanging out with great people, and I’m afraid I don’t feel a jot guilty*.

Even listing just the highlights of the weekend would take a considerable amount of time, but it would be remiss to not mention:

  • celebrating The Friday Curry with the Third Row Fandom crew, plus Shaun C Green and Paul “twice Hugo nominee for a Doctor Who script” Cornell
  • China Mieville‘s staggeringly good Guest of Honour speech
  • Neil Gaiman‘s relentless aura of nice-blokeness
  • the Friday Flash Fiction workshop, and meeting all my fellow Fictioneers
  • the embarrassing yet hilarious Sex & The Singularity panel
  • Ian Sales falling off a chair
  • Ian Watson telling me a story about kidney stones that will stay with me for life
  • drinking, talking and getting lost in hallucinogenically similar corridors

Great stuff – many thanks to everyone who helped make it such a great event, both those I met and those I didn’t.

Writing about music

The Dreaded Press rolls on, with a bit of a gap for the bank holiday weekend. No live reviews or interviews lately, though I’m off to do one of each with Brit rockers Brigade this very evening.

The inward flow of albums has seemingly levelled out at a pace I can stay on top of without too much panic, and I’m gradually integrating TDP tasks into my daily regime.

I was very chuffed to find I got a link-back from Wikipedia for my review of the spectacular album Board Up The House by Genghis Tron – Wikipedia links give great SEO justice, and they’re like gold dust in the early stages of a site’s life.

Hopefully that’ll nudge me up a PageRank next time the updates go through. 🙂

Writing about books

As I explained at great length to a few people at Eastercon, the final phases of Book Of The New Sun became progressively more infuriating to read.

The biblical mirroring is a lot easier to stomach in the earlier stages, but the fourth book cranks the proselytising up to eleven without the benefit of the story moving well to keep it interesting.

Still not completely finished, but once I’m done I’ll not run short of things to say in the review, that’s for certain.

Meanwhile, roaring my way through the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction Vol. 2, which isn’t a bad selection at all, from my perspective.

For those who’ve read it already, I can say that I’m about two thirds through, and my favourite piece (as well as the one that has stuck with me constantly since reading it) is the shortest one.

The book needs to be finished and reviewed with the pending batch of print reviews for Interzone – by the end of this week, in other words.

I loves me a good deadline, I does. 🙂


I’ve got the next new piece of fiction for Futurismic in hand, ready to be polished and unleashed next week. I’ve also got a second non-fiction piece ready to roll, a one-shot guest column in the pipeline and a potential new columnist in the offing as well; all great news there.

What’s not so great is that it’s high time I started going through the old posts that were created on the previous CMS and adding tags to them. One of those “a little bit every day” jobs, I guess – you have to take the rough with the smooth in this publishing business, y’know.

Other freelance type stuff

Waiting on some details and confirmations, but there could be some great news in the pipeline in this respect. Watch this space.

Books and magazines seen

Well that’s it, I’m officially baffled. April’s F&SF has arrived, after I’ve ignored any number of renewal slips.

I think maybe their database has me down as a life subscriber or something, becasue I’m positive my sub must be over by now. Still, free fiction isn’t something to complain about. *shrug*

Nice apocalyptic cover, BTW:

Fantasy and Science Fiction April 2008 cover

No books have come in the post, but it would be churlish not to mention the titles I picked up at Eastercon**. I came away with:

Appleseed by John Clute


Still pig-in-mud happy about the Friday Flash anthology. My mother’s copy arrived by post at her house yesterday, so she phoned me and squee’d a bit, which was a lovely moment.

I still have hard-copy versions available and will gladly sign them for purchasers; don’t forget you can get the PDF version for a donation of your choice at the Odd Two Out website. I can’t sign those, though, and they’re just not as totemic … 🙂


Well, that’s more than enough blather to make up for a missing week, I think. And anyway, I’d best get on – I need to grab and eat The Friday Curry (regrettably minus the Third Row gang and other fandom types this time) before trundling off to The Pyramids to do this interview.

And so with little extra ceremony I shall bid you all a good weekend – hasta luego, amigos.

[ * The absence of last week’s FPB should make it plain that I didn’t make much use of the laptop either. As it happens, I’m going to sell the thing and swap it for an Asus Eee, so if you’re in the market for a laptop with a decent spec and one careful owner, give me a shout. ]

[ ** I’m actually rather proud of my restraint – as anyone who’s been can attest, the Dealer’s Room at a con is like a finely tuned machine for extracting money from sf/f fans. ]

4 thoughts on “Friday Plant Blogging: happy cactus”

  1. there could be some great news in the pipeline in this respect. Watch this space.

    It’s always about the secret news with you, isn’t it?

  2. Paul – no, that’s mine, bought it from Street Level when it was still next to the Dog. Still got the receipt somewhere if you want the proof … plus wah before muff sounds rubbish, there’s no gradient to the sweep at all.

    Niall – my other middle name is Sekrit. 😉

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