Category Archives: MonSFFA special event


MonSFFA marked International Women’s Day with guests Jo Walton and Su Sokol at the March 10 meeting.  The following item appeared in File 770, which I thought you might want to read as it was an issue raised during the meeting. Su read Robert Silverberg’s argument that James Tiptree was obviously a man, and then his later retraction.

Su Sokol and Jo Walton, March 10, 2018

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY. Headstuff’s Aoife Martin celebrated the day by analyzing “Author Pseudonyms” used by women. A couple of instances came from sff —

Closer to modern times we have the case of Alice Bradley Sheldon who wrote science fiction under the pen name of James Tiptree Jr. In an interview she said that she chose a male name because it “seemed like good camouflage. I had the feeling that a man would slip by less observed. I’ve had too many experiences in my life of being the first woman in some damn occupation.” It’s interesting that Sheldon should have felt the need to do this but she was a successful science fiction writer – so much so that she won several awards including a Hugo for her 1974 novella, The Girl Who Was Plugged In and several Nebula awards. Her secret wasn’t discovered until 1976 when she was 61. Throughout her career she was referred to as an unusually macho male and as an unusually feminist writer (for a male). Indeed, fellow writer Robert Silverberg once argued that Tiptree could not possibly be a woman while Harlan Ellison, when introducing Tiptree’s story for his anthology Again, Dangerous Visions wrote that “[Kate] Wilhelm is the woman to beat this year, but Tiptree is the man.” Suitably, the James Tiptree Jr. Award is given annually in her honour to works of science fiction and fantasy that expand or explore one’s understanding of gender.

And even closer to modern times, the case of JK Rowling, from the same article:

In April 2013, publisher Little Brown published The Cuckoo’s Calling, the debut novel of Robert Galbraith who, according to the publisher, was “a former plainclothes Royal Military Police investigator who had left in 2003 to work in the civilian security industry.” The novel sold well and received acclaim from other crime writers and critics. It was described as “a stellar debut” by Publishers Weekly. Of course, as we all know, Robert Galbraith turned out to be a pseudonym of the slightly better known author JK Rowling. She did this, she says, in order to see how far she could get without relying on the success she already had. In an interview with CNN Rowling said “Sadly, in certain genres, it still helps to be a man – particularly in crime or science fiction. Sometimes it’s easier to be taken seriously as a man, and J.K. Rowling is in a difficult position as her reputation means that her work can’t be judged on merit alone.”

Even more interesting, or rather depressing, is the fact that Rowling’s publishers suggested she use her initials JK instead of her full name as the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman. If publishers are already pigeonholing readers at that age, is it any wonder that there are female authors out there trying to subvert gender expectations? Using your initials is one method of doing this. Authors such as CJ Cherryh, AM Barnard (Louisa May Alcott), JD Robb (Nora Roberts) and so on. The question we, as readers, need to ask ourselves is why when we see an author with initials do we automatically assume they are male and, probably, white (though that’s a different issue and outside the remit of this article).




Preparations begin for our book and crafts sale


Workshops and a chance for our artisans to sell their creations.
The annual MonSFFA book sale will begin at noon.


Donations of gently used books are gratefully accepted, as long as they arrive before noon and you help us to sort them on the tables. (If you really, really, cannot make it to the November meeting, but want to donate books, bring them to an earlier meeting.)

As usual, volunteers who help set up get first choice of the books.

Prices run from 3 for a dollar for mass market pocket books, to 3$ for hardcover. Bargain prices available for large purchases.

SF Artisans wishing to sell their craft work may either rent a table, 5$ for 4 ft table, or have wares sold by MonSFFA staff for 10% commission.

MonSFFun in the Park!

MonSFFA’s summer BBQ is on the 16th, and we have a special visitor planning to attend:  our WARP pen pal from Israel, Leybl Botwinik. Let’s hope we finally get a day without rain!

We usually meet under a grove of ash trees, which might not be there this year thanks to the ravages of the emerald ash borer. If you don’t see us, look more to the left under the maples.

Be sure to check email and our website for the go-ahead before you go ahead to the park!

Keith is bringing the BBQ, please bring your own food and drink, and if you can, something to share with the tribe. Be sure to invite your friends and family. The more the merrier!!

Details of the where and when are in Impulse. 

Down load July IMPULSE

MonSFFA Field Trip Sunday

MonSFFA Field Trip is this Sunday

Mark Sunday, May 14, on your calendars, for with the Who’s familiar guitar riff ringing in our ears, we’re headed to the Montreal Science Centre at the Old Port to take in CSI: The Experience!

Based on the popular, long-running American television franchise, this “interactive learning adventure,” so described, will allow us to play forensic detective as we investigate a “crime scene,” collecting and analyzing “blood splatter, DNA,” and other evidence in order to solve a case of criminal nefariousness!

We’ll meet no later than 12:30PM in front of the ticket booth in the Science Centre’s lobby. Our plan is to have everyone purchase tickets for a 1:00PM or 1:15PM entry, so that we may all access the exhibit area at the same time.

So don’t be late!

MonSFFen will be responsible for their own admission. Adult admittance is listed at $23, with discounts available for children and seniors. A family rate is also offered, and we are given to understand that Canadian residents will benefit from a further rebate as part of the cross-country celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday this year!

Arrive a bit early if you wish to scoff a quick bite beforehand. You may pack a lunch, or purchase food and drink at the snack bar on site; a dining area is open to all.

The Montreal Science Centre is located on the King Edward Pier, Old Port of Montreal—that’s at the intersection of St-Laurent Boulevard and de la Commune Street, an approximately 10- to 15-minute walk from either the Place d’Armes or Champs-de-Mars Metro stations.

Street parking is available in the area for those travelling by car, but we caution that it can be difficult to find a spot. Alternately, paid parking is available in a lot adjacent the Science Centre (access via King Edward Pier entrance).

This outing will take place in lieu of a club meeting this month. Note that our next MonSFFA meeting is scheduled for June 4.

Visit the Science Centre’s Web site for more information on CSI: The Experience:

The Night Sky Guy at MonSFFA Meeting

Andrew Fazekas, AKA The Night Sky Guy, will be our guest speaker at the 9th of April meeting of MonSFFA.

Andrew is the author of Star trek: The Official Guide to the Universe, a gorgeous National Geographic Publication. He has promised to bring a few copies for sale and signing at the list price of 30$.

Andrew Fazekas, aka The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who shares his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a columnist for National Geographic where he authors the popular online weekly StarStruck column, and is also a syndicated space news contributor on radio and TV networks, and is an active member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada who has over 30 years of skywatching experience .

Andrew’s Website:

Read Jeremy Berlin’s interview with Andrew here:

Guest Speaker at MonSFFA April 9th Meeting

On April 9th, MonSFFA will welcome guest speaker Andrew Fazekas, “The Night Sky Guy”.
Andrew Fazekas is the author of ‘Star Trek The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages’ which explores the real science of the popular science-fiction series’ on its 50th anniversary.
He will  bring copies of his book for sale and signing.
Biography from his website:

Andrew works fulltime as a professional science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer.

For 15 years he has been the astronomy columnist for the Montreal Gazette, and pens a national science column for Yahoo News. For 8 years he was the national astronomy correspondent for The Weather Network TV channel, reporting on stargazing news.

As an active member and past-president of the Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada he has given hundreds of public talks and educational workshops and regularly provides commentary for radio and television shows on the world of space and astronomy. Since 2007 he has been  presenting the latest headlines in science discoveries for nationally syndicated columnist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as well as the Communications Manager for Astronomers Without Borders. He has published thousands of stories, appearing in international science magazines and news outlets, and has worked as a communications consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. For nearly five years he was an editor and correspondent reporting on Canadian and American science career issues for the online division of SCIENCE magazine.

He has acted as astronomy consultant for the IMAX historical adventure movie – Journey to Mecca, and has co-authored a general science textbook. He served as a contributing editor at Popular Science is a contributing writer for National Geographic News where he authors the popular online weekly StarStruck column.

Observing the heavens for over three decades, he has never met a clear night sky he didn’t like..


Rogue One: Shall we make a date for a MonSFFA group viewing?

There are two movies showing now that are garnering excellent reviews: Dr Strange and Arrival. I’m guessing most of the members have already gone to see them, but maybe we can arrange a group viewing of Rogue One?

From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.


A petty criminal named Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star so the Rebel Alliance can destroy the spherical weapon of mass destruction. Those are the same plans referred to in the famous opening crawl of 1977’s Star Wars, and the same plans Princess Leia hid inside R2-D2.



Field Trip!

August 6th, early in the morning, MonSFFA is headed for strange new worlds! In Ottawa…

Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience

The Starfleet Academy Experience provides cadet recruits with an opportunity to experience a “career day” at the Academy. In an immersive environment, recruits try out a number of activities to test their potential to train for careers as Medical Officers, Science Officers, Communications specialists, even Commanders. The experience is enriched with the actual science behind the science fiction as the participants learn about emerging technologies such as a functional tricorder, NASA’s warp drive theory, and the latest experiments with phasers and teleporters.

Unfortunately, the transporters are not yet fully functional, so car pools are being arranged.  Cars will be leaving from Fairview Shopping Mall and the Espresso Hotel. If you need a lift, contact  or  Please be patient, neither of us will be able to check email daily.

Departure time is 8:00 sharp, the idea is to be scheduled for the same time to the exhibit.