Tuesday, March 22, 2011

From the issue 4 cutting room floor: NC Speculative Fiction Night article by Alex Granados

(Sam's note: Issue 4 grew from 64 to 68 pages, and still I couldn't get everything in. Some things moved onto the upcoming issue 5, but some things were of a more time-sensitive nature and were left, more or less, on the cutting room floor. Here's one, an article on the November 11, 2010 "NC Speculative Fiction Night", by Alex Granados.)

A Speculative Fiction Night Out
by Alex Granados

Photo by Libby Himberger, LKH Photography
A standing-room only crowd of fiction fans came out to the New Hope Barnes & Noble Booksellers on November 11 to hear from local speculative fiction writers, editors, and game designers.

Everyone from Bull Spec’s own poetry editor Dan Campbell, to horror writer and game designer Richard Dansky was in attendance at the event dubbed “N.C. Speculative Fiction Night”. Participants qualified their presence by describing dragon-themed novels, romanticized tales of the walking dead, and more. Davey Beauchamp, contributor to the collection of short stories Rum and Runestones, summed up the mission of speculative fiction writing for the audience.

“We have worlds to explore,” he said. “We don’t stay within the confines of the real world.”

And that was in evidence as the writers introduced themselves and some of their work.

There was Kij Johnson, a Nebula Award Winner and Hugo finalist; Mur Lafferty, the podcast professional in charge of the Escape Pod podcast magazine; and conference organizer Jaym Gates, editor of Rigor Amortis which can be summed up in four words: horror, erotica, zombies, and romance.

“There was actually a brief period of time where we were outselling a couple of Stephen King novels,” she said of Rigor Amortis.

Hillsborough’s James Maxey, author of the Dragon Age Trilogy was there as well. He talked a little about himself, his work and even touched upon science fiction in the context of the 70s and 80s.

“I think then science fiction was very much the province of outright nerds,” he said. “And I grew up as a nerd.”

He went on to talk about how Harry Potter and superhero movies have really moved the “geek/nerd” culture into the mainstream. But despite its increasing popularity, Maxey pointed out that speculative fiction writing isn’t a game for people looking to make it big.

“If people truly understood the economics of writing, nobody would be doing it anyway,” he said.

The panelists talked about their personal journeys towards science fiction and answered questions from the audience during the event. Everything from the prominence of digital fiction to the relationship between gaming and speculative fiction was touched upon. After it was all over, the crowd surged to the front to meet the panelists, buy their books, and get signed copies.

This event is the first in what is supposed to be a quarterly event. The next will be hosted by Bull Spec at 7 p.m. on January 12 at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. Bull Spec’s Samuel Montgomery-Blinn said that events like this highlight all the talent present in the area.

“The Triangle is a fantastic place to be a part of speculative fiction, whether you’re a reader, a writer, a critic, an editor, an artist, or all of the above,” he said. “Bringing this community together to recognize the wealth of authors here is one of the big reasons I started Bull Spec, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see it happening.”

(Related: Additional photos of the event were posted by photographer Libby Himberger of LKH Photography.)

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