The reading for the Steel City Speculative Series went swimmingly! The event took place at Steel Valley Roasters, a coffeehouse I’ve never been to but it was very nice. Large artworks dominated the bare brick walls, a low counter was piled with old board games, and I got to relax on a huge and incredibly comfortable couch that filled most of one wall.
There were five readers total. Jamie Lackey, who organizes the series, started us off with something short and sweet, “The Straw Mother,” one of her stories which appeared in Triangulation 2014. Then I read the first few pages of “The Evening Path,” which appeared in Triangulation 2016. And because that’s a heavier story, I followed it up with the beginning of my much sillier story, Why I’m Asking for an Extension on my Paper. It seemed appropriate, since it’s Halloween Season and if there’s one thing Pittsburgh does well, it’s zombies.
Diane Turnshek, the creator of the Triangulation anthology series, read her intriguing short story “Vegan.” I won’t give it away but I will say that the title has a double-meaning. Frank Oreto, one of the anthology co-editors, read a short story from Triangulation 2017 that managed to be both horrifying and hilarious (a rare combination to pull off well); I unfortunately failed to get the name of the story or the author, but it involved a giant statue of Elvis carved out of jello. And Doug Gwylim, the other co-editor, finished us off with a reading of “Soulmate’s Song” by Christina ‘DZA’ Marie, published in Triangulation 2018. It’s a story that deals with the heavy topic of race relations in World War II, but it was an incredible story.
Overall, it was a great night for coming together and enjoying some excellent stories with some amazing people. A perfect way to spend a crisp autumn evening. So if you’re in the Pittsburgh area and you love a good SFF tale, this is definitely a reading series to look out for! And if any of these stories pique your interest, definitely check out the Triangulation series!