How to annoy people with a book excerpt – Part 1


www.sydneymediajam.comThe truth is that my books are about things that interest me. I can only get so interested in current and historical insanity before my attention quite rightly wanders away. Stupidity isn’t my favorite subject, and I have better things to do with my time than contribute to it. I also feel the need to inflict a book excerpt or several on people,therefore this blog.

Hence also a large number of books. The Threat-Hamster series is set in eternity, with infinite subject matter. So there. That gives me a lot of space to wander around and explore ideas. The other books are my takes on various subjects, including experience. This appeals to my dictatorial streak. It’s also the basis of an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while; a horror story based on a world run by writers.

I will say that if anyone has 1% of the fun reading these books that I had writing them, they’re a good deal, even at these prices. My books, if purchased in sufficient quantities, can be used to build shanty towns, and other infrastructure as required.

A word of caution at this point – Some of these books are carnivorous. You’ll know which ones after the first few fatalities. They’ve even been known to bring down water buffalo. Not easy to do in Sydney, but they really put in a lot of effort. Just distract them with a steak or a salesperson, and they’ll be OK indoors.

Ads book excerpt:

Ads_Cover_for_KindleDJ: That’s what a really crappy CD being thrown through a window sounds like in Spring. Stick around for the other seasons. Now, we have a caller. That’s interesting, because we despise talkback people and usually chop them up and sell them to people who hate goldfish…. What’s the problem, mate, missing arse, face unfortunately situated on head, nostrils need mowing…?

Voice: I’m Bruce? All of the above, in a way? I’m trying to find Our Nigel? I rang you because he likes to listen to people yelling? He’s English? He went out for a sandwich and we never saw him again? Ooh I’m worried? Weren’t you ever worried? You should be, I saw your photo in the paper? Who does your hair, Arnotts?

DJ: Yeah…. it’s the Ginger Nut In Denial Look…. Takes hours…. He’s a Pom, and you’re trying to find him? Doesn’t sound very likely. What does he look like, and why? Have you seen any suspicious sandwiches?

Bruce (warmly, like a railway station late train announcement in love) He’s getting pattern baldness, and he’s skinny except for his beer gut? He has this big nose and it’s always red…or green? You could try vaccination for the hair?

The Threat-Hamster Papers book excerpt:

Ad hoc Threat-Hamster coverHe got a computer and started writing biographies of hamburgers that sailed the seven seas looking for livers. He wrote terrible indictments of heartless mayonnaise that forsook poor little hamburgers on their wedding night. He became addicted to ketchup. The staff found it necessary to restrain him from breaking out and attacking the onion patch outside his window.

He was eventually cured.

Sarketiste, in its wisdom, found a Grown from Vienna with experience in Hamburger Trauma. This Grown had the bedside manner of a dentist with a backhoe. Its name was Dessicata Arschwunder.

“Ach, der kleine narr has eaten off zer Feral Burger, ja? Ve shall haf to try zer Aversion Derapy mit der Grosses Osterreicher Plunger und der Sennapods den Krieg und der Burger-Abwehr Ethik.”

Filth was Plunged, fed Sennapods and shown photos and videos of hamburgers in unethical situations. Burgers pursuing lives of dissolute immorality. Burgers with a passion for flan pastry. Burgers hiding in meringues. Burgers becoming property developers. Burgers lurking in cups of tea. Burgers as corporate vermin.

(Excuse my pidgin German. The trouble is that it looks so much more authentic this way.)

Mimbly Tales book excerpt:

Mimbly_Tales_Cover_for_Kindle(1) 300PPIThe Great Priest eventually subsided, after taxing the limited patience of the Celts further than would ever be safe under ordinary circumstances. They wanted to hear O’Neill refute this tonnage of golden manure, and they were sure the Crow and the Horse were there for a reason.

O’Neill was brief. He was brief largely because he’d been watching the Crow, which hadn’t moved since it arrived on the edge of the stage. The Horse was also quite still.

“Thank you, Great Priest, for that revealing speech.” Any irony was lost on the Roman, who had only now noticed the Crow. It seemed to be a very large bird, and it was looking at him intently.

“As I understand it, one difference between our beliefs is that we can see our gods, while yours defies vision. Is that correct?”

“His body is gold, and all gold is his life. My chair is his vehicle, made of his flesh on this world.” He managed to miss the remark about being able to see gods, while not answering the question, either. Good technique.

This didn’t appear to surprise O’Neill.

“So if we see gold, we see in part your Golden God?”


“Gold is truly a precious and incorruptible metal, yet it may be worked, may it not?”

“To meet the inscrutable purposes of the God, it may.”

“You will have noticed that there is a large Crow perched on the stage. In our belief it is the emissary of the goddess, Macha.”

The priest smiled indulgently. He didn’t know how to smile any other way. He then realized that there was, actually, something odd about a crow which had evidently come to listen to a spiritual debate.

Wanderlaugh book excerpt

Wanderlaugh_Cover_for_Kindle 300PPIA starving man looks for a piano. A loving woman reads a book. A lonely, thoughtful, child finds a place. An idea sneaks into a painting for safety. A cold wind warms a wandering mind. Depth of mind searches for depth of soul. A song travels through history, un-aged. Somewhere in every musical instrument is a meaningful God. In the storms of the languages is something called Love. In the unspeakable fury of life is the incredible strength of Truth.

No tear ever says enough. Death never kills anything. The passage of time is just a version of what can be. It’s never the whole story. Without light, darkness is meaningless, a mere absence. With light, darkness adds to it. Life never confines itself. Ideas breed thoughts like bacteria, and thoughts breed ideas like elephants.

What is the scale of being? How big is reality? Why is a beautiful woman blinding? What does it mean, that emotions can be more real than solid objects? What does a child mean? Who’s braver, the artist or the art? Why is playing music so much like flying?

Laughter destroys the most pretentious of fools. Laughter creates life. To laugh is to live. Love and laughter are inseparable. Truth and laughter are good friends. No theory is immune to either. No misery survives a real laugh.

Wander on, my Wanderlaugh.

…You can see why these books would want to go out and hunt things. Next logical step, really. The most accurate character description of me (that I know of) is that I sell these books to actual people. Ethics? I’m a writer! What would I do with an ethic, take it for walks?

Check out my books on Amazon on the menu above.

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How to explain a book to people who don’t read



Wasp2“What is it?” asked the commuters on the train, now stalled for nearly an hour in a tunnel.

“It’s a book,” answered the lone, somewhat irritated, reader. The other commuters were bored and had eventually noticed the only person not talking.

More questions about the book naturally followed:


What does it do?

Will it go with my hairstyle?

Does it tell me how to fight the 412 visible signs of indecisiveness?

Does it tell me how to dodge street gangs?

Does it tell me how to find a job where I might make money?

Does it cook food?

Can I use it to look like I’m smart and pick up chicks?

Does it kill rats?

Does it have magic spells?

Should a lawyer be seen reading it?

How does it make me smarter?

Job page 23


The reader didn’t answer. It so happened that the book was a rather penetrant, cynical thing, which kept readers in a constant state of reflection on the human race. Unethical as this may sound, it was also a very good, interesting book. The reader didn’t want to discuss it with them and held a furious internal debate about how to respond.


Deciding that the easiest way to get out of the questions was to ask a question:

“Don’t you guys read?”

Haven’t got the time.

I’m usually out on dates.

I’m usually out of my mind.

I can’t make up my mind what to read.

I don’t know why I should read. Other people can read for me.

I’m too busy.

I need something I can eat with.

I don’t want to commit my mind to something like reading. It may be illegal.

I read things to make me smarter.

The train started moving. The commuters cheered. One of them thought to ask the reader what the name of the book was.

“Brave New World”, said the reader.

It really was the best way to explain a book to non-readers – Don’t.




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‘You’re Looking Sane Today’ author denies attempt to cause global sanity


You're looking sane todayThe author of this blog has had to rebut suggestions that the book, You’re Looking Sane Today is a deliberate attempt to persuade people to adopt sanity as a lifestyle choice, intentionally or otherwise.

The allegations stem from various passages in which the idea of being sane is seen as a legitimate personal achievement. This idea is generally seen as impractical among humans and many other mammals. Some critics consider it unreasonable.

In an interview with notorious vigilante web posters The Grinding Times, author Paul Wallis said:

“I don’t know what the fuss is about”, said Wallis from his typical teenage freelance writer 2000 square mile solid gold bathroom, surrounded by bimbos and sending suggestive messages in empty chardonnay bottles to women in other parts of the bath over the horizon.

“In fact, I’m more than a bit surprised that anyone would think that a freelance writer could, or would, seriously advocate sanity, even theoretically. What’s in it for me? Just read my books and you’ll see no suggestion of sanity, actual or implied. Why inflict readers with an impossible task? How could they possibly benefit?”

“I even wrote a story about How not to be Omniscient*, (Mimbly Tales) to prevent accidental sanity.

How could a story which includes telling British police how not to be omniscient using the word “Vothsnathwuthsnuthfruthswablledroneyflads” be useful for anything under any circumstances? I’m quite offended. I think my track record speaks for itself, frankly.”

Critics weren’t appeased or reassured by the denial.

Unasked supporters of the IMF, World Bank and some other neophyte commentators suggested that the trouble was that You’re Looking Sane Today “contained the “implied threat of sanity”, which was read by market watchers as a sign of a new EU bailout.

Wallis was unavailable for comment owing to “total lack of interest”, according to sources in other trees.

*Illiterate Syntax Bereft Press 2013, reproduced here on SMJ blog by permission for some not very convincing reason.LOGO with Sydney Media Jam edit 300PPI


Demythologising self-publishing


Readers please be advised – There’s a lot of rant in this, based on personal experience. Antihistamines and religious vows may be required to read.

Job page 13There are endless myths about self-publishing circulating in the vast vacant spaces of the publishing industry and related media. The fact that these myths are largely self-serving and irrelevant is neither here nor there. Fact of these myths are damaging to self-published authors, however is relevant.

The so-called “vanity press” has nothing to do with vanity. It’s all about giving yourself an opportunity when nobody else will. Anybody who’s ever read a self-published book, typos and all, and that’s millions of people, would be very likely to disagree that authors self-publish purely for egotistical reasons. Continue reading

Mimbly Tales


Mimbly_Tales_Cover_for_Kindle(1) 300PPIMimbly Tales is the second book in the Threat-Hamster series. It’s a development of the original Threat-Hamster ideas, evolving the characters and dealing with a lot of quite esoteric things like How not to be Omniscient, Flagellated flapjacks, killing phone salespeople with Chaucer, what to do about an escaped symphony and other essential parts of the well-read person’s ascent to wherever it is that well-read people ascend.

After the Scientocracy’s reformation by Insipidia Threat-Hamster and her faithful stock cube, Jollity McRorsarch, the young Celtic immortals try to figure out what to do about being immortal. This isn’t simple, and a series of events show exactly how far it’s possible to digress from any sort of objective view of eternity. Carruthers decides to explore the possibilities of Ultimate Comfort, while Young Couthwindow, fearless rectangular cow and fighter of evil, pursues his heroic dream.

Naturally, they’re dragged off elsewhere by reality. The young immortals arrive on Dana’s Child, a Celtic world, to meet Gwyn, a genius 8 year old who happens to be running the planet. Gwyn is sent to Mimbly by her parents mainly because the planet is too dependent on Gwyn, and they think it’d be best for her to go somewhere else and develop her unique skills. Gwyn’s arrival also coincides with the discovery of Hunter, a Scottish wildcat. Carruthers has decided that the only people who know anything at all about real comfort are children and cats, based on the observation that a cat will always find the most comfortable place in any environment.

Hunter turns out to be a bit more than a simple, hedonistic cat. He becomes a good chessplayer, an excellent diplomat when on Mars surrounded by glassblowing ducks, and Gwyn’s accomplice in their various adventures including their encounter with the escaped symphony.

New characters are introduced, notably:

Thunder- Venom’s father, 4000 years old and trying to do things properly. Make the logical association between those two facts and you’ll get the idea.

Mad Dog’s Bone, (yes there are multiple interpretations of that name),a sculptor/ceramicist/creative Celt.

Tir Na Nog, the Celtic heaven and place of eternal youth and all-round good idea.

Laughing Light, one of the Sidhe.

You're looking sane todayThe Man of Weeds, a recluse who wound up owning his own country accidentally. The Man of Weeds lives in a place where the use of anything but the present tense is considered treason, which will tell you something about his reasons for being a recluse.

The Woman of Vibes, who climbed a volcano in heels to get away from her banal suburban life in the Valley of Dearth

Flo Fleur of Flo’s Flagellated Flapjacks- Cause of terrible doubt in Florida, as though such a thing could happen.

The Fountain, now happily living at Mimbly after the events in The Threat-Hamster Papers, becomes a wandering investigator and discovers how the wheel wasn’t invented.

The book rattles on-

Madge, impressed despite herself at Carruthers’ idea of Ultimate Comfort, builds a Comfort Bastion using Carruthers’ methods in the Recent Hebrides, where she encounters Clancy, a supernatural toaster, a much too-well educated fungus, and receives a visit from Carruthers after he somehow becomes a word.

Reggie continues his desperate attempts at teaching the world How to be English and drives his parents, Madge and Thunder up the wall being so earnest.

The creative process coverCarruthers, Reggie and Young Couthwindow arrive in a world of compulsive snacks where they meet Hibiscus Tarantula-Brighton and the mysterious Brie.

578 words later- No, of course I’m not going to explain a thing. The reader is thrown bodily into the books and flounders around nobly until becoming allergic to any sort of literature or achieving sainthood. There are digressions, dissemblances and ducks. There are fabulous places, fun, flapjacks, immortals, antique shops, Sidhe cider and all sorts of things and explaining them would only get in the way of reading the book.

You’re a reader. You’re entitled to expect certain things from a book. Much good that will do you, with these books. The idea of the Threat-Hamster books is the unexpected with eternity as a stage and infinity as the range of possibilities. Expect? Not bloody likely. Even I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen when I write these books.

This is part of my idea of Reader’s Rights. It’s not up to writers to tell readers what they should get out of a book, fortunately for all involved. It’s the reader’s prerogative to get what they want out of a book. Call it literary democracy, call it strangely/unreasonably optimistic, it’s your book as much as mine, when you’re reading it.

Just one more thing- These books have no end. I didn’t want to stop writing this one, and wrote Wanderlaugh immediately afterwards.


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The Threat-Hamster Papers


Ad hoc Threat-Hamster coverThis was the first book I wrote, back in 2000. The idea was to write a book like one I’d want to read myself. The basic idea of “read anywhere” was the original general idea, and the entire book was based on a single name- Insipidia Threat Hamster. The actual character was nothing like the original visualization, but that’s writing for you- Ideas evolve and drag you along with them.


Threat-Hamster is associative. How threatening is a hamster?

Intolerabilia was a word used in my family to describe almost anything.

Rilando is a visualization thing. The guy plays underground polo, and he’s a gel mousse. Self-explanatory, really.

Madge- A name used as a misleading and chronologically atypical for the Late Bronze Age.

Hao Lao- Means Good Old in Chinese. Joke is that “good old” is pretty much typical of Chinese culture, including ancient dynasties which harked back to the good old days.

Scientocracy- Global scientific bureaucracy. God knows where I came up with that idea.

Breds- Organically reproducing creatures.

Growns- Artificially reproduced creatures.

Domos- Domestic machines/creatures addicted to seven card stud poker.

Herr Doctor Arschwunder- Name means more or less “anal miracle” in German.

Sark- Short for sarcastic, leader of the Scientocracy.

Fnah- Contraction of For Now, friend and associate of Jollity McRorsarch.

Auntie Reality- Obviously. Reality, personified. How hard could it be?

Jollity McRorsarch- McRorsarch means shapeless thing of Scottish descent, derived from Billy Connolly’s Scots pub hairstyle on a Not the Nine O’clock News sketch.

Carping Nag- The global leader and purveyor of Certainty. Self-explanatory, again.

Plot line

Mimbly_Tales_Cover_for_Kindle(1) 300PPI

Second book in the Threat-Hamster series

The idea of the book is to totally trash as many literary conventions as possible. There’s a “What dun it” scenario in which the need was to come up with a motive and method that couldn’t possibly work at all. I also added 100,000 or so words’ worth of possible risks to the English language while I was at it.

Character plays

As many as possible. These characters don’t have any boundaries. One of the “positioning” elements in these books is to have eternity as a stage. It works. These characters can interact with anything.

Reggie, Vixen and Carruthers are “learner immortals”. They’ve eventually been told they’re immortal, and have to deal with it.


The footnotes are gratuitous extra information which any sane reader could probably, if not definitely, live without. I don’t want sane readers. I want real readers. Simple symbiosis.

Character physical descriptions

There aren’t any. One of the women is ash blonde, but I don’t say which one.


The book starts with the line “The fungoid looked pleased with itself”. What does a pleased fungus look like? The following three books are based on the visualization principle.


A book I was very pleased with and still am. Got a note from the publisher saying “Paul, you maniac!”, which is exactly what I want to hear from publishers. I’ve also got feedback from readers who all have different takes o it and aren’t sure what they’ve read. All in all, a perfect result.

Don’t read my books!


Wasp2One of the major issues for me as a writer is this necrotic global cheese dip of a “literary audience”. How do I reach out, and establish contact with this collection of failed suppositories?

Why don’t I just kill them, as I’d much prefer?

I think this skateboard of logic started in a bookstore, when I found a truly unimpressive-looking thick book, called Storylines, or something like that. In 8 point font there it was, about the size of War and Peace, “how to manage storylines”.

Oh, you cunning enema, you, whoever put that obscenity together. For those wondering, “creative” means doing something new and different. Not rehashing some damn story formula written by a fucking pedantic cockroach.

Ad hoc Threat-Hamster coverThe next event was the Sydney Writers Festival, about 10 years ago. A herd of writers. “Now, girls…” Honestly, take one look and you can tell every book they’ve ever read. To me, boring women are a contradiction in terms – Or should be. It was appalling. A few guys turned up, and were of course duly ignored. Everyone was urbane to the point of needing taxidermy. I’ve seen more personality in a palette of cinder blocks.

I’ve since been told by a friend that Sydney Writers Festival isn’t that bad, but those antihistamines are expensive, in big quantities. This was literature, middle class suburban style. Repulsive.

Then there was my interesting phone conversation with a literary agent. The minute this person found out I was a writer, I was spoken to like an unusually stupid doormat. In person, that agent would have been turned in to confetti, not necessarily metaphorically. I don’t tolerate disrespect from industry people.

Mimbly_Tales_Cover_for_Kindle(1) 300PPIDuring this wonderful series of sprinkles of brilliance, I was also reading bits and pieces in the literary media. My god; what a pack of babbling and dribbling theoreticians have come out of the sewer of hangers-on land in recent times. Everyone agrees with theory. Nobody notices actual text. It’s reading between the lines, where the actual words aren’t. This is literature? What’s the point of reading about an infinitely predictable moron who lumbers through a stale vocabulary?

A Kleenex would have more idea of the issues in writing than these Big Book of Quotes bozos. Consider 50 Shades of Grey. Anyone count them? These guys would, and say it was nice that there were 50 of them, and that they’d never have guessed, and it was wonderful to see a new writer making money for them. People make good livings producing crap like that. (And here am I hoping people get jokes…)

If you don’t write yourself, don’t pretend you know what it’s like. Theory, schmeory. The books that created the theories were written before the theories existed. Anyone tell Homer how to write? How about Shakespeare?

Wanderlaugh_Cover_for_Kindle 300PPIMeanwhile, the market, and apparently the “readers”, have turned into spuds. Apart from a few good bios, it’s Brand X all the way. “…She (adverb) grasped his (adjective)… and… (qualified verb) with a (entomological baseline physical mesalliance involving unprovoked cosmetics.)”.

Yes, entomological, not etymological, you schmuck.

So here’s the issue – To write good stuff, or just tell people where to go and cash in their evolutionary possibilities using a claw hammer and a rabid rat? The good news is that my books are far less abrasive than I am. They hardly ever exterminate populations or deliberately talk them to death.

The bad news is that I don’t want my books to be read by people like those described above. I don’t write for subhuman, backward, whimpering consumer conformists or pitiful academics hiding behind style like it’s their mother. Why would anyone?

Ads_Cover_for_KindleI’m quite used to pseudos, from ridiculous, fraudulent no-talent-no-balls “rock stars” and bacteria-like Australian “celebrities”, to media trash, and online effluvia. I’ve been meeting people like that all my life, quite literally, since I was a very small kid. I despised them at age 7, let alone now.

This “culture” and its babbling bores are a whole new level of banal, so inferior to the minimal standards of humanity, that I have to ask this question of myself –

“What if these pack of substandard corpses read my books?”

The thing is that I like my books. I don’t want them hanging around with people like that.

A psychologist might make sense of this.

  • Do I resent the idea that my books might be exposed to people who can’t tell the difference between real creative writing and accountancy? Of course.
  • Am I simply acting on my encounters with this flock of God’s mistakes and their equally enchanting associates? Probably.

Live_Lazy_and_Love_I_Cover_for_KindleSo what are the options?

  1. Write a book which is so incomprehensible that nobody could possibly survive reading it? Well, I’ve done several of those, actually. Excellent sources of compost and screams for use in game shows they are, too.
  2. Write a book as per market formula, with the last word as “Suckers!”? Only if I get to nail the book to readers’ heads. Nothing like giving septicaemia to people you don’t like, to show them that you care.

Take my word for it that a second generation freelancer never avoids any possible source of income, but – It’s a real problem.

Do I actually have to seriously consider this issue? What happened to intelligent, thoughtful readers who actually enjoy reading and get something out of it? Where did all the avant garde, try anything, writers and readers go?

Ah, good. A decision. Just write for myself, and if you bastards don’t like it, ooze back to your evolutionary dunghill. I feel better now.


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The Threat-Hamster books and the writing ethos


Ad hoc Threat-Hamster coverMy books are to some extent a reaction against literalism and pedantic writing styles. I find the idea of explaining everything to readers both patronising and pointless. To me, that style of writing takes the freedom of interpretation and the fun of reading away from the reader.

The Threat-Hamster books are all about visualisation. This is a world of unfamiliar things, in which the reader is quite free to interpret and see the different scenarios and situations as they wish.

Some things, for example the visual appearance of the characters, are not explained at all. You can read all three Threat-Hamster books and all you’ll find out is that one of the characters is an ash blonde. The storylines are based on extended logic, largely derived from the characters. These books are supposed to be fun, interesting, and enjoyable.

Ads_Cover_for_KindleI’ve certainly learned a lot from my characters. As it turned out, the only “normal” that I’ve ever written, Ads, was actually a development of the characters. In some parts, they more or less wrote the book for me, and I just came along for the ride. Continue reading