Tuesday 5 December 2023



If you're caught trying to rob Geld Island, they torture you to death on TV. But enough money to buy yourself a biodome in paradise is hard to resist.

The eco-crash killed the oceans and dropped oxygen levels, leaving humans and rats as the only surviving vertebrates. But people have adapted to eating crickets and breathing from a can, so life and crime continue.

Tempted from her spider-hole in the desert, ruthless planner Kalinda assembles a team weird enough to risk a run at Geld Island and clever enough to bring home the booty.

Can four thieves, a reptile and a murderous AI drone infiltrate the richest place on the ruined earth and escape with their skins intact?


This is ZeitHeist, the new novel I've been talking about.

It's got elements of climate fiction, cyberpunk and crime. Not to mention the coolest title I've ever come up with! I usually find that difficult, but this time the name came when the book was barely an idea.

Grab a copy now - paperbacks and ebooks are available from Amazon.

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Friday 6 October 2023

I wish I wasn't so good at predicting the future

I've got a new book coming out very soon - I'm just waiting for the proofs to arrive so I can order some fresh copies to sell.

It's a cli-fi novel about post-apocalyptic thieves. So I tried to make it accurately futuristic, but the stuff I projected into the next century is happening much closer to now. By the time I'd finished writing it, many of my ideas had already come to psss.

Let me give you some examples.

Stealing data via internet backbone cables.

Dying krill leading to a mass extinction event in the ocean.

Major cities becoming completely unliveable.

Insects becoming an increasingly important 
source of protein.

And sentient AI. Admittedly, the one in this news story isn't actually sentient, but I suspect they're going to pass the Turing Test soon enough.

These are the terrible thoughts that have taken over my brain as I've written my new book.

It's a cracker. And it's only weeks away from being published.

I'll let you know when it's ready.

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Sunday 24 September 2023

Whisky Tasting: Spring 2023

We are together once again, stout yeoman all! Ready to sup at the teat of our reasonably priced distilleries.

The usual rules apply - buy your 700ml bottle for under $100 and bring it in a paper bag, so we make our tasting notes and score each one without knowing what we’re drinking.

Whisky: Jura 10 (40%) - Bourbon and Sherry casks
Supplied by: Tim Griggs 
Chosen from the selection at the airport! And as you’d expect from such a dram, it’s relatively simple in flavour, neither harsh nor bitey.
The nose detects raisins and rose water.
The flavour is very light, with sweet caramel and vanilla notes.
Score:  40 / 60

Whisky: Jura Rum Cask (40%)
Supplied by: Simon
This is somehow familiar! Two of our panel have chosen the same brand.
There’s a tang of cola on the nose.
On first taste it’s still smooth, but has more bite than the Jura 10. There’s a little bit of a tang, a sourness to it.
Score:  34 / 60

Whisky: Auchentoshan 12 yo - bourbon and sherry cask
Supplied by: Tim Grimsey
An old favourite of Tim's, presented to this group for the first time.
It has a very fruity nose, with banana and peach!
This is more complex and very oaky, with a little black pepper.
Score:  43 / 60

Whisky: 23rd Street Australian Malt (46%)
From a South Australian distillery.
Starts strongly with a lovely nose - dark chocolate and toffee notes
Bit of a burn mid palate, but none at the back. It feels strong!
Really vanilla, very rich, 
Good mouthfeel, oily and rich, the sort of thing you could happily drink alone.
Score:  39 / 60

Whisky: Glenshiel Deluxe Highland blend (40%)
Supplied by: Andy
He deliberately chose the cheapest single malt he could find - we didn’t know that when tasting it and making notes.
The smell and taste are very different, almost like two different drinks.
The nose is good, pear and honeycomb come out first. It’s a little bit spicy too, with clove and vanilla.
It has a good mouthfeel, but the taste is ordinary - a little sour, like wine grapes that aren't suitable for eating.
Scores:  42 / 60

Whisky: Silkie Signature Blend (46%)
Supplied by: Marty
An easily found Irish whisky.
Very sweet scent, with a touch of apricot, 
The taste is also sweet and a little tingly, with a tiny glow of smoke.
There’s a nice after-taste, a pleasant lingering sweetness, which speaks of a well-made spirit.
As you continue drinking it, the flavour only improves!
Scores:  43 / 60

Whisky: Deviant Anthology (50.3%)
Supplied by: Michael
This is a bloody marvellous drop from Tasmania, which doesn’t actually qualify as whisky, as it hasn’t been in its barrels for long enough!
The nose offers mandarin, lavender, and a hint of toffee.
The taste is complex and unique. Sweet, creamy, barley forward, with loads of citrus.
No regrets on buying a bottle of this, especially for under $100! If you see another one, buy it instantly.
Scores:  50 / 60
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Saturday 24 June 2023

The value of listening

My old school, Marist College in Canberra, asked me to write a few words for their quarterly newsletter. They like to feature successful old boys and someone dobbed me in.

These things are generally a potted biography, but I wanted to say something that might actually be of value. And this particular subject is close to my heart. As is this photo of me with Big Ted.

My name's Joel Rheinberger and I talk for a living. But the skill is really in the listening.

I'm a Presenter for ABC Radio in Hobart, doing a daily talk show about every subject under the sun. It's a delightful job, where you meet new people every day and help them to tell their stories.

It took me a while to get here. After graduating from Marist with the class of '88, I did a communications degree with a writing major. And I found work writing and voicing comedy at a radio station.

Voice work is also all about listening. You've got to pay very close attention to the people you want to sound like and pick the words that give them character. Then you have to do the even harder thing of listening to yourself to see if you're nailing it.

Most people hate hearing recordings of themselves. This is because you normally hear the vibrations of your voice via bone conduction inside your head, which is very different to hearing your voice vibrating through the air. And so the recordings don't sound like you at all!

Except they actually do. That recording is how you really sound to everyone else.

To become better at voice overs, I had to listen to what I really sounded like. I previously thought I had a great voice, but it turns out I was quite nasal with some odd breathing habits. And some of my impressions were terrible. It's humbling, but only by listening did I get better.

After I was done with comedy, I spent some years writing ads, before finding my current career at the ABC. My day basically consists of interviewing people and I can’t emphasize enough the value of listening to them.

You want to hear the facts, but also the emotions behind them, so you can find the heart of their story. Sometimes a guest will drop a tiny nugget of gold in a conversation, which can lead you to brilliant tales. So you've got to follow the gold!

I once interviewed a French woman who acts as a tour guide here, to talk about what French tourists want to see in Tasmania. She mentioned sailing to Australia with a look of great nostalgia, so I asked questions about that. It turns out she and her husband lived on a yacht, adopted a child in South America, then sailed with him to Antarctica. She showed me pictures of this grinning dark-haired waif standing in snow next to an emperor penguin.

What an amazing story! And if I hadn't paid attention, I would have missed it.

Sometimes I think my guests have never experienced someone listening to them this way. Nobody has ever given them that quality of attention, so it's very powerful. They will trust me with dark and difficult tales, shedding tears on the radio, because they can see I am truly with them.

So I talk for a living. But first I listen.

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Tuesday 2 May 2023

Seriously Super

The girl who can fly has become the Federal Agent who can fly.

Poppy Lu joined the Australian Federal Police to avoid getting arrested for her teenage indiscretions. But she has found that being a cop suits her.

She and her partner are hot on the heels of a terrorist group, who do corporate crimes for cash.

They've started using some frightening new powers technology, leaving a trail of dead witnesses behind them. And now the terrorists are targeting Poppy herself, to make the case against them disappear.

It will take all of Poppy's power and skill to survive, as she criss-crosses the country in pursuit.

Seriously Super is book three in a uniquely Australian super hero series, available exclusively at the Kindle store.

And if you haven't read the first two books, what are you waiting for?

Grab a copy of Suddenly Super and Surprisingly Super as well.

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