November 18, 2017

Following up: 45 Recommended Authors, plus our October guest readers

The KaCSFFS Thanksgiving Feast at The Writers Place is now in the rear-view (it was taking place when this post went live), but there are some updates due, from recent meetings past.

Recommended Reading
Back in September, inspired by our program of a reading by Christine Taylor-Butler, we posted this notice:

"You wouldn't be a KaXFAN if you didn't love reading. Whose fiction gets your juices flowing or inspires your imagination? We'll have a place where you can share a list of your favorite books and authors, too. We'll publish the list in a future blog post. If you can't make the meeting--or even if you can--please feel free to post a comment that shares some of your reading favorites! KaCSFFS is all about sharing our love of reading."

We got several pages of recommendations from our members (though no comments on the blog post--y'all are falling down on the job!). You'll find a lot of so-called Golden Age SF in this list, but also an eclectic mix of others. Remember, this list is not exhaustive, so we apologize if we left off your favorites: you should have left a comment! (You can do that now, in the place below this post!) Also, not to seem as if we're playing favorites, the recommendations are listed in alphabetical order by the author's last name. 

Ilona Andrews: The Magic series.
Isaac Asimov: The Foundation Trilogy; The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, I, Robot, plus "the rest of the robots and many more."
Robert Aspirin: The Myth Series.
Robin Wayne Bailey: The Saga of Frost Series, Shadowdance, "and many, many others."
David Brin: The Uplift Series.
Edgar Rice Borroughs The Barsoom (John Carter/Mars) stories, and Tarzan.
Octavia Butler: "Oh, my God, everything!"
Alan Dean Foster: The Tar-Ayim Krang, and the rest of the Flinx series and associated stories
Zenna Henderson: The Books of The People, especially Pilgrimage, and No Different Flesh
Robert E. Howard: The Conan stories.
N. K. Jemisin: The Broken Earth Series. 
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Left Hand of Darkness and other Hainish novels, the Earthsea books, and many others.
George R.R. Martin: Of course A Game of Thrones, but also Wild Cards, "and earlier works."
Elizabeth Moon: The Serrano series the Paksenarrion books, and Vatta's War series.
Andre Norton: The Last Planet, The Zero Stone, Breed to Come, the Witch World Series, Beast Master, and "most everything else." 
Naomi Novik: Uprooted, and the Temeraire novels.
Nnedi Okorafor, The Binti series, Akata series, and "pretty much everything she writes."
Spencer Quinn: The humor-suspense Chet and Bernie mysteries "not normally marketed as fantasy, but when they're narrated by a dog . . . "
J. K. Rowling: The Harry Potter Series, "especially as read by Jim Dale on audiobooks."
John Scalzi: Old Man's War, Redshirts, "and many others."

As we've said--if you don't see a favorite on this list, please comment below!

Revised Readers
Before our October meeting, we announced that our program would feature short fiction or excerpts by three authors--but as it turned out, one of them had to cancel at the last minute, and another agreed to step in. Our final lineup consisted of Sean Demory, Sherri Dean, and Allison Stein.

The fiction was delightful, although the space was a bit tight--our venue had made an "oops" and booked another event during our time slot (we've since worked that out!). But we all managed to be cozy in the Library (what better spot for a reading, after all?).

Local author Sean Demory read an intriguing chapter from a current work-in-progress, to set the mood for the evening. Standing: KaCSFFS Director David Means. In the background: Allison Stein and Sherri Dean.

Sherri Dean read an as-yet-unpublished story (pages custom-edged with appropriate Halloween-themed designs) that managed to be both gruesome and humorous at the same time.

Allison Stein rounded out the evening with a seasonally-appropriate story, Field Test #421, from the Yard Dog Press anthology Flush Fiction Vol. II: Twenty Years of Letting it Go! edited by Selina Rosen; cover art by Sherri Dean.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Goodreads, for the Asimov Foundation cover image; to Barnes & Noble Booksellers for the Corey Leviathan Wakes cover art; and to Amazon for the Schoen Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard cover art. The photos of our October readers were all taken with permission, by Jan S. Gephardt, for use in KaCSFFS communications such as this. If you wish to use one, we request a credit and a link back to this page. Thanks!

November 13, 2017

KaCSFFS Thanksgiving Saturday!

What: Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting
When: Saturday, November 18, 2017, 6:00 p.m. setup
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
Food Theme: Thanksgiving Feast

Join our festivities!

Here's part of the 2016 dinner crowd. We'll save a place for you this year, if you'll come!

Please join us on Saturday for the annual KaCSFFS Thanksgiving Feast. It's our best-attended meeting each year (KaXFEN love to eat!),  and it'll be here before you know it.

This year, we're also encouraging like-minded people from sf, fantasy, horror, anime, and similar, speculative-fiction fandoms to come join us at The Writers Place in Kansas City, MO, and bring favorite goodies to share.

The Food
What kind of goodies to share? KaCSFFS provides the turkey, so we do need to know if you're coming! Email us, please, or respond to our Facebook Event. We ask all who come to bring a side or dessert to share potluck-fashion. If there's a special drink you'd like to bring, feel free.

Sides include: Vegetable dishes (except broccoli--sorry! We've learned most KaXFEN won't eat it), bread, potatoes or stuffing, salads or fruit salads, cheese, relish, and suchlike.

Desserts include: Pies, cakes, cookies, tarts, candies, or other such things, to end the meal on a sweet note. Please consider the diabetics among us--consider bringing a sugarless alternative (be sure to label it!).

Glimpses of our "groaning board" and some of our partakers, from our 2015 and 2016 Thanksgiving events. Identifiable, L-R: Ruth LichtwardtTy GephardtPaul BurnsBeth MoscatoMarisa MeansDavid Means.

More snapshots from the Food Department, 2015 edition: Our turkey-carver is James "Dr. Paisley" Murray.

We also hope some
maybe bring along a card game or other tabletop game you think might be fun to play after dinner.

PHOTOS: Many thanks to Jan Gephardt and Ty Gephardt, for the photos used in this post--and to all the KaXFEN who allowed them to take their photos for club communications. Feel free to re-post any you like, but PLEASE include attribution and a link back to this post! Thanks.

November 09, 2017

Just over two weeks left to save Britain from Zombies!

Two weeks till doomsday!
The clock is ticking!

The Kansas City SF&F Literati meet November 27, 2017, at the Oak Park Barnes & Noble in Overland Park, KS, at 7:00 p.m. on the second floor, to discuss the November selection, The Clown Service, by Guy Adams.

What do the critics say?
"The Clown Service is fun and rips along like the finest episode of the old Avengers series" —The Independent on Sunday

"I just couldn't put it down ... highly recommended" —FantasyBookReview.co.uk The Clown Service is a Recommended Book of the Month from Fantasy Book Review, which also called it "a fantastic read."

"The Clown Service is a great beginning to what could become a classic series. Guy Adams has all his pieces in place, and ably demonstrates what he can do with them. If the dark gods of publishing -- and his audience -- so decree. ... one of my top three reads of the year" —SFSite.com

"it feels like Men in Black but a lot more British and sensibly funny" —The Bookbag 

"This is the spy thriller that Douglas Adams never wrote ... it's hilarious and well worth your time" —Starburst magazine

Toby Greene has been reassigned. After one screw-up too many, he finds himself at a largely forgotten branch of the British Intelligence Service, working for August Shining, a Cold War relic, and charged with defending the country from paranormal terrorism. But when an ex-Soviet-era enemy returns with an insidious plan to raise the dead and destroy London, it seems Toby's impossible job is to save Great Britain—whether he believes it or not. (Editorial review shorts and Description courtesy of Amazon)

IMAGE: Many thanks to Goodreads for the cover art image.

November 04, 2017

What will you bring to the Feast?

Join the festivities!

Here's part of the 2016 dinner crowd. We'll save a place for you this year, if you'll come!

In two short weeks on November 18, 2017, it'll be time for the annual KaCSFFS Thanksgiving Feast. It's our best-attended meeting each year (KaXFEN love to eat!),  and it'll be here before you know it.

This year, we're also encouraging like-minded people from sf, fantasy, horror, anime, and similar, speculative-fiction fandoms to come join us at The Writers Place in Kansas City, MO, and bring favorite goodies to share.

Glimpses of our "groaning board" and some of our partakers, from our 2015 and 2016 Thanksgiving events. Identifiable, L-R: Ruth Lichtwardt, Ty Gephardt, Paul Burns, Beth Moscato, Marisa Means, David Means.

More snapshots from the Food Department, 2015 edition: Our turkey-carver is James "Dr. Paisley" Murray.

KaCSFFS provides the turkey, so we do need to know if you're coming! We ask all who come to bring sides or desserts to share potluck-fashion, and maybe also bring along a card game or other tabletop game you think might be fun to play after dinner. We provide tableware, but if there's a special drink you'd like to bring, feel free.

PHOTOS: Many thanks to Jan Gephardt and Ty Gephardt, for the photos used in this post--and to all the KaXFEN who allowed them to take their photos for club communications. Feel free to re-post any you like, but PLEASE include attribution and a link back to this post! Thanks.

October 31, 2017

Laser Rangers 2017 November Meeting

Laser Rangers Annual Thanksgiving Celebration
Date: November 4, 2017
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: We're All Captains Today
Food:Thanksgiving Feast

Costume: Elegant Dinner Party Fashion

To learn more, and coordinate what food to bring, please visit our Facebook Event Page!

This is our annual Thanksgiving Feast extravaganza and the meeting where we choose the movies for the upcoming year. Please join us and share in the celebration as we recount old memories, make new ones, and plan for those yet to come. As always short features will be shown before the main feature. You won't want to miss this!

Feature Presentation!
Wonder Woman

(2017, 141 minutes) Directed by: Patty Jenkins

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya

When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, Diana, an Amazonian warrior in training, leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny.-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!

October 23, 2017

Are you ready to overcome your Scientism and join Section 37?

If you haven't ordered or reserved your copy, NOW's the time!
The Kansas City SF&F Literati plan to meet November 27, 2017, at the Oak Park Barnes & Noble in Overland Park, KS, at 7:00 p.m. on the second floor, to discuss the November selection, The Clown Service, by Guy Adams.

Toby Greene has been reassigned. After one screw-up too many, he finds himself at a largely forgotten branch of the British Intelligence Service, working for August Shining, a Cold War relic, and charged with defending the country from paranormal terrorism. But when an ex-Soviet-era enemy returns with an insidious plan to raise the dead and destroy London, it seems Toby's impossible job is to save Great Britain—whether he believes it or not. (Description courtesy of Amazon)

The Clown Service is a Recommended Book of the Month from Fantasy Book Review, which called it "a fantastic read." Find out why a "loony Russian is hell bent on unleashing a horde of zombies on Blighty," and what Toby and his colorful colleagues can do to stop it.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Goodreads for the cover art image.

October 21, 2017

Discuss the Lightless experience Monday!


Date: Monday, October 23, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.

TitleLightless

AuthorC. A. Higgins

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.

What's the buzz about Lightless
Here's the publisher's overview.
Named one of the best books of the year by BuzzFeed and Kirkus Reviews.

“Gripping . . . sci-fi flavored with a hint of thriller.”—New York Daily News

“[A] measured, lovely science-fiction debut [that is] more psychological thriller . . . contained, disciplined, tense . . . The plot is compulsive. . . . Lightless is the first of a planned series, and you can’t help looking forward to learning what’s next.”—The New York Times

Lightless is full of suspense and fun as hell to read.”—BuzzFeed

“Absolutely brilliant . . . This is science fiction as it is meant to be done: scientific concepts wedded to and built upon human ideals.”—Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the October Daye series

“The stakes in this story are high—life and death, rebellion and betrayal—and debut novelist Higgins continually ratchets up the tension. . . . A suspenseful, emotional story that asks plenty of big questions about identity and freedom, this is a debut not to be missed.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A taut, suspenseful read.”—Tech Times

Lightless is an exercise in lighting a very slow fuse and building the tension to an unbearable pitch while making us guess just how apocalyptic the ultimate explosion will be. . . . It is a high-wire act, a wonderment, and a fine accomplishment from a name we’ll be seeing again.”—Sci Fi

IMAGE: Many thanks to Goodreads, for the cover image for Lightless.

October 14, 2017

Scary stories, snacks and KaCSFFS Halloween Party

What: Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting
When: Saturday, October 21, 2017, 7:00 p.m. (6:00 set-up)
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
Food Theme: Scary Snacks for Halloween 

New featured program: Scary stories!
Our own Earline "Cricket" Beebe (also president of our local Horror Book Club) has arranged for local authors Sean Demory, Jack Campbell, Jr., and Sherri Dean to read some of their scary stories for us!

L-R: Sean Demory, Jack Campbell, Jr., and Sherri Dean, our authors giving readings of their scary short fiction.

Costumes (optional) for fun
At the start of the month we urged any and all readers who would be in the Kansas City area to consider wearing a costume and/or bringing a scary snack to the Annual Halloween and Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting. We hope you've been thinking and planning!

Here are some of the costumes worn to the 2014 KaCSFFS Halloween Party and Monthly Meeting.

Costumes make for colorful, interesting photos--but the main thing is please come! That's why costumes are optional: not everyone likes dressing up. If you don't, don't worry about being the odd one out. There are always members present who don't dress up, for a variety of reasons. We want everyone to come!

"Scary" snacks and decorated gourds
Find recipes for (L-R) Fruit Monsters, Screaming Donuts, and Oreo Spiders at sources listed at the bottom of the post.

Food is always welcome at any KaCSFFS meeting, but seasonally appropriate goodies for Halloween, while themed for the season or scary-looking, also must be safe to eat! For the sake of those among us with food allergies or dietary restrictions, please list ingredients of home-made goodies or bring package information if you bought them. Please also remember that some of us are diabetic, so soft-pedal the sugar! Thanks!

We also encourage all who wish to bring them to share their decorated pumpkins or gourds with the group. We'd love to gather enough imaginative gourd/pumpkins to do a group photo. Please also give us your thoughts on whether this should become a contest category!

Halloween: not just for traditional Jack-o-Lanterns anymore! How creative can YOU get?

Tabletop games are welcome!
We always try to encourage members bringing their favorite tabletop games to play. Ideal playing time is about 30-90 minutes. Board games or card games are equally welcome--especially if you have something seasonally appropriate!

Bylaws note:
The edited "Is-this-one-good?" draft of the new KaCSFFS Bylaws should be available to all dues-paid members via the KAXFEN list by the time we have our Halloween meeting/party. Remember, we're trying to have it finalized in time for a formal vote at the December meeting, but we are conducting our discussion online, NOT spending time on it at meetings. Please read this draft over and add your comments in a written format so your Board can consider your thoughts!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Jan S. Gephardt's Artdog Adventures for the photo of Sean Demory (the original source-page on the Johnson County Library website has since been removed!), Jack Campbell, Jr.'s website for his author photo, and Sherri Dean's NobleFusion profile for her author photo. The photo of the 2014 costume lineup is by Jan S. Gephardt, taken for KaCSFFS publicity purposes. If you post it elsewhere online, please include an attribution and a link back to this page as your source. Our "scary treats" montage is made up of Fruit Monsters from Listotic's post, "15 Super-Easy Halloween Treats to Make" plus Oreo spiders and screaming donuts from It'sAlwaysAutumn's post "20 Halloween Treats to Make with Your Kids." Check them out: Both include many more ideas, with recipes. Many thanks also to, L-R, Tiffany Jones Interiors, Lowe's, and Lowe's, (note: the Lowe's information includes how-to guidelines!)for the funky gourd-and-pumpkins lineup!