April 28, 2016

Announcing the KaCSFS Calendar!

Monthly themes and programs
Here are some of us on the steps of The
Writers Place during the March meeting.
As noted in an earlier post, the April 16 meeting set a plan in motion for changing the kinds of things we do at KaCSFFS meetings--with the objective of developing more fun things to do that celebrate our genres--while spending less time on business meetings. 

The general plan for all meetings in the coming year was featured in our April 25 post.

Our Calendar for the Fiscal Year
Here is the calendar of monthly themes we developed:

May 21, 2016:
The program highlights ConQuesT, our convention due to run the following weekend, May 27-29. Longtime member Tracy Majkol has taken photos at a lot of ConQuesTs over the years. Join him on a walk down memory lane. 

June 21, 2016:
The annual KaCSFFS Picnic returns to its normal month! We're still discussing whether to have the picnic at The Writers Place or elsewhere. Last year, we had an Indoor-Outdoor picnic, and that might continue. We're seeking inputPlease email us your ideas, or share them on the KAXFEN list! 

July 16, 2016:
This meeting is the 45th Anniversary of KaCSFFS! We were organized in July 1971. Help us celebrate with an awesome KaCSFFS Birthday Party! We're interested in hearing if anyone has memorabilia, photos, stories, or ideas to share. Please email us your ideas, or share them on the KAXFEN list! 

August 20, 2016:
Our regular third-Saturday time will fall during MidAmeriCon II, the 74th Worldcon, being held right here in Kansas City. We are seeking input from the members: will enough of us be at the Worldcon for us to hold a meeting there? Or should we simply party together informally at the Worldcon, and resume the meetings in September? Please email us your thoughts, or share them on the KAXFEN list! 

September 17, 2016:
This month is the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. Even if you're more devoted to Star Wars, Dr. Who, Firefly, or other media, if we're honest we know the show left a huge mark on our genre. September also has been a time when we have looked at Kansas City Fannish or science fiction history. We'd like to put together a panel discussion of local experts and encourage audience input. Please email us your thoughts on the matter, or share them on the KAXFEN list! 

October 15, 2016
This is traditionally our Halloween Party--costumes optional, but encouraged, and we've had some good ones over the years. In past years we've offered recognitions for the best. If you have ideas for the party, please let us know: Please email us your thoughts on the matter, or share them on the KAXFEN list. Our treasurer (also president of the Horror Club) has volunteered to ask several local horror writers if they'll come and do short, scary readings!

November 19, 2016
We wouldn't dare mess with the KaCSFFS Thanksgiving Dinner! This is our best-attended event, most years. Join us for good food (KaCSFFS provides turkeys, and the assembled multitude provides the fixin's), good companionship, and tabletop games of various types.

December 17, 2016
The annual Holiday Party is another KaCSFFS tradition we don't want to change. Some members bring small gifts or cards to exchange, and in past years we've also done an ornament exchange. Please email us your thoughts on the matter, or share them on the KAXFEN list, if you have ideas for making this party even more fun.

January 21, 2017
We had such fun discussing the year's new science fiction and fantasy TV shows and movies at our meeting last February that we decided to make it an annual event. We'll review the 2016 shows that we loved, hated, missed or need to catch up on, at the January meeting. The annual Chili Cookoff will return to the January meeting as well. Sample chili recipes and vote for your favorites, while we discuss our favorite new shows.

February 18, 2017 
We're reviving the Fannish Prom for our February meeting. Note: this is NOT a Valentine's Day thing, so singles or other combinations are welcome. Just come and enjoy! Once again, you'll have an opportunity to dress up if you wish (anybody up for a Steampunk Prom?), and enjoy the traditional CHOCOLATE food theme. Self-nominations for KaCSFFS Board officers start this month, too. As ever, we welcome your thoughts on this meeting. Please email us, or share ideas on the KAXFEN list.

March 18, 2017
Our annual dues-paying meeting and second meeting for self-nominations to the KaCSFFS Board will also have a party theme: specifically How to Throw a Great Room Party. We'll gather a panel of experts to talk about their experiences with throwing room parties at cons, just as the local sf convention season begins to heat up. We'll also insist that they tell us their funniest room party experiences. Come prepared to take notes, make plans--and also to laugh!

April 15, 2017
This is our month to vote (if there are contested offices) and induct new officers to the KaCSFFS Board of Directors. We also are considering a program on science fiction and fantasy for young adults. David Means has offered to coordinate the discussion.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Tyrell Gephardt for the photo of an assemblage of KAXFEN on the front steps of The Writers Place. The ConQuesT 47 logo is courtesy of ConQuesT. Many thanks to the Wakefield Theatre for the "Picnic" logo. Many thanks to the "Females' Corner" website for the birthday candles image, and to MidAmerCon II for the wonderful Ray VanTilburg design! We apprciate the Star Trek 50th Anniversary image from gazomg on DeviantArt. The photos from past Halloween, Thanksgiving, Holiday Party, and Fannish Prom meetings are by Jan S. Gephardt. Many thanks to Gizmodo and i09 for the photo of TV characters from 2016. The photo of the party balloons is courtesy of 24 Yes Daily. The montage of YA covers is from Robert Hood's Undead Backbrain post about the Aurealis Awards.

April 25, 2016

NEW!! Improved??

Change is coming!
The April 16 meeting was a long, serious business meeting, conducted for the purpose of eliminating long, serious business meetings

How to make KaCSFFS 
more Fun?
We've been thinking for some time now, that KaCSFFS meetings need to focus more consistently on fun and interesting ways to enjoy our favorite genres. Our business meetings have been too long, and we don't always have good programs. That must change. 

We had a productive brainstorming session on the 16th, and we've come up with several changes we want to make.

The first change is moving the Board of Directors' meetings to a different night (the Tuesday before each meeting). Board meetings are still open meetings, but this way if they run long they won't interfere with the regular monthly meetings. Watch the KAXFEN list for specifics.

Next, meetings will begin at 6:00. If a business meeting is necessary, we'll hold it from 6-6:30--at which point we promise to truncate it with extreme prejudice. If we need a longer business meeting, we'll schedule a special session at a different time.
The second-floor Library is a place where a special-interest group could meet at The Writers Place during monthly KaCSFFS meetings.
The Rise of the SIGs!
Thirdly, there will be a conscious effort to cultivate special interest groups (SIGs) at each meeting, who may wish to conduct break-out sessions in various parts of The Writers Place

If there is enough interest, we can have one group meeting in the Library, one on the Mezzanine, and one on the Main Floor. 
Dr. Who's T.A.R.D.I.S.

What special interest groups? We're not sure. We need members' input! But some of the ones we could think of included:
  • Steampunk
  • Space opera
  • High fantasy
  • Cross-genre fantasy
  • Specific literature- or media-based fandoms, such as Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, Lovecraft, etc.
  • Time-travel
    Cthulu looms over a hapless city.
  • Paranormal romance
  • Post-apocalyptic science fiction
  • Alternate history
  • International science fiction
  • Anime, or other kinds of animated science fiction or fantasy 
  • Science-based programs (on space, or other topics)
  • Costuming interests
And many more. If you are interested in any of these or something else entirely, please let us know. Use the KAXFEN list if you're a dues-paid member; if you're interested or potentially interested and could actually come to one of our meetings, comment on our Facebook Page or email us. 

Games Galore!
We also plan to have board games and card games at most or all meetings. Our own game maven David Means has promised to develop a list of games he owns that would typically have a play length of about an hour or so. We'll post options on the KAXFEN list and take requests. 

Please also watch for David's upcoming series about games, to be run on this blog over the next several months.

We have created a month-by month calendar of meeting themes for the upcoming year (with the hope of making many of them annual events). We'll explore the calendar in more detail in our next post.

IMAGES: the "FUN" sign is courtesy of Schwartz Creek Youth Football. The photo of the Library at The Writers Place is from their website. The image of the T.A.R.D.I.S. is from Wikipedia. The image of Cthulu Looming is from the Etsy page of Ghostfire. The photo of cards for a fantasy game is from Beasts of WarWe cannot promise that this card game will be present at any given meeting--it is used to illustrate possibilities.The photo of the board game and pieces is from Fantasy Flight Games. We cannot promise that this board game will be present at any given meeting--it is used to illustrate possibilities.

April 21, 2016

This is the way the world ends? SF&F Literati look into it

Date: Monday, April 25, 2016, 7pm
Title: The Fifth Season
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Publisher: Orbit
Available from: Fine Booksellers, including Barnes& Noble
Meeting Location: Barnes & Noble #2352, 2nd Floor, 11323 W. 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214 

Overview from 
In the Stillness, the end of the world is so frequent as to be routine: every few decades or centuries, intense seismic activity triggers a volcanic winter.

The air grows cold; the sky clouds for years on end; and noxious gases drift across the land in deadly fogs. The people of every small community barricade themselves against hazards within and without, hoping only to survive well enough to retain some semblance of civilization.

Only one thing is more feared: the orogene, those born with the ability to manipulate seismic energy at great cost to themselves and those nearby. Essun is an orogene hidden in a small town, living an ordinary small-town life — until the day her husband realizes their children are orogenes too.

He kills their son and kidnaps their daughter on the same day that the world ends for what might be the last and most terrible time. Essun follows, beginning an odyssey through falling ash and ancient perils which will not end until her daughter is safe once more.

This is the first book in Jemisin's new BROKEN EARTH fantasy trilogy.

This is a special meeting! It's the spring planning meeting, when decisions are made about selections for the next several months. Bring a list of ideas for books to read! 

IMAGE: Many thanks to Amazon, for the cover image. 

April 16, 2016

Caution! Deadlines are closer than they appear!

Here's a friendly reminder from ConQuesT, our friendly regional science fiction convention:

If you have made the intelligent decision to attend ConQuesT 47, Kansas City's longest-running regional science fiction convention on Memorial Day Weekend, then you should note several deadlines are fast approaching!

You'll thank yourself in May, for acting on these deadlines now!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Prep Scholar for the "warning" sign, and to ConQuesT for the "ConQuesT Prime" header and the deadline schedule.

April 13, 2016

How YOU can make sure KaCSFFS Programming is always fun!

What: Monthly KaCSFFS Meeting
Where: The Writers Place
3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
When: Saturday, April 16, 2016
5:30 Board of Directors—open meeting
6:00 Doors open for setup and pre-meeting socializing.
7:00 Program begins

Food Theme: Keep it tasty and interesting! (BYO beverage) 

We need to talk . . . bring your ideas. Let's brainstorm!
Never a Boring Meeting! EVER!
We'd love to think we'll never, ever bore you or present a meeting that isn't packed with interesting things to do and talk about . . . but there's only ONE way to make sure that happens.

You have to tell us what you like and don't like. Ideally, you could come to the meeting with some ideas already in mind! We're planning the year's themes at this Saturday's meeting, and it just won't be the same without you!

L-R: Margene Bahm, "Cricket" Beebe, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, and Jan S. Gephardt are the 2016-2017 voting Board Members.
Installation of New Officers
William McCullough,
new Registered Agent.
As we announced after last month's meeting, we have a slate of officers who have nominated themselves to serve on the Board of Directors until April of 2017. They are all running unopposed, which means that we will be installing the following officers Saturday night:

President/Director: Margene Bahm
Treasurer: Earline "Cricket" Beebe
Secretary: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Communications Officer: Jan S. Gephardt
Registered Agent: William McCullough

ConQuesT Preview
We have a con to put on, in roughly a month. What has the committee got planned? Programming, events, and special guests--we'll be talking about it all. 

The committee has been working hard, but they can't do it all. They need attendees, and--most golden and cherished of all--enthusiastic volunteers. Remember, it all means more when you're actually involved, and many fans have discovered it's often a lot more fun, too.

IMAGES: the photo of the meeting is from June 2015, by Communications Director Jan S. Gephardt specifically for use in KaCSFFS communications.The photo of Margene Bahm is from her personal Facebook Page. Many thanks to Keith Stokes's Midamericon Fan Photo Archive for the image of Earline (at Lonstarcon, the Texas Worldcon). The image of Bryan Thomas Schmidt is fromhis website. The photo of Jan Gephardt is one of her standard head shots, provided for this post. The image of William McCullough is from his personal Facebook Page. Many thanks to all! The ConQuesT 47 banner and guests' photos are courtesy of the ConQuesT website.