If you ask me, there’s a serious shortage of creative magic systems in young adult novels as of late. I do like a story with an interesting magic system, but most of the ones hailed as ‘creative’ are just copies of each other.  It’s like ‘ooh, wow, they use stones to fight each other. And the stones have symbols on them. Wow!’ Or you’re reading a book and it’s all like ‘the main characters are angels, fighting tree people, and they use the power of singing to cast magic!’ And my response to that is… they’re still using magic. It’s just magic, except with voices instead of sticks. A half canopy! That’s what would make for a real magic system.[…]

You’d think being hired to speak to foreign shareholders in ten different languages would be the most stressful part of the job, and you’d be…barely right, but at a very close second is finding out what our company actually does. Everyone knows Lawrence Corp, of course. Everyone in Melbourne probably has a gimmicky-yet-useful L-Corp gadget somewhere in their home, and far beyond that of course. But they have so many business partners, and I have to get to grips with who I’m meeting, where they’re from, and what language they speak. I’m not going to screw up on my second day by greeting the Japanese delegation in Korean. Apparently there’s a big deal going on with a few stainless steel fabrication[…]

You know what I really love about dark science? The banter. We have some great times here in the lab as we break all laws of common decency and delve into the deeper depths of unethical behaviour. There sure are some comedians in this place, I’ll tell you that much. Baxter is a hoot when he’s not struggling with the approximately seventeen voices in his head! So anyway, we’re working on quite a specific project today, and that’s a way of matching a person up to a perfect home via a complex and invasive algorithm. The first challenge is that this would be the job of a property advocate. There are Melbourne companies that do property advocacy, from what I’ve[…]

I just saw an absolutely fascinating documentary last night. It was all about space travel; specifically, long-term space travel, and how we’ll eventually be exploring the universe. Science, as it currently stands, doesn’t believe faster-than-light travel is possible. If they turn out to be right about that, then we’ll just have to settle for travelling as close to the speed of light as possible. Which in universal terms, is still not going to get us very far, but we’ll do what we can to spread the empire of man across the cosmos. Scientists have come up with an incredible method of getting rid of our fuel problem as well. Right now, places that do commercial solar panels in Melbourne are[…]

I never gave much thought to buying property – until I scored this book deal, that is. I’ve gone from being a reasonably penniless photographer to a social media success story, to having a fairly sizable bank balance that lets me begin to conceive of having a mortgage. Anyway, now that the thought has occurred to me, I can’t seem to shake it. After years of globetrotting, I’m keen to invest in a stable home base and a studio to work from (one that’s not a garage in an industrial zone). A house with a dedicated dark room is the dream, and it’s starting to appear to be within reach. I feel like I need some professional advice, though. What[…]

I’m not big on sci-fi, and you might’ve guessed. I’ve always found it rather silly, how they try their best to research distant planets, how space travel works, the exact working of gravity, and sometimes the results of falling into a black hole. I can’t actually refute or critique that last one, because it never happened to me. Not personally. Though I’ve seen what they THINK will happen, and I don’t care for it myself. Too much crying and time travel. The worst thing is when people just think you can have glass windows, like that of a car, in space vehicles. Uh…why do you think they built the rest of the ship out of incredibly expensive and specialised materials,[…]

I was looking at some trees today. Not how I usually spend my day, but I went to the park to see if I could find a shady spot in the hot weather. That of course got me thinking about trees, and how many there are, and just how much oxygen we have here on Earth. Seriously, that stuff is everywhere. We have so much oxygen in supply that we actually have places that offer oxygen therapy in Melbourne. That is, you can go along and receive various medical benefits from being in a hyperbaric chamber. I have quite a bit of experience in dealing with that sort of thing, of course, given that oxygen was of great importance on[…]

Just watched a movie about space bugs. Didn’t enjoy it very much. I suppose I can’t help myself from noticing the inconsistencies in the space travel on- screen, like how there are so many explosions in space and NO ONE Has a problem with it. Actually, if there was an explosion in space, not only would there be no sound, but… I don’t even want to bother. There are just far too many, and I’m not talking about the giant space bugs that can’t talk but also apparently have spaceships. Always hated the word ‘spaceships’…it’s far too general. And why does nobody fly around in shuttles? I should just stop. I have a friend in Dandenong who does pest control,[…]

Often, I still dream I’m in zero-gravity. It’s a cruel dream, as with all good dreams, because I then have to wake up and go back to perfectly normal Earth gravity. During my time in space, I came to the conclusion that zero-gravity is the natural state of being, and Earth is simply a prison for the potential of mankind to bounce around with impunity. There’s such a psychological release that comes with zero-G; everyone should experience it for themselves, just once, and then they’d all know. We’d all know. I keep trying to replicate the feeling, but nothing is quite the same. My first job upon getting back to Earth was with a building company. You might describe it[…]

In many ways, the ocean is a lot like space. Once you find yourself in the middle of it, it’s a vast, empty void with no life in sight. Man simply cannot traverse it without a vessel, and there’s still so much of it shrouded in darkness, still to be explored by the daring. Still too terrestrial for my liking, but I find during times when I’m missing the space station, it provides just about enough of a substitute. I’m now the semi-proud owner of a small motorboat, which I now use when I want some solitude. The fact that the winter months are now rolling in has done little to deter me, since space is a cold, empty void[…]