writer, editor & phd candidate

Category: 1. Writing Page 1 of 5

TV: Lynda Day (Press Gang)

Always a little behind the times, I took around three decades to get around to watching “Press Gang”, despite owning the DVD collection for two of those decades. I thought I’d probably left it too late, as 80s and 90s teen TV has generally aged poorly, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Sure, the fashion is a bit iffy, but the soul of the series holds up well even today.

I wish I’d watched “Press Gang” back in the day because I really could’ve used having a character like Lynda to see myself in. Like me, she’s ambitious, driven, goal-focused… and absolutely rubbish at people. It’s not that she doesn’t have a good heart, but rather that emotions are a confusing and irritating distraction from more important things—especially when those emotions are her own. Her single-mindedness makes her an excellent editor, but it’s at the expense of human relationships, something that she touches upon occasionally but never in any real depth. She has Kenny, her ever-patient best friend and assistant editor, and Gazette head-writer Sarah, but they both leave her eventually, and that comes as no surprise.

At the beginning of her friendship with Sarah, Lynda says that everyone leaves her, as a way to manipulate Sarah, but it’s a manipulation based on truth. Lynda is too much for most people to handle. She’s hard work, she’s abrasive, and she is quite terrible at offering the comfort and understanding that most people want from a friend. To be fair, she doesn’t expect to receive that kind of care, either. Lynda might be difficult, but she’s rarely a hypocrite. She does what she thinks is the right thing to do, and she’s loyal to the people she cares for, even if they can’t see that, obscured as it is by her harsh tongue and abrasive ways.

And then, of course, there’s Spike, Lynda’s on-off boyfriend. He wants Lynda from the moment he meets her, but she takes a while to warm to him, and even longer to admit that she has feelings for him as well. “Press Gang” is partially the story of the push-pull relationship between Lynda and Spike and, while the later series don’t quite maintain the antagonistic chemistry of the show’s beginning, there is still the feeling that Lynda needs to be with someone like Spike, who will call her out when she behaves badly, but still love her for who she is, instead of despite of it.

Importantly, “Press Gang” never punishes Lynda for being a strong-minded woman who puts her work before her emotions. It’s not that Lynda never suffers negative consequences of her actions, but rather that bad things don’t happen to her simply because of the person she is. If anything, the powerful people in her life are too accepting, too willing to uplift her as a young woman of exceptional talent. I’m more than happy to overlook a little lack of realism on that count, though, as I would far prefer young female media consumers were offered too much hope for future success rather than too little.

Lynda’s a great character because she remains herself throughout the entirety of “Press Gang”. There’s no softening, no adoption of a more palatable kind of femininity, and I wish there had been a lot more Lynda’s to be found in my childhood media consumption, instead of an endless parade of girls casting off their tomboy personalities the moment that puberty began.

The Ghost of You

Black Telephone magazine

A slightly belated announcement that the second issue of Black Telephone Magazine has launched, containing my piece “The Ghost of You”—a dark sci-fi piece about love and loss, with a fantasy aesthetic.

You can find my piece here, but please check out the rest of the great content as well!

Within These Walls

Another writing announcement!

My piece “Within These Walls” is now available to read for free at
Daily Science Fiction. Hope you like it.

Three Days with the Kid

Another writing announcement! My piece “Three Days with the Kid” has just been published as part of Strange Horizons‘s climate crisis special.

You can read the piece online, or listen to it on the podcast.

Make sure you check out the gorgeous art by Dante Luiz while you’re there!

Plucked

A very belated update! I am pleased to announce that my piece “Plucked” was published in January. “Plucked” is a new, feminist fairy tale, and it has found the perfect home at Corvid Queen, which focuses on mythology, folk lore and fairy tales, all with a deliciously feminist bent.

You can read “Plucked” online if it sounds like your kind of thing!

On Clockwork Wings

I’m pleased to be able to announce that my piece “On Clockwork Wings” has just been published in the current issue of Galaxy’s Edge. I’m particularly excited to have my writing alongside that of such speculative fiction greats as Mercedes Lackey and Robert Silverberg and all the other excellent authors featured in this issue. You can currently read my story online at http://www.galaxysedge.com, but please consider supporting the great work editor Mike Resnick does by purchasing a paperback or ebook copy (links at that address).


The Bomb Chaser

I’m very pleased to announce that my short story “The Bomb Chaser” has recently been published by Daily Science Fiction. DSF is a fantastic source for great speculative fiction AND it’s completely free to read, so you can check out my piece and hundreds of others online.

 

You can read “The Bomb Chaser” here.

Ashes to Ashes

breath and shadow logo

My piece “Ashes to Ashes” has just come out as part of the winter edition of Breath and Shadow. “Ashes to Ashes” is quite unusual for me, as it is set firmly in Gippsland, where I lived for many years but which only rarely intrudes on the creative part of my mind.

It’s quite short, and completely free to read, so please check it out and perhaps even let me know what you think!

“Ashes to Ashes” at Breath and Shadow

Ashes to Ashes

I received the good news earlier this week that my literary fantasy short “Ashes to Ashes” will be published in Breath and Shadow sometime around December this year. It’s the first of my pieces to be strongly set in Gippsland, and I’m very pleased that it’s found a good home.

Love. Bite.

My short play Love. Bite. was produced as part of the recent Short Works season at La Trobe university and my director, Amelia Latham, and actors, Susu Najjarin & Erin Miller did a great job with the piece.

Melissa Viola took some great photographs of the play and was kind enough to let me post one here.

Love. Bite. at La Trobe Short Works
Erin Miller as Joanne (left) and Susu Najjarin as Amy
(click on image for the full size photo)

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