18.486 science fiction conference

From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_KCL.AC.UK>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 22:13:25 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 486.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 07:13:19 +0000
         From: "Rabkin, Eric" <esrabkin_at_umich.edu>
         Subject: science fiction conference


MAY 5-7, 2005

INVENTING THE 21ST CENTURY: Many Worlds, Many Histories

          Science fiction emerged in the 20th century as the literary,
artistic and cinematic genre that dealt with scientific and technological
advances and their relation to human institutions and aspirations. It
shaped the way we see and do things, the way we dreamt of things to come.
But what will be its role in the 21st century? What does a look at the SF
of the last decade and events leading to it, tell us about future
directions and metamorphoses of SF? In a century where the themes and icons
of SF have moved from literary origins to manifestations in all areas of
society and culture, what might be the future forms of SF? In other words,
to paraphrase Gauguin, where is it coming from, what is it today, where is
it going?

          The conference invites informed papers on development in SF over
the last century.., both the scientific and cultural developments that have
been shaping SF, and in the opposite sense, the developments in SF that
have been shaping science and, more broadly, culture. Scientific areas of
comparison and speculation in which discussions are most sought are as
follows: medicine, biology, nanotechnology, social engineering, information
science, virtual reality, space travel and terraforming, ecology and
population biology, linguistics and alien communication. One key question,
regardless of scientific field of speculation, is the continued role of
print SF (novels and stories) in all media, including all the new
multi-media and interactive forms of SF that have arisen, or may arise in
the future, and how, in reverse fashion, these transformations of SF have
led to reshaping of the conventional forms of narrative in recent SF novels
and stories?

          The conference will have four sections, organized around the
following areas of investigation.

The Astounding Age: The Past, Present and Future of Hard SF. Under
consideration here is the legacy of Astounding Stories, and the way in
which Astounding Stories altered the course of SF in its 75 years of
existence. Also under consideration will be how Astounding Stories
influenced our scientific investigations and discoveries, if at all.

  From Analog to Digital and Sometimes Back Again: The SF World and Its
Tomorrows. This section deals with film, television, toys, video games,
architecture, product design and other manifestations of SF seen not merely
as a type of writing but as a worldview. What have been the relations
between non-literary forms and classical written SF? How are the new forms
of SF, multimedia or otherwise, likely to influence the writing of SF?

Remembrance of Things To Come: Future Histories and Alternate Histories.
Examined here is the rise of future and alternate history as an SF thought
experiment, and the analysis of such experiments in present and future
social and cultural contexts. What purposes have future and alternate
histories served? What purpose can they serve? What can be learned from them?

The Frankenstein Century: The Age of Biology. Under consideration is the
oft-expressed idea that the science of the new century is that of biology.
Under consideration will be questions of reproduction, life extension and
immortality, augmentation, and guided evolution. How will the stories of
SF be influenced by the dramatic changes in actual science?

We encourage potential speakers to submit an abstract of their talk in a
chosen session by March 1, 2005, in order to obtain feedback on the
appropriateness of their presentation. While full papers are encouraged,
oral presentations, even with added video, are acceptable. Please feel
free to contact either Profs. Heath or Slusser with any questions.

Finished presentations should be delivered as 20-25 minutes papers
(corresponding to 9-12 typewritten pages). We hope to have the best papers
published in book form, as has been done in past Eaton
Conferences. Presentation selection and a complete program will be
announced March 28, 2005. All correspondence should be sent to either
Robert Heath at heath_at_citrus.ucr.edu, or George Slusser at
george.slusser_at_ucr.edu or, by mail, at Eaton Collection, Rivera Library, UC
Riverside, Riverside CA 92517.

Conference Coordinators: Greg Bear (SF Museum); Robert Heath (UCR); Leslie
Howle (SF Museum); and George Slusser (UCR).

Organizing Committee: Paul Alkon (USC), Gregory Benford (UCI), Howard
Hendrix (CSU Fresno), Larry McCaffery (SDSU), Joseph Miller (USC), Toby
Miller (UCR), and Eric S. Rabkin (University of Michigan).

Eric S. Rabkin 734-764-2553 (Office)
Dept of English 734-764-6330 (Dept)
Univ of Michigan 734-763-3128 (Fax)
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1003 esrabkin_at_umich.edu

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Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the
Humanities | King's College London | Kay House, 7 Arundel Street | London
WC2R 3DX | U.K. | +44 (0)20 7848-2784 fax: -2980 ||
willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/wlm/
Received on Wed Jan 19 2005 - 17:31:19 EST

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