Confluence News

Pittsburgh’s annual literary science fiction / fantasy / horror convention, Confluence, is coming up on July 29-31 at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel, 1160 Thorn Run Road. Coraopolis, PA 15108.


Online registration is available through July 22. Mail-in deadline is July 11. If you pre-register, you will save $10 on a full-weekend adult membership. There is also a $5 discount for paid-up members of PARSEC.

Alpha Book Signing July 27

The Alpha book signing will be on Wednesday, July 27 from 7 to 9 pm. Authors involved: David Barr Kirtley, Karina Sumner-Smith, Tamora Pierce, Seth Dickinson and Amal El-Mohtar.

Location: The Greensburg Barnes & Noble is at 5155 Route 30, Greensburg, PA 15601 (724-832-0622).

Mary Soon Lee’s poems

Mary Soon Lee has four more poems online:
Inheritance,” a poem about King Xau and the dragon, in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly.
 “Roasted Chicken,” a poem about cooking with Lucy, in Songs of Eretz.
 “Giants,” a poem about my parents, first published in the Atlanta Review, now reprinted in Songs of Eretz
 “Micha,” a short King Xau poem, also in Songs of Eretz:
She also has a poem in Dreams & Nightmares #102, another King-Xau-and-the-dragon poem, titled (imaginatively) “Dragon.” The poem is not available online, but a pdf of the whole issue can be ordered for $1. Ordering information is at: Ordering Dreams & Nightmares

Book Signing at CopyLeft Gallery, May 13

PARSEC SF/F/H BOOK SIGNING   ♦   May 13, 2016   ♦   6:00-10:00 pm


127 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh, PA, 15210

starchildDoors into other universes exist in the tales of novels by ten local, science fiction, fantasy and horror authors. Parsec, the premier speculative fiction organization in Pittsburgh, will host this multi-author book signing and party. Come see our world!

The event is free and open to the public. No registration or RSVP necessary.

Venue is wheelchair accessible.

Authors: Stephanie Keyes; Timons Esaias; Heidi Ruby Miller; Jason Jack Miller (more to be announced)

President’s Blog

I like to complain. So, when someone looks at my aging countenance and remarks, “Getting old is a bitch, ain’t it?” I immediately launch into a smarmy face that shows commiseration. I follow with a list of infirmities and medical oddities that would send a pharmaceutical company into a frenzy of ailment influenced naming rights.

I do find comfort in my waning years. For many reasons, most as boring as my inventory of gripes, I will not present you a checklist of my geriatric satisfactions. I would like to point out one particular joy. It has to do with science fiction. It has to do with coming of age in the era of nineteen fifty’s science fiction. I returned home after a hard day’s day last week to discover a package leaning against my front storm door. Excited, I ripped open the cardboard to reveal a hefty collection of DVDs.

I know, I am about to tread in a time period that is remote to many of you as the Pleistocene, but hop on the bicycle saddle and join me on a trip back in time before “Star Trek” was any kind of reality. “The Outer Limits” (which endeavors to take control of our television set as we zip past) is a relative newcomer. We move on beyond a fifth dimension “as vast as space and as timeless as infinity, The Twilight Zone.” We land on a Saturday evening in the spring of 1955. I was a youngster just knee-high to a Martian Bouncer.

I am on the floor in front of an immense twenty-one inch aluminized screen fitted into a mahogany console as grand as grandma’s heirloom cupboard. Rabbit ears are at attention. The endless fifteen-minute news broadcast has faded to a Pie Traynor pitch for a heating company.  Commercial over, a brass and string fanfare swells, the camera lingers on an oscillating radar disc, tilts down to some sort of miraculous control device, then pans stage left across a laboratory of gorgeous dials, blinking instrument lights, flat cathode ray displays, and gleaming metal toggles. Not an experimental workspace of the future, say 1972, but of this most exciting moment on the living room carpet.

“How do you do, ladies and gentlemen. I’m your host, Truman Bradley. Let me show you something interesting.” We are off! Season one, Episode one of “Science Fiction Theater.” The “something interesting” is always a scientific experiment. Bubbling paint off a wall with sound waves. A slo-mo image of a bullet piercing a television screen. Fragile glass shattering in sympathy with a struck tuning fork. The rushing clicks of a Geiger counter. All of which, in some manner, have something to do with the fictional presentation to follow. At tale end, Truman appears on screen, “Of course, this was a story. It didn’t happen… but it could have.”

The special effects were foolish to nil. The action had all the dynamism of a Victorian stage play. But the stories were capable of generating suspense, mystery, and the frisson only new intellectual notions can bring. While watching “Science Fiction Theater” for these two weeks, my eleven-year-old and my present psyche are both pleased the content, although dated and frozen in the science of the post World War II era, is strange and filled with wonder. And hope.

Stick around with me. Next week I want to talk about the optimism and advancing human potential that was found in SF until the mid-nineteen-sixties. “I’ll be back with you a week from today with another exciting adventure from the world of fiction and science.” Thank you, Truman, could hardly say it better myself.

Maggie Stiefvater at YA Lecture Series Oct 17

Maggie Stiefvater will visit CMU for a free lecture on
Oct 17 from 2-3 pm. She writes young adult fiction, notably the 2010
New York Times Bestseller Linger and the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award
Honor Book The Scorpio Races. She worked for some time as a portrait
artist and is a race car and race car driving enthusiast. She was a
competitive bagpipe player in college while studying at Mary
Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She lives in
Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her husband, two children, three
dogs, and one cat.

rachel grintiWant to learn writing from one of the best? Rachel Grinti was an Alpha
student then staff with books published with her husband Mike (who she
met her first year at Alpha). Register and come, 11 – 1 on Oct. 17 at
the University Center at CMU to learn about voice in genre
fiction. Register to participate here.

For more information: YA Lecture Series