Neil Gaiman and Co. in NYC

Neil Gaiman and six other authors who contributed to the STORIES: ALL NEW TALES spoke at a lively, humorous, and thoughtful panel discussion at Teachers College and I, along with a few high school students from the Science Fiction/Fantasy Cllub (SciFan as we call ourselves) had the pleasure of being entertained and at the same time gaining some insights into these interesting authors’ minds and their creative processes.

It was well worth the 2-hour wait (playing with my new laptop and new iPad with good WiFi connection in the building) and the two hour readings and Q&As.

The authors present were: Walter Mosley, Joe Hill, Kurt Andersen, Jeffrey Ford, Lawrence Block, Kat Howard, and Neil Gaiman.  Joe Hill acted as the moderator and did a fantastic job with his wit and deadpan humor.  Each of them read a few minutes from their stories and they all sounded quite intriguing — seems like this anthology collects quite a few different genre stories: sci-fi, fantasy, and horror were the ones we heard.  The authors discussed the state of the book world in light of “main stream” literature (those we’re MADE to read in schools?) and popular, genre fictions which, in some way, are leading the field in their popularity and success.

Gaiman stressed the importance of “page turning” writing — that you’re so hooked by a story well told, it doesn’t matter which genre it is; Mosley cautioned the audience to not generalize a generation’s or a perceived group’s experience by saying “we all….” because he believes that each individual has a dramatic struggle in life that does not have to have a War or an exterior pressure (such as racial discrimination) to lend itself to create and read great stories with dramatic arcs.

Kurt Andersen explained why the apocalyptic stories are in fashion by saying that the Baby Boomers generation is getting old and dying and if they are DYING, the world, of course, in their ego-centric mind, is DYING.. What else?  That got quite a hearty collective laugh from the audience.

I have not read the collection and only imagine that the tales are not meant for a child audience but some of the short stories might lend themselves to be shared in our Club come fall.

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