May 28th, 2009


Martian fossils, your favorite movie, and/or a classic monster.

These were the prompts we gave the members of the Orange County Science Fiction Club last night and almost every person who attended wrote a poem!

It was a wonderful evening of speculative poetry. After the OCSFC business announcements, samhenderson and I were up!

I started off by talking about the Science Fiction Poetry Association, its history and publications. We talked about the Rhysling Awards and the Dwarf Stars Award. Then, we read selected poems from Alchemy of Stars, the showcase of Rhysling Award winning poems from 1978 through 2004. I also read two poems from the 2007 Dwarf Stars Anthology.

Among the poems we read...."January Fires" by Joe Haldeman, "Christmas (after we all get time machines)" by Geoffrey A. Landis, "Rocky Road to Hoe" by Suzette Haden Elgin, "Daedalus" by W. Gregory Stewart, "How to Make a Human" by Lawrence Schimel, "The Last Unicorn" and "Troll Under Bridge" by Jane Yolen.

Then a member requested we read "Before the Big Bang: News from the Hubble Large Space Telescope" by Jonathan Vos Post, which Samantha did a fantastic job reading. Another request was "On Science Fiction" by Thomas M. Disch, but alas, that was the one poem we couldn't get reprint permission for....and we didn't have a copy with us or I would have read it.

Then, Sam and I both read one of our own poems. She read "Sleepers" from the 2007 Rhysling Anthology and I read "Poems from the New Symbiont" from the 2008 Rhysling Anthology.

Then, it was time for some writing. We gave them the three prompts and said that they could use one or all of them, depending on their muse. I ended up writing a silly poem about how a Martian fossil turned into Rhett Butler....I'm not really sure where that one came from and if I'll ever do anything more with it!

There was a great response from the attendees and there were some interesting poems written that evening, encompassing a great variety of approaches to the prompts. We gained two more SFPA members and sold four copies of Alchemy of Stars.