The Vermont Historical Society Gets ‘Lost in Space’

Of course it's Vermont. Just look at all that plaid! - LOSTINSPACE.WIKIA.COM

Seven Days has a really neat article about an upcoming talk by Amanda Gustin of the Vermont Historical Society: Vermont vs. Hollywood. How has the Green Mountain State been presented in film?

Attendees of the Vermont Historical Society’s Annual Meeting and Fall Conference are encouraged to watch “Return From Outer Space” (it’s streaming on Hulu), the better to appreciate public programs coordinator Amanda Gustin’s talk, “Vermont vs. Hollywood: The Green Mountain State on Film.” The talk will also feature other film and television clips that depict fictional versions of Vermont.

Though Gustin’s talk might be the funnest thing ever to be presented at an annual meeting of any organization ever, that’s not the reason for its inclusion in the event. The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Image and Identity in the Green Mountain State,” a subject that also will be taken up by the keynote speaker, historian and Vermont resident Jill Mudgett. Attendees of the meeting will consider the question of how others perceive Vermont, and how Vermont perceives itself.

You can attend the VHS’s annuam meeting on Saturday, September 27th from 8:30 am to 3 pm. It’ll take place at the Vermont History Museum, in Montpelier. Act soon: registration closes tomorrow, Friday, September 19. ($25 members / $35 nonmembers. Register here.

Watch the episode here.

Geek Things for September 18th, 2014

  • Warmachine / Hordes, 5pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff GAmes, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium Series – Life in the Plastisphere: The Ecology of Plastic Marine Debris Erik Zettler, Professor of Oceanography, Associate Dean, Sea Education Association, 12:30 – 1:20pm, Franklin Environmental Center, The Orchard-Hillcrest 103, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Talk)
  • Clifford Symposium Keynote Lecture: “Born Digital: Teaching and Learning in a Technological Age”, 4:30 – 6pm, Wilson Hall, McCullough Student Center, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Talk)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • MTG @ Rutland Collectiblesm, Rutland Collectibles, Rutland. (Gaming)
  • After School Games – Fairlee, 3:00pm – 5:00pm, Fairlee library, Fairlee. (Gaming)
  • 802MTG Randolph, 5:00pm – 8:00pm, Kimball Library, Randolph. (Gaming)
  • Boardgames are Thursday, 6:00pm – 11:00pm, Winooski. (Gaming)
  • Red Cross Blood Drive, 11 am – 5 pm, Mobile unit in front of Capital Plaza Hotel, State Street, Montpelier. (Blood)
  • Red Cross Blood Drive. 12:00pm-5:30pm, St. Leo’s Hall, Waterbury. (Blood)
  • Magic EDH Casual Play, 6:00pm, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • The Voices of Vermonters with Wind Ridge Books, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, The Karma Bird House Gallery, Burlington. (Books)
  • Magic EDH/Commander Night, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Warmachine/Hordes Night, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • ‘An Iliad’, 8 pm, Moore Theater, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover. $17-40. (Theater)
  • Spider Safari, 9-10:30 am, Green Mountain Audubon Center, Huntington. $8-10 per adult/child pair; $4 per additional child; preregister. (Outdoors)
  • Vermont Natural Resources Council Meeting, 5:30-7 pm, Old Lantern, Charlotte. $10 suggested donation; cash bar. (Environment)
  • Mount Mansfield Scale Modelers, 6:30-8:30 pm, Brownell Library, Essex Junction. (Models)
  • James B. Petersen Lecture, “Drones and Bones: Digital Approaches to Archaeology in Peru.” 7 pm, Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, Burlington. (Archaeology)
  • Fall Book Sale, 10 am-5:30 pm, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. (Books)
  • Generator Membership Orientation, 6-7 pm, Generator, Burlington. $10. (Tech)
  • St. Albans Raid 150th Anniversary Commemoration, 10 am-7 pm, Fri., Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat., Sept. 20, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun., Sept. 21, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Various St. Albans locations, St. Albans. (History)
  • Forza: The Samurai Sword Workout, 6-7 pm, North End Studio A, Burlington. $10. (Workout)

VTCC Guest: Melissa Cowan – Bicycle Girl

Vermont Comic Con announced a new guest to the upcoming convention today: Melissa Cowan – Bicycle Girl from The Walking Dead, will be joining us here in Vermont:

Vermont Comiccon is excited to announce Melissa Cowan – Bicycle Girl from AMC’s The Walking Dead will be attending our convention! We are bringing you the only comiccon in Vermont and we hope you are equally as excited about this news!

Tickets are available here.

Alison Bechdel Wins MacArthur Foundation Grant

This is very cool news: Vermont cartoonist Alison Bechel has won a MacArthur Genius Grant!

From their website:

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. In keeping with this purpose, the Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.

Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows, and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.

Her bio from the website:

Alison Bechdel is a cartoonist and graphic memoirist exploring the complexities of familial relationships in multilayered works that use the interplay of word and image to weave sophisticated narratives. Bechdel’s command of sequential narrative and her aesthetic as a visual artist was established in her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For (1983–2008), which realistically captured the lives of women in the lesbian community as they influenced and were influenced by the important cultural and political events of the day.

Garnering a devoted and diverse following, this pioneering work was a precursor to her book-length graphic memoirs. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006) is a nuanced depiction of a childhood spent in an artistic family in a small Pennsylvania town and of her relationship with her father, a high school English teacher and funeral home director. An impeccable observer and record keeper, Bechdel incorporates drawings of archival materials, such as diaries, letters, photographs, and news clippings, as well as a variety of literary references in deep reflections into her own past.

Bechdel composes an intricate, recursive narrative structure that is compelling on both the visual and verbal planes in Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama (2012), a meditation on her relationship with her emotionally distant mother seen through the lens of psychoanalytic theory. As in Fun Home, the images in Are You My Mother? do not always correspond to or illustrate the words; rather, they mutually interpret or often tug against each other, creating a space between them that invites a multiplicity of interpretations. With storytelling that is striking for its conceptual depth and complexity in structure as well as for the deft use of allusion and reference, Bechdel is changing our notions of the contemporary memoir and expanding the expressive potential of the graphic form.

This is outstanding news for a very worthy recipient.

Geek Things for September 17th, 2014

  • ‘An Iliad’, 8 pm, Moore Theater, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover. $17-40. (Theater)
  • Elizabeth Dolci – “Microbial Community Structure of the Vermont Asbestos Group Mine.” 4-5:15 pm, Room 207, Bentley Hall, Johnson State College, Johnson. (Talk)
  • St. Albans Raid 150th Anniversary Commemoration, 7 pm, Various St. Albans locations, St. Albans. (History)
  • Monarch Butterfly Tagging, 3:30-5 pm, North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier. $3-5. (Butterflies)
  • Fall Book Sale, 3-7:30 pm, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. (Books)
  • Magic: The Gathering – Draft – $12 Entry Fee, 6:30pm – 11:00pm, Quarterstaff Gaming, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Pathfinder Society, 6:30pm – 11:00pm, Game Lounge, Quarterstaff Gaming, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • D&D Encounters, Brap’s Magic, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Game Night at Local 64, 6:30pm, Local 64, Montpelier. (Gaming)
  • Saratoga: John Scalzi “Lock In”, 7:00 pm, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs NY. (Authors)
  • Game Night, 4pm – 7pm, Milne Room, Aldrich Public Library, Barre. (Gaming)
  • Board Game Day & Night, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • Young Scientist Program (Session 1 – morning program begins), 9:30 am / 1:00 pm , Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. Members $175 / Non-members $190. (KidS)
  • D&D Encounters, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Board Game Night, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Pokemon League, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)

Geek Things for September 16th, 2014

  • ‘Wounds of Waziristan’, 7 pm, The Block Gallery & Coffeehouse, Winooski. (Documentaries)
  • Story Explorers: A Good Day’s Fishing, 10:30 am, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center/Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Burlington. $10.50-13.50. (Kids)
  • Home Energy Workshop, 1-2 pm, Montpelier Senior Activity Center, Montpelier. (Energy)
  • ECHO AfterDark/Café Scientifique, 6-8 pm, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center/Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Burlington. $5; free for members. (Science)
  • Technology Forum, 6 pm, Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, Williston. (Tech)
  • Technology Help, 1-4 pm, Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury. (Tech)
  • Knights of the Mystic Movie Club, 8 pm, Main Street Museum, White River Junction. (Movies)
  • Board Game Night, 5pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Mathematics Seminar: Peter Schumer, Middlebury College – Points of Interest: An Introduction to Some Math Problems on a Square Grid, 3 – 4:15pm, Warner 202, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Maths)
  • Author Appearance: John Scalzi, 7pm – 7pm, Concord, NH. (Authors)
  • VAS Board Meeting, 7:30 PM, Brownell Library, Essex Junction. (Astronomy)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • 802MTG and 802RPG Burlington, 5:00pm – 7:45pm, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Game Night in Danby, 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Silas Griffith Inn, Danby. (Gaming)
  • MTG:Cubesday Tuesday, 6:30pm, Brap’s Magic, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Guided Nature Walk. 9:00am, Barre Town Forest, meet at Brook St. parking area, Barre Town. Info. 476-4185. (Hike)
  • East Montpelier/Calais Historical Societies Meeting/Hike. 5:30pm, Meet at the old carved historical stone on Rte 14, across from Central Vermont Humane Society, East Montpelier. Info. 454-7328.(Hike)
  • Solar Home: Heating and Cooling Info Session. 6-7pm, Hunger Mountain Coop, Montpelier. Pre-register 223-8000 x202. (Energy)
  • Green Mountain Community Solar Meeting, 6pm – 8pm, Upstairs Classroom, Fairbanks Museum of Science, St. Johnsbury. (Energy)
  • Magic the Gathering EDH/Casual play, 6:00pm, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • Teaching Life Cycles, Habitats, and Seasonal Change with Insects, 9:00 am, Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Teaching)
  • Tuesday Night Magic: Modern, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH.
  • Tuesday Night Fights! Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)

Stuck inside a nightmare – John Scalzi Interview

John Scalzi will be at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday, Sept. 17,  to read from and sign copies of the book. He answered questions recently about "Lock In." (Courtesy of the author)

Albany’s Time-Union has an interview with John Scalzi, who’ll be stopping by the Saratoga Springs branch of Northshire Books. Here’s a taste:

Q: How did the idea for the novel come about?

A: It’s an idea that’s been rolling around in my head for a while — the idea of what we would do if a disease affected a large portion of the population on a permanent basis, and how society would have to change to accommodate that. I decided on locking people into their body because the concept honestly seemed to terrify the people I told about it. That very visceral reaction was worth exploring.

Q: In addition to being science fiction, your book is also a kind of police procedural featuring a disabled detective. That seems unusual. How much fun was it writing the relationship between him and his partner?

A: It was important to me to have Chris, our protagonist, be someone who was “locked in.” The novel had Haden’s Syndrome as a focus, so not having a primary character living with it would have felt like cheating, or being cowardly. Having Chris front and center also made it easy to explore how day-to-day life works in a world where Haden’s Syndrome is just, simply, a fact of everyday existence. The back and forth between Shane and Leslie Vann reflects this — they’re FBI agents and partners, and their work and banter reflects aspects of their life, including Shane’s situation. But it’s only part of the overall equation of the chemistry between them. It was a lot of fun exploring that chemistry.

Scalzi will be in town on Wednesday, September 17th at 7:00pm in Saratoga Springs. Read the rest of the interview here.

Polly and the One and Only World: Girl treks to Vermont in post apocalyptic novel



The first review is in for Polly and the One and Only World, by Don Bredes, and it’s a good one:

In Mr. Bredes’ novel, both nuclear war and climate change have apparently afflicted the country. New York is demolished and radioactive. The coasts are ravaged and dangerous. Large-scale agriculture is a thing of the past, as are gas-fueled vehicles.

Vermont survives, as it likely would in the face of climate change, but it’s altered, and it’s not safe. No place is safe in a country so desperate that the worst of human nature goes unchecked.


Read the entire review here. Polly and the One and Only World will be out in stores October 6th.

Reminder: Fantastic Vermont Panel and Reading


September is just flying by. This coming weekend, Geek Mountain State will be holding a panel at the Burlington Book Festival called Fantastic Vermont, in which we’ll talk about Vermont and speculative fiction:

Vermont has a long history of fantastic literature, from Rudyard Kipling to H.P. Lovecraft. Under the surface, Vermont is home to a number of genre authors and has been used as a location for more than a couple of genre stories. In this panel, representatives from Geek Mountain State will examine just what makes Vermont special and how it and New England are particularly ripe with fantastic stories. Andrew Liptak will moderate.

On the panel are the following authors:

F. Brett Cox:

F. Brett Cox‘s fiction, poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications. With Andy Duncan, he co-edited the anthology Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic (Tor, 2004), and appears in War Stories: New Military Science Fiction. A native of North Carolina, he is Associate Professor of English at Norwich University.

Kristin Dearborn:

If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. She revels in comments like “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!) she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Her first novel, Trinity, was released in 2012. A novella, “Sacrifice Island” was released in October 2013.

Andrew Liptak (Moderator):

Andrew Liptak is the co-founder and editor of Geek Mountain State, a local blog about all things Geek in Vermont. He is the editor of War Stories: New Military Science Fiction and author of Fragmented, which appeared in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine in May 2014. His column on the history of Science Fiction appears twice a month at Kirkus Reviews and his forthcoming history of the genre, The Future Machine: The History of the Editors, Writers and Readers who Built Science Fiction, is due out in 2015 from Jurassic London.

Erika Nichols :

Erika Nichols is a native of Stowe. She writes poetry as well as short stories, nonfiction essays and the eternal novel-in-progress. Her work has been published in Runaway Parade, Storyteller, The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2013/2014 anthologies and elsewhere. Her short story Paper Plane will be printed in Please Do Not Remove, a collection of literature based on library card catalogs. Erika also co-authors a blog with Jess Mizzi called River Song Vagabonds.

Aimee Picchi:

Aimee Picchi is a freelance writer for CBS MoneyWatch and has been published in the Boston Globe, Bloomberg Markets, MSN Money and Seven Days among other publications. Before freelancing, she worked as a media reporter for Bloomberg News in New York. Her fiction has been published in The Colored Lens and is forthcoming in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. She also slush reads for the Hugo-award winning Clarkesworld Magazine. A classically trained violist, she is a graduate of the Juilliard pre-college program and the Eastman School of Music.

Brian Staveley:

Brian Staveley‘s first book, The Emperor’s Blades, was published by Tor in January 2014, the start of his series, Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne. His next entry in the series, Providence of Fire, is due out in January. He lives on a steep dirt road in the mountains of southern Vermont, where he divides his time between fathering, writing, husbanding, splitting wood, skiing and adventuring, not necessarily in that order.

The panel discussion will take place on Sunday, September 21st at the Fletcher Free Library’s Fletcher Room at 3:30pm. RSVP here.

Following the discussion, we’ll be holding a reading event at the Burlington Writer’s Workshop Headquarters at 266 South Champlain Street in Burlington. Each of our authors will bring a story with them that they’ll read. We’re anticipating that this will start around 5:00, depending on how long it takes for us to walk down from the Library. RSVP here.

We hope that you’ll join us!