Purgatory in Paradise Cove

They say that the best travel stories are the ones that go supremely wrong. The train that leaves the station with all your stuff aboard while you get a gelato on the platform. All you have left is a handful of kopecks and a mango ripple cone.

The toxic tummy bug that strikes you down when you have three flights and a complicated transfer — Milan has two international airports, what poor planning! — and you are down to zero clean laundry. Just a pair of flight socks to hold the tide.

Young woman sunbathing in bikini
Paradise peek (CC by micadew)

This wasn’t like that. The travel was perfect…


A galaxy of stars!

Photo by Arnaud Mariat on Unsplash

August brings new authors, established authors, fresh chapters in ongoing books, supanova first chapters; board your starship of the imagination and take a tour of the creative cosmos!

Josephine Crispin

Artificial Intelligence

Did Carl Sagan predict the computer mind?

Carl Sagan in Cosmos (public domain via Wikipedia)

We all remember the astronomer Carl Sagan presenting the show Cosmos, gazing with rapture into the “billions and billions” of galaxies beyond our world in his “spaceship of the imagination”.

He also contemplated the universe of things beyond those that can be seen or touched. Imagination extends beyond the things of this world.

Sagan wrote a forecast of how a computer will think. He wanted to imagine the stories that computers might tell and what dreams and fantasies they might hold while creating a story. Will computers merely retell old stories or can a computer describe new and dangerous visions?

What are the thoughts of a computer?

Film review: Local Hero

Here’s what makes Local Hero so fine

“A great pair of lungs” — still from Local Hero

Peter Capaldi, who goes on to play the twelfth Doctor Who, is Danny Oldsen, the dorky local operative of a massive Texan oil company with its sites set on a charming Scottish bay.

Jenny Seagrove is the aptly-named Marina, a diver with five oceanography degrees and a magnificent set of lungs. It is a long swim from Knox Oil’s offices in Aberdeen to the fictional village of Ferness on Scotland’s West Coast but she makes the distance several times during the course of the film.

At one point Oldsen, a cunning linguist with French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Russian, Swedish…

Number One Tip | Movies

There’s a Million Ways to Go

Harold’s Hearse (Fair Use via Paramount Pictures)

It takes time to make a good cult.

I should know, I spent a lot of my teenage years as a happy cultist.

And the same in spades for a cult movie. They never get there on the first showing.

In the weird and wonderful cinema where cult movies are screened, and the audience brings props along for the midnight show, all the best movies are a couple of generations old. The Big Lebowski, The Room, Rocky Horror Picture Show, This is Spinal Tap, that sort of thing.

I love movies. Those that tell more than a story or aren’t…

What truly makes a cult film

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

There’s a twist to this story but you have to read to the end to find out what it is.

Did you ever wonder why cult movies are popular for so long and have so many fans? Other movies rise and fall off the charts but decades later a cult film like Rocky Horror Picture Show still has the power to fill a cinema. The audience knows the words to every song, knows the plot backward, has seen the same movie dozens of times but they still come back for more. Why? What makes a cult film? …

Technology: self-driving vehicles

…and then give me three more wishes

Robocar by Steve Jurvetson, CC image via Wikipedia

As I write these words, here in Melbourne, it’s nearly 7 AM, it’s still dark outside, cold, a bit of fog. I’d hate to be out riding my bike.

I’m discussing self-driving cars on a cycle forum with some chap who thinks it’s all too hard and we’ll never get there. He raised the example of robot cars trying to peer through rain, snow, and fog.

We’ve got them already.

We don’t have to design or understand the systems. Others are doing that. Quite a bit of our current world is, effectively, magic in the Clarkeian sense.

That’s Arthur C…

Writing: Isaac Asimov

His typewriter was his vacation

Isaac Asimov and his second wife, Janet, CC image via Wikipedia

I grew up reading — among many other things — a huge collection of classic science fiction and fantasy.

The science fiction of the Forties, Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies, book after paperback book, and often magazine after magazine.

All mouldering away in boxes in the garage now; I have no room for shelves full of books, and to be honest, I prefer reading on my tablet.

But in the days before iPads, I could generally be found curled up in a comfy chair with a cat on my lap as I explored the galaxy, battled triffids and orcs, or fired…


Winter warmer

Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Winter in Melbourne. Cool, cloudy, wet, and this time of year the daylight only lasts for, like, half an hour.

I have a fallback recipe for a good warm spicey meal. Nothing specific but you have to allow an hour or two.

  1. Heat up the oven. Reasonably hot, something like 175°.
  2. Cut up the following into chunks:
    Roma tomatoes
    Red capsicum
    An onion
  3. Add a clove or two of garlic crushed and cut up a bit, a bit of chilli sliced fine, maybe a few strips of sundried tomatoes, capers, salt and pepper to taste, oregano and parsley. …

Community advice for the unwary

Here’s why you should consider crime for fun and profit.

Photo by Quincy Alivio on Unsplash

Some time ago I walked past a construction site. They were installing some aspect of the building that required a series of huge vehicles festooned with warning signs and flashing lights to unload massive great bits of building stuff to be carried somewhere by a crane.

Every half hour or so one of these super-semi-trailers would appear, there would be a swarm of safety-vested activity as the heavy load was dealt with and then nothing until the next one arrived. Rinse and repeat.

They had blocked off one half of a wide avenue to traffic, which didn’t bother me, and…

Britni Pepper

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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