I cut the cable, but I didn’t cut the intertubes, oh no-o

by Joe Coluccio – President, Parsec
Apologies to Bob Marley.
Joe Hollodck
Cable TV is a seductive mate. We pay the exorbitant price not only in hard earned bucks but in some loss of self and a dose of atrophying physical and mental ability.

Newton Minow, then director of the FCC, in a speech in May of 1961 called television a “vast wasteland.” They named the S.S. Minnow of Gilligan’s Island after him. Telling it like it is, is never popular. Continue reading

Man, I Am Harshing My Own Mellow

by Joe Coluccio, President, Parsec

Writing is a chore. Writing is a joy.
Reading is a joy. Reading is a chore.

It is 2016 yet; I have been living my life of the 21st Century smack dab in the middle of the 20th. I have been leading my life in the sphere of my parents. I am aware of the world buzzing around me. I am aware of the growing non-cognitive consumer commercial crassness enveloping the globe, the poor in the thrall of the wealthy. I also know it was always thus. Been, to offer the other side of my titular cliche, down so long, looks like up to me. Continue reading

I can’t even step into the same river once

– by Joe Coluccio, President Parsec
Tarnished Utopia Starling StoriesTurns out you can’t go home again. At least, not often. Kinda like stepping into the same river twice. So, when I revisit books that have been on my shelves for years, I believe it is not an act of nostalgia but a deepening of my life experience. Sometimes the magic does not happen.

From 1950 to 1961 Herbert L. Gold, editor of Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine started a series of forty-one digest sized novels of science fiction. Some of them not too shabby. Many of them abridged. C.L. Moore’s “Shambleau”, L. Sprague de Camp’s “Lest Darkness Fall,” Hal Clement’s  “Mission of Gravity,” Eric Frank Russell’s “Sinister Barrier,”  Arthur C. Clarke’s “Prelude to Space,” and on the list goes. A complete index is available online – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxy_Science_Fiction_Novels. Continue reading

We’re captive on the carousel of time

Digs.Kennywood1951008

Pinned against the wall by three times the Earth’s gravitational pull. Above me, a boy is beginning to squirm and contort his body so his feet will replace the position of his head. When we slow down his noggin will melt toward the floor. The clown beside him looks like he is running, one knee up, the other behind. His hair plastered against the padded grey wall. End of the school year 1957 on “The Rotor” a quick stroll down and three tickets from the Wild Mouse. Kennywood Park. Continue reading

Book Signing at CopyLeft Gallery, May 13

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

COPYLEFT GALLERY

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)

Dune, but not forgotten.

by Joe Coluccio, Parsec President

dune

I’m the kind of dope that spent one whole summer seated at the dilapidated picnic table in my backyard. A true pain in the ass to swing your legs over the bench seats and under the rain worn planks. Breathe a sigh of relief and realize you are trapped in a leg lock that prevents you from getting up to answer the phone which is in the pocket of your jacket in the dining room and rings the minute you settle in. A deep thirst envelops you, and there is no easy way to hop to the refrigerator to get a cold drink. Then the pressure in your bladder forces you to stand, untangle your twisted legs and slip on the grass as you move in a frenetic drum tattoo to the bathroom for relief. And I think it’s gonna rain today. Continue reading

So Long, Mom and Dad, I’ve Got A Living to Give

by Joe Coluccio, Parsec President
20th Sunday-01I’ve been obsessed with books on popular science for as long as I can remember. As a toddler, I carried a copy of Fred Hoyle’s “Frontiers of Astronomy” in the back pocket of my diaper. Willy Ley’s “Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel” in the front basket of my bike.  “One, Two, Three… Infinity” by George Gamow tucked away under the covers of the Latin Mass Missal Sunday mornings. The Abbé Georges Lemaître meant a whole lot more to me than did Father Gildea at St. Joe’s swinging a boat of choking incense to cleanse the altar. Those books contained and informed the totality of my imagination. They were each a sweet adventure. Continue reading

Jeepers Creepers Where’d Ya Get Them Peepers

by Joe Coluccio, Parsec President

gorts-eyeMy old man, a fierce, brave, two-fisted sort of a guy, turned to a quavering shake of fear on the viewing of “The Hands of Orlac” or “The Beast with Five Fingers.” “Something scares the hell out of me,” he told me one candid day, “about a disembodied hand crawling around on the floor.” Lord, knows what he thought about the five fingertip spider ramble of the Adams Family’s “Thing.” Continue reading

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to the 4th Century BCE

by Joe Coluccio, Parsec President
Alphaville Spectacle is the last of the six components of tragedy according to Aristotle in Poetics. In order of importance are Plot, Character, Thought (here’s one Hollywood seems to miss altogether), Diction, Song (or melody – got to have a chorus, of cour-us.) Yeah, I know, it says tragedy, but when comedy and tragedy are the choices in drama, today’s “serious” SF films fall under the rubric of “tragedy. When I get enough energy to shuffle off to a movie theater, the films I am doomed to view only manage to present spectacle. The argument that special effects and noise are the only things that bring in the money are pretty poor ones from almost any but the point of view of corporate greed. If I see one more, confusing transformation of a mobile vehicle to autonomous alien simulacrum or the cranking view of explosions in the workings of the internal combustion engine, I may turn my drinking from a sipping glass of Jack in the evening to a quart of 10W30. Continue reading