If you’re going to be at Renovation this year, and have a yen to experience some great antipodean speculative fiction, look no further – you’ll have a chance to hear the work of Kylie Chan, Angela Slatter, Helen Lowe, Kim Falconer, Lisa Hannett, Nicole Murphy, Alan Baxter, Fiona McIntosh and Mary Victoria (ahem!) all delivered in superb style by professional voice over artist Bob Kuhn.
Bob is going to be reading during two sessions, one on Saturday morning at 10 am and the other on Sunday afternoon. I’ll post more details when I get them – in the meantime, you can read the official announcement about it on the Voyager blog . And keep an eye out for updates there, as a few more authors might be joining in on the goodness!
Suffice to say that I’m very, very excited to be a part of this event, and both touched and honoured that Bob would offer to read at the convention for me. Because he did offer, out of the generosity of his heart – gentleman that he is.
Which brings me around to the man himself, and the tale of how we met at another Worldcon, in Melbourne last year.
I might have known Bob was a gentleman. When we first crossed paths in the author coffee room in Aussiecon – that haven of peace and sandwiches, far from the madding crowd – I’m sure I looked the way I felt: flustered and lost, for I was about to appear on my first convention panel, and dreading it. I couldn’t make the coffee machine work. Bob saw the problem, gallantly gave me his seat, and made me the coffee. I thought, ‘there’s a polite fellow.’
Now, it is a truth universally acknowledged that an author in want of a reading slot would rather not compete with GRRM unveiling his new TV show, which happened to be my lot on the initial Aussiecon schedule. Be that as it may, I was fully expecting to be reading to a row of empty chairs, and secretly quite relieved (I tell you, I’m bad at public appearances, and have to psych myself up beforehand.) At the last minute that day, however, the reading times were changed, and I, adrift on some convention cloud, wasn’t aware of it until it was too late.
When I found I’d missed the new slot, and bemoaned this state of affairs to Bob in the coffee room, I did not expect him to immediately get up and – with a twinkle in his eye and an air of mystery – march me off like an errant child to speak to convention admin. First the coffee machine, then the reading: in one magic instant, everything was arranged. I had another public event to bellyache about, and the prospect of an actual audience this time. Good grief!
When the moment came for the reading and I stood up in front of that (extremely responsive and appreciative) audience, I found myself checking Bob’s face for cues. Because when you’re a neophyte author at your first convention reading, and have a professional voice over artist in your sights, you take your cues from those who know. I could tell, keeping a firm eye on his reaction, how much of the text to read, when the reading was working, and when I should shut up. He probably has no idea of this, but he was my stage prompt on that occasion.
Imagine my happiness when – months later, and after having read both ‘Tymon’s Flight’ and ‘Samiha’s Song’ – Bob offered to read excerpts from the books at Renovation. Would I be interested? You could have scraped my jaw off the floor. Hell, yes! I would indeed be interested in having my work read by a man with a voice like velvet and two Tolkien dragons to his credit! (To see what I mean, just listen to the samples on his website.)
In fact, I have such a yen to hear the results of this reading, and his rendition of the work of all the other fabulous authors participating, that I’m now actively searching for someone to record the event. Is anyone reading this going to Renovation? Will you have a video cam with a good mic? If so… there may be swag in it for you. Contact me! 🙂
Oh, and one more thing. With the blessing of my lovely editor Stephanie Smith at Harper Voyager, Bob is going to offer Renovation-goers not only an introduction to the world of the Tree and an excerpt from ‘Samiha’s Song’, but a never-before-heard, sneak preview of ‘Oracle’s Fire’.
Thanks for making this possible, Bob…