Sunday, March 29, 2009

Boxcar Astronaut for 03/29/09

Boxcar Astronaut

Boxcar Astronaut - Boxcar Astronaut #107: “Dog in Cap”! Haw!
Greetings, Fellow Astronauts! The Boxcar Astronaut crew seem to have stopped posting their usual Sunday release notices, so check out this quote from the site:

"You know kids, this strip may be my new favorite Diogee appearance. Just look at him in that last panel! Absolutely priceless! I think it’s pretty safe to say that Ben’s high-tech, state of the art “communicatior” leaves a lot to be desired. It really makes me wonder in this era where children at early ages have cell phones and laptops, if anyone still did the ol’ “tin cans and a wire” or would even think of the concept? Well regardless, it still makes for a really funny and cute strip that hopefully brings a smile to your face. In fact, I think this new “space station” is going to be providing many more smiles and laughs in the coming months. Stay tuned!"

Check out the latest Boxcar Astronaut to find out what's going on with Diogee.

Friday, March 27, 2009

IMAX 3D. Monsters vs. Aliens: An IMAX 3D Experience at PSC

Check out this latest announcement from the Pacfic Science Center:

Our next special engagement IMAX film is wild! When a meteorite from outer space hits a young California girl named Susan Murphy and turns her into a giant monster, she is taken to a secret government compound where she meets a ragtag group of monsters also rounded up over the years. As a last resort, the motley crew of monsters is called into action to combat aliens and save the world from imminent destruction! Get ready for an incredible story on the biggest screen in town in stunning IMAX 3D. Monsters vs. Aliens: An IMAX 3D Experience opens this weekend.

You can get tickets here!

Local Patrol web-comic

Web-comic “Local Patrol” is on-line, on the net and out there to bring you fun tales of tomorrow. Join Captain Hell as she leads an odd ball crew of misfits including the rustic, word twisting chief mechanic Moe, the prosthetic trouble magnet Zed and the multi-personalitied alien Gra as they somewhat defend Sol System, the back water planetary system containing Earth in the boring part of the Milkyway Galaxy. A new episode is published every day at with the continuing adventures of Ship #12 the lamest named ship of the Local Patrol fleet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Documenary follows the Transcendent Man

Ok, this news would be more fun for us if it were a wee bit closer, but surely the film will make its way West and for those traveling to New York — a documentary about Ray "The Singularity is Near" Kurzweil premieres 8 p.m., Sat., April 25 at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film, Transcendent Man — One Man's Quest to Reveal Our Destiny, covers the drama-rich territory of the life and ideas of Ray Kurzweil, an award-winning scientist, engineer, and inventor.

Depending on who you talk to, people toss words like
genius, crackpot, or prophet Kurzweil's way in tones ranging from awed to anxious. You can hear it all in the trailer for the film plus clips from Stevie Wonder and William Shatner. To recap, Kurzweil's ideas include:

• Computers will gain consciousness in our lifetime, pretty soon.
• We'll get to merge with the intelligent technology we're creating — the singularity.
• Humans get to live forever (be flexible though: us + machine intelligence = human).
• After the singularity, Kurzweil plans to bring his father back from the dead.
• The future, the singularity, "...will be the universe waking up."

Whether you find these ideas freaky-good or scary-bad, fascinating or inspiring, there's no debating Kurzweil's credentials. He's been:

• the principal developer of the print-to-speech reading machine for the blind and the first text-to-speech synthesizer.
• the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest honor in technology, in 1999.
• inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame by the US Patent Office in 2002.
• the recipient of 16 honorary Doctorates.

It's no wonder director Barry Ptolemy spent two years following Kurzweil around five countries to make the Transcendent Man. It sounds like fun and plenty of dramatic footage. Find out more about the film premiere here.

If you haven't read The Singularity is Near (2005) yet, and have an interest in nanotechnology, it makes a great double-feature with Jeff Carlson's thrillers Plague Year (2007) and Plague War (2008). And Carlson will be at Norwescon April 9-12 in Seatac. That's much closer to home.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Boxcar Astronaut for 03/22/09

Boxcar Astronaut

Boxcar Astronaut - Boxcar Astronaut #106: Spacestation One is a go!
Greetings, Fellow Astronauts! Well the Boxcar Astronaut crew hasn't posted their usual Sunday release notice, so I snagged the following from the site:

"TA-DAAAA!!!! Now that’s a treehouse! Just look at it…what a thing of beauty! It has it all: Twin Ion cannons, long-range sensor dish, and check out that high-tech, state-of-the-art “Comyunicater”! Ben has hatched some crazy plans in his day, but this one looks like a complete success, one that gives the boys a whole new setting for future adventures. Kudos once again to Marc for bringing the tree house into life. That last panel is truly beautiful…”Spacestation One” is the stuff of boyhood dreams. Hope you enjoyed this storyline everyone!"

Check out the latest Boxcar Astronaut to find out what's going on at Spacestation One.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Benefit For Pamela Raven Sunshine Rapinan this Sunday March 22nd

(Click to view a larger image)

Come to the "Help Raven Fly Again Benefit For Pamela Raven Sunshine Rapinan" this Sunday March 22nd from 7:30 - 2 am at the Columbia CIty Theater in Seattle!

Pamela "Raven" Rapinan most of you know as Bert's best friend and the sunshiney gal who runs the massage booth at Summer Flowmotion Summer Jams, Seattle Peace Concerts, Rusty Con and Norwescon. She may have even been your instructor at massage school.

Pamela has been on a medical leave with an as of yet undiagnosed illness since June and in the $100,000.00 worth of medical tests so far trying to figure out a diagnosis for her symptoms it was discovered she needed a full hip replacement as well. Pamela is healing well from the surgery in January and is as usual positive and our little ray of sunshine.

For those of you who know her, you know she is a bundle of energy, and quite frustrated that she cannot "do it all" and then some and it is all we can do to keep her in bed to heal! We decided have this benefit to help Pamela with all the bills she has accrued from not working since June and now the full hip replacement surgery. There will be a phenomenal music show with 5 friends of Pamela's bands, A MC you all may know from the cons as well " DJ DOOGIE".will be hosting the event and spinning old school tunes from 11-2am.

There is a raffle for an hour and 1/2 deep tissue therapeutic treatment massage by Pamela for $1 a ticket and you get a free one with each ticket purchased as well. There is a silent auction for many awesome items including many modalities of massage, hotel tickets, a piercing, health products, workshop classes,taro card reading and holiday window painting, art and more! ( Donations for silent auction still being gladly accepted!)

You may read all the information about the event, bands , descriptions of all auction items at this MySpace profile. Come play with us and support Pamela at a night of friends, love, laughter, and loud music!

Further information, including contact information will be added throughout the week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Storytelling on the infinite canvas

Imagine reading a fully immersive and highly interactive graphic novel online. Would it be a lot like a video game? Maybe, but with story as the goal. At Potlatch 18, author Ursula K. Le Guin led a panel with Lenny Bailes, a Potlatch organizer and editor of the fanzine Whistlestar, along with artist Jenn Manley Lee, creator of the web comic, Dicebox. They talked about the future of graphic novels.

The panel took place following a discussion about how to read Le Guin's uniquely structured novel, Always Coming Home (1985). The book includes a traditional linear story in three parts, interspersed with poems, maps, and sections of fictional non-fiction revealing the invented culture of the Kesh people. Originally, it was sold packaged with cassette tapes of Kesh music and poetry
(now available on CD). The book invites the reader to jump between pages creating an experience of a world that feels wider than a traditional front to back narrative.

It's easy to imagine
Always Coming Home adapted into an immersive video game or online experience wherein the reader could roam around exploring aspects of the Kesh world.

Technology invites non-linear experience, an idea akin to what artist Scott McCloud calls the infinite canvas. He explains the art form of the graphic novel in his book, Understanding Comics (1993), and predicts its future in the follow up, Reinventing Comics (2000).

At the Potlatch panel, examples were given of Web comics using the infinite space of technology to push the boundaries of storytelling including:

• Scott McCloud's The Right Number, a projected three-part online graphic novella presented in a "zooming format".
• Patrick Farley's The Spiders and Delta Thrives, comics making use of hyperlinks and flash animation (The links are archival. Farley plans to move his site to, but it's not there yet).

Get a longer list of
Web comics and graphic novels mentioned at the panel: here.

The possibilities for the future of storytelling using electronic media are intriguing and desirable. But how would the artists get paid? The production value of works making use of the infinite canvas looks incredibly high, requiring a huge investment of time, tech and expertise. To tell one story invokes the creative talent of either one multi-talented savant or a creative team of artists, writers, and technical gurus. In a "don't quit your day job" reality, will artists be able to afford to invest the time needed to push barriers and produce infinite creations? Even artists driven to create by passion and obsession have to eat. Arts patronage helps, but does it provide enough security to encourage people to take risks? Fortunately, people continue to think and innovate along these lines (or beyond them).

Boxcar Astronaut for 03/15/09

Boxcar Astronaut

Boxcar Astronaut - Hostile Work Environment!
Greetings, Fellow Astronauts! The greatest team project the backyard gang has undertaken has begun. Everybody is pitching in to build a "space station"... well almost everybody. It seems Ben feels more at home standing around barking orders rather than doing any of the heavy lifting. How does his labor force feel about his "management style"? Check out this week's All New Boxcar Astronaut to find out!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Colbert takes on the Browncoats in space?

Vote to name Node 3 of the International State Station. So far, Serenity is in the lead in the naming poll for Node 3 (with 73 percent of the vote besting the other NASA suggestions: Earthrise, Legacy, and Venture). But watch out Browncoats, comedian Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report"), who failed in his bid to become president, has now launched a campaign to get Node 3 named after him as a write-in. The Huffington Post gave him an edge.

It seems hard to believe the name Colbert would have a chance in space against Serenity though. Not with Browncoats in the 'verse. Did Colbert know who he was messing with? NASA may not be too keen on the idea either. The name is supposed to:

...reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station, and follow in the tradition set by Node 1- Unity- and Node 2- Harmony.
The voting is open until March 20, with the name announced in April.

Space shuttle Endeavour plans to deliver the parts to build the node in December 2009. Node 3 features a cupola with seven windows to provide great views of earth and lots more pics of the home planet.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

YouTube: Neal Stephenson - "We Are All Geeks Now."

For your viewing and listening pleasure: Neal Stephenson - "We Are All Geeks Now."

The complete video can be found at :

Alien Trespass, Sci-Fi books, and Victorian Corsets!

Just a quick note to point out two new posts in the NWSFS Google Group that may be of interest to many of you.

  • Movie Screening: ALIEN TRESPASS - Monday, March 16, 7:00 PM, Science Fiction Museum
  • Notices: Sci-Fi books at the Peninsula Library in Gig Harbor, WA, and Victorian Corset Class in Ritzville, WA
Have fun! :-)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Boxcar Astronaut for 03/08/09

Boxcar Astronaut

Boxcar Astronaut - Everybody helps build a space station!
Greetings, Fellow Astronauts! Construction is about to begin for the new "space station" in the backyard. This massive project is going to require every one of the backyard gang to pitch in. Just what does everyone bring to the table? Find out in this week's All New Boxcar Astronaut!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ursula K. Le Guin at Potlatch 18

Recent books of honor at Potlatch, a non-profit literary convention for readers and writers of speculative fiction held Feb. 27-March 1, include the Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (17), followed by the Dimensions of Sheckley: the Selected Novels of Robert Sheckley (16), The Avram Davidson Treasury edited by Robert Silverberg and Grania Davis (15) and A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick (14).

So, the selection of Ursula K. Le Guin's Always Coming Home (1985), along with John M. Ford's
Growing Up Weightless, provided one of few opportunities for the author of a Book of Honor, to attend the convention. The last time one of Le Guin's works was featured at Potlatch was 1996: the video of The Lathe of Heaven (based on Le Guin's 1971 novel).

At Potlatch 18 in Sunnyvale, Calif., Ursula K. Le Guin sat quietly by while attendees discussed
Always Coming Home. Topics included whether the book, written in a non-traditional, anthropological style was, in fact, a novel and how it might be read: in a linear fashion or by skipping around through the sections of story, poem, and fictional non-fiction. Le Guin waived an opportunity to provide any of her own definitive answers.

Later, the Book of Honor author lead a panel on graphic novels and participated in one on point of view. On Saturday, after reading stories and poems from
Always Coming Home to attendees both at Potlatch and in Second Life, she took questions. She gracefully fielded inquiries about her works dating back to Tombs of Atuan (1971) (which she said felt as if it were written by a person named "Ursula K. Le Guin," rather than the author she has become).

Another discussion that ensued was whether
Always Coming Home was a true utopia. Le Guin said the short story "Old Women Hating," contained within Always Coming Home, was in part a response to the idea that the people who inhabit utopias must be perfectly behaved. She also said that "the pastoral dream," world of the Kesh people, while a fun place to visit, was not her own personal vision of utopia. She does enjoy aspects of urban living.

The most poignant moment of Le Guin's talk came, in conclusion, when Leslie Howle, executive director of
Northwest Media Arts and Clarion West Writers Workshop, asked Le Guin whether she felt optimistic about the future.

Le Guin, who said she remembers hearing the news, at age 13, of the atomic bomb drop on Hiroshima in 1945, declared that a holocaust is inevitable. We "clever monkeys" will most certainly find a way to destroy ourselves, she said. While Le Guin may not have the power of prophecy, it was still disturbing
to hear this dire prediction from such an insightful author.

She countered with a ray of hope, however. The earth may yet outlast mankind, she said. It is stronger still.
"Earth abides," she concluded. A standing ovation followed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gorgantis to stomp through Northwest

Like a gigantic, fire-breathing, proto-Godzilla (no, wait, that's the blurb from the book cover) author James Morrow (Towing Jehovah, The Last Witchfinder) tours the Northwest with his new book Shambling Towards Hiroshima (2009, Tachyon).

Set in 1945, the book features the travails of
Syms Thorley, a Hollywood horror actor based on Lon Chaney. So, in addition to the usual readings, Morrow's stomping book tour/film fest “From Hollywood to Hiroshima," will also include screenings of Chaney's Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and The Mummy’s Curse (1944). Morrow will introduce and provide commentary on the films.

Known for satire, Morrow is the author of 11 books from The Wine of Violence (1981) to The Philosopher's Apprentice (2008) and Shambling. He's also written three short story collections (the most recent of these is The Cat's Pajamas (2004)). His works have received two World Fantasy Awards, two Nebula Awards, the Prix Utopia, and the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire.
Shambling Towards Hiroshima tells the story of the U.S. Navy’s attempts to make the Japanese surrender using a Godzilla-esque biological weapon — "the merciless Gorgantis."

In Seattle: Morrow reads 2 p.m, Sun., March 16 at University Book Store and presents “From Hollywood to Hiroshima," 7 p.m., Mon., March 16, at
NW Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave. $5 donation suggested. Co-sponsored by NW Media Arts, Tachyon Publications, and the University Book Store.

In San Francisco: See “From Hollywood to Hiroshima," 6:30 p.m., Wed., March 11 at the Variety Preview Room, The Hobart Building, 582 Market St. Free. This is an SF in SF event sponsored by Tachyon Publications. Morrow reads 7 p.m., Thurs., March 12 at Clayton Books, 5433 D Clayton Road, Clayton CA.

Speaking of Tachyon, other recent releases from this San Francsico-based publisher, include short story collections: Thomas M. Disch's The Wall of America, WisCon 33 Guest of Honor Ellen Klages' Portable Childhoods,
Michael Stanwick's The Dog Said Bow-Wow, and Susan Palwick's The Fate of Mice; and anthologies: The New Weird, Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, and Steampunk. There are also novels out by Peter S. Beagle, Nancy Kress, and Carol Emshwiller and a collection of essays Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future by Cory Doctorow (whose novel, Little Brother, (Tor, 2008) is up for a Nebula).

Steamcon Meeting this Sunday - 03/08/09

The next Steamcon organizational meeting is: Sunday, March 8th, 3:00 P.M.

Capitol Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library: 425 Harvard Ave. E. Seattle WA

The parking in the library garage is free, but it does fill up.

For future reference, the next meetings will be :
April 5th (usual time and place)
May 3rd (usual time and place)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Steampunk items to donate?

There is a call for items to be auctioned off in a silent auction during Steampunk University to benefit Steamcon 2009.

If you have anything unique, interesting and wonderfully steamy that you’d like to donate to this worthy cause, please email Deadlines for submissions is March 11th.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Boxcar Astronaut - Ben's plans revealed!

Boxcar Astronaut

Greetings, Fellow Astronauts! There are big plans brewing in the imagination of our little would be astronaut, Ben. This week, his plans are finally revealed! What does a boy who already has a cardboard spaceship build next? Check out an All New Boxcar Astronaut to see Ben's concept drawing of his "low orbit" space station!