2022 saw me traveling to more cons and events. In March, I went to the International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida. I went to Stokercon in Denver and two weeks later to Balticon. In August, I went to Necronomicon in Providence, followed by the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in October. I went up to Philadelphia for a Halloween reading event, and in November back up to Baltimore for another event. Finally, I went to New York to read at a Burlesque show in early December.
2022 also saw the release of my fifth book, the third collection called The Nectar of Nightmaresfrom Underland Press. “Impz” is a new story I published inLooming Low Volume II. Two anthologies my fiction was in won major awards. Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness (ed. dave ring, Neon Hemlock Press) won a Shirley Jackson, and The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction(ed., Oghenechovwe Donald Epeki, to re-released by Arc Manor Press) won the World Fantasy Award.
I also co-won the Joseph S Pulver Award for Weird Fiction (along with Zin E. Rocklyn).
I met a bunch of people, both readers and authors, and in one case, drag performers, in each city I visited. It was a full and busy year. 2023 is about hunkering down and writing more fiction.
The last couple of Tweets by Space Karen were enough to make me pull up my roots and leave the birdapp. In one, he implied a former employee (who’s gay and Jewish) of being a pedophile apologist by taking an excerpt of his PhD thesis paper out of context. In the second tweet, he threw meat to anti-vaxxers and transphobes. I barely have a presence there, but I’m out. (Space Karen has become a proto Proud Boy and is turning the birdapp into his personal KiwiFarms).
I used to like Grimes, (his ex) but I can’t even listen to her anymore. She must have seen what a far right buffoon he is and picked him anyway.
So, I’ve joined Mastodon. Here’s my relevant information — firstname.lastname@example.org
I also signed up for Post, but who knows when I’ll get an invite?
I participated in the Books & Burlesque show in New York City on December 2, along side authors YZ Chin, Aimée Lutkin and Ricky Tucker. It was easily the most unique reading experience I’ve ever done! The authors read, and burlesque performers interpreted the excerpt. A statuesque performer named Beleza interpreted images from my cosmic horror story set in the Ballroom scene, “Spyder Threads,” using the “Theme to Mahogany” as the background.
On December 2, I will be reading at the Books & Burlesque event in New York City at Caveat Club
From the website:
The December edition of “Books and Burlesque” is hosted by Fortune Cookie and features award-winning authors reading excerpts from their new books: Aimee Lutkin’s nonfiction memoir “The Lonely Hunter: How Our Search for Love Is Broken”; Craig Laurance Gidney’s collection of short stories “The Nectar of Nightmares”; Ricky Tucker’s nonfiction book “And the Category Is… Inside New York’s Vogue, House and Ballroom Community” and YZ Chin’s “Edge Case.”
The burlesque/boylesque/drag performers we are featuring are Rosie Tulips, Fortune Cookie, Beleza and Zebra. Stage Kitten: Ty Valentine.
The Nectar of Nightmares will be part of the Beyond the Weird Storybundle starting today, running through November. Readers can get a bunch of ebooks for a low price ($20)! You can check it out here. Thanks to Robert Jeschonek for curating the collection.
I’m currently writing a zombie story for the anthology Blackened Roots, edited by Nicole Givens Kurtz and Tonia Ransom. The anthology is being crowdfunded, and includes many other Black authors of speculative fiction. Nicole’s last anthology, Slay, included my most anthologized story “Dessicant,” which was produced for audio by Tonia. (You know it’s going to be good–Nicole and Tonia have a keen editorial eye). You can contribute to the campaign here, if so inclined!
Last week, the review site Fantasy Literature, did review of The Nectar of Nightmares. Reviewer Marion Deeds, said, “When it comes to shaping the weird and the uncanny, few are doing it as well as Gidney does.” You can read the rest of it here.
LGBTQ+ stories are among the most successful – and most targeted – works of fiction in recent years. Panelists recognize the important visibility of queer stories and discuss the challenges that make it difficult for LGBTQ+ stories and authors to exist in the mainstream.
Saturday 2:30 pm
In Defense of the Standalone Novel (Ends at: 3:25 pm)
In a sea of book series, the standalone novel can be a breath of fresh air. What are the virtues of the standalone novel and what makes for a good one? Might there be a resurgence of the standalone novel in the near future?
The Unbalancing, by R.B. Lemberg is a novel of textures and layers. It’s the type of book that should be absorbed, rather than read at a break-neck, ‘page-turner’ pulse-pounding pace. It’s a short novel filled with intricate details but it’s never dense and confusing. There’s the stress of suspense, but there’s also a leisurely intimacy here that’s uncommon to fantasy-quest novels. Lemberg has created their own genre, one that challenges the constraints of the form. A cozy apocalypse, or a fantasy-based picaresque novel. (It’s also a love story.)
Told in alternating first-person narratives, Lemberg tells the story of an impending ecological disaster on a small archipelago. Ranra Kekeri is the recently installed Starkeeper, the steward for a traumatized fallen Star that sleeps in the nearby ocean. Erigra Lilún, a poet, also has a bond with the sleeping Star, one that they are ambivalent about. Ranra and Erigra’s connection with the Star sparks a simmering attraction between the two, and they become lovers. Both of them clash and collaborate as the dreaming Star becomes more unstable and chaotic.
Lemberg’s Birdverse is a complex creation, full of mythology and multiple magic systems that draw upon secret names, living Stars, sacred geometry and an all powerful Bird goddess. Additionally, the society of the archipelago recognizes and supports alternative family structures and gender fluidity. The world-building is organic and lived-in, and never confusing.
Lemberg’s prose is soaked in magic, magic that’s full of space and light and sound. The Unbalancing manages to be both ethereal and earthy. Lemberg juxtaposes otherworldly scenes of magic with awkwardness of new relationships. Some of the best scenes in the novel are the clash between Ranra’s Type-A personality with Erigra’s measured introspection. (Lemberg’s portrayal of Erigra’s neuro-divergence is a highlight of the novel). The Unbalancing isn’t a book that can be adequately summarized. It can only be experienced.