June 22, 2017

Remember: SF&F Literati meet Monday, June 26!

Date: Monday, June 26, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.
Title: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge
Author: Paul Krueger
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.

The June selection stirs up a potent brew of troubles for a freshly-graduated millennial who's taken a bartending job that lands her among a secret society of bartenders who fight demons with alcohol-magic.

What do reviewers say about Paul Krueger's debut novel?

“Krueger’s enjoyable light contemporary fantasy novel will satisfy fans of bars and bartenders…the winning main characters and the occasional histories of the drinks provide plenty of fun.”—Publishers Weekly 

“…one of the most fun urban fantasies that I have ever read, with a sharp, kick-ass heroine who faces demons, a pushy mom, a possibly unrequited love interest and a plot to take over the world. You know you should be reading this with a tall, cool glass of your favorite libation close at hand.” –San Diego Union Tribune

“The main character makes this book great, as the voice and insight are believable and fun. This book will appeal to a wide range of sf fans as the rest of the cast is believable and the hidden world of tremens (demonlike creatures) is great.”—Booklist

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

June 15, 2017

It's picnic time! Saturday June 17, 2017

When: Saturday, June 17, 2017--Setup begins at 5:30 p.m.; plan to eat 6:30-7:00 p.m.
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64111
Bring: Beverage of your choice, plus a side dish to share (members can sign up on the KaXFEN email list!)

It's the Annual KaCSFFS Picnic
Our traditional evening of gathering to share food, play tabletop games and eat or distribute all the ConQuesT Con Suite leftovers while they're still fresh is upon us!

Join us for an indoor-outdoor event that accommodates all abilities and respiratory capabilities. KaCSFFS provides hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, condiments, ConQuesT Con Suite leftovers, and table service. Please bring your own beverages and a side dish to share (there's a sign-up on the KaXFEN email list for members).

But WAIT! There's more!
Reviewers' Reading Circle Summer Selection

We'll kick off our new summer Reviewers' Reading Circle selection, Stupid Humans, by V. R. Craft. This is the program's first humorous selection.

What's it about? "What if all the intelligent humans abandoned Earth... and we're what's left? Samantha is a journalist who travels through the wormhole to New Atlantis and discovers that embarrassing reality when she meets the People, humanity's more intelligent--and smugly superior--distant relatives. Unfortunately, thanks to humanity's penchant for fighting, a Human/People conflict is brewing. She could almost forget she's not on Earth, except the People have tails and don't slap idiot warning labels on everything . . . "

KaCSFFS' Reviewers' Reading Circle program offers free downloadable copies of current books by lesser-known and emerging authors, available to dues-paid KaCSFFS members via links provided through the email KaXFEN list. Members may download the selection as a review copy during the two-month period following the first announcement. Read some or all of it, and if you choose, write a short review.

At the July 15, 2017 meeting, we'll have a live author interview with V. R. Craft via Skype or FaceTime, to discuss the book and answer questions. The selection will remain available through our August meeting.

KantCon presentation

There also will be a presentation about KantCon, the annual gaming convention, to be held July 14-16, 2017, in Overland Park, KS. It features lots of different gaming possibilities and a costume contest.

For more information, please come to our presentation at the meeting! You can also learn more at their website. Get some fun glimpses of their events at the KantCon gallery.

Dare we mention it? Membership cards!
As promised, new, 2017-18 KaCSFFS membership cards will be available for all dues-paid members, on a laminate-while-you-wait basis. Show your card for a discount at Prospero's Books!

IMAGES: The "KaCSFFS Picnic" header was made for this event by Jan S. Gephardt, based on a photo taken in 2015 by Jan S. Gephardt. The Stupid Humans header is from V. R. Craft's Stellar Sarcasm website, the Stupid Humans book cover image is from Amazon, and the KantCon header and gaming dragon logo are from their website. Many thanks to all!

June 11, 2017

Not quite last call yet: you have TWO WEEKS!

Have you started Paul Kreuger's Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge yet? Still considering whether to read it or not? It's the June featured selection for the Kansas City SF & F Literati.

They'll meet to discuss it in about two weeks, on Monday, June 26, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the Oak Park Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Overland Park, KS.

What's the book about? The website of location host Barnes & Noble offers this overview:

"In this sharp and funny urban fantasy novel, booze is magic, demons are real, and millennial Bailey Chen joins a band of monster-fighting Chicago bartenders instead of finding a 'real' post-college job.

"Bailey Chen is fresh out of college with all the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and an awkward relationship with Zane, the old friend she kinda-sorta hooked up with during high school.

"But when Zane introduces Bailey to his monster-fighting bartender friends, her demons become a lot more literal. It turns out that evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can be hunted only with the help of magically mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and rum lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all these powers be enough for Bailey to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? And what will she do when the safety of a 'real world' job beckons?

"Perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and grown-up readers of Harry Potter. Includes 14 recipes from a book of ancient cocktail lore."

A limited number of copies are available through the Johnson County Library or Mid-Continent Public Library. It's also available from meeting host Barnes & Noble Booksellers,  Amazon, or our local Kansas City bookseller, Rainy Day Books.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Amazon for this book cover image.

May 29, 2017

Sturgeon Award Nominees Announced by Gunn Center

Finalists for this year's Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short science fiction have been selected, announced Christopher McKitterick, Director of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The Sturgeon Award will be presented during the Campbell Conference Awards Banquet on Friday, June 16, 2017, as part of the annual Campbell Conference.

The Sturgeon Memorial Award trophy
Finalists for the 2017
 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award
Nina Allan, “The Art of Space Travel,” Tor.com, 27 July 2016. 
Amal El-Mohtar, “Seasons of Glass and Iron,” The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, eds. Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, Saga Press, 2016. 
Carolyn Ives Gilman, “Touring with the Alien,” Clarkesworld, April 2016.
Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black TomTor.com, February 2016
Ian R. MacLeod, “The Visitor From Taured,” Asimov’s, September 2016
Sam J. Miller, “Things with Beards,” Clarkesworld, June 2016
Dominica Phetteplace, “Project Empathy,” Asimov's, March 2016.
Catherynne M. Valente, “The Future is Blue,” Drowned Worlds, ed. Jonathan Strahan, Solaris Books, 2016. 
Kai Ashante Wilson, A Taste of Honey, Tor.com, 13 October 2016.
A full house at the authors' panel, at the 2015 Campbell Conference.

The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award recognizes the best science fiction short story of each year. It was established in 1987 by James Gunn, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU, and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon, including his partner Jayne Engelhart Tannehill and Sturgeon's children, as an appropriate memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction.

Here's a glimpse of the 2015 Campbell Conference Banquet.

The Campbell Conference has been held each year since 1978, usually in Lawrence, Kansas. It includes a Friday-evening banquet where the annual Theodore Sturgeon and John W. Campbell Memorial Award are presented; a Saturday round-table discussion with scholars, scientists, and writers of science fiction; and other events.

Another view of the Campbell Conference held in June 2015.

For information about attending the Conference or Awards Banquet, see the Campbell Conference page.

IMAGES: Many thanks to the Gunn Center's website for their banner, to File 770 for the photo of the Sturgeon Award trophy, and to the Campbell Conference Facebook Page for the three photos from the 2015 Conference.

May 22, 2017

Avoid the rush: get yours now

Be prepared for the next SF & F Literati meeting, on Monday, June 26, 2017!

Order or reserve your copy of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, by Paul Krueger now! 

A limited number of copies are available through the Johnson County Library or Mid-Continent Public Library. It's also available from meeting host Barnes & Noble Booksellers,  Amazon, or our local Kansas City bookseller, Rainy Day Books.

Krueger says his book is "about a secret society of bartenders who fight demons with alcohol-magic." According to Barnes & Noble, it's a "sharp and funny urban fantasy," in which "booze is magic, demons are real, and millennial Bailey Chen joins a band of monster-fighting Chicago bartenders instead of finding a 'real' post-college job."

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

May 20, 2017

Quick reminder: SF&F Literati Monday night!

Date: Monday, May 22, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.
Title: Quantum Night
Author: Robert J. Sawyer
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.

The May selection is a recent book written by this year's ConQuesT Writer Guest of Honor (the May meeting is held on the third Monday, so it won't conflict with the Memorial Day Weekend timing of ConQuesT, Kansas City's longest-running science fiction convention. This year's Writer GoH is Robert J. Sawyer, a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author with a reputation for writing provocative, cutting-edge science fiction. The May selection, Quantum Night, was published in 2016.

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

May 16, 2017

Ideas needed! Craft future programming at May 20th meeting!

What: Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting
When: Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 6:00 till 9:30 p.m.
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64111
Food theme: Favorite meeting-fare samples

Time to get creative
Join new Director David Means and your KaCSFFS friends for an evening of creative development this Saturday! It's time to plan the meeting programs for the next twelve months.

Barry Haldiman starts with a puzzler's overview.
Recent Directors have encouraged the discovery of interesting, hitherto-unknown-by-KaCSFFS collections, skills and talents of our members.

For instance, we've gained fascinating insights from Barry Haldiman's crossword-puzzle-creation skills.

We've been amazed and delighted by William McCullough's collection of Armed Services Editions, the half-sized paperback books that turned a generation of American soldiers into a nation of readers.

We've enjoyed Corey Barber's extensive collection of wonderful fantasy and sf art, and been enlightened by David Means-and-Family's collections of tabletop games (still providing us with interesting blog posts a year and a half later), plus most recently YA books (last month's fascinating program).

William McCullough and (most of) his collection of Armed Services Editions, many of them sf.

We also have been beguiled by interesting speakers, such as YM Rivadineira and her amazing costumes--and who could forget the R2 Builders, whose presentation has been considered by some the "best program ever"?

Then-Director Margene observes the R2 Builders presentation
We also have brought together authors doing readings, artists exhibiting fantasy and sf artwork, as well as panel discussions, such as the one in March, when Earline "Cricket" Beebe and Ty Gephardt gave an inspiring presentation on how to throw a great room party, or the one presented several years ago about the Kansas City connections to authors in our genres.

Recent meetings also have been more multi-media, combining live presenters in the room with remote interviews via FaceTime with authors K. B. Shaw, Julia Mandala, and P. R. Adams, or movie previews and videos, such as those produced to promote MidAmericon II. If you like that trend, please tell us!

And don't forget the food! KaXFEN love to eat, and we include some amazing cooks among our number. Several of our meetings each year are organized around food (the Annual Picnic; Thanksgiving, the Chili Cook-off). Are there other food-centered events we should consider?

The possibilities are as wide-ranging as our genres and interests. Please take some time to think about presentations you'd like to see, or any other hidden talents or amazing collections we haven't yet explored.

IMAGES: The photos of Barry and William were taken by Jan S. Gephardt. the photo of the R2 Builders' presentation is by Ty Gephardt, via Facebook. All are used with permission.