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2022 Contest Winners!

Announcing the winners of the 2022 Parsec short story contest, Hearth, Song and Table!

This year we had a Youth category (for under 19 entrants/current high school students). We are thrilled to announce the first ever winner of the youth category is Dot Rodgers with the incredibly whimsical “A Clockwork Hoopoe”

Coming in third place, A.P. Hawkin‘s (@ahawkwrites) wonderfully atmospheric “Whalesong” this was an incredibly cool idea, and hooked all of the the first readers from the start!

In second place, we had Scott I. Kircher‘s “Forgotten,” which tells an amazingly personal story while also setting up a world that feels vast and tragic! No small accomplishment with only 3500 words to work with!

First place went to Lucy Zhang‘s (@Dango_Ramen) short story “It is Possible I was too Sheltered.” A piece that manages to be equal parts atmospheric and wholesome (and has one of the BEST opening lines of any short story we’ve ever had entered!)

The First place winning story can be read in the 2022 Confluence program book. If you would like a copy, contact Karen at For a $5 donation to Parsec (covers S/H) she will mail you one.

We would also like to thank our judges, Chelsea Abdullah (@chelsabdullah), Michelle Renee Lane (@MichelleRLane), and Timons Esaias for taking the time to read our finalists!

Big thanks go our to our first readers, Penelope Smith and Ivy Speight, who likewise volunteered to help read through the submissions and pick out the excellent finalists!

And a HUGE thank you to our sponsors, Timons Esaias and Mary Soon Lee.
We couldn’t do this awesome contest without the support of these wonderful people and the Parsec members who offer their support every year!

Next year’s contest theme will be “Preserve or Purge,”

We can’t wait to see what awesome stories everyone comes up with!
Our exuberant coordinator, Alfred Smith, (@HarmonicAuthor) already has one amazing judge lined up and waiting on responses from two more. Check the short story contest page for updates on the 2023 contest.

July 16, 2022 Parsec Meeting

Join us on Saturday July 16th 2022 at the Squirrel Hill Carnegie LibraryRoom B12:30-3:30pm (ET).

Feel free to take a peek at our website to get a better idea of the shenanigans we’re bringing about to the world!

Our guest this month is Brian Koscienski of The Novel Guys, which is comprised of Brian, Chris Pisano, and Jeff Young.
We’re just three guys trying to make the voices in our heads pay rent.” Brian and Chris are the founders of Fortress Publishing, Inc., an independent micro-press publisher of speculative fiction.

Sometime in 2021, the three us decided to brand ourselves as The Novel Guys and start writing together using four different pen names, depending on the project. These include:
 Viktor Bloodstone  —  Horror, Suspense, Gothic
 Apollo Harrison  —  Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk 
 Jordan Corvis  —  Young Adult, Fantasy Romance
 The DCM  —  Comedy, Lunacy, Shenanigans 

Brian will also talk about their newest property, a semi-annual magazine called “Mendie, the Post-Apocalyptic Flower Scout.”

A Zoom option is available for those unable to attend in person.

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


The Parsec Picnic will be held on Saturday August 20, 2022
Location: Dormont Park large pavillion, 1801 Dormont Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Time: Noon to Dusk

This is a potluck event. It is suggested that everyone bring a dish to share: salad, side dish or dessert. Parsec will supply the meats (burgers & hot dogs) buns, condiments, ice and some beverages.

The pavillion is wheelchair accessible and will allow space for those that wish to social distance.
As this is an outdoor event, masking will not be required. Hand Sanitizer will be available on site.

Let us know you will be attending so we know how many to plan for (how much meat to buy), and what you will be bringing.

June 18, 2022 Parsec Meeting

Our guest speaker this month is Elizabeth Leggett, a Hugo award-winning illustrator whose work focuses on soulful, human moments-in-time that combine ambiguous interpretation and curiosity with realism. Elizabeth will give us a glimpse into the world of science fiction and fantasy illustration.

Her work can be found in Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt, DreamForge Magazine, Spectrum, Lightspeed Magazine, Mothership Zeta, Lethe Press, Flesk Publishing, ArtOrder, Infected By Art, Quillrunner Publishing, Quiet Thunder Productions, Little Springs Design, S.J. Tucker, and private collections. She was cover artist and art director for Lightspeed’s special issues Women Destroy Fantasy! and Queers Destroy Science Fiction!

Her work “READINGS” presents the major arcana as a Bradbury themed series of 22 limited edition, 12×18 prints, collected into a handsome portfolio. Visit Elizabeth’s website

Every month Parsec invites new guest speakers for informative, lively discussions on everything science fiction, fantasy, horror, writing, publishing, podcasts, speculative fiction and more!

Parsec meetings are held in person at the Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library in meeting room B, from 1:00-3:30pm (ET). See below for Zoom option. Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library Address: 5801 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Meetings are free to attend and open to the public!

Library masking rules: masks are optional for fully vaccinated visitors. Masks are recommended for unvaccinated visitors.

Register for the PARSEC Zoom Meeting at

If you missed the meeting, you can catch up on the Confluence/Parsec YouTube channel:


Register for this year’s Confluence SF & Fantasy Conference

Parsec is back to in person monthly program meetings!

PARSEC, Pittsburgh’s premier Science Fiction & Fantasy Organization is returning to in-person meetings starting May 21, 2022. Parsec meetings will now be held in person at the Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library in meeting room B. We will have the room from 12:30-3:30pm (ET). See below for Zoom option.

Program Change:

Due to Unforeseen Circumstances, our guests The Dome and Commander Cam from SciFi Saturday Night  will not be able to join us.

Instead, our co-chair, Scot Noel of DreamForge Magazine will talk about Short Story Plotting using “The Plotting Game,” a 9-step exercise to develop a workable story plot that, with practice, can be done in 30 minutes.
Theory and explanations only go so far. Every writer needs a way to exercise their brain in some basic story patterns, so DreamForge created “The Plotting Game.” It can be done as a solo exercise, but is also designed to be played against an opponent or (most fun of all) in team play where players can argue for the points they feel their side deserves. And what do you win? A well-crafted story plot! This exercise is designed to strengthen creative thinking and replace some of the mystery of plotting with the fun of spontaneous imaginative performance.

If you would like to attend by Zoom, register for the May 21st Parsec meeting: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The library meeting room now has a 60” wall TV with an HDMI connection.  Scot Noel set up his computer and did a test ZOOM meeting.  It worked great!

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!

Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library Address: 5801 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Library masking rules: masks are optional for fully vaccinated visitors. Masks are recommended for unvaccinated visitors.

If you decide to drive, there is usually parking available on Marlborough Ave, the street that runs behind the library. The quickest entrance to reach the meeting room is located on Marlborough. The meeting room is wheelchair accessible.

Register for the 2022 Confluence SF & Fantasy Conference 

Sigma & March Parsec Meeting

This post includes the March Parsec meeting minutes.

Parsec is ISO a new Sigma editor.

Joe Coluccio recently retired from his position.
Thank you Joe for providing many educational and entertaining Sigma editions!

If you are interested in the Sigma editor position, please Contact Parsec and we will be happy to provide more information.

March 2022 Meeting Minutes

By Parsec Program Secretary, William B. Hall

Movies can inspire in the oddest ways.  Case in point: I had seen Belfast (it seemed to be the thing to do to mark St. Patrick’s Day), which is very nostalgic, and it briefly featured Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  I’ve never really taken to that movie,  but it must have been on my mind, because as I joined the pre-meeting chat I felt an urge to talk about flying cars, which in turn sparked a wide range of topics.

Attendance at our Zoom reached 21.  We were again led by Scot Noel, who notified us that DreamForge Anvil #7 will address “Meaning of Life.”  John Thompson informed us that “Triangulation: Energy” is still open to submission but already has many good stories.  Our short story contest remains open through May 1st.  Confluence is on for the end of July and our picnic returns to Dormont as of noon, Saturday August 20.

Our challenge this month was to come up with Confluence panel topics.  Michael Net suggested rules for brainstorming, not too far from what we already use. 

Topics were:

     Flying cars, in particular the AI they use

     Talking about the Drake equation and the Fermi paradox

     Tendencies to hope or despair in spec-fic

     Science on death and dying, also touching on suspended animation

     How do editors judge what readers like?

     Submission horror stories

     Treatment of gender neutrality

     Low employment and minimum income

     The writing of novels as opposed to scripts

     Trans representation


     Views of the human body

     With what do teachers teach spec-fic?

     How D&D became “cool”

     Mary Soon Lee asks “What can go wrong?”

     Mary Soon Lee asks “What can go right?”

     Graphic novels

     How to write diversely

     Ethics of AI and VR

     What to watch out for if you’re new to the business

     International spec-fic

     Can AI help human relationships?

     Overview of Kim Stanley Robinson

Jane Noel wondered about rules of Magic.  Mary Soon Lee said it was important to advocate whatever is good right now.  Kevin Hayes noted Pittsburgh’s own Ramon Frenz.  We speculated on perhaps having hybrid meetings, in-person but also with Zoom, in the future.  Mary saw us out with two poems. “What Trees Read” and “Daedalus’s Daughter,” an appropriately scathing speculation on how classic mythology might have portrayed a female Icarus.

-Secretary Bill Hall

If anyone has additional program topic ideas, they can be emailed to the program committee:

April 2022

Our Guest in April is New York Times Best Selling author Jane Lindskold.
Jane will introduce her new Over Where Series: Library of the Sapphire Wind (out in February) and Aurora Borealis Bridge (being released in April). There will be a Q & A following her talk.

Parsec ZOOM meeting: Saturday April 16, at 1:00 pm (ET)
Meetings are free to attend and open to the public!
Register for the meeting:

Following the April Parsec meeting, the Board of Directors is scheduled to meet and discuss organizational business, including a report on returning to in-person meetings in May.
If you are a current member of Parsec, feel free to attend the Board meeting. We welcome suggestions and ideas from Parsec members.

Sign up to become a Parsec member today!

March 2022

Join us on March 19, 2022 for the monthly Parsec meeting at 1:00 pm (ET) on Zoom. This month will be the Confluence Program meeting.

During the March 19 th Meeting we’ll discuss panel topics for the conference such as:

  • 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?
  • How Science Deals with Death and Dying. Have technology and medicine become new religions offering immortality?

These examples are just to generate ideas and discussion. Come chat with us during the March meeting to bring out the most challenging and imaginative panel topics we can think of!

Register for the Parsec meeting:

The Confluence Guest of Honor is Neil Clarke, the editor of the Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning Clarkesworld Magazine. 

The Featured music guest is Tim Griffin, from

The writing workshops will be facilitated by Scott H. Andrews, editor-in-chief and publisher of the nine-time Hugo award finalist and world fantasy award-winning online fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

The Arcade Comedy Theater (Knights of the Arcade) will be the Saturday evening entertainment this year. Their performance is sure to be one you don’t want to miss!

Coming to Parsec in April . . .

Our Guest in April is Jane Lindskold. She will be talking about her latest novels in the new Over Where Series: Library of the Sapphire Wind (released in February) and Aurora Borealis Bridge (released this month) in relation to writing. There will be a Q & A following her talk.
Check back here in early April for more information.


The Parsec Picnic will be held Saturday Aug 20th starting at 12pm in the Dormont Park large pavilion. Watch this space for updates.

Download a PDF of the Dormont Park map HERE

February 2022

PARSEC, Pittsburgh’s premier Science Fiction & Fantasy Organization, welcomes guest author Bruce McAllister to our February 19th meeting on ZOOM at 1:00 pm. Open to the public.

Register Here:

Bruce’s short stories have appeared in many fantasy and science fiction magazines, including Analog and Asimov’s, college readers, and “year’s best” anthologies, including Best American Short Stories 2007, guest-edited by Stephen King. 

His second novel, Dream Baby,  was called a “stunning tour de force” by Publishers Weekly. Bruce will engage us with anecdotes of interest to fans, as well as people and events that have affected his fifty+ year career.

We’ll also hear poetry selections from Parsec’s resident poet Mary Soon Lee and from Bruce McAllister too!

Bulletin from the Board

A New Year brings changes

by Kevin m Hayes, President, Parsec Inc., Board of Directors

Isn’t that the sentiment we always expect? This year–2022–is no different. Some things are the same, some things have changed. 

The Parsec Inc Board of Directors has gone through a big change. Joe Coluccio stepped down from his president’s duties, giving me [Kevin Hayes] the opportunity and honor to serve as the new board president.
Scot Noel, and Patrick Ropp were already serving on the board and continue to serve. New members added to the board are Karen Yun-Lutz as treasurer and John Thompson, as a member at large. Lara Van Winkle is continuing her service to Parsec–not as a board member, but as our corporate bookkeeper and board consultant.

The current board of directors and the standing committee chair and treasurer lists can be found HERE

A couple of board members stepped down from their duties; Barb Carlson and Greg Armstrong, and are taking well-earned breaks. Which leaves two unfilled board positions.  If you’ve ever wondered how you can serve Parsec Inc., this is a great opportunity to add your voice to the Parsec Inc Board of Directors and help make a  difference in 2022. 

[Editors note: Parsec members are welcome to attend Parsec board meetings. To do this, Sign up for a Parsec membership and you will be sent an invitation to join the the email list, a member only chat group. Announcements regarding upcoming Parsec board meetings are sent through our groups .io email list.]

Scot and Jane Noel (Dreamforge magazine) are the new Program Committee, monthly meeting co-chairs and we all look forward to seeing the programming of interest and variety they have planned for 2022. 

The Alpha Young Writers’ Workshop advised they wished to establish their own 501(c)(3) as and requested the opportunity to do so. Part of the reason for this decision and request was their sense that the mission of Alpha had diverged from the mission of Parsec Inc. The vote was taken by the new board of directors and approved in Dec. A sad change for me, personally, as I was one of the many people who helped Diane Turnshek get Alpha started and my daughter Nora was one of the first Alpha students. 

Ultimately though, the membership is the foundation– that would be you, the members of Parsec!

Parsec relies on the membership to promote the different aspects of Parsec. Confluence relies on the program committee and membership to promote the conference every year. They also rely on Parsec members to provide panel topics and even new possibilities for invitees during the March Program meeting. 

Parsec members are the foundation for the annual Triangulation anthology from Parsec Ink. We all promote, we all help–with our membership dues–to support the publication every year. You know how almost every acknowledgement says “. . . and thanks to the countless people who have helped with their time and involvement in what we do . . .” That’s you, that’s us! We are those countless people. And, of course, Confluence promotes Triangulation, as a publication and, believe it or not, it tries to engage people to join Parsec. Because the membership of this wonderful organization is the foundation that supports it and keeps it going year after year. 

Become a Parsec member!

The new board of directors are attempting to reorganize and untangle some of the issues that have confused people about the inner workings of Parsec Inc–trying to make clear what the different standing committees do and what they’re responsible for. One of the things that becomes clear again and again is the interdependence of all the standing committees. 

Another possibility we’re looking at in this new year is a re-evaluation and possible revision of our by-laws. There were a number of issues that arose with the new board that could have easily been resolved if the by-laws had been clearer. 

I’ve heard change is difficult and have found that to be true, but it isn’t necessarily impossible. Changes are coming in 2022 and we’re looking forward to them. 

Ultimately though, the membership is the foundation– that would be you, the members of Parsec!

Check your Parsec membership status

If you’re not interested in becoming a Parsec member, but would still like information on all Parsec events (Confluence, open calls for the Parsec Inc Short Story contest or Parsec Ink open submission period for Triangulation and other limited SF/F/H community information) you can request to be added to the Parsec Announce groups io email list. This is a private, moderated, announcement-only email group. Replies to messages sent through this group will be received by the moderators only.
We hope you will join us and maximize your experience with Parsec, Confluence, Parsec Ink Publishing and the SF/F/H community.

January 2022

Happy New Year!

The new year has rolled in and with it a lot of updates!

Join the Parsec Program committee for the monthly meeting on 1/15/22 at 1:00pm EST. We bring in the New Year with a guest panel on Costuming and Cosplay!

Welcome Lisa Ashton, Karen Schnaubelt, and Pam Smith, all highly active in the costume community and willing to share their decades of experience with us, providing insights and perspectives into a rich, beautiful, and creative world.

We look forward to gaining a glimpse inside the worlds of Costuming and Cosplay and how they enrich the lives of these very talented women.

Register for the ZOOM meeting!
Meetings are free to attend and open to the public.

The 2022 Parsec Inc Short Story Contest is open to submissions!

The Parsec Short Story contest is sponsored by Parsec Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization.

The theme this year is “Hearth, Song, and Table.”

This year we’ve added a new category and prize for authors ages 19 and under!

Contest opens on January 1st and closes on May 1st 2022 at 11:59:59pm EST.

Cash prizes and never any fee to enter!

Visit the Short Story Contest page for more information.

The conference will be held in person on July 29, 30 and 31, 2022!

The Guest of Honor is Neil Clarke and the Featured music guest is Tim Griffin.

Visit the Confluence website for more information.