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The Liminal Man: An Interview With Todd Keisling


Today I have

a pretty awesome treat for you all, to take a break from all the science communications podcasts and job news. Over the weekend, I caught up with author Todd Keisling to discuss the recently-released second novel in his Monochrome Trilogy, entitled The Liminal Man. Before listening to the interview, you might want to read my review of the first book in the trilogy, A Life Transparent. ALT hit me, like it hit so many other people, right in the feels; it spoke strongly to my experience of working a shitty retail job and wondering where my creative aspirations had gone.

Now, The Liminal Man takes the journey of Donovan Candle and pushes it one step further, asking the question of what happens after someone has had such a wake-up call as Donovan had in the first book. And what happens when an alternate, twisted world you thought you had locked away comes back with a vengeance? Click the big ol’ play button up the top there to listen in for my review of The Liminal Man, followed by my chat with Todd.

Also! A Life Transparent is 100% FREE right now, and downloadable from Amazon. So why not have a look?

Also also! Todd is giving away a major prize draw for those who are following his blog tour. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post to start entering. I believe you can enter multiple times by following Todd on Twitter, Facebook, and the like. Best of luck!

Final also! Here’s a couple of links:

You can buy The Liminal Man from Amazon.

Check out Todd’s blog page for more behind-the-scenes stuff, as well as interviews and reviews from around the world.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


(I’m echoing this from my deviantart page, because I’m lazy and I promised the roundup to people there)

Here’s the set list from Sunday night:

Beginning of the end
Terrible lie
March of the pigs
The Frail
The Wretched
Terrible Lie
Gave Up
Me, I’m Not
The Great Destroyer
The Good Soldier
No, You Don’t
The Day the Whole World Went Away
The Hand That Feeds
Starfuckers, Inc.
Head Like a Hole

Here’s some YouTubes:
The Great Destroyer
Talking and TDTWWWA
The Good Soldier

I was about three metres to the right and a metre or two in front of the guy taking most of those videos.

Here’s my review:
Hardcore NIN fans should look at the set list above and immediately realise how motherfucking awesome the show was last night. For everyone else, I’ll go through the night.

After fluffing ourselves up (or down in my case, I didn’t want to ruin any of the new stuff I had bought in Sydney, so I wjust threw on a black t-shirt and some scabby pants and I was set), we fumbled our way around Sydney’s bus system and managed to find one that took us to the Hordern Pavilion, where the gig was being held. Upon arriving at the Pavilion, we followed the trickle of other black t-shirted individuals to the entrance. After responding to a call out of “DECEPTICONS FOREVER!” (my black t-shirt just so happened to have the Autobots symbol on it) with a quick history of how awesome Optimus Prime is, we joined a queue. We found out about ten minutes later that this wasn’t, in fact, the queue that we needed to go into, since it was an exclusive queue for the NIN fan club members. In hindsight, I probably should have realised this, the people more confident and cheerful than in the normal queue.

So we joined the proper queue. Then, five minutes later (oh how I hate queues), we joined the real proper queue that we needed to in order for Louise to have her bag checked and stored. Another half-an-hour of waiting and huzzah! The rollerdoors shuddered open and the crowd was met by the bulk of a dozen or so security guards, behind which was a very bitchy (and when I say ‘bitchy’, I mean bitchy in the way that signifies that if you were to meet her in a place outside her work, she’d probably be one of the nicest individuals you’d ever be likely to talk to) woman who started insisting that the crowd form one orderly line. It’s difficult to describe the way that the lot that we were standing in was laid out, or, to be more precise, how it wasn’t, but let me tell you that asking that crowd to form one orderly line was resulted in the kind of military, adherent, well-mannered response you might expect asking a gang of skin heads to host the next annual policeman’s ball. Fortunately we were in our own special real proper queue and managed to sidestep most of that nonsense and get in slightly later, but no less fundamentally in than everyone else. Unfortunately, our tickets were taken and thrown into a small Bin Of No Return, and thus when I am around six months older, I will have completely forgotten I’ve seen NIN. Ah well.

There must be some sort of gap between the fervour levels in Perth and Sydney when a famous band comes to town, because everyone was incredibly nonchalant to getting in the door and getting a good spot in the front centre of the venue. Lou and I ordered a couple of vodka Red Bulls, sipped at them, went to the toilet, and still managed to get about ten metres away from the monolithic, phallic microphone stand that would later be prefaced by a sweaty-faced Trent. We waited around, listening to the bizarrely disco-pop collection of songs that played before the support act came out. The support was a band I hadn’t heard of before seeing them on the ticket — ‘White Rose Movement’ — and they played a lot better than I thought, having based my expectations on their name. Louise wants the keyboardist’s haircut (it’s okay, it was a girl).

Half an hour of waiting around for the set to be changed and then…wham. There they were, striding onto the stage, dressed in grey uniform, confident, calm, ready to rock the fuck out of the place. And rock they did. Louise had to leave the pit because she wasn’t really wearing the right shoes for the occasion, but she later said she had an excellent vantage from a few more people back. I was between 5 and 10 people back, front and centre, for the whole gig and, even though I emerged at the end completely soaked in sweat and smelling like a combination of armpit and pot ash, I still had the most fun at a concert I’ve ever had.

The actual stage set-up was impressive as hell. They have this awesome display that they use for some pretty great special effects that you can see in a couple of the YouTube videos linked above. Smoke was flying everywhere, allowing for some cool moments of the band emerging from the fog, absolutely slamming a section of a song. For the most part the crowd was as a crowd normally is, 80% full of people that want to be there and just experience the music, 20% full of dickheads who have come to be dickheads in pursuing their crown of king dickhead of dickheadsville. A lot of people on the forums that I’ve browsed thought that the crowd was really off-putting. I didn’t find it that bad, but then I’ve been in a Slipknot mosh pit at the Big Day Out, so I might have higher thresholds of irritation when it comes to these things.
Highlights for me were definitely Starfuckers, Inc. and The Frail/Wretched. The Great Destroyer was incredible, as was Closer and Trent doing his solo Hurt thing was pretty great too.

Overall, it’d have to rank up there as one of the best musical experiences I’ve had. Very inspiring, very intense. Can’t wait for them to come back, I just hope they deem Perth worthy to stop by at so I don’t have to spend a shit load of money to travel to Sydney or Melbourne again.

Robert Jordan passed away on the 16th. Though I ended up trailing off the Wheel of Time series at book ten, I still enjoyed the series while I was reading it, and I’m sad at his death.

I’m slowly but surely succeeding in the cutting (or at the very least clamping) of my internet umbilical cord. I’m much more focussed towards getting some real writing done in the next few weeks, along with kicking my arse into higher gear at university. I bought a whole heap of cheap (but good) comics over in Sydney and I’ve been studying them in order to get a feel for how certain frame transitions go. I’m building a book of good transitions and analysis of how they work in a 300 page visual diary that I hope to fill by the end of the year. I’m also looking around Perth trying to find a decent place to buy a drafting board so I can set that up at my Mum’s place when I head back there at the end of the year. Yeah, I’m kind of trying to get serious about things. Call it maturing, call it a change of direction, call it indigestion, but I really want to make some changes in my life. Hopefully they’ll be the right ones. We’ll see, I guess.

Also, I missed a Kevin J. Anderson signing at my bookstore (i.e. I missed meeting and chatting with Kevin J. Anderson, modern sci-fi legend) by about an hour, due to flying in just that little bit too late from Sydney. Fuck.

That’s all really. I’ll start updating regularly again now that I’m back in Perth.

Whirr buzz

The washing machine that Pat’s grandparents kindly lent us really does sound like it’s about to explode very time it does a wash. It builds up a crescendo worthy of any string symphony and, just when you think it’s about to destroy itself with the shaking and lurching all over the tiles, it stops. Silence. A full silence, like that of a battlefield before the inevitable artillery fire. I never want to approach it within this silence, but I want my fucking clothes, so I must. I have not yet been obliterated, but one day you will not see me for a few days, and upon investigation of the laundry you will find me coating the walls.

The art of seeing

I’ve been going through all the articles that I used to produce my literature review at the start of my PhD studies, and I gotta say, I must’ve been high or something. The amount of important information I’ve missed is astounding. Or perhaps I’ve just gained enough knowledge of what I’m dealing with to be able to better decide what’s important and what’s not. In any case, my meeting with Bill this morning went a lot better than previous ones. I knew a lot more of what I was talking about and we discussed a whole bunch of things without me being totally lost. It made it a lot easier to ask questions as well, and I learned more about the process of characterisation of structures through diffraction. The good news is that I have a lot of stuff to do in the next couple of weeks. The bad news is that I have a lot of stuff to do in the next couple of weeks.

Louise and I ordered our Southbound tickets a couple of days ago. Damn that concert is getting expensive nowadays, it’s up to the same as the BDO. It’ll be great though, I get to see Kings of Leon live which I’ve been looking forward to. The boys are at the top of their game at the moment (much the same as Muse are — we’ll be seeing them as well later this year) so I’m really looking forward to that.

Oh, and hey, NIN in a week. Fuck yeah. I’ll be away from Perth for a week starting this coming Monday for that one. Should be good to get away, and I’ve got my NDS for the plane this time, so I won’t get so bored :) Must get myself a set of headphones for Elite Beat Agents though (I’ve just cleared the third difficulty and the fourth one looks set to be fucking impossible).

Anyway, time to get to that work I mentioned.

He would have cried if his eyes had not just deflated with a sigh and slipped like fried eggs out of their sockets.

My dog wears a path on the same line

Found my Ben Folds EPs and CDs lying around the house (in a CD case, funnily enough) and had a great time singing along to them in the car on the way to and from Mum’s last night. Brought back a lot of random memories from their endless repetition of them in my CD player from about ’95 to ’05. Isn’t it weird how that can happen; you play a song and, because some silly bastard waved bells in front of a dog eating a few years ago, you remember what you used to do when you played that song constantly for two weeks straight. Sadly, most of them were remembering playing UT_Morbius with my friends at a LAN. Weird actually, when you consider that the game consisted mostly of nailing people through the face with a variety of projectile weapons, and I must have had this happy, piano-filled album playing pretty much the entire time to remember that.

Ahem, anyway, my childhood shiny happy killing tendencies aside, I found myself a gusher the other night. I started with a very simple premise — young office clerk finds old man in the refection of a photocopier glass and sits down to chat to him, learns a bunch of life lessons at his gruff insistence, has a smoke, sets off a smoke alarm, and gets fired,* — and ended up writing a thousand words without blinking. The next night I wrote another thousand words, and the following day another five hundred. It’s slowed down now, which is a pity, but only because I’ve not had another occasion to sit down and rap out a good couple more paragraphs. Thom has assured me it has a good hook, though at the moment I’m fairly sure he is sick, which may have impaired his judgement. I don’t mind though, this one is fun to write, and I’m hoping it continues to be fun to write. I’m at a point where I am about to have the character discover that he no longer has a face; a joy in any author’s life I’m sure.

Writing aside, uni has been fairly good, I’ve got a meeting with Bill tomorrow to discuss a bunch of stuff, mainly just to stay the course and make sure I’ve got what I need to do fixed firmly in my mind. I need that every now and again.

Back to work!

*Don’t ask me where these ideas come from. It’s not that I don’t know, I do know, but the origins are just so banal that you’ll likely fall over.