By Christopher Erickson
Managing Editor

Hello again everyone. It has been a time filled with excitement and fun. As such, we have been busy and will have lots to report on. We have also been contemplating some changes that we have had to make.

One of the changes is a positive for Jean and myself. She has gotten a much deserved change in job status, but with that has come extra work. Since she has been working hard as of late, she has decided to step back from the editorial side of management. She will still be contributing ideas, photos and articles when she can, but she wants to find a good balance and will return when she is able. With that change, I will be involved in the editorial side of management.

Another change will be in how we deliver our content. We have decided to start publishing our content through wordpress, which will allow us to publish our articles in an expanded format as well as post them as soon as they are available for publishing. We will still continue to publish our quarterly PDF format for those who prefer it, collecting all of our articles and the events calendar.

Recent costuming events that I attended was the Northern California Renaissance Faire, the San Jose Renaissance Faire, the BAERS Emma Ball, the PEERS Bal de Vampire, Wizard World San Jose, the Gaskell Halloween Dance, two GBCGA events (one a Doctor Who themed murder mystery and bingo game at Hiller Aviation Museum, the other a trip to Cypress Lawn Cemetery and Memorial Park as a Victorian mourning event), Con-volution, the Dickens Fair and a NorCal Cosplay Gathering in Fremont.

I also had a few trips that I managed to take for the later part of the year. One was a day trip to Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in Carmel and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A couple of other trips were a bit closer. I took some time off of work to visit places I wanted to see and take photos of locally. One was the Shin Arboretum in Fremont. Another day I took photos of the beautiful sights around San Mateo, Foster City and Burlingame. I took another couple of days off to take advantage of the nice weather and get photos around San Francisco including the Golden Gate Bridge and History Park in San Jose.

One of our big trips was a quick weekend jaunt to New York City (which will be covered in an upcoming article) to see George Takei and Lea Salonga in “Allegiance.” We also managed to squeeze in a massive amount of sight-seeing over lower Manhattan.

Our other big trip was our annual visit to the missions over Christmas. Jean and I visited the Mission San Rafael Arcángel in San Rafael and Sonoma State Park, which includes Mission San Francisco Solono in Downtown Sonoma. Sonoma State Park also includes the Sonoma Barracks, the General Vallejo homestead, and the Bear Flag Monument.

We also visited a couple of museum exhibits. The first was a series of exhibits on the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915. Part of the exhibit was held at the Palace of Fine Arts (which is the only remaining portion of the original layout) and highlighted the creation of the event space and the exhibits of countries and manufacturers at the expo. The other gallery was featured at the California Historical Society near Moscone Center and featured artifacts from the event such as the ceremonial groundbreaking shovel used by President Howard Taft, posters promoting the exposition and passbooks for fair goers. The Port of San Francisco building was also lit up with the number “1915” to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Pan-Pacific Expo.

The other exhibit that we saw was “Thinking Big: Ada, Countess of Lovelace” at the Computer History Museum. It showcases her life, education and work as the first recognized computer programmer including her influence on the first modern computer makers.

Jean and I also attended the wedding of my best friend (who was also the best mate at my wedding) in October. She and her husband traveled down from Oregon to be with their family and friends. Their celebration was near the beach in Half Moon Bay, so there was the smell of the sea at the outdoor ceremony. The couple included some Old World traditions like hand fasting and jumping onto a mat together. Their reception featured a Russian tradition where the couple eats salt and rice offered to them to help create a loving home and bring prosperity.

We also attended a few performances. One was a reading of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens at the Belmont Public Library. The author (portrayed by the same performer at the Dickens Fair) read through the story in one night and held the crowd spellbound.

We saw the Lyric Theater productions of “The Sound of Music,” “The Pirates of Penzance,” and “Iolanthe.” The most interesting one was “Iolanthe,” which was about the son of a fairy mother and human father who rises to become the leader of both houses of Parliament. The musical satirizes Victorian government while mixing in fairies.

The most fun show was the Lamplighters annual fundraiser. Their production in 2015 was a Star Wars parody called “The Farce Awakens: Return of the Deadeye.” There were lots of Gilbert and Sullivan jokes and plenty other puns and jokes as well.

Jean and I spent the rest of the year watching “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” twice, the special movie theater screening of the “Doctor Who” Christmas episode “The Husbands of River Song,” and a streaming version of the “Sherlock” Christmas special “The Abominable Bride.”

My favorite event of the year was the PEERS The Doctor Dances: 1756 ball. There was a very good turnout of costumes and historical outfits at the dance.

I have been watching more television this year. I have enjoyed the new “Supergirl” immensely. “Once Upon A Time” has regained some of its wonderful storytelling with the focus on Camelot and Merlin. “The Flash” has delivered on its premise of introducing the Multiverse with the Jay Garrik version of the Fastest Man Alive and the Professor Zoom version of the Reverse-Flash. “IZombie” has further developed its story with Liv Moore investigating a potential zombie apocalypse while her former fiancé has been hunting down zombies.

“The Muppets” has been an interesting watch with their new reality show. The show runner has been replaced mid-season, so hopefully it will get better and improve its ratings.

“Gotham” has been the most satisfying show as they have focused more on the villains and introduced an old enemy of the Wayne family seeking Bruce’s destruction. “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” has also further developed its own place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by continuing the fight against a depleted HYDRA and trying to contain the growing danger of the Inhumans who have started developing powers.

I am looking forward to watching “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Galavant,” and “Marvel’s Agent Carter.”

I have finished several books this year. I read the zombie/Jane Austen mashup “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” I also read the Gothic horror update of “Jane Slayre” based on “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. I finished the Barsoom series with “Llana of Gathol” and “John Carter of Mars.” I also read the classic science fiction novel “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and its sequel “The Poison Belt.”

I also read several classic novels. I completed “The Three Musketeers,” “Our Mutual Friend” by Charles Dickens, “The Red Badge of Courage” and “The Age of Innocence.”

One more novel that I completed was “Wayne of Gotham” by Tracy Hickman, which followed an older Bruce Wayne trying to unravel the research his father was conducting on mental treatment of criminals using a form of gene therapy. This gave a potential origin to the class of supervillians that constituted Batman’s Rogues Gallery.

I am looking forward to the new year with all of the upcoming shows and movies, including the big screen adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” the upcoming Marvel movies (especially “Doctor Strange”), the new “Star Trek” movie, “Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice,” and the spin-off “Star Wars: Rogue One” movie.

Happy new year to everyone and enjoy yourselves!

The news zine for science fiction and fandom in the San Francisco Bay Area