Joanne Hall read from Spark & Carousel. To the Oedipus Complex and the Electra Complex there must now be added the Allorise Complex, where you really really secretly want to kill your dad and then bring him back and then kind of sock-puppet him. The bits that stood out for me were the witching rite itself -- a passage at once numinous and technical, and with a disconcerting resonance with self-harm imagery (especially when Allorise thinks about control) -- as well as Allorise's da's existential frustration the next day ("his jaw worked furiously"), played against her prim banter over brekkie.
Jonathan L. Howard's reading from Carter & Lovecraft was filled with promising wryness and many deft little touches: a scrap of paper, where a missing child's mother had scribbled a license plate number, has been traced over thickly for clarity; the trope of the psycho wall is unfussily lampshaded ("he'd done the thing no real serial killer ever does") and then slots into the plot unproblematically, etc. There was nothing overtly supernatural in the bit we heard, but it's playing with Lovecraftian themes and content, and one thing I'm interested to see is if there will be any touches of Lovecraftian style introduced into its predominantly spare, weird-boiled texture. Will the unnameably squamous put in an appearance? Is anybody going to feel a bit febrile?
UPDATE: I read it, and it was enjoyable. In lieu of a review, here're Joanne Hall's and Cheryl Morgan's. (Just bought Spark & Carousel too! Reviewed here by SJ Higbee).
Slightly separately. One of the questions which came up (about moral responsibility, prisons and asylums) made me wonder: is there any speculative fiction out there which focuses primarily on a society without incarceration? The abolition of prisons as utopian, perhaps? Or where the concepts of crime and punishment are totally reconfigured in some other way?