Conference News from Science Fiction Museum, Seattle


Leslie Howle, Senior Program Manager for Education at The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, has just sent me details of a superb sounding SF conference coming up in May:


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 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).

One comment

    Kris Lovekin

    January 14, 2005

    There has been an update on this item, just FYI. Here is a description and a link for this year’s Eaton conference

    UC Riverside Libraries and The Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame Team Up for Conference on Science Fiction
    Eaton Conference to be Held May 5, 6 and 7 in Seattle in Connection with Science Fiction Hall of Fame Induction

    The University of California, Riverside Libraries, which house The J. Lloyd Eaton Collection, the world???s most extensive science fiction and fantasy collection, joins The Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame in Seattle to present “Inventing the 21st Century: Many Worlds, Many Histories” on May 5, 6 and 7 in Seattle. The conference will be held at the same time as the museum???s first ever Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday, May 6, which will honor film director Steven Spielberg, author Philip K. Dick, artist Chesley Bonestell and animator Ray Harryhausen. Eaton Conference attendees will have the opportunity to register before the general public. Speakers this year include Gregory Benford, Howard Hendrix, Joseph Miller, Eric Rabkin, George Slusser, Stanley Schmidt, Greg Bear, Eileen Gunn and Alan Shapiro, with David Hartwell delivering the Frank McConnell Memorial Lecture.

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