Western Australia

Yellagonga Dreaming

Two nights ago, Lake Joondalup burned.

The lake is several kilometres long, about a kilometre wide, and with a largish uninhabitated island at the centre. It is ringed by the Yellagonga State Forest, a thin strip of bushland wedged between the lake and suburbia. Our house, on this suburban fringe, has a commanding view of the lake and surrounds.

A small bushfire started on the far side (Wanneroo) on Saturday afternoon. Some time later, somehow, the island caught fire.

The entire horizon was ablaze by nightfall.

The inferno was so intense, fireballs 30 to 40 metres long were thrown into the sky. Nearly a kilometre away, we could hear the rush of the fire and the faint crackle of the bush. The red/blue lights of fire trucks clustered around a small blaze on the Wanneroo shore. No one bothered with the inferno on the island.

There was nothing for it except to pull up a chair, a glass of our finest, and toast the end of the world.

Seems the world didn’t end that night, so we decided to wander the trails along the lake shore the next morning. The island was half-skeletal trees, half fluffy bushland, and still smouldering. As we meandered through the Yellagonga bush, two water-bomber helicopters buzzed past. Curious, we stopped under some trees to watch the choppers put out a fire that had already burnt itself out the night before.

I edged away when one of the choppers drew close to our position, but my intrepid partner would have none of it. However, moments later, the chopper decided that the water about 3 metres from where we were standing under trees was the best place to drop its hose to reload. The next moments were spent ducking for cover as rotor blades chopped at the trees and whizzed past our heads. Water, dirt, and leaves were whipped in all directions, but mostly on us. It was a great moment to be alive.

The walk home was just as interesting. We disturbed a kangaroo that was only barely metres away. He was obviously caught up in the spectacle as much as us. I also discovered the trail was infested with tiny grasshoppers, a whole plague of them, perhaps disturbed by the smoke, and the dozens and dozens and dozens of bush spiders that crawled out for an easy meal.

Today, it was thunder and lightning on an otherwise sunny day.

I think I’m taking the hint.

Fantastic AND Wonderful

Russell has released the contents of the upcoming Fantastic Wonder Stories anthology. Looks set to be a good read, with several experienced writers sharing the spotlight with a few newies. As mentioned in my last post, my own Yamabushi Kaidan and the Smoke Dragon (officially the largest story/novelette in the book) will be there, but I’m sure it will be among many stories that will delight, amaze, and wonderify.

The launch will be at Swancon but pre-orders can be made now at a special low low postage.


I will be going to Swancon, mostly to share the fine products of Brimstone Press and Apex Publications with West Aussies. Also to meet Matthew Reilly, because I think maghooks are cool.

I also note that people are listing WA works as a guide for Tin Duck nominations. The link is here: http://community.livejournal.com/swancon/50634.html

My revised policy is this: there will always be cool long-term fan people who will be voters’ favourites. If you’ve enjoyed something I’ve written or edited and think it is a standout, then nominate it. Otherwise, nominate one of the many fine works by Stephen Dedman, Lee Battersby, or Martin Livings (or KA Bedford, ‘Laney Cairo’, Sue Isle, Carol Ryles, Stephanie Gunn, Lyn Battersby, Dave Luckett) – or something published by Russell B Farr, or one of the ventures of Alisa Krasnostein, or anything by Grant Watson.

I figure you’re either familiar with me by now or you’re not. Vote for what you read and enjoyed.