December 24, 2013

Jon Moss Reviews "The Hobbit" (Book)

Book Review by Jon Moss
Title: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkein
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Reviewed by: Jon Moss
Star Rating: 5 out of 5
A delightful introduction to the world of Middle Earth. Follow the adventures (or misadventures) of a respectable hobbit turned burglar, a wizard and a baker's dozen of dwarfs in their quest to slay the dragon, redeem the lost treasure and restore peace and prosperity among dwarfs, elves and men. Along the way, the young audience will learn the pitfalls and consequences of greed, pride and arrogance, tempered with a hobbit's good sense, good cheer, compassion and self-sacrifice. 

(Editor's Note: With Peter Jackson's movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug out in theaters since Dec. 13 and with his earlier movie based on this book, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, this seemed an apt moment to publish this review from our intrepid reviewer friend, Jon Moss.)
HOBBIT MOVIE REVIEWS GLADLY ACCEPTED! 
Email to Jan S. Gephardt.

IMAGE CREDIT: Many thanks to School Library Journal's A Fuse 8 Production blog, for the classic book cover image.

December 22, 2013

Remember, No SF&F Literati Meeting in December!

SF&F Literati Meet Again January 27, 2014
Meanwhile, if you haven't started reading the January selection, get going!
Save the date:
When: January 27, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Oak Park Mall
11323 W 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214 
On the 2nd floor by the windows 
Book of the Evening: Ack-Ack Macaque
Author: Gareth Powell

Overview from 
Barnes & Noble:
Startling, fast-paced SF from one of the most striking new voices. A cigar-chomping monkey, nuclear-powered Zeppelins, electronic souls and a battle to avert Armageddon.
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain's best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed 'Ack-Ack Macaque'. The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he's starting to doubt everything, including his own existence.
A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins encircle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. Meanwhile, in Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run.
And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon.

IMAGE CREDIT: Book cover image is courtesy of Barnes & Noble Booksellers

December 21, 2013

KaCSFFS Meeting Postponed!

Winter Storm Cancels KaCSFFS Holiday Party!
 Due to icy conditions, the KaCSFFS meeting scheduled for 12/21/2013 is postponed.

The management of The Writers Place has advised us to postpone the meeting because "we cannot guarantee your safety on our sidewalks and in our parking lot during an ice/snow storm."

And, quite frankly, we were leaning that direction anyway.

Stay safe, everyone! And HAPPY Holidays, everyone!

IMAGE CREDIT: Thank you, Alpine Daily Planet, for the "Road Conditions" image.  It captures our situation today pretty well! 

December 16, 2013

December Meeting 12/21/13 at 6 p.m.

Come to the Christmas Holiday Celebration Event of Cheer and Merriment! 

"Wreath of Khan" by Annie Shapiro. Just 'cuz.
Where
The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
When: Setup at 6:00 p.m., Business meeting at 7:00.
Meeting agenda:
Old Business: We had a great Thanksgiving! A BIG Thank You to Everyone who helped make it possible.
New Business
BOD Reports
-Treasury
-Communications
-ConQuesT: First Science Guest Bridget Landry.

Food Theme:
Holiday goodies!  Bring your favorites to share with the group.

Holiday Book Fair!
We've had advance notice that at least one person will be bringing books to sell.  If you'd like to bring a few for swap or sale, you might be helping another KAXFAN find just the right gift for just the right person.

Our apologies: the art display that was previously discussed will not be held.

IMAGE CREDIT: The Wreath of Khan by Annie Shapiro is courtesy of Makezine.

December 15, 2013

Let's talk Star Wars.

Star Wars Hockey, anyone?
The Missouri Mavericks professional hockey team is sponsoring a Star Wars Night December 20. 

Star Wars fans can get a discount on tickets two different ways, according to Ticket Account Representative Steve Christiani:

"Anyone wearing any sort of Star Wars gear will receive $5 off their ticket at the Box Office.

"or

"Anyone who calls in and mentions Star Wars Night can get Buy One Get One Free Tickets."  The phone number for tickets is 1-800-745-3000.

Home games are played at the Independence Events Center, 19100 East Valley View Parkway, Independence, MO 64055.

How much about Star Wars can YOU draw from memory?
Knowing this blog's readers--probably a lot!

But an artist named John Hendrix might give you a run for your money.  Neatorama recently posted a drawing in which he challenged himself to sit down and draw out everything he remembered about Star Wars, just from memory. According to the Neatorama article, Hendrix wrote, of this work:

"I can never repay George Lucas for what Star Wars gave me. Star Wars is so close to my heart, I honestly couldn’t decide what image to make for this show, it was just all too important. So I just decided to draw everything… from memory."

Here's his drawing, courtesy of Neatorama:
I hope you can see enough detail!  This thing is pretty amazing.
Hendrix is an illustrator from St. Louis.  Browse his website, and you may recognize some of his book covers!

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to the Minor League Hockey Report, for the Missouri Mavericks logo image, and to Neatorama for sharing the Jonn Hendrix Star Wars drawing.

December 14, 2013

KC Horror Book Club December 2013 Meeting

NOS4A2

By Joe Hill

Details:
Date and Time: December 15, 2013 (Sunday) from noon to 1:30.
Location: The Green Room Burgers and Beer
Address: 4010 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite D, Kansas City, MO.
Event Notes: 

Come and discuss NOS4A2 and grab some food too.

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son. -Harper Collins Publishers & Earline Beebe


Check the Facebook Event Page for more information.

Please contact Earline Beebe for more information on the Facebook event page.
Image from: amazon.com. Published by Simon & Schuster.

December 10, 2013

Laser Rangers 2013 December Meeting

Good Movies You Missed: 2013
Date: December 14, 2013
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: NO CAPTAIN!
Food: Pub Food, Pizza & Beer, Salad (Let's send 2013 out with a bang!)
Costume: Please wear something, the year's not over yet. ^_^

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event Page.

Short features may or may not happen. While the captain is away, the officers will play!

The World's End

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike

"[T]he third in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, following Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). The film follows a group of friends who discover an alien invasion during an epic pub crawl in their hometown. -Wikipedia

Before the festivities, please watch this infomative video trailer! It could save your life and turn a sad night, into a glad night.







~~~~~
After the feature, we will have our pub crawl, of sorts, to David's Kitchen & Dinning Room: Where Good times are had by all!
~~~~~


Feature Presentation!

Now You See Me
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Common, with Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman

"An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money. -IMDB

Look closely, you don't want to miss anything in this amazing trailer! It could save your life and turn a sad night, into a glad night.












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!

December 03, 2013

Upcoming Opportunities for KAXFEN

Dates to Remember!
KAXFEN may be interested in taking advantage of two opportunities this month!

Your Membership is Valuable: 
Get Extra Discounts at Prospero's Uptown this Sunday!
What: 
THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug Feast and Party!
Learn more at their Facebook Event Page! (Must be a Facebook user to access).
The movie comes out 12/13/13, and since the owners are Tolkien fans, they are throwing a pre-party!

Smaug the Golden is featured on the movie's production hoodie.

Where: Prospero's Uptown location, 3600 Broadway, #107 (next to Papa Murphy's), Kansas City, MO 64111--across the street and beyond the parking lot from The Writers Place where we have our monthly meetings!
When: 
Starts 6:00 p.m. THIS SUNDAY Dec. 8, 2013
What's the Discount?
Show your current KaCSFFS Membership card to receive:
$3 off the regular $15 price (so it's only $12) for FOOD, ENTERTAINMENT, and ONE DRINK.
$5 off any purchase over $20.
Can't make the party?  You still get 10% off purchases at Prospero's any day.  Just show them your current KaCSFFS Membership Card.

Discounts on Memberships to ConQuesT 45!
Remember, rates go up January 1!  Buy your ConQuesT 45 Membership now--only $30 for adults ($25 with military ID; $15 for kids 6-12 years old).
For many more details about ConQuesT 45, visit our website!

ConQuesT 45 promises to be a great party!  Don't miss it--and get low rates this month!
IMAGE CREDITS: many thanks to MovieWeb for the image from the production hoodie for the new Hobbit movie.  The ConQuesT 45 Noir logo is from our website.


 

November 17, 2013

SF&F Literati Meet Nov. 25, 2013

Read Fast!  
It's almost time for another meeting of the SF&F Literati!  

Selection: Krampus the Yule Lord, by Brom (yes, the artist)
When: November 25, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
WhereOak Park Barnes & Noble Bookseller, 11323 W 95th Street
Overland Park, KS 66214, on the 2nd floor.

Order Krampus the Yule Lord from Barnes & Noble or other fine book sellers.

Overview from Barnes & Noble:
Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murderer, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood. You have sung your last ho, ho, ho, for I am coming for your head. . . . I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide . . .
—from Krampus

The author and artist of The Child Thief returns with a modern fabulist tale of Krampus, the Lord of Yule and the dark enemy of Santa Claus

One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward, taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets back to earth, a magical sack that thrusts the down-on-his-luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse's new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, including how half a millennium ago the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.

Now Santa's time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself in his family's eyes, to save his own broken dreams, . . . and to help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to blogger Ryne for the cover image.  Read Ryne's review of Krampus on his blog, The Moon is a Dead World.

November 16, 2013

KC Horror Book Club November 2013 Meeting

Doctor Sleep

By Stephen King

Details:
Date and Time: November 17, 2013 (Sunday) from noon to 1:30.
Location: The Green Room Burgers and Beer
Address: 4010 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite D, Kansas City, MO.
Event Notes: Come and discuss the sequel to The Shinning and what happened to Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist) now that he is middle aged.


"Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals."-Amazon Blurb


Check the Facebook Event Page for more information.

Please contact Earline Beebe for more information on the Facebook event page. Synopsis from Amazon.com
Image from: amazon.com. Published by Simon & Schuster.

October 31, 2013

Laser Rangers 2013 November Meeting

Laser Rangers Assemble!

Date: November 2, 2013
Time: 4:50pm
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 and David Bridges
Food: Thanksgiving! Bring a side dish or dessert!
Costume: Formal Dress

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event Page.

This will be our only feature of the night. Please arrive early! Dinner and annual planning discussion to follow.


Marvel's The Avengers

(2012, 142 minuntes) Directed by: Joss Whedon. 

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, & Samuel L. Jackson.

Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. assembles a team of superhumans to save the planet from Loki and his army.

Before joining our ranks please watch this video trailer!







~~~~~
After the feature, we will have our Thanksgiving dinner complete with a turkey and all the sides. Then we will plan next year's line up. If you want to get involved and make a difference, please join us!
~~~~~



Next month: Will be movies released this year and voted on at the meeting! Don't Miss it!


 
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 Thanksgiving picture comes from http://www.umass.edu. The Horn of Plenty picture comes from www.ericnielson.com.

The movie screen frame image used for the Laser Rangers contact information is courtesy of Psychology Today Online. Many thanks to these websites!

October 22, 2013

Jon Moss Reviews "Ender's Game"

Ender’s Game
Novel
Author: Orson Scott Card
Reviewer: Jon Moss
Reviewer’s rating: 4 stars out of 5

I like everything about this book, except perhaps the ending. And I can't even say that I particularly disliked the ending; it just made my soul ache with remorse and regret - for Ender, for humanity, for the buggers.

The novel was fast paced and easy to identify with Ender.  The ending just left me feeling extremely sad for all the characters in this story. I shouldn't be shocked, though, as all conflict could be avoided with open and honest communication. The level of sacrifice evidence in Ender's story illustrates the pointlessness of our endeavors when communication is not possible.

Editor’s Note: If you haven’t read this book in a while—or if you’ve never read it—now might be a good time!  The movie based on this novel is set to debut in theaters nationwide on November 1, 2013.


IMAGE CREDIT: Barnes & Noble website.

October 20, 2013

Tevan Keltner Reviews "Insidious Chapter 2"

Insidious: Chapter 2 
Review by Tevan Keltner
Directed by James Wan (Writer)
Screenplay by Leigh Whannel
106 Minutes – Horror, Thriller
** out of ***** Stars

Hot off his immense success with his horror blockbuster “The Conjuring” director James Wan is at it again. Only this time, the first film did not warrant a sequel nor did it require an explanation of its twist ending, which is over analyzed and dragged out until the material is literally beaten to a bloody pulp, and buried. If you believe James Wan wanted to make this film, you are sorely mistaken. Even writer and actor Leigh Whannel was not in any way motivated, except by money, to write a gripping script.

Now is it entirely bad? No not at all. There are still elements of the film such as atmosphere and timing that deliver great scares and the actors are doing their best with a wooden script. They even find a way to bring back Lin Shayne from the first film. It is also a shame that Patrick Wilson gives a chilling performance in a script so boggled and pointless that it only serves to demean his performance. James Wan did a good job attempting to treat the material with as much respect as possible. Unfortunately, this movie did not need to be made. The first story was enough and beating a dead horse is supposed to be “Saw” territory.

 There is a story here and it is thought out. Leigh Whannel’s can definitely tell a tale. And it does live up to the Chapter 2 title. It’s a direct sequel and this movie literally starts the day after the first film ended. The Lambert family has moved into Josh’s mother’s (played again by Barbara Hershey) house, hoping to escape the horror of their last encounter with a series of paranormal entities. Hearing Barbara Hershey say: “Whatever was haunting my family isn’t done with us yet,” makes us groan. Another painful reminder of a sequel that should not be. This would actually have been a better Television series.

Is “Insidious: Chapter 2” recommended viewing? Even to “Insidious fans?” Probably not. While this film has characters and elements from the first film, it is overall a complete mess. While the actors do their best with a pitiful script - it just doesn’t satisfy. Spend that all so important discretionary income, instead, on another viewing of “The Conjuring” which should still be in theaters. One wonders, once again, if another paycheck is ever a reason to subject the world of film to this kind of mediocrity?

IMAGE CREDIT: IMP Awards website

October 18, 2013

KaCSFFS Halloween Party-10/19/13

The Monsters' Tea
Aaron Hollingsworth, in freaky-face!
Date: Saturday, October 19th
    Setup: 5:30 (help appreciated!)
    Party: 7-9:00
    Business Meeting: After the party
Place: The Writers Place (It’s haunted, you know!*)-3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
Theme: The Monsters’ Tea
Everyone is welcome!

The party-planners in our group have outdone themselves this year.  The Monsters' Tea of 2013 has a wide range of fun things planned--no matter what your Halloween favorite-thing-to-do may be!

Many thanks to Susan Satterfield, Susan Ives, Becky Rickart, Sherri Dean, Diana Bailey, and Jimmy Hollaman, for their efforts!

Pumpkin/Gourd Decorating
Go for cute, scary, or elaborate!
We’ll have a pumpkin/gourd decorating contest with the winners to be determined by vote of the attendees. Categories:
Scariest
Cutest or Funniest
Most Ornate
Please note: if you make a traditional jack-o-lantern, no candle flames can be allowed in the Writers Place – use a flashlight or something similar, instead!

Food (of course!)
We’ll a food contest, too, with the winner determined by vote. Bring your
scariest
funniest
tastiest
dish, and a card or note describing what the dish is supposed to be (just in case we can’t tell!)
The organizers are providing punch. Otherwise, bring your beverages or coolers.

Costumes (the best part?)
Costumes are encouraged. We mean –really-- encouraged.

These are BritishFest kids, but KAXFEN can get it right, too!
If you don’t wear your own costume, a special committee comprised of Susan Satterfield, Susan Ives, Becky Rickart, Sherri Dean and Diana Bailey may, uh, decorate you with costume materials they’re bringing. Awards will be presented to:

the scariest costume,
the funniest/cutest costume,
the best science fiction costume,
the best fantasy costume,
the most ornate costume,
the best kid’s costume.


Dance Events
It won't be complete without you!
Becky Rickart and Susan Satterfield will host a Halloween “limbo” event. Warm up your backs beforehand.
And we’re told there will be dancing – can you do “the Monster Mash? – hosted by Susan Satterfield. More prizes!

Halloween Quiz
Has, unfortunately, been cancelled. (Sorry for the disappoints all.)

(And some KaCSFFS Business)
And finally, the SCARIEST thing of ALL!!! Treasurer Cindy Norton will be collecting late dues from members and/or new dues from the ravenous hordes of new members sure to descend upon this fabulous … I mean … horrible event!

(Badges will be on site and ready-to-make! Come and get yours hot off the press!) 

There will be a short business meeting after the party.  Hang around afterwards, to help clean up.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to Robin W. Bailey, for the bizarre pic of our own Aaron Hollingsworth, Kristin, of the Homespun with Love blog, for the photo of the decorated gourd, Moose Mendolia for the parenting-advice photo from the BritishFest Facebook page, and Zazzle for the illustration of the dancing monsters.

*For more information on the haunting of the Writer's Place in Kansas City,  please check out Ghost in the Mirror: Real Cases of Spirit Encounters. (Excerpt from Google Books)