S.C. Butler
May 10, 2008
About S.C. Butler:  born in Cambridge, MA in the middle of
the last century, which really isn't so very long ago.  He
currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with no dogs, no cats, and
certainly no shape shifting bears.  He is the author of the
Stoneways Series:

Reiffen's Choice (2006)
Queen Ferris (2007)
The Magicians' Daughter (2008)
Post Meeting Write-up

S.C. "Sam" Butler
was a great guest.  As Steve points out,
he started out reading an excerpt from
Reiffen's Choice,
the first book of the
Stoneways Series:   Reiffen's Choice
Queen Ferris (2007), and coming soon, The
Magicians' Daughter
(2008).  The reading was lively, fun
and had us engrossed and hooked.

After reading,
Mr. Butler said he preferred to let us guide
the discussion with our questions.  The question poured out
Mr. Butler was having a lot of fun answering them.  We
learned he likes to write to music - punk music being a
favorite.  He described writing a "tranquil" scene with the
Ramones blasting in the background!  We learned about his
influences - Anthony Trolloppe, Tolkien.  He discussed how
he never writes with an outline and why that can be good.  
Imagine writing an outline then never going in that direction
with the story - he does it a lot.  
Mr. Butler had a lively and
personable wit that kept things flowing.  We couldn't stop
asking questions.

Mike P found out that
Mr. Butler is a HUGE Dr. Strange fan.  
This led to a great story about a 12-year-old
Sam and some
friends realizing some of their comic book heroes worked in
New York City, not far from their Brooklyn homes.  Road trip,
elevator ride to offices, blocked by secretary, "want to buy
some back issues", the boys thinking this was surely the
greatest offer ever when out comes Stan Lee!  Autographs,
happy campers and a one-of-a-kind autograph.  You could
envision the 12-year-old and feel the excitement.  

Todd asked about world building and
Sam described the
world he had created for his series and the things he
does/doesn't make specific and why.  Remi had been to his
website and was hooked on a novella that was an earlier
work.  This novella was set in the same world in the
Stoneway Series, but came years after.  The science of his
worlds was discussed, as was the magic and research that
goes into them.  He discussed his characters, his logic for
certain choices (i.e. no religion, no description of the abyss),
his likes and dislikes in current reading material, his early
writing attempts, how he likes the world the Hobbits live in,
and how he really wants to go to Hogwarts - really!

All in all, a fantastic meeting and a wonderful guest.  A lot of
laughing, a lot of information, and
Mr. Butler happily told us
he'd love for us to do his one of his books at a meeting so
he could come back to discuss it with us.  To oblige this
request, we will see if
Sam can join us for July's Modern
Masters to discuss
Reiffen's Choice.

The diner followed the event where we continued the fun.  
At least this time Bill did not bite anyone.  Talk ranged from
anime to
Iron Man to Todd profusely apologizing - run Todd
run.  Thom was pickle eating again.  Paul described his
college photo that had him looking like the sociopath next
door.  Taras pretended to behave at the head of the table -
pretended being the operative word - lol.  Good time.

Let us not forget that it was not just Stan Lee that he got to
meet, but Wally Woods, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby!  And he
got those notables to sign a piece of Marvel Corporate

Seriously, though,
SC Butler was amazing and highly
animated.  I loved it when he was talking about the
over-abundance of Elves in fantasy, and that the Dwarves
always just seem to be there but not doing much other than
hoarding gold.  The idea of Dwarves as scientists and
inventors has been done before, but not to the depth that
Sam seems to have taken, and I was intrigued by the
concept of the upside down cities suspended over the abyss
and the dirigibles that the dwarves were using as transport.

Another nifty idea is the character of the shape-shifting bear
god (Redburr).  He is a bear based subconsciously on
Falstaff from
Henry IV.  How cool is that?

I also want to say that the reading was really great.  
has a great voice and the scene was definitely dark and
powerful.  I am looking forward to reading this one.

The guest speaker of this past Saturday's meeting of the
Science Fiction Society of Northern New Jersey
www.sfsnnj.com/index.html) was S C Butler, author of a
current fantasy series from TOR.  Besides citing authors as
diverse as Tolkien and Heinlein as early influences and/or
reading favorites,
Mr.. Butler also discussed loving reading
Edgar Rice Burroughs, especially the first three volumes of
Tarzan and Mars series. (Bill)

We started the Whispers From Beyond segment of the
show at around 7:30 when I (Steve Spinosa) read a scene
from the
Return of The Jedi novelization by James Kahn
illustrating this month's theme of Rebellions &
Revolutionaries (this is the scene where the rebel alliance
maps out its final attack plan against the Empire/Death
Star).  Chris Hasselkus read an excerpt from
Watership Down,
and Master Todd read a trial scene from the novel
Todd finished by 8:00 p.m. promptly, and then I introduced
"Sam" Butler, who started by reading an excerpt from his
Reiffen's Choice (which is the first of his series). He
talked about Reiffen's story being the overarching theme of
the book series (two are already published, with the third
coming out in the fall, if all goes well). He also discussed the
many ideas he had for stories that failed (A western with
baseball players! A science fiction/rock 'n' roll story with
accompanying music & lyrics!!!) before hitting upon this
magical fantasy trilogy idea. Remy asked about the
novella on his website which was written before the trilogy
but actually is set afterwards, and
Sam suggested that folks
not read it until after the third book comes out, but then
changed his mind. He also discussed his influences (including
classic literature, J.R.R. Tolkien, and
Dr. Strange (Steve
Ditko's classic Marvel comic's character). It was a very
entertaining meeting that wrapped up by 9:45,after which
some, but not all the folks in the group went to the diner
(Jim & I didn't due to allergies). On Friday Face The Fiction
Part II will convene at the GSP Borders with our special
guest Mystery author
E.J. Rand. See y'all then! (Steve)