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Tag: Parsec meeting

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.

Picnic Fun

The annual Parsec Potluck Picnic was held on Saturday Aug 20, 2022.

The picnic went on without a hitch. About 35-40 people came and went throughout the day. As you can see by the above image, there was plenty of room to social distance!

Kevin Hayes manned the grill as usual, and did a wonderful job cooking hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken breasts.
Food, drink and conversation were bountiful!
Gaming happened during the event!
It was great to see long-time Parsec member, Greg Armstrong.
John Thompson (Parsec Ink editor 2022) and Martha Swiss
There were many great conversations during the day.

A good day was said to be had by all!

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.

Sept Parsec Meeting 9/18/21

This month we are pleased to present a talk by Diane Turnshek about the Pittsburgh Dark Skies Initiative.

The September Parsec meeting will be held on Saturday 9/18 at 1:00 pm on Zoom


Alternate History: What if today’s level of light pollution had always been?
by Diane Turnshek

The timeline of astronomy would have been severely altered if the current level of light pollution in the world extended back in time. Would we have ever discovered Neptune and Uranus? Current technology allows us to travel to and build in the most remote locations in the world, but historically, dangerous treks to distant lands were for the brave or foolhardy. How far would science have progressed without scientists being able to see stars? And how would the fallout from that loss impact the current world?

John E. Bortle is an American amateur astronomer. He is best known for creating the Bortle scale to quantify the darkness of the night sky. The Bortle Scale measures the night sky’s brightness and the interference caused by light pollution.

Are you aware how many everyday things we take for granted are due to astronomy research? Personal computers, communication satellites, mobile phones, Global Positioning Systems, solar panels, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, and CCDs (to name a few). Join us for a vision of a different history where the skies were polluted early on and astronomy never flourished. How dark is your night sky?

Diane Turnshek teaches college astronomy classes in Pittsburgh and has been named a Dark Sky Defender by the International Dark-sky Association. She has been on the Board of Directors for both SFWA and Parsec, Pittsburgh’s premier science fiction charitable organization. For nine years, she mentored graduate students at Seton Hill’s MFA Writing Popular Fiction program. Since 2017 she has set up book signing events for over 300 authors and curated three space art galleries. She is the founder of Write or Die, a critique group running since 1996, Alpha, a teen writing workshop since 2002 and the CMU Speculative Fiction Lecture Series that began in 2014.
Her latest project is to make a high resolution, nighttime, light pollution map of Pittsburgh, PA for researchers.

Join us for the September meeting and meet our surprise Confluence 2022 guest of honor!

Upcoming Parsec meetings:

Oct 16th: Beware the Scare!
Authors, Michael Arnzen, Scott Johnson and Frank Oreto will regale us with spooky stories and talk about horror writing.

Nov 20th: Cat Rambo talks about her upcoming new release, You Sexy Thing, the difference between writing short fiction and novels, the Satanic Panic, and RPGs. And all the great online writing classes she offers through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers.

Dec 18th: Holiday Party! More information coming soon.

Use the registration link at the top of this post to register once for all of the upcoming Parsec meetings.

Have an article, note or announcement that you would like to see published in the Sigma newsletter?
The deadline for submissions for the Oct Issue of Sigma is Sunday 10/3/21 – Send your plain text or RTF document to:

Parsec Meeting 2021/04/17

The Parsec meeting this month will focus on eighteen years of Parsec Ink’s Triangulation anthology!

Zoom registration is required! Please register [HERE]

Our featured speaker is Jamie Lackey, author of The Blood of four Gods and Other Stories, Left Hand Gods, and Moving Forward, a novella of life after zombies.
Jamie will be regaling us with readings from the anthologies that she produced during her years as the Parsec Ink Triangulation editor.

Find out more about Jamie Lackey by visiting her website:
or LIKE her FB page:

Parsec Ink has been producing quality Triangulation anthologies since 2003. Many fine editors have been part of this ongoing production, including; Diane Turnshek, Barb Carlson, Pete Butler, Bill Moran, Steve Ramey, Jamie Lackey, Frank Oreto, Douglas Gwilym, Chloe Nightingale, Isaac Payne and now in 2021, John Thompson.

We hope you will join us this month to celebrate the hard work of all the editors and eighteen years of Parsec Ink Triangulation anthologies!

This meeting will be recorded.