Sci Fi Loves Prog at The Last Bookstore

artwalklogoScience fiction and progressive rock make delightful bedfellows at the Downtown LA Artwalk this August 14th. Sci-Fi Loves Prog, a progressive rock and science fiction extravaganza, will take place at the Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, in conjunction with the Downtown LA Artwalk and Rare Bird Publishing.

Los Angeles — Thursday 14 August 2014 –Science fiction and progressive rock are two art forms which tend toward meticulous ideation, and to the mingling of common themes, like technology, social dystopias, altered realities, and struggles with identity. In an unprecedented literary crossover, the LA based progressive rock band perfect_beings  have released an explosive album inspired by Suhail Rafidi’s science fiction novel, TJ & Tosc.

What makes sci fi and prog rock get along so well? How did it start? Where is it going? What do drugs have to do with it? Attend a discussion panel moderated by editor of Pravic magazine (and Total Dick-Head) David Gill, featuring science fiction author Suhail Rafidi, psychonaut extraordinaire Erik Davis, and cultural critic Marc Weingarten.

Followed up by a world class rock show: the explosive sci fi prog rock opus of perfect_beings. And don’t miss the unveiling of Mark Nichols’ Everexpanding Experience Machine.  All at the Last Bookstore, this August 14th, during the Downtown LA Artwalk.

The Music

Mark Nichols is a musician and animator, with a flair for building remarkable objects. He is the composer of How to Survive the Apocalypse: A Burning Man Opera. Nichols will be unveiling his Everexpanding Experience Machine at the event.

perfect_beings’ eponymous debut album, inspired by TJ & Tosc, is being hailed internationally as the prog rock album of 2014. perfect_beings will punctuate the discussion with a live performance of their opus.

The perfect_beings concert will stream live at:

The Minds

Suhail Rafidi is a science fiction author whose works explore the destiny of human values in a technological landscape. Rafidi’s debut novel TJ & Tosc: A Field Guide For Life After Western Culture, was cast into music by the progressive rock ensemble perfect_beings.

Erik Davis is a writer, scholar, journalist, and public speaker who has written cultural analysis ranging from rock criticism to creative explorations of esoteric mysticism. Davis is the author of the celebrated Techngnosis, as well as Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin IV, and Nomad Codes. He has also written for the Village Voice, Spin, Rolling Stone, Details, and Wired magazines.

Marc Weingarten is the author of The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir and contributing author of Yes Is The Answer (And Other Prog Rock Tales), from Rare Bird Books. He also produced the documentary God Bless Ozzy Osbourne.

David Gill is the scholar who founded and maintains the Total Dick Head website, an authoritative Philip K. Dick resource. Science fiction writer, metal guitarist and editor of Pravic Magazine: A New Grammar For Science Fiction, Gill also organized San Francisco’s 2012 Philip K. Dick Festival. His fiction appeared in Pravic, The Speculative Edge, Theurgy Magazine, 365 Tomorrows, and Daily Science Fiction.

NOTE: it is advised to take public transportation, or UBER, or taxi-cab to this event. The Artwalk will shut down the streets and parking will be quite difficult. There will be food trucks, lots of other artists showcasing, and lots of fun. We look forward to seeing you.

Vital info:
Thursday 14 August 2014, 7 – 10PM
The Last Bookstore
453 Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 94013

Sci Fi Loves Prog Rock Facebook event page:

Further info:
ArtWalk Downtown Los Angeles
(2nd Thursday of every month)




Pravic Magazine Hosts Authors Ben Loory and Suhail Rafidi In San Francisco

On the evening of June 15th, in San Francisco, Pravic Magazine’s Science Fiction Extravaganza will unlock a trove of hot new fiction and ideas in the field.

What's Pravic, spaceman...?June 5, 2013, San Francisco — What is the role of science fiction in the 21st century, predictor or reflector? Featured authors Ben Loory, Suhail Rafidi, David Gill and Ian Kappos will share their work and address that question.The authors will perform readings, participate in a panel discussion, and get a chance to spend some quality time with local fans. Other events include music by Wizard Master and Feral Luggage, trivia with prizes, and secret special guests. The event is all ages. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

In this day of interplanetary travel and cellular technology, what was once considered science fiction is coming to life all around us. Instead of a Golden Age of flying cars and personal jetpacks, we find ourselves amid dark times. Pollution, technologies of distraction, overconsumption, and apathy afflict our now.

See for yourself...Ben Loory’s short fiction collection Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin) has been making waves nationwide since its 2011 publication. He has appeared in The New Yorker, as well as several heavyweight literary journals, and has been praised by none other than Ray Bradbury. Loory’s latest short story, “The Astronaut,” appeared in Pravic.

David Gill is the scholar who founded and maintains the Total Dick Head website, an authoritative Philip K. Dick resource. Gill organized the 2012 Philip K. Dick Festival. His fiction appeared in Pravic, The Speculative Edge, Theurgy Magazine, and 365 Tomorrows.

Have you seen this gorilla?Suhail Rafidi’s science fiction novel, TJ & Tosc: A Field Guide For Life After Western Culture (Shelldive), explores the destiny of human values in a technological landscape. Billed as the first organic, free range novel, it encompasses themes of artificial intelligence, genetic design, and the power of mind. TJ & Tosc is also in development for musical adaptation into a prog rock opera, slated for release in 2014.

Ian Kappos is an up and coming fantasy and horror writer. He served as editor of the now retired Blue Monday Press. His short story “The Leper Colony,” was published in the Neon literary journal.

Pravic Magazine is a new grammar for science fiction, named after a fictional language in Ursula K. Leguin’s The Dispossessed. Pravic is edited by Nathanial K. Miller and David Gill. Ms. Leguin herself described the magazine as “brave, handsome, and intelligent.” Pravic will be planning a science fiction extravaganza every two months. Stay tuned for more information.

Pravic Magazine Science Fiction Extravaganza
Saturday, June 15, 2013 – 7pm
1122 Folsom Street
San Francisco CA 94103
(415) 861-3663

Facebook Event Page:

For more information, contact:
Pravic Magazine
Edited by Nathaniel K. Miller and David Gill
1551 Madison #308
Oakland, CA 94612


Perfect Beings Enter The Studio
TJ & Tosc: A Field Guide For Life After Western Culture, will soon come alive in music.

April 20, 2013, Los Angeles — Producer Johannes Luley, from his studio in Venice, has been working on an unprecedented new project with L.A.-based composer Ryan Hurtgen. The innovative project is called Perfect Beings. It is a prog rock concept album based on Suhail Rafidi’s science fiction adventure, TJ & Tosc: A Field Guide For Life After Western Culture.

The three artists put their heads together in 2012 to bring this science fiction literary art into the dynamic living world of rock music, incarnating TJ & Tosc in music as Perfect Beings. Hurtgen and Luley laid down the demos for the album in the Summer of 2012. By last winter, they had assembled a band of talented, experienced, prog rock revivalists. The group began playing together right away, driven by their own innate and exacting musical standards. Recording will commence with engineer Julian David, at My Sonic Temple studio in Venice, California, on April 26, 2013.

“April 26th is also my birthday,” says author Suhail Rafidi. “This is such an auspicious coincidence that I couldn’t resist the urge to travel to Venice to attend personally. I can’t wait to be in the presence of Perfect Beings.”

Perfect Beings is an 11 song, 53 minute prog rock opera written to be played live, as a single dramatic performance, with no song breaks. It will be recorded live in the studio with all of the band members playing together. Luley insisted upon an organic, undoctored musical experience for the studio sessions. All of the sounds come directly from the 5 live players. Perfect Beings consists of Johannes Luley on guitar, Chris Tristram on bass, Gunter Fliszar on drums, Jesse Nason on synthesizers and keyboards, and Ryan Hurtgen on piano and vocals.

Perfect Beings (From left to right, Gunter, Jesse, Chris, Ryan, Johannes.)

Perfect Beings (From left to right: Gunter, Jesse, Chris, Ryan, Johannes.)

Stay tuned for more information.

TJ & Tosc In Development For Prog Rock Opera, Perfect Beings
Science fiction author Suhail Rafidi’s organic, free range novel, TJ & Tosc, has caught the imagination of an L.A. notables, composer Ryan Hurtgen and producer Johannes Luley.

June 20, 2012, Los Angeles — In recent years, the science fiction genre has built up full steam. It is becoming typical for moving science fiction stories to be converted to film as soon as possible. This gateway was opened by Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s classic adaptation of Philip K. Dick, but continues every year with movies like Hunger Games, The Hobbit, and many others. Now, for the first time in entertainment history, a groundbreaking science fiction novel is making waves in the world of rock and roll before courting the silver screen.

Suhail Rafidi’s TJ & Tosc: A Field Guide For Life After Western Culture, is a science fiction adventure centered around the story of an artificial intelligence, Salvador, who used to be a live man. Now this fast-selling story is being converted into a prog rock opera by the powerhouse L.A. duo of composer Ryan Hurtgen and producer Johannes Luley.  Both men, veterans of the music industry, were looking for a challenge, a chance to raise the musical bar, to innovate in their field.

“I have been wanting to write a rock opera for years,” explains composer Ryan Hurtgen, “a concept album built on the skeleton of a very strong story. Rafidi’s TJ & Tosc provided that story, and the songs followed easily.”

“I instigated the idea of doing a concept album with my previous band, Moth Vellum,” notes producer Johannes Luley, “based on the big, ambitious 70s prog rock bands. The idea had been attractive to me for a long time, but I needed quality writing, like Ryan’s.”

“I’ve heard the demos and it’s still hard for me to believe it’s actually happening,” comments Suhail Rafidi. “There’s nothing like it out there. Who’s ever heard of a science fiction novel with a companion prog rock opera? It’s unprecedented.”

The project coalesced when Ryan brought four songs to Luley’s studio, and pitched the idea that these four songs were part of a larger story arc based on a layered, fast paced, science fiction adventure, TJ & Tosc. For Luley, the songs spoke for themselves. As of this writing, Hurtgen has completed writing the 11 song album and the two have also recorded a demo of the album. The project has been named Perfect Beings. Hurtgen and Luley are currently selecting musicians to fill out the rest of the band, with plans to record the prog rock opera by Spring of 2013.

Stay tuned for more information.

Suhail Rafidi At Authors’ Festival, San Francisco

Come to my book signing!

Dear Readers, Family, and Friends,

Wonderful news!

Me and my debut novel, TJ & Tosc, will be adorning a table at this year’s Noe Valley Author’s Festival! This is meaningful because it marks my first authorly public appearance. There will be a reading! There will be book signing! There will be surprises! Treats and swag and Q&A, oh my! Pick my brain! Tickle my fancy! Please give me an opportunity to thank you personally for your enthusiastic support!

My science fiction adventure, TJ & Tosc: A Field Guide for Life After Western Culture, was self-published on Halloween 2012, as a paperback and ebook, just in time for the cosmic reboot. Since then, TJ & Tosc has caught on with more traction than I predicted. In fact, the novel broke even in 4 months, but there is still a long path ahead. As I said, please give me the chance to thank you personally for this stupendous vote of confidence. Come visit me at the Noe Valley Author’s Festival, pick up a signed copy of TJ & Tosc, and see what the buzz is about!

Please spread the word! Let’s tell everybody! Turn out en masse in support of local authors! Remember, the San Francisco Bay Area has been the home of some heavyweight writers over the generations, including Mark Twain, Rudy Rucker, Michael Chabon, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Amy Tan, Dave Eggers, Rebecca Solnit, Armistead Maupin, and many more. Please help carry on our city’s literary tradition. Come out to the Noe Valley Author’s Festival in support of local artists!

Thank you again! See you there!

Noe Valley Authors’ Festival: Saturday, March 23, 2-5 PM

St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, 725 Diamond St., San Francisco, CA

For more info, visit the Word Week 2013 web page or the Author Festival Event Page.


International Philip K. Dick Festival Comes to San Francisco

San Francisco, September, 14, 2012 — The international fan festival honoring the renowned science fiction philosopher, Philip K. Dick, comes to his Bay Area home ground this year. Celebrated novelist Jonathan Lethem (Gun, with Occasional Music, Motherless Brooklyn) leads a retinue of Philip K. Dick fans and scholars at a weekend-long event in San Francisco this September 21-23. Highlights of the festival include a walking tour of Dick’s old neighborhood, a keynote address by Jonathan Lethem, and a screening of the award-winning film adaptation of Radio Free Albemuth, hosted by the film’s director, John Alan Simon.

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was the prolific author of genre-forging science fiction novels and short stories. Of his considerable lexicon, 44 of his novels and 121 of his short stories were published. Many of his works have been adapted for screen, stage, and graphic novels, including several classic and blockbuster films, such as Blade Runner, Total Recall, Screamers, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, Next, Radio Free Albemuth, and The Adjustment Bureau. Philip K. Dick’s influence on literary and science fiction storytelling is still unfolding. Arguably, without Dick’s reality-questioning brand of fiction to blaze the trail, films like The Matrix trilogy and The Truman Show would not exist.

“He [Philip K. Dick] is a discursive philosopher,” says festival organizer David Gill.

This year marks the first time that the Philip K. Dick Festival will be held in the Bay Area, Dick’s literary stomping grounds. Dick spent the bulk of his active career, from 1951-1974, living and working in Berkeley and Marin. The San Francisco Bay Area holds a rich significance for Dick and his fans alike, being the setting for some of his most significant works, like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.

The keynote address will be delivered by acclaimed author, Nebula Award winner, and Disney Professor of Creative Writing at Pomona College, Jonathan Lethem. Mr. Letham is the editor of the prestigious Library of America reissues of Dick’s most notable novels, including The Man in The High Castle, Ubik, and Vulcan’s Hammer. He is also the Editor-in-chief of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (Houghton Mifflin) Two of his essay collections, The Disappointment Artist and The Ecstasy of Influence, provide penetrating analyses of Dick’s life and works.

The decision to bring the Philip K. Dick Festival to San Francisco was the brainchild of Jonathan Lethem, David Gill (Lecturer at San Francisco State University and publisher of the long-running Total Dick-Head website), and Erik Davis (Annotations Editor for Philip K. Dick’s The Exegesis). The idea was born after Davis and Gill drove to Colorado for the 2010 Philip K. Dick Festival.

“We met in Colorado,” explains Gill, “and decided we have to do this festival big, in the Bay Area.”

From the Philip K. Dick Festival website:

“Philip K. Dick is arguably one of the most important writers of the 21st century. Dick’s uncanny prescience not only foretold of our current surveillance technology and color-coded terror, but additionally captured the narcissism and psychological withdrawal that defines the early part of this new century. Considered at the time of his death to be little more than a genre writer, Dick’s burgeoning literary reputation was kindled by a handful of fans and scholars. With his recent canonization in the prestigious Library of America and the 2011 publication of Dick’s esoteric religious notes, The Exegesis, now is the time to examine Dick’s influence and how he became such an important literary figure.”

Highly anticipated guests include Rudy Rucker (mathematician and lauded science fiction novelist), Laurence Rickels (Sigmund Freud Professor of Psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School), and John Alan Simon (Director of Radio Free Albemuth). One highlight of the Festival will be a screening of Radio Free Albemuth, followed by a Q&A with the director.

Other confirmed guests include:

  • Pam Jackson (Editor, Philip K Dick’s Exegesis)
  • Erik Davis (Annotations Editor for the recent publication of The Exegesis)
  • Suhail Rafidi (San Francisco science fiction writer, author of TJ & Tosc: A Field Guide for Life After Western Culture)
  • Douglas Mackey (author of Philip K Dick, Twayne’s United States Author Series)
  • Umberto Rossi (independent scholar and author of The Twisted Worlds of Philip K Dick)
  • Marc Haefele (an Assistant Editor at Doubleday who worked with Philip K Dick on his masterpiece novels Ubik and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
  • William Sarill (a longtime friend of Philip K Dick who helped Dick develop the religious system in his novel A Maze of Death)

The Philip K. Dick Festival will take place at San Francisco State University, Humanities Building, 1600 Hollway Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94132. Online registration is still open at the website listed below. Registration is $35 per day (including lunch), or $50 for the entire weekend.

For more information, contact:

David Gill, Philip K. Dick Festival organizer

San Francisco State University

1600 Holloway Avenue

Humanities Building, Room 229

San Francisco, CA 94132




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