It was a grand night Wednesday at the KGB Bar science fiction reading series. The chief draw was Jeffrey Ford, who read two excerpts from his new novel, Ahab's Return: or, The Last Voyage to great acclaim. The premise -- that Captain Ahab survived the wreck of the Pequod and is now searching for his lost wife and child in New York City -- is exactly the kind of thing I never read. But, having heard Jeff read from it, I've resolved to buy the book in hardcover.
This is, incidentally, another good reason to attend readings. Aside from the fun of it, I mean. Learning about books you didn't know you wanted.
That's Jeff up top, reading.
And this next picture (photo credit: Marianne Porter) is of me. I also read two pieces. The first was "Ghost Ships," a short story that is radically different from anything I've written before. It got a very good reception, which I don't mind admitting was heartening.
I also read a slightly-condensed version of the ending of "The City of Men," the novella that Gardner Dozois and I were working on when he died. This is a sequel or continuation of "The City of God," published in 1995 in Omni Online and subsequently reprinted in Asimov's Science Fiction. The first novella was extremely dark and so, too, is the second -- until you come to the ending, which is unabashedly happy. Gardner had talked about that ending for decades and he almost got to write it. But at least it got written in the end, even if not by him. Making the novella a fitting memorial to the man.
Then, because Gardner had always admired Robert Silverberg's innovation when John Brunner died, I asked if the crowd could honor Gardner with, not a moment of silence but a moment of applause.
The crowd did so. The applause seemed to go on forever. It's possible it's still going on now, even as you read these words.
Oh, and I should probably mention that the crowds that the KGB readings draw are made up of the cream of the New York science fiction scene: writers, editors, SF professionals and the like. All by themselves, they're reason enough for NYC residents who love science fiction to show up.
Up above: My rather blurry photo of the rather fine writer Richard Bowes, drinking a glass of uisce solais.