By Lilian Longendorfer

Milford and Science Fiction

In the mid-1950’s, at the home of Virginia Kidd, located on the banks of the Sawkill Creek in Milford, Pennsylvania, a group of science fiction writers who developed what has become known as the *Milford Writers’ Conference.*  met to discuss and critique each other’s work.  The group included such luminaries as Damon Knight, Judith Merril and James Blish, as well as Kidd.

The *Milford Writers Conference* still goes on today, taking place yearly in the United Kingdom, and has become a model for other writers workshops around the world.  In keeping with this tradition, the Pike County Historical Society and Museum will host two special events during the upcoming Milford Readers and Writers Festival, which is being held in Milford, Pennsylvania from September 30 through October 2.

Both events are free, and are intended to provide an opportunity for readers of science fiction and fantasy to participate in an open dialogue with writers in this genre–a genre with a remarkable history in Milford.

The events will take place at the Columns Museum, 608 Broad Street, Milford, Pa. ($10 donation appreciated.)

To Serve Man

The first event will take place on Friday, September 30, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Included will be a short presentation highlighting “The Milford Method,” a method whereby an author reads his/her work and other authors provide constructive criticism.  Following the presentation, there will be a reading of an essay written by Virginia Kidd.   Additionally, there will be a commentary and discussion period led by the author John Grant, along with a sampling of foods based on recipes from a cookbook compiled by science fiction and fantasy author Anne McCaffrey, titled “Serve it Forth.”

The evening will end with a screening of the cult-classic Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man.” The episode stars Susan Cummings and Richard Kiel, and was based on a short story by Damon Knight.

There will be a cash bar.  Alien attire welcome!

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author Discussion

The second event will take place on Saturday, October 1, from noon to 2 p.m.  The afternoon will include a panel discussion with three noted science fiction and fantasy authors, followed by a question and answer period.

Panel members will include, John Grant, as moderator, Bill DeSmedt and Lillian Longendorfer.

John Grant has written over seventy books, including both novels and non-fiction.  As an encyclopedist, he has written “A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir,” three editions of the Encyclopedia of Walt Disney’s Animated Characters, and co-edited the “Encyclopedia of Fantasy.”  He has won the Hugo Award, the Fantasy Award, as well as several other international literary awards.

As a native of Milford, Bill Desmedt has drawn upon his career as a systems designer/developer and management consultant to write his techno-thrillers, including the award winning classics “Singularity,” “Dualism” and his next book “Triploidy.”

Lillian Longendorfer currently resides in Dingman Township with her husband of forty-four years.  She published her first science fiction/fantasy novel “The Quad Consortium and the Sword of Bale” in 2014, and is currently working on the sequel “Battle for the Sword of Bale.”  She credits her father for her interest in science and her husband, a fantasy artist and Chesley Award winner, for her interest in fantasy.