July 27, 2017

Start gathering your treasures, and READ!

Just a couple of quick reminders: 
August is Swap-N-Shop Month.
The August KaCSFFS Meeting (set for Aug. 19, 2017) will once again feature a Swap-N-Shop event. Think of it as a community-wide garage sale for geeks.

Start collecting things to sell or swap now!


Moving to a new line of collectibles, or interested in cutting back on duplicates? Bring 'em to the meeting! You'll never find a more receptive group of potential buyers (and NO shipping costs)!


Culling your library? Box up those books! If your fellow KaXFEN don't buy them, you can donate them to the KaCSFFS Book Giveaway!


Bring games, models, art, gently-worn T-shirts, posters, geek-related hand crafts, jewelry, or anything else you think others in our tribe might enjoy.


Oh, and . . . bring along some extra cash, too. You never know when you might find unexpected treasure!

Are you reading Stupid Humans?
Take advantage of the opportunity from the Reviewers' Reading Circle, and get ready to ask reasonable questions during our live author interview with V. R. Craft, the author of the Summer Selection, Stupid Humans. 

The book is now available to members for free download as a reviewer's copy. We are featuring this book starting with the July meeting through the September meeting.

IMAGES: All the Swap-N-Shop photos on this web page are by Jan S. Gephardt, taken at the August 2015 KaCSFFS Swap-N-Shop event. The Stupid Humans book cover image is from AmazonMany thanks to them!

July 24, 2017

Since our time is linear, order or reserve a copy now!

The clock is ticking! Optimize your time to read the August selection for the Kansas City SF&F Literati by making arrangements now, to get a copy! This time around, the book is Jodi Taylor's Just One Damned Thing After Another, the first book in Taylor's popular British "Chronicles of St. Mary's" series.

Several copies of each month's selection are normally available through the Johnson County Library or Mid-Continent Public Library. It's also available from meeting host Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Amazon, and Kansas City's own Rainy Day Books.

"Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place," the Barnes & Noble overview explains. "Just don’t call it “time travel”—these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics either; a more accurate description, as they ricochet around history, might be unintentional disaster-magnets.

"The first thing you learn on the job at St. Mary’s is that one wrong move and history will fight back—sometimes in particularly nasty ways. But, as new recruit Madeleine Maxwell soon discovers, it’s not only history they’re often fighting."

Taylor's Amazon author profile offers a taste of her sense of humor: "Jodi Taylor, International Woman of Mystery, spent some time working undercover for North Yorkshire County Library Service. Heavily disguised as the world's most incompetent Facilities Manager she shifted dead dogs, fell out of mobile libraries, and spent far too much time in the gents' toilets. The idea to re-write history first came to her while studying history 'A' level at an evening class. Just One Damned Thing After Another is her first novel and was originally self-published on ebook where it was downloaded by more than 60,000 readers on Amazon. Jodi lives in Gloucestershire."

IMAGE: Many thanks to Goodreads for the cover image.

July 20, 2017

A quick reminder: KC SF&F Literati meet Monday, July 24!

Date: Monday, July 24, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.
Title: Radiance
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Available from: Fine Booksellers, including Barnes & Noble
Meeting Location: Barnes & Noble #2352, 2nd Floor, 11323 W. 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214

NOTE: All are welcome to the meeting, whether you’ve read the book or not.

This "complex and imaginative novel" takes us to a mythical alternate era that never was, steeped in the classic traditions of Golden Age science fiction and Hollywood, in a way that only Catherynne M. Valente could have conceived them. "This is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets."

IMAGE: Many thanks to Amazon.com for the Radiance cover image.

July 16, 2017

Meeting Follow-up

KaCSFFS' 46th Birthday Party is now part of history, but it needs a few follow-ups. The July meeting was held 7/15/2017 in our usual venue, The Writers Place, in midtown Kansas City, MO.

Third-place
"Out of This World" cake.
The pastry chefs of KaCSFFS rock!
We had a nice assortment of cakes for this birthday party, which were formally presented before the tasting. Then we tasted, voted, and here are the winners:

Second-place
"Artificial Gravity"
cake.
Third place: The Means Family, for their "Out of This World" cake (lemon cake with dark chocolate frosting).
Their prize: A copy of the Rocket Jockey card game.

Second place: Liz Gooch and Luke Plumb, for their "Artificial Gravity" cake (Banana with coconut and walnut topping, "adjusted for the spin"--i.e., sort of lopsided. But tasty!)
Their prize: A DVD of Aeon Flux, a movie from 2005.

First-place
"Rum-Soaked Fruitcake"--
Not a crumb left behind!
First place: Beth Moscato, for her runaway favorite, the adults-only "Rum-Soaked Fruitcake."
Her prize: a pair of tickets to the historic Screenland Armour Theatre (films), plus a coupon for popcorn.

These bested a field of other entries that ranged from an imaginatively-decorated cake featuring a rocket surrounded by little green (gummy bears) men, to a package of Fig Newtons ("It's not a cookie--it's fruit and CAKE!")

Special thanks go to Earline Beebe, and David and Marisa Means, who secured the prize donations.

Puerto Rico NASFiC presentation
Jan and Ty Gephardt put together a photographic presentation about their trip to NorthAmeriCon '17, the 2017 North American Science Fiction Convention, held July 6-9 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We've included it below, for your potential enjoyment:



Great stories from KaCSFFS' past!
We capped the evening with a funny and enlightening panel discussion by four longtime KAXFEN, Ken Keller (one of the co-founders), Robin Wayne Bailey, James "Jim" Murray (AKA Dr. Paisley), and Paula Helm Murray.

L-R: Ken Keller, Robin Wayne Bailey, Jim Murray, and Paula Helm Murray told some great stories from KaCSFFS' past.
They regaled us with stories of how the club was founded, friendships and a mutually-supportive community established, and also some humorous and/or hair-raising tales from the rich history of BYOB-Cons, ConQuesTs, and other notable events through more than four-and-a-half decades.

Members! Check your emails!
The summer 2017 selection for the Reviewers' Reading Circle, Stupid Humans by V. R. Craft, is now available for free download as a reviewer's copy.

This offer is open for all dues-paid KaCSFFS members. We are featuring this book starting with the July meeting through a live author interview with V.R. Craft at the August meeting, and concluding with the September meeting.

IMAGES: All the photos on this web page, and at least half of those in the NASFiC presentation, are by Jan S. Gephardt. Most of the remaining photos in the presentation are by Tyrell E. Gephardt; the remaining photos (credited at the end of the NASFiC presentation) are from the official website of the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, where the NASFiC was held. The Stupid Humans book cover image is from AmazonMany thanks to all!

July 11, 2017

It's our birthday party! Saturday, 7/15/2017

What: Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
When: Saturday, July 15, 2017, 6:00 p.m.
Food Theme: Birthday Cake! (or bring ice cream)

It's our birthday!

The first-ever meeting of the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society was held in July, 1971--and 46 years later we're celebrating all over again with a birthday cake bakeoff.

Can you bake a tasty birthday cake? Decorate one with creative flair? Show us your cake chops on Saturday! We'll have a short business meeting, then a cake tasting, and take votes for favorites.

Requerdos de Puerto Rico
While the votes are being tallied, Ty and Jan Gephardt will share photos and memories from the 2017 North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC), NorthAmeriCon '17.

It was held this year in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a bid that won because of votes cast last August at MidAmeriCon II, our own Kansas City Worldcon.


IMAGES: The "birthday cake parade" consists of cake images courtesy of Expat Living (a Singaporean birthday cake); Konditor Meister (an adult's birthday cake); and Virtual University Social Network's VU Help (the cake with twisted candles). The aerial view of the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino is courtesy of the hotel's websiteMany thanks to all! 

July 09, 2017

Have you achieved Radiance yet? You have TWO WEEKS.

In about two weeks, it'll be too late! If you're still deciding whether to read Catherynne M. Valente's book Radiance, the July selection of the Kansas City SF & F Literati, perhaps this overview from meeting host Barnes & Noble Booksellers will help:

"Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood-and solar system-very different from our own, from Catherynne M. Valente, the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

"Severin Unck's father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986, in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family.

"Rebelling against her father's films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.

"But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony's last survivor, Severin will never return.

"Told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film."

Several copies of each month's selection are normally available through the Johnson County Library or Mid-Continent Public Library. It's also available from meeting host Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Amazon, and Kansas City's own Rainy Day Books.

The meeting will be held on the second floor of the Oak Park Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Overland Park, KS, at 7:00 p.m. the evening of Monday, July 24, 2017Everyone is welcome to come, even if they haven't read the book.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Amazon.com for the cover image.

July 07, 2017

Laser Rangers 2017 July Meeting

Laser Rangers Brothers and Blu-Ray Bailey presents
"The Greatest Shows On Earth"
or
"Lions, Acrobats, and Clowns, Oh My!"


July 8, 2017: July 8, 2017
4:30: 4:15pm
Location: David Sooby’s home theater with 51-inch Samsung HDTV, a 5.1 Surround Sound Dolby Digital sound system, a full set of audiophile-grade speakers, and upgraded seating for about 15 people without crowding.
Captain Laser: Tracy M.
Food: Carnival
Costume: Carnival

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event Page.


Short features will be shown before each feature. Don't miss them!

Water for Elephants

(2011, 120 minutes) Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz, Hal Holbrook

Set in the 1930s, a former veterinary student takes a job in a traveling circus and falls in love with the ringmaster's wife. -IMDB

Watch the trailer here!







~~~~~
After the first feature, please join us for a potluck dinner. Bring something to share. It can follow the theme, or be something you prefer.
~~~~~

Feature Presentation!
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away

(2012, 91 minutes) Directed by: Andrew Adamson

Starring: Erica Linz, Igor Zaripov, Gareth Hopkins, Lutz Halbhubner, John Clarke, and many more!

Mia, a young woman in a small American Midwestern town, goes to a traveling carnival one evening, where she is urged by a silent clown to visit the carnival's circus and see the Aerialist, the show's star attraction. She is entranced by the Aerialist, but during his act he misses a catch and falls to the ground. She rushes to help him, but then the ground beneath them gives way and they fall into the dreamlike world of Cirque du Soleil. Separated, they travel through the different tent worlds trying to find each other, interacting with the strange and wonderful performers and performances of Cirque du Soleil. -Wikipedia

Watch the trailer here!







The home of the Laser Rangers is located about four miles north of the Kansas Speedway, NW of the intersection of I-70 and I-435 on the Kansas side of the Greater Kansas City area.

IMAGE CREDITS: The information for all of these shows come from the invaluable IMDB. The movie posters come from Wikipedia or the movie's respected distributors. 


The movie screen frame image used for the Laser Rangers contact information is courtesy of Psychology Today Online. Many thanks to these websites!

It would sort of make sense

Beware! It's Fannish Friday . . . 



IMAGE: Many thanks to ETS only for this image.

June 29, 2017

Snapshots from SoonerCon 26: a convention review by Jan S. Gephardt

I always plan to do better with my social media at sf conventions than I do. I get involved, and forget to tweet or upload Facebook photo albums. So I thought, "Why not make a blog post from a collection of things I should have posted from SoonerCon 26?"


Wait. What's SoonerCon 26, you ask? It's a science fiction convention held in Midwest City, Oklahoma (metro Oklahoma City), that brings together some of the best aspects of literary, media, gaming, comic, and costuming conventions. 

This year's edition began Thursday, June 22 with a Writers' Workshop, headed by Workshop Clinician Jody Lynn Nye, and ran through Sunday, June 25, 2017.

Since it is such a multi-focus convention, their theme this year was a nod to a three-ring circus, "Welcome to the Show!" Toastmaster--er, Ringmaster Selina Rosen did full justice to this theme in her Opening Ceremonies performance.

L-R: Jody Lynn Nye, Larry Nemecek, Selina Rosen in Ringmaster garb, Matt Frank, and Todd Haberkorn, at Opening Ceremonies.

As ever, my first stop upon arrival (well, after checking into the hotel and Convention Registration) was the Art Show. It had a larger area this year than in recent past years, but still seemed cramped to me, and the straight-down-from-above lighting was not terribly illuminating for fantasy paper sculptures in shadowboxes or deep mats (too much shadow, not enough art visible). There was a lot of wonderful art on display, however, and despite the crowding it was well worth the look.

Art Guest of Honor Peri Charlifu brought a large and imaginative collection of gorgeous ceramics and prints. Featured Guest Mitchell Bentley also brought a wonderful, colorful display of his astronomical and illustration work, and other attending artists brought a nice variety of interesting work.

My art display at SoonerCon 26

Other highlights of the Art Show for me included a large, new painting in Angela Lowry's display, two new paintings by Dell Harris, and a lovely display by Hazel Conley. Perennial favorites Sarah Clemens, Jim Humble, and many others also mailed in artwork to the show, to expand the selection brought by attending artists.

Some of the most magnificent artwork this weekend was wearable, however--remember, one of SoonerCon's strong areas is costuming. Here's just a small sampling of the wearable art walking around the Reed Center this weekend.




SoonerCon 26 offered up a nice collection of interesting and thought-provoking panels for attendees of varied interests. These touched on podcasting, comics, film, writing, art, and media (specific discussions geared to fans of individual shows or franchises, including Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, Harry Potter, and a wide range of others).

The witty committee behind the "Worst Novel Ever," L-R, seated: Phillip Drayer Duncan, Vickey Malone Kennedy, Craig Wolf, and KaCSFFS' own Tyrell Gephardt and James Murray. Behind them, standing: Larry Nemecek, facilitator (with microphone) and the unflaggingly-gracious Leonard Bishop.

A pair of wildly funny "SoonerCon @ Midnight" panels assembled a committee of quick-thinking wits and writers (including my son Tyrell Gephardt) to develop the "Worst Novel Ever" (held in the bar, where else?). The next day, a group of equally talented quick-draw artists conspired to create the "Worst Cover Ever" for it. In between gasps of laughter, I could only conclude that convention chairman Leonard Bishop is the "Best Sport Ever."

Probably my most gratifying moment this weekend was when the couple came up to me after my reading and asked, "Where can we buy your book?" I urged them to watch my blog for further updates, and I've been smiling ever since. I hope to have actual news about that very soon!

Literary Guest of Honor Timothy Zahn shared thoughts about his SoonerCon experience at Closing Ceremonies. To his right (our left) Artist Guest of Honor Peri Charlifu, and on the other side Writers Workshop Clinician Jody Lynn Nye attend to his comments.

Most of my panels dealt, not surprisingly, with writing, art, or some combination of the two. Using your creativity for Fun and Profit (focusing on best practices for creative small entrepreneurial businesses) and Imaginary Creatures: Essential to Fantasy? (with panelists from both art and writing backgrounds) definitely touched on both of my art forms.

Ethics and Art focused pretty exclusively on visual-art intellectual property, and the protection of both the creator's and others' rights.

Failing Better shone a spotlight on the rejection-fraught lives of writers, and how to deal with setbacks in a way that leaves one (a) not suicidal and (b) better equipped, going forward.

By far the best-attended of my panels, however, was the one titled A Girl is . . . about persistent gender issues, both outside of fandom and within. It quickly became apparent that not all "within fandom" groups are the same, when it comes to views on gender equality. Experiences of younger women--particularly some of those in the online gaming community--reveal we've come less far than we'd like to think.


All too quickly, SoonerCon 26 came to an end. Time to strike the photo-background sets, fold up the tabletop games, and pack the costumes or new T-shirts into suitcases. But I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I'm looking forward to coming back next year, if all goes as planned.

IMAGES: The green header-banner is from SoonerCon's website. The other photos are my own snapshots, taken by me at SoonerCon 26 (they may be reposted online with an attribution of Jan S. Gephardt as the photographer, and a link back to this post). 

June 26, 2017

Radiant idea: Why not order or reserve it now?

The next Kansas City SF&F Literati meeting will be July 24, 2017. That gives you four weeks to round up a copy of the July selection, Catherynne M. Valente's book Radianceand read it.

Several copies of each month's selection are normally available through the Johnson County Library or Mid-Continent Public Library. It's also available from meeting host Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Amazon, and Kansas City's own Rainy Day Books.

The Barnes & Noble overview describes the novel as "a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood-and solar system-very different from our own."

Kirkus Reviews listed it as a starred review. "...descriptions are lush and striking, her worlds reveling in the dreamiest of nods to classic science fiction, where alien planets are full of life and easily reachable... A heady, strange, and beautifully written novel about how stories give form to worlds."

The meeting will be held on the second floor of the Oak Park Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Overland Park, KS, at 7:00 p.m. the evening of Monday, July 24, 2017. Everyone is welcome to come, even if they haven't read the book.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Amazon.com for the cover image.