The April BristolCon Fringe night is, by tradition, an open mic where they let all sorts of people read, even me. Lots of better writers turned up as well, and we ended up with 12 readers divided into three sessions.
Session 1 features three novel excerpts. Justin Newland and Amanda Huskisson both have fantasy novels set in the ancient past. Jack Anderson’s novel is from Roman times, and is a straight historical tale. The session ended with Jackie Rogers who read two pieces of fantasy flash.
Session 2 got us going on the explicit tags. Kevlin Henney opened up by killing off almost everyone on the planet. Pete Sutton’s magpie story, “I Butler”, was somewhat more restrained but does feature a serial killer. Jo Hall read us a piece from a new novel that she has just started working on, Gods of the Grey City. People die horribly. And finally we have “Zombie Walk” by Myfanwy Rodman. Only three people die in that, but the zombies are already dead and there are lots of them. We very much needed a break after that one. You have been warned.
Session 3 began with Steve Tanner who read from the first book in a fantasy trilogy. Then it was my turn. I read the start of a short story called “Snow White’s Wedding”, which I’d originally written for the Upside Down anthology (it didn’t get in). Next up was Will Macmillan with “Hatchet”, a cautionary tale about the dangers of living with a writer, and indeed being one. Finally Jonathan L. Howard read from an unpublished novel called Heart of Empire. That’s something he calls “tea punk”, which appears to mean very polite British people having very dangerous adventures and remaining calm throughout.
During this session we were visited by the Fringe Ghost. A mysterious voice began emanating from the pub’s speaker system during Steve’s reading and continued off and on for the rest of the evening. The speaker system was turned off. Various theories were proposed, and the one that seems most likely is that the speakers are picking up the radio transmissions of ferry boats in the harbour. Thankfully the Ghost doesn’t seem to have spoiled the recordings.
In the Q&A I asked Jo a bit about her forthcoming books. The Summer Goddess is now scheduled for September and reviews are starting to appear online. Pete Sutton launched A Tiding of Magpies while I was in Finland so it is now available from good bookstores everywhere. Will talked about reading stories from memory. Naturally we all wanted to know where Myfanwy got her gruesome ideas from.
In case you are wondering, there is no audio from March. I was in Canada and the folks back in Bristol had tech fail.
The July Fringe event will be in a week’s time on July 18th. It is a horror special, and will feature Tom Parker and Tim Lebbon.