I wish I could report my own reading was a smashing success, but alas, I cannot. My deepest gratitude goes to Karen Wester Newton for being the lone soul at my reading.
Not counting my own, I went to fifteen readings, most of which were quite good. On Friday, I went to hear Lois McMaster Bujold, Carol Emshwiller, Matthew Jarpe, Nick DiChario, M. Rickert, and Hal Duncan. The best were Matthew Jarpe’s reading from a work in progress, Machine Intelligence, M. Rickert reading a political fable about abortion reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (I can’t find the title in my notes, but it is forthcoming in F & SF, and Hal Duncan reading from Ink and from a new sonnet sequence. Al is a terrific reader, and I love his poetry especially.
Saturday I heard John Grant read the text from an illustrated children’s book in verse, “The Dinosaur Who Came For Christmas” (a work in progress); Laird Barron reading a nifty story â€œThe Lagerstatteâ€� forthcoming in The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy Jan. 2008; Patrick O’Leary reading one of my favorite pieces of the weekend, “That Laugh,” forthcoming in We Think Therefore We Are, an AI anthology; Scott Edelman reading the absolutely delightful “Almost the Last Story by Almost the Last Man,” which will be in Postscripts #12; Jeffrey Ford (that guy again) reading “Drowned Town,” which will be in Eclipse, a new anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan. This was a typically wonderful Ford story, but he left us all hungry for the ending, since he ran out of time.
Sunday I heard David Louis Edelman reading an adventurous excerpt from Multireal; Nancy Kress reading “The Kindness of Strangers,” a beautifully written sf fable about overpopulation forthcoming in Fast Forward 2; Paul Witcover reading from a work in progress about clockmakers (the Latin title of which I won’t mangle here); and finally the treat of the weekend, John Crowley reading from a novel in progress I believe he said is titled Four Freedoms. It was funny, charming, sexy as all get out. I can’t wait to read the finished novel.
If I’ve mangled a title or committed an error of omission, my sincere apologies to the authors. And thanks to them all for keeping me amused, entertained, and enlightened. I didn’t go to a single panel and can’t say I missed them.
The mass autograph session was more fun than I would have anticipated. Several copies of my older novels showed up to be signed, especially Wilderness. And I was particularly pleased to sign a Time and Time Again for a reader who actually loved it. If only there’d been more of her…
The highlight of the awards banquet was Jeff Ford’s win for “Botch Town” in the novella category. He richly deserved it against strong competition. The tasteless, rubbery roast beef at the banquet, however, was easily the low point. Did they boil it or what?