Category Archives: Meeting re-caps

February 12, 2017 meeting

I think we would all agree yesterday’s meeting was one of our best, thanks to our guest speaker Professor Don Donderi, the author of UfOs, ETs And Alien Abductions: A Scientist Looks At The Evidence.

Prof Donderi,  PhD, associate professor (retired), McGill University Department of Psychology, teaches a ten-week course in the McGill Community for Lifelong Learning (MCLL). He was recently interviewed by the Montreal Gazette, you can read it here. 

As it turned out, one of our members, Barbara Silverman, had taken this course in the past and was able to personally pass on our invitation to speak to us. And proving that we do live “in a small world, after all”, Don and MonSFFan Joe Aspler have co-written papers, though not about UFOs.

Prof Donderi signs his book for Cathy

Don has a great sense of humour, and quite enjoyed the MonSFFilm, Encounters of the Very Close Kind. His slide presentation was very interesting, covering many documented cases of sightings and abductions. While many of us tend to be skeptics, the subject of UFOs lies close to the SF fan’s heart!  Members have expressed a wish to have him back again for a sequel, possibly to revisit a particular aspect such as the Roswell incident in more depth. Don brought only three copies of his book for sale, leaving some disappointed UFO fans, but it can be ordered from Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.  At the time of this writing, there is one copy at Indigo Place Montréal Trust.

Before the meeting, and during the break, we kicked around some

programming ideas for future meetings. It’s not too late to contribute, email <> .  Copies of WARP 97 were distributed. Coincidentally, the cover art features Martian war machines! WARP is available for download here.  If you would like a copy mailed to you, please contact Keith <>  The raffle prizes featured a lot of chocolate in honour of St. Valentine’s Day, and a few members remembered to wear red.

Keith moderated a discussion on future economics. What is technology doing to our workplace? Are robots going to make us obsolete?  Some members argued that business is already pushing human workers out of entry level jobs –even McDonald’s!– so robots are in fact just another way for business owners to enrich themselves at the expense of others.  While having machines do all the work sounds idyllic, some of us need to feel we are contributing to our society. We can’t all be great philosophers!

A snow storm was brewing, which sent some members home early, but five us trudged through blowing snow to the Irish Embassy for good food  by a warm fire.

Members will find many more photos of our Feb 2017 meeting on our website.

Recap of Oct MonSFFA Meeting

We were moved to suite 700, a real cool space with sofas,conference table,  fridge, microwave, and so on. Had we known earlier, we would have brought popcorn for the movies!

Early birds were treated to a viewing of Wayne and Shuster spoofing Star Trek. Hilarious! Due to traffic on the Victoria Bridge (On a Sunday morning?!), I missed the first bit, but it’s on Youtube, look it up!

At noon, Keith began the SFCinema  Matinee. After viewing several trailers, we voted on watching Island of Terror, starring Peter Cushing, island-of-terrorEdward Judd, and Carole Gray. Except for the deplorable female character, the film was generally well received. It interested me enough to look it up on the IMDB. We did pick up on a few plot holes, but missed seeing the wheels under the silicate creatures when villagers threw dynamite at them.  I think it speaks favourably of the movie that we did miss the obvious bloopers like disappearing walls.  Suspense was carefully built up, we did not see the creatures right away, and even then,  we saw glimpses only at first.  A bit of mystery never fails to intrigue!

I brought in Star Trek bheer. As you might expect from a group as diverse as ours, opinions ranged from too bitter to not bitter enough.  I gave it a 7/10, Mark said I was too generous and threatened me with Coors lime beer when I responded that I had never met a beer I didn’t like.

Rene Walling was up next, after a short break, with a presentation on Foreign and Exotic Science Fiction.  His research shows that every continent has at least one or two countries with strong SF communities of authors and fans.  He brought in a selection of books from his own collection, which he had to keep from members wanting to take some of them home! (I had my eye on the Scotish book) He went beyond literature to SF cinema starting with b&w films from before “talkies” . Though he could only scratch the surface in so short a time, we were treated to a culturally intriguing diversity of style and content.  He will be sending us a list of suggested titles.

Rene has also given talks in the past on graphic novels, esp from Europe, and anime from Japan. (Click HERE for his recommended anime list) Hopefully, he’ll be expanding on some of the topics raised in Sunday’s presentation.

There were several really nice raffle prizes. I won a signed Martin Springett Fionavar inspired print, Eilathen.  Many grateful thanks to all those who donated prizes. IIC, we raised a little over 60$.  Idle conversation during the break centred a lot on HBO’s Westworld.

The model builders who missed last month’s meeting to go to a competition were required to give us a review of the event. Dom Durocher showed excellent photographs of some stunning work. He has promised to send photos to our website.

Mark Burakoff then took centre stage to ask us if we were prepared for the Apocalypse.  I was expecting Zombies or asteroid strikes, but we found ourselves talking a lot about how we got through the Ice Storm of 1998.  Was it really that long ago?  Our memories of the disaster are still very fresh, it seems, as all of us had a story to tell But getting back to the original “what ifs” we generally decided that the level of preparedness required was going to depend on many factors, but ultimately, survival would depend on creative use of the resources that were available.  Yes, you can record Babylon 5 during a power outage! In the case of nuclear war or asteroid strike, when resources are not only scarce but not likely to be brought in from elsewhere, how willing are you to fight for the survival of yourself and your children?  And then there is having to rebuild after the disaster. Knowledge is also a resource, and if libraries burn and computers go off line, we may lose the most important resource of all.

We could have gone on for a while longer on the topic, but time being short, we moved on to a discussion on Why don’t we get the shows we want to see?,   AKA suits vs fans. Lead by Keith Braithwaite and François Menard, this conversation started with what we are tired of seeing–remakes, reboots, and just plain retreads.  Why does the industry continue to recycle the success stories at the cost of originality? Failure costs too damn much! Is there a solution? Crowdfunding, perhaps?  And what DO we want to see? Several book titles were tossed out–Dragon riders of Pern, for instance.  The film rights to the Dragonriders of Pern series were optioned to Warner Brothers in 2015–but don’t hold your breath.

During the first part of the meeting, François and Keith took advantage of the suite’s bedroom to continue the filming for our stop motion project.  Working in fairly well controlled lighting conditions and few distractions, they managed to crush 3 more dinosaurs! Just one more to go….

We were six at supper. It seems les 3 Brasseurs is becoming our “usual haunt”.  All our orders were excellent, though we had eaten way too much Halloween candy during the afternoon, and found we could do without dessert.




Meeting of April 17th, 2016

Our April meeting started at noon with the return of our Sunday morning SF movie matinee. Keith brought in 5 George Pal movies to choose from:

“War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, When Worlds Collide, Destination Moon, and Conquest of Space are the movies I’ll have on hand for folks to choose from. They’re all good! Classics!”

ConquestAfter watching the trailers, we voted and Conquest of Space was chosen.  It wasn’t long before some of us began to regret we hadn’t gone with War of the Worlds or Time Machine. OTOH, we did have a lot of fun poking holes in the science, (or more properly, lack of) and the religious fanaticism screwing up the mission might be a good moral lesson for the GOP candidates.

Following the movie, Renée Walling gave a talk on the BDs, with Reneemphasis on the European ones. The genre has come a long way since Asterix and TinTin, beloved graphic novels of our childhood. Renée also had quite a selection on hand for browsing.





Raffle 3Raffle 2Raffle 1After the break and the raffle (I won the chocolate Dragon, which was great, as I had huge problems with my email provider and seriously needed the chocolate to keep me from insanity) we went to work on our stop motion project. One scene is now complete, but there is much more to film. We may need to reorganize the programming for the May movie to complete the work.

Production teamFrancois




There are more pictures of our meeting available to members, just click the members’ tab in the above menu bar.

Photos on this page courtesy of Sylvain St-Pierre

Meeting recap: January 24, 2016

Nothing was scheduled before 12:15, but when I arrived much earlier than that, I found a few early birds enjoying The Tourist’s Guide to Discworld. Wonderful silliness! Part 1 can be found here:

There are seven more episodes covering such topics as cuisine, religion, flora and fauna, and so forth.  Some episodes are much funnier than others.  It’s probably a fan-made production. Apparently, this guide was recorded some time ago, before the head librarian became an orangutan, which might explain why it is in B&W.

Being still in the silly mood, we watched a couple of videos that had been shared on our fb group. The Fernster recorded us watching one of them, and uploaded it immediately, so we were watching ourselves watching ourselves watching ….oh, well, you had to be there.

The planning meeting started sometime around 12:20, and a programme for the meetings of 2016 was hammered out. The June outing has been brought forward to the March meeting so that the club can visit the Dinosaurs exhibit at the Old Port.

14 roaring full-sized and strikingly real animatronic dinosaurs. … Explore spectacular prehistoric scenes telling the story of two major excavation sites, two skeletons, and twenty fossils. …probe into the most recent and remarkable discoveries about their appearance and behaviours. Take command of an animatronic dinosaur and explore our four interactive stations. 

DannyDanny Sichel gave an interesting talk on sports and games in science fiction. After the break, we held elections and appointed the editors of Impulse and WARP and the webmaster. All positions were filled with the incumbents: Cathy as president, WARP editor, and webmaster, Keith as VP and editor of IMPULSE, Sylvain as treasurer. There is one new position: Josée will be taking on the task of recording the names of participants due special recognition at our Christmas Feast.

Gnome of ThronesThe raffle held a special surprise: The Gmome of Thrones, donated by Sylvain.

After the raffle, we discussed planning again with the whole group. I was surprised by the interest shown in our webpage. Many asked that we have little workshops at every meeting rather than an early morning workshop. I would be very happy indeed to have more contributors!

MonSFFA 20160124-04bWe worked on creating the rocks and foliage for our stop motion project. Keith and François will be working on the puppets, and with a bit of luck, we film in April.


Nov meeting recap

We were to start at 11 AM with the MonSFFA Sunday morning matinée, but had to cancel that since the DVDs arrived too late to be shown before 13:00. The time wasn’t wasted, however, since the few members who came early spent the time talking about plans for next year, how to get more use out of our website, Yahoo group, and so on.

IMGP8380Sylvain and Keith gave a wonderful presentation on spaceship design. Sylvain started with the earliest humans, and the fascination we had, and STILL have with flight. He showed many examples of designs for flying machines, some of which worked, and others that hadn’t a hope of lifting off the ground. Keith continued with the space ships of Science Fiction television and movies, again some well imagined and others highly improbably, but COOL looking. And some that were neither!

After the break, and a few announcements, we talked a bit about next year, but had to cut that short since the presentation had been longer than expected. (and was so interesting, we could even have gone on for another hour!) Then we got out the crayons, scissors, construction paper, and began work on the sets for our stop motion project. There is still a lot to do, but we might be ready to begin the actual photography work in February.


We thought we would be having our after meeting supper at La Cage au Sports, Bell Centre, but being a bunch of geeks, we had not known there was a hockey match that night until we saw the crowds outside all the restaurants. We were so disorganized about deciding where to go, and how to get there, we managed to lose poor Danny, and Keith started turning into a Popsicle.  (Some of us think it’s still summer) Eventually, we wound up at the Deli Planet, which had a good menu at reasonable prices.

We also have homework:  Get the hockey schedule &  do a recon of the restaurants in the area of the hotel, always have a back up restaurant in case we can’t get in the first choice, so members who are delayed will know where to find us.

You will find more pictures in the members’ section.  There are more to be added later, so do check back in a few days.


October 18th meeting recap

dragon in colour copyOur October meeting got off to a very strange start–the hotel moved us to room 700, the biggest, fanciest suite in the hotel.  We all took time to oggle the two bathrooms, one with a giant jacuzzi, lounged on the couches, sat around the conference table, and watched videos on the television. We even had coffee!!

Another strange thing–we had what I suspect is our lowest attendance ever. I hope it’s not because members couldn’t find us!

The Sunday morning cinema started late as we had fun trying to Creaturefigure out the tech logistics of playing DVDs on a computer hooked up to the television.  In honour of Hallow’en, Keith brought in 5 movies of terrifying horror & horrifying terror: Dracula (1931),  The Mummy (1932), The Wolf Man (1941), and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954.  The Creature won the vote. Although very dated, and “scientifically-challenged”,  it proved quite enjoyable.

Rhodan issue 2827
Newest issue, due to be released on Oct 23rd.

Sylvain had an excellent presentation prepared on Perry Rhodan.  We were astonished by the scope of this serial space-opera, the most successful science fiction series ever written. There are several story arcs, called “cycles” , and more popular characters such as Atlan have inspired spin-offs.  There are conventions, collectibles, toys, and so on. Some of us had seen it in French translations, but others wondered how we had managed not to hear of such a huge phenomena. The official website is here:  Clicking on the international tab will bring up some English pages, but I found that Google translation worked quite well.


After a short break and the raffle draw, Keith and Sylvain teamed up to show us different aspects of the the Thunderbirds, in honour of the 50th anniversary. We saw something of the history of the show, the making of the marionettes, the fantastic models, and even silly plot-holes none of us noticed way back in our childhoods, but seem glaringly obvious now.  There were wonderfully cool machines doing super-cool things, like moving the Empire State Building. Totally impractical, especially as the engineers on the job failed to take note of the underground river, but wow, it was so cooool. 😉

We were supposed to continue work on our animation project, but we were running late, some members were absent, and we decided we’d rather spend more time remembering the Thunderbirds and Gerry Anderson.

Supper was at La Cage au Sports, Bell Centre. We kicked around some ideas for next year’s programming.  The November meeting will have to be trimmed a bit to make room for discussing 2016 programming, and working on dropping big rocks on innocent dinosaurs.



September 20 Meeting Re-Cap

The theme for September 20th was Heavens Above! and telescopes took centre stage. Also all four corners of the room and the front porch of the hotel!

Guests Bill Strople and David Shuman, both members of the RASC Montreal Centre, brought in telescopes as did MonSFFA members Wayne Glover, Lindsay Brown, and Mark Burakoff.  We got to see a classic refractor from the 50s, Newtonian & SCT reflectors, and a Coronado made specifically for solar viewing. The sky being clear, members were able to view our sun in all its glory, showing prominences and filaments.  After supper, we viewed the moon through Lindsay’s telescope.

But starting from the beginning:

Logans_run_movie_posterEarly birds arriving at 11 AM watched Logan’s Run, a classic from 1976. Most members felt the movie stood up today, even though quite rooted in the style of the 70’s.  Seeing it again with new eyes and more experience of the world, some members saw a deeper, more religious feeling to the movie.

MonSFFA 20150920-23
David verifies settings on the Coronado

David Shuman then set up his Coronado on the hotel’s front porch, so members came and went back and forth as he changed filters and settings to see different aspects of our nearest star.

Meanwhile, Bill Strople set up a huge, long focal length refractor from the 50s, and a brand new, not even on the market yet, Newtonian reflector on a Dobsonian mount.

IMGP8379 refractor
Classic refractor from the 50s
Bill with new Dob
New Dob from Explore Scientific, Engineering sample.

Photos are by Cathy and Sylvain, click the thumbnails for larger photos.



PIC_0332 Mark with sct LR
Mark sets up Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. (SCT)


Wayne, Lindsay, and Mark set up their Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes as well.  How does an SCT work?

Bill then gave a presentation on all the different types on display, explaining each one’s strengths and weaknesses. Mark Mark beginner astro kitfollowed up with an introduction to observing for the beginner, recommending binoculars and finder charts.  Cathy pointed out the importance of magazines such as Astronomy and Sky & Telescope.  Many telescopes languish in closets because their owners got bored with the moon and didn’t know where else to point their scopes. Both magazines have extensive websites covering everything & everything of an astronomical nature,

Bill refractor & SCT
Bill explains why observers have a marked preference for the SCT over the classic refractor. A refractor the equivalent of the SCT on the right might require a pick up truck for transportation.

MonSFFA 20150920-02




Sylvain posted cartoons with an astronomy theme, and there were various books and planispheres on display as well. A planishere  of the southern sky proved intriguing as members realized there was no equivalent in the south to our north star.

Postcards from Pluto, a slide presentation, followed. Cathy showed the latest images from New Horizons. On display, was the poster for the discovery of Pluto, autographed by Clyde Tombaugh himself.

Title pageAfter the raffle, we discussed our Stop Motion project which we had not completed last month. (Stop-Motion Project Storyboards are here.) Plans were made, assignments handed out, members have homework!! (However, design a dinosaur sounds a lot more interesting than any homework I ever assigned. )

cage croppedSupper was at la Cage au Sports, but not the one across the street that we usually frequent as that one it turned out was closed for renovations. Fortunately, it is only a short walk to the Bell Centre.

After supper, we observed the moon over the police station with Lindsay’s telescope and Mark’s binoculars. Had we arrived 20 minutes earlier we would have seen Saturn., but it was hidden behind the bulk of the station.

MonSFFA 20150920-31moon watching cropped and brightenedThere is talk of arranging an observing session from a dark sky. Stay tuned.


More photographs and video segments are available to our members.

May 31st Meeting

The Tour de l’Île de Montréal, also known as the Detour de l’ile, was not as effective at keeping members away from our meeting as some other events have been, but it was a nuisance. The detour the organizers advised me to take didn’t work as the ramp to the Bonaventure was closed for construction. I did say a few naughty words….

And then said a few more when I got to the hotel and found the room still set up for previous meeting, complete with dirty coffee cups, and a gazillion chairs that obviously had been moved in there for storage.

IMGP7905However, a few more early birds showed up and the organization for the book sale got underway. My thanks to Matthew, Grace, Marc, Wayne, Marquise, Josée, and others who wandered in to heave chairs and boxes of books around. The sale was a success by our standards–first count seems to be about 180$ for books, and then there was more that came in for snacks. Many thanks here go to Linzy Brown who baked utterly gorgeous cupcakes with flowers.

Cupcakes, SSPThe flowery cupcakes were in keeping with our meeting theme. Last month we celebrated the April showers, so May flowers had to follow. There were flowered shirts, flowers pinned to shirts, the aforementioned cupcake flowers, and Danny pointed out that there were flowers on the money, and all of us had at least a nickle, LOL, so all of us qualified for the participation draw in December.

Sylvain St-Pierre gave an excellent presentation on how well, or not, the future predictions of the past held up.  He had a number of very interesting posters about the room, several of which will find their way to our members’ page in the near future, (insert snicker).

Conversations during the break were quite lively, as the book sale was still going on, and we all had opinions on what was a good read and what was less good. Okay, dross, but hey, the covers drew the eyes, at least those of the men. Other conversations ranged from Puppies, both sad and rabid, to Montreal’s bid for the World Con in 2017. There was a hive of activity surrounding Sean Peatman and his new bride, Melanie. A lovely lady, no wonder we have seen so little of Sean!

IMGP7913After the break, Keith Braithwaite led a discussion on the work of Glen Larson. The general feeling was that his work may have been derivative, but we enjoyed watching his productions, especially BattleStar Galactica. Keith had some clips of shows that never seemed to have made it to Montreal.

Many, many thank yous are due to the MonsFolk who packed up the left over books, and shoved nearly all of them into MY car. Good Grief, Charlie Brown. The boxes are all heaped up in my basement waiting for me to get them on shelves, which will happen one of these days, maybe before Christmas…

For supper, we journeyed up to the Belle et la boeuf, The hamburgers and poutines were devine, the decor featured a wall of books, LPs, and magazines from the past, which was rather apropos given the book sale and the two presentations which both featured a nostalgic aspect. It was fun picking out the old stuff of our memories, and some stuff even older like wooden farm implements. The menu was terribly funny with names like Capitaine Flam and Pac Mac. The drinks were hilarious, Linzi’s drink (the Miss Piggy) came with a twist of bacon! It was very noisy, however, and children are not allowed, so I don’t know if we will be able to keep going there.

A good meeting! Thanks to all who wrangled the boxes and furniture, gave presentations, donated drinks and snacks, and packed up the books again at the end.

Remember to start collecting all the gear you need for a trip to the Jurassic World, most probably on the 14th of June.

Meeting recap, some news of interest to members

April 26 Meeting

Early birds arriving around 11 O’clock were entertained by a series of clips compiled by Sylvain st-Pierre: ATTACK OF THE SPONSORS FROM MARS. These often hilarious TV adverts were mostly new to us.

Giant antThe SF Cinema Matinée, hosted by Keith Braithwaite, featured BUGS. Five movie titles were on offer, the winner was THEM!. The audience was impressed especially by the strong  dialogue and reasonably sound science. It holds up well.

Paleo Art,Archaeopteryx again presented by Keith Braithwaite, Jurassic Art–Painting the Prehistoric Past, proved very interesting especially as he showed the evolution of our interpretation of the fossils.

News: Danny Sichel gave a brief presentation on The SCP Foundation and also advised us of a sale of used library books. The sale is Saturday, second of May, to Sunday 10th of May, from 13h to 19, at  l’Aréna Etienne-Desmarteau, 3430, rue de Bellechasse. Bring lots of bags–apparently the entire floor of the arena is packed with books discarded from several Montreal libraries. almost 11 thousand books and magazines in fact, and every day books are added to replace those sold. WEBSITE with map, pictures, poster.

 computer-condomSwimming with Cyber Sharks–-Tips on Protecting Your Computer From Attack:  Steven Janssen gave an interesting presentation on protecting our computers. The main lesson learned was to create strong Pa$$Words. Common phishing tactics and frauds were also discussed.

Supper was at La Cage, where we were bombarded by noise as the restaurant was packed to the rafters with hockey fans. Ah, well, at least we got seats, and service was reasonably quick in spite of the crowd.

March 22 Meeting Recap

Loooong meeting, since we started at 11:00 AM to avoid the parade and possible manif problems. I didn’t notice when we wound up, but I think it was at least 5:00PM!!

Due to work being done in St-François, the hotel graciously offered us the use of Grand Salon, connected to Saguenay and Richelieu for our snacks displays, books, etc. The Salon is a wonderful space in which to show movies!

The meeting was well attended, with three members sporting crazy hats, and a few others wearing St Patrick’s Day Parade paraphernalia. The crazy hat winner was Marquise, who was wearing a cow!

Sylvain’s presentation “Trailer Trash”  was met with much laughter. Keith followed this up at noon with the first of the SF Cinema Matinee mornings. The members present for this event carefully read the hand outs, watched the trailers, and voted for the movie they wished to see: It Came From Outer Space.  A movie ahead of its time it turned out, as the aliens, though grotesque in appearance, harboured no ill intent toward Earth’s inhabitants.

René Walling was up next with a great presentation on anime for the SF/F Fan. He showed trailers from television series and movies for anime in various genre categories that would appeal to SF & Fantasy fans.  We were also provided with printed handouts listing his recommendations.  (This list is on line, just click this sentence.)

Raffle tickets & snacks were sold during the break, netting the club 41$.  This income is  important to us, so thank you all who contributed to the cause.

After the break, we debated the future of the printed WARP. Options from one extreme to the other:  no printed WARP to printed WARPs for all members,  Members agreed we needed printed WARPs available for those who wanted them, but cost is a major issue. For WARP 90, Cathy printed copies on her own printer, in colour, for an estimated cost of 5$ an issue.  Keith will print WARP 91 in b&w, with some colour, so we will have a chance to see how that possibility works out.   A few members suggested they would be willing to pay a little more for a colour issue. It was pointed out that since the club was founded, membership fees have been raised only once, from 20$ to 25$, yet our costs have risen a lot more, especially for the meeting space.  Another option could be offering the colour copies to platinum members.

The debate lasted much longer than expected, proof of our members’ attachment to WARP. Final decision will be taken after the WARP 91 experiment.  In the meantime, we value your input into this important discussion, so please do contact us with your thoughts and ideas:  <> 

Cathy showed a screen capture of our website, pointing out the members only page, and the subscribe button. We also saw how Terry Pratchett’s name is being shown in our website’s “clacks overhead”.

Changes in our meeting schedule for April and May, programming for next few months, and the problem of the July BBQ without a BBQ completed the roundup of club news.

Got Books?  Danny had several very interesting books, René presented a more recent unusual title, Cathy spoke about Terry Pratchett, with emphasis on her favourite Discworld novel: Going Postal, and François brought “Frankenstein” , a classic we all know about, but few of us have read. René suggested we do this more often, maybe with short readings, but fitting Got Books into a regular meeting along with the SF Cinema Matinée, may prove too much in too little time. Cathy has long wanted a reading group, but this also requires more time than we have.

Supper was at the Indian Restaurant since La Cage was stuffed full of soccer fans. The food was good, the atmosphere conducive to conversation, so our day came to a very pleasant ending with coffee and dessert.