Over the past year Off World meetings have talked science fiction in general, the authors Off World Mystery GuestsNeal Stephenson  and Philip K. Dick (in general), and sponsored book signings and panel discussions. But on May 8 we will meet to discuss The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick. There is still plenty of time to read this 240 page novel, although if you have read it in the past or just want to absorb some good PKD weirdness, please join us at 7:00 pm at the WordSpace World Headquarters, 415 North Tyler Street, Dallas 75208.

Find out more about this and other WordSpace events at our website.

For a more on The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and a clue to why this blog post is illustrated with a picture of Barbie and Ken, read a review of the book on Potato Weather.


If you look at the picture to the right and think, “Hey, that’s Octavio Solis!” you may be

Octavio Solis, circa 1990

Octavio Solis, circa 1990

showing youour age.

I think the website I found that image on was from 1995, and even by then  Octavio had left Dallas for San Francisco several years in the past, lured there by the prospect of working with the Magic Theater.

Here in Dallas, in the late 1980’s, Octavio produced several plays in local clubs and for Teatro Dallas. A native of El Paso, he was a graduate of the theater program at Trinity University in San Antonio. His stay in Dallas was in fact fairly brief, but he had a definite impact on the local theater scene. And after his relocation to San Francisco in 1990, he continued to return for the occasional production at Undermain Theater and The Dallas Theater Center, as well as visits to theaters in San Antonio and Austin.

On May 24, Kitchen Dog Theater opens Se Llama Cristina, Solis’ newest play, previously produced only this past January at the Magic Theater in San Francisco.  WordSpace is delighted to present an evening with the playwright on April 17 at the McKinney Avenue Octavio nowContemporary.

The evening will provide old fans and a new audience with a chance to get to know one of the finest playwrights in the the country. The evening begins at 7:30, with tickets at $15 or $10 for WordSpace or MAC members. You can preorder tickets here


or take your chances at the door.



Here’s a joke that only makes sense if you read a lot of science fiction:

Cruel attempt to deprogram young SF fan

Cruel attempt to deprogram young SF fan

Q: What’s the Golden Age of Science Fiction?

A: 12

Get it? You see the Golden Age of SF is really considered the 1940’s, when the pulp magazines began their rule. But let’s face it. We all started reading it when we were around 12. (I am generalizing here.) And we were hooked, maybe for only the next few years or maybe a lifetime.

While Dallas celebrates the Big Read with a citywide reading of Ray Bradbury’s classic

A healthy and perfectly normal SF reader

A healthy and perfectly normal SF reader

Fahrenheit 451, WordSpace and Half Price Books join in the festivities with the panel discussion Growing Up With Science Fiction, April 9 at 7:00 pm in the public room of Half Price Books, 5803 E. Northwest Hwy.

We are bringing together a diverse group of area writers and readers to delve into what science fiction did, or did not, mean to them while growing up.

And our panelists are:

Ben Fountain — novelist and recent recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk. (Ben claims to have read one SF novel as a child and to have never found one he liked since.)

Ken Ruffin — Ken is the president of the National Space Society of North Texas, an organization you should all know about and support. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect he trounces all over Ben’s lifetime SF reading stats.

Jerome Weeks — book critic and KERA commentator. He’s read his fair share of SF and has definite opinions. He is, after all, a book critic.

The panel moderator is Charles Dee Mitchell — freelance writer, curator, chair

Why my parents did not encourage my SF reading

Why my parents did not encourage my SF reading

of programming for WordSpace and yes the author of this blog posting. I abandoned science fiction in high school but confess to have returned to the fold in my own golden age.

The evening will be fun, free, and with lots of time for audience participation.

There are many Big Read activities  during the month of April you will want to check out. My favorite, other than this panel, is The Science of Fire at the new Perot Museum on April 13. For more information about all the events, visit the Big Read Dallas website.

For more information on WordSpace programming visit our website.

Hope to see you on April 9. You need not speak Klingon to attend.


Of course we want everyone within the sound of this email to come hear award-winning american elsewherescience fiction writer Robert Jackson Bennett at the Barnes and Noble on Northwest Hwy in Dallas on March 13. And unless you are a scaredy cat, you will want to pick up a signed copy of his new horror/SF novel American Elsewhere. 

But the good news is that you can support WordSpace even if you do not attend the event. Our readings and signings at Barnes and Noble are also bookfairs, where by using a code I am about to give you, a portion of what you purchase between now and  March 14th, will go WordSpace. This applies to purchases in store and on line.

And that not so easy to remember code is #11056124. On the evening of the event, you will be given vouchers with those magic numbers. But feel free to visit Barnes and Noble online right now, shop like a fiend, and use that code upon checkout to direct part of your money to WordSpace.

Get more details on the event at the WordSpace website. Learn more about Mr. Bennett, 972-285-8661.

Is this the face of a man who wants to scare you? Well, actually it iswho only wants to frighten you and show you a good time, on our previous blog postings.

Is this the face of a man who want to scare you? Well, actually it is.

WordSpace Welcomes Robert Jackson Bennett to Dallas — He writes very strange books

This 27-year-old novelist from Austin has won three awards for his first two novels. Mr. RobertJacksonBennettShivers won the Shirley Jackson Award, a relatively new honor now given annually to the best work of literary horror. Bennett’s tale of a serial killer working his way through the hobo camps of Depression era America has been referred to as “John Steinbeck meets Stephen King.” That description may either intrigue or repel you, but let me assure you that Bennett’s creepy little novel delivered the horror-goods in a realistic setting of the 1930’s American Southwest.

His second novel was The Company Man, an alternate history tale where a single scientific discovery made in the early twentieth century has created a world we can partially recognize and for the course of the novel never feel safe in. The Company Man won a special citation from both The Philip K. Dick Award and the Edgar Awards.

So wait a minute. Mr. Bennett, at the age of 27, has won awards from organizations that honor horror, science fiction, and mystery. So just what does he write?

In a recent long profile in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Amy Gentry wondered that as well and had this to say, “… I have read all of his books. They are inventive, strangely passionate tales populated with loners on the wrong side of the American dream who are trying to understand their place in the universe. Also, there are monsters, aliens, detectives, and gods.”

On March 13, Bennett will be in Dallas reading from his new novel, American Elsewhere, at  american elsewhere the Barnes and Noble in Lincoln Park on Northwest Hwy. What is American Elsewhere about. Well, it’s like Amy Gentry says. Only I would add that it takes place in Wink, New Mexico, where the moon is pink, the lawns are perfect, and the smart people stay home after dark.

More information about the event is on the WordSpace website.

You can read Amy Gentry’s full profile of Andrew Jackson Bennett at the Los Angeles Review of Books.


WordSpace and their producing sponsor Half Price Books have three special events this spring at three of Dallas’s best venues for theater, music, and the arts.

Dagoberto Gilb

Dagoberto Gilb

FEBRUARY 28:  Author Dagoberto Gilb with special musical guest The Felix Flores Band. This evening of music and literature, introduced by Dallas City Councilwoman Delia Jasso and hosted by artist Celia Alvarez Munoz, starts at 8:00 at the Bishop Arts Theater, 215 South Tyler Street, Dallas 75208.


MARCH 28: Andrei Codescru at the Kessler Theater. This popular novelist, essayist, and raconteur will read, tell stories, and engage the audience in a Q & A led by Jeff Whittington, executive producer of the KERA program Think. When WordSpace was still a newacodrescu-ea65aba16ca0051097484182ccf329a91c76e4dc-s3 organization, well over ten years ago, Andrei was one of the first literary personalities we brought to Dallas. We are delighted to have him back for this event. The Kessler will open at 7:00 pm to serve drinks and food. The program begins at 8:00.



APRIL 17: Playwright Octavio Solis now lives in San Francisco, but he started his writing octaviosolis200career here in Dallas. HIs twenty plays have seen over sixty productions across the United States. His appearance for WordSpace at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary. takes place as The Kitchen Dog Theater prepares a production of his new play Se Llama Cristina to open May 24th.

Buy tickets now to support the literary arts in Dallas.

Tickets for all these events are available through links to Prekindle on the WordSpace homepage.



We aim to entertain.

For the  Dagoberto Gilb reading on February 28 at the Bishop Arts Theater, we have as an

Felix Flores

Felix Flores

opening act The Felix Flores Band.

Ticket info is on the WordSpace website

Felix has been making the rounds of local clubs and events. He and the band were a hit at the recent Latino Arts Festival, where, by the way, WordSpace was also a sponsor.

If  you haven’t heard the band before, you can listen to four of their songs here

Or check out this video from a 2011 performance




On February 28, WordSpace presents Dagoberto Gilb at the Bishop Arts Theater. And we are all excited about this. But when I mention it to friends I get a lot of —

“Who is that?” or “I’ve heard that name. Isn’t he a writer or something?”

Well, of course he’s a writer. We are WordSpace and we present writers. And Gilb is

Dagoberto Gilb

Dagoberto Gilb

a writer we are not only excited but honored to present. Name recognition is a funny thing, especially among writers who are not currently appearing on talk shows and have nothing going for them but the overall excellence of their work, the respect of the literary community, and a long list of awards. Gilb, by the way, has all those things.

He has even been in the news some recently. In Arizona he was among the authors removed from public school libraries when it was decided that “ethnic” literary studies were divisive. Here’s one of the many articles on the response that particular piece of idiocy set off. He also maintains that rarities of rarities, a Facebook page worth following.

An evening with Dagoberto Gilb will be entertaining, invigorating, and memorable. We even have an opening act: The Felix Flores Band. Celia Alvarez Munoz, a Dallas-based and internationally exhibited artist, will host the evening.

For full details and tickets, visit the WordSpace website.


After spending several sessions on the works of Neal Stephenson, Off World, the science

PKD loved cats, jazz, classical music, short brunettes with really nice breasts, and amphetmines

PKD loved cats, jazz, classical music, short brunettes with really nice breasts, and amphetmines

fiction discussion group sponsored by WordSpace, has decided to take the plunge into the paranoid and weirdly wonderful world of Philip K. Dick.

If you are not familiar with Dick beyond having seen Blade Runner or any of the other much less successful films of his work, here is a quick sampling of the predicaments PKD’s characters are likely to face.

1) The Allies lost WW II and Japan rules the western United States while Germany rules the Eastern seaboard. The Midwest remains a free zone. Make that, a relatively free zone.

2) The newest psychedelic drug on the market turns out to cause actual time travel, and you find yourself stuck in the past before the fuel that powers your flying taxi has been invented.

3) Perhaps dogs barking at garbage trucks are all that stand between earth and alien invasion.

4) As part of your undercover work for the Drug Enforcement Agency you have been asked to spy on yourself.

5) You must play a life-or-death game of bluffing with beings from Titan, all of whom can read your mind.

This list could go on and on. Dick wrote around 30 novels and 100 short stories. In a two year period in the mid 1960, he turned out 11 novels. Yes, drugs were a factor, and some of the novels were not very good.

OffWorld plans two sessions on PKD. On Wednesday, February 13, we will share what we know about Dick’s life and writings, and the high points and low points of each. We have filmed interviews with PKD — filmed rants would be more to the point. If you know a little or a lot or nothing at all about PKD, feel free to join in. Pizza will be served. Visit the WordSpace events calendars for location.

three stigmataOffWorld sessions in March and April will involve special author readings and panel discussions. More on that later. But for the May event we do have a reading assignment. (OffWorld is, after all, a kind of book club.) The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch may not be PKD’s most famous book but it has a lot to recommend it. It is supremely weird, very funny, relatively comprehensible, and short. And available free online.

To really get you in the mood for Wednesday, Feb 13, take this fun true and false test on PKD’s life, based on Divine Invasions, A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin.

Fun true and false test here.

All Hail The Emperor of Ice Cream

OK, so Critic’s Circle may not be the sexiest title WordSpace has come up with for any

Wallace Stevens -- insurance man by day, one of America's greatest poets by night

Wallace Stevens — insurance man by day, one of America’s greatest poets by night

of our events. But these discussions have been lively, entertaining, and  your learn something. At least I have.

So far we have had experts in their fields talk to us about W.B. Yeats, William Blake, and murder in the plays of William Shakespeare. Up next is Martha Heimberg and Brian Nowlin on Wallace Stevens in  a program called Tootings at the Wedding of the Soul Night. I have no idea what that means, but I look forward to finding out.

Martha Heimberg is assistant professor of English at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Texas, creative writing instructor at Richland College and arts critic for Turtle Creek News and Theater Jones. A scholar and poet, Brian Nowlin is a doctoral candidate at the University of Dallas, where he is completing a dissertation on the late poetry of Wallace Stevens.

The event is February 7 at 7:00 pm. Please go the events page at the WordSpace website for more information.