Orange County Science Fiction Club Orange County Science Fiction Club

Past Meetings

---- 2012 ----

November 28, 2012

  • Guest/program: Michael Dale Brown, writer, actor, director, producer

    Visit Michael's Facebook page

    Michael's Campy Live Homage to '50s Sci-Fi Flicks

    Michael's movie on Area 51; Rachel NV, and the road to UFO's

    Michael Dale Brown has done some very entertaining work. The first we saw was his play "Earthlings Beware" which he wrote and directed a production of in Costa Mesa. A number of the club members were fortunate to have seen it earlier this year. The play was a hoot. Serious skilled actors, amazing special effects, great sets, lots of humorous dialog, and enough in-jokes to thrill the geekiest of us, produced a thoroughly enjoyable evening at the theater.

    Then, in September, he presented a preview screening of his movie "Adventures on the Alien Highway" at a theater in Long Beach. I was lucky to get an invite to the screening and discovered that Mike is also a talented documentary film maker. Mike and his friends Roger Mexico and Robert Fowler created this film about Area 51, the residents of Rachel Nevada, and the various UFO enthusiasts and researchers who've visited that town and tried to see the storied mysteries of Area 51. The film is very professionally produced because Mike and crew ARE skilled professionals who risked their lives to bring this film to the public. They know how to entertain an audience. Not a single moment of boring unecessary footage. It worked great from start to finish with lots of humorous scenes and very interesting people.

    Mike is also a serious UFO researcher as a long time member of MUFON. He might share with us what's happening with that organization today if we ask.

    This month's book is ROADSIDE PICNIC by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

    Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around.

    His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a "full empty," something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that he’ll keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems.

    Availability: Braille AnaPL LAPL Amazon $10.18

    224 pages
    Pub. 1972.

October 31, 2012

  • Guest/program: Alien Actor Bill Blair

    Visit Bill's web-site

    Here are two pictures of Bill at work on Babylon 5:

    On May 6, 2011, Bill Blair was recognized by the Guinness Book of world records as the actor with the record of the most special effect make-up characters portrayed in a career.with a count of 202 portrayals.

    In his bio you will find that Bill has worked on many of TV shows and movies that we have all enjoyed including Star Trek, X-Files,Sliders, Alien Nation, and Babylon 5 (which you can see from the pictures above.) Be sure to check his Filmography on his web-site for a listing of some roles you might have seen.

    Bill probably has been the actor who's played the most different roles on Star Trek. Check out the Memory Alpha Wiki page for him to see why I say that.

    After getting a degree in Telecommunications from Kent State, Bill abandoned that field of interest for a serious career in music touring with his band, The Expressions. An injury and moving to Chicago led Bill to the broader field of entertainment and his first movie role in The Killing Floor from American Playhouse in 1982. His first alien portrayal was as Mr. Spock in an industrial film for the Oracle Software Company.

    The rest, as they say, is history recorded on Bill's web-site and in the Guinness records. Considering what's happening with CGI in the industry, Bill's record will probably stand for eternity.

    Be sure to visit Bill's Fan Page on Facebook and join up so you won't miss future chances to see Bill at conventions and other personal appearances.

    This month's book is SOMETHING FROM THE NIGHTSIDE by Simon R. Green

    John Taylor, a down-on-his-luck PI, is hired by a woman to find her missing daughter. John is forced to return to the Nightside, a hidden section of London where all the monsters live and it's always three in the morning. John grew up there, but fled when everyone tried to kill him -- why, he doesn't know.

    Availability: Amazon: cheap; Libraries: ?

    240 pages
    Pub. 2003.

Swptember 26, 2012

  • Guest/program: Frank Dietz and Trish Geiger of Benevolent Monster ProductionsL

    Benevolent Monster Productions is dedicated to the creation of quality short films, documentaries and features

    Dietz and Geiger are both Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award winners. Dietz for "Artist Of The Year" in (2006 and 2007), and Geiger for "Independent Feature Of The Year - DARK AND STORMY NIGHT" (2010).

    This month's book is A Talent for War by Jack McDevitt

    A Talent for War is a science fiction and mystery novel by Jack McDevitt the story of a search by Alex Benedict to discover the nature of a mysterious project Alex's uncle had been working on at the time of his death. This investigation leads deep into the history of a war between human civilization and a neighboring alien civilization and challenges the foundation mythos of the current human government.

    Availability: Braille, Orange County Public Library, inexpensive from Amazon

    320 pages
    Pub. 2004.

August 29, 2012

  • Guest/program: Fine Artist Rachel Walker

    Visit Rachel's web-site

    Here are two examples of Rachel's art: "Alice" and "Luck"

    Rachel Walker is a very creative Fine artist, Costume/Fashion Designer and Illustrator

    She has always been fascinated with stories, history, and fashion. Her work is admired for her interesting point of view and subject matter, a strong sense of movement, color, and humor.

    She takes inspiration from everywhere,especially her passion for other worlds and different cultures often mixing very traditional elements with something unexpected.

    Her pieces expand across a large spectrum of happy monsters delighting in their carnage, cupcakes heaped with icing and treat, playful strange creatures, and elegant beauties in spectacular costumes.

    Walker graduated from California State University of Fullerton in Costume Design and has always focused on being an artist and creative force. In 1st grade she won a bookmark contest where she and her school mates we instructed to draw a book mark featuring their favorite book. Hers was "The Little Mermaid".

    Later she went on to win 1st and 3rd place in Shakespearean Costuming Design in High School and 3 Best of Shows the local Chalk Art Festivals. Most recently her work "All the World’s a Stage" was picked as the October 2011 cover of Underwired magazine

    When not painting or sewing Rachel enjoys historical recreation events, like Victorian Balls and Renaissance Faires, watching zombie and horror films, reading by her Koi pond, and playing video games.

    This month's book is The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff

    The Gale family can change the world with the charms they cast, and they like to keep this in the family. Alysha Gale is tired of having all her aunts try to run her life, both personally and magically. So when the letter from her Gran arrives willing her a "junk" shop in Calgary, Alysha jumps at the chance. It isn't until she gets there that she realizes her customers are fey. And no one told her there's trouble brewing in Calgary-trouble so big that even calling in the family may not save the day

    Availability: Amazon: low price Libraries: ?

    480 pages
    Pub. 2010.

July 25, 2012

  • Guest/program: Award winning SF author Scott Barnes

    Visit Scott's web-site

    Here is another picture of Scott receiving his Writers of the Future Award.

    Click here for interview in The OC Register

    Linda called my attention to the announcement of Scott's win in our local paper, The Saddleback Valley News". I have to say it was wonderful to find that we had a winner from Orange County. A surprise too as I always expected it would be one of our writers group.

    Be sure to visit his web-site and read his bio and about his writing.

    We congratulate Scott and thank him for coming as our guest speaker to the club.

    This month's book is Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer

    A scientific experiment provides everyone on Earth a two-minute glimpse of their lives--twenty-one years into the future. Theo Procopides, who helped design the experiment, discovers he will be murdered. To prevent this outcome, he begins to search for his unknown killer.

    This book was the basis for a short-lived TV series.

    Availability: Amazon: low price Libraries: available

    320 pages
    Pub. 1999.

June 27, 2012

  • Guest/program: Fantasy author Dr. Debra Holland

    Debra was recommended to us (and we to her) by our friend and past guest author Jackie Hyman
    (Thank you! Jackie). You might wonder about the "Dr." so you should know that her day job is as a practicing psychotherapist helping real people deal with reality. Afterhours, she turns to the writing her fans love in several genres. Debra has become a successful author of fantasy and science fiction also writing historical, contemporary, and fantasy romance novels.

    Although she started following the traditional publishing route of agent, sale, deadline, waiting, Debra began to see the possibilities of self-publishing. Now, it can be said that she is a seasoned successful convert to contemporary publishing with a number of good selling self pubished novels with many of them having Kindle editions available. A really good recounting of her experience and accounting of her success is available in a really good article on the Routines for Writers Website.

    Debra's novel "Wild Montana Sky" won the 2001 Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award for short historical romance.

    Check out Dr. Holland's website and her Facebook page.

    Come and hear her at OCSFC this month. She's excellent as a writer and a speaker.

    This month's book is Starship & Haiku by Somtow Sucharitkul

    The Millennial War left a sullen void where civilization once stood. But then the whales began their song -- a mysterious song that resounded throughout the polluted seas and told an ancient heartbreaking tale that moved the survivors to revive and honored ritual . . .

    Availability: Amazon cheap

    208 pages
    Pub. 1981.

May 30, 2012

  • Guest/program: Author David J. Williams

    David has just published his fourth novel The Pillars of Hercules (See his really neat website for this book, which he's published under his pseudonym of David Constantine.)

    When David published his first novel, The Mirrored Heavens, in 2008 we were fortunate to be one of his book tour stops. He was at our July 30th meeting.
    That book had the following review on Amazon:
    "A crackling cyberthriller. This is Tom Clancy interfacing Bruce Sterling. David Williams has hacked into the future." - Stephen Baxter,

    His new book has the following in a review from Library Journal which Barnes and Nobel have posted on their home page for the book:
    "Set in an alternate version of the ancient world, this tale of warfare waged with mechanical golems, monstrous siege engines, and magic is a period fantasy with a distinctive feel that will appeal to historical and steampunk fantasy fans looking for something different."

    David has published two other books since he was here last.
    The Burning Skies
    The Machinery of Light

    If you haven't seen them before, you might want to check them out on Amazon. Then you might have more to ask him about.

    See you at the meeting.

    This month's book is The Unincorporated Man by Dani and Eytan Kollin (2009) 490 pages.

    The Unincorporated Man is a provocative social/political/economic novel that takes place in the future, after civilization has fallen into complete economic collapse. This reborn civilization is one in which every individual is incorporated at birth, and spends many years trying to attain control over his or her own life by getting a majority of his or her own shares. Life extension has made life very long indeed.

    Now the incredible has happened: a billionaire businessman from our time, frozen in secret in the early twenty-first century, is discovered and resurrected, given health and a vigorous younger body. Justin Cord is the only unincorporated man in the world, a true stranger in this strange land. Justin survived because he is tough and smart. He cannot accept only part ownership of himself, even if that places him in conflict with a civilization that extends outside the solar system to the Oort Cloud.

    Availability: AMZ AMZ-U AnaPL LAPL OCPL-e+cd

    490 pages
    Pub. 2009.

April 25, 2012

  • Guest/program:

    Gene Turnbow

    of Krypton Radio

    Krypton Radio is your source for "all the cool stuff you could never find in one internet radio station - until now!"

    It has "movie and TV soundtracks, news and interviews, anime, original programming, great sci-fi and comics, music and things that go BOOM!"

    Gene is the proprietor, program director and managing editor as well as being a writer and on-air host/reader/actor.

    Gene will be talking about "creativity and the changing face of new media."

    This month's book is "The City & The City" by China Mieville

    "The city is Beszel, a rundown metropolis on the eastern edge of Europe. The other city is Ul Qoma, a modern Eastern European boomtown, despite being a bit of an international pariah. .. His detective is Inspector Tyador Borlu, a cop in Beszel whose investigation of the murder of a young foreign woman takes him back and forth across the highly policed border to Ul Qoma to uncover a crime that threatens the delicate balance between the cities and, perhaps more so, Borlu's own dissolving sense of identity."

    Availability: AMZ-U AnaPL LAPL OCPL-e+cd

    336 pages
    Pub. 2009.

March 28, 2012

  • Guest/program: Jim Cleaveland, author, artist, animator

    Click on his name to go to his flickr page and
    then to "Sets" to see more of Jim's artwork.

    Originally from Pennsylvania, Jim came to Los Angeles in 2002. In addition to his dayjob, he is currently working at Rick Solomon's classical animation studio, Animating For the Cel of It Productions, where he is assisting with Mr. Solomon's short film, "Stupidly Smart."

    His published works include the short story "A Matter of Identity" in Issue 19 of Nova Science Fiction Magazine, as well as multiple articles and illustrations for the magazine Mondo Cult and the fanzine Kaleidotrope.

    He was an active member of PSSFS, the Penn State Science Fiction Society, where he edited the club magazine Hostigos, as well produced the weekly newsletter's comic strip, "The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!"--about the world's most average man who one day becomes a weirdness magnet.

    In 2006, he revived Bob! as a webcomic, and it has attracted a loyal following online. Click to check out the new "The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!"

    He has completed his first novel, "Alien In a Small Town", and is submitting it to publishers. He is also hard at work on a second novel set in the same universe, titled "Alfheim's Diary".

    If you'd like to see his list of favorite science fiction novels Click here!

    If you'd like to see some of Jim's animation Click here!

    This month's book is "Never Let me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro

    The elegance of Ishiguro's prose and the pitch-perfect voice of his narrator conspire to usher readers convincingly into the remembered world of Hailsham, a British boarding school for special students. The reminiscence is told from the point of view of Kathy H., now 31, whose evocation of the sheltered estate's sunlit rolling hills, guardians, dormitories, and sports pavilions is imbued with undercurrents of muted tension and foreboding that presage a darker reality. As an adult, Kathy re-engages in lapsed friendships with classmates Ruth and Tommy, examining the details of their shared youth and revisiting with growing awareness the clues and anecdotal evidence apparent to them even as youngsters that they were different from everyone outside.

    Reaction to this novel varied from great enjoyment of its rich portrayal of the human condition to rejection of it as preposterous non-SF full of boring, passive characters.

    The story did have two facets antithetical to most SF. First it was a story on a very small canvas. The relationship of three people. In general speculative fiction draws on a wide canvas, looking at the societal effects of a what if? This story dealt only with how three people came to terms with their situation, a situation all people throughout history have had to deal with. So, maybe we are dealing with only a Science-Fictional trope here, not a work of speculative fiction.

    The second thing that put most of the readers off is that characters had a more Eastern attitude towards accepting their fate: making piece with it rather than heroically fighting it as is the case in most modern SF.

    That been said, some of us enjoyed the book's gentle, lyrical tail of three people putting meaning to their life.

    Availability: AMZ-U Braille-RC+DB AnaPL-a FulPL LAPL-cd OCPL-e+cd.

    304 pages
    Pub. 2005.

February 29, 2012

  • Guest/program: Publisher Roy Robbins

    Shown here with Stephen King (heart)

    Owner of Bad Moon Books, once a brick and morter store in Garden Grove now living as an internet enterprise.

    Roy Robbins started out collecting books in 1970.When he began selling them in 1980, he provided a simple stapled and mailed catalog and since 1994 has owned 2 brick and mortar specialty shops.

    Now he sells via his web page, Amazon, book conventions, eBay, and word of mouth! Well known and proud of maintaining lightning fast response to inquiries and fulfilling orders with ultra fast shipping. As a collector himself, Roy knows how to keep his customers satisfied by minimizing the time between their discovering a book and its delivery to their collection.

    Roy sells and publishes some of the best, and most competitively priced HORROR, SF, MYSTERY, FANTASY and MODERN FIRSTS on the Internet!!

    Having been selling thousands of books on eBay for over 13 years, and bookselling for over 30 years, Bad Moon Books takes pride in its strict grading, friendly service, and GREAT PRICES!! As an EBAY power seller, Bad Moon Books receives awesome feedback (over 14,500 positive customer comments).

    As a publisher, Roy is publishing awarding winning fiction with book design and cover art also receiving accolades. Bad Moon Books has published a number of Bram Stoker Award and Black Quill Award winners and nominees.

    Roy was a wonderful guest who shared his interesting, amusing, exciting and occasionally embarrassing experiences as book collector, seller, and publisher. He was generous with his time and candor. We learned how important it is to find a good book designer to become a successful publisher.

    Renown best selling author Clive Barker chose Roy to publish "The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus and His Travelling Circus" in April 2009.

    This month's book is "All Clear" by Connie Willis

    This report is for the January book "Black Out" along with "All Clear"

    Polly Churchill is transported to London in the midst of the Blitz. It's her task to observe the lives of shopgirls working in department stores by becoming one herself. Mike Davies intends to pass himself off as an American journalist covering the Dunkirk evacuation efforts. And Eileen O'Reilly lands a job among the servants at a wealthy estate in Warwickshire, in order to observe the hordes of evacuee children being sent from London in droves. Everything seems routine, but from the start we can sense something ominous. Schedules for time travelers are being shifted at the last minute. A young friend of Polly's with a desperate crush on her is deeply worried about something. And once the historians arrive at their various destinations, they notice an unusual degree of "slippage," missing their target dates not by hours (which is normal) but days. It isn't long before something potentially disastrous is made plain.

    Connie Willis has written numerous historical short stories and novels using this time-traveler wrapping. Some are great stories, but these two books, while being a well written, don't match them.

    Our first problem with the work came in the early scenes of Blackout where we found the future technology of our time-travelers to be Anachronistic. That is, it wasn't even up to today's iPhone standards, much less implying an extrapolation of today's technology. It would have perhaps been better if Connie Willis had dispensed with the time-travel aspects and just written a historical novel as the problems with "slippage" appear to be nothing more that a macguffin.

    What is apparent is that for whatever she's attempting to do, she is taking way too long to do it. The story is bloated, repetitious and meandering, and its thin plot is derailed by far too many diversions. It's a technique she acquired and put to good comedic use in Too Say Nothing of the Dog. Here, however, in what is supposed to be a serious story, this light, Oscar Wildean trope only serves to annoy and bring the whole 1100 page edifice perilously close to being the type of story where, if somebody had just acted intelligently, it would have been all over in 10 pages.

    All that been said, the writing is engaging, and there are some priceless moments. Connie Willis fans will enjoy it, but if you are unfamiliar with Connie Willis, this is not a work of hers I would recommend. The Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog and Firewatch are far better places to start.

    Availability: Cheaply on Amazon and should be in your local library.

    256 pages
    Pub. 1951.

January 25, 2012

  • Guest/program: Award winning writers Dani & Eytan Kollin

    The Kollin Brothers, are the 2010 winners of the Prometheus - Year's Best Novel Award for their book: "The Unincorporated Man."

    And in 2011 they published two sequels "The Unincorporated War" and "The Unincorporated Woman"

    Dani is an advertizing executive and Eytan is a teacher (history, government and economics.) Sometimes referred to as the "The Smothers Brothers of SF" Dani and Eytan are sure to offer an entertaining evening as our guests.

    The following is an example from an interview they did with each other:

    Eytan: How the hell are we going to do this?

    Dani: The same way we’ve done everything—we’ll wing it.

    Eytan: Um…shouldn’t they be asking us the questions?

    Dani: Technically they did—they asked us to interview each other.

    Eytan: You’ve got to be kidding. Isn’t that like them buying a book from us and us asking them to write it?

    Dani: Yes, that’s what’s it’s like but at this point we’re in the “thank you, sir—may I have another” phase of our career.

    Eytan: Well, since we’re in the bend over stage, let’s get this over with.

    Dani: Don’t say “over with;” it will sound like we’re ungrateful.

    Eytan: For this, I’m ungrateful.

    Dani: There are no “for this”s for us, bonehead.

    Eytan: All right. I’ll be good…Gee whillikers, Dani. This is a great opportunity.

    Dani: Don’t push it, butthead.

    Eytan: Why’d we write this book, again?

    Dani: Hair.

    Eytan: Oh yeah. Dear reader; Along with all the other reasons one writes books, and there are some really great ones—fame, accomplishment, adulation, actually being one of the guys in your social group who’s successful—I miss my hair.

    Dani: And you somehow think this book will get you your hair back?

    Eytan: Well, maybe not just this one. But c’mon, dude. I had really great hair.

    Dani: Yeah, you did.

    This month's book is "Blackout" by Connie Willis

    See February's report for combined review.

    Availability: Cheaply on Amazon and should be in your local library.

    512 pages
    Pub. 2010.

Prior Years:

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003

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