CSSF News Archive: 2009-2010

The following are news and announcements from 2009-2010.
Click here to see current-year news.

Click here to see news from 2011-2012.
To see older news, click here.

New Video: James Gunn on "Isaac Asimov: Science Fiction to Science Fact"
Keynote Talk from West Virginia University's Festival of Ideas

December 2010

James Gunn gave the 2010 Festival of Ideas keynote talk on Isaac Asimov to help celebrate WVU's recent acquisition of a large collection of Asimov's work.

Now available: full 50-minute video of Gunn's talk.

Charles Beaumont Film Event: The Twilight Zone's Magic Man

Lawrence, KS

Tuesday November 9, 2010
6:00pm - 9:00pm
KU student union, Alderson Auditorium

Charles Beaumont was a principal writer for the Twilight Zone, mainstay of 1960s TV, wrote for Playboy and Esquire, and began a promising movie career. As the only child of an obsessed mother with an explosive temper, he endured hardships such as being dressed as a girl and seeing his pets tortured. Beaumont was the charismatic nucleus of a group of California writers including Richard Matheson, William F. Nolan, Harlan Ellison, and Ray Bradbury. His intensity and need to confront controversy influenced TV and science fiction; he understood the human condition, living at the edge in everything he did and created. At the height of his career, Beaumont exhibited strange and frightening symptoms: slurred words, balance problems, memory lapses. Was it alcohol abuse? Leftovers from childhood meningitis? Stress? He began to age, looking more like a man of 70 than one in his 30s. Beaumont seemed trapped in one of his own Twilight Zone stories. Whatever the cause, he would not live to see his 39th birthday.

The films "The Intruder" and "Charles Beaumont: The Twilight Zone's Magic Man" are followed by discussion with Jason and Sunni Brock and author William F. Nolan. Reception and autographing follow, and the book "The Bleeding Edge" and DVD will be available for sale in the KU Union Traditions Lounge.

Contact: cmckit@ku.edu
Ticket Cost: Free

Chris McKitterick Book Launch Event at KU

Lawrence, KS

Friday November 5, 2010
4:00pm - 5:30pm
KU student union, Jayhawk Ink Bookstore

Local author and CSSF Director Chris McKitterick's debut novel, TRANSCENDENCE, comes out today, and Jayhawk Ink is hosting the release party. McKitterick will read from the book and sign copies, and will host an off-campus reception afterward. If you can't make the event but would like a copy of the novel, publisher Hadley Rille Books is also taking pre-orders at a substantial discount here.

James Gunn Keynote Talk: "Isaac Asimov: Science Fiction to Science Fact"
at West Virginia University's Festival of Ideas

MORGANTOWN, WV - October 26, 2010

James Gunn gave the 2010 Festival of Ideas keynote talk on Isaac Asimov to help celebrate WVU's recent acquisition of a large collection of Asimov's work.

Read WVU's Daily Athenaeum story on the event here.

Click here to see the full 50-minute video of Gunn's talk.

Call for Applications: AboutSF Coordinator Student Position

LAWRENCE, KS - August 17, 2010

We are now looking for a new AboutSF Coordinator: Could that be you? Click here to read the job description.

To apply, send us a resume and letter (to Chris McKitterick at cmckit@ku.edu) describing how you fit our vision and why you're passionate about science fiction. Tell us how you understand the AboutSF mission and how you feel you can extend our reach. Applications must arrive by 4:00pm on Monday, August 30.

2010 Campbell and Sturgeon Award Winners Announced

LAWRENCE, KS - July 9, 2010

A dystopian novel about a near-future of energy shortages and bioengineering, and a long satirical story that mixes the beginning of nuclear destruction with the tradition of the Japanese monster films have won the 2010 Campbell and Sturgeon Awards to be presented at the University of Kansas on Friday, July 16, as part of the Centers annual Campbell Conference.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi has won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel of the year. Bacigalupi is no stranger to the awards, his story The Calorie Man having won the Sturgeon Award for the best SF short of the year in 2006. The Windup Girl, like The Calorie Man, is set in a world in which energy shortages have forced a return to mechanical work translated into springs, and genetic manipulation has produced gigantic beasts of labor as well as invisible cats and artificial humans. The Windup Girl has the additional distinctions of having won the Nebula Award and the Compton Crook Award and being nominated for the Hugo Award (winner yet to be announced), and being Bacigalupi's first novel.

Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow has won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best SF short story of the year. The story is a satire about a plan to end World War II with the production of gigantic iguanas who breathe fire and the production of a film that features an actor as a Godzilla-like monster in a rubber suit pretending to destroy a miniature Japan in an effort to persuade the Japanese to surrender. Shambling Towards Hiroshima was written by a master satirist who describes himself as a scientific humanist. His best-known novels are his Godhead trilogy composed of Towing Jehovah (1994; Blameless in Abaddon (1996); and The Eternal Footman (1999). His most recent novels are The Last Witchfinder (2006) and The Philosophers Apprentice (2008). Morrows Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge won the Nebula Award for 1988 and his City of Truth, for 1991.

Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson was chosen second by the seven-person jury in the Campbell novel competition. The City & the City by China Mieville was chosen in third place. In the Sturgeon short-story competition, there was a three-way tie for second and third places voted by the five-person jury: Things Undone by John Barnes, This Wind Blowing, and This Tide by Damien Broderick, and As Women Fight by Sara Genge.

Both Bacigalupi and Morrow will attend the Awards dinner. They pair a short-story writer who has won the novel award for his first novel, and a veteran novelist who won the short-story award. Both will participate in the Campbell Conference on July 17-18, and the autographing session and the featured readings of Theodore Sturgeons short stories in Oread Books on July 17. 

Click here to see the finalists for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.

Click here to see the finalists for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award

World Literature Today "International Science Fiction" Issue:
Now Online

World Literature Today has published a special science fiction issue for May/June 2010, edited by the Center's Director, Chris McKitterick.

The May/June issue is a first-time tribute to science fiction, and the companion website that contains a lot of exclusive content is also a first for this award-winning literary magazine.

Contributors to the print and Web issue include Paul Di Filippo, James Gunn, Grady Hendrix, Kij Johnson, Paul Kincaid, China Mieville, Frederik Pohl, Pamela Sargent, Tom Shippey, George Zebrowski, and many more. The website also includes a number of references especially for teachers.

Check it out!

"Alien Hunter" Speaks at KU, May 9

Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute and author of Confessions of an Alien Hunter [Amazon|Powell's], will discuss the possibility of contact and what it would mean to the world in "The Scientific Search for ET" at 7pm this Sunday, May 9, at Alderson Auditorium in the KU Kansas Union. It's free.

Shostak was on the Cobert Report last week. Check it out!

Also, he and Sara Seager (Associate Professor of Physics at MIT) were on KCUR's (Kansas City's public radio station) "Up to Date" program yesterday; go to the website if you want to listen to the podcast!

World Literature Today Call for Submissions

CSSF Director Chris McKitterick is serving as guest editor for a special science-fiction issue of World Literature Today and is currently seeking submissions. Go here to learn more.

Nathaniel Williams Speaks on NPR

LAWRENCE, KS - December 22, 2009

Interested in Earth-like worlds beyond the Solar System? Then listen to Nate (AboutSF Coordinator at KU), Gregory Rudnick (KU Professor of Physics and Astronomy), and Daniel McIntosh (UMKC Professor of Physics) discuss "The Quest for Other Earths" on KCUR's Walt Bodine Show at 10:00am on Wednesday, December 23. Listen live in the Kansas City area on 89.3 FM or go to KCUR.org and click Listen to hear the show later on your computer.

Kij Johnson Named Vice Chair of Clarion West Writers Workshop

Seattle, WA - December 22, 2009

In 2010, Kij Johnson will become vice chair on the board of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, taking on the role of chair in 2011. Kij attended this six-week workshop for writers of speculative fiction in 1987, and she says, "it changed my writing and my life in wonderful ways, as it has changed - and will change - the work and lives of hundreds of others."

Paul Di Filippo and Sheila Finch Join Campbell Award Jury

LAWRENCE, KS - November, 2009

Paul Di Filippo and Sheila Finch have accepted appointment to the jury for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the best SF novel of the year. In 2009, Paul A. Carter retired from the jury after having bravely served for many years, almost since the Award's inception.


Sheila Finch

Sheila Finch is the author of seven science fiction novels and numerous short stories that have appeared in Amazing, Asimovs, Fantasy Book, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and many anthologies. A collection of the Lingster stories recently appeared as The Guild of Xenolinguists. Sheila taught creative writing at El Camino College for thirty years and at workshops around California. She also writes non-fiction about teaching creative writing and science fiction, most recently, a series of short essays on the field that appear online at the SFWA website. Her work has won several awards, including the Nebula Award for Best Novella, the San Diego Book Award for Juvenile Fiction, and the Compton-Crook Award for Best First Novel.

 Paul Di Filippo sold his first story in 1977, and his second in 1985. Since then, he has accumulated over 150 periodical credits, and had twenty-five books published. He has two more due out in 2010. He reviews for a number of venues, including The Barnes & Noble Review. He has lived with his partner Deborah Newton for 34 years in Providence, Rhode Island, currently with a calico cat named Penny Century and a chocolate cocker spaniel named Brownie.


Paul Di Filippo

The Campbell Award is one of the major annual awards for science fiction. The first Campbell Award was presented at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973. Since then the Award has been presented in various parts of the world: at California State University at Fullerton; at St. John's College, Oxford; at the World SF Writers Conference in Dublin; in Stockholm; at the World SF meeting in Dublin again; the University of Kansas; and in a joint event with the Science Fiction Research Association in Kansas City in 2007. The current jury consists of Gregory Benford, Paul Di Filippo, Sheila Finch, James Gunn, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Paul Kincaid, Christopher McKitterick, Pamela Sargent, and T.A. Shippey.

Kij Johnson Wins the World Fantasy Award

SAN JOSE, CA - November 1, 2009

CSSF Associate Director Kij Johnson wins the World Fantasy Award for "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss." If you wish to congratulate her, you can find her contact info here.

China Miéville Reads at KU, September 23

LAWRENCE, KS - September 20, 2009

Miéville's schedule has grown to include a fiction reading on Wednesday, September 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Kansas Unions Oread Books (map .pdf here).

China Miéville Speaks at KU, September 24

LAWRENCE, KS - September 14, 2009

A British author of what has been called the New Weird will be the KU English Departments Richard W. Gunn Memorial Lecturer September 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kansas Unions Alderson Auditorium (map .pdf here). China Miéville's novel Perdido Street Station launched a genre that combined urban fantasy with the rigorous background and treatment customarily associated with science fiction.

Update: Miéville also gave a reading of his novel-in-progress and a Q&A with a large audience in the Oread Bookstore on September 23.

The British author of two other novels in the Perdido Street Station universe, The Scar and Iron Council, also published King Rat, Un Dun Lun, and the recent The City & the City. Miéville also is an academic, with a B.A. from Cambridge and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He has been a candidate for the British House of Commons and has published a book on Marxism and international law, as well as co-editing (with Mark Bould) Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (Early Classics of Science Fiction). His fiction has been nominated for numerous awards and won the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award twice and the Locus Magazine award.

Miéville edited a special issue on Marxism and fantasy for Historical Materialism and a forthcoming special issue on Marxism and science fiction. He will be speaking on "Cognition as Ideology: A Dialectic of SF Theory."

The Gunn Lecture, endowed by Dr. Richard W. Gunn, brother of James Gunn, emeritus professor of English and director of the J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction, has featured several science-fiction scholars. Although it has also sponsored speakers on Shakespeare and Ralph Ellison, it has brought a distinguished group of science-fiction experts to the campus beginning with scholar Fredric Jameson, William A. Lane Professor at Duke University, and continuing with Bill Brown, Edgar Carson Waller Professor at the University of Chicago. Michael Chabon, a prize-winning science-fiction and mainstream author and editor, presented a Humanities lecture last year.

Click here for more information.

AboutSF Teaching Workshop at 2009 Worldcon

Montreal, Quebec, Canada - July 20, 2009

AboutSF and the 2009 World Science Fiction Convention are hosting a free Science Fiction Educator Workshop (in both English and French) at AnticipationSF. We now have a full schedule:

AboutSF's Teaching Speculative Fiction: A Portable Workshop
Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention, Montreal, Quebec
Thursday, August 6, 2009 at Worldcon - at the Palais des congres de Montreal
Two Tracks of Programming - Presentations in English and French Running Concurrently

Schedule of English-Language Events (Francophone track listed below)

9:00 10:00 - Empower Your Students: Teach Them Science Fiction, Too Keynote
Award-winning science fiction author and science educator, Julie E. Czerneda, begins the educator program with a frank discussion of how the creativity and reasoned speculation of science fiction are essential tools for scientific literacy and full citizenship in the future your students will inherit.

10:00 12:00 Science Fiction and Scientific Literacy mini workshop
Assess scientific literacy (yours and your students) and learn how to put science fiction to work in your science classroom to develop key components in this hands-on workshop with Donna Young, Lead Educator for the NASA Chandra X-Ray Center EPO Office, and award-winning SF and astronomical illustrator, Jean-Pierre Normand. Materials for classroom use will be provided.

hour break to pick up lunch

Les Jardins food court (level 7), with its variety of fast food selections (deli, salad bar, pizza, prepared dishes), offers fast and efficient service at affordable prices. An adjacent outdoor terrace is open during the summer.

12:30 13:30 Brown bag lunch
Join Julie Czerneda for a romp through SF films as she shows examples of Science, Scientists, and Other Bizarre Notions. Warning: there will be laughter as well as some surprises.

13:30 14:00 Introducing AboutSF Presentation
AboutSF provides the foundation for the Anticipation workshop. A special DVD/CD with over a hundred files goes home with workshop members as a resource. David-Glenn Anderson is the tour guide.

14:00 16:00 Stretching the mind while thinking outside the box mini workshops/presentations
Cathy Palmer-Lister, Lynn E Cohen-Koehler, Lindalee Stuckey, Maaja Wentz, Sharon Rawlins, Eric Choi, and Susan Fichtelberg explore reading, writing and everything else within a classroom. A question may be asked: You have read H. G. Wells Invisible Man. Would you like to be invisible? Why? Why not? A smorgasbord of books, movies, arts, social science and other subject will be covered.

16:00 17:00 Final words -- Open discussion and evaluation
Graduates without Anticipation membership may purchase a $25 special membership to attend Anticipation. Tour the art show, browse the dealers room or attend after 5 pm programming.

Schedule of French-Language Events

L'enseignement et la science-fiction : un atelier exploratoire
Anticipation, le 67e congrs mondial de science-fiction, Montral, Qubec
le jeudi 6 aot 2009 au Palais des congrs de Montral

10h30 11h30 - La place de la science-fiction l'cole Table ronde Georges Henri Cloutier, Julie Czerneda, Jean Pettigrew, Daniel Sernine
La SF mrite-t-elle une plus grande place l'cole au Qubec? Dans quelle mesure pourrait-elle faciliter l'accs la lecture pour les garons, ou l'apprentissage des sciences? Est-il possible de l'enseigner dans le cadre des programmes actuels? Peut-elle enrichir l'enseignement d'autres sujets? Le projet "About SF" peut-il tre transpos au Qubec ou au Canada francophone? Ou le travail a-t-il dj t fait?

11h30 12h - La science-fiction au secondaire Prsentation ric Gauthier
Comment parle-t-on de la science-fiction au secondaire? Un auteur expriment explique comment on retient l'attention des coliers du secondaire en les introduisant aux concepts fondamentaux du conte, de la narration et de la science-fiction.

pause d'une demi-heure pour aller chercher manger

12h30 13h30 - Repas Films (facultatifs; en anglais)
Dans l'autre salle, Julie Czerneda prsente une srie de films de SF afin d'illustrer la reprsentation de la science, des scientifiques et autres bizarreries incomprises de Hollywood.

13h30 15h - La science-fiction au primaire Prsentation Philippe Collin, Michle Laframboise
Comment parle-t-on de la science-fiction au primaire? Deux intervenants aguerris discutent de leurs mthodes pour prsenter la science-fiction aux plus jeunes en fournissant quelques exemples.

15h 16h - Les auteurs l'cole Table ronde Jean-Pierre Guillet, Danielle Martinigol, Francine Pelletier
Comment les auteurs font-ils, en une heure, pour prsenter la fois la science-fiction et leurs ouvrages? La science-fiction est-elle bien accueillie l'cole?

16h 17h Conclusions - Discussion gnrale et bilan

Les participants l'atelier qui ne sont pas inscrits Anticipation ont droit un rabais de 25$ sur toute inscription (pour une journe, pour la fin de semaine ou pour les cinq jours). Visitez l'exposition de tableaux, magasinez dans la salle de ventes ou assistez aux tables rondes. Restez le jeudi ou passez toute la fin de semain.

2009 Campbell and Sturgeon Award Winners Announced

LAWRENCE, KS - June 30, 2009

Two Canadians and a Briton have won the 2009 John W. Campbell Award for the best science fiction novel of the year and the 2009 Theodore Sturgeon Award for the best short science fiction of the year, James Gunn, Director of the University of Kansas Center for the Study of Science Fiction, announced today.

The Campbell award is shared by Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (Tor Books) and Ian MacLeod's Song of Time (PS Publishing). Third place goes to James Morrow's The Philosopher's Apprentice (William Morrow).

James Alan Gardner's The Ray Gun: A Love Story won the Sturgeon Award. Second place goes to Kathleen Ann Goonan's "Memory Dog" (Asimov's), and third place goes to Ian McDonald's "The Tear" (Empire).

The authors will accept their awards at the University of Kansas during an Awards dinner on July 10 and will be featured at the annual Campbell Conference on Saturday, July 11, and Sunday morning, July 12.

The Campbell Conference will discuss What's Old, What's New: The New Space Opera, the New Hard SF, the New Weird. In the afternoon session, the three winners will open a discussion on what's new in publishing and its affect on writing and reading. Doctorow is a major author on the new digital and internet publishing, and believes that copyright laws should be liberalized to allow free sharing of all digital media.

This is only the third time in the history of the Campbell Award that the balloting of the jurors has resulted in a tie: in 1974 between Arthur C. Clarkes Rendezvous with Rama and Robert Merles Malevil and in 2002 between Jack Williamsons Terraforming Earth and Robert Charles Wilsons The Chronoliths.

Doctorow and Gardner are Canadians. Doctorow currently is living in London. MacLeod is a Britain. Doctorow writes a column about digital publishing for Locus Magazine. Some of his essays have been published by Tachyon Publishing as Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future. Ian R. MacLeod studied law and worked as a public servant before publishing his first novel, The Great Wheel (which won the Locus first novel award), in 1997. His novella The Summer Isles won the Sidewise Award for alternate history and again as a novel.

Gardner turned to writing after earning bachelor and masters degrees in applied mathematics from the University of Waterloo. His story Children of the Creche won the Writers of the Future grand prize in 1989. He has published seven novels. He also is an educator and technical writer.

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