Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Why's it not Dark yet?

In response to numerous* queries, I want to assure people that the Rolling Darkness Revue isn't dead. Like King Arthur, the Kraken, or great Cthulhu, it merely sleeps...

For those who came in late, the Revue is an annual Halloween show featuring ghost-story readings, live music, and whatever theatrical trickery we can afford for six bucks and a tinker's smile. It was founded by me, Glen Hirshberg, and Dennis Etchison in 2004. Dennis retired after the first year (but has made an emeritus appearance or two) and Glen and I have been lucky enough to have persuaded many wonderful writers to guest with us in the years since: Michael Blumlein, Nancy Holder, Robert Massello, Robert Morrish, Kim Newman, Clay McCleod Chapman, Lisa Morton, Norman Partridge, Aimee Bender, Tamara Thorne, Kevin Moffett, Thomas St. John Bartlett, Barbara Roden, and James K Moran. The hugely talented actor Kevin Gregg has appeared with us in the wrap-around plays that frame the stories and, despite consistently showing Glen and me up for the happy amateurs we are, has been remarkably un-smug about it. Jonas Yip & Rex Flowers have provided superb ambient music for all our LA shows and we've been equally blessed -- for the out-of-town performances -- by music from Pets Gone Wild (Northern California), Dave Brewer (Arizona), and Liz Hysen (Ottawa).

But no show this year.

Nothing calamitous, just circumstance. Glen and I both had books to finish (more on this below), and each of us had other things going on that made it tough to find enough time to put together a show that would maintain the RDR's usual high standards (he says with a straight face). I know, I know. Halloween's totally ruined for you, and we suck, and we're deeply sorry. But we'll be back next year, we promise.

In the meantime, there are books!

My effort, Rumours of the Marvellous, has just been published by the UK's Alchemy Press. If you didn't buy it at FantasyCon, you've sadly missed out on the handmade chocolates and Hammer Horror Cupcakes that accompanied its launch (provided by the lovely and talented Mrs. Alchemy, Jan Edwards), but it is now available -- albeit chockie and cupcake free -- at amazon.co.uk and will soon be found, I am reliably informed, in the finest of indie bookstores.

Glen's magnificent new collection, The Janus Tree, is imminent from Subterranean Press and, in my far from humble opinion, you'll hardly be fit to call yourself human if you don't grab a copy at the first possible opportunity.

*Yes, smart-arse. As it happens, 3 is a number. So STFU.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Brighton Rocked

FantasyCon 2011 at the historic seaside town of Brighton in the UK was simply terrific. Superbly organised and run by Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan and their Con committee, it brought together over 500 practitioners and enthusiasts of  fantastic literature to meet, mingle, chat, argue, drink, and -- astonishingly, given the size and shape of most of us -- dance. (No, not me. Are you fucking insane? There were cameras present.)

Books were launched. Deals were made. Panels were pontificated upon. Awards were handed out. And, more importantly, each of us received the spiritual shot in the arm that is the real function of these events, the reminder that we're not alone in our love for the genre, that we're part of a family which -- however dysfunctional, however geographically scattered -- shares the bizarre belief that tales of ghosts or goblins, revenants or rocketships, are actually sort of important. Or, at the very least, fun.

Dana and I met a bunch of old friends, made some new ones, and had a wonderful time. I want to thank Paul and Marie and their team for inviting me and congratulate them on mounting an excellent convention. I've just heard they've been dumb enough to agree to do it again next year (along with powers-behind-the-thrones Steve Jones and Amanda Foubister), so do yourselves a favor and attend. It'll be great. There are even rumours that the hotel will have fixed the air-conditioning (though they promise hardcore fans of pre-war plumbing that the water-pressure in the showers will still suck).