Bleak and White

by Joe Coluccio, Parsec President
Einstein_tongue For what it’s worth. Somethin’s happenin’ here. I’ve come across it too many times. Whisking through a series of internet sites, on the prowl for an interesting bit of information. My eyes drawn to an image from the turn of the Nineteenth Century, or in the second or third decade of the Twentieth. It’s subtle enough. A dab of dull red, washed out green, faded orange. The likeness of a newsstand in the center of a busy street filled with garish three colored pulp magazines, or Mark Twain with pink cheeks, or Bonnie, in a chartreuse dress and Clyde in gray spats over black shoes on the running board of a red tinted automobile, grinning out from behind a brace of guns. All, I am told, to give me an “actual” view of history. To re-envision the past. Continue reading

Creature Feature

by Joe Coluccio, Parsec President
Marilyn and the CreatureA few years ago Universal released box sets of their world famous monster movies. Frankenstein in all of his guises. Dracula with penetrating eyes and teeth. The very hairy Wolfman nipped by Wolfbane. Ardeth Bay, the mummy, cursed, arisen, and seeking a lost love. The outlier of the group was The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Made a couple decades later than the original chillers.

I watched the trilogy in one day. The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us. The scope of the tragedy unfolded before me. It is an unhappy arc showing the worst side of scientific research. The full circle of the story makes the creature a tragic figure. Written in the times of Aeschylus there would have been a chorus donning masks, perhaps in mimicry of the creature, commenting in dance and song on the wrath the gods laid on our half fish, half human missing link. Continue reading

Me and Robbie

by Joe Coluccio, Parsec President
Robbie and Me smA schism in my fantasy life swells up and bites me in my consciousness from time to time. It is the kind of knot tangled only by a fan of popular literature and film. In my case, stuffed in the skin called science fiction. I identified with such fervor to the genre that, in the fifth grade, I was convinced, spawned by too many movies and a predilection for SF mags, I was a Martian. Green skin. Tentacles. A large bulbous head with superior intelligence shining from my nictitating membrane. It was glorious. Continue reading

Fandom Is A Way of Life

WS1934-05_Cover_jpgI’ve been doing a lot of reading about early science fiction fandom. So, what’s early? The period from 1926 to the day the US was bombed into World War II. Four books have been my guide. “The Immortal Storm” – Sam Moskowitz, “All Our Yesterdays”- Harry Warner Jr, “A Wealth of Fable” – Harry Warner Jr, and “The Futurians” Damon Knight. With a back beat from “The Way the Future Was” – Frederick Pohl, and “Wonder’s Child” – Jack Williamson. Continue reading


The other night, in preparation for a long bout of science fiction, at about three AM I came across an article in Doug Ellis’ “Pulp Vault No 14” about a trip Otto Binder and two other Chicago science fiction fans made to the east coast to meet with their counterparts in New York City in 1935, the likes of Mort Weisinger and Julius Schwartz. For those who don’t know, Otto Binder was an early science fiction author, who wrote with his brother Earl, under the nom de plume Eando Binder. Their first story “The First Martian” was published in the October 1932 edition of Amazing Stories. You can read it here – Continue reading

I Am Become Death

I discovered a Danish/Norwegian/British six-episode TV series entitled “The Heavy Water War” (Kampen om tungtvannet) while scanning the Netflix stream. The program, in Danish, Norwegian, German and English depending on the location, the “mise-en-scène,” is worth watching. The scene portraying the plight of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg as they met in Copenhagen in 1941 drew me in. Another production, “Copenhagen,” both a stage play and a movie, enacts the encounter of the two physicists. Bohr was in touch with the Allies, Heisenberg under the thumb of the Nazi war machine. Not much is known of the day, and nothing is answered by either drama. Why did Heisenberg request the meeting? Why did Heisenberg spend his time developing a nuclear reactor rather than working on the calculations to prove the atomic bomb would work? Continue reading

The Best SF Movie I Never Saw

Dream of the Stars Space PlatfromNothing produced the delicious frisson of excitement more than a good ‘Bug” movie of the 1950’s. “Them!” “Tarantula.” “The Deadly Mantis.” Nothing thrilled me as a kid, smell of popcorn and butter in my nostrils, sticky unnamable blob-like substance clinging to the soles of my shoes, than Bradbury’s infamous Rhedosaurus, “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” snacking on a cop in two short bites. “Reptilicus” taking down the Danish parliament. “The Giant Behemoth” battling Big Ben. Nothing frightened me to the roots more than the swelling brass crescendo and the water obscured first view of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Continue reading

Sad-eyed Thia of the Drylands

artpag32I sketch with all the skill of a five-year-old drawing a box house with two crooked windows cross braced into four panes, a door only a cubist could love, and stick mommy, stick daddy, and the stick children behind a skewed picket fence in the front yard. And, oh yeah, a big ball of the sun high in the upper right corner. If I could only get the clouds not to look like alien objects in an otherwise sufficient sky, I would be happy as a clam. If I knew, how happy a clam was. Continue reading

Do Martian Bouncers Dream with REM Sleep?

Back in the days when I was knee-high to a Martian bouncer, I moved out of the incubator of elementary school and into the wide world of Junior High School. The year Maz slammed the World Series winning walk-off home run over the left field wall of Forbes Field. I was out of my element, discomforted by the poorly lit tan locker-lined halls with floors waxed to the squeak of my shoes. Challenged by my first real taste of fashion consciousness. White pressed shirt, black pants, white socks, black shoes. Much as my mother plied me with shirts that sparkled with pastel hues, I stayed true to my cool. Continue reading