Past Meetings

Parsec meetings are held monthly at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill. Members and newcomers welcome! See our Calendar for future date info!
Note: This program or event is neither sponsored or endorsed by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Squirrel Hill Branch of the Carnegie Library
5801 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, Pa 15217
Room B – Next to the Rear Entrance 1:30 – 4:30 PM
The room is open at noon

Saturday, June 10 2017

Alison Conte talks about her novel
Beyond Normal

Alison Conte has been telling great stories for 30 years, in newspapers, books, and magazines. Because she worked for years at a liberal arts college, Beyond Normal is rich in realistic details about the behind the scenes operation of a college campus. She puts you in the middle of this world, along with imaginative ideas about the world of 2045, telepathy, social and spiritual growth.


Saturday, May 13, 2017, 1:30 PM
Technology in Literature & Popular Culture 
presented by
Charles Lanigan

The evolving depiction of science and technology in writing by JulesVerne, H.G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke (author of 2001: A Space Odyssey) — up through films like Bladerunner and The Matrix.

Chuck Lanigan earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Communication from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to writing for Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, CIO and the Pittsburgh City Paper, he has taught at the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration (CBA), Katz Business School Center for Executive Education (CEE), Penn State University Outreach and Carnegie Mellon University.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

CMU’s “Life in Space” Team at Parsec April 8th

CMU’s “Life in Space” student team led by Diane Turnshek made the final round! Their design to make life better for astronauts is now in competition with designs from teams at the University of Texas and OSU. The three teams already won laptops. Can you help the CMU team win a trip to Cape Canaveral? Vote once a day until Monday, April 3.

The team will also be speaking about their design at 2 pm on Saturday, April 8 at the Squirrel Hill Branch of the Carnegie Library (corner of Murray and Forbes) hosted by Parsec, Pittsburgh’s premier science fiction and fantasy literary organization. Free and open to the public.


Saturday, March 11, 2017
Picking Panels for Confluence
Our yearly brainstorming, mouth watering, meeting to suggest possible topics for Confluence Panels.

Love the Poetry of World Extinction, or how about a discussion of the difference between the Electric Tater Masher of Tom Swift Sr and the Electronic Pickle Slicer/Dicer of Tom Swift Jr, perhaps a colloquium on the works of Alfred, the Bester, or a manifestation of Streampunk, the all new, all the time Internet meme mime.

It is your turn, sandworm! Attendance is laudatory!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Leah Pileggi: How to Research for Historical Fiction

Pittsburgh author Leah Pileggi will be speaking at the February 11 Parsec meeting on how to research for historical fiction.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Peculiar Potluck Potpourri with Parts of Past Presentations Primed
for a Paradoxical Profusion of Painstaking, Pedantic, and
Popular Postulates Predicated on your Pleasure.

For four or more years I have been creating Keynote slideshow presentations, high on motion graphics and audio effects, for monthly Parsec meetings. They have all been heard only once by the members present. Each takes hours of thought, research, and preparation. I visit them once in a while on some backwater of my hard drive, dust them off, view them, and sigh.

Then there are the notions that are started and abandoned. Some are only notes and extracts of ideas. Portions of solitary information. Bits of fluff. Some make it to the onset of a slide show. Some only shake around in my noggin.

In November, post-Hallows Eve, second Saturday of the month, I will present a fractured glimpse of my presentations past, present, future, and a sighting of ideas never. Snippets from my mind, if you will. And even if you won’t.

Joe Coluccio
President – Parsec

Meeting October 8, 2016 – Heidi Ruby Miller
How Chronic Pain Has Made Me More Autotelic


What started as a forced transition due to health concerns has turned into a wondrous full-circle journey as a creator, both metaphorically and globally. This is how I found my way back from writing as a daily business to embracing my words as the artistic endeavor it is.

Heidi Ruby Miller uses research for her stories as an excuse to roam the globe. Her books include the popular AMBASADORA series and the award-winning writing guide MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT. In between trips, Heidi teaches creative writing at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their renowned Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program the same month she appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. She is a member of The Authors Guild, International Thriller Writers, Pennwriters, Littsburgh, and Science Fiction Poetry Association. Follow Heidi’s adventures with her husband, Jason Jack Miller, on their travel and lifestyle channel Small Space, Big Life.

September 10,2016 Happy Birthday Amazing Stories – 90 years old Presentation about The First Five Editors by Joe Coluccio

Saturday June 11, 2015 1:30 PM
Socializing 12:00 – 1:30
Squirrel Hill Branch of the Carnegie Library
5801 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, Pa 15217

Timons Esaias
What Happened to the Canals on Mars???

Esaias pic 1In 1906, Percival Lowell published Mars and Its Canals, which laid out the scientific proof that Mars not only sustained life, but was under the control of an advanced civilization. The proof was in their globe-encircling canal system; a canal system that NASA has failed to account for. Timons Esaias will discuss the scientific failures that this case reveals, along with offering a number of theories as to what happened to those canals. There may be some sarcasm.




Saturday May 14, 2015 1:30 PM
Socializing 12:00 – 1:30
Squirrel Hill Branch of the Carnegie Library
5801 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, Pa 15217

Westerns & SF





Saturday Oct 3, 2015 2:00 PM
That’s right  – The First Saturday of the Month
As you will see from the meeting topic – Things do change.



Parsec Meeting September 12, 2015 1:30PM to 4:30PMLong View Ad


Featured Speaker for August 8, 2015 – Time 1:30 pm
William Blake Hall
“Beyond A to Z: How Do You Disorganize Your Science Fiction Library?”

Bill Hall has been a Parsec member for a quarter century. He is presently the Secretary of the Parsec Meeting Committee and has been contributing movie and book reviews and the minutes of our meetings to Sigma since around 1990.

Featured Speaker for July 11, 2015 – Time 1:30 pm
Bill Watt
“Westerns and Science Fiction”

The audio and video files for this presentation are broken up into five sections. Not all sections are complete. They will follow as soon as they are edited.

Joe’s Meeting Introduction

Bill Watt’s Introduction to Westerns and Science Fiction

Bill Watt – Intro to Westerns & Science Fiction

Western and Science Fiction Books

Bill Watt – Books – Westerns & Science Fiction

Western and Science Fiction Movies

Western and Science Fiction TV

A purely subjective, unapologetic, discussion/diatribe on “The Good, the Bad and the Really Bad” in western/science fiction books, movies and television. Time permitting a special guest may appear; not to worry he won’t take up any extra space.

BW WEST copy

BILL WATT recently retired after thirty plus years as an educator in various social service organizations,including the YWCA of Western Pennsylvania, Focus on Renewal, McKees Rocks(where he helped to initiate and teach the first GED/Adult Education Programs) and Northside Common Ministries ( where he created a program to assist the homeless in gaining employment). He has been a writer for most of his life and has written and had published, numerous articles in “Sirens of the Cinema” magazine on the subject of “Women in Motion Pictures.” He has designed and taught courses on “Humor in the Workplace: De-stressing on the Job,” and “Why Sherlock Holmes: The Relevance of Sherlock Holmes in theTwentieth Century,” among others. He has a lifelong interest in western history, fiction and movies. He has also been recognized as a “film scholar.” He is currently working on severalprojects, the nature of which are “top secret.


Featured Speaker for June 13, 2015 – Time 1:30 pm
All the fine folks and friends of Parsec

A discussion all things Parsec.

We have not had a meeting just for the members and the public who find their way to Parsec on the second Saturday of each month in quite some time. A meeting designed for folks to sit around and talk about what they have been reading, what they have been writing, what they have been doing.
Bring your emotion.
Bring your intellect.
Everyone is invited.
Join us.
Let’s talk SF.


Audio Files for May 9, 2015 Meeting

Part 1 of 4 Meeting Introduction


Part 2 of 4 Parsec Announcements


Part 3 of 4 Thomas Sweterlitsch Presentation – The Avant-Garde and SF


Part 4 of 4 Q&A – Thomas Sweterlitsch


Featured Speaker for May 9, 2015 – Time 1:30 pm
Thomas Sweterlitsch
The Avant-Garde and Science-Fiction

Thomas Sweterlitsch smtomorrow and tomorrow smA discussion on the aesthetics and influence of the “historical avant-garde” on science-fiction writing, and conversely, science-fiction’s influence on the avant-garde.

Thomas Sweterlitsch is the author of “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” and the forthcoming novel “Libra.” He lives in Pittsburgh.

Featured Speaker for April 11, 2015 – Time 1:30 pm
Lawrence C. Connolly
Dreams, Memory, and Time Travel

Audio files for the April 11, 2015 Parsec Meeting.

Part 1
Introduction to the meeting, announcements and business has been edited for time consideration.

Part 2
Lawrence C. Connolly’s presentation Dreams, Memories and Time Travel is presented in full .
LCC at PARSEC cropped for Web


Lawrence C Connolly SA discussion of the manner in which dreams, memories and time travel are presented in a no-tech way in my writing and how that presentation speaks to something central to the human condition . . . and the nature of story.

Lawrence C. Connolly’s books include the novels Veins (2008) and Vipers (2010), which together form the first two books of the Veins Cycle. Vortex, the third book in the series, was released in November 2014. His collections, which include Visions (2009), This Way to Egress (2010), and Voices (2011), collect his stories from Amazing Stories, Cemetery Dance, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Twilight Zone, and Year’s Best Horror. Voices was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection. He serves twice a year as one of the residency writers at Seton Hill University’s graduate program in Writing Popular Fiction and is a full-time member of the English faculty at Sewickley Academy.

Featured Speaker for March 14, 2015 – Time 1:30 pm
Joshua Raulerson, PhD
The Punchbowl and the Fishbowl: Science Fiction and the Singularity

Josh Raulerson SJoin PARSEC for a discussion of how SF – particularly in the postcyberpunk stories of writers like Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow – is using the trope of technological Singularity as a fictional device, a commentary on technological modernity, and a means of actively shaping the future.

The technological Singularity thesis, formulated by Vernor Vinge and more recently associated with the futurist Ray Kurzweil, is a fascinating bit of postmodern historiography. It begins with an observation that most of us accept without question – the pace of technological change has been astonishingly rapid in recent decades, and indeed seems to be speeding up – and then extrapolates these apparent facts to their logical conclusion. The result is something both momentous and totally unfathomable; a historical reckoning we can clearly see coming though, almost paradoxically, we can only guess as to what changes it might bring.

Joshua Raulerson earned his PhD in English from the University of Iowa in 2010. His adapted doctoral thesis, Singularities: Technoculture, Transhumanism, and Science Fiction in the 21st Century, was published in 2013 by Liverpool University Press. Raulerson lives in Greenfield with his family and a great many moldy paperbacks. Pittsburghers may know him from his entirely unrelated day job as the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition on 90.5 WESA.

Featured Speakers for February 14, 2015 – Time 1:30 pm
Mike Watt and Amy Lynn Best
Eternal Salad Days or Never Lick the Lens: advice for independent filmmakers.

Mike and Amy SMike and Amy will discuss their experiences writing, directing, producing and acting in genre movies  produced both by their company, Happy Cloud Pictures, and working with others.

Amy Lynn Best has studied acting and dancing since she was three years old. She co-produced and costarred in the independent feature horror film, THE RESURRECTION GAME (2002), and like many independent film producers, she learned the film business from the ground up. She has acted or worked on nearly a dozen films, including the critically-acclaimed feature, AMERICAN NIGHTMARE (2000), RAZOR DAYS (2014) “The Gorge” segment of George Romero’s DEADTIME STORIES 2 (2011), to name a few.
One of the few woman directors in indie horror, Amy directed WERE-GRRL (2002), SEVERE INJURIES (2003) and SPLATTER MOVIE: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT (2005)

Mike Watt, writer, director, and journalist, wrote and directed THE RESURRECTION GAME (2001) and Bloody Earth Film’s A FEAST OF FLESH (2007) (aka “Abattoir”). He also wrote the screenplays for many movies, SEVERE INJURIES (2003), WERE-GRRL (2002), SPLATTER MOVIE: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT (2008), and RAZOR DAYS (2014) to name three.
He was the editor of “Sirens of Cinema Magazine” and the author of THE RESURRECTION GAME novelization, the novel SUICIDE MACHINE, the short fiction collection PHOBOPHOBIA, “FERVID FILMMAKING: 66 Cult Pictures Of Vision, Verve And No Self-Restraint” and “MOVIE OUTLAW: Film History’s Rarities, Oddities, Grotesqueries and Other Things That May Have Escaped Your Attention.”

Featured Speaker for January, 10, 2015 – Time 1:30 pm

Jamie Lackey 
“Surviving the Slush Pile”
Jamie Lackey, the editor of this year’s Triangulation anthology and an author with over 100 short fiction sales under her belt, will discuss the trials and tribulations of submitting short fiction

Featured Speaker for December 13, 2014 – Time 1:30 pm

Joe Coluccio
SF and Christmas
“The Star”, Scrooge, the Birth Narratives and A Wonderful Miracle on 34th Street. Some Martians, too!

Followed by the annual Christmas party!
Time 2:00 pm to whenever
Location: Greg Armstrong’s home. 2965 Voelkel Avenue. Dormont, PA 15216
Voting for PARSEC officers will take place at the party. (Only Parsec members who have paid dues in 2014 can vote for 2015 officers.)

Featured Speaker for November 8, 2014

Barry Luokkala
Author of Exploring Science Through Science Fiction
will discuss and demonstrate Science for Science Fiction Fans

Featured Speaker for Saturday October 11, 2014

Josh Bellin
Author of Survival Colony 9
will discuss the emerging genre of “cli-fi,”

Annual Members Picnic in September 2014

The Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library has scheduled an event during part of our regular meeting time on Saturday September 13, 2014. This will severely limit the time for a Parsec Meeting on that date.

It has also come to our attention that many people cannot make the Parsec Picnic presently scheduled for August 9, 2014 because of other summer activities.

Given the circumstances, the Parsec Picnic date has been changed. It will now be held on Saturday September 20, 2014 from Noon to 9PM at the large picnic pavilion in Dormont Park, Dormont PA. There will be no Parsec Meeting in August We understand this is short notice and will post this notice everywhere we can. We ask that you, please pass the news on to everyone as well. We look forward to seeing all of you then.

Joe Coluccio, Parsec president 2014
and Karen Yun-Lutz, Parsec picnic coordinator

Featured Speaker for Saturday July 12, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Larry Ivkovich – Growing Up Genre
Author of The Sixth Precept and Blood of Daxas (coming in 2014)
Larry will discuss the works that influenced his work

Featured Speaker for Saturday June 14, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Stephanie Wytovich
Stephanie will discuss horror writing and read from her Bram Stoker nominated book of poetry “Hysteria” and her recently published work “Mourning Jewelry.”

Featured Speakers for Saturday May 10, 2014 1:30 PM

The Science in Science Fiction
Francis Graham will start with a brief illustration of the science involved in Icarus. Followed by Eric Leif Davin reading his short story, “Icarus at Noon,” recently published in the May issue of Galaxy’s Edge magazine.

Steve Ramey of Parsec Ink will update us on the progress of the Steel Cities and Parch anthologies as well as the current Short Story Contest. He will have copies of past anthologies should you wish to view and/or purchase them.

Brad Fest – “Tales of Archival Crisis: 1914-2014,”
“My talk will discuss a handful of science fiction texts that are concerned in some fashion with the archive as a site of speculative thinking. I will look at a group of Cold War texts–The Earth Abides, A Canticle for Leibowitz, and On the Beach–and discuss how each is in some way structured around disappearing or damaged archives in a postnuclear future.”

Tuesday, May 6th, is The Pittsburgh Foundation’s “Day of Giving”. Please consider donating to “ Parsec” and other non-profit organizations that have meaning to you. All donations to nonprofits through the DayofGiving website are tax deductible and donations over $25 will be partially matched! Look us up on the list, under “Parsec”

Saturday April 12, 2014 

Eric Leif Davin (Past Parsec President)

On “David Lasser, editor of Hugo Gernsback’s “Wonder Stories,” founder of the American Interplanetary Society, and the author of the very first book in English that treated the subject of rockets as a means of traveling into space seriously”

Francis Graham (Editor Sigma)

On “Science fiction has given physics some paradoxes in time travel, as well as made errors.  The most famous is the MATRICIDE PARADOX, where a time traveler to the past kills his/her mother prior to his/her birth.  We can explore this paradox in some situations with analogs for ‘free will’.”

Geoff Glover (Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh)

On “Fables of Difference: African American Science Fiction from 1931 to 2006″