SF Symposium at UC Irvine

“The Future Is Here: California in Science Fiction” convenes at UC Irvine Thursday, April 4. Writers Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Gregory Benford, Sheila Finch and Steven Barnes will participate, and also scholars Catherine Liu, Sherryl Vint and Matthew Wolf-Meyer.

The West Coast of the US, and California in particular, has long been a source of inspiration for the SF imagination: the state’s history offers a rich repository of utopian schemes, dystopian realities, collectivist experiments, and commercial and  ecological catastrophes. During the Cold War and after California has represented the vanguard of technoscientific progress, free-market ideology, lifestyle libertarianism, and countercultural experimentation. California shares the seismic instabilities of the Pacific Rim and is integrated into the cultural and economic exchanges facilitated and regulated by global capital throughout the region. California exists in the larger cultural imagination as both a much-dreamed-of sphere of spiritual discovery and multicultural hybridity as well as a nightmarish realm of ecological disaster and race war. Join us for a lively discussion of these and other issues with SF writers, theorists, and critics.

Here are the scheduled highlights:

  • 12:30-1:30 Oath of Fealty: Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Gregory Benford on the classic novel about a surveillance community in Los Angeles
  • 1:30-3:30 A State of Difference: Sheila Finch and Steven Barnes on writing gender and race in Californian SF
  • 3-4:30 Breakout sessions: Writing SF

Workshop on Writing SF with Sheila Finch

Workshop on Writing SF with Steven Barnes

  • 4:30-5 Concluding Roundtable: The Critics & Theorists React: CA & SF?

Catherine Liu, UCI Film and Media

Sherryl Vint, UCR English

Matthew Wolf-Meyer UCSC Anthropology

The event takes place in Humanities Gateway 1030. It is sponsored with a grant from the California Studies Consortium, the UCI Humanities Collective and the UCI Center for Excellence in Writing and Communication.