Readercon 22 took place Thursday – Sunday, July 14 – July 17, 2011; Kakaner and I made it to the associated reading at Porter Square Books in Cambridge on Thursday night, and Friday and Saturday of the con proper. This was her first literary con, and my first con of any sort, so needless to say we spent a lot of time being really, really, really excited. I’ll try to keep the frothing to a dignified minimum in our reports, though.
Thursday night! A reading from the Ellen-Datlow-edited anthology of urban fantasy, Naked City, featuring a line-up of six authors that had K and I, as above, really etc. goddamn excited: Kit Reed, John Crowley, Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Kressel, Ellen Kushner, and Caitlín R. Kiernan. All images link to high-res versions.
L-to-r (seated): Ellen Kushner, John Crowley, Ellen Datlow, Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Kressel (blue shirt)
(Also, that’s Theodora Goss in the center of the audience there.)
Editorial powerhouse Ellen Datlow introduces the collection. She explained that she hopes to reintroduce readers to urban fantasy as it used to be understood – e.g. the works of Charles de Lint, the Bordertown series – and do some work towards reclaiming the term from paranormal romances and magical detectives. Re: The Jim-Butcheriffic cover and prominent billing of other writers of said PR and magical detectives – “If it sells more copies, do you think I care?” Cover still gives me decidedly mixed emotions (guilty, compartmentalizing Dresden fan right here), but if Ellen Datlow can deal with it, so can I. Also, the totally flipping awesome cover for Supernatural Noir, another recently released Datlow collection, almost makes up for it.
On to the author readings, and numerous more photos:
Kit Reed read from “Weston Walks,” in which a tour of New York goes astray in tunnels under Central Park.
Jeffrey Ford read from “Daddy Longlegs of the Evening,” in which there is a SPIDER BRAIN INFECTION. (I’m not sure why it seemed necessary to capitalize that, but it did – possibly because I can see it on a ’70’s horror movie poster.) Quote: “I know a place where there are fleas as big as poodles.”
Matthew Kressel read about invasive, entropic desert beings made of sand, and a particularly lonely specimen thereof, in “The Bricks of Gelecek.”
John Crowley read from “And Go Like This.” A man leads a mysterious, tidelike influx of people into New York; the 5-minute reading left us on the cusp of the tide’s withdrawal. I wrote down that Crowley has a great reading voice, “wiry and nimble.”
Speaking of Bordertown, Ellen Kushner took a moment to promote the series’ resurrection in the also-brandy-new anthology, Welcome to Bordertown, before launching into the first meeting of Swordspoint‘s Alec and Richard in the Damon-Runyon-influenced “The Duke of Riverside.” Also, effervescent hardly begins to cover Kushner’s personality.
Caitlin Kiernan’s reading voice can only be described as hypnotic. Also, great hand gestures (not captured here, alas). (And do I need to point out the excellence of the hat?) She read from “The Colliers’ Venus,” set in her fictional 19th-century Denver mining town, Cherry Creek. A museum, plesiosaurs, and discussions on the nature of monstrosity.
Kakaner and I walked away from the reading, and following signing, with very heavy book-shopping bags (damn you and your wide selection of sff anthologies and Small Beer Press books, Porter), and very giddy. The just-about-full moon outside and a 15-minute conversation with Ellen Kushner didn’t help.