July 10, 2008

SciFi Scholars, Fans to Meet in Lawrence

By Carolyn Kaberline

By Carolyn Kaberline


Science fiction enthusiasts will have the chance to delve into their favorite genre as the Science Fiction Research Association has its meeting in Lawrence for the first time in 25 years today through Sunday.

This meeting, held in conjunction with the annual Campbell Conference, brings together science fiction and fantasy authors, scholars and fans from across the nation. It will be at the Lawrence Holidome.

Many of the sessions will discuss science fiction as seen in paperback novels, short stories, popular films, comic books and games, while others will look at the impact of science fiction and technology on today's world.

Teachers and librarians will have sessions about teaching science fiction from elementary school through college, and those attending the Campbell Conference will receive materials for classroom use.

"The average science fiction fan will find academics discussing popular topics," said James Gunn, director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at The University of Kansas, adding that some will be accessible to everyone while others will be more scholarly.

Special guests will include Karen Joy Fowler, best-selling author of "The Jane Austen Book Club," and British scholars Maureen Kincaid Spiller, past administrator of the British Science Fiction Association; and her husband, Paul Kincaid, author of "How to Read Science Fiction."

Readings by such authors as Fowler, David Moles, Kij Johnson, Lane Robbin, James Van Pelt and Kathleen Ann Goonan will be Saturday at the Oread Book Store in the KU Student Union. There also will be an open book signing featuring the above authors, as well as Robin Wayne Bailey, Gunn, Chris McKitterick, Eric Reynolds and Joan Slonczewski from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

Members of the SFRA and the Campbell Conference will combine their awards ceremonies on Friday evening at the Lawrence Holidome. The association presents its awards for scholarship in science fiction, while the Campbell Conference recognizes the best science fiction novel and short story of the year.

The readings and books signings are free, and on-site registration for other events will be available as space permits. A complete schedule and information can be found on the SFRA Web site at sfra.org.

Carolyn Kaberline is a freelance writer in Topeka. She can be reached at [email protected]

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