Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mary Robinette Kowal Has Big Brass Ones

Bigger than mine, I tell ya! (LOL! Don't mind me, I told her I would use this as my blog title)

Tonight I attended the "Fantastic Fiction" reading series at KGB bar here in NYC, during which the erudite and lovely Mary Robinette Kowal read from her newly published first novel, Shades of Milk and Honey -- a Jane Austen semi-pastiche set in the Victorian age where magic abounds. Her reading of the novel was superb and a true highlight of the night, but made even more impressive by the fact that she affected a British accent in the dramatization of a select passage from the book. When she made the announcement before the reading, I must admit I mentally winced and prepared my ears for an assault most foul. But I have to say, she was quite good. Quite good, indeed! I was thoroughly impressed. I could only stand there in awe as she pulled off this singular feat, knowing full well that--should the day come when I myself may have to stand in front of a crowd and read from my latest work--I could never be quite so bold.

Before the night's readings kicked off, Ms. Kowal went around the room to personally greet each attendee and to hand out these neat Asian-inspired handheld fans as a free token of her appreciation. Wow, talk about Class with a capital "C"! In addition to taking a quick photo with myself and Tarrell, she also autographed a copy of her novel to my wife and I when I announced that her book would be the gateway drug I could use to convince Lisa to finally read something in the Fantasy genre. Oh yeah!

Tarrell and I also got to meet the amazingly talented Nora Jemisin (pictured on the far right, above), author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and current guest blogger on John Scalzi's juggernaut online blog, Whatever. In fact, both Mary and Nora are guest blogging on the site for the next month or so while Scalzi takes a much needed hiatus. You should check it out sometime.

In addition to Ms. Kowal, Laura Anne Gilman was also on hand to read a passage from the first novel in her ongoing and very popular urban fantasy series, "Cosa Nostradamus":

You have to excuse the extreme grain off the camera on my new iPhone 4. It's a great camera, don't get me wrong, but the lights at KGB were turned down very, very low for dramatic atmosphere. It's a wonder I got any pics at all.

All in all we had a fantastic time tonight -- just look at how crowded it got! There's nothing better than listening to exciting new writers read from their latest works amongst a crowd of both SF professionals and fans alike, all of us crammed into a small converted East Village loft in the dead of Summer. Nothing better at all!

Thanks to my crit group friend, Carole, for buying me that drink. And a very special thanks goes out to the hosts of the reading series, Ellen Datlow and Matt Kressel, as well as to the bartenders at KGB for continuously plying me with non-stop rounds of the tasty Russian imported dark lager, Baltika:

Cheers to you all!


  1. It was lovely to meet you and Tarrell! Thank you so much for coming out.

  2. It was certainly my pleasure, Mary. One of the most memorable Fantastic Fiction outings I've been to in a while.

    Plus, you gave us some shadow puppet theater, too. Bonus! You spoiled us rotten. :)

  3. Sounds like an awesome evening, David. I guess big city life does have its attractions after all :-)

  4. I can never get enough of the city, Ian. Especially *this* city, New York. It's in my blood. I was born and raised here. And as much as I yearn for the country life I briefly experienced during 4 years of college in Vermont, I know if we ever move there I'm going to terribly miss the Big Apple.

    There's a vibe here--a pulse--that just can't be shaken off.


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