December 17, 2011

Holiday Celebration Rescued!

KCin2016 Saves Christmas!

KCin2016 a (not-a) bid for the Worldcon in 2016 will be hosting the KaCSFFS meeting at 6:30 p.m., December 17 at The Writers Place.

We will be sharing Chocolate (Belgian! yum) and Cheese (Dutch!) and regaling you with tales of our adventures in Amsterdam.

This will be primarily a social hour type meeting, BYOB. and visit with us. Non- members are welcome. Please bring items that you wish to share with others for the party. Remember to bring your own drink and ice.

Don't forget to bring non-perishable food items for the KC Food Pantry! This is the third of three food drive collections. Let's show Kansas City that KaCSFFS cares!

Special Movie Promotion with SWAG!
Sarah Martin & Caitlin Higgins, of Allied-THA, will give a short presentation, hand out promo items, and take pictures of willing members holding the promo items for the film THE DARKEST HOUR

Give ConQuesT for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or the Solstice!
ConQuesT 43 memberships are still available at a good discount, and they would be a perfect fit for anyone who loves science fiction, fantasy, Steampunk or horror.

Use the handy form at right to reserve memberships for all your phannish friends NOW! You won't want to miss it!

Our newly-announced Guests of Honor are Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, authors of the famed Liaden Universe® books. (Check out the David Mattingly animation of their cover for Ghost Ship!).

Toastmaster is our own Susan Satterfield. Editor Guest of Honor is Gardner Dozois; Artist Guest of Honor is Ursula Vernon, and Fan Guest of Honor is Tim Miller, of FenCon fame.

November 21, 2011

SF&F Literati End Their Reading Year, and other News

News and Notes from SF Fandom

SF&F Literati Discuss Robert Asprin's Dragons Wild
November's featured book is Robert
Asprin's Dragons Wild.
SF&F Literati meet every fourth Monday of the month at the Barnes & Nobles Booksellers at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park.

Overview from the Barnes & Nobles website:
     "First in a brand new series from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Myth and Phule novels:
     "A low-stakes con artist and killer poker player, Griffen "Grifter" McCandles graduated college fully expecting his wealthy family to have a job waiting for him. Instead, his mysterious uncle reveals a strange family secret: Griffen and his sister, Valerie, are actually dragons.
     "Unwilling to let Uncle Mal take him under his wing, so to speak, Griffen heads to New Orleans with Valerie to make a living the only way he knows how. And even the criminal underworld of the French Quarter will heat up when Griffen lands in town."

There will be no meeting in December, because the fourth Monday falls on December 26, and complications seem inevitable. This should give everyone plenty of time to read the selection for January 23, 2012. It is The Unincorporated Man, by Dani and Eytan Kollin.

New AboutSF Volunteer Coordinator
KaCSFFS Member Ben Cartwright announced a while back that there is a new Volunteer Coordinator for the KU-based educational outreach project, AboutSFHe wrote:
     "I hope that everyone in KaCSFFS will join me in welcoming Isaac Bell as the new volunteer coordinator for AboutSF! Isaac is a first-year Master’s student in the Composition and Rhetoric track in the department of English at the University of Kansas. He is an alumnus of both the 2011 Science Fiction Writers Workshop and the Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction provided by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction.
     "Isaac has worked as a Digital Executive Producer at KMBC Channel 9, and as a Senior Web Producer at the Lawrence Journal-World. Isaac’s creative work includes stories in both volumes of the Crimson Pact anthology.
     "I feel that Isaac’s skills and experience make him a perfect fit for the AboutSF coordinator position.
     "I want to personally thank all of the individuals and organizations (including KaCSFFS folks) I’ve had the opportunity to work with while being the AboutSF coordinator. I will continue to help produce the AboutSF podcasts as a volunteer, and I look forward to all of Isaac’s exciting plans for AboutSF.

New Books Announced
The blog has received a couple of new-book announcements recently, from friends of KaCSFFS.

My Troubles with Time
Benson Grayson has a new e-book, My Troubles with Time. It is available for $1.99 in the e-version for Kindle from Amazon. Here is his description:
     "The story concerns a friendless physics professor who goes back to December 1941 in a time machine he has invented, seeking to become famous by destroying the Japanese fleet which attacked Pearl Harbor. Against all odds he succeeds. Rather than being hailed as a hero, he is arrested and sentenced to death by a U.S. Navy Court Martial for mistakenly sinking the Japanese vessels prior to their launching their attack.”

The author has previously published seven books on history and international affairs, but this is his first fiction project.

The Worker Prince
Bryan Thomas Schmidt's new book, The Worker Prince, is the first book in a trilogy. It is available from his website in paperback, for $14.95, or as an e-book for $3.99. Here is his description:
     "What if everything you thought you knew about  yourself  and the world turned out to be wrong?
      "For Davi Rhii, Prince of the Boralian people, that  nightmare has become a reality. Freshly  graduated from  the prestigious Borali Military Academy, now he’s discovered he was secretly adopted and born a worker. Ancient enemies of  the Boralians, enslaved now for generations, the workers of Vertullis live lives harder than Davi had ever imagined.
     "To make matters worse, Davi’s  discovered that the High Lord Councillor of the  Alliance, his uncle Xalivar, is responsible for years of abuse and suppression against the workers Davi now knows as his own people.
     "His quest to rediscover himself brings him into conflict with Xalivar and his friends and family, calling into question his cultural values and assumptions, and putting in jeopardy all he’s worked for his whole life. Davi’s never felt more confused and alone. Will he stand and watch the workers face continued mistreatment, or turn his back on his loved ones and fight for what’s right? Whatever he decides is sure to change his life forever."

If either of these titles intrigues you, please follow the links and check them out!

Many thanks (again) to Barnes & Noble Booksellers for the cover illustration of Dragons Wild. The cover for My Troubles with Time is courtesy of Benson Grayson. The cover for The Worker Prince is from Bryan Thomas Schmidt's website.

November 13, 2011

More than Plenty's in Store at KaCSFFS Thanksgiving Meeting!

November 19 Meeting is Packed with Special Features

Come to The Writers Place for the November meeting with a Food Pantry donation; cash or your checkbook, in case you see artwork you can't resist; and a side dish or dessert to share for the potluck Thanksgiving dinner!

Bring non-perishable food items for
the KaCSFFS Food Drive!
Food Pantry Donations
Before you feed yourself, give some thought to feeding others! KaCSFFS continues its three-month food drive. Any non-perishable food item is appreciated! Some popular and healthy suggestions include canned fruit, vegetables, soup, meat (such as tuna or ham), etc., or peanut butter, beans, rice, pasta, and baby food. Disposable diapers and wipes, as well as toiletry items also are usually welcome!

Thanksgiving Visual Feast
Talented local and regional artists who work in the science fiction, fantasy, horror, and/or Steampunk genres will display their work for your viewing pleasure and purchase--just in time for the holidays! This display will be set up on the Mezzanine and second floor. It will be available for viewing all evening. Don't miss it!
This is some of the artwork displayed for last August's "Art Night." See what
our talented artist friends have in store for Thanksgiving!

Earline Beebe and Jan Gephardt enjoyed a good visit
at the 2010 KaCSFFS Thanksgiving Dinner. 
Thanksgiving Dinner
After a short meeting starting at 6:00, it will be time to eat. Enjoy the talents of the best cooks in KaCSFFS, and relax for a pleasant conversation at the table. 

If you plan to bring a side dish or dessert to complement the KaCSFFS-furnished turkey and gravy, please contact Diana Bailey so she can coordinate. Bring your own drinks, if you have something particular in mind. 

KaCSFFS provides plastic tableware and disposable cups, as well as the turkey and gravy.

John Tibbetts will read from
his new book after dinner.
After-Dinner Reading by John Tibbetts
A special treat awaits us after dinner, when the noted local film critic, writer, interviewer, and KU professor of film, John Tibbetts, presents a reading from his new book, The Gothic Imagination: Conversations on Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction in the Media. 

This book was only published last month. It includes an interview with KaCSFFS friend and Honorary Member Wilson Tucker.

Tibbetts is a charming and entertaining speaker. We think you will enjoy his presentation!

PHOTO CREDITS: The food pantry illustration is courtesy of the First Baptist Church of Medford, WI. The photo of the "August Art Night" display is by Neelix (Tracy Majkol), and is used with his permission. The photo from the November 20, 2010 Thanksgiving Dinner is by Ty Gephardt, and is used with his permission. The cover illustration for The Gothic Imagination was provided by Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Many thanks to all of them!

November 07, 2011

Attention Artists! Call for Entries!

Thanksgiving Visual Feast is November 19

Here’s an opportunity to display your artwork and offer it for sale at the usually well attended KaCSFFS Thanksgiving Dinner and Meeting—just in time for the holidays!

     * Hosted by KaCSFFS (the parent organization for ConQuesT).
     * A one-evening art display and sale in conjunction with the Thanksgiving Dinner Meeting, and a reading by John Tibbetts.
     * Show date: Saturday, November 19:
          * Setup starts 5:15 p.m.
          * Show runs 6:30-8:30.
          * Teardown must wrap up by 9.

The Visual Feast will be run like the highly successful August Art Night.
Shown here are partial displays by Allison Stein, Jan Gephardt, Lucy A. Synk,
and Rachael Mayo. Jim Murray observes at right. Photo by Neelix.
Also participating in the show were jewelers Bev Hale and Signy Gephardt.
     * This show is open to local and regional artists who work in the science fiction, fantasy, horror, and Steampunk genres.
     * Space preference goes to those who can attend or send an agent.
     * Reservations must be received by November 16. Space is limited, so sign up early! Contact Jan Gephardt to reserve space.
     * There is NO charge for displaying artwork at this event.
     * There is NO commission on sales.
     * Buyers will pay artists directly, via cash or check only, unless an artist can take credit cards on his/her own.
     * Vertical displays will use the 2-ft.-wide-by-6-ft.-tall wire grid panels used at ConQuesT (see the photo above).
     * The Writers Place has tables similar to the 3-ft.-by-6-ft. tables used at ConQuesT for horizontal space, but they mostly will be used for eating—so we may have to use alternate arrangements. If you have your own tables, bring them!
     * You or your agent will set up your display. Prices should be visible. We have created “Visual Feast” piece ID tags and Control Sheets, if you wish to use them. Contact Jan Gephardt for them.

The Nov. 19 event will be at
The WritersPlace
in Kansas City, MO.
     * The event will be held at The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO.
     * Do NOT ship artwork to The Writers Place!! If you need a shipping address, contact Jan Gephardt.

We hope to see you and your artwork there!
     Jan Sherrell Gephardt
     Visual Feast Art Show Director

PHOTO CREDITS: The photo from August Art Night is used by permission from photographer Neelix (AKA Tracy Majkol).  The photo of The Writers Place is from their website.

November 03, 2011

Plan NOW for the Game of Thrones Marathon

View the entire First Season!

See all 10 episodes of HBO's Emmy-winning fantasy series Game of Thrones for FREE on a 51" Plasma HDTV in 1080p and in 5.1 Surround Sound, 6 months before they'll be available on Blu-ray and DVD (mid-March 2012)!

You have two chances this weekend!

The first complete viewing is set for Saturday, November 5th. The entire season will be repeated the next day, Sunday, November 6th (see schedule further below).

Videos to get you in the mood:
View the terrific Emmy Award-winning title sequence that won for "Best Main Title Design" at this year's ceremony (Actor Peter Dinklage also wonfor "Best Suppporting Actor in a Drama Series").

Enjoy a stirring (non-spoiler) preview of HBO's Season One.

Enjoy an optimal viewing experience!
We have ample seating in a Home Theatre environment.  View the entire season on a 51" Plasma HDTV in 1080p and in 5.1 Surround SoundOff-street parking will be available for both complete screenings.

Please drop Ken Keller an e-mail note and let me know if you'll be attending.

Please call David Sooby at 913-721-2106 for specific directions.

Game of Thrones Marathon show times:
Saturday, November 5:
Noon - 2:00 pm, Episodes 1 & 2
2:00 pm - 2:45 pm (Late Lunch Break)
2:45 pm - 4:45 pm, Episodes 3 & 4
4:45 pm - 5:00 pm (Intermission)
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Episodes 5 & 6
7:00 pm - 7:45 pm (Dinner Break)
7:45 pm - 9:45 pm, Episodes 7 & 8
9:45 pm - 10:00 pm (Intermission)
10:00 pm - Midnight, Episodes 9 & 10

Sunday, November 6:
10:00 am - 1:00 pm, Episodes 1, 2, & 3
1::00 pm - 1:45 pm (Lunch Break)
1:45 pm - 3:45 pm, Episodes 4 & 5
3:45 pm - 4:00 pm (Intermission)
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Episodes 6 & 7
6:00 pm - 6:45 pm (Dinner Break)
6:45 pm - 9:45 pm, Episodes 8, 9, & 10

Suggestions to Enhance Your Viewing Enjoyment of the HBO series:
Game of Thrones is packed with plot and complex characters. To enhance
your viewing pleasure (and so you don't get entirely lost), it is strongly
recommended that you read this spoiler-free pdf of the HBO Viewer's Guide
before you come to the Marathon.

Lunch and Dinner:
Unfortunately, due to its length, the Marathon can only allow 45 minutes each for the Lunch and Dinner breaks. We're suggesting a shared Pot Luck among everyone attending. So it's best to bring your food pre-cooked,  ready to warm up in our microwaves, or ready to eat--we'll have at least two microwave ovens (plus a regular stove available, if needed).

A lavish website, The Inn at the Crossroads, is devoted to the foods of Westeros (the world of Game of Thrones, and also Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series). Especially note their Individual Dishes page.

Other medieval/renaissance-themed dishes would also be appropriate. However, it's not required that you bring these specific types of dishes; the above is strictly offered as a suggestion. You may bring your own lunch and dinner--or contribute to the Marathon's Pot Luck.

But please let Ken know if you'll be contributing to this Pot Luck so we can gauge response. Thanks!

November 02, 2011

News Notes from the October Meeting

Important decisions made before the party started

Partiers included Sherri Dean
and Ken Keller.
We had a good crowd at the October meeting, held late so we could avoid a scheduling conflict and have a Halloween party. Before the party, however, several things were decided at the meeting.

Election Changes:
As part of the process of changing the Bylaws to comply with requirements for our hoped-for 501(c)3 status, the club agreed with a request from the Board to schedule officer elections in April 2012.

This is an important change from our traditional January election date, but it schedules this important decision the month after dues have been paid, and at a time when the weather is liklier to be good.

Current officers have agreed to continue serving during the extra months between January and April, to bridge this time gap.

New Publicity Committee Formed:
Communications Officer Jan Gephardt also outlined the need for a planning committee comprised of members who know about marketing, to help review all parts of our club's communications and publicity, and recommend "best practices" going forward. The goal is to have all the communications look like they come from the same organization, and to put in place a coherent vision for events and publicity.

Three members volunteered to serve on this committee, along with Jan. They are Jim Murray, Tracy Majkol, and Beth Welch. There still are potentially two openings on this committee, so if you were unable to attend the meeting but would like to help us clarify our communications focus, please contact Jan.

Remember the Game of Thrones Marathon--THIS WEEKEND!
Laser Rangers representatives Ken Keller and Tracy Majkol presented an audio-visual program about the upcoming Game of Thrones event.  It is this weekend! We published a schedule here earlier in October, or you can find more information on the Laser Rangers website.  Keep watching this page: our next post with give all the latest details.

PHOTO CREDIT: The snapshot used for this post was taken by Jan Gephardt. If you want to use it, please give credit to Jan and KaCSFFS. Thanks!

October 07, 2011

More Rescheduling for Laser Rangers

"Things that Go Bump" will be bumping October 8, NOT 15
"Game of Thrones" Marathon now set for November 5-6

Please see the Laser Rangers new website for all the details.
"Things that Go Bump in the Night"
LR Host David Sooby has announced:
"This Saturday, Bill Ostrander will host 'Things That Go Bump in the Night,' featuring Night of the Demon (1957) and The Mist (2007).
"Dress Theme: Halloween."
See Night of the Demon and The Mist on October 8! Click the titles for more on each movie.

Game of Thrones First Season Marathon
Coordinator Ken Keller, also made this announcement:
"Due to other announced events happening in KC Fandom on the remaining weekends in October, both Games of Thrones first season marathons (shown in Plasma HDTV and 5.1 surround sound) have been rescheduled to Saturday, November 5th, and again Sunday, November 6th. Here are those marathon show times:
Saturday, November 5th:
Noon--2:00 pm, Episodes 1 & 2
2:00 pm - 2:45 pm (Late Lunch Break)
2:45 pm - 4:45 pm, Episodes 3 & 4
4:45 pm - 5:00 pm (Intermission)
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Episodes 5 & 6
7:00 pm - 7:45 pm (Dinner Break)
7:45 pm - 9:45 pm, Episodes 7 & 8
9:45 pm - 10:00 pm (Intermission)
10:00 pm - Midnight, Episodes 9 & 10
Sunday, November 6th:
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
, Episodes 1, 2, & 3
1::00 pm - 1:45 pm (Lunch Break)
1:45 pm - 3:45 pm, Episodes 4 & 5
3:45 pm - 4:00 pm (Intermission)
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Episodes 6 & 7
6:00 pm - 6:45 pm (Dinner Break)
6:45 pm - 9:45 pm, Episodes 8, 9, & 10
"I'll be resuming the event's Progress Reports later in the month, as we get closer to the screening dates.
Please drop me an e-mail and let me know if you're planning on attending either showing--thanks!
"Winter is Coming" 

IMAGE CREDIT: Where would I be without IMDB??

October 04, 2011

"Game of Thrones" Marathon POSTPONED!

Laser Ranger Ken Keller just made the following announcement:

Might be a good weekend to read the book?
"For [a] tech reason beyond our control, the double-marathon screening of HBO's Emmy-winning Game of Thrones Season One is being *briefly* postponed to a later weekend this month.

"The Game of Thrones marathon *will not* be happening this coming Saturday and Sunday, October 8th and 9th!

"But it *will* still be happening in October, either on the 3rd or 4th weekend--we must first check on a real schedule conflict with another event.

"More details will follow, immediately, as we get this sorted out; we apologize for this postponement.

"Be assured that the 'Game of Thrones Marathon' will be happening, only a little later this month, and with the exact same weekend show times as previously announced.


IMAGE CREDIT: The book cover photo is courtesy of Amazon

October 01, 2011

Programs Announced for SF&F Literati and Laser Rangers

A full weekend of entertainment.
Months of reading pleasure!  
What's not to like?

Laser Rangers host Game of Thrones First Season!
Flush with enthusiasm over the new 51-inch plasma HDTV in the Laser Rangers Home Theater and the success of friend George R. R. Martin's HBO blockbuster hit, the Laser Rangers have planned back-to-back "GoT" marathon viewings of the entire first season.

Here is a preview!

Saturday Oct. 8 and Sunday Oct. 9 are the dates for Game of Thrones. 

Viewing begins on Saturday at noon and runs through midnight, with 45-minute breaks for lunch and dinner, and a 15-minute intermission.  The same schedule begins with Episode 1 at 10 a.m. Sunday, running through the end of Episode 10 at 9:45 p.m. 

The food theme for both days is medieval European food.  For ideas and Game of Thrones-aligned recipes, go to The Inn at The Crossroads website.  For a complete schedule and location information, check the official Laser Rangers website.

The previously-announced regular session, "Things that Go Bump in the Night," will take place October 15, from 4:15 p.m. till whenever in the wee hours. Look for more details in future posts or on the Laser Rangers website.

SF & F Literati Announce 
Autumn and Winter Book Selections!
SF&F Literati meet every fourth Monday of the month at the Barnes & Nobles Booksellers at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park.  

They have just announced the autumn-winter lineup of books.  All announced selections are listed here, so anyone who is interested may track down a copy.
October's featured book.

For discussion Oct. 24, 2011: 
A Matter of Time by Glen Cook
Overview from the Barnes & Nobles website:
     May 1975, St. Louis: In a snow-swept street, a cop finds the body of a man who died fifty years ago. It's still warm. 
     July 1866, Lidice, Bohemia: A teenage girl calmly watches her parents die as another being takes control of her body. 
     August 2058, Prague: Three political rebels flee in to the past, taking with them a terrible secret. 
     As past, present, and future collide, one man holds the key to the puzzle. And if he doesn't fit it together, the world he knows will fall to pieces. It's just A Matter of Time!

November's featured book.
For discussion Nov 28, 2011: 
Dragons Wild by Robert Asprin 
Overview from the Barnes & Nobles website:
     First in a brand new series from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Myth and Phule novels:
     A low-stakes con artist and killer poker player, Griffen "Grifter" McCandles graduated college fully expecting his wealthy family to have a job waiting for him. Instead, his mysterious uncle reveals a strange family secret: Griffen and his sister, Valerie, are actually dragons.
     Unwilling to let Uncle Mal take him under his wing, so to speak, Griffen heads to New Orleans with Valerie to make a living the only way he knows how. And even the criminal underworld of the French Quarter will heat up when Griffen lands in town.

There will be NO meeting in December.

January's featured book.
For discussion Jan 23, 2012: 
The Unincorporated Man by Dani  & Eytan Kollin
Overview from the Barnes & Nobles website:
     The incredible has happened.  A billionaire businessman from our time, frozen in secret in the early 21st century, is discovered in the far future and resurrected, given health and a vigorous younger body. 
     He awakens into a civilization in which every individual is formed into a legal corporation at birth, and spends many years trying to attain control over [his or her] own life by getting a majority of his or her own shares. Life extension has made life very long indeed.
     Justin Cord is the only unincorporated man in the world, a true stranger in this strange land. Justin survive[s] because he is tough and smart. He cannot accept only part ownership of himself, even if that places him in conflict with a civilization that extends outside the solar system to the Oort Cloud.
     The Unincorporated Man is a provocative social/political/economic novel that people will be arguing about for decades.
February's featured book.

For discussion Feb 27, 2012:
I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Overview from the Barnes & Nobles website:
     Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books—but we are real.
     Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. we have lived among you without you knowing.
     But they know.
     They caught Number One in Malaysia.
     Number Two in England.
     And Number Three in Kenya.
     They killed them all.
     I am Number Four.
     I am next.

Where is the Barnes & Noble at Oak Park Mall?

View Larger Map

IMAGE CREDITS: (see links above)
The Game of Thrones video preview is from YouTube.
The four book images for the SF & F Literati selections are from the Barnes & Noble online store.
The map is from Google Maps.

September 16, 2011

What to Expect at the 40th Anniversary

By Robin W. Bailey

The Writers Place: 3607 Pennsylvania, KCMO

In honor of the 40th anniversary of KaCSFFS, the Writers Place will transform into a museum as we celebrate the many accomplishments and highlights of Kansas City fandom.  Along with LASFS (Los Angeles SF Society), NESFA (New England SF Association) and only a few others, KaCSFFS now standsas one of the oldest, continuously operating science fiction fan clubs in the country.  

We think that’s worth honoring.

Your ticket down memory lane!
Memory Lane Awaits! 
Take a trip down Memory Lane.  Attendees can look forward to a number of special displays and collections.  

We’ll have a nearly complete collection of ConQuesT tee shirts through the years, as well as badges and KaCSFFS newsletters.  Look for a display of the many terrific fanzines published right here in Kansas City during the great heyday of fan publishing.  Check out the numerous gubernatorial and mayoral proclamations honoring our Nebula Awards weekends, and see the original Science Fiction Hall of Fame plaque and trophy once again.
In keeping with this museum theme, be sure to check out the KaCSFFS Facebook page where, under the heading of “Countdown to the 40th Anniversary,” Robin Bailey has spent the past month posting many interesting photographs and bits of KaCSFFS history.

Special Awards and Swag!
But that’s not all!  Jim Murray is producing a commemorative 40th anniversary fanzine.  Tracy Majkol is preparing a special slide show highlighting members and events.  Joyce Downing, a longtime member and terrific musician, will entertain us with several songs.  We’ll make the evening special in other ways, too, and we’ll offer a few surprises.  Among them, a very special surprise autographing event.  You won’t want to miss it.

 But that’s not all!  One of the highlights of the anniversary will come when Ken Keller, who along with Gary Mattingly co-founded our club, is honored with an award and lifetime honorary membership to recognize his achievement.  This is an overdue and much-deserved recognition, and we’re very happy to make it on this special night.

And that’s still not all!  The anniversary will also feature the launch and first-time presentation of a brand new, board-approved KaCSFFS honor -- The Tom Reamy Award for Excellence in Science Fiction Endeavors.  We’ll explain the origin and purpose of the award as we name its first recipient.  We think everyone will be pleased.

Don’t forget that the Marrakech CafĂ© is catering our event.  Expect an array of appetizers, hors douerves and desserts, along with coffee and tea.  Attendees are also encouraged to bring any additional beverages of your choice.  Hey, BYOB is always in vogue in this group!  By the way, we’re very pleased that we’ve been able to finance this entire evening with advance ticket sales and contributions without dipping directly into the club’s treasury.  

Your Master and Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening: Robin Wayne Bailey and Sherri Dean.

The photo of the Writers Place is from their website.
The 40th Anniversary Ticket SAMPLE was compiled by Jan S. Gephardt.
The 1971 "K.C.S.F.F.S."  organizational flier is from the collection of Robin W. Bailey.

September 08, 2011

Calling KaCSFFS Creatives!

Creative KAXFEN! Take a bow in the spotlight!

KaCSFFS was established to promote the art forms of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all kinds of speculative fiction, in all of their various media of expression.

Many of our members or friends are writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, costumers, reviewers, or are otherwise involved in creating work, and/or educating others about the work being done in our favorite genres.

Let us put you and your work
in the spotlight!
If that describes you, we'd like to profile you on this blog.

If you would like for us to shine our spotlight on you, please send us some information about yourself and the creative work you do.

Absolutely essential is a description of who you are, what you do, and how long you have been involved in this work. You may include an artist's statement, mission statement, CV, resume or other descriptive information.

We definitely need at least one image/photo/logo that applies to your work, as well.

Please include any of the following that apply to you:

  • Pictures of your book covers, artwork, promotional posters, etc.
  • A photo of yourself, your studio or work space, and/or your logo.
  • A URL (web address) where interested blog-readers can find more detailed information, or may buy your work. 
  • The URL of your blog.
  • Any contact information you wish to share.
  • Video or audio clips, resources for downloads, or other multimedia resources.
  • If you want to offer KAXFEN a discount, please include that information!
We will review your information and create a short profile using your information. Before it is posted we'll email it to you, and ask you to check it for accuracy (please reply quickly!). Please note: We reserve the right to refuse any images or information that we deem to be inappropriate or at odds with our mission. 

We generally cannot guarantee that information you provide will be posted within any set time frame, though we will try to post it as promptly as is practical. If you wish to announce a time-sensitive event such as a book-signing, concert, show opening, or theatrical production, please alert us with at least two weeks to spare! 

IMAGE CREDIT: The star in the spotlight was provided by 123RF Stock Photos.

September 02, 2011

Return of the Laser Rangers!

Brand new HDTV 51-inch plasma debuts Sunday!

Chosen for action sequences: Tron:Legacy
Date: Sunday, September 3, 2011
Time: Around 4:15 p.m., "fan time"
Place: David Sooby's home theater
Food Theme: TBA (fresh, theater-style popcorn available throughout the evening)
Captain Laser: Not announced.
On the Program: Two recent action science fiction films in Blu-Ray, chosen to show off the brand new 51-inch Samsung HDTV Plasma, with full 1080P, in the standard 5.1 home theater Surround format.

Tron: Legacy
The first feature is Tron: Legacy, from 2010.
View Trailer.
Joseph Kosinski directed, from a screenplay by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.
Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn/Clu), Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn), Olivia Wilde (Quorra) and Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradley/Tron) star.

Battle Los Angeles is the 2nd feature.
Battle Los Angeles
After the dinner break, the Laser Rangers will return to the theater for Battle Los Angeles (2011)
View Trailer
Johnathan Liebesman directed, from a screenplay by Chris Bertolini.
Stars include Aaron Eckhardt (Sgt. Michael Nantz), Ramon Rodriguez (2nd Lt. William Martinez), Cory Hardrict (Cpl. Jason Lockett), Michelle Rodriguez (TSgt. Elena Santos), Lucas Till (Cpl. Scott Grayston), and Bridget Moynahan (Michele).

Ken Keller notes: "This is *not* our regularly scheduled session for September, but a special inaugural preview of our new state-of-the-art capability. What better way to do so than with two recent science fiction action/popcorn movies?

"If you're not otherwise engaged on Sunday afternoon (remember, Monday is the Labor Day holiday), please join us for this special kick-off session. Help us celebrate a New Era for the Laser Rangers, as the group begins its 12th year!"

Regular Schedule Resumes September 24!
After some suspense when the Soobys' former screen came to an unfortunate end, the main September program will proceed as scheduled.

Theme: Be Careful What You Wish For
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2011
Time: Around 4:15 p.m., "fan time"
Place: David Sooby's home theater
Food Theme: TBA (fresh, theater-style popcorn available throughout the evening)
Captain Laser: Ken Keller.
On the Program: Quite a different pair of features from the previous Sunday!

13 Going On 30
View Trailer
2004 movie; Directed by Gary Winick; screenplay by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa.
Stars: Jennifer Garner (Jenna Rink), Mark Ruffalo (Matt Flamhaff), and Judy Greer (Lucy Wyman).

View Trailer
This 1988 movie directed by Penny Marshall and written by Gary Ross and Ann Speilberg, stars a very young Tom Hanks (Josh Balkin), along with Elizabeth Perkins (Susan) and Robert Loggia (MacMillan).

The home of the Laser Rangers is located about two miles north of the Kansas Speedway, northwest of the I-70/I-435 intersection, on the Kansas side of the KC metro. For the exact address an directions, email David Sooby (see at left).

Our home theater has comfortable seating for about 15. The dinner between features is potluck, usually based on a pre-announced theme.

Many, many thanks to IMDB, without which this post would have been much shorter and way less informative! The poster, trailer, and cast information for each of the following may be found by clicking their respective links: Tron: Legacy; Battle Los Angeles; 13 Going On 30; Big.
And as ever, thanks to Psychology Today Online, for the movie screen frame image used for the Laser Rangers contact information.

August 22, 2011

KaCSFFS Happenings!

Lots of things are set for the days and weeks ahead!
As a group, KAXFEN are active people.  This blog exists to help them keep everyone posted on upcoming activities.

If this compilation has missed a group who'd like to have an announcement made, please contact Jan Gephardt with information! (We like photos, too!) The deadline is midnight Monday of the week the post will be published.

SF & F Literati Meet Monday, 8/22
Vegas Knights is the August book.
The book club associated with our group meets the last Monday of each month, and August is no exception. 

Meeting time: 7:30 p.m.
Meeting location: 2nd floor lobby of the Oak Park Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 11323 W. 95th St., Overland Park, KS 66214.
Book under discussion: Vegas Knights, by Matt Ferbeck
Next month's book: To be announced

ACT NOW for the 40th!
If you don't have your 40th Anniversary Ticket, please buy it soon!
The deadline for ticket sales is August 27!
Tickets are $11, and are available online.

We will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of KaCSFFS:
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64111.
When: September 17, 2011, 6:30 p.m.

Get your 40th Anniversary tickets by Aug. 27!
Coffee and tea, will be served, but please bring other drinks, according to your preference. Also welcome: a side dish, appetizer, or dessert. 

Please dress up a bit: not formal, but "cocktail nice."

Toastmasters for the evening are Sherri Dean and Robin Wayne Bailey; T-shirt display is by Cindy Norton; commemorative fanzine is by Jim Murray.

Longview Literary Festival is October 15!
Our own Susan Satterfield is involved in organizing this.  We will post more information as soon as we can.

Our October Meeting is rescheduled to October 29
We didn't want to keep anyone away from the Longview event, so we've decided to have a Halloween meeting, complete with costumes. We'll update again with more information soon!

August Art Night was such a success, we are now planning a Thanksgiving Visual Feast!
Thanksgiving Meeting is November 19 
This is one of the most popular meetings of the year, because we feed you! KaCSFFS supplies the turkey, and we all bring the trimmings.  Help us fill the first floor of the Writers Place with tables for dining and an even bigger buffet than last year!
This year, also enjoy a Visual Feast!
Because the August Art Night display was such a resounding success, we've decided to do it again! The Thanksgiving Visual Feast will have expanded floor space, for local and regional artists to display their work and offer it for sale, just in time for Holiday shopping!
Officer Self-Nominations begin in November:
Begin thinking about who might be good candidates for Director, Secretary, Treasurer, and Communications Officer--then try to talk them into nominating (or re-nominating) themselves!

Many thanks to Barnes & Noble Booksellers, for the cover image for Vegas Knights.
Kudos to Robin W. Bailey, for design of the 40th Anniversary ticket. 
And much gratitude to "Neelix" (Tracy Majkol) for the art display image. Artists featured, L-R, in case you can't recognize them: Allison Stein, Jan Gephardt, Lucy A. Synk, and Rachael Mayo. Also participating in the display but not shown were Bev Hale and Signy Gephardt.

August 06, 2011

First (Annual?) August Art Night is August 13

Bad Boys, by Allison Stein.  
KaCSFFS will host the first of what may become an annual "August Art Night" event, in conjunction with its monthly meeting at The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64111. The meeting and display begin at 6:45 p.m.

Seven artists, two from outside the Kansas City metro area, will display their artwork. They are Sherri Dean, Bev Hale, Jan Sherrell Gephardt,  Signy Gephardt, Rachael Mayo, Allison Stein, and Lucy A. Synk.
Avatar 3, Bev Hale
Jazzdragon 18, by Rachael Mayo

Art media will range from original paintings and paper sculpture, through prints, to jewelry. Rachael Mayo has requested extra space so she can exhibit "some new, large-ish stuff" that she wants "to show off." Rachael was one of our top-sellers at ConQuesT, so this should be a treat!
Oriental Delight, by Lucy A. Synk

Nearly all of the artwork will be for sale, and most of the artists will be there in person.

NOTE: We cannot process charge cards at the show, so if you think you might even possibly want to buy some artwork, please bring cash and/or your checkbook!
Treetop Primaries, by Jan Sherrell Gephardt

In addition to the art display, several other things will be going on as well:
  • A short business meeting. 
  • An old-time radio play program, coordinated by Robin W. Bailey.
  • Sharing of cookies brought by any members who wish to bring them (each person should bring his/her own drink and ice).
  • One last raffle to help fund the 40th Anniversary celebration, which is scheduled for next month, September 17, 2011, at the Writers Place.
  • The last chance to reserve your 40th Anniversary admission (which includes hors d'oeuvres and dessert). You may place reservations online for $11 via PayPal, or pay in person on Aug. 13, via cash or check for $10 (children ten years old or younger get in free). Either way, the deadline is Aug. 13!
  • This also is a final chance to share ideas with Diana Bailey, about names for the pair of bats, and also "the ghosts currently calling the Writers Place home." Any final name choices must be approved by the Writers Place management, and the deadline is approaching soon.
Looking Ahead to Two Events Happening Soon:
"KaCSFFS Memories" are due September 1!
Please write a short description of some of your KaCSFFS memories, and send or give them to Diana Bailey, between now and September 1. She also is looking for recipes that have been favorites at KaCSFFS meetings in the past, and artwork. Here's the format for "Memories" and recipes:
  • Typed 11-point Times New Roman
  • One page or less
  • NO LATER THAN Sept. 1, 2011
These are for a presentation on the 40th Anniversary, Sept. 17.

The August book
SF&F Literati Meeting
This KaCSFFS-affiliated book club is set to meet August 22 at the Oak Park Barnes & Noble.

The book under discussion will be Vegas Knights, by Matt Forbeck. Start reading today!

Many thanks to the artists who gave permission for us to use the images of their artwork in this blog post. EACH IMAGE IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT. Please respect this, and DO NOT RE-POST THEM WITHOUT THE ARTISTS' PERMISSION (their contact information is linked to their names, so that should be easy). Specifically, we thank Allison Stein for Bad Boys; Bev Hale for Avatar 3, Rachael Mayo for Jazzdragon 18, Lucy A. Synk for Oriental Delight, and Jan Sherrell Gephardt for Treetop Primaries.
We also wish to thank Barnes & Nobles Booksellers for the Vegas Knights cover illustration.

August 03, 2011

Lensman's review of "Cowboys & Aliens" and "Captain America"

A Guest Review! Communication Director's note: please share your reviews with us! The KaCSFFS Blog is your blog, and our organization is devoted to learning about and discussing artistic works in the sf/f/horror genres. We would love to publish more reviews from members! Please email them to Jan S. Gephardt

Fresh, enjoyable, great FX; some
difficulty with suspension of disbelief.
Cowboys & Aliens

A science fiction adventure film in an Old West setting.

Interesting to see Harrison Ford play a villain.  And I always find it fun to see familiar actors dressed up in Spaghetti Western style dusters, grungy, pseudo-Western frontier clothes, and period facial hair.

Daniel Craig continues to show his acting chops.  Here he plays a bad-guy-turned-good-guy, and I think he did a fine job. He does a lot to help the audience suspend its disbelief, to "sell" the rather far-fetched story.

Of course, the most important part of a movie is the story and the script.  Here, we get some entertainingly fresh ideas, and not just from the Old West setting. Kudos to the writers.  Like the movie overall, it doesn't reach the level of a Great Story, but it's a pretty good one.

I do give it one down-check for never explaining why the aliens wanted to abduct humans, but other than that I didn't notice any sizable plot holes. Also, it did somewhat strain my willing suspension of disbelief that a bunch of people from the Old West would take bombardment and strafing by aircraft, and being subjected to intense bombardment, so much in stride . . . no panicking by the gunslingers or the Amerind warriors. But given the nature of a fast-moving action film, I guess you either have to accept that as part of the story, or get up and walk out of the movie.
FX by ILM, so no surprise they are fine and appear about as convincing as they can be when they obviously are not real. (And it's amazing how much better these FX fit seamlessly into real-life backgrounds, when the Star Wars prequel trilogy had such fake-looking FX. Did Lucas *want* them to look fake? Did he have the idea that making it look unreal fit the genre of a "space fantasy" better?)

"Marvel-ous" time, great FX, okay story.
Captain America--The First Avenger

A comic book/retro-SF adventure film giving the origin of a Marvel superhero.

I can't help but compare this to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I just *love* retro-SF, filled with super-science vehicles and weapons! This one even has a huge flying wing.
Chris Evans does a credible job as Steve Rogers/Captain America, although it's bizarre to see the same actor playing this character who previously played Johnny Storm in the two recent Fantastic Four movies, considering they are both Marvel characters, and should be in the same universe!

They had me wondering all through the film about just how they managed to get the same actor (or at least his head) to portray both the 4F (military reject) 90-lb. weakling Steve Rogers, AND the ripped, hunky Super Soldier. Did they get a small guy to play a body double, with his head digitally replaced by Chris Evans? Or did they shoot Evans in the scene, then digitally alter his appearance to make him small and slight? And what about sight lines--how did actors in the same scene with him appear to be looking into the eyes of the wimpy Rogers, if he was being played by the tall Evans?

Well, as it often is, the answer is: All of the above. Quoting from Wikipedia:

"Most of the shots were done by an L.A. company called LOLA that specializes in digital 'plastic surgery'. The technique involved shrinking Chris in all dimensions. We shot each skinny Steve scene at least four times; once like a normal scene with Chris and his fellow actors in the scene, once with Chris alone in front of a green screen so his element could be reduced digitally, again with everyone in the scene but with chris absent so that the shrunken Steve could be re-inserted into the scene, and finally with a body double mimicking Chris's actions, in case the second technique were required. When Chris had to interact with other characters in the scene, we had to either lower Chris or raise the other actors on apple boxes or elevated walkways to make skinny Steve shorter in comparison. For close-ups, Chris' fellow actors had to look at marks on his chin that represented where his eyes would be after the shrinking process, and Chris had to look at marks on the tops of the actor's head to represent their eyes. . . . The second technique involved grafting Chris's head onto the body double. This technique was used mostly when Chris was sitting or lying down, or when a minimum of physical acting was required."

Hollywood magic!

I am very, VERY pleased with the look of the FX. The screen was filled with control panels which had dials, knobs, and levers everywhere. This is 40s retro-SF as it *should* be! And unlike Sky Captain there was none of that soft-focus effect . . . which is fine if you want to give it a romantic, other-worldly appearance, but has the disadvantage of constantly reminding you that you're not looking at anything real. Here, the metal machinery appeared to be real, solid steel, with real, no-nonsense, industrial-grade paint on it.

The appearance of the characters was reasonably well-done . . . and the Red Skull was a stand-out! A story like this needs a menacing super-villain. The Red Skull is so comic-book, even cartoonish, that I was afraid they wouldn't pull it off. Kudos to the prosthetics team, costumers, and the actor--this Red Skull is menacing indeed!

Also, it was interesting the way they first parodied the superhero costume, showing "Captain America" debuting in a singing-and-dancing chorus stage show to sell war bonds. Later, of course, they switched him into a costume with colors slightly muted, and looking more like something a mortal action hero would wear--not Spandex. I have no objection to that; it's what they did for Daredevil, and unlike the heresy of the X-Men movies, the filmmakers didn't abandon the costume's colors.

I wish I could say the story was up to the fine quality of the other elements of this film. But it was merely good, not great. Nonetheless, comparing it to Sky Captain, the film "works" a lot better *as* a movie. It "felt" more real, the direction was better (not surprisingly; Sky Captain was made by a first-time director), and the various elements were assembled more seamlessly. But the basic story lacked the truly earth-shaking menace that an epic retro-SF tale about superheroes vs. super-villains needs. Oh, sure, they threw in a last-minute plot element about a bomber that would destroy America, but they didn't really *sell* that to me. It seemed more of an excuse to get Captain America and his team to do some fighting and stunts, rather than the existential menace to humanity that we see at the end of Sky Captain. And although the 40s retro-SF elements gave this story a fresh setting, the story itself seemed all too familiar. So that's why I give this film only three stars (***) out of four, even though I had a marvelous time! (Or is that a "Marvel-ous time"?)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Aside to Ty Gephardt: Please feel free to post this to any KaCSFFS Internet site or blog, and/or pass it along to Jan for that purpose.
Keep Watching the Skies!
David Sooby aka "Lensman"

Movie posters were taken from Wikipedia.
Cowboys and Aliens
Captain America - The First Avenger