Ten Essential Science-Fiction/Fantasy Books by Colorado Authors

Categories: Books

Paolo Bacigalupi, author of the multiple-award-winning The Windup Girl.
From such veterans as Connie Willis and Ed Bryant to newcomers Molly Tanzer and Rob Ziegler to Carrie Vaughn and Warren Hammond, the focus of Westword's current cover story, Colorado's science-fiction/fantasy writers are as wide-ranging as the genres themselves. The books that this state's authors have produced over the decades encompass hard SF -- that is, spaceships, aliens and technology -- as well as Gothic fantasy, and terrifying speculations about the future alongside inventive visions of the here and now. Like all good science fiction and fantasy, though, these ten essential books by Colorado SF/F authors use big ideas to capture and examine what it means to be human -- and, in some cases, non-human.

See also:
Will Warren Hammond and Carrie Vaughn Go Where No Local Sci-Fi Authors Have Gone Before?

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Michael Charron Connects Art Lovers With Colorado's Unseen Beauty Through His Backcounty Llama Trekts

Michael Charron
You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.

"For a guy my age, I have a lot of energy," says Michael Charron. "It sounds cool, but it's sort of an affliction." The contemporary realist expels some of that energy in the summer when, funded by various collectors, he disappears into the Colorado wilderness with a pack of llamas and a few hundred pounds of gear and paints seldom-seen landscapes. Charron calls his collections "Colorado Pictorial Essays," and displays them annually at the Gilmore Art Center, a casual, dual-use gallery space adjoined to Mile High Framing that functions as the Curtis Street Church on Sundays. This year's installment, showing through December 20, features 34 plein air paintings from the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, along with several larger oils, a self-portrait, new abstract rock paintings dubbed geoabstractions and a photo slideshow from Charron's most recent journey.

See also: Ashley Joon's Nature-Inspired Acrylics Will Make You Love Orchids and Antlers

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Joel Haertling on the Myth of Stan Brakhage and the Faust Films

Categories: Film and TV

Courtesy of Joel Haertling
Joel Haertling stars in Stan Brakhage's Faust's Other: An Idyll.
Avant-garde film legend Stan Brakhage has been both mythologized and demonized. But few deny he was an unstoppable cinematic force, and his best-known works -- Window Water Baby Moving, Mothlight, The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes and Dog Star Man -- are critical parts of the avant-garde film canon.

In the 1980s, musician Joel Haertling collaborated on six films with Brakhage. The filmmaker shot them and Haertling provided the soundtrack -- a rare honor, considering that most of Brakhage's films were entirely silent. In the Faust film series, Haertling also acts -- an experience that was both rewarding and embarrassing. And tonight Haertling will show all four of the Faust films in one program, something that has only occurred a handful of times. In advance of the event, Westword spoke with Haertling about his collaboration with the late filmmaker.

See also: Suranjan Ganguly on Experimental Filmmaker Stan Brakhage

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Three Things to Do for Free in Denver, November 24-27

Categories: 3 for free

Mutiny Information Cafe Facebook
This is fall break for college kids -- and everyone who still wishes they were college. Thursday is reserved for relatives, but the rest of the week is a weeklong party. Everything from goth dancing to psych rock concerts and sexual karaoke are all free, so you can save your money to buy those pies you're supposed to bring to Thanksgiving. Don't forget that the online Westword calendar has a complete listing of events around town to entertain those houseguests, and if you know of any bargains we missed, share the info in the comments section below.

See also: Playbill: Four Offbeat Shows for the 2014 Holiday Season in Denver

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Tonight: Two Colorado Mysteries Converge at Tattered Cover

Categories: Books

Gary Reilly.
Two local authors will be celebrating their just-published novels at the LoDo Tattered Cover tonight -- one in the flesh, one in spirit. And since the authors have an intertwined history and the novels involve the latest exploits of series characters, it's important to keep things straight.

Former Denver Post reporter Mark Stevens will be on hand to introduce Trapline, the third in his series of mysteries featuring intrepid hunting guide Allison Coil. But the gathering will also certainly include some reminiscences about Stevens's buddy Gary Reilly, an incredibly prolific novelist who never made much of an effort to publish any of his work before his death from cancer in 2011, at the age of 61.

See also: Gary Reilly's Posthumous Pre-War Novel Shows Some Life

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Vail, Aspen, Eldora Open This Weekend

Jack Affleck

Colorado's two glitziest, most well-known ski resorts open for the season this weekend, along with a locals' favorite, joining a few others that have so far. Vail goes first, giving customers access out of both Vail Village and Lionshead at 9 a.m., as well as return routes to both base areas. (Skiers and snowboarders are asked to observe all posted signs and closures, especially during the early season.) Boulder County mountain, Eldora Resort, also cranks up the lifts today, while Aspen Mountain follows on Saturday by opening the Silver Queen Gondola and Ajax Express, along with the Sundeck and Ajax Tavern. The mountain is opening earlier than expected, thanks to a storm that dropped 21 inches of snow.

We profiled all of Colorado's ski-country destinations in The Edge, our insider's guide to the 2014 ski and snowboard season. We'll be rolling out those profiles as the mountains open, but here are our looks at Eldora, Vail and at the four mountains around Aspen.

See also: Winter Park Opens Saturday; Raffle Offers Winner a Lifetime Pass

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Blasting Off From Colorado, High Frontier Aims to Be the Most Realistic Space Game Ever

Categories: Games

Courtesy of Joe Strout
Building a colony in High Frontier.
When the European Space Agency's Philae lander touched down on Comet 67P on November 12, millions of people were watching. For one day, the washing-machine-sized robot was the world's biggest celebrity, spawning a Google doodle and making the home page of the New York Times.

From his house in Fort Collins, software developer Joe Strout followed the probe's journey with special interest."It's a very encouraging step, for sure," Strout says. "Someday we'll be using the resources of asteroids and comets to build our own worlds, and this will be remembered as a very important day -- the first time any artifact landed on a comet."

You could say that space colonization is Strout's hobby, but that would be selling his obsession short. A software developer by profession, Strout is a self-taught student of physics who has co-authored papers on space-colony design and construction with a member of NASA's Ames Research Center. Now he's hoping to give gamers a crash course in what it takes to settle the stars.

See also: New Colorado Video Games Got a Chance to Shine at the Denver Indie Games Expo

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Dan Stafford on Cowtown Comics Fest, Kilgore Books and His John Porcellino Movie

Noah Van Sciver
There's no shortage of fun for comics lovers in Denver, but local creators can get lost in the shuffle at some of the bigger cons. Not so at the Cowtown Comics Fest, hosted annually by Kilgore Books and happening Sunday, November 23 at Morey Middle School. Aside from John Porcellino, who no longer lives here but has deep roots in the Denver comics scene (including founding the Cowtown Comics Fest years ago), all of the talent at the fest will be people you might see scribbling away in your favorite coffee shop. That includes renowned artists such as Noah Van Sciver, Stan Yan and Karl Christian Krumpholz, as well as up-and-coming creators you haven't heard of yet. Plus, Stafford's own documentary film on Porcellino, Root Hog or Die, complete with a post-screening Q&A with Stafford and Porcellino, will close out the day's activities. Before the fest, we sat down with festival organizer Dan Stafford to find out what to expect from the fest, why it disappeared for a few years and what's so great about Denver's comics scene.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Noah Van Sciver

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Starz Denver Film Festival November 21-23 Must-Sees: Watchers of the Sky and More

An image from Watchers of the Sky.Additional photos and videos below.
Again this year, Starz Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest -- including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies.

Today, he spotlights selections for November 21 (Watchers of the Sky), November 22 (White Shadow) and November 23 (The Overnighters).

See also: The Ten Best Movie Events in Denver in November

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Getting Healthy at the Holistic Health Care Fair

Courtesy of Lee Hurter
The Holistic Health Care Fair takes place Saturday at the Mercury Cafe.
Thinking of all the aches and pains of winter ahead, a group of holistic healers have banded together to give the public a chance to sample their offerings -- everything from massage and herbs to acupuncture and psychotherapy -- at the Holistic Health Care Fair.

See also: Denver's Zen Magnets Is Fighting the Federal Government Over Its Ban of Tiny Magnet Balls

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