Review: Crocs in the Cabinet by Ben Smee and Christopher A. Walsh

crocssmeewalshBy-line: Northern Territory politics: An instruction manual on how NOT to run a Government
Published by: Hachette Australia
ISBN 13: 9780733637520
Published: November 2016
Pages: 304
Format reviewed: Paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Related Reviews: What a Croc! By the NT News

This book is perfectly summed up in the byline. Written by two award-winning journalists from the NT News, it collects the political history that swept the Northern Territory from about 2012 through until now-ish, listing every single embarrassing or just straight up weird event that occurred in this time. The back of the book has a list to get you started:

  • a drunk Territory minister, a seedy Tokyo club with a $5,000 bar tab and a taxpayer-funded credit card.
  • the lewd videos a masturbating minister sent someone (not his wife)
  • the anguished words ‘WE ARE IN LOVE!’ echoing from the floor of parliament

I could go on, but that’s enough to be getting on with, isn’t it?

The thing that’s possible hard to understand about the NT political system is how small the area really is. The population of the Northern Territory is small, and suddenly a lot smaller when you eliminate everyone who isn’t crazy or egotistical enough to bother with politics. One in five Territorians works in a government job, and most can tell you how many ministers or CEOs they’ve gone through in the last five years. This book provides the commentary on what else was going on behind the scenes if you weren’t paying attention (or just lost track at the time when everything was even messier than usual over a few weeks), and as the Territory is so small it’s easy to know a few people mentioned in the book if you live up here.

The book sounds like it should be boring (surely we’re depressed enough at the state of politics in Australia, America, Brexit… let alone in a place few people care about), and yet it keeps you reading because it really is just that much of an emotional rollercoaster. They sum it up as ‘This is Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail meets Fawlty Towers’, and they’ve got that right.

Many people follow The NT News on facebook, twitter and instagram because they tend towards the weird and zany hilarious posts… if you like those, get this book to see their slightly more serious side. You won’t be disappointed.

Review: What a Croc! by the NT News

isbn9780733633522-detailPublished by: Hachette Australia
ISBN 13: 9780733633522
Published: November 2014
Pages: 118
Format reviewed: Paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Related Reviews: Crocs in the Cabinet By Ben Smee and Christopher A. Walsh (of the NT News)

So this is a bit of a different book. In Australia there is a newspaper called the NT News (from the Northern Territory) which is known for how it doesn’t exactly try to be a serious paper. More often than not the front cover will feature something a bit rude or at least a crocodile story, and over the years it’s come to have a bit of a cult following. Australians are known for their laid-back sense of humour, but in the Northern Territory it’s almost a competition to see who can be the most laid back.

Taken from wikipedia, the first edition of the Northern Territory News was published on 8 February 1952 as a weekly tabloid, then twice weekly, building up to five days a week in 1964. Originally the paper was quite politically active being a noted advocate of greater self-governance powers for the Northern Territory as well as being vocal on a number of other local issues. However the paper gradually lapsed into the current apolitical stance it maintains presently with its most noted feature being its often colourful headlines and front pages.

Currently you can also see the NT News on Facebook and Instagram, and only now that I’m collecting links do I realise that they finally seem to be using their twitter account properly (joy of joys! That was a long time coming.)

I must admit, when something’s going down in the NT whether it’s something serious like a car accident or if someone is alleged to hiding out in a suburbs from the police wielding a weapon, or something more normal like a cyclone bearing down on us, The NT News is damned excellent on Facebook in particular at keeping everyone updated – no matter what hour it is.

But mostly the NT News is known for its puns (even worse than those the Northern Watch Commander Senior Sergeant Garry Smith regains their followers with). The front pages of the news paper and known internationally, and now we have a book that collects the best of the best, making it the very best of coffee table books for Christmas for those with a laid-back sense of humour.

What’s interesting about this book is it says why the NT News has taken such a different approach to its front pages – but to find out, you’ll just have to buy the book, won’t you? (Or at least go into a bookstore and sneak a peek, let’s be realistic.)

Possibly their most-clicked headlines are the following, which have handily been printed right next to each other.

NTNews

And if my review isn’t enough, because it’s by a newspaper they have of course written an article about it, which you can see here.

This book may not be for everyone, but damn is it amusing.

Haul & News – 26 July 2014

HnN

I’ve decided that each weekend shall be the time I take to discuss books I’ve received to review and/or books I’ve bought the week before, and any news that particular caught my interest. (I may have fallen a bit off the whole ‘each weekend’ thing, but stick with me here…)

Books Received:

  • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (review) from Hachette
  • Broadchurch by Erin Kelly (review) from Hachette
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (review) from HarperCollins on Edelweiss
  • Solaris Rising 3 anthology, edited by Ian Whates (review) from Rebellion on NetGalley
  • Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets anthology, edited by David Thomas Moore (review) from Rebellion on NetGalley
  • The Inside Man by Jeff Abbott (review) from Hachette
  • Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (review) from Harlequin Teen Australia on NetGalley
  • The Map-Maker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford (review) from Spark on NetGalley
  • Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett (review) from Penguin Australia on NetGalley

Yes, I’m terrible and have fallen very behind in posting about these, so here’s a summary post and I’ll get back into it properly soon. Currently recovering from surgery which works as an excuse for now, but not two weeks prior!

News:

fablecroft

As of the 15th July, I officially became Intern to FableCroft Publishing, and PA to owner and editor Tehani! So far I’m loving it, proofing work and sending out contracts. Tehani is excellent to work for, and I’m very glad for the chance to take some of the stress of her shoulders.

musketeer-space

Tansy Rayner Roberts is one of my favourite authors. I discovered her work through the attention her Creature Court series received, and was lucky enough to be so late to the party that the second book was already out. Since then I’ve read everything I could get my hands on and now, there’s this. A weekly web-serial that shall run for the next year and a half, called Musketeer Space. Which is going to be a gender-swapped retelling of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, set in space.

To find out more about this, please click here to see Tansy’s blog entry.

Though this project shall be available for free, there’s also the option to become a patreon for as little as $1 a month. To see more about supporting the project, please click here.

GSicon

For listeners of the podcast Galactic Suburbia, you can now patreon them per episode, and get a bunch of cool incentives along the way! Recently having hit 100 episodes and proud winners and nominees of multiple awards, they’re easily my favourite podcast.

Haven’t listened to the podcast yet? You can do so here, as well as in iTunes.

To see more information about becoming a patreon, please click here.

Haul & News – 14 June 2014

HnN

I’ve decided that each weekend shall be the time I take to discuss books I’ve received to review and/or books I’ve bought the week before, and any news that particular caught my interest.

Books Received:

  • The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (review) from Hachette
  • Skin Game (The Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher (review) from Hachette
  • The Lascar’s Dagger (The Forsaken Lands #1) by Glenda Larke (review) from Hachette
  • The Falcon Throne (Tarnished Crown #1) by Karen Miller (review) from Hachette
  • After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman (prize from Allen & Unwin)
  • The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi (prize from Allen & Unwin)
  • The Grass Castle by Karen Viggers (prize from Allen & Unwin)
  • The Word Ghost by Christine Paice (prize from Allen & Unwin)
  • Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff (gift from the amazing Sam)

What a haul! It has been some time since I’ve done an update like this, my apologies. I’ve been doing higher duties at work, and went away to an Australian convention in Melbourne called Continuum, and now I’m ill! Still, one must solider on and stop making excuses, so here I am.

Currently up at 6.30am for the NetGalley Wellness Webinar anyhow.

The Girl in the Road is a book that I’ve seen spoken about here and there, but didn’t request it to review as judging is about to kick off and I’m struggling to read off my list of books I wanted to try and get through this year anyhow. I was pleased when it turned up, though! This book doesn’t look like an adult book, but apparently ‘melds the influences of Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Erin Morgenstern’.

Skin Game is one of the many Jim Butcher novels in his Dresden series. I enjoy his writing when its short stories, but his novels aren’t my favourite – though they are pretty good. Talk so far seems to indicate that this is one of his better novels, so I hope to jump into reading it soon.

The Lascar’s Dagger is written by one of my favourite authors – Glenda Larke. I adore her writing, and have already read this novel, so I’ll have to be sure to review it asap to spread the word! I’m always hesitant when reviewing my utterly favourite novels, because I worry about doing them justice. I worry about strange things.

The Falcon Throne is another novel that’s caught my eye, but I didn’t request for the same reasons above – judging starts soon, and I’m trying to catch up on other reading! I haven’t yet read anything by Karen Miller, but I’m really looking forward to this title. Getting books like this is great because it encourages me to get through my other reviewing I have currently waiting, so I can get to it quicker!

The next four were received in thanks for donating to an author’s Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser, Allen & Unwin were very kind in sending four great books!

Guy in Real Life is a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, ever since Sam started fangirling it. She was then kind enough to send me a copy because she loves spoiling me – she is really far too kind.

Comics:

  • Hawkeye & Mockingbird / Black Widow: Widowmaker (Wikipedia)
  • Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Wikipedia)
  • The Invincible Iron Man by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca (Wikipedia)
  • Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland by Craig Hamilton, Jim Fern, Ray Snyder and Mark Farmer (Wikipedia)
  • Fairest: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham, Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning, Matthew Sturges and Shawn McManus (Wikipedia)

Whilst in Melbourne for the convention I went on a comics kick, as they have an excellent store there called Minotaur. I say that, despite the fact the comics and books are a bit over-priced and they use horrible stickers it’s impossible to get off without using nails/a blade, and copious amounts of eucalyptus oil.

I went on a bit of a Matt Fraction kick too, after enjoying Hawkeye so much. I also miss reading Fables comics, after I lost interest at volume 8 or 12 or something – it just went downhill after that, which is a shame.

News:

musketeer-space

Tansy Rayner Roberts is one of my favourite authors. I discovered her work through the attention her Creature Court series received, and was lucky enough to be so late to the party that the second book was already out. Since then I’ve read everything I could get my hands on and now, there’s this. A weekly web-serial that shall run for the next year and a half, called Musketeer Space. Which is going to be a gender-swapped retelling of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, set in space.

To find out more about this, please click here to see Tansy’s blog entry.

Though this project shall be available for free, there’s also the option to become a patreon for as little as $1 a month. To see more about supporting the project, please click here.

GSicon

For listeners of the podcast Galactic Suburbia, you can now patreon them per episode, and get a bunch of cool incentives along the way! Recently having hit 100 episodes and proud winners and nominees of multiple awards, they’re easily my favourite podcast.

Haven’t listened to the podcast yet? You can do so here, as well as in iTunes.

To see more information about becoming a patreon, please click here.

 Links: 

  • Another Tansy thing! Tansy Rayner Roberts is over on the Tor.com blog re-reading the Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts. Catch up on what’s happened so far and continue to read along right here.
  • Over on Reddit, Australian author Trudi Canavan had an AMA (ask me anything), and Tor have helpfully provided a summary of highlights.

Haul & News – 19 April 2014

HnN

I’ve decided that each weekend shall be the time I take to discuss books I’ve received to review and/or books I’ve bought the week before, and any news that particular caught my interest.

Books Received:

  • Illusion (Chronicles of Nick #5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (review) from Hachette
  • Fool’s Assassin (The Fitz & The Fool #1) by Robin Hobb (review) from Del Ray on NetGalley
  • Otherbound by Connie Duyvis (review) from Amulet Books on NetGalley

The first arrived while I was away at a conference (ramble below) and I confess I haven’t yet read this series. I’m torn between whether I’ll go to the start and read the previous books first, or if I’ll try jump in to the fifth and review it how it goes as a stand alone. Either way, I’m interested to give it a go!

The second also arrived while I was away, or at least, the notification did. I think I squealed a little, tiny bit. I adore Robin Hobb’s work, and she was utterly lovely when I got to say hello at World Fantasy Con in Brighton. I was so excited to hear this series was coming out, and even moreso when I was approved for a review copy instead of waiting until August! I’m savouring this one, as I have a few months before it comes out, and so far I’m loving every minute of it.

Otherbound is a novel that caught my attention, basically because of these lines: ‘Amara is never alone. Not when she’s protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. She can’t be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.’ That’s enough to win me over!

News:

Things were pretty quiet here for the first half of April, as I was away for a week for the judges conference with seven other judges to decide on the winners of the Australian Children’s Book Council Awards – 370 books we read (picture books through to young adult novels) and it took us several days to discuss, vote, write reports and generally work to whittle those 370 books down into shortlists, notables and winners!

The shortlists and notables were announced the next morning after our decision, so we were all still together packing up and getting a few media notes together. You can see the details here! Winners and Honour Books shall be announced on August 15th 2014.

CBCA  Logo Hi Res Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2014

During that time I also attended the Aurealis Awards night, as I was a judge and convener of the Fantasy Novel award – what a fantastic night, as it always is. The award for fantasy novel went to a self-published author, Mitchell Hogan. I highly recommend his book, A Crucible of Souls.

aa-logo

Speaking of the Aurealis Awards, the call for judges for this year has begun, and you have until the 30th April to apply. All judges must be Australian, and willing to read electronic submissions. As someone who has been a judge for three years now, I’m more than happy to answer any questions (though Tehani is probably the best person to ask as she’s in charge of the judges!)

If you’re interested, click here to read more information on how to apply. 

imgres

Twelfth Planet Press have excellent news, especially if you’re a fan of Isobelle Carmody – they’re to release a special thirteenth volume titled The Moth Cycle!

hugo_sm-300x300

This time tomorrow, the shortlist for the Hugo Awards and the Retro Hugos of 1939 shall be announced! This begins at 8:30pm BST (British Summer Time) on Saturday 19 April, which is about 5am on Sunday my time. Still debating whether I’m waking early for that or not.

Other Links of Notice:

  • If you’re on Goodreads and want to sync your amazon purchases straight to your goodreads account, you now can! At least if you live in the US, Canada or Australia.
  • The lovely Tor have announced that Anthony Horowitz is coming out with another Sherlock Holmes book – it won’t be a sequel to his excellent ‘House of Silk’, but it will be called Moriarty. Currently due to come out late October!
  • Voyager Online has posted an Author Q&A of ten questions with Anne Bishop which is pretty dang nifty!
  • I really like the comic xkcd did regarding free speech.
  • As always, Tansy‘s links of the week are always excellent. Kristen Bell and Amy Adams as Harley and Ivy? Yes, please!
  • Who loves international competitions of geeky books? Silly question, isn’t it? RPGamer has a comp running regarding books that feature gaming. Details on how to enter, as well as an excellent write up of a few books in the genre, can be found here.

Cover Reveals:

afterworlds

 

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld.

Expected publication: September 23rd 2014 by Simon Pulse.

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.