Costuming at Confluence

Confluence (July 29-31 at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel)


We haven’t had a formal masquerade in a good while, but this year we plan to give out ribbons and prizes for hall costumes, including a signed copy of Mary Soon Lee’s CROWNED to the “most heroic costume” and special guest Lawrence M. Schoen will use YOUR NAME as a character name in his next novel for a “really, really” good costume based on the sentient animal characters of BARSK.

Confluence Program

Program Update for Confluence (July 29-31 at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel)


Principal theme this year: heroic fantasy (our Guest of Honor is fantasy author Saladin Ahmed). But we will also have lots of SF, science, horror, and writing panels, and special guest Lawrence M. Schoen will be talking about both the Klingon language and the sentient elements of his Nebula nominated novel, BARSK. We have an outstanding filk track, and this year many of our filk guests will also be appearing on panels and in workshops.

If you’d like to take part in the Confluence Writing Workshop (July 30, Saturday morning), send a short story or part of a larger word (up to 3,000 words) to BY JULY 15 and then come to Confluence to go over it and improve it with the help of a brace of professional writers and editors.

Saturday will also be David Hartwell Tie Day: wear your gaudiest tie in honor of a friend, dealer, panelist and editor who was a Confluence regular until his recent untimely death.

On Saturday evening, Steel City Improv Theater will present USS IMPROVISE at 8 PM – it looks like it will be a lot of fun.

And of course, panels, workshops, readings, art show, dealer’s room, autographing sessions, kaffeeklatsches and literary beers, plus a couple of book launches and the camaraderie of our con suite.


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.