March 25, 2012

Next Stop: Mars! (via Overland Park)

A Princess of Mars Headlines SF&F Literati Program 
The 1917 edition featured a cover by
Frank E. Schoonover
When: March 26, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
WhereBarnes & Noble #2352, 11323 W 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214, 2nd Floor

As announced several weeks ago, the SF&F Literati group will celebrate the release of the John Carter movie by reading Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars, first in the "Barsoom" series.

Carol Doms writes, "This is a repeat book. It was discussed in January 2003. But I am sure [the] release of the John Carter movie this month was the deciding factor in selecting this book again.  Beth reports that it is available as a free Kindle book."

It also is available as a Nook book and mass market paperback, from Barnes & Noble Booksellers online.

The Barnes & Noble overview says, "A Princess of Mars is the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom series. It is also his first novel, predating his Tarzan series.

“John Carter, a Confederate veteran, goes prospecting in Arizona immediately after the end of the Civil War. Having struck a rich vein of gold, he runs afoul of Apaches. While attempting to evade pursuit by hiding in a sacred cave, he is mysteriously transported to Mars. 

"Carter finds that he has great strength and superhuman agility in this new environment, as a result of its lesser gravity. He soon falls in with the Tharks, a nomadic tribe of Green Martians. Thanks to his strength and combat abilities, Carter rises to a high position in the tribe and earns the respect and eventually the friendship of Tars Tarkas, one of the Thark chiefs.

“Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan, ‘Lost Worlds,’ and the heroic Mars adventurer, John Carter.”

Order next month's book now!
Steven Harper's The Doomsday Vault Featured in April!
Harper's Steampunk opus is
the April selection.
When: April 23, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
WhereBarnes & Noble #2352, 11323 W 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214, 2nd Floor

This recent release (November 2011) is the first of the new "Clockwork Empire" series from Harper, a prolific and established writer. You can buy the book from Barnes & Noble online.

The Barnes & Nobles overview says, "“In a clockwork Brittania, Alice's prospects are slim. At 21, her age and her unladylike interest in automatons have sealed her fate as an undesirable marriage prospect. But a devastating plague sends Alice off in a direction beyond the pale-towards a clandestine organization, mad inventors, life-altering secrets, and into the arms of an intrepid fiddle-playing airship pilot.”

COVER IMAGES: The vintage Schoonover cover for A Princess of Mars is courtesy of Wikipedia.  The cover shot for The Doomsday Vault is from Barnes & Nobles.

March 22, 2012

The Rest of . . . Several Stories

Scroll down for important notes on the KaCSFFS Election!
Laser Rangers Announce Special Saturday Show!
Game of Thrones Special Features Showcased
Get in the mood for Season Two on Saturday 24th!
Grab your broadswords and shields, pikes and battle axes..."Winter is Here!"  With the recent release on Blu-ray of the first season of HBO's multiple award-winning "Game of Thrones" (and the series' 2nd Season coming to HBO on April 1st), this coming Saturday, the Laser Rangers are hosting a special alternate Laser Rangers sequel/follow-up to our 10 episode Game of Thrones marathon held last November. All are invited.
Ask David for location information!

     Start Time: 4:45 PM
Location: The Usual (several miles N.E. of The Kansas Speedway and Nebraska Furniture Mart in KCK--see contact information in the proscenium arch illustration).
     Dinner: Join us for a Pot Luck (or just bring your own dinner)

Enjoy the 51" Samsung Plasma Screen 1080P viewing, 5.1 Audiophile Grade Sound System, and comfortable, theater-style seating.

For this special session we'll be showing various Blu-ray extras, both before and after the dinner break. Here's a sampling of what's available that you've not seen before:
     A Making of "Game of Thrones" Documentary
     15 Character Profiles 
     Creating the Dothraki Language 
     Inside the Ancient Order of the Night's Watch 
     From Book to Screen: How It Was Done 
     Creating The Series' Emmy-Winning Opening Title Sequence
     7 Voice-Over Audio Commentaries Guide to Westeros
Blu-ray Exclusive Features:
     The Complete Field Guide to Westeros: What You Need To Know 
     An In-Episode Guide 
     Anatomy of An Episode
And, as one additional, sepcial extra:
     7 Hidden "Dragon Eggs" (i.e., actors' audition tapes that won them their roles)

Keep scrolling down,  for important notes on the KaCSFFS Election!
Program Notes for Writers at the Last Meeting
We didn't have information about the fiction pieces to be read before the meeting. In case you'd like to follow up and read more, here it is:
Notes on fiction read Saturday March 17 follows.
L-R, our guests were: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Sarah Frost, and Sherri Dean.
     Sherri Dean was first to read. Her story was "“Possum Love, Princess of Mars,” published in two different Yard Dog Press “Bubba” anthologies, Flush Fiction and Houston: We’ve GotBubbas!
     Sarah Frost next read an excerpt from a short story, “A Pilgrim at the Edge of the World,” possibly soon to be published in On Specthe Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic.  
     Bryan Thomas Schmidt finished the evening with two excerpts from his recently-published novel, The Worker Prince, which in December was recommended as one of the Honorable Mention group of “Barnes & Noble's Best SF Releases of 2011." 
     Contrary to the previous announcement, Jim Murray did not present a reading. The evening's three readers were recorded, for possible future use in a podcast. We will keep you posted.

You're here at last! More important notes below, too! 
We Have A Contested Officers' Race!!!!
Well, SOMEWHAT contested. There are two self-nominations for the post of Secretary. Here's who they are, along with their "Why you should vote for me" statement (in their own words):

Jeff Orth (incumbent):
"Jeff is bad secretary. he will continue to be a bad secretary. Some body should kick his ass. Diana certainly would appreciate it."

Sherri Dean (challenger):
"I already did this [serve as Secretary] before, but . . . I could do it again if you like." (Author's note: Not only did she serve with distinction as Secretary, but she also has chaired ConQuesT).

Since Jeff did not withdraw his self-nomination upon hearing this (in fact, affirmed that he would not), we will have an election. It will take place at the April 21, 2012 KaCSFFS Meeting at The Writers Place.

In addition to a live election at
the April meeting, KAXFEN also
can vote Absentee this year.
Only current, dues-paid members are eligible to vote (memberships were due for renewal March 17). If you have not renewed your dues but wish to vote, you may pay online. See the sidebar at right for the PayPal button.

If you are a current, dues-paid member, but you know you will be unable to come to the April meeting in person, you may vote via Absentee Ballot this year, for the first time. Copy your Absentee Ballot from the ABSENTEE BALLOT page at the top of this blog, or download the PDF from the KAXFEN Yahoo Group.

All Absentee Ballots must be filled out, signed, and received at the KaCSFFS Post Office Box before the April meeting. Complete instructions can be found on the Official Ballot form.  Be sure to mail yours in plenty of time!

Introducing Your 2013 ConQuesT Chairperson-Elect, 
Victoria L'Ecuyer
Victoria responded to my pre-meeting call for self-descriptions by nominees with an interesting, much more lengthy response than those of other would-be office holders. She was unopposed on the 17th, so our Bylaws dictate that she is considered to have won by acclamation.

But because many KAXFEN don't know her well, here is her self-introduction:

Victoria as Co-Chair, at last year's
Closing Ceremonies (by K. Stokes)
Hello, my name is Victoria L'Ecuyer and this is my 12th year working ConQuesT.
I started out as a simple volunteer who showed up and helped out when there was nothing happening that I wanted to attend. For a couple of years I'd pop up at Joyce Downing's elbow, asking, "What can I do to help?" Then, when I just showed up and did the work without asking, Joyce made me her staff. When she thought about stepping down, she made me her co-director. 

About the time I was thinking of stepping down as Director of Registration, John asked me to be his vice-chair. I thought about it for a while. I really wanted to say "no" and walk away for good, but in the end I said "yes."

This was because I tell people to "quit bitching or do something about it" when they go into long rants about what is bothering them about a situation (or person)  they're involved in (or with). John offered me a chance to "do something" and I took it. 

You know how good (or bad) I was at running registration. (I'm well aware that some people think I sucked at it. I am also aware that I can't please everyone.) Right off the bat I was asked to make pre-printed badges happen. It was a challenge first implementing then working the kinks out badging process, but it happened. Along the way, and with Cindy Norton's help, I found and closed every single crack where stuff can get lost regarding paying membership and registration. (Getting a new Head of Registration and new Treasurer at the same time makes for Interesting Times.)
As Vice Chair last year, I created the concom's agenda and took minutes for the concom, then distributed them. This had the effect of reducing the five-hour meetings down to two or less. Setting the agenda and taking minutes is still being done by the Vice Chair. Our new record set by the current Vice Chair is a one-hour meeting.
As acting Co-Chair last year, I started the Chart of All Knowledge in an effort to manage convention logistics for scheduling. I did it again this year as official Co-Chair. This has made things easier for the various departments to keep track of who is doing what. It also helps the hotel to know when they can get in to clean and refresh the meeting rooms and con suite during the convention.  Because most authors schedule their appearances 1-3 years out, I've been working on next year's Guests of Honor for the last few months.
Because this year's Vice Chair is moving to Alaska in September, there is a chance you'll have me as chair for two years running. Yes, I'm already scouting for a new Co-Chair and Vice Chair. Unless someone decides to take over my duties, I'll show up and do the work in 2013. And possibly 2014. 

The Remaining Uncontested Nominations for the 
Board of Directors are:

President (formerly Director):
Diana J. Bailey (incumbent)
"Well, I guess I'm crazy enough to try it again."

Cindy L. Norton (incumbent)
"After 3 years still attempting to figure out who was crazier, Ken K.  for asking, or me for accepting, I figure it is a tie. [There has been] no impeachment, and I keep nominating myself.  Still working on achieving the 501(3)c; setting up a record-keeping method for the Con that is simple enough that anyone can take over, and, importantly, the fun days still outnumber the crappy days, so [I'm] still having fun."  

Communications Officer (formerly Editor):
Jan S. Gephardt (incumbent)
"I used to be a graphic designer and marketing specialist, and I have tried to use these skills to develop the Blog, enliven the Directory, and aid other communications efforts on the Club's behalf . In my second term I hope to continue expanding and streamlining KaCSFFS communications, and aligning the design of all KaCSFFS public media, so we present a consistent image."

IMAGE CREDITS: The Game of Thrones title is from the Screen Rant blog. The movie screen frame image used for the Laser Rangers contact information is courtesy of Psychology Today Online. The photo of Bryan Thomas Schmidt came from the bio page on his website. The photo of Sarah Frost is from her Writertopia profile. The photo of Sherri Dean is her Profile Picture on Facebook. The Ballot Box image is from the MyLot image service. The photo of Victoria L'Ecuyer in Valkyrie chapeau is from the Midamericon Photo Archive (ConQuesT 42 photos by Keith Stokes. THANKS, Keith!!). 

March 16, 2012

John Carter and St. Patrick--Plus Important Decisions

Introducing a new "Reviews and Commentary" Tab!
Check the tabs above this post, and notice there's a new one available. We've been wanting to start a page such as this, featuring comments about, and reviews of, works in our spectrum of genres for a while, now!

The page will feature opinions on books, artwork, theatrical productions, music . . . any art form that our readers care to write about. The page debuts with commentary and a brief review of the movie John Carter, written by KAXFEN Ken Keller and David Sooby.

Green Men of All Sizes--and Friends--Are Welcome and NEEDED at the March 17 Meeting!
Bring St. Pat's goodies to share!
Come early to The Writers Place, if you want to park within easy walking distance! We'll be competing with The Hoolie (featuring The Elders) at the Uptown Theater at the other end of the block that night.

We have many important pieces of business and several pleasant diversions in store.

You don't have to be green (it's never easy), but please do WEAR green! And bring green food, too! Check out the recipes on the "Lehigh Valley Live" website, if you need inspiration! 

SF and F authors reading at the March 17, 2012 meeting, L-R: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Sarah Frost, and Sherri Dean.
Jim Murray, A.K.A. Dr. Paisley, will
be on hand to read from vintage issues
of the KaCSFFS 'zine, Cacophony
Remember your delight as a little kid, when the wise adults in your home offered to tell or read a story? (If you have no such memories, we offer our sincere condolences for missing one of life's delights).

Recapture childhood glee with our program on Saturday!

KaCSFFS' own Bryan Schmidt, Sherri Dean, and Sarah Frost will read for about 15-20 minutes each, from one of their recent works of science fiction or fantasy.

Jim Murray also will read from one or more vintage issues of Cacophony, a fanzine/newsletter that he edited, and which was published by KaCSFFS for several years in the 1980s and 1990s.

No one particularly likes to pay dues, but annual dues are DUE in March. When you pay your dues, either online via the sidebar to the right, or in person at the meeting Saturday, they do three very important things for KaCSFFS members:
(1) They make us members-in-good-standing, when they are paid on time.
(2) They thereby allow us to run for, and vote for, our Board of Directors.
(3) They also thereby make us eligible for member-discounts at ConQuesT 43, both locations of Prospero's Books, Aquarius Books, Vulcan's Forge, and The Marrakech Cafe, when we show our current membership card.

Memberships for New Members and Renewals
We will have a separate room upstairs where members can pay dues and receive laminated membership cards for the current KaCSFFS fiscal year. Members who already have paid, either online or at the February meeting, also may pick up their cards.

YOU MUST BE A CARD-CARRYING CURRENT KACSFFS MEMBER TO VOTE FOR OFFICERS IN APRIL. No "voter fraud" allowed--show your card for a ballot!

This meeting also will be the next-to-last chance to buy a ConQuesT 43 membership in person, and get the club discount (We will sell discounted memberships at the April meeting, too). Online club discounts will be available through April 30

Last Chance to Declare Your Self-Nomination for the KaCSFFS Board!
In KaCSFFS, no one can nominate you but yourself--and the last chance to do so for the 2012 Election is Satuday's meeting! This is because of an Absentee Ballot provision being introduced with the new Bylaws that are required for the 501(c)3 application.

Under the new Bylaws, the five elective offices on the KaCSFFS Board of Directors are President (under the old Bylaws, this office was called Director), Secretary, Treasurer, Communications Officer (formerly Editor), and ConQuesT Chairperson for the planning year (in this case, that means the ConQuesT 44 Chairperson. John Platt IV will serve out the final month his Chairpersonship of ConQuesT 43, without having to run for the office he has been filling all year).

And About Those Bylaws:
The Provisional Draft of the 2012 KaCSFFS Bylaws, which will bring the club into compliance with the Legal Code of the State of Missouri for its 501(c)3 application will be presented for commentary and voting. The version provisionally approved (or not) will be subject to further modification, pending a review of the Provisional Draft by the KaCSFFS membership.

We have a Bylaws Committee that has been working on this draft since last year. Any member in good standing who wishes to join this committee for the Final Drafting process should speak to Committee Chairperson Jan S. Gephardt Saturday, and all suggestions for revisions that come up in the discussion before voting on provisional approval will be noted and acted upon during the Final Drafting process.

A final version, titled Bylaws of the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, Inc., and dated 2012, will be the subject of a straight up-or-down vote by the members at the May meeting.

Other Notes:
Help Robin W. Bailey clean out
his bookshelves!
We will have "get well" cards available at the meeting to sign for Alex Boyd and Suzette Haden Elgin. Diana Bailey will have them upstairs at the membership table.

Robin W. Bailey will be clearing out bookshelf and garage space by setting up a book sales table near the refreshment area, and selling books from 5:15 until the business meeting starts at 6:30. 

He says, "come a little early, check out what I've got on the table, and maybe find a few bargains. I'll have a selection of my own books and anthologies, as well."  

PHOTO CREDITS: The St. Pat's Day party cupcake image came from Lehigh Valley Live. The recipe is there, too, along with several others that look fabulous. The photo of Bryan Thomas Schmidt came from the bio page on his website. The photo of Sarah Frost is from her Writertopia profile. The photo of Sherri Dean is her Profile Picture on Facebook. Jim Murray's photo came from his profile on GooglePlus. The "candidate" image is from the Dixie County elections web page, for Dixie County, FL. The "Bylaws Book" image is from the A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering "ByLaws/Standing Rules" page. The "Book Sale image is from the Friends of the Batesville (IN) Memorial Library news page. Many thanks to all these sources for the use of these images!

March 03, 2012

March Laser Rangers Special Event: Back to the Future Marathon

NOTE: Early start time!

(Teaser video complied, edited, and arranged by Tyrell Gephardt) 
Time Traveler's Checklist
(Graciously provided by your friendly time travel vacation agency)

Temporal Coordinates (Date & Time): 10 March 2012 13:30* CST (1:30PM *Special Adjustment made for Fannish temporal anomalies.) Official start time 14:00 (2pm) CST

Relative Spacial Coordinates (Where & What): 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 brand new seating for about 15 people without crowding.
(Be on alert! This location is known for temporal disturbances!)

Period Cuisine (Food Theme): American!
Western Theme: Stews, “strong” drinks, hard tac, beans, etc.
50s: TV Dinners, hamburgers, malts & shakes, etc.
80s: Box dinners, microwave & crockpot dinners, Pepsi Free, etc.
Current: Um … food you eat everyday or think will still be around in less than three years? Dippin' Dots? Food pill supplements? 
(Remember! You must at least ACT like you are enjoying your time period food as to not draw suspicion upon yourself and cause undue terrible time troubles.)

Period Costumes (Dress theme): Cowboys, Indians, nerd shirts, rolled up blue jeans, vests that double as life preservers, radiation suits, or the trendy clothing of today that never goes out of style.   
(Remember! There wasn't a lot of synthetics before the 60s, so remember to pack natural materials.)

Time Navigator (Captain Laser): Tyrell Gephardt
Theme: Back the the Future!!

Instructional Videos
(Please take the time to review these videos in order to make your time vacation a pleasant one.)
At 14:00 CST (2PM), the first of Rober Zemeckis's time travel trilogy was shown to an amazing turn out of attendees for a Laser Ranger's meeting that was not surpassed until the showing of “Das Boot” and “Yellow Submarine.”** In this time travel comedy, the audience was introduced to Marty McFly, a down on his luck high schooler who just wanted things to go his way until an accident sends him thirty years back in time from 1985 to 1955 where all he has to do to go home is save his parents' marriage.

First Feature:
Back to the Future (1985*, 116 min); Directed by Robert Zemeckis; Starring: Micheal J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thomson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, James Tolkan & Claudia Wells; Written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale; Distrubuted by Universal Studios, USA.

Authentic Period Review:
(We know this is authentic because it was written for the VHS release!)
“Back to the Future is one of those movies that you love to watch over and over again. You get so involved in the story, that (even if you aren't a sci-fi fan) you can't stop watching. Michael J. Fox is Marty McFly, a typical teenager who accidentally gets sent back to the year 1955 in Doc Brown's (Cristopher Loyd) time machine. There, he has to repair the damamge [sic] he has done by bringing his parents bac together and then of course get "Back to the Future. Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson are a wonderful supporting cast. Unfortunatey, this movie has been out of print for quite some time now. Amazon, PLEASE GET IT BACK! It hasn't even made it to DVD yet. If you ever get a chance to buy this movie then do it, it's worth every penny.” -Radom Amazon Reviewer, AKA ManiacMansionJason (Thibodaux, Louisiana United States.) This review is from: Back to the Future [VHS] (VHS Tape)

Short (to precede first feature):
Invader Zim: “Bad Bad Rubber Piggy” (approx. 15 min.)

Break: 10 Minutes. ~14:10 (4PM) CST

Family Guy: “Back to the Pilot”

At 16:00 (4:00PM) CST, the Rangers will break for ten minutes. Afterwards, we will reconvene to watch the second part of Zemeckis's time epic, wherein Marty discovers a problem with his future that only his past (present) self can fix. With Doc's help, of course. But that is only the beginning a much bigger problem.

Second Feature:
Back to the Future Part II (1989*, 108 min); Directed by Robert Zemeckis; Starring: Micheal J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thomson, Jeffrey Weissman, Thomas F. Wilson, James Tolkan & Elisabeth Shue; Written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale; Distrubuted by Universal Studios, USA.

Futuristic Review:
(It's “futuristic” because they're talking about the Blu-Ray release!)
Back to the Future is one of the best popcorn movies ever made. It's ingenuity, time-traveling twist ups and wonderfully vibrant characters resonate in ways few films ever achieve. It's funny. It's sad. It's imaginative. It's great sci-fi, and terrific family entertainment. In short, Back to the Future is brilliant.

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd share a terrific on-screen chemistry, and the supporting cast (including Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson, and Thomas F. Wilson) are just amazing.

And while many people hate or dislike Back to the Future Part II for being mean-spirited and darker – it's equally as brilliant. In fact, until the third Harry Potter book (and the film, respectively), no one had ever really attempted the time-traveling interweave that unraveled in BTTF Part II. Taking the sequel narrative and splicing it into the intricate web of the first feature is one of the boldest, most entertaining concepts ever put on paper. Sure, the film has a clunky first act – which takes place in a hilariously overblown futuristic society – but the film knows just how, and when, to entertain us, and it does so in spades. -by R.L. Shaffer (Read the full review)”

Dinner: 18:30 (6:30PM) CST
Internet clips from How it Should've Ended, Nike, & Robot Chicken

The dinner bell will ring about 18:30 (6:30PM) CST to be followed by the final flick around 19:15~:30 (7:15~:30PM) CST. Get along little doggies, this isn't one to miss! 

Third Feature:
Back to the Future Part III (1990*, 118 min.); Directed by Robert Zemeckis; Starring: Micheal J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Lea Thomson, Thomas F. Wilson; Written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale; Distrubuted by Universal Studios, USA.
In the third and final installment of this time traveler’s tale, we are taken back to the climatic scene that ended the first film. Marty must again travel through time, but this time he's got to go back to the past in order to make it home.

A review of a third movie in a series of three:
“Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd go on their third journey through time, this one winding up in the wild west, where Lloyd falls in love with schoolteacher Mary Steenburgen. Once again, Robert Zemeckis directed from a script he did with Bob Gale, and again Lea Thompson and Thomas F. Wilson costar. This is a good deal more likable than part two because the product plugs have been held back, and Zemeckis is clearly having fun alluding to his favorite westerns; there's also a certain sweetness and charm in the Lloyd-Steenburgen romance, although, like most elements in this trilogy, these qualities tend to be more conceptual and programmed than felt.” By Jonathan Rosenbaum.
To learn more about this triptych and see the individual sections in a larger resolution, please visit:

*Date does not reflect actual time period or time frame that video focuses on.
** Future reports of Laser Rangers actives are taken from one possible outcome and is subject to the various neo-quantum chaos theories. (Editor's Note: This time travel agency is not held responsible for any time altering actions you may have taken while on your trip.)

More information can be found at the Laser Rangers website. If you need directions to the program location, use the information inside the proscenium arch:

Back to the Future Part I trailer:
Back to the Future Part II review:
Back to the Future Part II trailer:
Back to the Future Part III review:
All other low res-poster images come from Wikipedia commons and are free to use under the fair use act.)
The movie screen frame image used for the Laser Rangers contact information is courtesy of Psychology Today Online.

Updated: 3/7/2012 Changed Short from Family Guy "Mind over Murder" to "Back to the Pilot."