So, here are the notes on Forbsey for those that can be bothered.
Forbesy is the first of my stories that I've actually let other folks read. I've been writing for years but only for myself. I'd tend to write the story, re-read it once or twice and then get rid of it. I can stand up there in front of hundreds of people and talk about anything, no matter how personal, but stories are a different animal altogether.
When you write, you open yourself up to people. You're saying, "I have a story to tell and it's worth your time to read it." For me, that's incredibly personal and intimidating. I've never been ready to open myself up to folks like that until now, and I'm still pretty iffy about it.
I've had a lot of people telling me to write over the years. One of the more recent was Robin Pen. When I said I wasn't sure what to write about, he said "write what you know". So this is his fault.
A bit of back-story. The story's set in an (as yet unnamed) alternative Australia that got cut off from most of the world about a hundred years ago when a virus swept through the country and wiped out a large percentage of the non-native species. Australia was effectively quarantined from the rest of the world. Any ships attempting to leave were turned back or sunk. The back-story and history has grown quite big over the years.
I like it 'cause it's the ideal place to tell the stories I want to tell. The story the narrator is telling is set in the early nineteen-eighties, about 10 years before the quarantine is finally lifted.
While the character of Forbesy isn't based on anyone in particular, he's named after a marvellous chap who was the manager at Oakleigh Abattoirs. Arthur Forbes was a good bloke and a great manager.
Pete was one of our work dogs and he had huge frog-like eyes. He'd been kicked in the centre of the head by a cow and his eyeballs had popped right out of his head. Dad washed them off, pushed them back in his skull and took him to the dog box. He woke up three days later and was right as rain. Except, his eyes were very, very bulgy and he could work them independently.
Gumnut, Lacey and Kev are all named for blokes I worked with. Scoutmaster is Scoutmaster. He used to greet me every morning with "Daaannnnny, you shfuckin' shcunt. How the shfuck are ya?" And I'd reply "All right Shcoutmarshter, you shfuckin' cunt. How the shfuck are ya?" We didn't have speak impediments, we just enjoyed putting sh in front of random words. Why? Why not?
The esky in the story is actually more of a small portable fridge. Incendiaries are a (theoretically) perfect way to get a fire going. They are single use sticks that burn for a fair while at the tip. A Smithie site is similar to warez and hackers sites, except it deals mainly with everyday technology. Night-shop is a slang term for brothel. Scarlets are the ladies who work in night-shops. Scarlet ladies, geddit? Well, I liked it.
I love a mix of technologies, hence the implants that prisoners have are quite small 'cause all they have to do is hold and transmit info, while the skulljack is a large obvious bit of tech.
A sidenote here is that people carry on about wanting to be 'jacked in' and so on. I'd be a little more reluctant to do this. There is a guy in Britain I believe who has a couple of implants with no ill effects, not to mention the blind guy who had his implant popped in in the late seventies (I wrote Forbesy before I heard about this guy), but I'd be a lot more concerned about what could be done to people with implants. How long would it be before someone started hacking into your mind? Downloading your memories or knowledge? And I'd only give it a short while before some sick bastard invented a virus. I touch on this in the story and I've got a lot of ideas floating about that I've just got to get stories built about. Stay tuned…
My dad's name was Barry, his family and very closest friends called him George. When he was a kid, he came home from school one day and said he hated being called Barry. They asked him what he wanted to be called and he said George.
I had a reason for the skulljacked calling themselves Cards, but I don't remember what it was. I think it may have been a reference to the Wildcards books edited by George R.R. Martin, but I'm not sure. Anyone who emails me a really cool reason for Cards and I'll… do something nice. I don't know what, but I will. Honest.
Among drovers, hassling folks 'til they give in is the acceptable way of doing things.
The "quack" called Williams is named after Adelaide author Sean Williams. Sean's a dude.
Black Frost is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference.
I came up with the idea of droving "clans" because droving is so incestuous. Everyone knows everyone and it's not uncommon for folks to be fifth generation drovers. It's also not uncommon to end up with a huge extended family.
Clan Dowling is named after Sydney author Terry Dowling. Terry's good value, a fine writer and he used to sing on Mr. Squiggle, a local children's show that is now sadly off the air after forty years.
Oh a last note, remembered where Cards came from. Jacked in as in the playing card the Jack.
That’s about it.