October 21st, 2006

KGB Report

So a combination of being too busy and too lazy kept from me posting about this past Wednesday's KGB Speculative Reading until today.  This month's reading featured excerpt readings from six of the contributors to the anthology, Salon Fantastique, edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, and released by Thunder's Mouth Press.  Ellen kicked the fun off by reading an excerpt from the introduction.  After this, we had three readings, a break, and three more readings.  Author readers comprised Jed Berry, Greer Gilman, Rick Bowes, Delia Sherman, Catherynne Valente, and Jeff Ford.  There were a lot of great readings, but for me, the two standouts of the evening were Cat Valente's reading, and Jeff Ford's.  Cat's writing is so overflowing with lyrical smoothness that it practically comes off the page, like trying to fill a pint glass with a gallon's worth of ambrosia.  She really is a true talent, with a voice that will be heard for  years to come.  Her first book with one of the major publishers is being released this Halloween by Bantam Spectra.  It's called THE ORPHAN TALES, and anyone with a love of fantasy or fairy tales should check with this one out. Having read the opening tale in this one and having heard Cat read another tale from this book (her reading at KGB was something else) I can say with some authority that you'd be foolish to do otherwise.  So says the Slushmaster!

As to Jeff Ford's reading . . .man oh man.  He read from a piece called "Night Whiskey."  I must admit that I much prefer to read over being read to.  My attention can wonder easily.  But Jeff had the whole bar absolutely enthralled.  You could have heard a pin drop (minus the occasional stamping feet on the floor above us).  The idea behind the tale was extremely dark, although the parts he read were very funny.  I wasn't surprised to learn later via Ellen Datlow that later on the tale becomes very dark indeed.  I NEED to finish this story.  It was goddamn brilliant.

Overall this is an anthology you'd be wise to check out.  After the readings we retired to the usual restaurant for Chinese food.  Ellen made reservations this time, which was a new wrinkle, so of course this was the time that the readings ran late.  Still, they kept the tables, so everything worked out.  Good food and good laughs followed as usual, and I was honored that Jeff Ford remembered little old me because of my rap at New Paltz.  He even asked me if I was going to rap for everyone at dinner (NO!).  Gosh.

End of report.