I arrived back late last night from my trip to New York for the Fantastic Fiction Reading Series at the KGB Bar. Co-organizer Ellen Datlow was kind enough to post photos of the event on her Flickr account.
The reading, I felt, went fabulous. At 40 people, the reading audience was both the largest and most attentive I’ve ever been in front of. I read my story “Mathralon,” which, as I told the audience, is the first science fiction short story I’ve finished since around 1991. Despite the fact that the story had no plot, no characters, and (almost) no dialog, it seemed to get a very good reaction from the crowd. A few laughs, a few smiles, a few people rushing up after I finished to discuss it. The 35 signed copies of “Mathralon” I brought disappeared in short order. I would post the story here, but I’m hoping to give it one more quick polish and then submit it for publication.
Carol Emshwiller, the main attraction of the night, was most fabulous as well. She read a surreal and somewhat tender story called “God Clown” which had the audience alternately laughing, smiling, and just staring around misty-eyed in appreciation. She was even nice enough to repeatedly lie to me by saying I was a tough act to follow.
Among the folks in the audience that I got to schmooze with were John Joseph Adams, assistant editor at Fantasy & Science Fiction, which would be a great venue for “Mathralon” (and have I mentioned what a dashing, handsome, intelligent fellow John is?); Douglas Cohen, who holds the same title at Realms of Fantasy; Jenny Rappaport, literary agent extraordinaire; Josh Vogt, an up-and-coming SF writer, frequent commenter on this blog, and as I discovered, very nice guy; Eugene Myers, another SF writer and Clarion graduate who put my name in front of Ellen Datlow for this reading in the first place; and Victor Klymenko, who helpfully pointed out some science flubs in “Mathralon” that I wasn’t aware of.
At dinner afterwards, my wife and I got to sit at the “grown-ups” table next to organizers Ellen Datlow and Gavin Grant. Other denizens of said table included Robert Legault, Gordon Linzner, Chris Fisher, Tempest Bradford, and Rick Bowes. Sighted at the other table were Liz Gorinsky and a nice, gregarious woman who I just knew I recognized and only just now looking at the Flickr feed do I realize was Kelly Link. My fellow DeepGenre blogger Constance Ash said she was going to show up, but she couldn’t make it, for which I will never, ever, ever forgive her until — okay, she’s forgiven.
I’m told that next month, KGB is hosting novelist Jon Armstrong, whose debut novel Grey I read on the train. It was a light, enjoyable read, and trippier than anything you’ve ever written. (Okay, not you, Jeff VanderMeer, or you, China Mieville. But trippy nonetheless.)