George Slusser Conference

The George Slusser Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy, with the theme “Science Fiction: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, runs April 26 and 27. There is no conference fee, and everyone is welcome to attend. For full details and parking information click here.

This literary conference will pay tribute to the extraordinary career of the late George Slusser (1939-2014) by presenting papers and panel discussions that engage with and build upon his extensive scholarly works on science fiction and fantasy. The conference will be held at the University of California, Irvine.

Confirmed guests include: James P. Blaylock, Bradford Lyau, David Brin, Charles Platt, Sheila Finch, Tim Powers, Rob Latham and Gary K. Wolfe.

Tentative Program

Thursday, April 26

8:30-9:30 AM: Registration

9:30-10:40 AM: Session 1 (Coordinator: Jonathan Alexander)

  • Gary Westfahl, “The Homeostatic Culture Machine Revisited: The Contemporary Wordmills of Science Fiction”
  • Charles Platt, “You Can’t Get There From Here: Unrealistic Expectations among the Practitioners of Science Fiction”

10:50 AM-12 PM: Session 2 (Coordinator: Gary Westfahl)

  • Gregory Benford, “Economics Meets Reality: Space and Beyond”
  • Steven Postrel, Response

Noon-1:35 PM: Lunch

1:35-3:20 PM: Session 3 (Coordinator: Howard V. Hendrix)

  • Stephen W. Potts, “Soviet Utopianism and Post-Soviet Dystopias”
  • George Slusser (read by Gary Westfahl), “The Strugatskys Under Western Eyes: Science Fiction as Cognition”
  • Lisa Raphals, “The Several Faces of Chinese Science Fiction”

3:30-4:40 PM: Session 4 (Coordinator: Stephen W. Potts)

  • Joey Eschrich, “Complicating the Frankenstein Barrier: Science Fiction Futures and Social Transformation”
  • Ari Brin, “‘No Such Thing as Night’: Tracing the Origins of Science Fiction in Early California”

4:50-5:40 PM: First Keynote Speaker (Introduced by Gregory Benford)

  • Gary K. Wolfe, untitled (on genre-blending)

Friday, April 27

9:05-10:50 AM: Session 5 (Coordinator: Gregory Benford)

  • Bradford Lyau, “Robert A. Heinlein Revisited”
  • Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, “The Slusser Test for Generic Identity: Reflections on George Slusser’s ‘Reflections on Style in Science Fiction’”
  • Julia Ree, “Observations on the Early Life of the Eaton Collection and Dr. George Slusser’s Invaluable Contributions”

11 AM- Noon: Second Panel

Theme: Memories of George Slusser and the Eaton Conferences

Moderator: Gary Westfahl; Panelists: Celeste McConnell Barber, Gregory Benford, Sheila Finch, Howard V. Hendrix, Bradford Lyau

Noon-1:30 PM: Lunch

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Second Panel

Theme: Back to Jules Verne’s Future: Nineteenth-Century Science Fiction and Twenty-First Century Steampunk

Moderator: Gary K. Wolfe; Panelists: James P. Blaylock, Stephen W. Potts, Tim Powers, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

2:40 – 3:50 PM: Session 6 (Coordinator: Bradford Lyau)

  • Jonathan Alexander, “Utopia and Exhaustion”
  • Howard V. Hendrix, “Millions Seek The Egg: Reproductive Technofuturism in Ready Player One and Armada”

4-4:50 PM: Second Keynote Speaker (Introduced by Howard V. Hendrix)

  • David Brin, “The Emperor – and Heretic – of Point of View”

5-6 PM: Third Panel

Theme: Science Fiction Writers and Scholars: Bridging the Gap?

Moderator: Jonathan Alexander; Panelists: David Brin, Gregory Benford, Sheila Finch, Larry Niven

6:30 – 8:30 PM: Closing Reception (Hosted by Jonathan Alexander and Gregory Benford)

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

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