First, some pictures, then some words:
Elaine Isaak and me
Last weekend I went to Readercon near Boston. I went there with Joy Marchand and she's already posted her report of the con on her blog, complete with photos, so be sure to check out her report here. I'm in some of the photos, and so are many Codexians.
On the side of this page, you'll see a link on the Bitterwood blog that says "Bitterwood Live!" This is an MP3 of my reading from Bitterwood at Readercon. I'm pretty happy with the reading... not too many stutters, and the sound quality isn't bad at all. It's short, only about 6 minutes. I find I get better audience response at readings if I read from multiple short items rather than trying to slog through one long one. I'm still debating whether or not to post my reading of Cherry Red Rocket Ship from the con. It was a good reading, and the audience is laughing at most of the places I want them to be laughing. Alas, the story is unpublished, and I don't want to risk it's future publishability by making the recording available before it sees print. On the other hand, it's short, so selling it isn't going to translate into a great big pile of cash. (Not that long short stories translate into great big piles of cash either.) So, maybe I will post it. If anyone wants to hear it, respond to this post. If even two or three people want it, I'll put it up. If no one's interested, I'll keep it to myself.
The best part of the con, of course, was getting to meet friends and fellow authors. I got to hang out with Jeremy Cavin and Sunshine Ison, old friends of mine from when I lived in Greensboro. A link to Mr. Cavin's blog may be found on the side of this page.
I also got to meet Nick Mamatas, author of the brilliant new novel Under My Roof. Joy bought a copy and I got to read a bit of it and look forward to getting my hands on my own copy. It's the story of a family that builds a nuclear bomb, hides it in a lawn gnome on their front yard, then declares independence from the US. It's only a matter of time before this is a major motion picture.
Joy's blog shows a lot of my fellow codexians at dinner, but one who couldn't make it to the dinner (because she was, like, 11 months pregnant or something) was Elaine Isaak. Elaine is also a fellow Odfellow. She's published two novels and we share space in Prime Codex.
Also at the con was Jeffrey Thomas, who's blog is on the links on the sidebar, and who is author of the critically acclaimed SF novel Deadstock. I started reading it on my plane ride home and it's terrific. The prologue is a bit of a slow start, but once the protagonist hits the page in the first chapter the book really catches fire. The dialogue is sharp and subtle. What really makes this book stand out so far, though, is the way Jeffrey will introduce fantastic SF gadgets, then show instantly how humans will warp and subvert these gadgets. For instance, there's something called ouiji phones. Scientistic researching other dimensions have found a link to the land of ghosts, and have built a technology to allow you to call there and speak to the dead. But the device isn't used to hold reassuring chats with lost loved ones. Instead, the device is popular among teenage school girls who like to get tormented souls on the line and then tease and taunt them about their deadness. Equally horrifying are the dolls the girls carry as status symbols. They are bioengineered creatures bred to be cute and helpless, with only stubs from arms, tiny mouths, big eyes, and feeble minds. The horror element in this book doesn't come from the ghosts and monsters, but from what human children do to ghosts and monsters. Highly recommended.
Finally, over on the Solaris Blog you'll find a photo of me with Solaris editors Christian Dunn and George Mann.