LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON: Ransom Stephens, Author of The God Patent Monday, July 5, 2010 || 7pm Book Passage || Corte Madera 51 Tamal Vista Drive, Corte Madera || www.bookpassage.com Ransom Stephens, Ph.D., is a professor of particle physics turned writer and speaker. He has worked on experiments at SLAC, Fermilab, CERN, and Cornell; discovered a new type of matter and was on the team that discovered the top quark. During the tech boom that ended in 2001, he directed patent development for a wireless web startup and, a few years later, became an expert on timing noise. Now he’s turning his considerable mental powers toward the world of writing and publishing, and we’re interested in what he’s learned. He’s a much praised speaker, so it should be an informative evening as Ransom shares his current explorations and his jump into a bold new way of getting the word out. “What distinguishes this classic battle between faith and free will is its unusually deft infusion of legitimate but accessible science.…an ambitious first novel that uses Stephens’ experience as a particle physicist, director of patents, public speaker and single father in a narrative that sings of the heart and the scientific method as two parts of the same song.” —The San Francisco Chronicle “Ransom Stephens skillfully weaves together multiple plot lines and characters in a fast moving story.” —Book Case, for the Petaluma Argus-Courier The memo said they’d get bonuses for submitting patents, so why not? Money came easily during the dot-com boom. Concealed in engineering jargon, Ryan McNear submits a patent for the soul disguised as a software algorithm and his best friend Foster Reed rewrites Genesis and calls it a “power generator.” A few years later, amid the fallout of a ruptured technology bubble, his career ruined and family shredded, a desperate Ryan discovers that a company headed by his old friend Foster is developing his patent. What he thought was a joke is generating stacks of money amid claims that it will provide a source of limitless energy and prove the existence of God.Willing to try anything to rebuild his life, Ryan stakes a legal claim to the patent but soon discovers a sinister undercurrent in the venture. Racing against time and aided by a motley group of assistants that includes an attorney/conman, a beautiful and passionate physicist and a death-obsessed adolescent math prodigy, Ryan gets caught in a battle between hard science and fundamentalist religion that threatens his sanity, his freedom and his son. Before long Ryan will test the limits of faith and free will, evaluate the nature of desire, and comprehend the human soul in a way that requires a single step, rather than a great leap, of faith. ……. Ransom lives in Petaluma, California and makes a living by writing novels, giving speeches, producing and MCing literary events, helping engineers solve problems, and teaching writing seminars. He is the author of over 200 articles on impossible subjects like quantum physics, the future of publishing and parenting teenagers. His first novel, The God Patent, is set in the battle between science and religion over the nature of the soul and the origin of the universe.
LEFT COAST WRITERS BOOK LAUNCH: Welcome ASP: James J. Patterson, Author of Bermuda Shorts and Joanna Biggar, Author of That Paris Year Monday, July 12, 2010 || 6pm Book Passage || Ferry Plaza San Francisco || www.bookpassage.com Join us for an evening that will take you from the good old USA to Paris, France, as ASP writer and publisher, James J. Patterson, and noted writer and teacher, Joanna Biggar, team up for an evening of all-American chatter and fine French bonhomie. North Beach dive? French cafe? Try the wine and fancy cheese, and you tell us. Political satirist, musician, songwriter, dramatist, essayist, and novelist, James J. Patterson, will read from his new collection of essays, Bermuda Shorts. In this volume Patterson meanders delightfully, ominously, frightfully, hilariously through his life and times, touching down at specific moments in the nation’s history as well as his own, as seen from the back alleys, barrooms and his hidden sanctum in what he calls The Capital of the Empire, Washington, DC. More than just a garment, Bermuda Shorts, according to Patterson, is a state of mind. Then, allow yourself to be carried away to Paris by Joanna Biggar. Who has not dreamed of escaping to Paris? When wildfire ravished the landscape of Los Angeles, five young co-eds, house-mates in the rundown Maison Française, found the freedom to pursue that dream. They set sail on a rusty boat in the summer of 1962 determined to enroll in the Sorbonne. It was as if Mary McCarthy’s “Group” had landed on a mystifying Left Bank, exotic and compelling as Durrell’s Alexandria. What they lost was more than their virginity, their bad American accents, and their beloved clichés about “meaning”; what they gained, as they traded notes, clothes, dreams, loves and identities was the gift of geography — the tectonic shift that occurs upon discovering that place, native or adopted, is an integral part of who we are. Joanna Biggar turned twenty in Paris, where she was a student at the Sorbonne, and went on to earn degrees in Chinese language and French literature. Since then she has chaired a school board in Ghana, traveled solo to remote regions of China, worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and taught inner-city school students in Oakland, California, where she lives. She is married, has five adult children and six grandchildren, who love books. A member of the Society of Woman Geographers, her special places of the heart remain France and the California coast.