September 20, 2016

Rob Howell shares a report on DodecaCon

Olathe, KS writer Rob Howell has graciously allowed us to share his report on DodecaCon 4, held this past weekend in Columbia, MO. For his complete comments, see his blog, "Howell's Howls." 

"This past weekend I went to DodecaCon 4 in Columbia, MO. Despite some huge challenges for the con organizers, I had a great time.

One of those challenges is perhaps the worst thing that could ever happen to the con organizers a couple of weeks ago. They lost one of their daughters to complications from sickle-cell anemia. How they continued is beyond me, but despite their grief they kept smiling and working. Kudos to Toni Westbrook-Taylor and Randy Taylor for somehow plowing through.
"Knowing that makes it no surprise that many of the things they wanted to organize ahead of time did not have a chance to get done. Despite this added work and extra adjustments on the fly, they managed to get things covered reasonably well.
"A second challenge was the fact that the original football schedule had this weekend marked as one without a home game for Mizzou. The schedule changed. If you know Columbia, you know it’s awful for traffic in the first place for such a small town (the I-70 / US-63 is one of the worst interchanges I’ve ever seen, even counting some in places like Boston and Montreal). Home games, shockingly enough, makes traffic problems get worse.
"Not only that, many of the people who might have come to the convention, especially students, were at the game or tailgating. I’m sure this dampened attendance from last year.
"Finally, the other complication was the site itself. It was held in the big aisles in the middle of Parkade Mall. This meant extra security and less than ideal room arrangements. Still, they made it work, though they got an extra curveball on Sunday morning when the mall decided it was that morning they needed to paint new parking lines in the lot, meaning half the spots were roped off. I actually liked my spot in terms of how I was arranged, along a wall with an electrical outlet.
"There were other issues, too, that I’m aware happened but not any details of what happened.
Andy Waldron gets his costume weapon checked at DodecaCon 4. Photo by Kiet Le Design
"And yet, people had fun.
"I was on two panels and moderated two others.  I like moderating panels where I’m not an expert on the topic, but still can periodically add things . . . . 
See Liz Schulte's books on
her Bat Country website.
"I did make some good new contacts, as usual. I’ve some potential plans to do a show in Columbia in December. Also, I had a great conversation with Liz Schulte about some of the differences between writing fantasy and writing romance, even if it’s a genre romance.
"My favorite new work that I saw, by the way, came from Scott Schmidt and his Steele Vs. comic book series. How did I never think of having mounties fight monsters?
Mounties fight monsters in the
Steele Vs. comic book series
"DodecaCon did two things I thought were really cool, though I couldn’t take advantage of one because I eat low-carb. They came along throughout the day and offered us food. Bagels for breakfast, spaghetti for dinner, periodic candy bits, and then also brought us water as needed. It did not match the variety of things at many con suites, but bringing it around to people stuck at booths was very nice.
"The more important thing was how much they reached out to the local jr. high and high schools. Friday for most of the day busloads of students came to the con. I’m guessing that the schools relaxed dress codes, as many of them came in costumes. Some of their parents joined them. From a merchant perspective, it was mostly just work with no real chance of sales, but it is the kind of thing that I think keeps all of this sort of thing going . . . . 
"Despite all of the challenges, it was much bigger con than I expected and I think it will be even better in a year where things aren’t conspiring against it." 
Rob Howell, author
MANY THANKS, Rob, for sharing your con report with us! As noted above (see the ". . . ." markings), this is not a complete transcript. If you'd like to read all about Rob's panels and other observations, please read his complete report on "Howell's Howls." 
Rob Howell is the author of the World of Shijuren series. Thee titles have been published so far. Read about them or buy them on Amazon.
IMAGES: Many thanks to DodecaCon for the 2016 convention banner; to the MU Tigers athletics page for the tiger logo; to Kiet Le Design for the costume programming photo (see a large and wonderful album of costumes from the con on Kiet Le Design's Facebook page! Great pix, Kiet!); to Liz Schulte's Bat Country website for her Bat Country button; to Comic Vine and Pistol Whip Press for the Steele Vs The Ghost Walker cover image; and to Rob Howell's Amazon Author Page for the photo of him. 

September 16, 2016

Combined agenda for major meeting September 17, 2016

Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting
Combined with ConQuesT meeting
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64111
When: Saturday, September 17, 2016
4:00 ConQuesT meeting--ALL Members welcome! 
Dinner Break: 6-7:00 p.m. 
Business Meeting: 7-7:30 at the latest
Break-out Sessions: 7-9:00 p.m.

Break-out Sessions
Star Trek 50th Anniversary Discussion led by Carol Doms on the main floor.

Live Interview via Skype with Keith Shaw, Discussion led by Jan S. Gephardt, regarding Shaw's Neworld Papers books, The Historian's Tale and The Warrior's Tale. Please join us in the Library for this program.

Dues-paid members will ALL get their Membership Cards at this meeting. We will had out cards to all members in attendance, then mail cards to all other members. Earline Beebe will coordinate this group effort, working from her master roster. We'll set up on the Mezzanine for this session.

Finally, please bring your board games or tabletop games, to share in the upper floor lobby.

IMAGES: Many thanks to the ConQuesT website for the ConQuesT 48 logo, and to iPulpfiction for the Historian's Tale cover.

September 08, 2016

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

A life-changing show for many of us, Star Trek turns 50 today.

May it live long and prosper.

IMAGE: Many thanks to David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Daily Star, and to Danny Tyree's "Cagle," for sharing it (read Tyree's post, while you're at it--well worth it!).

September 06, 2016

Laser Rangers September 2016 Meeting

Feel Better After World Con
DELAYED: September 10, 2016 September 24, 2016
Time: 4:50pm
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: Huddled In A Corner
Food: Comfort Food 
Costume: Bright 

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event Page.

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


(2015, 94 minutes) Directed by: Tim Johnson

Starring: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Jones

"The story takes place on planet Earth, where an alien race called the Boov invade the planet. However, a girl named Gratuity "Tip" Tucci manages to avoid capture, and goes on the run with Oh, a fugitive Boov."-Wikipedia

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!

(2015, 130 minutes) Directed by: Brad Bird

Starring: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key

"In the film, a disillusioned genius inventor and a teenage science enthusiast, embark to an ambiguous alternate dimension known as "Tomorrowland", where their actions directly affect the world and themselves."-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!

September 01, 2016

Help make the Reviewer's Reading Circle Series a success!

Explore the Neworld 
Before the September 17 Meeting!
In our ongoing mission to help writers find new audiences and make our meetings more interesting, KaCSFFS is introducing our new Reviewer's Reading Circle Series with a special appearance September 17, 2016 by author/publisher Keith Shaw, via Skype. We plan to use KaCSFFS' recently-acquired projector and screen for this interview.

The regular monthly meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. September 17, 2016 at The Writers Place in Kansas City. The LIVE INTERVIEW with Keith Shaw will start about 7:00 p.m.
This is a break-out session for people interested in discussing the Reviewer's Reading Circle offering of the month, the Middle-Grade and YA-targeted Neworld Papers

The Reviewer's Readers Circle Series aims to highlight an author each month and offer free review copies to our dues-paid members, with a follow-up discussion session at each meeting, to encourage our members to contribute reviews of these works to Amazon, Goodreads, and other review sites, INCLUDING our own KaCSFFS BLOG. 

We are pleased to lead off with a pair of interesting titles that already have garnered some stellar reviews.

Neworld Papers: The Historian's Tale is brimming with action, adventure, and a touch of New Adult romance grounded solidly in thought-provoking science fiction.

Is revealing the truth worth the disruption of a society?

Fallon lives in a peaceful world that has no concept of war, or murder, or even love. It is a society that prohibits histories and pledges itself to "The Service of Today and the Building of Tomorrow."

Just weeks before he reaches adulthood, Fallon is torn from his sheltered life as a ward of the state. He is drawn into a subversive group that needs his secret talents and he quickly becomes a chronicler of discoveries that threaten to destroy the very fabric of Neworld.

Can Fallon handle the weight of the new responsibilities thrust upon him while he navigates relationships with the feisty redhead Aidan and raven-haired beauty Lenore? (synopsis courtesy of

Neworld Papers: The Warriors' Tale is a sprawling adventure that takes Fallon and his friends from one end of Neworld to the other… and beyond.

Four months after writing The Historian's Tale, Fallon withdraws from day-to-day operations of the Movement as he struggles with a crucial question. If he reveals the cache of weapons in the armory, will it mean the salvation of his people or the end of Neworld?

Meanwhile, Missus Grier and the Movement prepare to break out of their underground confinement and Lenore moves topside to spread the historian's message across the length and breadth of Neworld. (synopsis courtesy of

Keith Shaw's iPulpFiction publishes original speculative fiction for all ages and offers Popular Publications The Black Mask Pulp Story Reader. These are not magazine reproductions. " is out to preserve the literary legacy of an entire class of American literature. We have created newly edited story manuscripts with restored covers and story headers based upon the original black and white artwork," according to the web page devoted to these editions.

IMAGES: Many thanks to iPulpFiction for the Neworld Papers cover art, (covers by Dug Nation) map, and logo

August 20, 2016

Will he sink or swim?

SF&F Literati discuss The Goblin Emperor
Then choose Autumn selections

NOTE: The Goblin Emperor was a 2015 Hugo Finalist.
Date: Monday, August 29, 2016, at 7:00 p.m.
Title: The Goblin Emperor

Author: Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette)
Available from: Fine Booksellers, including Barnes & Noble
Meeting Location: Barnes & Noble #2352, 2nd Floor
       11323 W. 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214

Plot Overview from Barnes & Noble
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life. 

Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor is an exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Doctor T Designs, for the cover art photo.

COME PREPARED! This is the evening we choose the reading selections for the autumn meetings.

August 18, 2016

Glimpses from MAC 2

Wandering around Bartle Hall at MidAmericon II . . .

Headed to Registration . . . (Bartle Hall)
Wonderful Art Deco entrance at Municipal Audidorium, near the access to parking.

The gaming area was closing down last night when I took this photo, but it's been a lively place.

IMAGES: All images were photographed by Jan S. Gephardt in Bartle Hall or the Municipal Auditorium during MidAmericon II in Kansas City, MO.

August 16, 2016

Are we there yet? Preparing for MidAmericon II

The 74th World Science Fiction Convention is in Kansas City this year. They were setting up today. Here's a preview:

IMAGES: Jan Gephardt took these in Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City on 8/16/2016. 
Please note that this is reblogged from "Jan S. Gephardt's Artdog Adventures," with the blogger's permission.

July 29, 2016

Plan ahead for Star Wars Day at MidAmericon II

MidAmeriCon II is pleased to announce that
it will be celebrating Star Wars with special guests, programming and exhibits on Friday, August 19, 2016.

MidAmeriCon II’s “Star Wars Day” will take place exactly forty years after the first MidAmeriCon hosted just the third public presentation to be made about a then-little-known upcoming movie. 

Charles Lippincott, Gary Kurtz, and
Mark Hamill in 1976.
Nine months before the May 1977 release which changed the world of cinema forever, advertising publicity supervisor Charles Lippincott presented the Worldcon members with a slide show promoting Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope. This was followed by a Q&A session where Charles was joined by actor Mark Hamill and producer Gary Kurtz.

MidAmeriCon II is delighted to announce that Charles Lippincott and Gary Kurtz will once more be attending a Kansas City Worldcon to talk about the Star Wars phenomenon, along with Alan Dean Foster, who ghost-wrote the original Star Wars novelization (and more recently, wrote the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

During the afternoon of August 19, Charles, Gary, and Alan will take part in a panel and Q&A session to discuss the marketing of Star Wars. In the evening, Charles will recreate the original MidAmeriCon slide presentation and participate in a further Q&A session. There will also be an opportunity
to watch a contemporary video of the original 1976 Q&A session.

These events will provide a unique insight into the way that Star Wars was presented and talked about before it became the worldwide phenomenon we know today.

Charles Lippincott will also be re-creating the associated special exhibit which was presented in 1976 at MidAmeriCon. This will use a combination of reproductions alongside original, contemporary props and other materials associated with the film.

The Star Wars events and exhibit will be open to all MidAmeriCon II attendees, subject to room capacity. Single day memberships for Friday, August 19, are available for $70 from the MidAmeriCon II website. Full, five-day adult memberships are available for $210.

IMAGES: Many thanks to MidAmericon II for its logo and the photo of Lippincott, Kurtz, and Hamill in 1976, and to Wikimedia Commons for the image of the original movie poster by Tom Jung.