January 30, 2018

Put us on your Schedule! 2/17/2018

Winter's the theme for the
February KaCSFFS Meeting
When? Saturday evening: February 17, 2018, 6:00 p.m. set-up; 7:00 program starts
Where? The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
Food theme: Chocolate!

Mark your calendar now!
HBO's now-iconic series Game of Thrones is based on George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

The program: WINTER in SF-F and Horror
From the motto "Winter is coming" (Game of Thrones) to Planet Hoth to The Shining, the season of winter and wintry-type places form a thread woven through many tales in our favorite speculative genres.

This iconic image of the ice-planet Hoth is drawn from the Star Wars classic, The Empire Strikes Back.

We're still working to put together a panel of writers and/or readers who can guide our exploration of how the big freeze has left its icy mark in some of our best-loved fiction. Check back later at The KaCSFFS Blog for updates and more details.

Unforgettable Jack Nicholson in the 1980 movie The Shining, based on the novel by Stephen King.

If you're allergic or not a chocoholic, we apologize.

But for much of fandom, chocolate is a favorite passion, which we share with favorite characters such as Counselor Deanna Troi of Star Trek: The Next Generation, for whom Chocolate is a serious thing, and Honor Harrington, focal character for the sf novel series by David Weber, who prefers a cup of hot cocoa to coffee.

Honor Harrington, in a busy moment between cups of hot cocoa, as envisioned by artist David Mattingly for the book The Short Victorious War.

It can even be a palliative remedy (it is the best-ever cure for a close-call with Dementors), of just the sort the folks at Hogwarts use to ease their fears and pains. Chocolate Frogs, anyone?

In this still image from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, young Harry encounters his first-ever chocolate frog.

If you'd like to help us celebrate our food theme, please plan to bring a favorite share-able concoction made from chocolate, or keep it simple with a package of your favorite wrapped chocolates, to share with your fannish friends!

Mark your calendar now!

IMAGES: Many thanks to the following, for these wintry images: to Wallpaper Cave, for the "Winter is coming" image; to the official Star Wars website, for the chilly Tauntaun and rider on the snowbanks of Hoth; and to IMDB for the still from the 1980 movie The Shining.
We also deeply appreciate the chocolate-themed images, as follows: to the Deanna Troi Day Twitter page, for the Troi/Chocolate meme image; to Super Hero Hype for the detail from the David Mattingly cover for the Honor Harrington book The Short Victorious War; and to Smosh, for the movie still of Harry Potter with his first chocolate frog.

January 23, 2018

Best new SF-F TV in 2017?

Our panel and audience have spoken!
Carol Doms and Ken Keller did considerable research
for this panel.
At the January 20, 2018 KaCSFFS meeting we once again invited Carol Doms and Ken Keller to present a panel discussion about the best new shows (2017 debuts) in the science fiction, fantasy, and related speculative genres. 

The discussion included shows one can see on TV, stream, or download. Their spreadsheet (probably incomplete) listed 50; audience members added another.

Between our panelists and the audience, ten recommended shows emerged. However--as they pointed out--it's impossible for anyone to follow all the shows and still have a life. They may have missed some good ones. If you think a good one was overlooked, please tell us in the Comments section!

Fiction Series 
These are listed in alphabetical order, not order of preference. Click on the links in the captions for more information, trailers, and other goodies.

American Gods
American Gods, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, is available on STARZ.

Castlevania is an adult animated dark fantasy based on a 1989 video game, available on Netflix.
Dark is a German sf thriller (with subtitles) available from Netflix.

(Marvel's) The Defenders
One of two Marvel titles in this lineup, The Defenders, based on the Marvel comics, is available from Netflix.

The Gifted
Also drawn from the Marvel Universe is Fox's The Gifted, available via Hulu.

The Handmaid's Tale
Based on the 1985 bestseller by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale is an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Hulu Original.

The offbeat Syfy series Happy! is based on a graphic novel series by writer Grant Morrison and artist Darick Robertson.

Marvel's The Punisher
Another Marvel spin-off is The Punisher, from Netflix. "It's dark, but . . . it's the Punisher, so--yeah."

A Series of Unfortunate Events
Lemony Snicket's books come to new life in the Neflix production of A Series of Unfortunate Events. "The movie never happened. Do not speak of it"

Star Trek Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery continues the saga and has generated quite a buzz, but some of our group were pretty disgusted that CBS was making fans pay a premium to see it on All Access.

This year we also heard about two fascinating non-fiction documentaries about SF or things that relate to SF.

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
L. Ron Hubbard, who founded Scientology, was a science fiction writer before he created the religion. Our panel praised Leah Remini's work in untangling the backstory and examining the ramifications in this A&E series.

Visionaries: Robert Kirkman's Secret History of Comics 
Robert Kirkman's Secret History of Comics tells the stories behind the stories in this AMC series.

Early Looks at 2018

We weren't very far into 2018 at the time of this January 20 meeting, but the panel already was excited about the pilot for one show:

Black Lightning
So far, the Black Lightning pilot impressed our panel. We hope the series, based on the DC Comics character and produced by the CW, lives up to its promising start!

PLUS! great Chili! 
Let it not be forgotten that the Annual KaCSFFS Chili Cook-off drew a large number (for us) of contender-chili recipes, from relatively mild to extremely spicy. Members enjoyed the samples, and when the votes were counted, the winners were:

(Third Place): Mom's Midwestern Chili-moderate spice (David Means)
(Second Place): I Dub Thee Chili Bob!-very spicy (Jim Murray)
(First Place): Torn Label Chili-moderate to spicy (Carol Doms)

IMAGES: The photo of our panelists was taken with their permission by Jan S. Gephardt, for this post and other KaCSFFS publicity. 
We extend many thanks to Slashfilm via The Gryphon (includes a review), for the American Gods image; to GameRant for the Castlevania image; to Flixable for the Dark image; to Honk if You Love Justice's review of the series for the Defenders image; to Wikipedia for the title card image for The Gifted; to Script (with a post about the craft of scriptwriting), for the image from The Handmaid's Tale; to Next Episode for the Happy! image; to Live 105 for the Punisher logo; to YouTube for the image for A Series of Unfortunate Events (nice trailer here); and to Wallhaven for the Star Trek: Discovery title image.
Our deepest thanks also go to The Emmys for the title image of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath; to SkyBound for the title image for Robert Kirkman's Secret History of Comics, and the link to the YouTube trailer; and to IGN via YouTube for the Black Lightning image (and official trailer). We appreciate you all!

January 20, 2018

Cultivate the seeds of discussion with the SF&F Literati THIS MONDAY!

When: January 22, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Oak Park Mall Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 11323 W. 95th Street, Overland Park, KS
Discussing: Seeds of Earth, by Michael Cobley

Join the Kansas City SF&F Literati on the second floor by the windows, to discuss the first selection of 2018--then help pick the next four selections the group will read. All are welcome (including first-timers) to come to meetings--even if you haven't finished it. Come join the discussion!

Seeds of Earth
The first intelligent species to encounter mankind attacked without warning. Merciless. Relentless. Unstoppable. With little hope of halting the invasion, Earth's last roll of the dice was to dispatch three colony ships, seeds of Earth, to different parts of the galaxy. The human race would live on ... somewhere.

150 years later, the planet Darien hosts a thriving human settlement, which enjoys a peaceful relationship with an indigenous race, the scholarly Uvovo. But there are secrets buried on Darien's forest moon. Secrets that go back to an apocalyptic battle fought between ancient races at the dawn of galactic civilization. Unknown to its colonists, Darien is about to become the focus of an intergalactic power struggle where the true stakes are beyond their comprehension. And what choices will the Uvovo make when their true nature is revealed and the skies grow dark with the enemy?
--Overview provided by the publisher

"A complex, finely detailed thriller-cum-space opera"

"Proper galaxy-spanning Space Opera ... a worthy addition to the genre"
--Iain M. Banks

"After a devastating and unanticipated alien war, Earth sent out colony ships to preserve humanity. The human colony on Darien has coexisted peacefully with the indigenous Uvovo for the past 150 years, but now a power struggle for control of the galaxy threatens the amity. A space opera series opener by the author of the Shadowkings trilogy."
--Library Journal

"Seeds of Earth has everything: well-realised extraterrestrials, scheming artificial intelligences, set-piece space battles and bizarre technology from the dawn of the galaxy. The first book of the trilogy is also a convincing portrayal of political machinations and the plight of individuals caught up in events beyond their comprehension."
--Eric Brown, The Guardian online

"Seeds of Earth is as powerful as Smoke on the Water, as twisted as Paranoid and as epic as Stairway to Heaven. As a lover of epic fantasy I tell you that is the kind of space opera I want to read. For me it is epic fantasy in future. I recommend it! Give it a go...."
--"Edifanob," on Only The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy

IMAGE: Many thanks to Amazon for the cover art.

January 14, 2018

TV and a bowl of chili! What better, on a winter night?

January KaCSFFS meeting features winter favorites!
When: Saturday, January 20, 2018. Doors open: 6:00 p.m. for setup -- Program begins 7:00 p.m. begin close-down by 9:30.
Where: The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64111

Annual Chili Cook-off
The Annual KaCSFFS Chili Cook-off is an ever-popular winter meeting event. We're following tradition and holding it in January this year. Please prepare and bring your favorite chili recipe, to share and vie for recognition! 

We will have separate categories for SPICY and MILD, so the unwary won't be disappointed. Please prepare a small sign that:

  • Gives your chili a TITLE (that won't betray who brought it).
  • Indicates whether it goes in the SPICY or MILD category.

We'll vote using the chili titles to identify favorites in each category!

Don't want to bring chili? Then bring your favorite side dishes or garnishes: cornbread, shredded cheese, corn chips, sour cream--whatever you like best with your chili! And as ever, bring your own drinkables, too. KaCSFFS provides cups, bowls, and tableware.

A review of SF, Fantasy and Horror TV in 2017 
Here's a small sampling of the 2016 shows, discussed by our panel in 2017. What will they discuss this year?
Another KaCSFFS January favorite also returns: our panel discussion of the best and worst science fiction, fantasy, and horror genre television shows in the year just ended. Recently, we've had a lot of them to discuss!

Weather permitting, we'll hear once again again from our panelists Carol Doms, Ken Keller, and Earline "Cricket" Beebe. Have your own strong opinions? Bring them: (civil and reasonable) audience participation is encouraged! Help us make sense of 2017's television offerings.

IMAGES: The photo of the KaCSFFS Chili cook-off lineup from 2015 was taken by Jan S. Gephardt for KaCSFFS promotional use. In the montage, the Lucifer image is from the Lucifer Wiki; the one for The Expanse is from YouTube; the Stranger Things image is from TV Series Online; and that for Outcast is from a website that's no longer there. Many thanks to all!

January 08, 2018

2-Week notice: SF&F Literati discuss Seeds of Earth sooner than you think!

Have you finished it yet?
Michael Cobley's "Humanity's Fire" series-opener Seeds of Earth is the selection up for discussion at the Kansas City SF&F Literati meeting, set for January 22, 2018.

"Seeds of Earth has everything: well-realised extraterrestrials, scheming artificial intelligences, set-piece space battles and bizarre technology from the dawn of the galaxy. The first book of the trilogy is also a convincing portrayal of political machinations and the plight of individuals caught up in events beyond their comprehension."
--Eric Brown, The Guardian online

The discussion's in just two weeks! 
But there's still time to read it! 
Mark your calendar for January 22, 2018 at the Oak Park Mall Barnes & Noble, second floor, 7:00 p.m. Everyone's welcome--even if they haven't finished the book. First-timers are welcome!

Note that the January meeting offers a special opportunity: that's the night they'll choose the Spring selections! Don't miss it!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Amazon for the Seeds of Earth cover image.

January 03, 2018

Laser Rangers 2018 January Meeting

War Stories
Date: January 13, 2018
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: TBA
Food: Rations
Costume: WWII

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event Page.

Short features will be shown before each feature. Don't miss them!


(2014, 134 minutes) Directed by: David Ayer

Starring: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood

A grizzled tank commander makes tough decisions as he and his crew fight their way across Germany in April, 1945. -IMDB

Watch the trailer here!

After the first feature, please join us for a potluck dinner. Bring something to share. It can follow the theme, or be something you prefer.

Feature Presentation!
What Did You Do in the War. Daddy?

(1966, 116 minutes) Directed by: Blake Edwards

Starring: James Coburn, Aldo Ray, Dick Shawn, Sergio Fantoni, Giovanna Ralli, Carroll O'Connor, Harry Morgan

In World War II, a strategic Italian village agrees to surrender to the Allies only if it's allowed to organize a celebratory festival while giving aerial reconnaissance the false impression of fierce ground fighting. -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!