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Here's the cover of Song of the Slums, now out in the States from IPG/Allen & Unwin! Astor (with the copper-coloured hair) and Verrol (with his steampunk guitar) hurrying down an alleyway. Might be in Brummingham or might be in London - both cities feature in the novel. So Victorian-looking! Plus an airship hovering in front of the moon … There's a whole story behind the making of this cover.

Song of the Slums is set in the same world as Worldshaker and Liberator, but it's a stand-alone novel with a totally independent story, new characters and a different setting in a different part of that world. The key idea is -

What if they'd invented rock 'n roll way back in the 19th century?

What if it could take over the world and change the course of history?

In the slums of Brummingham, the outcast gangs are making a new kind of music, with pounding rhythms and wild guitars.

Astor Vance has been trained in refined classical music. But when her life plummets from riches to rags, the only way she can survive is to play the music the slum gangs want.

Charismatic Verrol, once her servant, is now her partner in crime … and he could be so much more if only he'd come clean about his mysterious past …

Bestselling author Kate Forsyth says:
'I loved the music, the syncopated rhythm, the dark, smoky atmosphere, the call to arms, the love story …this is gaslight fantasy at its best.'

Yes, compared to my last two steampunk novels, this is gaslight fantasy with a hot romance story!

It's available in good bookstores, or go straight to the distributor, IPG -


The paperback costs $11.99.

ISBN 97811743310052

It's a rocking good read!

Here's the steampunk guitar I had created (by movie-model-maker Lewis Morley) to go with the story. It's been travelling with me on tours, along with an amp - yes, it plays! And that globe thingy you can see lights up with Frankenstein-y zigzag multi-coloured lightnings. Cool!



And here's a pic of me getting ready to play it -

More info in the Song of the Slums pages.


and now too!


And it looks like this =>>>

The sequel to Worldshaker is published in trade paperback, from Simon & Schuster, this April.

The cover is a match to the paperback of WORLDSHAKER. Here's the inside flap blurb:

"Col Porpentine has come a long way from being the pampered future leader of Worldshaker. Just a few short months ago he helped Riff free the Filthies from generations of servitude, and created a new balance on the massive juggernaut, newly christened Liberator. Now the Filthies command Liberator, and many Swanks, former members of the upper class, have remained to teach them how to operate the juggernaut, and to build a new society together.

But all is not peaceful on Liberator. A rising anti-Swank sentiment among the more fanatical Filthy factions grows increasingly violent and dangerious. And an anti-Filthy saboteur is loose aboard the ship. Even the one thing Col thought he could always depend upon--his friendship with Riff--is beginning to crumble.

As tensions run high and the coal supply runs low, Liberator is on the verge of a crisis. Col and Riff are faced with their most challenging task yet; unifying a divided people ... before it is too late.

Richard Harland returns to the world of WORLDSHAKER with a heart-stopping sequel that will take readers on a ride to places they've never imagined."

The story is 487 pages long - and I promise, the action never stops! Cost is $17.99

Updated update

And now we're on to the fifth reprint of the paperback Worldshaker. Seems only a couple of weeks since the fourth!

Australia is now on fourth reprint - close, but still behind!

Just bought myself a steampunk hat - here it is, with the goggles again. It cost a bomb - but I just had to have it!


A. Bertram Chandler Award

I couldn't believe it when I got a text from Jack Dann to tell me I'd won the A. Bertram Chandler Award, and he'd presented it to me at the Melbourne Continuum Natcon - only I wasn't there! Jonathan Strahan graciously accepted it on my behalf. I think everyone just assumed I'd be there, because I've hardly missed a Continuum over the last six years.

It's a huge honour. The A. Bertram Chandler Award (named after Australia's first significant SF writer) is a lifetime award for contribution to SF/fantasy in Australia. I don't know how I came to deserve it - especially looking at the list of previous awardees! Here's a pic of the engraved glass plinth, bowl and framed citation that came with the award.

Sydney Supanova - filming a steampunk documentary!

Supanova is Australia's biggest SF/fantasy convention - it's grown and grown over ten years. This year, I was a guest at the Gold Coast one and the biggest one yet, the anniversary Supanova at Sydney. I did a panel on steampunk at both with fellow-steampunk author, Michael Pryor. We had a ball. Best of all was the filming of the first stage of a steampunk documentary at the panel in Sydney. Everyone in costume - and there were some great costumes - got a brief cameo in front of the camera afterwards. Here are a few pics:

PS I almost forgot to mention - I've just got serious about my Facebook page. Check it out for more Supanova photos.

Another US reprint

Just heard that the Simon & Schuster paperback edition of Worldshaker has gone into a fourth reprint. Not bad when it only came out in June. 3 reprints in Australia and 3 reprints in France - but America has now moved into the lead! Yay! I hope this race goes on and on forever!


The Paris booktour

What a buzz! Loved meeting fans at the Salon de Montreuil (the Montreuil Book Fair). And what an ego-boost, when they had about eight groups of young readers 'defending' their favourite books of the year - and two of the groups chose Worldshaker! Then there was another group of fans that put on a performance, acting out their best scenes from Worldshaker in tableaux! Here's a photo of me wearing the steampunk goggles I bought at a Paris fleamarket (well, actually, Austrian army goggles, probably for snow - but very old, probably around WW I)

I blogged it, with photos, on:


Two weeks in a Paris apartment - in the Rue Oberkampf area, which is where Parisians go to party. Heaps of good cheap restaurants, delis, patisseries, everything!

Worldshaker reading, Richard talking about steampunk: 2 videos

I've just put up a new video clip of me talking about steampunk, to go with a video recording of a reading from the opening chapter of Worldshaker. Both recorded at Bialik College in Melbourne.

Apparatus for the Repatriation of Tears

I just have to put this on show- a tear collector! I'm being interviewed at Wollongong Art Gallery in relation to an exhibition - which is very very steampunky (even if the artist, Anita Larkin, doesn't know it!) So here's my favourite work in the exhibition, called "Apparatus for the Repatriation of Tears". At the top, you can see the leather strap that fits around the head of the subject, then, in metal, the two eyeholes and the collecting channel below ... leading to the distillation cylinders and the purification valves and finally the taps for discharging purest essense of tears!Actually I made all the last stuff up - but don't you just love the artist's image and the idea?

If you want to check out more of Anita's works, go to www.anitalarkin.com. She's represented by the Defiance Gallery, whose website is at www. defiancegallery.com.


Paris in November!

My French publisher, Hélium, will be flying me over to Paris for the Montreuil Book Fair plus some book signings! Yippee! An apartment in Paris for a fortnight, and Aileen coming with me. Whoever said that writing's a tough life? (OK, I did, but I can take a lot of this sort of toughness!)

I fly out on November 23rd; then there's a meeting with readers at the Salon de Montreuil, signingc days on 3rd, 4th and 5th December, an a meeting with the Cercle de lecture de la médiathèque de Montreuil, who have been great supporters of Worldshaker and Liberator.

And that's just for starters! Can't wait!


Ghosts by Gaslight anthology now out, containing "Bad Thoughts and the Mechanism"

The supernatural/Victoriana anthology, Ghosts by Gaslight, ed. Jack Dann and Nick Gevers, came out this month from Harper Voyager. It contains stories by authors like Gene Wolfe, Robert Silverberg, Peter S. Beagle, James Morrow, Jeffrey Ford, Lucius Shepard, Margo Lanagan - and my own story "Bad Thoughts and the Mechanism". Phew! I'm in such amazing company, it's almost scary!

The cover is really cool ....


Paperback Worldshaker now released

The release date for the paperback version of Worldshaker came out on 7th June! Whoohoo!! The cover is very clever, though I can't show it - you have to check it out on an actual book. The porthole that Col is looking out through is covered with a clear plastic that looks like the real glass of a real porthole. Here's the image without the glass-effect -

For a super-size image, click here -

Price is $9.99

Another Sale for Liberator

'dtv', the German paperback publisher for Worldshaker (different to the hardback publisher) has now snapped up the paperback rights for Liberator too. They moved on it very fast this time!

On a French roll!

Whoo-eee! My French publisher at Hélium just accepted on my behalf the Tam-Tam Je Bouquine award for best novel, ages 10-15 - for Worldshaker. It's just about the biggest YA award in France, and specially nice because it's decided by a jury of young readers. I'll put their comments up on the review pages.

And no sooner did I hear about that than I heard that Worldshaker has picked up another French award--only I've just removed the name of it because I've been told it's still confidential.

I'm on a French roll! with mustard!


"The Fear" in Best Horror of the Year #3

Meanwhile, Ellen Datlow's anthology (cover image on the right) has appeared in the US: Best Horror of the Year #3. My story, "The Fear", is in it, and a reviewer had this to say:

Richard Harland’s “The Fear” also deserves special mention. This selection has the feeling of an old fashioned Victorian ghost story that manages to incorporate elements of horror fan culture and the documentarian aesthetic of films like Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity. As Harland builds toward the big reveal at the end, the story becomes increasingly chilling.

Nice! The full review is online at http://tinyurl.com/5rw9exn (The Monsters We Deserve: 'The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 3' from W. Scott Poole 8 June 2011)

Sequel meets a sawn-off shotgun!

It’s true – I was caught up in the middle of an armed hold-up! Yesterday I finished the US copyedit of Liberator, and went to a local post office to send it off. Keiraville post office, a tiny, quiet little place in a tiny, quiet shopping area. I went to the counter and was given the international form that has to be stuck on the front. and I’d just started filling it out. The only other people in the shop – it’s so small, it could hardly hold a dozen customers at once – were an old couple.

Then suddenly these two guys burst in, wearing hoodies, face masks and gloves, one of them toting a sawn-off double-barreled shotgun. About 20-25 years old, I’d guess from their voices, though the one who stood guard over me and the old couple hardly spoke. The one with the shotgun jumped up on the counter, shouting like a character in a gangster movie – threatening, cursing and trying to sound as violent as possible.

The ugliest moment was when shotgun guy accused the post office guy of pressing the alarm button – which he had. The elderly lady was breathing and gasping and shaking, on the verge of a panic attack. I put my arm round her and said we’d be OK. It turned out she had a heart condition – luckily she had an inhaler spray with her that she used the moment they were gone.

They made the post office guy open the till, and shotgun jumped down and scooped up what was there. Then back on the counter, ordering the post office guy, but not us customers, to get down on the ground. There was something more they wanted, maybe access to a safe, but they decided not to hang around any longer. The post office guy told the cops afterwards that they’d got away with $1000-2000.

Anyway, they rushed out and took off in an off-white car that had been parked in the drive next to the post office. We got the number plate, for what that’ll be worth. The post office guy rang the cops who turned up pretty smartly, viewd the CCTV footage and took down our details.

Funny thing was, it didn’t seem particularly scary at the time – maybe because the shotgun was almost always trained on the post office guy, with just a flourish or two towards us. And the elderly lady did enough panicking for us all – I was more worried about her state than anything.

And now the key question you must be wondering – did they get away with the copyedited MS of LIBERATOR? No, they didn’t even realise the treasure right under their noses! They just rushed out with the money – and I had to go to a different post office to send off my parcel.

I never imagined it was such a dangerous life, being an author!

Worldshaker goes the full Brazilian

Another contract for Worldshaker - it's now being translated into Portuguese and coming out in Brazil. The German translation of Worldshaker has now been onsold for paperback publication by dtv. Jacoby & Stuart brought out the hardback and now dtv will be bringing out the paperback.

Meanwhile, all the original publishers of Worldshaker have contracted for Liberator - a very good sign, my agent says.

Now all I have to do is complete the structural revisions on Liberator. Deadline is October 31st, and I'm going to squeak home just in time. It's like a matter of pride to me - I haven't been late for a deadline in my 13 years as a full-time writer, so I want to maintain my record!

Worldcon in Melbourne

For Worldcon 2010 reflections, check out News & Blog

Richard and Aileen at Worldcon (the Nightmare Ball)

Full steam ahead on Liberator

Structural edits received from US, UK and Australia - I'm doing them all at once. So now it's full steam ahead on Liberator, the second half of the duology with Worldshaker. This is one amazing sequel. I've had two trilogies published before in Australia, but this is the first ever time I truly believe the second book matches the first. Worldshaker has the plus of creating the world, but Liberator is a bigger story. Everyone said Worldshaker was a hard book to put down, but responses from editors and sample readers are telling me Liberator is almost impossible to put down!

And it's going to be getting better, because I've just started work on the revisions, and I can feel the improvement coming through! Very exciting! It'll take me a couple of months, because I always revise through from first page to last, a total rewrite. It'll be coming out in the first half of next year.

(Update 10.5.11 - I've just inserted a sneak preview of the Liberator hardback cover. Same porthole effect, with plastic like real glass.

US edition of Worldshaker in bookstores now!

Yes, it's now out, the Simon & Schuster edition of Worldshaker. Ditto the UK edition (there's a separate website for it at www.worldshaker.co.uk.) And the German edition follows by the end of this month. It's all happening!

Here's the hardback cover on the right -------

Tours Over!

Two weeks touring Worldshaker in the US, two weeks touring Worldshaker in the UK, time spent meeting publishers in France, UK and US - and now I'm back in Australia feeling very satisfied. The tours exceeded expectations … all my publishers are great people … and the final week of holiday with Aileen in Paris, Bruges and Amsterdam was a bask in the sunshine. All wonderful!

The only hard part is that now I have to get back into a writing routine. I'm so far out of it! I'll be glad when the structural edit suggestions on Liberator come in - that'll be a nice easy step for getting back in the mood. I guess the touring author lifestyle was a bit overwhelming for this simple provincial lad!

I kept up a blog on Wordpress while I was overseas, at www.richardharland.wordpress.com. Now I'm back. I've posted it up on the News & Blog page of this website


I've just put up the latest info in the News column of the NEWS & BLOG page. I'll keep up the blog coumn until I fly off (so soon now, Saturday May 22nd!), but then I'll do all blogging on http://richardharland.wordpress.com


I've just put up another vision of the juggernaut 'Worldshaker' by artist Laurent Linn. Exterior view and interior cutaway - check it out here!

Tips on Writing Steampunk -

I just put them up! They're in the Blog part of the NEWS & BLOG page.

For the history and world of the novel, for the construction and diagrams of the juggernaut, for author readings and extracts from the novel - it's all there and more behind the WORLDSHAKER button.

And since it's a steampunk fantasy, there's info about steampunk as a genre of fiction/movies and as a fashion style under the STEAMPUNK button.

The AUTHOR button is about me - life story, awards, novels and short stories published. And as you can see from these piccies, I'm now dressing steampunk as well as writing it.

Ah, the WRITING TIPS button - this is the one I want to explain! It's a free guide to writing fantasy and SF - everything you need to know, from building suspense to point of view, from creating characters to developing action, from dialogue to setting, from climaxes to revision - and not forgetting the business of getting published (how to do it, how the system works, how to self-promote, etc.)




contact author Richard Harland: richard@richardharland.net phone Richard's Facebook page


Copyright note: all written material on this website is copyright
1997 - 2015 Richard Harland.