Friday, June 24, 2011


Many stories reach a satisfactory conclusion. The hero overcomes the odds and defeats the villain. Cinderella is found by her Prince Charming and rescued from a life of drudgery: and they all live happily ever after.

At least that is the impression given by a neat and satisfying conclusion.

Richard Harland’s Worldshaker would fit into that "satisfying conclusion" category, but the follow-up novel, Liberator shows us what happens AFTER the initial euphoria of a “happy” ending. It shows that such endings are only temporary and one problem solved will merely lead to another.

Liberator begins not long after the concluding events of the earlier novel and things have deteriorated very quickly. The Leviathan WorldShaker has been renamed Liberator to reflect the freedom gained by the lower class “Filthies” – but that freedom could now have severe consequences for the “swanks” who choose to stay on after the Liberation, even those who played a significant part in overturning the former oppressive, elitist regime.
It soon comes clear that elitism and oppression are not the exclusive traits of those born into privilege.

This book was just as enjoyable as the first in the series. Again I was compelled to read it at every opportunity I could make. Both are very near to the top of my favourites of recent years.

I liked Worldshaker enough to buy a second copy – the American Hardcover edition. I’ll be doing the same when Liberator is also (hopefully) released in Hardcover.*

Another installment please Richard?


*With both books, written by an Australian author and published by an Australian company, I bought the locally available product first. I prefer to support local writing and publishing when possible.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Liberator by Richard Harland

Richard Harland, author of Worldshaker , has just notified me that its sequel, Liberator is now on the book shelves.

Worldshaker is definitely one of the best books I’ve read since I started this blog. I am very keen to read the next one.

I'll be ordering my copy as soon as I've posted this.

More information here at the publisher's website:

Liberator by Richard Harland

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bye Bye Borders

I read today that Borders will closing their remaining Australian stores.

I remember feeling overwhelmed when I walked into Borders at the Macquarie Centre, North Ryde soon after it opened. So many books. So much variety.

They also had an extensive music collection with a large number of listening posts where I could sample new music. Gloria and I spent a lot of time there in its first months.

In recent years we've only been able to visit their store in the Canberra Centre, but we rarely bothered. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we found too many books were over-priced. Why should a huge company like Borders charge more than the publishers RRP for their books when smaller stores were even giving discounts on the very same books?

Sadly people will be losing their jobs and for a while shopping centres will have a lot of empty floor space to fill with new tenants. But on the whole Borders will not be missed by my household.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Hand That Signed the Paper: and literary awards.

Today is apparently the anniversary of The Hand that Signed the Paper winning the Miles Franklin award. Previously it had won the Australian/Vogel Literary Award. These are two of Australia’s most prestigious writing awards.

However, a few years later it was revealed that the author Helen Demidenko was not from the Ukrainian background she had claimed. Instead she came from a British family and her real name was Darville.

There was uproar in the literary world resulting in the once lauded book now being panned and labelled a hoax.

I found this turn around to be a symptom of snobbish hypocrisy. Does the author’s life and background have any bearing on the literary quality of a book? Even if the author lied about her identity – does it make the book itself and the quality of the writing any less award-worthy?

Surely the book should have been given the awards solely on the quality of the book itself and NOT be conditional upon the character and identity of its author. If the book wasn’t considered worthy afterwards, it should never have been considered worthy before Demidenko/Darville’s true identity was discovered.

Maybe this case gives a glimpse into the world of award giving – that awards given (supposedly) for the merit of a work, are very much influenced by “celebrity”, that the IMAGE and personality of the author has as much influence over awards as the quality of their work.

If they ARE being swayed by such influences we have reason to question the integrity of these kinds of awards.

Or maybe, just maybe the book DID have merit and the storm afterwards was an attempt to save face, being embarrassed over swallowing the author's OTHER fiction regarding her own identity. No one like to be exposed as one of those suckers born every minute.