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March 20, 2021 Parsec Meeting

The March meeting on the 20th will focus on topics for the annual Confluence conference. This meeting is a great time to bring your ideas and suggestions to the table. We hope you will join us. 1:00 pm on Zoom.

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Feb Parsec Meeting

Date: Sat Feb 20, 2021
Time: 1:00pm

Presentation Info:
 Marie Vibbert on How Not to Sell Your First Novel
“Galactic Hellcats had an unusual journey as a novel, starting out as something I wrote in a spiral notebook when I was fifteen, and finally selling off of a tweet when I was forty-five.  Along the way there were many lessons on how not to become a writer.”

Marie Vibbert Bio
Besides selling over sixty short stories to top markets such as Analog and F&SF, Marie Vibbert has sold poetry and comics and video games.  She played O-line and D-line for the Cleveland Fusion women’s tackle football team.  Her work has been translated into French, Chinese, and Vietnamese, and was called “..the embodiment of what science fiction should be…” by The Oxford Culture Review.

The deadline for the February Issue #429
of Sigma is due Sunday 2/8/21
Send your plain text or RTF document to:

Parsec Holiday Party 2020

You are invited to the Virtual (Zoom meeting) Parsec Meeting and Holiday Fun Night Shindig  We can dance if we want to. Food, drink, conversation and all sorts of frivolity.

BYO Everything! 

When: Dec 19, 2020, 1 – 7 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) 
Registration: Required!

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Triangulation: Extinction is here!

It’s been almost a year in the making, and finally, Triangulation: Extinction is finished.

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The goal with this anthology was to build on the foundation Dark Skies had laid down for environmental activism, and I think we’ve achieved that goal. Species extinction and the loss of biodiversity are pressing issues, and what better way to bring awareness to them than with speculative fiction?

We received over 400 submissions and broke last year’s number of submissions by a landslide. It’s so heartening to see authors from around the world rally around a common cause, putting their skills to work for something they believe in.

From those 400 stories, we chose 27 to make up Triangulation: Extinction, clocking in at just about 200 pages of quality, environmentally aware, speculative fiction. Plus, wonderful cover art and interior illustrations from Katerina Kireeva.

This anthology couldn’t have been possible without the help of our great junior editors and consulting staff, all named within the pages. Thank you to everyone for helping make this vision a reality.

Read and enjoy:

Isaac E. Payne

News from Mary Soon Lee

Mary Soon LeeWed, Jul 22, 12:05 PM


The last few months have been hard on almost everyone, and I find myself more grateful than ever for pieces of good news. So it makes me very happy to report that “Elemental Haiku,” my book of haiku for the elements of the periodic table, has been nominated for the Elgin Award, and that I also have two poems in this year’s Dwarf Stars anthology.

In a similar vein, it was lovely to read Ann K. Schwader’s review of “The Sign of the Dragon.” Ann is a SFPA Grand Master for her contributions to speculative poetry, so it meant a great deal to me that she described the book as “… an utterly beautiful, impressive, & occasionally heartbreaking reading experience!” Her full review can be read at Goodreads:

N.B. The ebook of “The Sign of the Dragon” is available from Apple Books, Google Play, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and I’m donating any money I get from 2020 sales to Doctors Without Borders, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and the Trevor Project.

Since last month’s update, I’ve had poems in F&SF, Star*Line (three poems), and Eye to the Telescope. One of the poems in Star*Line is an Editor’s Choice selection and so may be read online: And the whole issue of Eye to the Telescope, my poem included, is online at

Unusually for me, I also had two short stories published. “Redemption” is in the Summer 2020 issue of Fireside, and my short-short story “Catastrophe” is in Frozen Wavelets:

I’ve been reading compulsively and have several recommendations. On the non-fiction front, I found Adam Becker’s “What Is Real?” to be excellent (it’s about quantum physics and the controversy over its interpretation). On the poetry front, I loved one new book, “The Alpaca Cantos” by Jenny Blackford, and two older ones, “The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou” and Alice Walker’s “Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful.” On the fiction front, I loved Martha Well’s latest Murderbot book, “Network Effect.”

But the book that I liked best is “Mindtouch” by M. C. A. Hogarth, the first in her Dreamhealers series. It’s a science fiction novel devoid of space battles, malevolent AIs, and visions of apocalypse. Instead cookies are baked, friendships formed. I feel oddly defensive toward it, as I imagine other people scorning it as pedestrian or slow-paced, but it captivated and delighted me. I can’t remember the last time I’ve found a book so softly moving. My reviews of this and many other books may be unearthed at Goodreads:

Sending good thoughts: may you be safe and well,


Confluence 2020 Postponed to July 23- 25 2021

COVID-19 is touching all of our lives and at this time our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our Confluence attendees. Since our last announcement on April 10, the United States has become an epicenter for COVID-19. The Governor of PA has prohibited large gatherings during the yellow phase of the reopening and no one is sure how long this phase may last. Experts predict that continued social distancing efforts may be required until such time as there is an effective vaccine, a milestone we are not expected to reach this summer.

It is for these reasons that the Confluence committee has decided to postpone Confluence until next year. It will now be held July 23-25, 2021 at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel.

Our Featured Filk Guest, Tim Griffin, and our Writing Workshop coordinator, Rachel Swirsky have agreed to join us in 2021. Unfortunately our scheduled Guest of Honor, Martha Wells, will not be able to join us in 2021. We will post updates as they become available.

If you have already purchased a membership for Confluence 2020 it is still active and will automatically roll over to 2021. If you plan to attend in 2021 you don’t need to do anything. Everyone who has a membership for 2020, has a membership for Confluence 2021.

Registration will remain open at the pre-registration rate until April 15, 2021. If you know someone that wants to attend Confluence 2021, now would be a great time to purchase a membership!

If you have already purchased a membership for 2020, but will not be able to attend the rescheduled convention in 2021, please send an email to by December 31, 2020 so we may issue you a refund. (However, like all fan-run conventions, Confluence is facing a financial loss due to this postponement. If you are able to do so, we request that you consider allowing us to roll your membership over to next year or transfer it to someone else.)

If you have already made a hotel reservation, in the Confluence room block, at our hotel, it has been cancelled.  No action is required.

We would like to extend our thanks to the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel for allowing us to cancel our 2020 event without a penalty. We will post a link when the hotel is ready to take reservations for 2021.

This postponement has been an exceedingly difficult decision for us to make.  However, our program committee is hard at work brainstorming ways in which members of our community might still come together and connect during this strange and difficult time.

Tentative plans are being made for hosting a virtual Confluence music track over the weekend of July 24-26. This would feature online concerts by several of the performers who had been set to appear at Confluence 2020 as well as online open filking.

Virtual literary program items might also be possible, although discussions about such items are very preliminary.

We hope to have more information for you in the following weeks. Watch our websiteour Twitter accountour Facebook page and Facebook Group  for updates. If you would like to receive important Confluence updates, please sign up for our newsletter!

We appreciate your patience and understanding during these unprecedented events. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the virus and the disruptions it has caused. Even if we cannot be together this July, we remain optimistic that the situation will soon improve. I know we are all very worried about the impact that COVID-19 is having on our loved ones and daily lives.

Please take care of yourselves and each other,
The Confluence Conference Committee

Recommended resources:
Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel cancellation Policy during Covid 19
Sci-fi/Fantasy conventions canceled so far –
PA Governor, Life sustaining business FAQs
Coronavirus—COVID-19 (CDC)
Steps to Prevent Illness (CDC)
Hygiene Etiquette & Practice: Coughing & Sneezing (CDC)
Stop Germs! Wash Your Hands (CDC)

Triangulation Update

Because of the recent pandemic, we here at Triangulation: Extinction are running a bit behind schedule. If you are waiting for a response on a story you submitted, no worries! We plan on responding to all submissions by the end of May. We have received many great stories and want give them all equal consideration. If you have not heard back from us by June 1, please contact us.

We apologize for the delay, but look forward to finalizing the anthology!

Book of poetry by Mary Soon Lee

Mary Soon Lee, a well-loved poet and member of Parsec, has published a book containing the entire story about King Xau as told in poems. The first fifth of the book, “Crowned,” was published in 2015 by Dark Renaissance Books.

Mary’s comment: The pandemic made me anxious to get the whole story published, and it’s now available as an ebook, from Kindle, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, and Google Play. I’m donating any money I get from 2020 sales to charity (Doctors Without Borders, The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and The Trevor Project).

Her webpage for the book – The Sign of the Dragon – includes a recording of her reading the opening poem. [Note: This is definitely worth listening to, as Mary is very good at reading her poems.] 

The plot summary is as follows:

As the fourth-born prince of Meqing, Xau was never supposed to be king. But when his three older brothers are all deemed unfit to rule and eaten by a dragon, as is the custom, Xau suddenly finds himself on the Meqinese throne. The early years of his reign are marred by brutal earthquakes and floods, and the long-simmering tension with the neighboring country of Innis finally erupts into war. Worst of all, demons rise out of legend to walk the realm again, leaving death and destruction in their wake. In a desperate gamble, Xau must broker an uneasy peace with his former enemies and hope their combined strength is enough to vanquish the demons before it’s too late.