2018 - 11/2018 Meeting

Page Created:  08/29/18.  Last Updated:  12/18/18.

James Campanella
Molecular Biologist / Science Podcaster / Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer


..........Molecular Genetics
..........Population Genetics
..........Molecular Evolution


..........StarshipSofa Site:  http://www.starshipsofa.com/
..........Science News Updates Archive:  http://www.uvulaaudio.com/podcasts.html


..........STANDARDS OF CREATION, audio science fiction novel:  http://www.uvulaaudio.com/standards.html
..........Ex Sanctorum:  The Full Armor of God, ebook science fiction novella:  https://www.amazon.fr/Ex-Sanctorum-Full-Armor-English-ebook/dp/B077RY7FHN
..........Hamlet and Eggs, audio fantasy short story:  http://www.uvulaaudio.com/hamlet.html
..........Mu-to, audio science fiction / horror short story:  http://www.uvulaaudio.com/muto.html

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Meeting Date:  November 10, 2018.
Meeting Site:  Bergen Highlands United Methodist Church.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Attendance:  22
Meeting Program:   Talk / Q & A with Molecular Biologist / Podcast Science Director

Newsletter Account

The following account is reprinted from  THE STARSHIP EXPRESS  Copyright 2018  Philip J De Parto:

The monthly General Meeting of the Science Fiction Association of Bergen County was held at the Bergen Highlands United Methodist Church in Upper Saddle River on Saturday, November 11, 2018.  Professor James Campanella was our speaker.

A J Bartholomew led the Writers' Space Salon discussion of World Building with Domesticated Animals.  While the primary focus dealt with constructing a science fiction world, there were fantasy and horror applications as well.

Pamela Webber led the wide-ranging Ice Nine discussion of new and interesting works and developments in genre movies, television, books and other media.

The evening's guest was James Campanella.  Our speaker has three areas of expertise of interest to our members:  science, podcasting and writing.

Professor Campanella is a Molecular Biologist who teaches at Montclair State University. His areas of specialization are Molecular Genetics, Population Genetics, PhyloGenetics and Molecular Evolution.  He has had a science news segment on the award-winning science fiction podcast, Starship Sofa for ten years.

The Starship Sofa science column is only half of our speaker's podcast output.  The other half consists of audio book works which are in public domain or without a clear owner.

James Campanella is also a writer who sells his fiction exclusively as audio books.

Our speaker opened his talk with a trivia question about Star Trek.  Kathy Holusha correctly answered the question and received a miniature Doctor Who Tardis he had fabricated on his 3D printer as a prize.

The first part of his talk dealt primarily with science and his academic and research career, which included three years of fungus research.  A good deal of this dealt with his work on the lack of biodiversity of the undersea grass along the East Coast of America.  This led to a great number of related subjects:  how scientists measure biodiversity, how the East Coast ecology compares with that of England and Europe, the evolving banana harvest collapse, jellyfish populations and other matters.

Another lengthy digression strand dealt with the evolution of plants, plant hormones, horizontal gene transference, and liverwarts, the oldest lineage of the plant kingdom.

Our guest got his start doing a serial podcast reading of I, LIBERTINE by Gene Shepard.  This is a long out-of-print awful novel which went to Number One on Te New York Times Best Seller List before it was written through a since-eliminated loophole on how books sales were calculated.  It was a wonderfully entertaining story.  The short version:  unfilled book requests were once counted as sales.  Radio personality Gene Shepard asked his listeners to go to book stores to request the non-existent scandalous title, I, LIBERTINE.  There were enough requests to rocket it to the top of the chart.  The problem was that publishers wanted to actually issue the work.  So Shepard got together for drinks with a friend who happened to be a science fiction writer and plotted the book.  And truly, it was awful.

LIBERTINE was only the first of a number of audio books he narrated on his podcast site, https://www.uvulaaudio.com/.  Some, like LIBERTINE and Doc Savage novels, were later taken down upon receipt of cease-and-desist letters.  Others are in public domain or orphaned, with no one clearly having the rights.

Our speaker was having a blast with his audio books and soon decided to created some works of his own.  His science fiction novella, Ex-Sanctorum:  The Full Armor of God, is available through amazon.com.

The other works of Mr Campanella are are sold exclusively through the uvalaaudio website.  They are Mu-to, a science fiction / horror short story, Hamlet and Eggs, another short work, this one a contemporary fantasy mystery set down south, and the science fiction novel, STANDARDS OF CREATION.

James Campanella is best known in the science fiction field for his work on the award-winning StarShip Sofa podcast,  http://www.starshipsofa.com/.  Genre podcasting is a small field where everyone knows each other.  The podcast contacted Mr Campanella and offered him a science news segment within Sofa.  The slot was originally for 15 minutes, but as the Sofa podcasts grew in popularity and length, so did the science news, which is now at 30 minutes.

This was a very lively and informative meeting.  Time constraints prevented Professor Campanella from talking about many of the recent science stories he had planned to bring to our attention.  The good news is that we will soon have another session with him.  We are in the process of finalizing a library appearance in January as that month's Special Activity.

Our thanks to everyone who helped make this meeting a success.