March 23, 2017

LITERALLY the father of the human race?

Date: Monday, March 27, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.

Title: Mr. Adam
Author: Pat Frank
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:
Originally published at the dawn of the Atomic Age, Mr. Adam is a riveting, chilling novel from the author of the post-apocalyptic classic Alas Babylon, revealing the dangers of nuclear power—and the far greater danger of government bureaucracy.

Author Pat Frank, in an undated photo from
the Florida Union-Times.
A young newspaperman accidentally turns up the biggest story of his career: On a certain date in the not-too-distant future, there are no reservations in the maternity wards of any hospitals in New York. When the journalist’s AP office checks other cities, he discovers that this alarming state of affairs is not just in the United States, but in the entire world. A few months earlier, an accidental explosion in an atomic plant in Mississippi released an unknown form of radiation that turned the Earth’s men sterile—with one notable exception.

Mr. Homer Adam, who was at the bottom of a lead mine in Colorado at the moment of the explosion, is the only man unaffected by the atomic rays. Naturally, he is in great demand, and sadly, it’s up to the government to decide what to do with him.

Updraft is the April Selection.
One of literature’s first responses to the atomic bomb, Mr. Adam is an artifact of classic science fiction—an equally biting satire and ominous warning to society—that will resonate deeply with readers today as it did when it was first published in 1946.

Do you have your copy of Updraft yet?
Plan NOW for the next meeting, on April 24!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Abe Books for the Mr. Adam cover image, to Wikipedia for the photo of Pat Frank, and to Tor Books for the Tommy Arnold cover of Updraft. 

March 20, 2017

Game Profiles of Small World and Mystery of the Abbey

Not Your Parents’ Board Games
By David Means

Small World
Small World is an area-control game. Players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all. SmallWorld is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs, and even humans, who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth.

The base game has 14 different fantasy races and 20 unique special powers, which are randomly paired each game. Players use their special abilities to expand their empires -- often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory.

Each race has a set number of population markers which players use to conquer adjacent territories. Once those markers are used up, you give up on your race, letting it go “into decline.” At the end of your turn, you score one point (coin) for each territory your races occupy.

Small World is one of the few games that has a double-sided board; the number of players determines which side of the board is used. There are also two variants and nine expansions, each of which adds three to five new races and an equal number of new powers.

You might like this tutorial:

Mystery of the Abbey 
Mystery of the Abbey is a whodunit game with a twist. If you are a fan of the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters, the PBS series, or the book and/or movie The Name of the Rose, you would probably enjoy Mystery of the Abbey.

The premise is that someone has pushed poor Brother Adelmo off the roof of the abbey onto the rocks far below. You are one of several monks tasked by the Abbott with finding out who the murderer is. 

The suspects are twenty-four monks of three different orders (Templar, Franciscan, Benedictine), and are either fat or thin, tall or short, bearded or clean-shaven, and hooded or not. 

By examining the suspect cards in the other players’ hands you need to deduce who the culprit is by process of elimination (the actual suspect card is placed under the board before play, like Clue). The game is a combination of the mechanics of Clue and Who Am I?

The game's publisher, Days of Wonder, has provided a short video overview:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND SERIES: In January 2016, KaCSFFS member and notable board game collector David Means gave a presentation to the club about his collection. It was so interesting, I asked for permission to reprint it as a series of posts on this blog. He graciously agreed, and supplied me with his script. I have divided it into several posts and added the illustrations, hyperlinks, embedded videos, etc. as seemed appropriate. --Jan S. Gephardt 

IMAGES: Many thanks to Board Game Geek for the photo of the Small World game cover and the photo of game pieces, to Amazon for the photo of the Small World game board with some of the pieces, and to Clever Move Quick Play for the three-minute tutorial. Many thanks to Board Game Family for the photo of the Mystery of the Abbey cover, to Thirsty Meeples for the photo of the board and some of the pieces, and to Days of Wonder for the short introduction to the game.

March 15, 2017

Author interview, Movie peek, and Anatomy of a great party: Don't miss the March meeting!

What: Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting
When: Saturday, March 18, 2017, 6:00 p.m.
Where: The Writers Place3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
Food Theme: Favorite "Room Party" food or drink

It's that time of year again . . . 
Don't forget to bring money for your annual dues ($25 cash or check; there's an additional $2 fee if you use a charge card). Only dues-paid members can vote on important club decisions.

One of these important decisions is who will be on next year's Board of Directors: March is also a month for self-nominations to the Board. If you think you'd be a good KaCSFFS Director, Secretary, Treasurer, or Communications Officer, March is the month to step up and say so. Elections will be held in April.

Author Interview with P.R. Adams
We'll kick off the evening's program with a live author interview. Whether or not you've had a chance yet to read this month's Reviewers' Reading Circle selection, Momentary Stasis, we hope you'll enjoy listening to our interview with its author, P. R. Adams

Momentary Stasis is a "hard sf" thriller set in a universe where humans have used alien technology to plant colonies beyond our Solar System. It tells the story of a US Army Special Forces sergeant who must down a rogue agent. But he and his partner discover that some of the biggest “power players” may or may not care whether humanity survives.

KaCSFFS is proud to offer a forum for emerging authors in search of a broader audience. The Reviewers' Reading Circle is designed to compliment our track record of inviting new, promising talent to be our guests at our annual ConQuesT sf convention--set this year for Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28, 2017 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center.

NEW! Movie Trailer and announcement!
Kansas City native Alex Haughey's new feature film Prodigy will be screened at the Kansas City Film Fest, April 5-9 at the Cinemark Palace on the Plaza--and we'll be showing a trailer for it after our author interview. We'll have more information then, about the movie and its screening times/dates (main screening time: Saturday 4/8/17 at 10:00 p.m.).

Get your Room Party on!
Science fiction convention "season" in our region is heating up--and one of the classic pleasures of sf cons is the room parties

But all room parties are not created equal. Join Earline Beebe as she takes a break from accepting dues to round out our evening by leading a discussion about the good, better, and best practices for an excellent room party. 

What are the hallmarks of a good party? Is it possible to have a fun room party without spending a fortune? Whether you're a veteran of many conventions or brand new to the "con circuit," we hope you'll bring your own best ideas. You can help stimulate the conversation by bringing examples of great room party food ideas!

What are some common mistakes to avoid? It's just as important to know about room-party-goers' pet peeves. What are some of the fastest way to ruin a party, and how can they be avoided?

No discussion of room parties would be complete, however without telling a few tales. What are some of your favorite room party STORIES? Let's close out the evening with some good laughs over the best room party stories you can bring!

IMAGES: We are grateful to the European Parliament's post, "Economic governance explained," for the photo of the empty cash box used in our "Treasury Rejuvenation Month" graphic. Many thanks to author P.R. Adams for the cover image of Momentary Stasis. The Prodigy header is from the movie's Facebook Page. The photo of the party balloons is courtesy of 24 Yes Daily.

March 07, 2017

Laser Rangers 2017 March Meeting

DC Dynamite
Date: March 11, 2017
Time: 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: The Keltners
Food: Mardi Gras
Costume: Superhero

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event Page.

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

Justice League Dark

(2017, 75 minutes) Directed by: Jay Oliva

Starring: Matt Ryan, Jason O'Mara, Camilla Luddington, Nicholas Turturro, Ray Chase

Batman forms Justice League Dark, a new team of dark arts specialists that is led by John Constantine. The team must unravel the mystery of a supernatural plague and contend with the rising, powerful villainous forces behind the siege.-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!
Suicide Squad

(2016, 123 minutes) Directed by: David Ayer

Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Cara Delevingne

A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse.-IMDB

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!

March 05, 2017

Every picture HAS a story

The stories behind the images
A guest post by Mitchell Bentley,
Atomic Fly Studios
Editor's note: While I was gathering information for the Mid-Winter Creative Corner post, I received a wonderful email from our Creative Friend and frequent contributor to the feature, Mitchell Bentley. It was full of interesting background notes on the four covers he'd most recently completed, and I thought his email would make the basis for an interesting stand-alone blog post. I asked; he agreed. We hope you find it interesting! --Jan S. Gephardt 

Judas Gene 

I completed a piece in December 2016 for Yard Dog Press. The piece title is A Short Hike to the Rail, and it was first completed in December, but the final printing had a resolution issue. This sometimes happens when an image is over-compressed.

I had to rework the final output to correct it, which is not an unusual occurrence. There is a second book already being written (possibly more in the series?), and I have already been contacted to do the sequel. This is my 10th cover for Yard Dog Press.

Judas Gene by Gary Moreau should soon be available at Yard Dog's convention tables, and is now available on their website.

Outposts of Beyond and Astropoetry
I resold the usage rights of two pieces to Tyree Campbell at Alban Lake Publishing, for use on Outposts of Beyond and a poetry book by Christina Sng. This is a common practice for artists and why keeping one’s rights can be very important. Of course, I usually give Tyree a nice deal to stay within his budget and because he also publishes my calendars.

The January issue of Outposts features my piece Fertility Temple Offerings, from my current 2017 calendar. This one is now available at Alban Lake’s convention tables and online.

Christina Sng’s Astropoetry features my image String Nebula II from my 2014 Calendar, which was also the cover. [Release date was to be in late February]

Earth Gamers
I am just now delivering a piece for a client, D. B. Schrock, that contacted me via my website. Sometimes I do not get to read the book, and usually that is when either time is of the essence, or when the author already has a concept they want depicted. In this case it was both reasons.

Essentially in a case like this the author acts as Art Director. All final files are then provided to a publisher or P.O.D. printer and marketing outfit such as CreateSpace or, as in this case, AuthorHouse Publishing. This should be released in the next couple of months. I am finishing out the contracts now.

IMAGES: All images were provided by the artist, Mitchell Bentley, for use in this post. All rights reserved.