Notes from the Underground

July 2009

Table of Contents

Meeting Announcements

The July meeting will be held at Dee Beetem’s house (Map of 4737 Kingfisher St). The July Video Party will be held at at Erika Frensley’s house (Map of 4701 Kinglet).

Don’t forget the Several Unlimited Summer Party!

Editor’s Announcement

Because of postage costs, we are sending out newsletters electronically. For a hardcopy, email The PDF of each newsletter is also posted on the Several Unlimited website and on the Several Unlimited Yahoo group.

July Birthdays

Club News

Prez Mez July 2009

Hi folks!

The big upcoming Several event is the Summer Party and Book Swap on July 18. I hope you will all show up and invite your friends too! (If you live out of state or are traveling to cooler climes in July, never mind…)

Most recently, Apollocon was a lot of fun. Several members in attendance: Erika, Margaret, Dee, Ed & Karen Wilson, Steve Dial, and Tom Wells. As I wandered about the dealers’ room this year, I was interested to see how many small presses were represented. It looks like small publishers are coming on strong in SF, particularly in the subgenres. Zombies, for example, are still really hot, and I also bought two Cthulhu anthologies: Hardboiled Cthulhu “twofisted tales of tentacled terror” and High Seas Cthulhu (pirates!) It looks like we’ll still be able to get our SF ‘fix’ even if the big houses totter. The concom worked hard all year--AND at the convention itself--to make Apollocon fun. They deserve thanks from all Houston fen for putting together a hometown con that offers something of interest for almost everyone.

There’s still time to consider a pool party for the summer (if we can get access to a pool.) It’s been so hot this summer I’d hate to lure our club members out of doors until late August—or even September. And speaking of heat, don’t forget that heatstroke can be a killer. Remember to carry water with you when you’re driving around or walking, and hurry inside if you start feeling faint. We don’t want to lose a Several to the sun!

Several Unlimited Summer Party, July 18

Pappas Restaurant, 7007 Hwy 59 S. at Bellaire

12noon – 3pm

Join our second Summer Party at Pappas Barbeque! What’s planned should be easy and fun: Consuming barbecue, talking to friends, and swapping books. (Just trading, not flea market).

Please RSVP on the Several website at

Several Unlimited Fanfiction Archive

We would love to receive and post your fanfic in our web archive. We would love to receive electronic copies of them—send them to We can scan hard copy too-- email us first before you send us anything on paper.

Upcoming Events

Cinema of George Lucas at Space Center Houston

May 23, 2009- September 20, 2009

The Cinema of George Lucas, a giant visualbiography of the life and career of Star Wars mastermind George Lucas, shows nearly 50 props, costumes and awards from his blockbuster films, as well as the Live the Adventure! experience, where visitors can shoot, run and climb their way through scenes from some of the world's legendary movies including Star Wars, Indiana Jones and American Graffiti.

The Cinema of George Lucas, is an exclusive new exhibit which showcases a wide array of priceless artifacts that span Lucas' iconic movie career, some never before seen by the public! Some of the items include: Bail Organa's airspeeder and General Grievous' starfighter from Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; a draft of the original screenplay from THX 1138, Lucas' first feature-length film; Mutt's motorcycle from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; the original screenplay from American Graffiti and the original Star Wars, the full size automobile from Tucker: The Man and His Dream, plus much more! Several of Lucas' awards will be transported directly from his home to be displayed as part of the rare exhibit including his AFI Lifetime Achievement award, Cannes Film Festival award and Irving Thalberg award.

Space Center Houston and LucasFilm present Live The Adventure! a massive one-of-a kind interactive experience where fans can feel as if they have stepped into a dramatic movie scene to become one of their favorite characters such as Luke Skywalker to skillfully speed through the Death Star Laser Maze Challenge; join a team of fellow warriors in a galactic battle by shooting down villains in the Clone Wars Blaster Training; catch an adrenaline rush like Indiana Jones by running and jumping through the Temple of Doom Obstacle Course and put their physical limits to the test from 12 feet above the ground as they attempt to make it across the Indiana Jones Mayan Ropes Adventure!

Babelcon 2009, July 17-19, 2009

General science fiction, fantasy, & horror con

Cook Hotel & Alumni Center, 3838 Lakeshore Rd., (next to the lake on the LSU campus), Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Anime Track, Horror track, an Author's track, and the Scinema Film Festival (various categories). This will be in addition to the Kids track, Indoor Ren Fair track, Sci-Fi track, Fantasy track, Science track, Paranormal track, and Games track (video and tabletop).

Houston U-Con, August 1, 2009

Comic Books, Gaming, & Collectors one-day con.

Northwest Community Unitarian Universalist Church (NWCUUC), 920Hwy 6 North, Houston, TX 77084,

The convention will primarily be Comic Books and Gaming but there is sure to be some Anime, Manga, Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Goth vendors and guests.

ArmadilloCon 31, August 14-16, 2009

Literary Science Fiction Convention

Doubletree Hotel North, 6505 N. IH-35, Austin, TX 78752

Panels, Art Show, Gaming, Charity, Full Day Writer's Workshop, Dealer's Room, and more!

News and Reviews

Cinema of George Lucas at Space Center Houston

I enjoyed visiting this small exhibit. The Willow and Indiana Jones props were interesting, but being a Star Wars fan, I spent most of my time looking at the trilogy stuff.

A few things stood out from all the rest. R2-D2 and C-3PO were on display in glass cases. Visitors took advantage of this great photo-op. Bail Organa’s speeder was on display next to a Tucker automobile because the speeder model was inspired by the Tucker car design.

The other memorable thing I saw was a treatment of Star Wars hand written on notebook paper-yes, the kind you used in high school and college. It even looked like a student paper! I am comforted to think Star Wars could come from such humble origins. It gives me hope in these dark times.

Hours: Most days 10AM-7PM

Admission: adult tickets are 18.95 at the door, 16.95 online, and one year passes are available online for 22.95. The pass includes free parking and 10% off food and souvenirs.

For more information, go to:

Websites of the Month

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, 2009 Results

An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.

Some of the other entries

The grand prize winner:

"Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May," a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests."

David McKenzie, Federal Way, WA

Winner: Fantasy Fiction

A quest is not to be undertaken lightly--or at all!--pondered Hlothgar, Thrag of the Western Boglands, son of Glothar, nephew of Garthol, known far and wide as Skull Dunker, as he wielded his chesty stallion Hralgoth through the ever-darkening Thlargwood, beyond which, if he survived its horrors and if Hroglath the royal spittle reader spoke true, his destiny awaited--all this though his years numbered but fourteen.

Stuart Greenman, Seattle, WA


Towards the dragon's lair the fellowship marched -- a noble human prince, a fair elf, a surly dwarf, and a disheveled copyright attorney who was frantically trying to find a way to differentiate this story from "Lord of the Rings."

Andrew Manoske, Foster City, CA

Winner: Science Fiction

The golden, starry wonders of the dark universe unfurled before the brave interstellar vessel "Argus" like a black flag of victory with a whole bunch of holes in it as the mysterious mission buoyantly commenced that would one day resolve critical questions about space, time, and the appropriate ratio of nuts to chips in a perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Robert Friedman , Skillman, NJ


George scratched his head in abject puzzlement as he tried to figure out where he'd parked the rocket this time in the 100-acre parking lot of Nallmart 75B, but then he remembered that a ship-boy had taken his DNA key-but which one, the kelly toned humanoid or the atmosphere-of-Rylak-hued android; scanning the horizon, he at last turned to Babs and asked "how green was my valet"?

Leigh A. Smith, New Douglas, IL

NASA and Star Trek

Since Star Trek first went on the air in the 60s, it has had connections to the real life NASA space program. The latest example is a new official poster for the next expedition to the International Space Station which has the crew dressed in Star Trek uniforms:

Star Trek’s latest crew.

The next expedition for ISS (Expedition 21) is scheduled to begin in October when three new crewmembers arrive via a Soyuz launch from Russia. The new crewmembers, combined with three from the previous expedition, will form ISS Expedition 21. Mostly for internal purposes, NASA creates special posters for each mission, and for Expedition 21, they went with a Star Trek theme, with the crew in Next Generation uniforms, an Original Series typeface, and the Enterprise NX-01 in the background (which seems fitting as Enterprise featured the ISS in the opening credits).

NASA poster

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