As my visit…

August 31, 2007

…to the US is drawing to a close (Monday is my last day here), so is this exciting offer.

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An Interview with Ben Peek

August 30, 2007

Ben Peek is an author to watch out for. I mean it. Writer of Twenty-Six Lies / One Truth (very cool stuff), another of his books, Black Sheep, has now become available to the public. The following is an interview I did with him, about this novel and other things:

Brendan Connell: Ok, a dystopian novel about race. First question: Why?

Ben Peek: Basically, race is one of those interests I have. One of those big, life defining interests. When I was a kid, I grew up in this neighborhood filled with Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, British, Turkish. . . . Well, a fairly diverse racial group. I never thought much of it until, when I was about ten or eleven, I noticed my mum saying things with a vague bit of racism in them. Nothing huge, mostly about how those kinds of people came to the country for free benefits, and jobs, which impacted on people like her getting what she deserved. That she herself was an immigrant never seemed to enter her mind. Since then, it’s just been this thing for me. Racial politics, thoughts, the like, plays such a big part for me in my life that there was never not going to be a novel about race.

Brendan Connell: So race and racism are the same thing?

Ben Peek: No, not really. It’s just that my first interactions with race are filtered through the memory of racism. I guess it’s fair to say that I noticed different races, and became aware of my own race, through racism, if that makes sense?

Brendan Connell: Sure. . . . So, is Australian society especially racist in your opinion?

Ben Peek: I hesitate to say it is. I haven’t seen much of the rest of the world, but my opinion, from what I understand, is that the world is a fairly racist place, and Australia is no better and worse than a lot of other places out there. But, it has done a lot of fucked up things to people who aren’t white, and continues to do so. And yet, at the same time, y’know, there’s a really beautiful multiculturalism here. So . . .

Brendan Connell: Maybe it is a bit like the US in that way.

Ben Peek: Maybe. I’ll see in November when I’m there. It’s going to be interesting to see the States first hand, I reckon.

Brendan Connell: Yes, it’s an interesting place.

Ben Peek: It’s got such a dominating culture throughout the world. In many ways I feel like I’ve been living in a society that is full of simulations of American culture.

Brendan Connell: Yes, but of course US culture is a simulation of everything else. At least these days. . . . Anyhow, race is a pretty heavy-weight topic—compared to a lot of the escapist literature currently in the fantasy circuit, anyhow. Which sort of brings me to the next question: Do you think writers have a moral obligation to their readers?

Ben Peek: Nah. What I think they’ve got is a moral obligation to themselves. If they’ve got a thing—and every writer has a thing that guides them, motivations them, centers them. . . . If they’ve got that, then they should put it into their work. Read the rest of this entry »


Stories with Trees no. 15

August 29, 2007

Daniel de Luxe, after performing a horrible deed, buried the razor blade in his back yard. It grew into a tree. Every time a bird lands on it, it gets sliced in two.


Little Metrophilia Review

August 28, 2007

I came upon this little review here that mentions a couple of my Metrophilia stories.


Stories with Trees no. 14

August 27, 2007

Little Peter ate an apple, seeds and all. That was long ago. Now big Peter lies there, with a tree growing from his ear.


Why Writing Fiction is Not a Profession

August 26, 2007
  1. Only something like 1 in 10,000 people who call themselves writers actually make a living at it (writing fiction). It could easily be fewer. Bank robbers have a higher rate of success.
  2. “Professionalism” itself is an offensive term that was invented by capitalist-corporate society. Unless you are a writer of capitalist-corporate fiction, you are not a professional.
  3. Look in the Help Wanted ads and you will not find anyone looking for a fiction writer. Anyone you don’t have to pay that is.

The incredible thing is that most writers I know actually approach writings as if it were a profession–as if labeling something a “profession” were honorable and calling someone “professional” a good thing. It probably is when talking about a lawyer or a doctor. But as far as a writer of fiction is concerned, it just isn’t.


Stories with Trees no. 13

August 25, 2007

Tied to the trunk, Marcus struggled to free himself. It was no use. Even vultures have their lucky days.