The Official Newsletter of PARSEC

SIGMA

June 2001, Issue 185

Kevin's Comments

By Kevin Hayes

Dog walking is my time for thinking and contemplation. It's probably the only time during the course of the day I am away from the nagging demands of work, family, and all those other daily minutiae of a person's life.

I use the time to allow for the unfettered soaring of my imagination. Most times, my imagination soars with nothing more than the mundane matters of the day-to-day. Sometimes, I'm not even worried about things as important as that. After all, I'm dealing with a dog. I'm sure some of these particular things are important to her -- checking the bush bulletin board, sniffing the lamppost message center; the sort of thing that leads me to insist, "Meg, let's go!" and accompany my request with a tug on her leash.

But there are also times in our evening walks that I have been mulling over some problem, or another and I have a sort of mini-epiphany. I've had story ideas and cartoon ideas. I've worked out problems in life and I've worked out problems in stories I was in the process of writing. I've even helped other people with problems in their stories.

I've prefaced my comments about story problem resolutions with, "I was out walking my dog when I thought of this. . ." so often that these people have asked if they could walk my dog. The thing is: this is time that allows me to think.

I believe it's singularly appropriate that what I think about quite often is science fiction. Especially since I've always considered sf the literary genre of thought.

Ann Cecil said to me recently that she felt good science fiction was something that shows a different face on something familiar. How some technological difference would affect the incidentals of human interaction (these are my words in her mouth, not hers. We were talking about a story by Terry Bisson called "macs"). The most important thing about the story was that it made you think. She related how her favorite books and stories were the ones that made her think.

I've enjoyed my share of stories that made me consider other points of view. However, I have to confess, I have enjoyed my share of rousing, mindless adventure as well. I have read and re-read Doc Smith's "Spacehounds of the IPC." And I say that with a sense of pride. But we all have our own little secrets like that, don't we?

One of the great things about PARSEC meetings is how it allows us to read these things that make us think and get together and talk about what we thought of them. We have the genre in common and we also have, in a lot of cases, the book, or story in common. Even if we don't have the story in common, we will discuss it with whomever will listen long enough for one of us to offer a review and a recommendation. It lets us all widen our experience through the opinions of friends. I think the stimulation of the interaction will often lead us to read something, or see a film, a play, listen to music and enjoy things we might otherwise have missed. We might not always agree with the person who recommended a book, a film, a play, the music, once we've experienced it, but it does offer us the insight into other minds, the originator of the work, as well as the person doing the recommending. And it stimulates us to think.

I've read Bill Hall's reviews of films he's seen and enjoyed (or not) and I've listened to Randy Hoffman talk about the films he has seen. I know they don't always see eye to eye about films and I've listened to them try not to discuss differences of opinions they have about what they have viewed. I've always enjoyed listening or reading their opinions because I know they are considered and thoughtful. I look forward to seeing, and hearing, them do what they both do well: offer their opinions on films and video and possibly (hah) disagree. Nelson will graciously moderate and, I expect, offer a little provocation from time to time.

On Saturday, I expect we will all be stimulated to think a little bit wider, a little bit deeper and a little bit longer. And all this without a dog. See you then.

News

Elizabeth Penrose has made her first sale, a poem entitled "A Girl's Game" to Star*Line, the magazine of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

Bobby Nansel made his first poetry sale to Asimov's, entitled "Tea with the Queen".

Ken Chiacchia's story "A Matter of Gravity" was voted the best of the March issue of The Martian Wave, and will therefore appear in the print anthology Wondrous Web Worlds, volume 2.

Last Meeting - March 10, 2001

by Tom Morrow

Well, after a rather inauspicious start, namely, the Squirrel Hill library losing our reservation, PARSEC gathered in the 5th floor lobby of Wean Hall, CMU for the regular meeting on May 12, 2001. There was some discussion about trying to find another venue for the meetings, since we are at the bottom of the priority stack at Squirrel Hill (they consider us non-literary!). Several other possible venues were suggested.

Several other Carnegie branches have rooms, but will not allow food.

Kira's printer is still giving her troubles, but the first 30 membership cards were handed out. The rest (we are at 90+ members) will be handed out at the next meeting, or mailed.

Greg Armstrong announced that CMU is looking for a few good Martians: NASA will launch a sample return robot to MARS in 2011 CMU is developing the concept now. YOU can be a part of it: contact Dot Marsh:268-6556 or email red@ri.cmu.edu Summer Interns are needed.

Greg also gave the Treasurer's report: We brought in $89 last month, paid $68, so net income last month was $21. Currently we owe JJ for $49.88 for Six from Parsec & Confluence $20 because someone paid the club for membership instead of confluence.

Kevin Hayes asked for suggestions for ideas for new meetings, and the following were volunteered:

Sasha has decided that if we have another art show&tell meeting, she wants to lead it too.

At the Carnegie Science Center we will be running an SF reading and filking event at the planetarium, possibly on June 30 (ed. note: June 30 looks unlikely; we still want this before Confluence, though). We are looking to make it essentially a mini-con. There would be readings, and filk, and possibly at least one panel discussion. Possibly teasers from the play, as many activities as we can jam into the time we have.

The Allegheny County Fair is looking for performers. If it's around Labor Day it would run into WorldCon, otherwise, we may be possibly there.

Robert Brust announced that he will be showing his art at the Monroeville Library Gallery Space, opening Sunday June 2nd 6-8PM, everyone is welcome. It will be shown through June and July.

Mia Sherman announced that she will coordinate the list for rooms/transportation for WorldCon. Raffle was forgone. (possibly double next time)

Parallax Gallery West (the meeting proper) opened for its first showing, at 15:29 on May 21, 2001.

The first presenter is Kevin Hayes. Kevin considers himself more of a cartoonist than an artist. His first piece he did because he threatened his kids. He drew his three children as anime characters. A quick cartoon rendering of 7of9, and somehow its not the part everyone recognizes (her face)..."the neck down is easy," he produces a picture of a large chested naked female body. He's done some cartoons that have been published though not yet for money:

And now we switch over to Kira Heston, showed off the membership card.

Barbara Carlson showed a lot of pictures taken with her digital camera. Within a week, she got 2 5x7 & 12 Wallets for $5, all of one picture rather than spending $150 for a school photo of her daughter Jessie.

And of course, there are hundreds of pictures of cute little ferrets. And since the digital will focus within a couple of inches, very good detail is available.

If anyone signs up for Shutterfly, and puts her e-mail as a reference, she can get 25 free prints. It's a good setup for getting prints of digital photos.

Nancy Janda does a lot of different kinds of art, and so she brought a lot of different things:

Rachel Ross works in colored pencil, pencil, and some watercolor, doing Anime Fanart. She displayed some from Princess Mononoke, and Magic Knight Rayearth, as well as some simply original work in anime style.

Sasha Riley showied three or four pieces of Chris Hutson's work. Chris was unable to make it today. Anyone who did or didn't make it to last Confluence's art show, she had some works there and in a library. She does fine detail work, on vellum no less. Some examples from her portfolio are bugs, alien bones, and some beautifully rendered passages from books, framed and calligraphed with colored pencils, watercolor, and ink.

Short Story Contest

General announcement:

For a variety of reasons, we have revised the PARSEC Short Story Contest announcement for 2002 in the following way: "Please remove the phrase, 'with publication in the Out of James' Attic fanzine' from the sentence involving the possible 2nd and 3rd prizes.

Thank you.

Book Awards

Golden Duck Award Nominees named and Bill Keith's book is among them. The Golden Duck Awards are given out each year to the best children's science fiction books.

Picture Books (award goes to illustrator)

Middle Grades

Young Adult

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/art-main.html?2001-05/04/10.45.books

Sad News

Douglas Adams died May 11th following a heart attack, he was 49. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_1326000/1326657.stm

Next Meeting

NEXT MEETING: June 9, 2001 1:00 PM to 4:45 PM
LOCATION: Squirrel Hill Branch of Carnegie Library
PLEASE: We encourage people to bring a munchie or drink contribution ... pop, chips, cookies, etc.

TOPIC: Video Wars - uh, Debate Bill Hall vs Randy Hoffman with Nelson Tatham moderating

Announcements

Need a ride to or room space at Worldcon, and don't know who to ask?

Going to Worldcon and have space for more people in your car or room, but don't know who needs any?

Never fear! We'll be publishing a list in SIGMA of people who either need or have such spaces, so Pittsburghers going to Worldcon can coordinate their efforts.

If PARSEC members want to be on the list, please email Mia privately at with your name, what you need/have, and any preferences such as non-smoking or single-sex rooms.

Worldcon! It's only three months away!

PARSEC member Robert G. Brust will be showing 2001: A Paint Odyssey', a collection of paintings in acrylic and various media, at the gallery space in the Monroeville Library. The show starts on June 2nd, and runs through July 30th. There will be an opening reception at the library on Saturday June 2nd, from 6-8pm.

The Editors of Sigma welcome your input! Send your columns, commentary, reviews, rants, letters, laughs, input, and throughput to us! Send art, too!

To Contact PARSEC

phone: 344-0345
e-mail: parsec@spellcaster.net
mail: PO Box 3681, Pittsburgh, PA, 15230
web: http://www.parsec-sff.org

P.A.R.S.E.C.

The Pittsburgh Area Realtime Scientifiction Enthusiasts Club

President: Kevin Hayes

Vice President: "Cap'n" John Cope

Treasurer: Greg Armstrong

Editor: Don Cox

Secretary: Tom Morrow

Commentator: Ann Cecil

Meetings: The second Saturday in each month.

Dues: $10 full, $2 supporting.


Return to the Sigma mainpage.

This page maintained by Greg Armstrong.