Menu Close

April 2023 Parsec Monthly meeting

In April our guest is Robert E. Harpold.

Robert E. Harpold is an engineer working for ERC, Inc., a subcontractor for NASA, designing trajectories for the Artemis missions. His article “Flybys, Launch Windows, and Selfies with the Earth and Moon” appeared in the March issue of DreamForge Anvil.  

On November 16th, 2022, the uncrewed Artemis I mission was launched to the moon. As the first major spaceflight of NASA’s Artemis program, Artemis I marked the return of the agency to human lunar exploration originally begun with the Apollo program. Artemis I was the first integrated flight test of the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS).

Courtesy of NASA
Courtesy of NASA

Robert Harpold’s presentation this month takes us behind the scenes of the Artemis I flight and gives us an idea of the amount of work that went into the entire Artemis I mission by focusing on the work of one team: the trajectory design team, responsible for creating the path the spacecraft would take from the Earth to the Moon and back again. We get to go behind the scenes where, after so many years, we’ve sent a human-rated spacecraft back to the Moon!

Robert E. Harpold has operated a weather satellite and a space-weather spacecraft for NOAA and, for a different NASA project, has flown over Greenland and Antarctica to collect data on their elevation changes. He is married to his amazing and accomplished wife Julie and has a young and very smart daughter named Isabelle.

Courtesy of NASA

PARSEC, Pittsburgh’s premier Science Fiction & Fantasy Organization
Meeting Date: Saturday, April 15 via ZOOM.
Program begins: 1:00 pm.

ZOOM MEETING REGISTRATION: HTTPS://BIT.LY/PARSEC-MEETING

COMING IN MAY:

We’re planning a return to Meeting Room B at the Squirrel Hill
Carnegie Library and joint ZOOM meeting.
Let’s take advantage of some in-person time to discuss and possibly trade
our favorite science fiction and fantasy books. Bring books you’re willing to
trade or give away and books you just want to enthusiastically promote.
(We’re thinking small quantities; we’re not setting up a flea market. And
we’d like you to share your personal history with one or more of your
favorite tomes.)


Did you miss the February Parsec Monthly meeting with Bruce Boston?
Catch the zoom recording on our YouTube channel!

Pittsburgh Novel Project

The Pittsburgh Novel: Western Pennsylvania in Fiction and Drama, 1792-2022

Compiled by Peter Oresick and Jake Oresick

The Pittsburgh Novel: Western Pennsylvania in Fiction and Drama, 1792-2022, a Penn State Libraries Open Publishing publication, is an annotated bibliography of all known fiction with a significant geographical setting in any of Pennsylvania’s 26 westernmost counties between 1792 and 2022. 

March 2023 Parsec Monthly meeting

PARSEC, Pittsburgh’s premier Science Fiction & Fantasy Organization meets on Saturday, March18th via ZOOM. (The Squirrel Hill Library will not be available to us in the First Quarter of 2023.)
Program begins 1:00 pm.

Zoom Meeting Registration: https://bit.ly/Parsec-Meeting

Our Program:

This month we’ll discuss and exchange ideas for programming for the 2023 Confluence Conference. The Conference takes place July 21, 22, and 23.

We’ll discuss, among other things, panel topics for the conference. Things like:

• A.I. in Art and Writing, the Controversy of These Emerging Technologies.

• The Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox. If there are alien civilizations all around us, why are they invisible and silent?

• Speculative Fiction as a Literature of Hope or Despair? Should writers point out all the ways humanity is failing, or our opportunities to transcend?

These examples are just to generate ideas and discussion. We want to hear your ideas!

Learn more about the Confluence conference: www.confluence-sff.org

This year’s guest of honor is Ada Palmer. Ada’s Terra Ignota series (Tor Books) explores a future of borderless nations and globally commixing populations. The first volume Too Like the Lightning was a Best Novel Hugo finalist and won the Compton Crook Award. She composes close harmony folk music with mythological, science fiction and fantasy themes, and performs with the a cappella group Sassafrass.

Our featured music guest is Sassafrass. Sassafrass is a singing group performing original a cappella folk music, mostly with fantasy, mythology and science fiction themes.

Writing Workshops with Timons Esaias. Timons Esaias is a satirist, writer and poet living in Pittsburgh. His works, ranging from literary to genre, have been published in twenty-two languages. He taught writing in Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program for twenty years.
Workshops open March 15th.

Featured Artist is Susan Dexter.

Featured Entertainers are The Confused Greenies.

Rhiannon’s Lark will lead the singing of “Three Days Away from the Ratrace” at the Opening Ceremonies.

Zoom Meeting Registration: https://bit.ly/Parsec-Meeting

Coming in April!

Robert E. Harpold Flybys, Launch Windows, and Selfies with the Earth and Moon: The Artemis I Flight from the Perspective of a Member of the Trajectory-Design Team

In April our guest speaker will be Robert E. Harpold.

Robert E. Harpold is an engineer working for ERC, Inc., a subcontractor for NASA, designing trajectories for the Artemis missions.

More information coming soon!

Feb 2023 Parsec meeting

February is poetry month at Parsec!

Love is in the air so show your love for SF/F/H by bringing your original poem to the Feb Parsec meeting. Attendees are encouraged to bring short and effective pieces to read.

Bruce Boston will be our our guest!
Bruce is an accomplished SF Poet and the author of sixty books and chapbooks, including the dystopian novel The Guardener’s Tale and the psychedelic coming-of-age novel Stained Glass Rain.

Bruce will read for us “Interstellar Tract,” and some other poems from his latest collection, Spacers Snarled in the Hair of Comets, which is entirely SF poetry.

His fiction and poetry have appeared in hundreds of publications, especially Asimov’s SF Magazine, Amazing Stories, Analog, Weird Tales, Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Nebula Awards Showcase, and DreamForge Magazine. Boston has received the Bram Stoker Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Asimov’s Readers Award, the Gothic Readers Choice Award, and the Rhysling and Grand Master Awards of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

Meeting Information:

Date: Saturday, February 18, 2023

Program begins: 1:00 pm (ET)

Register for Zoomhttps://bit.ly/Parsec-Meeting
The Squirrel Hill Library will not be available to us in the First Quarter of 2023.

Did you miss the January Parsec meeting?

You can now catch a recap of Crystal Crawford talking about her Kindle Vella experience on our YouTube channel!

2023 Call for Submissions

Parsec has two open submission announcements!

1. Triangulation anthology by Parsec Ink.

Theme for 2023 is: Seven Day Weekend.

Open to poetry and short stories. Stories have a hard cap of 5000 words.
Automation simplifies our lives, to the point where a production facility is so automated it makes no sense wasting energy to run lights. These “dark factories” are currently present in the auto industry, the electronics industry, and even the robotics industry itself. What does the world look like when jobs are automated to the point that the labor force is non-existent? We’re looking for outstanding fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, and speculative horror—from both new and established writers.

Submissions close Feb 28, 2023

2. Twenty-seventh annual Parsec Short Story Contest.

Theme for 2023 is: Preserve or Purge.

This contest is open to non-professional writers– those who have not met professional eligibility requirements for SFWA or equivalent.
Stories must be original, unpublished, and unsold to any other market.
Stories should be less than 3500 words.
The winning story will be the one that most effectively uses the contest theme as a key element.

Submissions close May 1, 2023

You can view the full requirements and submit stories to either or both of these open calls by using the Parsec Submittable portal

Jan 2023 Parsec Meeting

This month we welcome Crystal Crawford, a homeschooling mom of four, part-time non-profit Director, a writing teacher and indie author. Her imagination is her happy place! Crystal writes fantasy and YA, with a smattering of other genres, and loves to create deep, enveloping story worlds.

Crystal has one published YA fantasy series, The Lex Chronicles (Legends of Arameth), and is now writing a new YA paranormal folklore-inspired fantasy series, The Leyward Stones, which is currently publishing in weekly episodes on Amazon’s Kindle Vella serial platform.

Crystal has published two stories with DreamForge Magazine, both “Our Kind” and “One Shot at Aeden” are both side stories set in the Leyward Stones world.

During our January meeting, Crystal will tell us about her experience publishing with Kindle Vella. Kindle Vella is a way to share serialized stories with readers over an extended period – one episode at a time. Readers can: Find and view a story’s detail page in the Kindle Vella store. Read the first few episodes of every story for free. Kindle Vella offers features like Faves and Thumbs Up to engage with stories.

Meeting Information:

Date: January 21, 2023
Time: 1:00 pm (et)
Zoom Meeting Registration: https://bit.ly/Parsec-Meeting

Unfortunately The Squirrel Hill Library will not be available to us in the First Quarter of 2023. Programs in Jan, Feb and March will be held on Zoom only.

Dec 2022 Parsec Meeting

This year we will be returning to an in-person holiday party!

DATE: Saturday December 17th

TIME: 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Location: 2966 Voelkel Ave, Pittsburgh (Dormont), PA 15216.
Parsec Member Greg Armstrong’s home*.

Santa with a 10 foot tall holiday dragon.

This is a potluck event. It is suggested that everyone bring a dish to share: salad, side dish, dessert or snacks/chips & dip.
Parsec will supply some beverages and paper products (plates, napkins, flatware).
Masking is optional.

This event is FREE to attend and open to members and friends of Parsec and those wishing to learn more about Parsec. 

During the party the 2023 Parsec meeting committee officers will be announced!

*If using public transit, take the trolley Red Line to Potomac Station. Take a 2 block walk down Potomac (away from Molly’s Pizza) and a left onto Voelkel. 2966 is at the far end on the right.
If driving, Voelkel is a one-way street, starting at Hillsdale Ave and heading towards Potomac Ave. Greg’s home will be on the left side.
Greg will probably have his 10′ dragon wearing a Santa hat in his front yard.


We hope to see you there!

Parsec wishes you the happiest holiday season!


Coming to Parsec in January!

Crystal Crawford talks about her Kindle Vella experience.

Nov 2022 Parsec Meeting

Saturday, November 19th, 2022  
Squirrel Hill Carnegie LibraryRoom B 
12:30-3:30pm Program Begins at 1:00 pm

You can also join us via ZOOM. Meeting  Registration

This month, we welcome William Stankay. Bill is a musician, composer & sound designer specializing in atmospheric music production. His creative output flows into multiple streams, utilizing innovative sound architecture to shape the sonic landscapes in his work.

We encourage attendance in person (for best experience) or via ZOOM live, because the sections Bill will share from his documentary cannot be recorded for future viewing at this time.

Bill’s original projects include the environmentally-inspired Earthtones, first developed in the remote Arctic region of Svalbard, Iceland, and Alaska. He is currently working in his Sunfall studios on the debut Earthtones album and an accompanying documentary film, centered around the process of recording life on Earth from various locations around the world and extracting the naturally-occurring music within them as the foundation of new songs and score.

In the summer of 2012, William Stankay traveled to the Arctic region of Svalbard to develop an environmentally-inspired music experience featuring the mysterious sounds of Arctic wildlife seamlessly blended with his own musical interpretation of the remote archipelago.

In 2013, he was awarded with an Artist Opportunity Grant from the Pittsburgh Arts Council to help fund the release of a debut album containing songs created using his customized Earth-based instrumentation.

The goal of the Earthtones series is to connect people to their environment and surroundings through sound and music, exploring the dynamics of life on Earth and the ways that humans and nature interact, collaborate and conflict. ​

The debut albums in the Earthtones series are slated for release in 2023, along with a documentary that shows the field recording process in various parts of the world during the development of the project.

To hear his work as a composer & sound designer for the film & advertising industries, visit the Scoring page on Bill’s website.


During the Nov meeting, nominations for the Parsec Meeting Committee for 2023 will be open!

ANYONE can volunteer or make a nomination (with the individuals permission) during the Nov 19th meeting. Parsec members can send an email to:  ParsecTalk@parsecinc.groups.io.*
Nominations will be announced during the Nov 19th meeting.
Voting will take place in December. Winners will be announced during the annual holiday party in December.

Nominations will open for Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. (Co-chair position is allowed and encouraged)

Chair (or co-chair) responsibilities include, planning monthly meetings, inviting guests to speak during monthly meetings, organizing and implementing the meetings, coordinating meeting space with the Library, managing the Zoom option for monthly meetings.

Vice Chair responsibilities include: Filling in for the chair should the chair not be available or able to fulfil their responsibilities, additional support for the chair when needed and providing ice during in person social functions.

Secretary responsibilities include: Taking the monthly meeting minutes and providing those minutes in a timely manner to the newsletter* editor.

*NOTE: We are also in need of a dedicated newsletter editor. A newsletter platform, email address and support staff will be provided.

New ideas and new energy are always welcome!

*ParsecTalk@parsecinc.groups.io is a member only email service. If you would like to become a member of Parsec, please use our online membership form to sign up and help support all the great programming Parsec provides every year for the past 30+ years!


Library masking rules:  Unvaccinated or Partially Vaccinated: Wear a Mask. Fully Vaccinated: Masking is Optional. Masks required at all times in Children’s Area.


Coming in December:

There will be a PARSEC Christmas Party! This year we will be returning to an in-
person Christmas party,

MARK THE DATE! Saturday December 17th
Time: 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm at Parsec Member Greg Armstrong’s house.

Watch for an updated announcement following the Nov monthly meeting.

Oct 15, 2022 Parsec Meeting

PARSEC, Pittsburgh’s premier Science Fiction & Fantasy Organization meets on Saturday, October 15th, 2022 at the Squirrel Hill Carnegie LibraryRoom B12:30-3:30pm (ET). Program begins 1:00 pm.   A Zoom option is available: Register for Zoom

Our guest in October is Publisher, Author, and Poet Angela Yuriko Smith.

Angela is a third-generation Shimanchu-American and an award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years of experience as a professional writer in nonfiction. Along with her husband Ryan Aussie Smith, she is publisher of Space and Time Magazine, which has been a rich source of speculative fiction, horror, and poetry since 1966.

She has also received Rhysling and Pushcart Prize nominations for poetry. Angela offers resources for writers at www.angelaysmith.com.

During the Oct meeting, nominations for the Parsec Meeting Committee for 2023 will be open!

ANYONE can volunteer or make a nomination (with the individuals permission) during the October 15th meeting. Parsec members can send an email to:  ParsecTalk@parsecinc.groups.io.*
Deadline for nominations is October 30, 2022. Nominations will be announced during the Nov 19th meeting and voting will take place in December. Winners will be announced during the annual holiday party in December.

Nominations will open for Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. (Co-chair position is allowed and encouraged)

Chair (or co-chair) responsibilities include, planning monthly meetings, inviting guests to speak during monthly meetings, organizing and implementing the meetings, coordinating meeting space with the Library, managing the Zoom option for monthly meetings.

Vice Chair responsibilities include: Filling in for the chair should the chair not be available or able to fulfil their responsibilities, additional support for the chair when needed and providing ice during in person social functions.

Secretary responsibilities include: Taking the monthly meeting minutes and providing those minutes in a timely manner to the newsletter* editor.

*NOTE: We are also in need of a dedicated newsletter editor. A newsletter platform, email address and support staff will be provided.

New ideas and new energy are always welcome!

*ParsecTalk@parsecinc.groups.io is a member only email service. If you would like to become a member of Parsec, please use our online membership form to sign up and help support all the great programming Parsec provides every year for the past 30+ years!

Library masking rules:  Unvaccinated or Partially Vaccinated: Wear a Mask. Fully Vaccinated: Masking is Optional. Masks required at all times in Children’s Area.


Next Month – November 19th, 2022

In November, we are working on a unique experience, bringing in William Stankay to share his environmentally inspired Earthtones project.

William Stankay is a musician, composer & sound designer specializing in atmospheric music production. His creative output flows into multiple streams, utilizing innovative sound architecture to shape the sonic landscapes in his work.

Earthtones, first developed in the remote Arctic region of Svalbard, Iceland and Alaska. He is currently working in his Sunfall studios on the debut Earthtones album and an accompanying documentary film, centered around the process of recording life on Earth from various locations around the world and extracting the naturally-occurring music within them as the foundation of new songs and score.

Sept 17, 2022 Parsec Meeting

Our guest in September is author and PARSEC member Donald Firesmith. Donald will deliver a presentation on the importance of realism in speculative fiction.

Join us in person on Saturday September 17, 2022 at the Squirrel Hill Carnegie LibraryRoom B.
Meeting begins at 1:00 pm
A Zoom option is available for those unable to attend in person.

Donald Firesmith

Donald Firesmith is a multi-award-winning author of speculative fiction including science fiction (alien invasion), fantasy (magical wands), horror, and modern urban paranormal novels and anthologies of short stories. Prior to retiring to devote himself full-time to his novels, he earned an international reputation as a distinguished engineer, authoring seven system/software books based on his 40+ years spent developing large, complex software-intensive systems. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his daughter Sera, and varying numbers of dogs and cats.

Donald’s recent books include the Hell Holes series; apocalyptic science fiction, horror, modern paranormal fantasy, action and adventure novels. 

When giant holes mysteriously appear in the frozen tundra above the Arctic Circle, they provide portals for a demonic invasion from Hell.

Hell Holes, by Donald Firesmith

Every month Parsec invites new guest speakers for informative, lively discussions on everything science fiction, fantasy, horror, writing, publishing, podcasts, speculative fiction and more! Meetings are free to attend and open to the public!

Library masking rules: Unvaccinated or Partially Vaccinated: Wear a Mask. Fully Vaccinated: Masking is Optional. Masks required at all times in Children’s Area.