Infinite Space, Infinite Terror… and a raffle

Last Thursday I boarded the train to Edinburgh to take part in Shoreline of Infinity’s Event Horizon. And sure, every time I say the words ‘Event Horizon’ it conjures a horrifying image of eyeless Sam Neill from the nineties film of the same name (“Where we’re going… we don’t need eyes to see!”) but I had a blast nonetheless.

Usually a night of sci-fi storytelling and poetry, May’s Event Horizon was fantasy themed, having been taken over by Shoreline’s fellow Edinburgh zine, Aether & Ichor.

Performances came from authors recently published by A/I – Sandra Whitnell, Ely Percy, and Simon K Brown – as well as US author Leigh Harlen, who read an excerpt from their forthcoming novel featuring werewolves, werecoyotes, and violent chickens, accompanied with comedic brilliance by ambient sound band, Mixed Signals.

t-b,l-r: Leigh Harlen, me, Sandra Whitnell, Ely Percy, Simon K Brown (Photo: A/I)

Simon’s reading, done entirely in a Yorkshire (?) farmer’s accent, was spectacular. Scrapbook (A/I Issue 2) was an excellent story on the page but hearing it performed was something special indeed. In its humorous moments it was even funnier and at its emotional climax, incredibly moving.

Sandra (The True Account of the Pied Piper, A/I Issue 1) and Ely (Bad Elements, A/I Issue 2) gave new twists to folk tales and monsters, respectively, and host Eris Young (managing editor at A/I) raffled off some cursed objects found in strange and uncanny circumstances… and some books and Easter eggs that were (hopefully) not cursed.

I also took a turn on the stage, reading an excerpt from my short story, Naoko – set in an imaginary version of historical Japan, Naoko is a tale about two survivors of a great fire which burned their neighbourhood down who meet again after fifty years apart.

Way, way back in September 2016, when everyone was still reeling from the Brexit result but hadn’t yet reached the horrors of the US election, Aether & Ichor published Naoko. Since then I’ve gone on to read submissions and edit for A/I, and after years of chatting over Facebook, I finally got to meet the team in person! Likewise, it was lovely to meet the guys from Shoreline too.

img_1006Also, making the most of my first visit to Edinburgh in some time, I did some sightseeing (took a pic of Greyfriers Bobby and everything) and stopped by some of the city’s excellent indie bookshops, including the Nibbie Award-winning Golden Hare Books (Independent Bookshop of the Year 2019). I can see why they won – a wide-ranging but carefully curated selection of books and friendly service (I was complimented on my shirt and given a chocolate button; you pretty much have to buy something after that).

I ate some delicious ramen for dinner at one of the Maki & Ramen restaurants around the city to get in the mood for my reading – it didn’t really work, I was still nervous, but it was damn tasty nonetheless – and the next day I was back on the train home laden down with new things to read.

All in, it was a great trip, and it won’t be too long before I’m back in Edinburgh again.

(More on that deliberately leading sign off soon…)

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