April 20, 2017

Learning a secret that could mean everything she knows is wrong

Date: Monday, April 24, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.

Title: Updraft
Author: Fran Wilde
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.

Plot Overview from Barnes & Noble:
In Fran Wilde's Updraft, a young woman must expose a dangerous secret to save everyone she loves.

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother's side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city's secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever—if it isn't destroyed outright.

Bone Universe
1) Updraft
2) Cloudbound
3) Horizon (September 2017)

Come with ideas for future selections! April 24 is the night when the group decides what to read for the next three months' meetings!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Tor Books, for the image of the cover featuring Tommy Arnold's artwork.

April 15, 2017

Spring 2017 Creative Corner

What have the Creative Friends of KaCSFFS been up to, lately? Quite a lot, as usual.

Mark your Calendars!
ConQuesT 48
Regional science fiction conventions are nearing--and not only KaCSFFS' own ConQuesT 48, although we think that one is particularly notable! Set for Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28, 2017, technically every guest, programming participant, and exhibiting artist is a Creative Friend of KaCSFFS! So don't miss it!

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live April 21-23

KaCSFFS' Creative Friend John Picacio invites us all to come to Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, as it returns to the Kansas City Convention Center for a weekend of the best speculative art in the world. We are incredibly lucky to have such an event in our city. The show has shifted from its previous third-weekend-in-May time recently, but it is important for as many attendees to follow it as possible. We want to keep it in town! See John in Booth #418. He's bringing new originals and longtime favorites to display and sell.
John Picacio will offer four of his new Loteria pieces, as well as others, at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, April 21-23, 2017. Be there!
Our Creative Friends will be at 
other events in April and May, too! 
Here are some of them:
April:
StarFest Denver, Denver, CO (April 21-23, 2017): Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Festival of the Arts, Oklahoma City, OK (April 25-30, 2017): David Lee Anderson
Planet Comicon, Kansas City, MO (April 28-30, 2017): Rob HowellAaron Hollingsworth (selling his books and also swords, in association with Ziggy's West).
Art in the Square, Southlake, TX (April 28-30, 2017): Randal Spangler

May:
Ad Astra, Richmond Hill, Ontario (May 5-7, 2017): Rob Howell 
Downtown Edmond Arts Festival, Edmond, OK (May 5-7, 2017): Randal Spangler
DemiCon, Des Moines, IA (May 5-7, 2017): Ty and Jan Gephardt, Dora Furlong
Comicpalooza, Houston, TX (May 12-14, 2017): Bryan Thomas Schmidt 
Tulsa International Mayfest, Tulsa, OK (May 18-21, 2017): David Lee Anderson, Randal Spangler
ConQuesT 48, Kansas City, MO (May 26-28, 2017): EVERYONE. Be there!!
Art Market of Estes Park, Estes Park, CO (May 27-29, 2017): Randal Spangler
Paseo Arts Festival, Oklahoma City, OK (May 27-29, 2017): David Lee Anderson

Aaron Hollingsworth on Kickstarter

Folded Steel: More Tales of the Weird and Woeful is a collection short stories by local KC author Aaron Hollingsworth. The collection features tales inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith, with a loose theme of cruel irony. To cover the cost of printing and audiobook production for Folded Steel, Aaron is launching his first-ever Kickstarter Campaign. The campaign ends April 30, so if you want to back it, don't put it off!

Writer trio mounts regional book-signing tour
Little Green Men--Attack! co-editors Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Robin Wayne Bailey, both of whom also have stories in the collection, as well as James E. Gunn, who wrote another of the collection's stories, have been making the rounds of local book-signings in March and April.  

The anthology was released March 7, and in addition to work by Schmidt, Bailey, and Gunn, it includes stories by Robert Silverberg, Mike Resnick, Allen M. Steele, Esther Friesner, Elizabeth Moon, Seanan McGuire, Jody Lynn Nye, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and many more.

What's it about? "From the far reaches of outer space they come--inscrutable aliens, malicious invaders, wacky tourists from another planet--to conquer, study, and tickle us. From the battlefields of the Ozarks to the marble halls of the Boston Library, from Central Park to the skies above Washington, on the moon and in the seediest bars of Kansas City--they're here. But do they really know who they're up against? Not hardly!"

James K. Burk, A.K.A. Rob Jackson
Another March release, this one from WolfSinger Publications, is The Long Way Home, by James K. Burk, writing under the pen name of Rob Jackson. It's a science fictional break from Burk's previous fantasy genre novels and short fiction.

In this story, "a handful of men escape a Russian POW camp and make their way to Poland to alert whatever governments are left that the Russians are planning a strike simply called Operation A. They discover a world that has changed, devastated by plague and war, but where some groups are struggling to rebuild civilization, others continue to serve dead ideologies. The group becomes 'Recon Nine,' and sets out to track down the higher command from the prison camp who are instrumental in Operation A."


David Lee Anderson, Actor
David Lee Anderson
Longtime fantasy and sf artist David Lee Anderson has in recent years turned to additional creative areas. As noted above in the April-May calendars he has recently been showing his work in juried art shows and art fairs, alongside more traditional artists.

He also has been attending classes at The Actor Factory and landing parts in movies shot in Oklahoma. His most recent movie project was a lead role in a short film titled Assisted Living. He has already started on a "lead role in another project." We'll keep you posted about release dates, etc. when we learn about them. This is by no means his only role; as we announced in February, he also recently wrapped up a role, "Homeless Man," in a feature-length Harvey Lowry film called Southern Christmas.

IMAGES: The ConQuesT graphic is by Jan S. Gephardt and was created for use with KaCSFFS social media. The Spectrum Fantastic Art Live header is from the SFAL Facebook page. The John Picacio Loteria images are courtesy of John's Facebook page. The Folded Steel image is courtesy of Aaron Hollingsworth's Kickstarter page; it is the opening image in a short video about the project. Many thanks to Amazon for the cover of Little Green Men--Attack! The full, back and front cover image for The Long Way Home was provided by the author. The photo of David Lee Anderson is courtesy of his bio page

April 11, 2017

We're Young Adult at heart, for the April meeting's program--plus, we get a new Board!

What: Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting
When: Saturday, April 15, 2017, 6:00 p.m.
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
Food Theme: Favorite "Spring Things" to eat or drink

What's the buzz with YA science fiction and fantasy?
A year ago, David Means volunteered to make a presentation about YA (Young Adult) science fiction and fantasy. It is a growing field, but also one that has attracted some of the field's most esteemed writers for decades.

The Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter books, the Hunger Games series--it pays, to pay attention to this niche! But how exactly is it defined? What are the hallmarks of a great YA book and who are the hottest new writers in the field?

We hope you'll enjoy this discussion!


Time to renew the Board of Directors!
Who will replace Margene at the podium in
2017-2018?
Changes are in the works, on the KaCSFFS Board. This month, Margene Bahm will complete her second year as Director, and she's formally stepping down.

Who will replace her? While it's not too late for a contested race, so far David Means has been brave enough to step up for KaCSFFS Director. Looks as if this could be a really busy night for him!

All of the other current Board members have self-nominated to remain in their positions, although any other dues-paid member who's been in the club for at least a year may self-nominate on Saturday. If someone does, we'll vote to decide the matter.

For the record, your current Board Members are: Earline (Cricket) Beebe, who's been our Treasurer since 2014; Marisa Means, Secretary since 2016; Jan S. Gephardt, Communications Officer since 2011; and William McCullough, Registered Agent (a non-voting position) since 2016.

"Spring Things" Food Theme 
A lot of us are seasonal eaters. We look forward to tummy-warming comfort food for winter, seasonal fruits through the warm months, cooling drinks in summer, and so on. What are your favorite foods in springtime? We hope you'll bring some to share!


IMAGES: Many thanks to Bookish for the YA banner (featuring selections from Summer, 2016). The photo of Margene at the podium (by Jan S. Gephardt) is from the June 20, 2016 meeting. And many thanks to Amy Loves It, for the beautiful "Spring Produce" image.

April 04, 2017

Laser Rangers 2017 April Meeting Part 2

Game of Thrones Season 6 (Part 2)
Date: April 8, 2017
Time: 4:00pm
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: Ken Keller
Food: Dark Ages
Costume: Peasant

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event Page.


A short will be shown before we get under way!

Feature Presentation!
Game of Thrones Season 6 (Part 2)
Image Courtesy and © HBO
(2016, 300 minutes - The first 5 episodes) Directed by: Various Directors

Starring: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen, and more.

We saw lots of death and destruction last week. Let's do it again! -.ed

Watch a compilation of all trailers and clips for season 6 here here!


After the first couple of episodes, please join us for a potluck dinner. Bring something to share. We suggest browsing "Inn at the Crossroads" for ideas. We will continue the marathon after the meal. We hope to see you there.






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 30, 2017

Laser Rangers 2017 April Meeting Part 1

Game of Thrones Season 6 (Part 1)
Date: April 1, 2017
Time: 4:00pm
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: Ken Keller
Food: Dark Ages
Costume: Peasant

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event Page.


A recap will be shown before we get under way!

Feature Presentation!
Game of Thrones Season 6 (Part 1)
Image Courtesy and © HBO
(2016, 300 minutes - The first 5 episodes) Directed by: Various Directors

Starring: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen, and more.

The season follows the continuing struggle between the Starks and other noble families of Westeros for the Iron Throne. -Wikipedia

Watch a brief recap of Season 5 here here!


After the first couple of episodes, please join us for a potluck dinner. Bring something to share. We suggest browsing "Inn at the Crossroads" for ideas. We will continue the marathon after the meal. We hope to see you there.






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 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.