Last night SF in SF held a Steampunk Reading Night as part of San Francisco's week-long LitCrawl festival. Neil Gaiman's reading last weekend was part of it, and there were various writers doing readings all over town all week. Tomorrow Borderlands Books on Valencia is hosting another sf reading.
Before the reading I met Terry Bisson, Rudy Rucker, Joe Lansdale, and Jacob Weisman (publisher of Tachyon Books) for dinner. I'd never met Joe Lansdale before, and he was nothing like what I'd expected. He grew up in Tyler (where my mother is from) and lives in East Texas now, and is very funny and interesting. Joe and Terry had an interesting discussion over dinner about the comic books and movies they'd written, and later in the evening Joe and I talked about martial arts. He did most of the talking, though, since he actually founded his own martial art, and has at least tried almost all the different flavors of martial arts, and mastered quite a few. I was impressed. Rudy was much quieter but still very interesting.
At the reading itself, Terry was the emcee, and Rudy, Joe, and Kage Baker (who met up with us at the theater) all read. Kage read from her story "Speed, Speed the Cables", which is in the steampunk anthology Extraordinary Engines
. She's an excellent reader, and obviously has some the theater background. The way she reads the voices is great. Joe Lansdale read the first few chapters of Flaming London
. I laughed so hard I had trouble breathing. Mark Twain meets Ned the Seal. Oh. My. God. Funny. Unfortunately it's out of print, and the copies I saw online start at $50. Rudy Rucker read from his The Hollow Earth
, about Edgar Allan Poe and a farmboy going to the South Pole, then into the hollow earth. This one was also interesting, and funny in Rudy's dry way.
Another guest was the fellow who is holding the steampunk convention in Sunnyvale at the end of the month. I'll be going to that to help acanthusleaf
sell jewelry. The guests there will include Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, who edited the anthology Steampunk
, now out from Tachyon.
After the readings Terry and the panelists held forth and answer questions. It was all very interesting and I wanted to stay until the end, but I was feeling exhausted. When Rudy Rucker ducked out early to go catch Caltrain home I went with him and we shared a cab to the train station. By the time I got home I was dead on my feet, but I had a really great time at the reading. The next one is on Oct. 18 and will have Barry Malzberg as one of the guests.