The start of June saw our Cymera Festival of literary science fiction, fantasy and horror return for its fifth year (only third time in person as we had to do two years on Zoom during the Covid Lockdowns, of course), and, as usual I was there (and also chairing), and the camera was with me as usual.
Alice Tarbuck in conversation with Juliet McKenna, Sharon Emmerichs and Claire North in the Pleasance Theatre
Nina Allan, Cory Doctorow and Ian McDonald on stage in the Pleasance Theatre. Was nice to catch up very briefly with Cory, not seen him in person in Edinburgh since an event as the old Pulp Fiction bookshop (now sadly long gone), over a decade ago.
Neil Williamson in conversation with Grace Curtis and Doug Johnstone. I’ve known Neil years, he’s a stalwart of the Scottish SF scene, and Doug is best known to readers for his Edinburgh-set crime novels, but this spring he released his first science fiction novel, the Space Between Us (also largely set in and around Edinburgh, before going on a road trip across Scotland)
Rhiannon Grist in conversation with Catriona Ward, Anya Bergman and Fiona Barnett in the Pleasance Theatre. I was fortunate enough to chair Anya at an event for our own bookshop a couple of weeks ago, and highly recommend her historical novel The Witches of Vardo, based on real court records of witch trial in Norway. Fiona wrote the Dark Between the Trees, a cracking, very spooky, atmosphere horror tale split between the Civil War era (Parliamentary soldiers ambushed and forced into the deep dark woods, where only two emerge with strange tales), and modern era as academics attempt to retrace their route to see if there is any evidence to support the survivor’s tale (it was one of my favourite reads last year).
C.L. Clark and Samantha Shannon on stage in the Pleasance Theatre
Peta Freestone chairing Amie Kaufman and L.R. Lam in the Pleasance Theatre. I was fortunate enough to chair a talk with L recently in our bookshop, discussing her new “sexy dragons” romantic fantasy (“romantasy”), Dragonfall, which I loved.
The Brave New Words strand returned – this is where new, emerging writers get a chance to do a reading from their new work before the start of one of the author panels, nice chance for them to be spotlit in front of an audience and encourage their work. Above: Lucy Elizabeth Allan reading, below – Robin C M Duncan
I was also on stage (so obviously I did not take pics of that one!), chairing a talk with Dave Cook, Mike Carey and Ever Dundas, which was great fun to do. I got to catch up with a bunch of friends over the long, sunny weekend, including some I hadn’t seen in ages, drink, food, chat, the Cymera Quiz, Shoreline of Infinity night and more. Terrific weekend.
And my chum James was there with his furry friend, Tabitha – I last saw Tabitha back in August at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (when she was much smaller!), here she was at Cymera, on James’s shoulder, or sometimes sitting behind his book table in the Creator’s Hall to help him sell his own books. Clearly she is a very literary puss!
I was fortunate enough to be asked again to chair an event, this year with Ever Dundas, Mike Carey and Dave Cook for their recent HellSans, Infinity Gate and Killtopia graphic novel series, respectively. As usual you go on the stage thinking “my god, we need to talk for a full hour”, before you know it the time is almost up and yu’ve not touched on several of your possible questions – happens that way every time. Of course I couldn’t take a snap of the event as I was on stage in the Pleasance Theatre with them, but this is the authors signing after the event: