April 07, 2018

Writers' groups--and local authors, reading--headline 4/21/2018 meeting

Local writers, writers' group panel, and officer elections on tap for April
What: Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society "Annual" Meeting 
WhereThe Writers Place
3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
When: April 21, 2018
6:00 set-up, 7:00 Self-nominations (and voting for officers, if necessary), followed by Program
Program: Panel discussion: How does a writers' group work? Followed by 20-minute readings by three local authors.
Food theme: Finger food to eat while reading

Officer elections
According to the new 2018 Bylaws, voted in by a quorum of dues-paid members at the December, 2017 meeting, there are two new officer jobs to fill on the KaCSFFS Executive Board.

We'll still have a Director, Treasurer, Secretary, and Communications Officer, whose job descriptions have not changed in several years. However, the new Bylaws state that the ConQuesT Chair will no longer have a voting position on the Board.

Instead, the new voting positions to fill will be Quartermaster (in charge of managing and storing KaCSFFS property, as well as transporting it to and from meetings as needed) and Program Director (in charge of developing program content for monthly meetings, communicating with speakers or presenters, coordinating with party-planners, and keeping the Communications Officer abreast of developments).

If you think you have the right stuff to fill one of these positions, please come to the April meeting! Nominate yourself! If two or more persons self-nominate for the same office, a quorum of the dues-paid members in attendance will vote to choose between them.

Robert Chilson and Dora Furlong will join
the panel discussion about writers' groups.
Local writers take the spotlight
Kansas City has a long, rich tradition of being the home of science fiction and fantasy writers. This continues today: many writers live and work in the Kansas City metro or nearby parts of the region; many of them, in turn, are members of writers' groups.

The Program portion of our meeting, to take place directly after the short business meeting, will consist of a panel discussion about writers' groups, and three readings by local authors.

We heard readings by a couple of Noble Fusion writers last October; in April the guest writers are members of the Writers-in-Rob's-Living-Room group, hosted monthly by Robert Chilson, a longtime author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels and short stories.

For the panel discussion and readings, we'll move to the Library upstairs. Rob himself and science fiction author Dora Furlong will join our three guest readers, Holly Messinger, Lynette M. Burrows, and Jan S. Gephardt to talk about writers' groups and how they function (or malfunction, sometimes).

Holly Messinger
Readings by Messinger, Burrows, and Gephardt:
After the panel discussion, three of the panelists with new projects on the horizon will read short selections from them.

Holly Messinger
Holly Messinger, author of gothic horror novel set in the old west  The Curse of Jacob Tracy (2015 from Thomas Dunne Books), will read from the upcoming sequel, Curious Weather (due in 2019 from St. Martin's Press). 

Here's a brief description of the book:
"When Jacob Tracy—Civil War veteran, ex-seminarian, and reluctant psychic—agrees to move into Miss Fairweather’s St. Louis mansion and study magic with her, he has one purpose in mind: to hunt down and destroy the necromancer Mereck, a predatory madman who has twice tried to make a meal of Trace and trapped Trace’s partner Boz in a monstrous half-life.

"Sabine Fairweather has her own grievance with Mereck, though Trace doesn’t know the details and doesn’t particularly want to. The woman may be a brilliant scientist and a powerful witch in her own right, but there is darkness in her and bitter secrets that threaten the tenuous faith Trace has in her.

"With Mereck’s minions circling ever closer, and old allies posing unexpected threats, Trace knows he and Sabine have no choice but to trust each other. But for that to happen, he will have to lay bare all the deepest secrets of her soul…and quite possibly her heart."

Lynette M. Burrows
Lynette M. Burrows
Lynette M. Burrows  is the author of My Soul to Keepan alternate-history thriller set for release from Rocket Dog Publishing this summer (stay tuned to her website for details).

Here's a brief description of the book:
"Miranda Clarke lives a charmed life . . . until she breaks the rules.

"It is 1961 but the world isn’t the one you know. The Prophet Josiah Shepherd, backed by billionaire J. D. Wagner and the Isolationist movement, kept the United States of America from entering World War II. The Nazis control Great Britain, Europe, and Northern Africa. Unopposed, Japan rules the east. America is a theocracy, a land of righteous repression led by the Fellowship and its council of greedy white men.

A concept drawing of one of the deadly Azrael, by Lynette's 
husband, artist Robert Burrows.
"Miranda’s parents are part of the Fellowship's elite, the inner circle. Her father, the nation’s premier preacher-politician, is on his way to the presidency. And Miranda's hope of living a quiet, private life vanishes. But when Miranda makes a break for freedom, she learns everything she thought she knew is a lie:

"Her vengeance-seeking aunt isn’t dead.

"Her parents and the supposedly benevolent Fellowship Council aren’t benevolent.

"And the terrifying tales of the angel-assassins called Azrael aren’t just stories.

"Miranda must escape a religious re-education prison, discover the truth behind her horrifying nightmares, outwit her mother’s deadly ambitions, and destroy the ruthless, cloned angel-assassins who pursue her—or die."

Jan S. Gephardt
Jan S. Gephardt,
by Colette Waters
Jan S. Gephardt is the author of What's Bred in the Bonea space opera/mystery set in a future when Humans have found or created other habitats in the reaches of space. If all goes well, it'll be available in summer or early fall 2018:

Here's a brief description of the book:
"XK9 Rex is a dog who thinks too much.

"When a spaceship blows up among the docks at the Hub of Rana Habitat Space Station, the implications reach to the highest levels of the tiny sovereignty. But Rex is sidelined by a rookie mistake that has put his Human partner Charlie in the ICU.

"Now he’s on the outside looking in: worried, lonely, desperate to get back to his Pack and his life’s-work. He and his Packmates have been engineered and cyber-enhanced to be the most advanced forensic tools available to law enforcement, by a famous genetics lab—underwritten by the military intelligence of Transmondia, the Chayko System’s dominant power.

Rex in a happier moment: giving Charlie's niece Sophie a
doggie-back ride, as envisioned by Lucy A. Synk.
"But the XK9s are more than forensic tools, and more than their owners, the Ranan Orangeboro Police Department, ever bargained for. When Rex strives to prove just how capable he and his Packmates truly are, he unmasks a secret that could destabilize the entire System—and places all XK9s everywhere in mortal peril."

IMAGES: Many thanks to the Monterrey Peninsula Water Management District, for the "Elections" logo; Robert Chilson and Dora Furlong, for their photos; to Holly Messinger for the photo of her; to Macmillans for the Curious Weather cover image; to Lynette M. Burrows for the photo of her, as well as the photo of the Azrael by her artist husband Robert Burrows; to Colette Waters Photography for my head shot; and to Lucy A. Synk for the whimsical vision of XK9 doggie-back riding.

April 01, 2018

Laser Rangers 2018 April Meeting

Tired of Your Life?
Date: April 14, 2018
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: TBA
Food: Lembas (Elven) Bread
Costume: Fantastical!

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

The Neverending Story


(1984, 94 minutes) Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach, Patricia Hayes, Sydney Bromley, Gerald McRaney, Moses Gunn

A troubled boy dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book. -IMDB

Watch the Old trailer
Watch the Modern trailer












 

~~~~~
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!
Stardust


(2007, 127 minutes) Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Jason Flemyng, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter O'Toole

In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he'll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm. -IMDB

Watch the trailer







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 20, 2018

Winter's icy grip on speculative fiction--and RAYGUNS!

This post goes live on the first day of spring--so what's its theme?

Winter, of course!

Specifically, winter as a theme in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Why? Because your Intrepid Editor finally laid her mitts on the list of the (mostly books and movies) that came up during our February meeting discussion (the aforementioned I. E. could not attend personally, on account of being at Capricon 38 that weekend).

So let's celebrate Spring by . . . um, anyway, here are some of the titles on the discussion list. All are at least partially set in winter or winter-like conditions, or involve a winter theme.

The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis.
The Shining, the book by Stephen King, and the classic movie it inspired; also, King's Dreamcatcher.
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman (part of the His Dark Materials series).
Hogfather, Discworld #20, and Wintersmith, Discworld #35, by Terry Pratchett
Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin.
Winter in Eden, by Harry Harrison.
Game of Thrones, inspired and guided by the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin.
Helliconia Winter, by Brian Aldiss, (third in the Helliconia Trilogy).
Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
Cold Days, The Dresden Files #14, by Jim Butcher
The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
The World in Winter, by John Christopher
Tombaugh Station, by Robin Wayne Bailey (Pluto is pretty winter-like, you've got to admit!)
John Carpenter's The Thing (1982 movie).
Snowpiercer, the French graphic novel trilogy illustrated by Jean-Marc Rochette, with several different co-authors.
Quintet, the 1979 movie starring Paul Newman.
Ice Planet, a movie released in 2001.
Stargate (in which a second stargate, AKA The Beta Gate, was found in a glacier on Antarctica).

But wait! There's more! We also promised you
Rayguns!
Yes, the March meeting featured a nice collection of rayguns, in keeping with our Mars/Marvin the Martian theme. We thought you'd like to see them, too.

David Means's raygun had both lighting and sound effects.

Despite a turnout depressed by stiff competition from assorted St. Patrick's Day celebrations and our local Naka-Kon anime convention, we had a nice assortment of rayguns, complete with discussions and demonstrations, courtesy of Tyrell Gephardt, Corey Barber, David Means, Rosemary Williams, and Tanya Holthouse.

At left, the full Raygun Array. At right, Tanya Holthouse shows off her Darkwing Duck Bubble-Blowing Raygun, as well as her classic Marvin the Martian T-shirt.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Amazon, for the Wintersmith cover image, and to Rotten Tomatoes for the movie poster image from The Thing. Your Intrepid Editor, Jan S. Gephardt, took all the photos from the March 2018 meeting, with permission, for use in KaCSFFS publicity. If you should wish to re-post them, please do so with a link back to this post and an attribution. Thanks!

March 17, 2018

Less than two weeks to go!

SF&F Literati storm the gates of Hell in March
DateMonday, March 26, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.
TitleWho Wants to be The Prince of Darkness?
AuthorMichael Boatman
Available from: Fine Booksellers, including Barnes & Noble
Meeting Location: Barnes & Noble #2352, 2nd Floor, 11323 W. 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214
NOTEAll are welcome to the meeting, whether you’ve read the book or not.

Overview:
Lucifer is enjoying his retirement in an obscure corner of Limbo when he learns of a plot by Gabriel, the current ruler of Hell, to use humanity’s greatest weapon against it – Television!

Cue the hottest reality game-show ever conceived: Who Wants To Be The Prince Of Darkness? Gabriel orchestrates an “Infernal takeover” of Earth by stealing unwitting mortal souls and sending them to a mostly empty Hell, hoping to reinvigorate the Infernal Realm.

Now Lucifer must find a living champion to seize control of Hell and free millions of stolen mortal souls before the theft becomes permanent. But who would ever want to be Hell’s champion?

Many thanks to Amazon, for this book description.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Goodreads for the cover image.

March 13, 2018

March meeting is a call to arms--Rayguns, that is.

What: Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting (Annual "Fiscal" meeting)
When: March 17, 2018, 6:00 set-up, 7:00 brief business meeting and discussion of collections
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
Food theme: Martian-inspired food, OR Irish food (after all, it's ALSO St. Patrick's Day!)

Rayguns at the ready?
Come on, admit it. You probably have a raygun or two in your closet . . . if not proudly mounted over your fireplace!

If so, Bring it. Come prepared to share a short history and demonstrate the lights, sound-effects, etc., or your sfnal arsenal, be they rayguns a la Marvin, Barsoomian swords, or other weapons.

In a spirit of inclusion, of course, we're also open to Gravity Hammers, Noisy Crickets, Bat'leths, Reverberating Carbonizers, Jaffa Staffs, Blasters, Phasers, Light-Sabers, Series 4 De-Atomizers, or any other science-fictional dealers of pseudo-destruction. We want to see them ALL!

Bring out your SWAG!
We're fans. Of course we have collections of fun stuff--be it fun Stuff We All Get, or more exclusive collectibles. March is the month of Mars, so in honor of Marvin the Martian (and all the other Martian references throughout our favorite genres) please bring some Martian-themed show-and-tell items.

Even if you're light on laser weapons, if you have any Martian SWAG to share, bring it on! The program this month is a chance to wander around the displays, talk with fellow collectors, and appreciate the creative range of our favorite genres. The more the merrier!

What's an "Annual Fiscal Meeting"?
It's what you think it is. Eventually, it's time to pay our dues--and this month is it, if you want to be able to vote for (or become) new (or renewing) officers next month. Or vote for any important issues that come up from time to time.

For example, a quorum of our dues-paid members voted in December 2017 to adopt new Bylaws, which, among other things, changed our dues structure. Current dues are now $36 per year for a regular "General" membership, or $60 per year for a regular membership plus a full-weekend membership for ConQuesT, our annual science fiction convention.


ConQuesT will be held, as it is every year, on Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-27, 2018, at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center, Kansas City, MO. A regular weekend adult membership for this year's convention is currently $50, so the dues option offers a considerable discount for fans who live close enough to benefit from monthly meeting programs.

Speaking of Officers
KaCSFFS officers must be General or Life Members in good standing (yes, that means they, too, must pay their dues). The voting positions on the Executive Board are:

  • Director 
  • Treasurer 
  • Secretary 
  • Communications Officer 
  • Quartermaster 
  • Program Director

They must self-nominate, and if elected (or if they are unopposed) they will serve for one year. Voting (if necessary) and induction of new officers is done at the April "Annual" meeting. If any of these offices interests you, please feel free to come, pay dues, and nominate yourself for your chosen office at the March meeting!

IMAGES: Many thanks to CG Vector for the Marvin the Martian character image! The ConQuesT header image is from our ConQuesT convention website. 

March 01, 2018

Laser Ranger March 2018 Meeting Part 2

Game of Thrones Season 7 (Part 2)
Date: February 10, 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 (
Inn at the Crossroads)
Costume: Peasant

 
A short will be shown before we get under way!

Feature Presentation!
Game of Thrones Season 7

Image Courtesy and © HBO
(2017, 150 minutes - The Last 3 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

Here's a comparison of the differences betwee the characters of the show and book 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!

February 26, 2018

Will Gabriel's devious plot succeed?

SF&F Literati storm the gates of Hell in March
Date: Monday, March 26, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.
Title: Who Wants to be The Prince of Darkness?
Author: Michael Boatman
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.

Overview:
Lucifer is enjoying his retirement in an obscure corner of Limbo when he learns of a plot by Gabriel, the current ruler of Hell, to use humanity’s greatest weapon against it – Television!

Cue the hottest reality game-show ever conceived: Who Wants To Be The Prince Of Darkness? Gabriel orchestrates an “Infernal takeover” of Earth by stealing unwitting mortal souls and sending them to a mostly empty Hell, hoping to reinvigorate the Infernal Realm.

Now Lucifer must find a living champion to seize control of Hell and free millions of stolen mortal souls before the theft becomes permanent. But who would ever want to be Hell’s champion?

Many thanks to Amazon, for this book description.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Goodreads for the cover image.

February 25, 2018

Laser Rangers 2018 March Meeting

Game of Thrones Season 7 (Part 1)
Date: March 03, 2018
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 (
Inn at the Crossroads)
Costume: Peasant

A recap will be shown before we get under way!

Feature Presentation!
Game of Thrones Season 7

Image Courtesy and © HBO
(2017, 200 minutes - The first 4 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 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 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!

February 20, 2018

Do you Tesseract?

Coming Monday! 
The SF&F Literati discuss a classic!
Date: Monday, February 26, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.
Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeleine L'Engle
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. But we recommend you use this opportunity to read this SF classic before you see the movie! (opens in theaters March 9, 2018).

Overview: 
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in The Time Quintet, which also consists of A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable TimeA Wrinkle in Time is soon to be a movie from Disney, directed by Ava DuVernay, starring Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling.

Many thanks to Amazon for this book description.

IMAGE: Many thanks to witchqueen of arkham's Twitter feed, @voidember, for this particular  A Wrinkle in Time cover, by 2004 ConQuesT Artist Guest of Honor, Jody A. Lee.

February 03, 2018

Laser Rangers 2018 February Meeting

Master Martial Artists
Date: February 10, 2018
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: Ty G.
Food: Chinese/American
Costume: Traditional Chinese


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

Jet Li's Fearless

(2006, 105 minutes) Directed by: Ronny Yu

Starring: Jet Li, Dong Yong, Nakamura Shidō II, Collin Chou, Betty Sun

After a terrible tragedy, a martial artist (Jet Li) retreats to a remote village to gain a new appreciation for the important things in life, but when he returns to the city to reconcile his past with the present, he gets caught up in a duel to the death defending China's honor. -Google

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!
Ip Man

(2008, 108 minutes) Directed by: Wilson Yip

Starring: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Gordon Lam, Fan Siu-wong, Xing Yu, Chen Zhihui, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Tenma Shibuya

During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense.-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!