Houston, we have lift off!

We launched Song of the Slums at the Conflux National SF and Fantasy convention in Canberra on Saturday 27th April. The book doesn’t officially hit the bookshops till May 1st, so it was an advance launch by a couple of days.

Terry on the left, Rob on the right, me in the background

Terry on the left, Rob on the right, me in the background


Here’s Rob Hood introducing Terry Dowling, both highly respected in the Australian/SF community. Terry was probably the first major figure in Australian SF/fantasy – that is, the current wave of Australian SF/fantasy that’s been growing and growing over a couple of decades now – and his short stories were the first to win international respect and lead the charge into the US.

For me, Terry was a special person to do the launch because, way back before I overcame writer’s block and before Terry’s first book was published, the two of us, plus guitarist Chris, used to play music together at venues around Sydney – and I was drawing on memories of those times in creating the experiences of the Rowdies band in Song of the Slums. Of course, the Rowdies invent rock ‘n roll in 1846 and take the world by storm – we were never that successful! Still, we had our moments.

So Terry re-lived some of those memories in launching the book. Then we did a reading, where Terry took on the voice of one of the ex-soldiers and Aileen came in for two lines spoken by Astor. Here we all are –

Terry on left, me in my steampunk hat, Aileen ready for her lines

Terry on left, me in my steampunk hat, Aileen ready for her lines


Terry declared the book launched, and we sold a heap of copies. As someone said, all you need as a selling point is the key line – what if rock ‘n roll had been invented a hundred years before Elvis Presley, way back in 1846?

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