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The Brighton Readings: Part Two

November 10th, 2013

Notes to a Science Fiction WriterLong ago, when I was first entertaining notions of sharing my stories with a wide audience, I came across a passage in Ben Bova’s Notes to a Science Fiction Writer. It describes a photograph that he saw in a book titled The Faces of Man. Bova writes:

[The photograph] shows an African village, where most of the people have gathered around an old, withered man who is evidently the village story-teller. He is at a high point in the evening’s story; his arms are raised over his head, his mouth is agape, his eyes wide. And the whole village is staring at him, equally agape and wide-eyed, breathless to find out what happens next.

That is what story-telling is all about.

I’ve read a lot of books about writing since then, but that passage has always stuck with me.

StorytellerThe act of presenting stories from memory is nothing new. It is clearly working for the storyteller in the photograph, and I believe it can still work today. Not as a stunt, but as an effective way of sharing fiction with a live audience.

Recently, I’ve been exploring this mode of storytelling in venues as varied as the KGB Fantastic Fiction Series, GenCon Writers Symposium, PAISTA, The University of Brighton, and World Fantasy. The approach seems to be working. In any event, I’m having a lot of fun following in the tradition of that African storyteller.

Let me show you what I’m talking about.

Below is a video from last week’s Reading Café at The World Fantasy Convention, featuring a reading of “Step on a Crack” from Visions: Short Fantasy and SF. It’s one of three stories I presented that day. The entire performance was recorded, and I may be posting additional segments in the coming weeks, but, for now, here’s a peek at what went down when some members of the World Fantasy village gathered to listen to the 21st-Century Scop.

Lawrence C. Connolly reads Step on a Crack from Lawrence Connolly on Vimeo.

Image Credits:
Notes to a Science Fiction Writer by Ben Bova, Charles Schribner’s Sons.
The Kalahari Storyteller,
Life Magazine, 1947.