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Posts Tagged ‘Steampunk’

Supanova steampunk documentary!

Posted by richardharland on June 6, 2012

It’s a week and a half to the Sydney Supanova – the special big bash, Supanova’s tenth anniversary celebration. Not only stars of film and TV (more than I can list – check ’em out at http://www.supanova.com.au/guests/) but also two RORees as author guests – Marianne de Pierres and yours truly, Richard Harland! (the overseas author is Christopher Paolini, of Eragon fame)

For me, the most exciting bit will be the filming of a steampunk documentary. Michael Pryor and I will be doing a panel on all-you-ever-wanted-to-know about Steampunk, and filming will take place during and after the panel. Come in steampunk togs if you have any – or come anyway.

Here’s the official invite, open to anyone attending Supanova on the day –

“Would you like to appear in a Steampunk TV documentary? Simply, attend Michael Pryor and Richard Harland’s panel over the weekend at Supanova in Sydney. Filming will take place during the panel as well as an opportunity to be interviewed straight after the panel. So come dressed in your best outfit and tell us why you love Steampunk! Tell your friends and family to come along and make this event one to remember!

Keep checking this page for confirmation of which day and room this event will be held.
http://www.facebook.com/events/336659733073113/

We look forward to seeing you there.”

For any further information, please contact Trevor Howis at info@vinceroproductions.com

http://www.supanova.com.au/activities/calling-steampunks/

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Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Launches, Fantasy Genre, Genre TV Shows, Movie/TV Adaptations, SF Books, Steampunk, Uncategorized, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Having a ball at Supanova!

Posted by richardharland on April 23, 2012

I had a ball at Supanova, signing Worldshakers and Liberators, and doing a joint presentation on steampunk with fellow Australian steampunk author Michael Pryor. I was a huge event – I didn’t hear final numbers, but on Saturday it was well on the way to being the biggest Supanova ever. Most of the guests were international, stars of TV and film, graphic novelists, all sorts of talents. It was exciting to sit in the Green Room chatting to them!

The authors were mostly Australian, except for Brendan Sanderson, the American author who’s finishing off Robert Howard’s Wheel of Time series. [Whoops – quick revision – I had a brainsnap there – I meant Robert Jordan!} Our very own Trent was there – also Keri Arthur, Kylie Chan and my fellow steampunk author, Michael Pryor. Michael and I did a talk on steampunk – very well attended and approved enthusiastically. Steampunk is definitely making waves!

I loved seeing so many steampunk costumes there! In fact, there were more the second day than the first – because people had been buying steampunk gear from the stalls around.

For some classy steampunk costuming, here are Angela, Cherie and Michael (not the author) – plus me, not quite so classy because my shirt is hanging out. A real Victorian-era gentleman would probably die of shame if seen with his shirt hanging out!

I’m wearing my aviator helmet and goggles in that pic, but I got to wear my new steampunk hat most of the time. It attracted a lot of attention, that hat! Here I am wearing it, with Michael Pryor who also dressed up in full steampunk regalia.

I haven’t got a pic of all the authors at the signing table – I was sure I had, but I haven’t. Nor of Trent at the event – perhaps you can post one up, Trent?

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Fantasy Genre, Genre TV Shows, Movie/TV Adaptations, Steampunk | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Au revoir, Paris!

Posted by richardharland on December 10, 2011

On our last full day in Paris we went to Versailles – completing Aileen’s wish list of things to do, and mine was already complete. We celebrated our last night in the apartment with a bottle of good French champagne and, er, pizzas. Well, we’re half class. It had to be something takeaway, and there’s a really good pizza place right next to the front door of our apartment block. The guy who makes the pizzas is from Bangladesh. Paris is certainly a multicultural world, though mostly African rather than Asian.

Actually, I tell a lie because that wasn’t our last full day, though it should’ve been. We spent the morning packing at leisure – including the bit we’d dreaded. The divan bed when folded out had a tilt on one side, so we made a bigger bed facing the other way by folding out a chair that also converted into a bed. But the way it converted – we couldn’t make sense of it when we tried to turn it back into a chair on our second day. We thought we’d never fix it. But in the end, on the last day, worked it out after about half an hour.

We had a final lunch, went to our local cafe for a final coffee, and said au revoir to our little apartment, au revoir to our local metro and supermarket. Here’s the wooden staircase going up to our apartment (OK, at the end of this write-up, I can’t make the image appear where I want) and our very-close-by metro station (ditto).

We took a taxi to the airport – and the first thing we saw when we looked at the Departures board was that our KLM flight to Amsterdam was ‘annule’ – cancelled! I went to the KLM counter, and they explained we’d already been booked onto an Air France flight going to Hong Kong, followed by a Qantas flight to Sydney. So we didn’t avoid Qantas in the end after all!

We had several hours to kill, because the new flight wasn’t due to depart till 11.40 p.m. And in fact we were still on the tarmac at midnight – hence our last full day. But it turned out better for us because we didn’t have the extra flight and airport stop at Amsterdam, and because our stop in Hong Kong iwas 2 hours instead of the 7 hours we’d have waited at Kuala Lumpur. So we ended up arriving in Sydney more than an hour earlier than the original flights.

We came back to a perfect Australian day – sun shining, blue sky, blue sea (on train journey back to Wollongong). I now know how lucky we were, because when we left Wollongong for Paris, it was the start of a downpour here, and it didn’t stop raining until we came back. Now Paris is suffering the absence-of-Aileen-and-Richard effect – the temperature has dropped and looks set to continue around 7 degrees for days. It’s happened like this other times too. We ought to hire out our weather-enhancing powers!

Meanwhile, here are a few more images from Montreuil, selected from all the ones Gilberte sent me, taken by the official photographer at the event.


Me in steampunk gear, signing.


Me and the lovely Bénédicte at the Hélium stall.


Gilberte standing between Aileen and me, Marie (who helped at the stall) to the left of me, some of the young readers from the Montreuil club at the front, and Valérie and Élodie (librarians and organizers of the club) on the far right.
Now the staircase and metro –

Posted in Authors and Public Speaking, Promoting your Book, Steampunk | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Weather-gods

Posted by richardharland on December 5, 2011

A little early morning blogging. Today’s the last day of the Salon de Montreuil, and I’ve got a couple of hours signing to do. Aileen’s already gone off to re-visit Rue Mouffetard, an open air market sort of street we fell in love with when we stayed close by last time in Paris. I think she plans to dawdle from patisserie to patisserie, cafe to cafe.

She’s taken her spoon with her for getting back into the flat. To open the door, you turn the key through two locks, then a little bit extra to draw back the latch – and that last bit is very stiff. Aileen’s long fingers can’t manage it on their own, so we re-discovered the lever principle – she inserts the handle of the spoon through the hole in the part of the key you grip, then presses down on the spoon to turn the key. A triumph of human ingenuity!

OK, many hours later … We’re just warming up after taking an afternoon stroll around Père Lachaise cemetery. It’s an enormous place, bigger than Rookwood in Sydney, and filled with countless ‘sepultures’, which I guess means sepulchres – like miniature houses. All different styles, medieval and Renaissance and classical, some huge and showy, others, well, like little stone sentry boxes. They have a door at the front, often with a metal grille so you can see inside. Sometimes the doors are open or have fallen in, like this sepulchre Aileen’s ghouling around in –


The sepulchres are all packed in close side by side, an enormous city of the dead.

We started out looking for famous names, the sepulchre of Heloise and Abelard, and Moliere and La Fontaine. But after that it got more and more difficult – although we bumbled around looking for Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and many more, the only other one we actually found was Balzac, the French novelist. Meanwhile, it was growing colder and colder! It was a mostly sunny, but usually also means a cold day – my raincoat and padded jerkin weren’t enough to keep me warm.

Earlier in the day was my last session of signing at the Hélium stall. I shall miss it. I signed quite a few copies after a slow start – but I was also the subject of a great many photos, in my aviator’s helmet and steampunk goggles. Then, saying goodbye to everyone at the end, well, it seemed very strange and a little sad to think that we wouldn’t all be meeting again the next day! But I think Sophie and Gilberte, Bénédicte and Hélène, Cécile and Elsa – I think they’ll all need a week to recover. I had the easy job!

Posted in Authors and Public Speaking, Promoting your Book, Steampunk | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Lazy morning, busy afternoon

Posted by richardharland on December 4, 2011

Lying in bed this morning – I don’t have to do signing until midday, then I get to meet with the Salon de Montreuil young readers. So I’ll do some blog now and finish off later.

We ate at a nearby estaminet last night. Did I mention we’re in a great area for restaurants, bars, nightclubs? (Thank God they didn’t have a party upstairs last night!) We’ve taken to enjoying as much French cuisine as we can. We went a bit cheaper one night, and learned our lesson – good cooking costs around 17€ for a main course dish ($25 Australian), and there are heaps of places for that. I guess haute cuisine would be on a different scale again. For wine, you can get pichets (mini-carafes) or quarter bottles – perfect for us, because I usually want red and Aileen wants white.

For lunch, if we’re chez nous, we have a baguette with prosciutto-style jambon cru (Whoo! See how I’m getting pretentiously French!), smelly French cheese, cherry tomatoes, duck (my only attempt to cook in the apartment – I was just amazed at being able to buy thick fillet of duck in the supermarket) – and for me at. He moment, this scrumptious 1999 Bordeaux red I found in a different supermarket for a mere $20. Ah, the good life!

I’ll have to be v careful with photos from now on. My camera battery is almost exhausted and I didn’t bring a charger. I suppose I could always email myself photos from my mobile, if my French SIMcard lets me. (Strange system, where you have to identify yourself with passport or proof of identity to keep using a SIM – but since you get 15 days before they cut you off, it’s no worry for us.)

Hah! Back from Montreuil, and I just discovered that I’ve been keeping my blog on Ripping Ozzie Reads (which I’m v happy to do, as long as I don’t overdo my column inches) – but I haven’t been publishing to THIS blog. Which is why, all of a sudden, the last four days have popped up all at once!

Today was great. First, two hours of signing … And the best bit about it was the number of people who were buying Le Worldshaker because someone else had recommended it to them. That’s the best! Here’s me signing at the Hélium stall (hmm, photo seems to come up later in the blog entry …


Then came the meeting with the Club de Montreuil – a group of young readers, voracious readers, who meet and argue over their favourite books – and I’m so happy to say Le Worldshaker was a favourite! I think of it almost like the French salons of previous centuries, when they judged books, recommended books, and generally influenced public opinion about books.

So, of course, it was wonderful to talk to such special readers. The librarians, Valérie and Élodie (hope I spelled that right) did a great job of helping me to understand the questions, and I answered in French. There were some v thoughtful questions! I finished off with a Mr Gibber/M. Gibbon reading and gave away all the posters I’d brought with me.

Here’s a photo taken with the club members afterwards. I’ve become really fond of my steampunk goggles! Because I’m doing this with an iPad app, I can’t publish a large-size image, but as soon as I get back to my laptop in Australia, I’ll put up a better photo.


Merci, club de Montreuil, c’était un grand plaisir de vous rencontrer!

Posted in Authors and Public Speaking, Promoting your Book, Steampunk | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Rain and fans …

Posted by richardharland on December 3, 2011

So sad – we can see the end of the Paris is it approaching, and we’re nowhere near ready to go!

Here’s me in my steampunk goggles, aspromised


I put them on now and then when doing signings this afternoon, and for interview photo afterwards.

Today we got rained on – not heavy bucketfuls of rain, Australia-style, but it lasted the whole morning, varying back and forth between drizzle and light shower. Aileen and I enjoyed the St Ouen flea market experience we went to another at Montreuil (not far from the Salon or Book Fair). Whereas Montreuil was more serious vintage and antiques oriented – and more expensive – Montreuil was mostly clothing, secondhand or cheap, a treasure trove of everything imaginable. We were selective only because we have to keep inside weight restrictions for the flight home. I bought apadded jerkin, Aileen ought an amazing skirt and a dozen other small items. Only problem was the rain – these were open-air stalls – plus the fact that my fold-up umbrella turned inside and then started coming loose from the prongs. It was only half an umbrella by the end.

So we headed back to our apartment. I was on for two hours signing at the end of the afternoon, then had an interview with Nathan, a big fan of the juggernaut books, and his brother and friend. I really feel as if I have ‘fans’ in France more than any other country – young readers who don’t just like the books, or love the books, but who get right behind them and influence others to read them. It’s a great feeling to have that special level of support!

Posted in Creativity, Steampunk | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Paris ooh-la-la!

Posted by richardharland on November 17, 2011

Five and a half days to go until we fly out to Paris, yay! My French publisher is flying me over for the big Montreuil Book Fair, plus some other talks and signings, and we get the use of an apartment in Paris for a fortnight. Of course, we had to pay Aileen’s flight ourselves, but she gets to gallivant around Paris with no duties to fulfill. (My publisher says that Aileen belongs in Paris!)
Here’s the team from Helium – a photo from when we had lunch on the Left Bank in 2010.

It’ll be cold, the start of their winter, but who cares when it’s Paris?! I’m nearly about to reach the two thirds point in the next steampunk novel – then I can put my iPad aside (I type up on my iPad!) and start serious preparations. I checked out the apartment on Google – I’m still not sure of the actual building in Rue St Maur, but this is the view onto the street from where we’ll be.

I’ll keep posting here on the ROR site every few days, and I’m very determined to post daily on my own blog at richardharland.wordpress.com

PS I’ll be taking Tansy’s MS with me to read on the iPad – the MS we’ll be critiquiing at the next ROR retreat. Good food, good wine, good reading!

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Creativity, Editors, Publishers, Steampunk | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

LIBERATOR – Giveaway Competition

Posted by richardharland on May 4, 2011

Hi!
Big surprise for me this morning – my author’s copies of the French edition of Liberator arrived in a huge parcel PLUS author’s copies of the German edition. I knew the French edition was neck-and-neck with the Australian, but I thought the German was a long way off. The UK edition won’t come out until July, and the US is due early in 2012.

Here’s a quick blurb on the book before we get to the competition —-
Liberator is the largest juggernaut in the world, 3 km long by 1 km wide, a vast mountain of metal rolling across land and sea. Unlike the Russian, French, Prussian and Austrian juggernauts, it has been freed by revolution, and the slave-class of Filthies are now in charge. They’ve even changed its name from Worldshaker to Liberator. But the other reactionary juggernauts see it as a threat to their world-domination, and, when Liberator calls in at the Botany Bay coaling-station, they converge to attack.

On board Liberator, fear and paranoia are building up day by day. Mysterious acts of sabotage and murder have turned the Filthies against the remaining members of the old ruling class, including Col Porpentine and his family and friends. Even Riff, the girl Filthy who seemed to care for Col, is now embarrassed to be seen with him. As extremism grows, a charismatic leader comes to the fore and a radical political coup launches a new kind of tyranny.

…… OK, that was actually my first attempt at a blurb, not the one that appears on the book.

Now for the COMPETITION! Since it’s a steampunk world, of course there have to be corsets in it.
(i) ONE FREE SIGNED COPY of LIBERATOR to the best entry on “My Favourite Corset” (no more than a couple of sentences/short pithy paragraph) You have to choose one out of the selection below and say why. The first three are male (men used to wear corsets, like Queen Victoria’s majordomo in Liberator) and the next three are female (and Lye, the charismatic leader in Liberator, has her own special reason for wearing a corset)

Enter by pasting in a comment. The corsets are
(A) MALE DASHING
(B) MALE CONSTRICTOR
(C) MALE BLACK
(D) FEMALE BLACK
(E) FEMALE: THE VIXEN
(F) FEMALE WITH RIBBONS

Go to it! Be inventive! Cross-dressing is allowed and encouraged (Queen Victoria wouldn’t mind). And when you’ve done with those images, there’s still ——
(ii) ANOTHER FREE GIVEAWAY COPY to anyone who comes up with the best description of “My Own Design of Corset, Much Superior than the Selection Above”.

Strap yourself in! Get waisted! Enter the competition by pasting in a comment.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Giveaway, Book Launches, Creativity, Editing and Revision, Fantasy Genre, Nourish the Writer, Promoting your Book, Steampunk, World Buildng, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

The Allure of Steampunk

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on July 19, 2010

Richard has has just come back from his UK and US tour to promote his YA steampunk book, Worldshaker. There is something very alluring about steampunk. It takes us back to an Antique Future.
For Richard’s definiton and discussion of steampunk see here.

Before I ever knew the term steampunk existed, I loved Sir Arthur Connan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books. There’s Dickens works which are still being made into movies. And my favourite would have to be the satirist Saki. I discovered him in my early twenties and loved his dry wit. My favourite story of his is ‘Sredni Vashtar’, a very dark tale indeed. And then there is ‘The Open Window’ which must be a classic of horror stories. Then there’s Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, Mark Twain and HG Wells, only none of these writers were deliberately writing steampunk.

For movies that are deliberately steampunk think Wild Wild West, Steamboy, The Prestige and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Those should give you enough visuals.

For a list of modern authors who could be termed steampunk see here. I would add Mervyn Peake, I think his Gormenghast trilogy is very steampunk in its setting and characters.

The steampunk subgenre has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Here is an article on ‘The Victoria Steam Exposition … a celebration of a growing subculture called steampunk — which unites Victorian era esthetics and futuristic inventions with modern literature and fashion.’

There is even a Steampunk Magazine. So if you are into steampunk and you can’t get enough of it, this is the place to go.

So what is it about steampunk that draws people in?

Is it the quaint machinery? See some examples here.
Is it the repressed sexuality of Victorian England, combined with those corsets and garters? See some of the costumes here and here.
Is it because readers are tired of dystopic futures and want something whimsical and fun?
Are readers tired of epic fantasies set in medieval-lite worlds?

We can look back on the Victorian era, conveniently forgetting the oppression and injustices. Enough time has passed for the fusty old Aunts, who never married because they couldn’t marry below their station, to die off. We can look back and enjoy a time when science was brave and exciting and the world looked like it was going to get better every year. When the world still contained mysteries and wonders. And a tennis player could be so incensed by the lack of skill at the Olympics that he could jump the net, pick a racquet and win a gold medal.

I realised some of my stories have a steampunk feel before I even knew the genre existed. I had a story in Machinations (published by CSFG) about a Sherlock Holmes type character and his assistant and a quaint but instricate machine.

And I’m finishing up with a delightful image, the steampunk Dalek!

Now, has the steampunk genre snuck up on you like it did for me?

Posted in Creativity, Genre Writing, Steampunk, World Buildng, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »