Last night I read at the KFB Bar in New York City, as part of Ellen Datlow's Fantastic Fiction series. Paul Di Filippo was the other reader--our work couldn't be more different (he read from a work in progress about a post apocalyptic hippie couple, and of course, me & Flora), but it made for a nice contrast, I think.
The KGB is a good reading to do because there is a set group of people who always come, regardless of who is reading, thus there is always a nice crowd. It helps, too, that the room is small--so standing room only is easily achieved. The vibe is very dark and red, with portraits of revolutionaries glowering down from the walls. Very Russia, circa 1917.
I read the first two chapters of "Flora Segunda"--stopping at a cliff-hanging point in hopes that would inspire people to rush out and find out what happened next via book purchase. Vain hope, perhaps, but we try. No one walked out, or yelled "Freebird", or fell asleep (at least no one that I noticed). Thus I calculate it a success.
There was a brief horrible moment when Ellen Datlow called Pig (who, as is his wont was perched upon the podium while I read) "MISS PIGGY" before the entire crowd. She was soon put straight on that point, and Pig himself managed to take the insult quietly (no blood was shed) so that crisis passed quickly.
The other highlight of the evening for moi was meeting Richard Morgan. I'm not sure what he was doing at the reading--and he had to leave before I went on--but I was able to chat with him briefly, long enough to gush over how much I loved "Altered Carbon" and its sequels. Very well done Cyber-Noir (did I just make up that term?), a shining example of someone taking material that's been done to death and coming up with an entirely fresh and exciting angle. He has a new book coming out, and I am very much looking forward to it.
Apres reading, we went to dinner to the traditional post KGB Chinese Restaurant on St. Marks Place Whose Name I do Not Know, and ate much delicious Chinese food. The problem with going out to eat en famille after a reading, tho--is that you always end up at a table, static, and never are able to talk to everyone you want to talk to, and who you didn't get to talk to at the reading because it was dark and there were so many of them. My solution would be a la Mad Hatter--everyone sits and then after ten minutes must take up plate and switch seats, but I suppose with a group of 40 or so that would be logistically difficult. So, while I had a lovely time at the table I ended up, I would have liked to have mingled with the other tables, as well. Next time, perhaps.