International author and Tuross Head resident Gary Keady at his book launch in London
It’s not everyday you get to launch a book, let alone in London, but that’s what author Gary Keady achieved in March. Hundreds of science fiction fans attended the March launch of the much-anticipated book of the 1988 Australian science fiction movie SONS OF STEEL. The line snaked around Pall Mall up to the front door of the prestigious London Institute of Directors where the launch event was held. Fans were keen to buy a copy autographed by the author G. L (Gary) Keady who also wrote the screenplay and directed the 1988 cult classic feature film. A resident of Tuross Head, Keady when interviewed said he had brought the story in the novel into the 21 Century and expanded it with much more than the budget had allowed him to shoot in the film. Aimed at young demographic the story concerns Black Alice, a tough as nails Aussie heavy metal singer who becomes a reluctant time traveller when the government of a dystopian Australia, believing him to be a dissident, dupes him into having a hologram made of him.Once reduced to zeros and one’s, he is trapped in a holographic prison forever. However,following a holocaust that all but destroys mankind, Black Alice is accidentally released from his hologram prison into a barbaric Australia of the 22 nd Century.There, he has to fight for survival against barbarians and genetically mutated monsters. He discovers a nuclear accident had all but destroyed the world as knew it and seeks the means to return to his own time to prevent the accident from happening. Sons of Steel Book 1 is the first in the series published by Filament Publishing UK.G. L. (Gary) Keady has the next four books in the series already written and a comic bookseries is also in production art directed by his son Brandon Evan-Keady in the UK.
In front of an audience of friends, sci-fi fans and the media, Gary launched the book in the prestigious Institute of Directors in London’s Pall Mall – a venue used as a film location for the Batman movie The Dark Knight and also for a James Bond.
Above: Chris Day Filament Publishing and Gary Keady at the London book launch
Gary was interviewed on stage by Chris Day of Filament Publishing who asked him why it has taken so long for the book to come out, when the film of Sons of Steel, was first released in 1988. Gary replied “A mate of mine Rob Robinson, who was the art director on the film, said to me a couple of years ago, ‘Why don't you tell the story you couldn't put on the Sons of Steel film? Because I know it's there.’ "In fact there was a lot we wanted to shoot in the film but couldn’t because we were on such a low budget – in fact we shot it for less than the catering budget on an average American film. There was so much of the story we couldn’t shoot, so I ended up sitting down 30 years later and writing the full story, which is a lot more serious than the film. "The film was very 80s and a little slapstick, whereas the book is up to date and legitimate science fiction. And now I've written five of them and anthology. I have always been inspired by science fiction, films like the original The Time Machine with Aussie actor Rod Taylor and then later Blade Runner, anything Ridley Scott every touched, brilliant. All of the Star Trek movies and now the new Discovery series have inspired me.”
A big element of Sons of steel has to be the music. Where did all that come from?
“It all started when I was a pupil at Sydney Grammar School where I formed a band as distraction to the tedium of academia, called The Banshees. We were pretty good at screaming songs but we never gigged we just rehearsed a lot, ha!” "In reality, by rehearsing, we were trying to learn how to play and in doing so caused a lot of noise pollution problems in the neighbourhood. But all that kindled something within in me to compose songs, so post education, I began writing songs. I was always writing poetry, stories, song lyrics and stuff. So from composing, it grew until I became a professional composer and ventured, as all Aussie did in those days, to the UK in 1977 to be an in-house writer and record producer with Chappell Music in New Bond Street."
"Years later after returning to Australia, in 1983 I produced a heavy metal band from Perth, Western Australia called Black Alice and secured a release for their album Endangered Species in the UK. It went to number 16 on the heavy metal charts, and then it sold all over in Europe to become a cult success. On reviewing it Kerrang Magazine UK wrote, ‘this is the best band to come out of Australia since AC/DC’, which was quite a rap – and then you wouldn’t believe it … the band split up.
"Actually, they split up as soon as I got the deal, which was a real bummer. I'm in the UK knocking the skin off my knuckles on the doors of record labels trying to get a deal, and by the time I got it done, the band was no longer. So I took the nucleus of the band, the lead singer and the guitar player, and in 1985 wrote directed and produced a cinema short film called Nightmare, which starred the lead singer of Black Alice, Rob Hartley. I then toured the short around the world screening it at film festivals in an effort to find investors to produce the feature version of it. That succeeded and in 1987 I wrote and directed the Australian science fiction hard rock musical Sons of Steel.
"The film had a supporting record album. So those two albums by the same band Black Alice, minus two of the players, with two replacement players, was released as a double vinyl album by PureSteel Records in Germany only last month.
"In addition in 2016 a film distribution company in the USA Phantom Films contracted the 1988 movie Sons of Steel to tour the North American cult/campus cinema circuit. Though the film had been released in 32 countries in the late 80s after it had premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, it had never been released in the USA or the UK. So after 30 years it will tour America and then be released on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time and as a subsequence find a new audience as well as it old fans.
Gary added "With the albums being released and the film’s imminent release I decided it was time to introduce the world to the real story of Sons of Steel. So now we have the first book in the science fiction anthology Sons of Steel book 1 and soon the release of the comic series that my son Brandon is producing.
"All this was managed over the last twelve years from the comfort of my home at beautiful Tuross Head." To obtain a copy of Sons of Steel or to learn more of the film, soundtrack and news visit http://www.sonsofsteel.rocks/