The Frugal Media/Space Squid “Night of Optimistic SF” was a hit and I hope they do more. Readers included Matthew Bey, Fred Stanton, who read from his hilarious story “The Secret History of X” which combines the Lovecraftian Mythos with the eldritch horror that is Olivia Newton-John, as it only should be. Unfortunately, I walked in on the very last sentence of his tale. Fortunately, I’ve heard him read it before and if you ever get a chance, you should try to also.
Other writers included Jessica Reisman, who read from her novel The Z Radiant, which, as Jessica put it, takes place in a far future that is inherently optimistic because it implies humans will be here thousands of years hence.
Stina Leicht read from her (unnamed?) novel about the Troubles in Northern Ireland. She said it’s almost complete. The bits that I have heard are well-written so I have a good feeling that this one will find a home.
Camille Alexa, a writer I just met last night, read from a story that is coming out in Fantasy in the spring. It was very sweet, had a “Brave Little Toaster” vibe, and to me was a nicely written story on the idea that our objects own us for their own purposes. It could have been horror — it could have been soppy and sentimental — but it was engaging and honest.
Other writers included Paige Roberts, who writes erotica and who can plot on the fly like nobody’s business, Lawrence Person, who inflicted a drive-by reading (seriously, he walked up, read one page, and left) about Morlocks and Texas chili cookoffs, and Wendy Wheeler finished up with a new piece for the interstitial anthology that is being read for now. It’s nice to hear a Wendy story and it had her signature weirdness as well as a good understanding of family dynamics. Wendy is the long-time leader of the eminent Slug Tribe Writer’s Group, and sometimes I think she doesn’t get to write as much as she should.
I read from “Bagged Lunch,” which came out in Weird Tales last year, and it was fun. People laughed in the right places and although I hardly ever explicitly write optimistically, this one does end on an optimistic note. So it even matched the theme.
A very fun evening out and like I said, I hope to do it again. Also, go visit Frugal Media. Support your local bookstores!