"Flag, being a cat, gets curious. He knows that something out of the ordinary is happening... And that's when he jumps. Jumps for the urine stream and grabs at it with both paws, spraying it everywhere. That surprises him. He has no grasp of simple physics and was obviously expecting a different outcome. Worse, it makes me recoil backwards, changing the simple physics and directing the stream right at his head before I can stop it...
Tonight's dinner had not been going well. And now I've pissed on her cat."
(Perfect Skin)

Nick Earls, born in 1963, is one of Australia's most successful humorous fiction authors. Very little has been publicised about his younger years but Nick has admitted that he was always a writer (he edited his school year books) and that he wasn't very successful with the ladies while at his high school, the Anglican Church Grammar School.

In 1986 Nick graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine from the University of Queensland, which he then followed by finishing with Honours. He has worked as a GP and as a hospital RMO, among other medical positions, and this knowledge and experience has been used in several of his books. The protagonists of Bachelor Kisses , World of Chickens and Perfect Skin are doctors; the former includes a study of melatonin and its effect on depression and the latter is based in a skin clinic which uses laser therapy to cure patients. Like Douglas Coupland's works, Nick's pieces are based on real-life occurances and mix comedy and nerdy science-stuff to great effect. The official Nick Earls website (www.nickearls.com) states that Nick is interested in exploring the place where science, comedy and ambivalence overlap, a description which does justice to his novels and stories.

The pieces are all loosely based around the same themes and ideas; love (and the search for it, despite incredible clumsiness, truthfulness and stupidity), relationships, work and asian food rituals. Most are set in Nick's home city of Brisbane, Queensland, and are undeniably Australian. The characters enjoy a nice cask of Aussie wine (at almost every opportunity), eat Vegemite on toast when they're sick and boil under the hot Australian sun. The setting is a nice change for readers who are accustomed to pieces of British and American fiction.

The novels are hilarious. At the risk of sounding cliched, they are "laugh out loud funny". Who else pisses on their date's cat then uses a new white towel to mop up? Then throws the towel out the bathroom window? Who owns a dog that blames their owner if it starts to rain? (Well, that applies to everyone who owns a dog, but it's rare to find a well-written description of the whole thing). Stylistically the works are smooth, realistic, written in the first person, which adds to the whole "What is that idiot doing?" factor.

"...it does mean I've come to know the unicorn's more sensitive side, and sometimes we're up all night talking. About all kinds of things. Apples, the case for and against the opposable thumb, some of the more attractive racehorses about town, the early short fiction of Peter Carey, magic realism (a genre for which the unicorn has little regard). The girl, our housemate, girls in general." (from Problems with a girl and a unicorn , Headgames)

Book list:
  • Zigzag Street (1996)- Nick won a Betty Tasker award for this novel in 1998; it is now being made into a movie
  • Bachelor Kisses (1998)- "The first Aussie to make me laugh out loud since Jason Donovan."(A reviewer from the UK 'Mirror'); one of Who Weekly's best books of 1998
  • Headgames (1999)- A short story anthology
  • Perfect Skin (2000)- includes some damn hilarious animal scenes
  • World of Chickens (2001) - follows the story of Frank and Filby of Headgames.
  • After January - for adolescent readers; adapted to theatre
  • 48 Shades of Brown (1999) - Won the Children's Book of the Year: Older Readers Award from the Children's Book Council of Australia; also adapted to theatre
  • Passion (1992)- now out of print; a collection of short stories which was equal runner up in the 1993 Steel Rudd Australian Short Story Award
  • 10 Things You Should Know About Sex- Nick wrote and performed the spoken word segments of this CD which includes collaborations and remixes by Dave Atkins, DJ Katch (of Resin Dogs fame) and DJ Sealed Section, among others.
According to the official Nick Earls site, Nick "enjoys mediocre tennis and moderately priced wine". He believes that some things, such as sailboarding, roofing and poetry, should be left to experts.

"Okay. What's your password?"
"...Okay, um, it's B,I,G,B,O,Y."
"And you're thinking that by spelling it I won't know that your password is bigboy?"
(Perfect Skin)

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