Space X’s trans-lunar mission isn’t a new idea – but it’s cool

I don’t know whether to applaud or shudder at Elon Musk’s announcement that Space-X will launch a private ‘moon tourist’ mission late in 2018. I want to applaud because it’s deeply cool, damned bold, and it’s what humanity needs to be doing if we’re to keep any kind of space dream alive. Good stuff. But … More Space X’s trans-lunar mission isn’t a new idea – but it’s cool

Where old American school-buses go to die

I promised a few surprise posts this year. Here’s the first. A couple of years ago the City Council in Napier, New Zealand, decided to spend about $1.1 million on two old Thomas school-buses, which they had customised in California for that quintessential Flash Gordon look – specifically, streamline moderne. It was intended to match … More Where old American school-buses go to die

More wonderful architecture from the art deco capital of the world

I thought I would conclude my trilogy of deco posts with a few more glimpses of my home town – Napier, New Zealand. The place has spectacularly reinvented itself since its discovery, about 25 years ago, of its own modernist heritage. Today it styles itself the ‘art deco capital of the world’. And in many … More More wonderful architecture from the art deco capital of the world

Enjoying the art deco fantasy of Napier, New Zealand

I’ve spent a few days prowling the downtown streets of my home town, Napier, New Zealand, capturing its art deco heritage. I’ve been writing on it for years – Random House produced my first book on the history of this city, back in 1997. The downtown collection of modernist buildings emerged from a devastating earthquake … More Enjoying the art deco fantasy of Napier, New Zealand

Welcome to 2014 from the art deco capital of the world

Welcome to 2014! I thought I’d share some photos I’ve taken in the last few days from the art deco capital of the world – Napier, New Zealand. This year’s already stacked for me, certainly writing-wise. I have a book in press and others to finish and get to publishers by deadline. More on that … More Welcome to 2014 from the art deco capital of the world

NaNo Writing Prompt No. 4

This week’s writing prompt is a photo I took near sunset one evening on Rarotonga. Tropical islands have a magical feel for writers. There were many reasons why Robert Louis Stevenson spent time on Samoa. One of them was the inspiration he felt in the tropics. Rarotonga isn’t very exotic for New Zealanders – but it … More NaNo Writing Prompt No. 4