I had a good time last night at KGB bar attending the Fantastic Fiction reading, as I mentioned one blog entry ago. The bar is only open for special events, and is not a straight-up walk-in type of establishment, which I did not previously know. It's really nothing but a converted flat in a modest 4th street walk-up in the Village, with a decently stocked full bar on one side of the room, and chairs and tables on the other side. The podium for speakers is situated between the windows and the bar in one corner, very cozy and intimate.
It was great seeing some industry "insiders" in attendance, but even better seeing my online crit-group buddies. Now that I've been there, I can see it would have been a HUGE mistake to have gone on my own. Without them to keep me company, I would have felt like an outsider hiding in the corner. I'm not saying people were unfriendly (they definitely were very nice), just weary of new faces I suppose.
Which is only natural; I don't fault them. This is still NYC, after all. But their reticence combined with my natural standoffishness would not have meshed well had I gone alone, so I'm eternally grateful to my friends for showing up. We carried on quite a spirited conversation between readings, and I could tell some of the long-time regulars were wondering who the hell we were. (haha)
The first reading was very long, but funny! The second one, much shorter and almost as funny. But he had a more polished writing style, so it made it seem faster.
A rep from Barnes & Noble was there selling copies of books from both authors speaking that evening. This was a first, as usually the task is handled by Mobile Libris at these readings. Event hosts Matt Kressel and Ellen Datlow asked everyone to please purchase something in the hopes that B&N will continue the service. Not many people partook of this advice, but of course I did. I just can't resist buying books, especially when they're stacked right there in front of my face!
I purchased the first reader's--Chris Genoa's--SF novel, titled "Foop!" Click on the link and read the description. It sounds like fun! I could have had Chris sign it since he was right there in the same room, but I'm not big on having authors' signatures. I buy books to read (and re-read); not so much to collect.
Anyway, I had a good time and some beers. Most people go to dinner together afterwards, but the night was getting long for me and I just wanted to go home. Maybe next time.
Oh, and yes, there probably will be a next time. I say "probably" because, while I would love to go again, I'm not going by myself. So I have to see if the same people are up to repeating the outing with me. We'll see, we'll see.
So that's one first-time meeting of online friends down. One more to go this Saturday. Can you tell I'm not a meet-and-greet type of person? Yup, it's true. I have no shame!