Orange County Science Fiction Club Orange County Science Fiction Club

Past Meetings

---- 2006 ----

December 27, 2006
  • Video of PK Dick memorial panel

    This was our first meeting ever held in December.
    From our meeting of January 2004, A rembrance of Philip K. Dick.
    A panel of James Blaylock, Tim Powers, Greg Benford, and Paul Williams
    See details below.

    No book for December.

November 29, 2006
  • OPEN MEETING (Eric Hoffman will be rescheduled next year)

    Meeting report per Dave Moore:
    .Unfortunately, Eric Hoffman, slated to be our guest speaker, couldn't make it due to a double booking, so we had an open meeting, mainly discussing the events of Loscon.

    We managed to get a club table at Loscon, and by all accounts it was a great success. (See the photos on our website.) The table, not only raised our profile (David Gerold indicated he'd be willing to be a guest speaker on seeing our setup), but it also provided a focal point for the club at the convention. This the first time I have felt we attended Loscon as a club rather than a group of individuals who waved to each other when their paths crossed on the way to panels. A special thanks to Ralph for producing a jacket-art display of Williams Tenn's works especially for the table. That got a lot of admirers.

    One point of business from the meeting is that we are attempting to get our guest speakers for next year lined up as early as possible. If you have any suggestions for a guest speaker, could you E-mail them to Dick Nordrum (Dick@N We hope to go over all the possibilities in early January and tentatively allocate their dates then.

    Could you include: the name of the speaker, the likely subject of the persons talk, availability, and the contact person or contact information. Thanks.

    Here's an example:

    Name: Eric Hoffman
    Subject: Slide show, subject matter to be discussed
    Availability: No specific month, but may not be available on any given month.
    Contact Person: Dick Nordrum/Dave Moore

    If I have forgotten to mention anything about the meeting, don't hesitate to post it. I rely on my memory which is a porous contrivance at best.


    Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem
    A funny post-apocalyptic road noir tale of Chaos, who lives in an abandoned projection booth at the Multiplex in Hatfork, Wyoming, and his journey to find the truth at the heart of his own American nightmare.

    It is available on at giveaway prices. It may also be available at your local library. There's a copy at Fullerton but not one at Anaheim. Given that it was first published in 1995, copies should be available at second hand bookstores.

    Reading Orbit discussion report per Dave Moore:

    This month's book, Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem, was, while entertaining, not a very satisfying read. The writing is good and the book is full of cool ideas, but the author doesn't really do much with them.

    The book tells the story of Chaos, a young man, who wanders through a post-apocalyptic future of surreal realities, each one created by an individual who has the power to shape these realities, and in the course of his adventures Chaos learns that he lives in a world of surreal realities, each one created by an individual who has the power to shape these realities.

    If the description sounds a little recursive, its because the author doesn't really go anywhere with his ideas. Some of his realities show potential for being hilarious social satire, but the author doesn't follow through on the setup. Other parts of the book may be considered a discussion of the nature of reality, but the author comes to no conclusions there either.

    Critics consider this his weakest book, so I would recommend that you read his first book: Gun with Occasional Music, which was excellent, or his subsequent works.

    (Note to readers orbit members: if you type any comments up on a book, could you E-mail them to me so I can include them in the report.)

October 25, 2006
  • Authors Alan Vekich (A.A.Wolfner) and Art Kessner

    Alan and Art are co-authors of IVORY SWORD Lore of DayONE. Alan and Art described the steps of building their fantasy world first through a game then collaborating on their novel. In addition to describing their collaboration they expressed interest in having other parties collaborate on further works set in their universe.

    From the description of IVORY SWORD: The Elfin Emperor rules over multiple Kingdoms of Elves, Centaurs, Dwarves, Syrons, Half-elves, and Humans. One of the Imperial Princes, Morais, hires a lawless band to kidnap his own twin brother. He plans to stage a rescue and gain his fatherís respect. When an unexpected rebellion threatens to destroy the Empire, he acquires an Ivory Sword, hoping to influence cosmic forces and become the leader destiny requires....(more, click the books link above)

    After questions, the meeting broke up at 10 p.m. except for the Reader's group who discussed thia months book. See the report on that below.

    Some of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon
    Named one of the Top 40 Horror Books of All Time by the Horror Writers Association, Some of Your Blood begins with a confidential folder belonging to army psychiatrist Philip Outerbridge. Inside this folder are the letters, memos and transcripts for a young soldier named George Smith, a quiet young man with a terrible past and a shocking secret. As Outerbridge conducts George's therapy, he gradually discovers the truth about George's traumatic childhood, his twisted romance with an older woman named Anna, and the unusual obsession George keeps hidden from the world.

    It's available on in both used, and as a new paperback release with an extensive introduction. You should be able to order the new paperback from you local bookstore.

    Reading group report by Dave Moore:

    SOME OF YOUR BLOOD (1961), by Theodore Sturgeon, is a psychological mystery about an emotionally arrested man who is drawn to others only on an infantile level. The story is told through a combination of medical documents and transcriptions and a confessional letter. The overall tone is clinical, unglamorous and compassionate. It caused quite a stir when it first came out, primarily because the vampire obtained a natural source of blood from his girlfriend.

    Opinions were mixed on this book. I found the story a little dated, but at the other end of the spectrum Will loved it: one, because coming from the South, he found that Sturgeon had caught the voice and mannerisms perfectly, and secondly because he is a big Vampire tale fan whereas I am not. Whether this book will appeal is a matter of taste; although, we all agreed it was superbly written.

September 27, 2006
  • Open meeting.

    We had no guest speaker so after dealing with club business, we formed into discussion groups. The meeting broke up at about 10 p.m., except for those in the reader's orbit. (See Reader's Orbit report below.)

    Items of club business dealt with were

    i) It was felt that a reminder of upcoming meetings needs to be posted on the group list. Dick and I will take care of that.

    ii) Enthusiasm was expressed for a December meeting since the room doesn't cost anything. A fair percentage of the club, enough to make for a viable meeting, indicated they'd be interested in coming on the 27th. It would be assumed there'd be no guest. Everyone would just get together for a chat.

    iii) Elise indicated she would throw her traditional New Year's Eve party. In the past, everyone brings a plate to her house in North Tustin, and we have a fairly low key New Year's Eve chatting or watching SF films. (Further details for the party will be given at a later date.)

    iv) We decided to set up a club table at Loscon in a similar arrangement to our table at the worldcon assuming we can still get one. Ralph volunteered his display for it. (Loscon is at the Airport Marriott on the Fri., Sat., & Sun. after thanksgiving and 3 day memberships are available for $40.00 until Oct. 31st.)
        Note: parking at the hotel will be about $8.00 a day so those of you who are interested in car pooling to save gas and parking fees may want to post your location and the times that you are going. For instance, I'm going in from Fullerton on all three days, and my usual schedule is to leave at about 10-10:30 a.m. each morning and depart for home at about midnight to 1 a.m. on Fri. & Sat and at about 6 p.m. on Sun.

    Is anyone getting or interested in sharing a room for the duration of the convention?

    Dave Moore

    Of Men and Monsters by William Tenn
    William Tenn is the pen name for Philip Klass who will be GOH at Loscon (thanksgiving weekend) this year. The book is available cheap, second hand at Amazon.

    Comments from the readers -------

    I was unable to meet with your illustrious group last week, but did have the singular opportunity to read this novel on Saturday (yes, that would be one single day--yeah for me!). I was interested in reading Dave's synopsis of your discussion. I found it a highly enjoyable read with interesting observations on humanity. Isn't that interesting that we are so closely aligned with rats and cockroaches in the novel because of our adaptability (due to our higher intelligence), and yet those things that we are compared with are highly adaptable not especially because of their intelligence. I kept thinking back to Planet of the Apes (yes, the novel), where man had continued to evolve in the future, and because of circumstances had de-volved.

    Another thing that caught my thoughtstream was the character Rachel. She reminded me very much of the gal in Heinlein's Glory Road. Smart, capable, beautiful, naked. Come to think of it, I think this novel had much more description of the exposed feminine vessel than of any well-built male form. I thought Heinlein's character to be very much a man's view of "the perfect woman". So, I am reading Tenn's female character much the same way. I don't want to use the word sexist, but I'm wondering if these characters are certainly a stereotypical idea of a desirable woman (at least 50 years ago). I'm just throwing these unfinished thoughts out there and wanting to know what the rest of you see.. ---- Alison emlymom( 10/2/06 8:05:25 AM,
    Given that this book was started in 1963 and finished in 1968, I would say Rachel was written as a prototypical feminist. My paperback copy is the original edition with the Boris Veijo cover and Eric is drawn as a very hunky, well muscled type. I don't think the story contradicts this image so the author just went for attractive main characters. Given that the point of view character was male, I think much more physical description of Rachel is in keeping with the story. The point of view character is hardly likely to spend much time describing himself unless he's narcissistic.

    Secondly, the author had designed a society that fit the circumstances. Living in the alien houses, the temperate was always pleasant so they didn't need for clothes. (Eric doesn't wear a lot either.) There was horrific death rate, which was why the women had litters, and in order to survive there is strict separation of roles according to the sexes. This is consistent with having the women carry all the tribal knowledge. Men are disposable and it would be a waste of time teach them as most are going to be killed anyhow. (This arrangement is not usual for primitive tribes. In primitive tribes, knowledge is divided between the sexes and each portion is transmitted down the line of that sex.)

    Finally, the author brings in Rachel, who carries the abstract knowledge, to educate our hero. This was probably a sly comment on the College system of the time, where the dispensers of abstract knowledge for our society were nearly all men.

    Given the time it was written and the setting of the story, I'd say it took quite an enlightened attitude. ----- Dave DaveRMoore( October 04, 2006 3:26 PM

August 30, 2006
  • Jim Young, Author, Actor, Fan, retired Foreign Service

    Jim Young came and told us about his experiences as an actor and member of the Foreign Service.
    He answered questions for those who were interested in the current situation in the Middle East. Jim also related some interesting experiences acting in such movies as the latest War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise.
    Jim's writing includes "Microde City" a novella in Asimov's June 1993 and two SF novels The Face of the Deep (Pocket 1979) and Armed Memory (Tor 1995)

    Timescape by Greg Benford

July 26, 2006
  • OC Writers James Blaylock and Tim Powers

    James Blaylock, winner of the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, along with his partner in rhyme, Tim Powers visited us for a delightful evening.
    Jim and Tim are teaching high school students at the Orange County School of the Arts where Jim is Director of Creative Writing. They discussed their recent work teaching creative writing to some of Orange County's most gifted students. They explained their efforts to rise above the normal educational process and priorities to inspire a new generation of savvy and exciting writers. Tim also spent a few minutes telling about his new book just published Three Days to Never

    Accelerando by Charles Stross.
    Opinions differed on this month's book: I thought it was a major work, an attempt to chart the future on humanity on the order of Olaf Stapleton's "Last and First Men" while Glenn took the opposite tack and thought its was just a lighthearted romp, self-indulgent, pretentious but entertaining. We both liked the book but both felt it had its flaws. The general consensus is that we'd recommend it.

    The book can be read as a fantastic adventure story, but if you want to grapple with the ideas, both philosophical and of technological extrapolation, it may pay to be some back ground reading. The author's own site contains commentaries with links to the various idea's he dwells on.

June 28, 2006
  • Reading and Discussion of Club plans for WorldCon

    We had a reading by Robin and Will of some chapters of Robin's new book.

    We talked about our club fan table for the Con and also about the possibility of having the August meeting at the Con.


May 31, 2006
  • Reading of a Hugo Nominated short stories

    The last of the five short stories nominated for this year's Hugo award to be presented at The World Science Fiction Convention LACON IV in Anaheim this August Was read along with a short novella.


    A discussion of this story and the other nominees followed the readings.

    "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova

April 26, 2006
  • Readings of Hugo Nominated Short Stories

    Our Will and Yvonne Morton treat us to an evening of readings of four of the five short stories nominated for this year's Hugo award to be presented at The World Science Fiction Convention LACON IV in Anaheim this August.

    The stories read were:

    Since a lot of us will be attending the convention, it seemed like a good idea to acquaint ourselves with them. Between each story we took a break to discuss its merits.

    Mike Resink's was considered by many as the most proficiently written and most moving (owing to a downbeat subject). Tk'tk'tk might have been the most popular as it was amusing with interesting aliens.

    With Will's friends from his writers group, the meeting was much like a writer's discussion group and workshop. Still, the public format of the readings with general discussion of the stories gave everyone the opportunity to participate making the meeting a success. We will plan further readings in the future..

    "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" by Philip K. Dick.

    The readers group had a short discussion of Philip K. Dick's The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich. Dick's wild imagination kept us entertained; however, we found his lack of clarity and follow through on his ideas frustrating. Dick's approach to endings is somewhat like the student who is told he must write a 1000 word story and on reaching that word count promptly just wraps it by writing: and they all lived happily ever after.

March 29, 2006
  • Our guest was Eric Hoffman

    Eric talked on early Science Fiction and Horror movie posters showing a beautiful collection of art on slides. This was a wonderful presentation as we enjoyed sharing Eric's knowledge and passion for the art of the vintage cinema.

    "The Kiln People" by David Brin
    The Kiln People examines a future in which busy people can make a couple of copies of themselves to help with the chores and get them through a busy day. The copies only last a day before they decay, and you can download their memories if desired. The book approaches it's subject matter in a lighthearted vein but also deals seriously and in some depth with how the copies feel about this arrangement.

    The group was in unanimous agreement that this was one of the most original, imaginative, and entertaining SF books we've read for a long time, and we highly recommend it to anyone who can tolerate whimsy and puns which, if you like them, make the book a pure delight. One minor note is that the book could have been better yet if it followed all the interesting ideas generated to their logical conclusions.

February 22, 2006
  • Our guest was SF author David Baumann.

    David presented important considerations for writing fiction. explaining how an amateur can prepare his work for a public audience and how to publish using the new print-on-demand options, bypassing commercial publishing houses. David discussed editing, formatting, illustrating, and other matters associated with writing and publishing one's own work. David is an SF author and free-lance writer with more than twenty years experience, Along with co-authors Jon Cooper and Mike Dodd, David has written The Starman Series - a set of brand-new old-fashioned good clean science-fiction. After five years in the making and totalling nearly 550,000 words The Starman saga was completed in late 2005 and was commercially published in audiobook format by Americana Publications, Inc.

    David has also written two non-fiction books, one published in 1987 and the second scheduled to appear this year. As a free-lance writer David has published nearly four dozen articles in a variety of magazines and periodicals.

    Another unique Orange County author, David is also an Episcopal priest and a karate instructor with his recently achieved master's rank.

    Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
    The consensus was that is was a good story. First off, its brevity (78 pages) enabled us to not only read the story, but also reread it and read associated material such as commentaries and biographical information, which added a lot of depth.

    While there was a certain amount of disagreement as to how much of an SF story it was (it is generally regarded as a horror story), we recognize it as one of those canonical stories that forms the basis for many other tales. If you look at stories with the self as a doppleganger as part of the storyline, you can point to Norman Bates in Psycho, Harlan Elision's Shatterday, and even elements in Kiln People, our March book . Besides being a horror story and a work of speculative fiction, it is also a cracking good mystery, That's a real bargan when you think about it.

    The story deals mainly with the internal nature of people with enough ambiguity to provide a solid basis for wide ranging discussion. This and the craftsmanship of a great author made reading it and our group discussion very enjoyable.

January 18, 2006
  • An open meeting with no scheduled guest

    For those of you who missed it, we met at the Carl's Jr. on Yorba Linda Blvd., ending our 23 years at the bank. Our regular monthly meetings will return to the last Wednesday of every month , and we will meet at Carl's for the remainder of 2006.

    Carl's looks suitable and everyone was generally pleased with the arrangements. We meet in the private party room at the back of the restaurant. It's separated by glass doors from the rest of restaurant and there were few dine-in customers so we weren't bothered by other patrons.

    The book discussion group finds it better at this new location. We can arrange the tables any way we like. The noise level is low and we're not interrupted by waiters. The place is open to midnight, which gives us enough time to finish up.

    There are some problems. We don't know yet how many of the wall sockets work or how to activate the big-sceen TV. We'll try a universal remote next meeting. If the big screen doesn't work, there are two smaller TV's up on the wall which could take coaxial feed or A/V 2 plug input.

    The main drawbacks to the new site are
    i) the place is not heated so you need to wrap up if you are sensitive to the cold,
    ii) the menu is limited,
    iii) the lighting is controlled from the manager's office and the manager is unfamiliar with how it works.

    We'll do a little adapting to the place.

    We decided the following:
    i) We'll keep the meeting site for the year.
    ii) We'll keep the donation request at $2.00/meeting or $18/yr. to build up a reserve to support some consideration for guests such as gas or dinner and for publicity materials.
    iii) We approved $20.00 for a subscription to Connotations magazine, put out by the Northern Arizona SF league. It's an excellent fanzine with some financial difficulties. They post a listing of club information which includes ours.

    The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Symons.
    Most members of the group also read "Hyperion" to bring them up to speed as "Hyperion" is in effect the first half of The Fall. The general consensus was that the book(s) were overly long containing a lot of extraneous threads with philosophical and religious references not pertinent to the plot. The writing itself was good and where the book was advancing the plot it was an enjoyable read.

Email for more information or call Greg at (949) 552-4925.