Sunday, October 4, 2009

Margaret Atwood at Town Hall Wed., Oct. 7

Margaret Atwood, author of more than 40 books of fiction, poetry and critical essays, reads from her new post-apocalyptic novel, The Year of the Flood (2009), 7:30 p.m., Wed., Oct. 7 at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Avenue, Seattle. $5

In The Year of the Flood, a small band of survivors, including some members of a religious group called God's Gardeners, attempt to regroup after an environmental disaster. The novel is set in the same world as Atwood's 2003 dystopia, Oryx and Crake (Who can forget those ChickieNobs from Chapter 8?)

The Year of the Flood has an accompanying CD, God's Gardeners' Hymns, with music by Orville Stoeber. And there's a YouTube challenge. Musicians arrange and perform your own versions of the hymns. Submit entries by Dec. 15.

Thanks to the Web site Reading Local Seattle for the tip. Follow @readseattle on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Making Steampunk Preparations

Once you've: bought your membership to Steamcon, Seattle's inaugural steampunk symposium; secured tickets to the Saturday Tea and Couture event and Saturday evening Airship Invasion concert featuring Unwoman, Vernian Process and Abney Park; read The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers; and learned about the history of Victorian era robots courtesy of artist Paul Guinan — however will you pass the time until the event Oct. 23-25 and get into the punk Victorian spirit?

Might we suggest some further distractions:

• Review the latest from SteamPunk Magazine.
• Visit Emilie P. Bush's new Web site, devoted to all things steampunk, and peruse the first chapter of her forthcoming novel, Chenda and the Airship Brofman.
• Hear Scott Westerfeld read from his new novel Leviathan, a foray into steampunk, 7 p.m., Mon., Oct. 12 at Third Place Books,
17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park.
• Play The Spoils, steampunkery in a card game.
• Read Steampunk (2008,
Tachyon Publications), an anthology edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer. Get an introduction to the genre in "The 19th-Century Roots of Steampunk," by Jess Nevins with a great explanation of what puts the punk in steampunk. Then, enter the coal-drenched environs and brassy invention of stories including Ian R. McLeod's The Giving Mouth.
• Read Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon's "steampunk homage," as recommended by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer in the preface to Steampunk.
• Adventure off to find some new steampunk music at Sepiachord.
• Eye some pretties from steampunk vendors and watch this new video by steampunk jewelry designer
Daniel Proulx. Comment on the video by Oct. 12 to enter a giveaway to win a $100 shopping spree from, steampunk jewelry inspired by Victorian science fiction.
• Generate some fiction using the Electro-Plasmic Hydrocephalic Genre-Fiction Generator 2000. It comes up with lovely bits such as this:
"The Cyber Wars"
In a coal-powered one-way spaceflight, a young author self-insert stumbles across an arcane prophecy which spurs him into conflict with his own insecurity vis-à-vis girls, with the help of a cherubic girl with pigtails and spunk and her closet full of assault rifles, culminating in convoluted nonsense that squanders the readers’ goodwill.
— and so much easier than writing your own stuff. With thanks to for the tip.
• Contrariwise, generate some fiction the old-fashioned way. Take quill in hand.
• Recommend to us your own favorite diversions. What have we missed?

Or, you could always help organize the event.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

See Burke Museum's grotesque penguins: Wondrous Cold exhibit opens

Need inspiration for a Lovecraftian tale or a Cthulhu game? Check out Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey, an exhibit of photography by Joan Myers "which offers a glimpse into the life of researchers working on the world's most hostile continent" at Seattle's Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The exhibit opens 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sat., Oct. 3.

Opening day events include lectures by a Dr. Christian Sidor, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Burke Mueum, who collected 245-million-year-old fossils in Antarctica and by composer Cheryl Leonard who captured audio recordings of the wind, ice, birds, and animals there — sounds creepy. Give a listen on her blog Music From the Ice. Compare modern researchers' perspectives with the "austral world of desolation and brooding madness" and "myriads of grotesque penguins" imagined by H.P. Lovecraft in At the Mountains of Madness. Do you suppose they thought the penguins were cute?

The exhibit shows through Nov. 29.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Revenant Film Festival: Sat., Sept. 26

The Revenant Film Festival, sponsored by Revenant Magazine (your premier zombie magazine), will be 4 p.m. to midnight Sat., Sept 26 at the Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave East, Seattle.

The films are:
Yesterday, Plague, The Hell Patrol, ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction, and Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated.

The festival features: Mark Rahner, creator of the ROTTEN comic series; Mark Henry, author of
Roadtrip of the Living Dead; the event's MCs Mail Order Zombie, and Comic Evolution selling comics and collectibles.

Arrive in zombie costume for a chance to win prizes. Tickets are $21 at the door. Artist R.M. Hanson designed the festival's poster. Check out his blog, Skeleface.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

PSC: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

Here's the latest from the Pacific Science Center:

The Boeing IMAX Theater will be closed Sept. 14-17 next week. When we reopen Friday, Sept. 18 we'll feature an exciting and very funny new film.
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs: An IMAX 3D Experience will be the most delicious event since macaroni met cheese. Inspired by the beloved children's book, the film focuses on a town where food falls from the sky like rain. Tickets are →now on sale! Then starting Sept. 26 we'll add a great double feature to our line-up – Van Gogh: Brush With Genius along with The Old Man And The Sea. A single ticket gets you both films. →Learn More.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Spooked in Seattle's newest ghost tour: Pioneer Square

About twenty people joined Spooked in Seattle on Sat., Sept. 5 for one of its first Haunted Pioneer Square tours. The tours are led by members of Advanced Ghost Hunters of Seattle-Tacoma and include some of the more violent and gloomy tales of Seattle's history along with information about some of AGHOST's paranormal investigations. AGHOST has looked into a number of sightings in the area and picked up some EVPs (electronic voice phenomena). Listen to samples at

There were no ghosts seen, heard or felt on the tour, but it was a supernaturally beautiful stroll around Pioneer Square augmented by some spooky Seattle stories. Given Pioneer Square's history, with its colorful cast of gold miners, flophouse tenants, opium dealers/quack healers, seamstress-prostitutes and many other citizens living and dying on, in, and under the sunken streets, tales of disturbed spirits lurking in the area seem credible.

If you're into imagining weird tales, Spooked in Seattle, along with the Underground Tour, provide creative energy and some inspiring historical details. Should H.L. Yesler, who brought the first steam-powered sawmill to Seattle in October 30, 1852, be remembered at the inaugural Seattle Steamcon, Oct. 23-25?

Haunted Pioneer Square, a two-hour walking tour, costs about $15 (prices subject to change). Email or call 253.203.4383 for reservations. Tours are also offered on Capitol Hill and at the Seattle Pier.

Those interested in learning about ghost hunting can attend bi-monthly AGHOST meetings.

Upcoming: Join AGHOST to see and hear evidence collected from past investigations and talk about paranormal theories and ideas, 3 p.m., Sun., Sept. 20 at Marlene's Market in Federal Way, 2565 S. Gateway Center PL, Federal Way. Open to the public. Free.

Or read about how to conduct paranormal investigations in Ghostology 101: Becoming a Ghost Hunter and learn more about Seattle ghosts in the forthcoming book, Spooked in Seattle, both by AGHOST leaders Ross Allison and Joe Teeples.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Get Spaced Out on Museum Day, Sept. 26

See the SpacedOut exhibit at EMP| SFM for free on Sat., Sept. 26 — Smithsonian Museum Day. Just bring a voucher from the Smithsonian's Web site with you.

Spaced Out: The Final Frontier of Album Covers, featuring 117 space-age themed record album covers released 1940-1969, shows through Jan. 3, 2010.

EMP|SFM will also screen the Smithsonian Networks’ Soul of a People: Writing Americas Stories at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the JBL Theater on Museum Day. Free and open to the public. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 325 5th Avenue North, Seattle.

More than 30 museums and art galleries in Washington state are free on Museum Day: Bellevue's
Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art, Goldendale's Maryhill Museum of Art, Tacoma's Museum of Glass, and the World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame in Long Beach. In Seattle, the list includes the Seattle Art Museum, Wing Luke Asian Museum, Frye Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery and The Museum of Flight.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Space Elevator Conference catch-up

If you missed the 2009 Space Elevator Conference in Redmond, you can read Marc Boucher's recap on The Space Elevator Reference. Boucher will post a three-part series on the conference, beginning with, A Lesson from Galileo on the Space Elevator Concept.

In the next post, he'll talk
more about innovation and provide an overview of the conference and then wrap up with a post on collaboration and the future.

Charles Radley has also posted a number of videos from the conference on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stocker Farms Field of Screams Last FREE haunt acting workshop

StockerFarms Field of Screams invited you to:

Saturday, August 29, 2009
9:00 AM to 11:00 AM PDT

Old Carnegie Library/Art Gallery
105 Cedar Ave
Snohomish, wa 98291

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New stories: Cat Rambo's solo collection out, Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight

Redmond author Cat Rambo's collection of fantasy stories, Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight (Paper Golem, 2009), is out. Stories range from high fantasy to urban to surrealist. The title story is based on Armageddon MUD, an online text-based fantasy game, of which Rambo is a co-creator.

Rambo is the editor of
Fantasy Magazine. Her stories have appeared in Asimov's, Weird Tales, and Strange Horizons. She's also a Clarion West Writer's Workshop alum.

Her previous story collection,
The Surgeon's Tale and Other Stories (2007), co-authored with Jeff VanderMeer, contains charming and elegant dark fantasy and humorous fairy tales. The title story, co-authored by Rambo and VanderMeer, creates a unique world in an oceanic setting as the backdrop for a Frankenstein's obsession (the mad scientist not the monster). In Rambo's "The Dead Girl's Wedding March," a zombie girl's defiance of her father in the City of the Dead leads to dire romance — with a rat. "The Strange Case of the Lovecraft Cafe," by M.F. Korn, D.F. Lewis, and Jeff VanderMeer is a full-course of must read for foodies and minions of Cthulhu from the Flaming Whole Giant Penguin to the Dripping Eidolon (dessert!).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Space Elevator 101: Sat., Aug. 15 in Redmond

Scientists, engineers, students, and space enthusiasts are gathering Aug. 13-16 at the 2009 Space Elevator Conference, presented by The Space Engineering and Science Institute, at the Microsoft Conference Center, Redmond. Attendees will parse many aspects and implications of developing an elevator into space using a carbon nanotube ribbon that stretches from the surface of the earth to a counterweight in space.

Some Northwest Science Fiction Society insiders are already participating in the development of the technology (and The 2009 Space Elevator Games) and are up for the full-on R&D discussion, however, the conference will also include a less technical family and friendly event for newbies.

Space Elevator 101,
for those who want to learn more about the concepts, challenges, and technologies involved in this "radical new way to access space less expensively," will be Sat., Aug. 15. The Pacific Science Center will also be on hand, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an exhibit on nanotechnology. The registration fee for Space Elevator 101 (which includes up to four family and friends) is $40 for either the morning, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., or afternoon, 1:30-6 p.m., session. This could be a great double-feature with EMP|SFM's family day and the opening of Spaced Out, also on Saturday.

There was also a free, public presentation, "The Space Elevator and the Future" by Dr. Bryan Laubscher, on Aug. 12. Give a shout if you made it to this and share the scoop.

KUOW's, Aug, 12, Conversation included an interview with Michael Laine, president of LiftPort Group based in Monroe, talking about the "enormous" strength ("30x times stronger than steel") of the carbon nanotube ribbon that could stretch into space as early as 2031 as well as the
robots (Winnebago-sized lifters) that would climb them transporting items (as much as 100 tons per week). He mentions just some of the possibilities afforded by this new mode of space travel. A space elevator "changes the entire way of getting back and forth out there," he says. The clip with Laine starts about 8 minutes in.

Read Ted Semon's Space Elevator Blog for updates from the Space Elevator Conference and follow @spaceelevator.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Theremin demonstrations at Spaced Out

On Sat., Aug. 15, EMP|SFM opens a new exhibit, Spaced Out: The Final Frontier of Album Covers, featuring 117 space-age themed record album covers released 1940-1969. It's family day at the museum as well as the opening of this exhibit and a send off for the Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit (open through Aug. 16) so there are lots of events planned.

Of special note: there will be theremin (that eerie electronic box that produces a staple sci-fi sound) demonstrations in the Spaced Out exhibit at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. According to Wikipedia anyway, theremin music has been featured in: the movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951); the television series, The Outer Limits; the score for the video game, Destroy All Humans (2005); and mentioned in Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953). If you have more insider theremin information, please dish (no matter how trivial)! Or, if you hear the theremin at Spaced Out, let us know how it was and who performed.

Other events (free with admission) at the museum on Aug. 15 include:
A tour of the exhibit
led by curator Brooks Peck at 11 a.m.
The MoonSpinners, a 60s influenced lounge-pop band, perform at noon and 1 p.m. in the Sky Church.
Muppet Fairytales films show, at 2 p.m. in the JBL Theater. See Kermit as The Frog Prince
(1971), directed by Jim Henson, and other muppetized versions of fairytale classics.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 325 5th Avenue North, Seattle. Tickets are $15-12 (free for EMP|SFM members or children 4 and under). For more information, call 206-770-2702 or 1-877-EMP-SFM1. Spaced Out shows through Jan. 3, 2010.

Monday, August 10, 2009

August steam: Abney Park's brazen oompahs

Steampunk band Abney Park took to a gloriously red-curtained stage on a Sunday night in August at The Columbia City Theater.

Captain Robert calls this venue "'da bomb". The historic vaudeville stage ranks high in theatricality and the sound at this show resonated to the back of the room. It was an especially
beautiful setting for Kristina's composition, "Victoria," with the spotlight shining on Nathaniel's singing violin and Kristina at the grand piano.

The show opened strong with favorites including "Sleep Isabella," (Lost Horizons, 2008) "Breathe," (From Dreams or Angels, 2001) and "Stigmata Martyr," and "The Wrong Side," (The Death of Tragedy, 2005). If the crowd didn't seem as boisterous as at May's steampunk soiree, it was likely (as Finn noted) because there wasn't much room to jump around in the narrow space.

Still, the band coaxed some piratical heartiness out of its sardines with sing-a-longs, "Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum," and the chorus to "Airship Pirate," enhanced by the aerialist performance above the stage.

Abney Park does make performance look like fun. And Captain Robert turned this into an object lesson for the kids in the crowd advising them show tolerance ("It's not lame.") when their parents push them into music lessons ("or dance lessons," added Finn who performs en pointe to "Herr Drosselmyers Doll,"
(Lost Horizons, 2008)). This was an all ages show, and this particular event went far under the usual just under 21 set, exposing quite a few schoolchildren to steampunk in their formative years.

Dane Ballard (Sinner Saint Burlesque singer/emcee and SexLife LIVE host) emceed. Fire-eating performances added to the atmosphere, notably Delaney's dragon and volcano moves to a mix of "Transylvanian Concubine" by Rasputina.

A fashion show during a break for the band created an off-key interlude. Seeing as the fans streamed into the theater arrayed in a visual feast of burgundy, silver, and black corsets as well as top hats (in sizes wee to gargantuan) and tails — a fashion show seemed redundant.

With fans so well-attired, a designer is at pains to impress. And it was hard to imagine this was the right crowd to appreciate some of the more restrained creations — denim? shorts? sundresses? Bring back the band!

Lastwear recovered this portion of the show by bringing out some appropriately festooned ladies and debonair gents — and it didn't hurt that they were brandishing pistols. Designers of clothing for outlanders, steampunks, reality hackers, and temporal misfits, Lastwear opened a retail store Aug. 8 at 5459 Leary Ave N.W. in Ballard.

The show was a nice boost to what feels like a summer lull in local events. What have we been missing? Seen any good movies lately? Did anyone catch, Moon, in the theater? Reading any good books? Jack Vance stories anyone?

Up next: Check out the Caba-Rock Revue, featuring Scarlet Room and Adrian H & the Wounds, 10 p.m., Aug. 22 at the Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater, 2322 2nd Ave., Seattle. $6, for the 21 and over crowd. Presented by Sepiachord.

This fall, look for Abney Park's new release Aether Shanties, and see them at SteamCon, Oct. 23-25, at the Seattle Airport Marriott. SteamCon also features Tim Powers, author of The Anubis Gates, winner of the 1983 Philip K. Dick Award; artist Paul Guinan, check out his history of Victorian era robots.

Get geared up for SteamCon. Vendors at the Abney Park show included:

Tormented Artifacts — masks, jewelry, and curiosities Mac McGowan's brass-rimmed leather googles and SteamPink, Kristina Hoagland's cards and paper arts
Exoskeleton Cabaret — artwear and photography by Libby Bulloff
Deviant Design — graphic design, fashion, and photography by Bergen R. McMurray
PH Factor (Hans Meier) of Tacoma — goggles and accoutrements

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The quest for mathematical truth in Seattle: Logicomix creator part of fall lecture line-up

Berkeley Computer Science professor Christos Papadimitriou, co-creator of the graphic novel Logicomix (due out Sept. 28, 2009 in the United States), is part of the early fall line-up of Seattle Science Lectures. Papadimitriou speaks 7:30 p.m., Fri. Oct. 9 at the Great Hall, 1119 Eighth Avenue (at Seneca Street), Seattle.

Logicomix tells the story of the epic quest for the Foundation of Mathematics. Philosopher Bertrand Russell, turned superhero for the tale, recounts how the intellectual adventure led astray many great thinkers including Frege, Hilbert, Poincaré, Wittgenstein and Gödel.

Seattle Science Lectures is co-sponsored by the Pacific Science Center and University Book Store. Tickets are $5. Priority seating for Town Hall Seattle members.

Need more science sooner? Try one of the upcoming Science on Tap events:

"Toxic Chemicals and Hormone Disruption: Reproductive Health Effects in Fish, Frogs, and People," with Fran Solomon, adjunct professor at University of British Columbia, 7 p.m., Mon., Aug. 31, at Ravenna Third Place Pub, 6504 20th Ave. NE, Seattle.

"Sound Garden: A Radar Odyssey Through the Northern Lights," with John Sahr, electrical engineering professor at the University of Washington, 7 p.m., Mon., Sept. 28 at Ravenna Third Place Pub, 6504 20th Ave. NE, Seattle.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Steampunkery at The Columbia City Theater

Local musical steampunk purveyors, Abney Park, will play an all ages show Aug. 9 at The Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle. Tickets (on sale soon) will be $15 for the 21 and over crowd (full bar in effect), $7 for teenagers, and free for pre-teens. The show will include aerialists, fire breathers, a fashion show, and Steampunk artists and vendors. Abney Park will shoot a concert length DVD at the show.

Captain Robert says the venue has everything "we always dream about having for a show," including Victoriana: chandeliers, curtains, and a grand piano. Ladies and gents, the last Abney Park show in town at the Seattle Steampunk Soiree was, indeed, a smashing affair.

Steamcon, need we say, will be
Oct. 23-25, at the Seattle Airport Marriott. Special guests include Tim Powers, author of The Anubis Gates, winner of the 1983 Philip K. Dick Award and artist Paul Guinan, check out his history of Victorian era robots, and musicians Abney Park.

Pacfic Science Center: Harry Potter, cocktails, and Transformers

Posted on behalf of the Pacfic Science Center:

Harry Potter/Half-Blood Prince
Harry In IMAX Worth The Wait: The latest film in the Harry Potter series is now open at regular theaters. Due to studio agreements, it doesn't open in IMAX until July 29. So why wait? Well, how about twelve minutes of the movie's explosive opening sequence in spectacular live-action IMAX 3D! Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince: The IMAX Experience is sure to be one of the most popular films we've ever shown at Pacific Science Center's Boeing IMAX Theater. Be sure to see it on the biggest screen in town! Get your →tickets now!

Science With A Twist...And Harry Potter: Tickets for our next 21+ event are selling fast and the reason is simple: this Science With A Twist involves the world's most popular young wizard. Make your plans now to join us for science, cocktails, and Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince: The IMAX Experience! That's July 30, with cocktails and science demonstrations at 6 p.m. and the film showing at 7:20 p.m. →Get your tickets now!

Time Running Out For Transformers:
If you haven't yet seen the incredible Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: The IMAX Experience please note that time is running out. Your humble correspondent thinks this is one of THE best sci-fi/action films in years. Gigantic, battling robots on our six-story screen! You must see it on the biggest screen in town before it closes July 28. →Buy Tickets

Spaced Out! A New Exhibition from EMP|SFM Opens Aug. 15

SEATTLE—Experience Music Project | Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (EMP|SFM) will welcome its newest exhibition Aug. 15, 2009.

Spaced Out! The Final Frontier in Album Covers, presents 117 space-themed record album covers that were released between 1940 and 1969—the dawn of the space age. In these post-war years, humanity seemed to be on the verge of taking a giant leap into space, and popular culture reflected this through futuristic album themes.

Even if the music had nothing to do with space—which it often didn’t—artists insisted on a spaced-out theme for their cover art. Some album covers even display Seattle’s Space Needle as the focal point of the design for the Needle’s unique, space-oriented feel. The exhibition takes visitors back to when space was a mystery, and space exploration was adventurous and groovy.

“This is the first exhibition at EMP|SFM that truly encompasses both music and science fiction equally,” said Brooks Peck, curator of the exhibition. “Music buffs will enjoy this nostalgic look at a fun era of album cover design, and science fiction lovers will learn about the strong influence that science fiction had on popular culture in the mid-20th century.”

Graphic design buffs as well as vinyl record collectors and nostalgic baby boomers will appreciate the exhibition for its history and unique graphic elements. The exhibit will explore a variety of aspects of the fad, including musical themes and motifs found on the records and how excitement toward the space age was expressed in popular culture.

Organized by EMP|SFM, Spaced Out! The Final Frontier in Album Covers features albums from the collection of Cheryl Pawelski, the Vice President of A&R at Rhino Entertainment.

"I began collecting these albums first because I loved how beautiful some were, while others were just silly,” said Pawelski. “Over time I noticed that album covers with a space theme changed after we landed on the moon in 1969. The imagination that went into all of them captured my imagination."

The album covers reflect what people in the post-war era imagined space would be like. Musicians flocked to the fad and space themes invaded album covers of different genres, including pop, jazz, folk and classical.

The exhibition gives visitors of all ages an opportunity to experience first-hand some of the instruments used on the albums, including the Theremin, which was used to make “space sounds.” A listening station will also be available for visitors to hear 20 tracks from the albums on display. Those interested in creating their own interpretation of a spaced out album cover can star in their own version, complete with funky text, spaceships, planets and otherworldly objects. The visitor album covers will then be posted via slideshow in the exhibition.

The exhibition is scheduled to run through Jan. 3, 2010 on the third level of the EMP galleries. To preview a sampling of album covers, visit the exhibition section of

Experience Music Project | Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
330 Sixth Avenue North Suite 200 Seattle WA 98109
T: (206) 262-3245 F: (206) 770-2727

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Clarion West: Hopkinson reads three works

Clarion West's reading series, Six Summer Evenings of Science Fiction & Fantasy, continues to shine. On July 14, author Nalo Hopkinson showcased a range of lyrical, humorous, and dramatic writing talent. She began the reading with two short stories commissioned for very different purposes: "Men Sell Not Such in Any Town," for the scientific journal Nature (Sept. 15, 2005 issue) and "Snow Day," for Canada Reads, which incidentally incorporates the titles of all five of the books for the read that year including Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Hopkinson ended her reading with an excerpt from her forthcoming novel Blackheart Man (it's a year out plus the final editing).

If you missed the reading, you can hear the author narrate two of her stories on the audio book of her short story collection
Skin Folk. You can also follow along as she works on her novel in progress, Taint, @nalohopkinson and on her blog.

Up next week: Seattle writer Eileen Gunn interviews David Hartwell, senior editor for Tor Books and founder of The New York Review for Science Fiction, about the state of the publishing industry,
7 p.m., Tues., July 21 at University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle.

Then, Clarion West's series wraps up for the summer with a reading by author Rudy Rucker,
7 p.m., Tues., July 28 also at University Book Store.

The readings are free and open to all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Potlatch 19: March 5-7, 2010 in Seattle

Potlatch 19, a non-profit literary convention for readers and writers of speculative fiction, returns to Seattle in 2010, March 5-7 at Hotel Deca, 4507 Brooklyn Avenue NE.

Memberships are $50 through July 22.

Register online or see for more information at

Potlatch 18 was in San Jose. The books of honor were Ursula K. Le Guin's
Always Coming Home (1985) and John M. Ford's Growing Up Weightless.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fresh fiction: Karen Joy Fowler's new story

Author Karen Joy Fowler read a work in progress, her short story "Booth's Ghost," at the Clarion West reading June 30 at University Book Store. Fowler's short story credits include the Nebula award-winning "Always," 2007, and "What I Didn't See," 2003, as well as her collection Black Glass (1997) which earned the World Fantasy Award.

Her newest story, "Booth's Ghost," is a well-researched and historically accurate (except for the ghost!) portrayal of Edwin Booth, an American actor known both for his performance of Hamlet and for the infamy of his older brother — who assassinated Abraham Lincoln.

It's always fun when an established author risks reading a fresh work and "Booth's Ghost" was well-received. More than 50 people attended the reading including 18 Clarion West Writers Workshop participants (taken under Fowler's wing this week).

No complaints, but there was some chagrin that the "work-in-progress" was so well done. Granted the tale was a draft
seasoned and vetted by the likes of Timmi Duchamp, founder of Aqueduct Press, and author John Kessel, a Clarion instructor who read earlier in June. But who knows? Fowler may well work some additional magic on the tale before the next reading. They don't give out those Nebulas for nothing. Learn more about Fowler's writing process in an interview by Charles A. Tan, co-editor of the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler.

Clarion West's Six Summer Evenings of Science Fiction & Fantasy, continues 7 p.m., Tuesdays at University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle. Free!


Elizabeth Bear, author of 50 stories including the multiple award-winner, "Tidewater" — July 7
Nalo Hopkinson, author of
The Salt Roads and The New Moon's ArmsJuly 14
David G. Hartwell, senior editor of Tor Books — July 21
Rudy Rucker, author of 30 books including
Postsingular and Mathematicians in Love, July 28

More July readings, 7 p.m., at the University Book Store, U District Store:
Wed., July 8Forgotten Realms authors Erik Scott de Bie and Rosemary Jones
Thurs., July 9 — David J. Williams, Clarion workshop alum and author of Burning Skies
Wed., July 15 — Caitlin Kittredge, Street Magic, and Kevin Radthorne, The Pool of Shikama
Thurs., July 16 — Local author Lisa Mantchev reads from her first novel, Eyes Like Stars
Fri., July 24 — Jay Lake reads from his sixth novel, Green, out from Tor

Speaking of the Nebulas, check out the
Nebula Awards 2009 Showcase, edited by Ellen Datlow (named best editor at the 2009 Locus Awards) and filled with stories by Michael Chabon, Karen Joy Fowler, Ted Chiang (author of the 2009 Locus Award-winning story, "Exhalation"), Nancy Kress and Michael Moorcock.

"Start reading Nebula Awards 2009 Showcase on your Kindle in under a minute!" What an irresistible suggestion!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

July 3: Zombiepocalypse in Fremont

Red, White, and Dead really does look like the zombie event of the season. Be there starting at 5 p.m., July 3 at 3501 Phinney Ave North, Seattle.

The event includes a world-record breaking zombie walk (it will be if you show up bloody!
Register 5-7 p.m. Walk at 8 p.m. Thriller dance at 9 p.m.), a book signing by S.G. Browne author of Breathers, an appearance by Seattle Zombies of Mass Destruction filmmakers, and a double feature (the movie starts at 9:45 p.m.): Shaun of the Dead and a zombie surprise.

There will also be contests (zombie haiku, anyone? the latest in zombie fashion?) and prizes.

Who's to blame for the zombiepocalypse? Shambolic threats include: Fremont Outdoor Movies, showing infectiously good films, and
Night Zero, photographing the post-apocalypse in Seattle for your novel entertainment, Cleo Zombie — and you.

Shamble, shamble, shamble Seattle into the world-record for zombie walks and Thriller dance mobs.

Ballard, Le Guin, Delaney inspired exhibit shows at Henry Art Gallery

"Ann Lislegaard: 2062," an exhibit of science fiction inspired digital animation, shows through August 23 at Henry Art Gallery, the University of Washington, Seattle. Artist Ann Lislegaard creates in Copenhagen and New York. "2062" is her first solo show in an American museum. The exhibit includes installations based on JG Ballard’s The Crystal World (1966), Ursula K. Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness (1969) and Samuel R. Delany's Dalghren (1975). In constructs of sound and light, the art explores time, space and place perception.

What does this look like? See photos of the exhibit. What does this mean? Read reviews and interviews on What's your experience? Go to the gallery.

Hours are: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thurs. and Fri. and 11 a.m.-4 p.m., weekends. Call 206.543.2280.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Forgotten Realms at University Book Store

Seattle fantasy authors Rosemary Jones and Erik Scott de Bie present, "How I lost a contest and ended up in Waterdeep," 7 p.m., Wed., July 8, at University Book Store, Seattle, reading from their new novels for Wizards of the Coast.

Both books written for the
Forgotten Realms series were handpicked by Ed Greenwood, the D&D campaign setting creator and celebrated author. The stories take place in Realms' greatest city, Waterdeep. Jones will read from her new novel, City of the Dead. She has also written Crypt of the Moaning Diamond in Forgotten Realms. De Bie reads from his latest novel, Downshadow. His other Realms' books are Ghostwalker and Depths of Madness.

Upcoming at University Book Store, in the U District, Seattle:
Jacqueline Carey, author of the Kushiel's Legacy series, reads from her very new novel (due out June 24),
Naamah's Kiss, 7 p.m., Mon., June 29.
Karen Joy Fowler, author of
Wit's End and The Jane Austen Book Club, reads as part of the Clarion West free summer series, 7 p.m., Tues., June 30.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stocker Farms Field of Screams FREE Haunt Acting Workshop #2

StockerFarms Field of Screams invited you to:

Stocker Farms Field of Screams FREE Haunt Acting Workshop #2

When: Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM PDT

Where: Carnegie Library; Art Gallery, 105 Cedar Ave., Snohomish, WA. 98290

Who: anyone interested in haunt acting, being around fellow haunters, anyone interested to perform their best at our Haunt Auditions in September.

Why: Because we want to share our love of screaming!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Art double-feature: sf/steampunk exhibits

Lowell Art Works exhibits sci-fi and steampunk inspired art June 20-July 12 at 5205 S. 2nd Ave., Everett. "It Came From Outer-Lowell!", curated by artists Jules Anslow and Mike Capp, will feature monsters, robots, aliens, mutant eels, cyborg supermodels, six-armed ant boys of ancient legend, and root-cellar-chemistry-set-experiments-gone-awry.

To bring together “Steampunk: The Art and Science of Future-Victorian Tech," Anslow, directed artists to, "Think: Jules Verne meets Rube Goldberg. Wild Wild West. Mad Max. Even a little Blade Runner. Steamboy, an animated film, captures the concept. Imagine if your microwave had carved wood trim, brass fittings, jeweled buttons that lit up, curved brass feet, and a four-pane window with red-velvet curtains on the front."

A reception for both exhibits, a.k.a. the opening invasion, will be 4-9 p.m., Sat., June 20.

Lowell Art Works gallery hours are: 1-5 p.m., Saturdays, 1-4 p.m., Sundays and 4-9 p.m. on third Saturdays for the Everett Art Walk. Call 425-923-3635.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Clarion West reading series starts June 23

Clarion West's Six Summer Evenings of Science Fiction & Fantasy starts June 23 with John Kessel. All readings take place 7 p.m. at University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle. Free!

Kessel is the author of four novels and three short story collections most recently
The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories (2008). He edited Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology (2006) and Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology (2007), and The Secret History of Science Fiction (forthcoming from Tachyon) with James Patrick Kelly. He teaches American literature, science fiction, fantasy, and fiction writing at North Carolina State University.

Upcoming readings will be by:

Karen Joy Fowler
June 30
Elizabeth Bear July 7
Nalo Hopkinson
July 14
David G. Hartwell
July 21
Rudy Rucker
July 28

Review: Crowds cheer The City & The City

In a fantasy city, the author would have stepped into a gleaming amphitheatre to the announcement, "And all the way from London, two time British Fantasy Society Award-Winning author...China Miéville..." The cheering throng would have hoisted their books high and demanded encores of readings from Perdido Street Station (2000), Iron Council (2004) and Un Lun Dun (2007) before allowing the author to leave the stage.

Instead, Miéville arrived at the Third Place Books Commons in Lake Forest Park, amidst the food court clanging of people finishing their dinners out on a Friday night, without even the pomp of a Kim Rickett's style Words & Wine event. He read a short section from the opening of his latest book
The City & The City before a crowd of about 200 people.

Fanfare not required though. This was a good time. It was fun to hear Inspector Borlu's interrogation of the druggie kids in Miéville's voice.
The City & The City is a different kind of fantasy, a police procedural. A "complete fidelity to the noir protocol," it opens with a dead body and the protagonist is gruff and flawed. Why did Miéville turn to a crime novel? Well, for his mother. Written while she was ill, the book is dedicated, "In loving memory of my mother, Claudia Lightfoot".

He's also enjoying writing in some new voices. Expect to see some examples in the next few years, as Miéville "begs an indulgence" from fans. Try something new? Miéville has something more sci-fi in the works as well as another fantasy. He also has ideas for non-fiction exploring topics from politics to Lovecraftian novels (Miéville wrote the introduction to the 2005 Modern Library edition of H.P. Lovecraft's
At the Mountains of Madness). The City & The City, "secretly subtitled 'The Last Inspector Borlu Mystery'" leaves openings for prequels and sequels too.

Miéville's also happy about a role-playing game in development based on one of his worlds. He's given the go ahead to
Tales of New Crobuzon.

Following his reading, Miéville was engaging, gracious, and hilarious in the Q&A before he was whisked off for the real work of the evening — signing books. He has a delightful vocabularly and talks easily across genres too. He speaks fluent geek punctuated by London slang and politics. Here are a few tidbits he shared:

Miéville's dreams: include beautiful views walking through the cities he's created, but aren't heavily plotted, "I'm somewhere and for some reason I have to go over there... it's like being in Second Life, very pretty, but nothing happens."

Miéville's writing process: Starts with setting. He builds a world and creates maps, but with white spaces to fill in later or just leave blank, "sometimes it's fun not to know." If this sounds a lot like world-building for a role-playing game, well, yes, he is quite familiar with polyhedral dice.

Miéville on fantasy: Writing fantasy provides a way to talk about and envision what is inherently impossible to talk about and envision — concepts such as radical socio-political change (what we could easily envision wouldn't really be radical). It also "shows the grander thing behind the everyday" following in the religious visionary tradition of ecstatic writing.

Miéville leaves the impression you could sit down with him and have a highly entertaining conversation on anything from the "heuristic failure of first-person shooters" to "the murderous arbitrariness of geopolitical borders". Barring that, you can read one of his books.

So, what are your favorites? One audience member asked about the short story "The Tampered Mail" with Miéville's eponymous protagonist, China Miéville. Another had a copy of Miéville's non-fiction
Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law (2006). What book would you start someone on who had never read Miéville?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Eyes Like Stars - Reading and Signing!

Come help Lisa Mantchev celebrate the publication of EYES LIKE STARS with cupcakes, glitter, and assorted silliness.

Location: University Bookstore, Seattle
Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Monday, June 1, 2009

China Miéville reads at Third Place Books

Weird fiction author China Miéville reads from his recently released novel The City & The City (2009), described as a sci-fi, noir, murder mystery, 6:30 p.m., Fri., June 5 at Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park.

Writing out of London, Miéville is the author of the award-winning New Crobuzon series including Perdido Street Station (2000), The Scar (2001) and Iron Council (2004). His first novel, King Rat, was published in 1998.

Smashing soiree preps crowd for SteamCon

Will memories of the Seattle Steampunk Soiree May 22 at Heaven carry us through to SteamCon in October? A delightfully goggled, top-hatted and corseted crew arrived and made this a truly brass, beribboned and velvet event.

On stage Abney Park of Gig Harbor delivered all the sultry resonant promise of their albums plus the spectacle of The crowd turned into besotted airship pirates as the band hit favorites off of albums including Lost Horizons (2008), The Death of Tragedy (2005) and
From Dreams or Angels (2001). "Building Steam" may be our new favorite song, a strapping Captain Robert advised. Aye, aye! With a wind down like Herr Drosselmyer's Doll, Abney's set sated the soiree.

Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society (fabulous name, isn't it?) of Tacoma played their first show after working to release their album Clockwork Dreams. They got the soiree started with raging steampunking guitars (Abney Park alum Robert Hazelton later re-upped with the airship pirates to help
end the show).

Seattle's Legion Within played a romantic darkwave and classic industrial interlude. Songwriter and vocalist William Wilson rock starred the stage (presence galore) along with the polished band. Wilson
and percussionist Aaron Nicholes are also part of a Bauhaus tribute band, The Sky's Gone Out. Wilson has the voice. Hear for yourself: Legion Within opens for Peter Murphy Tues., June 2 at El Corazon.

Of course, the crowd at the steampunk soiree did wear more than just top hats, goggles and corsets (it wasn't quite that decadent). But after a trip through the vendors' room, you'll be forgiven if you think that's all the accoutrement required. Beauteous wares on display included top hats for ladies and gents, custom goggles and corsets, jewelry and spectacles made of antique watch parts, and Cthulu necklaces in Lego or silver.

For those who missed it, a few links from the soiree plus a few for good measure:

Abney Park fashion -
goggles, stripey t-shirts and leather corsets
Gothic Beagle - dog collars and leashes, and yes, meant for quadruped pets — stylish ones!
Lastwear - clothing for outlanders, steampunks, reality hackers, and temporal misfits

London Particulars - steampunk jewelry, fashion — on Twitter @SteampunkShoppe
Mac McGowan - handcrafted leather gear, props, and accessories
Velvet Mechanism - steampunk accessories
Gypsy Lady Hats - velvet, stripes, and laces!
Tatterdemalion Designs
- clothing for elegant ruffians
(these last links courtesy of Gothic Charm School)

Can't wait for SteamCon? Check out SepiaChord for music and more steamy summer events, or try one of these:

Crypticon, June 5-7, Seattle Center
Edward Gorey Garden Party at The Historic Overlook House, Sun., June 14, Portland
Legion Within, CD release party with God Module, Blicky, DJ Seraphim, 8 p.m., Sat., June 20, El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E, Seattle
Gothic Charm School book release party, 7:30 p.m., Tues., June 23, University Village Barnes & Noble, 2675 NE University Village St, Seattle
Portland Hallowe'en Bazaar, Sat., Oct 3, Portland

And don't forget, SteamCon, Oct. 23-25, Seattle.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reel Fear: Shades of blood on a budget

Fans and a handful of aspiring filmmakers turned out to get insider information from local horror filmmakers John Sinno, producer of ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction (not to be confused with the comic book), and Dan Gildark, producer/director of Cthulhu, at Reel Fear the latest installment of EMP|SFM's Exposed: Inside Film series.

Wanna tell stories on film? If you're on a budget (tens of thousands not millions to spend), consider making horror. Big name actors and their accoutrements aren't required to draw audiences to a horror, said Sinno.

Still, horror filmmaking is no easy shakes. Sinno and Gildark discussed location scouting, production design, soundtrack composition, and creating mechanical and 2-D special effects. Then comes post-production, layering in 3-D effects and fine-tuning the film.

The ZMD team spent two months on color correction to get the blood just right. There's a big difference between comedic blood, the shade they were going for in ZMD, and the dark red, color of the truly scary kind. And there's lots of blood in ZMD. Director Kevin Hamedani likes gore, Sinno said.

A short clip of Cthulhu showed off artful sound design with dripping, echoing, and splashing water layered over roaring ocean and fading into tortured, amplified screaming.

To keep a film within budget, and still realize the director's vision, a producer needs to be creative. Sinno trashed a city street with items rented from Goodwill and asked a passing cop to lend flashing reds to a chaotic zombie scene. Gildark called in a few favors from a friend with a helicopter and used some footage from the WTO riots in Seattle to convey a worldwide scene of madness and mayhem.

Once a film is done, it's time to hit the film festival circuit, get an agent, and get the legal department involved before striking a deal with a distributor. What about having a good idea, writing a script and casting? That goes without saying.

ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction shows at the Seattle International Film Festival:
9:15 p.m., June 2 at the SIFF Cinema and 10 p.m., June 4 at the Kirkland Performance Center. Cthulhu is out on DVD. New filmmakers, be sure to check out the commentary, Gildark said he shares tips. Both films employed lots of local talent. If this includes you, let us know. Where do we look for your work? How fun was it to work on ZMD or Cthulhu? ZMD was filmed in Port Gamble and Northwesterners will recognize Astoria, Ore. in Cthulhu.

Both producers said their films were inspired by the political times. If zombies and Cthulhu were our turn of the millennium metaphors, which monsters will stalk us in the next decade?

Upcoming at EMP|SFM in the Exposed: Inside Film series:
The Dark Crystal screening hosted by EMP|SFM's Brooks Peck, 7 p.m., Tues., June 16.
Labyrinth screening with puppeteer and animator, Karen Prell, 7 p.m., Tues., July 21.
The series takes place in the JBL Theater, 325 5th Avenue North, Seattle. Free to EMP|SFM members or $5 for the public. Call 206.770.2702 or 1.877.EMP.SFM1.

More news for filmmakers: Early submissions for the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival 2010 are due June 30. The final submission deadline is August 15. The festival takes place January 30.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

UW Jacobsen Observatory: May 20 UW Astronomy "Searching for Earths" Lecture

This notice presented on behalf of the University of Washington Department of Astronomy:

"Searching for Earths"
Dr. Debra Fischer, San Francisco State University
Wednesday, May 20
Architecture 147 -,66,533,559
7-8pm *No tickets required, first-come, first-served seating*

Science fiction writers often depict the billions of stars in our Milky Way galaxy as homes for other Earths; so-called M-class planets where life abounds. The science is now catching up to the fiction as more than 300 planets have been discovered orbiting other stars in the past decade. The most surprising attribute of detected planets is their diversity, and we have yet to find anything that reminds us of home. However, humanity is taking the first steps into the solar system and beyond with the goal of detecting thousands of New Worlds. This talk will focus on the types of planets that have been found so far, with an eye toward understanding how our solar system compares. We will also discuss the conditions that are important for life as we know it and our future plans to one day obtain a picture of a pale blue dot orbiting a nearby star.

Join us this Wednesday, May 20 in Architecture 147 at 7pm for a lecture by Dr. Debra Fischer entitled "Searching for Earths". Dr. Fischer is a professor at San Francisco State University and is a leader in the field of searching for extra-solar planets. She is the principal investigator for research projects such as The Lick Planet Search program, and several Keck Observatory programs to detect Hot Jupiters and short-period Neptunes.

A poster is attached for distribution.

To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (FAX), or

Sarah Garner

University of Washington
Department of Astronomy
Physics/Astronomy C-319 Phone: 206-543-2888
Box 351580
Seattle, WA 98195