A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we learned about an epic struggle between a ragtag rebellion and an evil empire. We marveled at twin suns, navigable asteroid fields, and habitable moons. We were inspired by the familiar and the fantastic and celebrated the world of Star Wars and other science fiction realms by creating conventions. Do join us for an evening of stars, wars, and Star Wars. There is no try.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 13 – Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire
Doors open at 7, Presentations start at 8
Cost is one US dollar or coin. Republic Credits are no good here. COSPLAY WELCOME


Our presentations:

“Horton Hears a Heil! The Anti-Fascist Political Cartoons of Dr. Seuss,” by Michael Pope
Theodore “Doctor” Seuss Geisel is best known for his children’s tales cautioning against patricide in “Hop on Pop” and extolling the importance of a proper diet in “Green Eggs and Ham,” but few fans are aware of his brief career as a political cartoonist during World War II. From 1941-1943, Dr. Seuss published more than 400 editorial cartoons in the liberal New York magazine “PM,” covering topics like fascism, civil rights, and political corruption – issues we find quaint and anachronistic in 21st-century America. Join self-proclaimed expert Michael Pope as he unearths this hidden history and shares a sampling of his favorite cartoons – some amazingly ahead of their time, others suffering from what can charitably be described as “misguided patriotism.”

“Dwarf Planets: Small and Forgotten (Until Now),” by Lucas Hemmer
On August 24, 2006 the International Astronomical Union passed a resolution to define what is and is not a planet. Practically overnight, Pluto was demoted from its planetary status and is now officially classified as a dwarf planet to the dismay of school children and nostalgic adults everywhere. However, much of the story has been glossed over in the discovery of other “minor” planets and our never-ending argument about what defines a planet that led to Pluto’s demise. Besides Pluto, there are four official dwarf planets and six unofficial dwarf planets and all are just as weird and unique as the eight official planets in our solar system. The best part is that there could be many more out there to endlessly study and explore to better understand our celestial neighborhood.

“Revenge of the Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herders,” by Ruth Lichtwardt
Who hasn’t heard of the San Diego Comicon? Cosplay? Star Wars and Star Trek conventions? Science fiction and fantasy permeate pop culture these days, reflected in books, TV shows and movies. Conventions both huge and tiny abound, celebrating all aspects of science fiction fandom, and some draw national media attention. What were the beginnings of this phenomenon, and how did science fiction conventions change from being viewed as gatherings for nerds and dweebs, to something for the whole family to attend dressed as The Incredibles?

Our presenters:

Michael Pope is a writer, editor, sometimes-podcaster, and proud member of the Nerd Nite Twitterati. He is married to the newest and most beautiful co-boss (sorry Adrian), but it’s not a conflict of interest because apparently nepotism isn’t a big deal anymore. He used to draw political cartoons for his high school newspaper and shares a birthday with Dr. Seuss, which is all the qualification he believes is necessary to speak on this subject. Also, he apparently doesn’t know what a “slow clap” means. Please be patient with him.

Lucas Hemmer is a graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. As a kid living in the ‘90s, he first became interested in learning about space and specifically the planets after playing the Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System computer game for Microsoft Windows. Lucas grew up reading about space and planets relentlessly and thought about becoming an astronomer before realizing he would have to take physics. He settled for a career as a biologist but still get’ unreasonably excited about new NASA findings and their color-enhanced space images while waiting for the next Star Wars movie.

Ruth Lichtwardt’s gateway drugs into the world of science fiction were Ray Bradbury and Star Trek. Since attending her first Starfleet convention as a wide-eyed noob in 1992 she has volunteered at SF conventions, and was Chair of the 74th World Science Fiction Convention in 2016. She is a longtime member of the Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society, a crew member of the Starfleet ship USS Dark Phoenix, is administrator for the annual Campbell Conference at KU, and is co-chairing ConQuesT 49 in Kansas City. Her day job has nothing to do with science fiction but helps to support the habit.