CSSF News Archive: 2011-2012

The following are news and announcements from 2011-2012.
Click here to see current-year news.
To see news from 2009-2010, click here.
To see older news, click here.

"Lifeboat to the Stars" Award to be Presented at 2013 Campbell Conference

Lawrence, KS - October 23, 2012

The Lifeboat Foundation announced today that it will present an award for the best work of science fiction published in 2011 or 2012 that contributes to an understanding of the benefits, means, or difficulties of interstellar travel. The award, of $1,000, will be presented at the 2013 Campbell Conference to be held at the University of Kansas June 13-16.

The motto of the state of Kansas is "Ad Astra Per Aspera."

Eric Klien, President and administrator of the Foundation, said that travel to other solar systems is one way in which humanity can survive catastrophes, natural or manmade, and can contribute to humanity's understanding of the universe and of itself. "Many of our members are science-fiction writers, as well as scientists, and science fiction has the ability to explore the unknown and its human implications. We want to encourage writers to contribute their imaginations to these vital purposes."

For its part, the Campbell Conference, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, has selected interstellar travel as the topic for the 2013 Conference, which includes a roundtable discussion around a single topic. The Conference also features its traditional awards - the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the best science-fiction novel of the year and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction of the year.

Robert J. Sawyer, the distinguished Canadian science-fiction writer, chairs the "Lifeboat to the Stars" award committee, which includes science-fiction author Greg Bear as its honorary chair. Sawyer will present the award at the award dinner on Friday, June 13, and will give a talk, open to the public, about the Lifeboat Foundation and his own writing on Thursday, June 12. Sawyer is the author of several novels, including FLASH FORWARD, which was adapted into a television series. Nominations for the Lifeboat award should be e-mailed to Sawyer.

Lifeboat's coordinating judge is Robert J. Sawyer, their consulting judge is Greg Bear, and their other judges include Catherine Asaro, Jason Batt, Sherry E. Bell, Kevin M. Berry, Don V. Black, Stephan Vladimir Bugaj, Brenda Cooper, David Gerrold, Niklas Järvstråt, Jim Karkanias, Rouslan Krechetnikov, Wes Kretzschmar, Eva-Jane Lark, Mike E. McCulloch, George Perry, Allen M. Steele, Jr, John K. Strickland Jr, and Allen G. Taylor.
The Lifeboat Foundation will also present a bibliographical survey at the 2013 Campbell Conference covering science-fictional methods of interstellar travel.
The Chair of the Interstellar Travel Bibliographical Survey is Lifeboat's James Blodgett. Other members of the survey team include Tracy Atkins, Jason Batt, Greg Bear, Kevin M. Berry, André Caminoa, David Gerrold, Niklas Järvstråt, Eva-Jane Lark, Mike E. McCulloch, Robert J. Sawyer, Allen M. Steele Jr, John K. Strickland Jr, and Allen G. Taylor.

The Campbell Conference, which has been offered at the University of Kansas in Lawrence since 1978, is a feature of the summer science-fiction program. That program begins with two-week Writers Workshops in short stories and in novels, led by Chris McKitterick and Kij Johnson, the multiple-award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy and an assistant professor in the University's MFA writing program. The Conference is followed by the two-week Intensive Science Fiction Institute.

Dates Announced for 2013 Summer SF Program

Lawrence, KS - November 27, 2012

See our Courses and Campbell Conference pages for details, and keep an eye out for updates. We will begin accepting applications for the Workshops in early 2013.

Vote for the Best 20th and 21st Century SF&F
Bonus: Lots of SF/F reading lists

Lawrence, KS - November 27, 2012

If you love science fiction and fantasy of any length, now's your chance to make your favorite works known! For the next few days (through the end of November), Locus Online is operating a survey of the best SF/F of the past 112 years on their website.

List what you consider the best novels in two separate categories - SF and fantasy - and combined SF/F in the novella, novelette, and short-story length. (Lots of horror in there, too; you pick where you think it best fits.) The 20th century gets 10 ranked positions for each category, and 21st century fiction gets five.

Here are some resources to refresh your memory:

  • The Center for the Study of Science Fiction's Basic Science Fiction Library: Mostly lists novels, but also contains some short fiction. This list is ordered by author, spanning all time. Includes publication dates and even links where we could find them! If you see any glaring omissions, please let us know and we'll consult about adding those works.
  • The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best SF novel winners list: Goes back to 1972 novels (that is, the first Campbell Award-winning novel in 1973 was for a novel published in 1972).
  • The John W. Campbell Memorial Award finalist list: Goes back to 2003. I recommend looking through the finalist lists of the major awards, because what you might consider the best works don't always win.
  • Locus put together this fantastic list of 20th century SF/F novels: They mix SF and fantasy, so you'll have to decide on some of these where a novel belongs. How did they get on this list? "The lists include, first, every title that's won a Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, British Fantasy, British SF, Campbell, Sturgeon, Clarke, International Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, or Bram Stoker award [except for first novels categories]. Second, every title that has been a nominee or runner-up for any two of these awards is included. Third, for 20th century novels, every title included in four or more reference works or polls, such as David Pringle's Science Fiction: 100 Best Novels, Neil Barron's Anatomy of Wonder, NPR's recent poll, and some 50 other works and polls compiled as part of the sfadb.com project, is included. For 21st century novels, since relatively few such references are recent enough to cover that period, the bar is lowered to inclusion in any one such work. The bars are set so that the number of titles added to the lists from such references is about the same as the number of titles included due to award standings."
  • The Locus list of 21st century SF/F novels: See above notes for details.
  • NPR's crowd-sourced Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books of all time.
  • The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short SF: Goes back to 1986 stories of all length shorter than the novel (that is, the first Sturgeon Award-winner in 1987 was for a short work published in 1986).
  • The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist list: Goes back to 2003.
  • The Locus list of 20th century short SF/F. How did they get on this list? "For short fiction, the supplement to awards data is the number of anthology and collection reprints a story has accumulated, based on data compiled in the Locus Index to Science Fiction by William Contento. For 20th century stories, the bar is more than 8; for 21st century stories, the bar is more than 2, though the Index is not complete through 2010 and some recent titles have been added based on manual inspection of various year's-best anthologies. Again, the bars are set so that the final lists are roughly divided between titles via award references and titles via reprint references. For works not on the short fiction lists, there are word-count guidelines on the 20th century short fiction page."
  • The Locus list of 21st century short SF/F: See above for details. Also note that the letters in the publication-date info for suggestions of which category to use: ss is for short story, nvt is for novelette, nva is for novella.
  • The Nebula Award for best SF/F of the year list: This is Wikipedia's novel list, but also links to all the other lengths. (The official SFWA Nebula Award site only goes back to 2000.)
  • Hugo Award for best SF/F of the year list: Links to all the winners, of all lengths, and finalists, too.

That's a lot of reading references! I hope you find it useful not just for voting on the Locus survey, but for future reading, too.

Jane Frances Gunn Obituary

Lawrence, KS - September 27, 2012

Jane Frances Gunn, 87, died Thursday, Sept. 27, at Brandon Woods. She was born in Phillipsburg, Kansas, April 8, 1925, the younger daughter of Ira and Olive Anderson. She was raised and attended grade and high school in Osborne, Kansas. She attended McPherson College for one year before transferring to the University of Kansas and earning a bachelors degree from the School of Journalism in 1947. After her children were raised she studied toward a masters degree in English.

In the School of Journalism, she met James Gunn, who had returned from three years of service in the Navy during World War II. They were married the day after she had completed her last class. She worked for the KU News Bureau, as a secretary to the head librarian at Northwestern University, as a reporter for the Kansas City Kansan, as the librarian for the KU School of Journalism, and as the co-owner and later sole owner of the Emporium, a Lawrence art consignment gallery.

TThe Gunns returned to Lawrence from Kansas City, Missouri, in 1955. Mr. Gunn held several positions with the University, retiring in 1993 as a professor of English. Their elder son Christopher died in 2005. She is survived by Mr. Gunn, of the home, and her younger son Kevin, of Lawrence.

Inurnment will take place at a later date at Pioneer ceremony. Memorials to the Lawrence Animal Shelter may be sent care of the Warren-McElwain Funeral Home.

Chris McKitterick Discusses SF and Prediction on NPR's "The Daily Circuit"

St. Paul, MN - September 19, 2012

In 1987, L. Ron Hubbard challenged his fellow science fiction writers to forecast what the world would be like in 25 years. Then they put together a "time capsule" of letters to us, now, that was just opened. To discuss how accurately science fiction predicts the future, Chris McKitterick joined AlterNet futurist Sara Robinson and "The Daily Circuit" host Kerri Miller in a piece entitled, "What did science fiction writers predict for 2012?"

SSee McKitterick's blog for links to the original "time capsule" article, his own predictions, and more.

Kij Johnson Book Tour Announced
to Promote At the Mouth of the River of Bees

Lawrence, KS - September 12, 2012

CSSF Associate Director Kij Johnson is now on a book tour. Here are the dates and locations:

9/14    DreamHaven Books, 2301 East 38th Street, Minneapolis MN 55406
9/18    7 pm The Raven, 6 East 7th St., Lawrence, KS, 66044
9/29    7 pm Ad Astra Books & Coffee House, 141 N. Santa Fe, Salina, KS 67401
9/26    Writers Voice interview air date
10/9    Quail Ridge Books,, Ridgewood Shopping Center, 3522 Wade Avenue, Raleigh, NC

Kij's first collection of short work, At the Mouth of the River of Bees, is now available from Small Beer Press.

Kij Johnson Wins the Hugo Award!

Chicago, Illinois - September 3, 2012

CSSF Associate Director Kij Johnson's novella, The Man Who Bridged the Mist" (Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011), has won the Hugo Award - in addition to having just won the Nebula Award..

Congratulations, Kij!

Kij is a new Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kansas English Department starting this Fall semester.

Campbell and Sturgeon Award Winners Announced

Lawrence, KS - June 29, 2012
For immediate release (.doc version here)

The winners of this year's John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the best science fiction novel and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction have been revealed, Christopher McKitterick, Director of the University of Kansas Center for the Study of Science Fiction, announced today.

The Campbell Award is shared by Christopher Priest's The Islanders (Gollancz) and Joan Slonczewski's The Highest Frontier (Tor). Third place goes to China Miéville's Embassytown (Ballantine/Del Rey), and Lavie Tidhar's Osama (PS Publishing) takes Honorable Mention.

Paul McAuley's "The Choice" (Asimov's) won the Sturgeon Award. Second place goes to Charlie Jane Anders' "Six Months Three Days" (Tor.com), and third place goes to Ken Liu's "The Paper Menagerie" (F&SF). Finalists for both awards were also announced on the Center's website.

Winners are invited to accept their awards at the University of Kansas Awards Banquet on Friday, July 6, and will be featured at the Campbell Conference on Saturday and Sunday. Slonczewski will be present to accept her award, and Asimov's editor Sheila Williams will accept for McAuley.

Using the theme "Communication and Information," this year's Campbell Conference explores how changing technologies and the ways we gather and share information is changing science fiction and how we buy, share, and tell the stories that define the genre. Saturday afternoon, Kij Johnson hosts a curated readings session, which includes several attending authors and scholars, and serves to launch the new James Gunn's Ad Astra journal. Other authors and editors attending include Robin Wayne Bailey, M.C. Chambers, Tina Connolly, Andy Duncan, Sheila Finch, James Gunn, Kij Johnson, Vylar Kaftan, Larry Martin, McKitterick, and Eric T. Reynolds.

This is the fourth time in Campbell Award history that juror balloting has resulted in a tie: in 1974 between Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama and Robert Merle's Malevil; in 2002 between Jack Williamson's Terraforming Earth and Robert Charles Wilson's The Chronoliths; and in 2009 between Cory Doctorow's Little Brother and Ian MacLeod's Song of Time.

Priest and McAuley are Britons. A full-time author, Priest won the BSFA award in 1974 for Inverted World, in 1998 for The Extremes, in 2002 for The Separation, and in 2011 for The Islanders. He also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the World Fantasy Award for The Prestige (1995). McAuley is a biologist who has taught at universities around the world, and is now a full-time author. His first novel, Four Hundred Billion Stars, won the 1988 Philip K. Dick Award; Fairyland won the 1997 Campbell Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; and has been nominated for many more. Slonczewski is a Professor of Biology at Kenyon College, a novelist, and a textbook author. She also won the 1997 Campbell Award for A Door into Ocean, the only author besides Frederik Pohl to have been so honored twice.

Chris McKitterick on NPR's "The Daily Circuit"

St. Paul, MN - June 12, 2012

Chris McKitterick joined SF scholar and editor Gary Wolfe and "The Daily Circuit" host Kerri Miller to talk about influential SF and fantasy novels and offer suggestions for summer reading. See McKitterick's blog for links, recommendations, and more.

James Gunn Remembers Ray Bradbury

Lawrence, KS - June 6, 2012

"Ray Bradbury lived his own story, one that was as magical as any of the fantasies and science fiction he published, and his enjoyment of his transformation from impressionable child to iconic child-in-adult storyteller was embodied in all his stories and relationships. As few in the field of science fiction have been, he was a bridge between the two cultures - not Snow's science and literature but science fiction and literature. That growing acceptance - fifty years in development - may be symbolized by Ray's essay about his early imprinting with the magic of imagination in this week's science-fiction issue of the New Yorker. He will be missed but his life will be celebrated.

"Personally, I had the privilege of meeting Ray a number of times, both in Los Angeles and at several science-fiction conventions, particularly the World Science Fiction Convention in Atlanta where I had him give a moving and eloquent guest-of-honor speech about his love for science fiction and what it had given him - his life - and what it had to offer to the world. And I'm glad that KU featured him speaking at the Lied Auditorium in his later years, and that I had the privilege of sitting next to him at dinner and enjoying a personal conversation.

"One of my regrets is that I was never able to add a filmed interview with Ray to my Science Fiction Lecture Film series. We tried to make arrangements twice, but were never able to complete arrangements."

Ray Bradbury (official page and Wikipedia article) was born on August 22, 1920, and made the world a better place through June 5, 2012. He will be missed by everyone in the SF world, and millions more who don't see genre distinctions. Among his many awards and recognitions, he was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1999, and the ceremony took place at the 2001 Nebula Awards in Los Angeles, where Robin Wayne Bailey had the honor of inducting him.

Sturgeon Award Finalists Announced

Lawrence, KS - May 20, 2012

The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award jury has decided upon the top short SF of 2011. See the finalists here.

Kij Johnson Wins the Nebula Award!

Arlington, VA - May 19, 2012

CSSF Associate Director Kij Johnson's novella, "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" (Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011), has won the Nebula Award - in addition to being up for the Hugo Award. This is Kij's third Nebula in a row!

Congratulations, Kij!

Campbell Award Finalists Announced

Lawrence, KS - May 9, 2012

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award jury has decided upon the top SF novels of 2011. See the finalists here.

Upcoming Science Fiction Events in the Area

"High Adventure with Hadley Rille Books" event at Prospero's Books. Several area authors will read from and sign books, including Z.S. Adani, Sue Blalock, M.C. Chambers, Terri-Lynne DeFino, Karin Rita Gastreich, Chris Gerrib, Christopher McKitterick, Melissa Mickelsen, Mark Nelson, Shauna Roberts, and Hadley Rille Books editor Eric T. Reynolds.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Prospero's Books
1800 W. 39th Street
Kansas City, MO

The Kansas City ConQuest SF Convention takes place on Memorial Day Weekend. This year's guests of honor include Gardner Dozois, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Ursula Vernon, and many more. As has been the case for several years now, AboutSF is again the recipient for Sunday's Charity Auction. Thank you, KaCSFFS!

May 25-27, 2012

Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center
Kansas City, MO

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live! is a visual-media-based convention, and 2012 is its first (hopefully annual) event.

May 18-20, 2012

Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom
301 West 13th Street
Kansas City, MO 64105

And of course don't miss the Center's Campbell Conference!

July 5-8, 2012

The Oread Hotel
1200 Oread Ave (two blocks north of the KU Kanas Union)
(with a couple informal events before and after elsewhere)
Lawrence, KS

Book-Release Event for Aftermaths Anthology April 13

Click the image to see the full-size poster

Lawrence, KS - April 8, 2012

Several area authors whose stories appear in the upcoming anthology, Aftermaths, will read from and discuss the new book, including James Gunn, Christopher McKitterick, M.C. Chambers, Karin Rita Gastreich, and Hadley Rille Books editor Eric T. Reynolds. Just in time for Earth Day!

There's also a Facebook event, "Down to Earth 2012," where you can join.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Jayhawk Ink Bookstore
Kansas Union level 2
1301 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS

Kij Johnson Nominated for the Hugo Award

Lawrence, KS - April 7, 2012

CSSF Associate Director Kij Johnson's novella, "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" (Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011), is now also a finalist for the Hugo Award - in addition to being up for the Nebula Award.

"Super Nerd Night" - Lawrence Event Supports AboutSF

Click the image to see the full-size poster

Lawrence, KS - March 20, 2012

Local comic-book and gaming store, Astrokitty Comics and More, has made AboutSF its charity recipient for its bimonthly Super Nerd Night for all of 2012. Local music venue The Bottleneck hosts the event, which includes an art contest with story prompts ("Drink and Draw"), vintage-console gaming, table games, live music by area bands, a burlesque show, silent movies, and much more. See which of your Facebook friends are already planning to go on the Super Nerd Night Facebook event page.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012
7:00pm - bar close (about 2:00am)

The Bottleneck
737 New Hampshire
Lawrence, KS

John Tibbetts Celebrates the 100th Birthday Of Literary Icons
Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars

Lawrence, KS - March 14, 2012

Writer and educator John Tibbetts examines two of Burroughs' enduring creations in "From Africa to Mars! 100 Years of Tarzan and John Carter." Details:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kansas City Public Library
Plaza Branch
4801 Main St.
Kansas City

Kij Johnson Joins KU's MFA Program

Lawrence, KS - March 13, 2012

CSSF Associate Director Kij Johnson has been hired by the University of Kansas English Department as Assistant Professor of Fiction Writing. Kij is the newest faculty member in the Department's MFA in Creative Writing program. She is hired as a fiction specialist, though she will also offer courses in speculative fiction and related topics.

With a growing number of speculative-fiction courses in both literature and writing, and two current faculty members, KU's English Department continues to strongly support SF. If you're looking for a graduate or undergraduate program where you can study SF, consider KU!

Welcome, Kij!

James Gunn Sells Three Books!

Lawrence, KS - March 10, 2012

CSSF Founding Director James Gunn has just sold three books, including his newest novel:

Transcendental, to be published by Tor Books. Campbell Conference and SF Writers Workshop attendees have heard excerpts from this wonderful new novel.

Co-authored with Jack Williamson in 1954 and originally published in 1955, Star Bridge will be published in Tor Books' classic reprint series.

Together the two novels, almost 60 years apart, bookend a career and in some ways the space epic itself. Also to be reprinted:

Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, to be published in China by the Beijing Division of the Shanghai Century Publishing Company. By a marvelous serendipity, the book was translated by Sasha Jiang, the Center's 2012 visiting scholar from China.

Congratulations, Jim!

Andy Duncan Joins CSSF Science Fiction Writers Workshop for 2012

Lawrence, KS - March 6, 2012

The Center for the Study of Science Fiction again offers the Science Fiction Writers Workshop on short-fiction writing. SFWA Science Fiction Grand Master James Gunn established the Workshop in 1985 and led it on his own until 1996, when author and CSSF Director Christopher McKitterick began co-teaching; Kij Johnson also co-taught from 1996-2002, before branching off her own SF&F Novel Writing Workshop, offered during the same two-week period. Gunn stepped back his participation in 2010, but plans to drop in from time to time to meet the workshoppers and offer words of writing wisdom, and he usually joins us for lunch in the (very good) adjoining dorm cafeteria. We'll likely enjoy other special-guest authors and editors, as well. Starting in 2011, McKitterick leads the first week, and this year guest author Andy Duncan leads the second week.

Duncan's story "The Pottawatomie Giant" and his collection Beluthahatchie and Other Stories both won World Fantasy Awards in 2001, and his novella "The Chief Designer" won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award in 2002. Duncan has been nominated six times for the Nebula Award, twice for the Stoker, three times for the World Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award twice, and twice for the Hugo Award. His short-story collection, The Pottawatomie Giant & Other Stories, is currently available from PS Publishing. Recent books include Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic, an anthology co-edited with F. Brett Cox; The Night Cache, a stand-alone novella; and Alabama Curiosities, an offbeat travel guide.

Duncan attended Clarion West in 1994 and studied creative writing at North Carolina State University under John Kessel (another Gunn student). He taught Clarion in 2004 and Clarion West in 2005, was a full-time journalist for 12 years, and taught college for 17 years. He is an assistant professor of English at Frostburg State University in the western Maryland mountains, and an instructor in the Honors College of the University of Alabama. He regularly blogs at Beluthahatchie.

What's Andy's writing like? My favorite description, by Craig Jacobsen in the SFRA Review:

If Harper Lee and Gene Wolfe had a love child, Andy Duncan is it.

Click here to visit Duncan's complete bibliography.

Multiple-award-winner Kij Johnson is also now accepting applications for her SF/F/H Novel Writing Workshop, which runs concurrently with the short-SF workshop.

The workshops usually fill early, so if you're interested in applying, please contact as soon as practical, and we can let you know about openings.

Cory Doctorow Speaks at the Kansas Library Association, April 11

Wichita, KS - February 20, 2012

Cory Doctorow will speak at this year's Kansas Library Association conference in Wichita, KS. Doctorow's "Evening with an Author" talk is entitled, "Copyrights and Human Rights."

Wednesday, April 11
7:30pm to 8:30pm

Hyatt Regency Wichita in Wichita, Kansas

Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger - the co-editor of Boing Boing - and the author of the 2009 Campbell Award-winning novel Little Brother

Nöel Sturgeon Speaks at the University of Kansas, March 5

Lawrence, KS - February 12, 2012

Nöel Sturgeon gave this year's Richard W. Gunn Memorial Lecture, "Avatar and Activism: Ecological Indians, Disabling Militarism, and Science Fiction Imaginaries."

Nöel is Theodore Sturgeon's daughter and trustee of his literary estate; Professor of Critical Cultures, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University; and a juror for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.

Monday, March 5
7:00pm - 8:00pm

Malott Room in the University of Kansas Student Union
Lawrence, Kansas

The Gunn Lecture, endowed by Dr. Richard W. Gunn, James Gunn's brother, has featured several science-fiction scholars. Although it has also sponsored speakers on Shakespeare and Ralph Ellison, it often brings distinguished science-fiction scholars 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; and China Miéille, British author of what has become known as the New Weird. The Center also recently co-sponsored a visit from Michael Chabon, prize-winning author and editor.

Chris McKitterick Gives Keynote Address at UCO Liberal Arts Symposium

Edmond, OK - February 29, 2012

CSSF Director Chris McKitterick presented this year's keynote address, "Science Fiction: Mythologies for a Changing Age," at the University of Central Oklahoma's annual Liberal Arts Symposium XXIV, which runs from 9:00am to 3:00pm, February 29.

The Symposium offers students the opportunity to present their exemplary writing and research and to participate in other academic and creative activities. "The symposium allows our upper-level students who might be headed for graduate or professional school an opportunity to attend something that closely resembles the experience of participating in an academic conference, without having to bear the expense and inconvenience of travel," said Professor Mark Silcox, chair of the Liberal Arts Symposium Committee and SF Writing Workshop alum. "It also helps students within our college prepare for the marketplace, gives them the opportunity to hear the ideas of scholars from outside the University, and helps provoke lively arguments about provocative subjects."

Wednesday, February 29, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Keynote talk is noon - 1:00pm

Pegasus Theater of the Liberal Arts Building
University of Central Oklahoma
Edmond, OK

Kij Johnson Nominated for the Nebula Award

Lawrence, KS - February 20, 2012

CSSF Associate Director Kij Johnson's novella, "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" (Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011), is up for the Nebula Award.

Summer Speculative-Fiction Writing Workshops Now Accepting Applications

Lawrence, KS - February 1, 2012

CSSF Director and author Christopher McKitterick is now accepting applications for the speculative-fiction Writing Workshop, which he has co-taught with James Gunn since 1996 and began leading in 2011. This workshop is now available for college graduate credit.

Multiple-award-winner Kij Johnson is also now accepting applications for her SF/F/H Novel Writing Workshop, which runs concurrently with the short-SF workshop.

The workshops usually fill, so if you're interested, please apply as soon as practical. 

"A Basic Science Fiction Library" Gets Nice Mention in WIRED

The February 5, 2012, issue of WIRED magazine has a useful article, "102 Essential Science Fiction Books for Your Kindle." If you're looking to expand your understanding of the genre or build a solid library but haven't yet seen our Basic Science Fiction Library, check it out!

Kij Johnson Reading at KU Monday, January 23, 2012

Lawrence, KS

Author Kij Johnson will visit the University of Kansas for a whirlwind tour starting this Sunday through Tuesday, and she'll give a reading in the Jayhawk Room of the Kansas Union on Monday at 4:00pm, courtesy of the English Department (she is here as candidate for a fiction-writing associate professor position in the Department).

Kij has won the Sturgeon, World Fantasy, Locus, and Nebula awards, and has been nominated multiple times for the Hugo and others. Kij is Associate Director of CSSF and teaches the summer Speculative Fiction Novel Writing Workshop.

After the reading there's time for a Q&A, and a reception is planned starting at 5:15pm. Come hear Kij read and talk about writing!

Click the image to the right to see the full-resolution version of the flyer.


Sheila Williams Article about the Center Appears in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine

New York, NY December issue, 2011

For the December issues of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, editor Sheila Williams wrote a lovely article, "Sliding Doors" (click here to read), about her visit to the Campbell Conference in July, 2011, and reminisces about what could have been if she had come to KU to study SF. Thanks, Sheila! Part Two appears next month in the January, 2012, issue.

"The Gothic Imagination" Event Monday, Oct. 31

Lawrence, KS October 24, 2011

Come to John C. Tibbetts' horror-themed book-release party next Monday! There'll be readings (from John, James Gunn, Ben Cartwright, and Chris McKitterick), costumes, video snippets, and more! Oh, and you can get books signed, too. No cost (unless you buy a book, of course).

Kij Johnson Reading and Signing on Oct. 18 at Jayhawk Ink Bookstore

Lawrence, KS October 12, 2011

Author Kij Johnson read from "The Man Who Bridged The Mist" and signed books at Jayhawk Ink on Tuesday, October 18, from 1:30pm - 3:00pm.

Kij has won the Sturgeon, World Fantasy, Locus, and Nebula awards, and has been nominated multiple times for the Hugo and others. Kij is Associate Director of CSSF and teaches the summer Speculative Fiction Novel Writing Workshop.

Gunn, Healey, and Sturgeon Discuss Theodore Sturgeon Acquisition on NPR

Lawrence, KS July 26, 2011

CSSF Founding Director James Gunn, KU Special Collections Librarian Elspeth Healey, and Sturgeon Trustee Noel Sturgeon appeared on KCURs Central Standard show tomorrow, Thursday, July 27, from 10:00am to 10:30am to discuss our newly acquired Sturgeon collection. The show aired on 89.3 FM; to listen to the NPR interview with James Gunn, Nol Sturgeon, and Elspeth Healey about the acquisition, see the AboutSF audio archive here.

Theodore Sturgeon Award and John W. Campbell Award Winners Announced

Lawrence, KS July 8, 2011

Irish author Ian McDonalds The Dervish House won the Campbell Award for the best science-fiction novel of the year and Geoffrey A. Landiss The Sultan of the Clouds won the Sturgeon Award for the best short science fiction of the year in a ceremony Friday at the University of Kansas.

The Campbell Award was presented to McDonald by Campbell Award juror Elizabeth Anne Hull. The Sturgeon Award was presented to Landis by Nol Sturgeon, Theodore Sturgeons daughter, trustee of his literary estate, and a member of the Sturgeon Award jury.

McDonald was born in Scotland in 1960 but was moved to Northern Ireland when he was five, and lived through the troubled years. He was turned on to science fiction by childhood television programs and began writing at the age of nine. He sold his first story at twenty-two and became a full-time writer in 1987. Much of his writing has focused on the developing nations of Africa, India, and South America, and one commentator has suggested that his life in Northern Ireland led him to consider that country a developing-world society. The Dervish House is set in Turkey, specifically Istanbul, five years after Turkey has been admitted to the European Union and offers, one reviewer said, a coalescence of order out of interacting possibilities.

Landis came to science fiction through science. He was born in Detroit in 1955 but moved regularly throughout his childhood. He is a NASA scientist with a Ph.D. in physics from Brown University after undergraduate studies at M.I.T. in physics and electrical engineering. He has worked on several space missions, including Mars Pathfinder and the long-lived Mars Exploration Rovers. He began publishing science fiction in 1984 and attended Clarion in 1985, where he met his wife, writer Mary Turzillo. Landis has won two Hugo Awards and a Nebula Award for his short fiction. He is known as a writer of hard science fiction, and The Sultan of the Clouds describes a possible way of living on Venusor, rather, living in floating cities in the upper atmosphere of Venus.

This is McDonald's second trip to the Awards ceremony. His Tendeleos Story won the Sturgeon Award in 2001.

Campbell Award second place went to How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu; Chris McKitterick presented the award. Third place went to The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi; Jen Green presented the award.

Sturgeon Award second place went to "The Maiden Flight of McCauleys Bellerophon," by Elizabeth Hand; Nathaniel Williams presented the award. Third place went to "The Things," by Peter Watts; Benjamin Cartwright presented the award.

The Awards are presented by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction during the Campbell Conference, a four-day event held annually at the University of Kansas. The Campbell Award is selected, from nominations by publishers, by a jury composed of seven writers and academics. The Sturgeon Award is selected, from nominations by reviewers and editors, by a jury composed of five writers and academics.

Theodore Sturgeon's Papers Donated to the Science Fiction Special Collection
at KU's Spencer Research Library

LAWRENCE, Kansas July 8, 2011

A treasure trove of private letters, manuscripts and other papers by one of the most influential writers of the "golden age" of science fiction whos credited with inventing with Leonard Nimoy the live long and prosper Vulcan phrase for Star Trek has been donated to the University of Kansas.

The definitive collection of late author Theodore Sturgeons books, papers, manuscripts, and correspondence have been established at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at KU, home to the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The Sturgeon Award for the best short science fiction is given annually at the centers Campbell Conference, this year on July 7-10.

The collection includes:

  • Original manuscript and multiple film script treatments of More Than Human, Sturgeons best-known novel
  • Sturgeons notes and outline for Amok Time, one of two Star Trek episodes he wrote. In Amok Time, Spock returns to Vulcan to meet his intended future wife.
  • Correspondence, story ideas and drafts shared with noted science fiction editors and authors, including John W. Campbell, Robert Heinlein, Edgar Pangborn, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Gene Roddenberry, and T.H. White.
  • Sturgeons rewrite of a L. Ron Hubbard article submitted to Amazing Stories magazine titled Dianetics: Supermen in 1950 AD.
  • His adoption papers, in which his name was changed.
  • And much, much more, to be increasingly catalogued and accessible over the next several months.

Best known for transforming the pulp magazine short story into an art form, Sturgeons writing had a strong influence on 60s counterculture, including the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills, and Nash. His lyrical and varied style represented a turn from the hard science fiction of the 1940s to the socially conscious topics more common in contemporary science fiction, including sexuality, gender, pacifism, and the individual cost of social conventions. His short stories ranged from science fiction and fantasy to comedy and horror.

Sturgeon was also known for coining Sturgeons Law, which states that 90 percent of everything is crud, and the credo Ask the next question.

During his career, Sturgeon (1918-85) won virtually every major award in his field, including the Hugo, the Nebula, the World Fantasy Achievement Award, and the Gaylactica/Spectrum Award for his groundbreaking story about homosexuality, The World Well Lost. He also was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

The Sturgeon collection, valued at $600,000, had been privately held in two parts: the Woodstock collection, from his widow, Marion, and the Sturgeon Literary Trust collection managed by daughter Nol. Additional support came from KUs Center for the Study of Science Fiction, English department, and Spencer Research Library.

In making the donation, Noel Sturgeon credits the work of CSSF Founding Director James Gunn.

Jims long dedication to the teaching and scholarship of science fiction, and his particular interest in and support of my fathers work, was the main impetus behind our choice of the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas as the home for Sturgeons collection of papers, she said.

Beth Whittaker, head of Spencer Research Library, said, This extraordinary gift ensures that Sturgeons profound literary and cultural legacy will be available to new generations of scholars, writers and readers.

Keith Stokes, well-known fan and photographer, posted a wonderful photo-essay of the event here.

To listen to the NPR interview with James Gunn, Noel Sturgeon, and Elspeth Healey about the acquisition, see the AboutSF audio archive here.

For more information about Sturgeon, stories, readings of his work, and more, see the Sturgeon Literary Trust website. You can also follow Sturgeon news on Facebook.

In the news elsewhere:

6 News Lawrence: "Private papers of 'Star Trek' writer donated to KU"
Fox 4 News: "Papers of Legendary 'Star Trek' Writer Donated to KU"
Guardian UK: "Theodore Sturgeon's archive to live long and prosper in university archive"
I09: "University Library gets Theodore Sturgeons original notes for More than Human and "Amok Time"
Kansas City Star: "KU gets sci-fi author Theodore Sturgeons papers"
KU Libraries: "Gift establishes world's largest collection of author Theodore Sturgeon's materials at Kenneth Spencer Research Library"
L.A. Times: "Theodore Sturgeon's papers will live long and prosper at University of Kansas"
Locus: "Sturgeon Papers Go to University of Kansas"
Preternatural Post: "Sturgeon's papers will 'live long and prosper' at the University of Kansas Library"
SF Scope: "Theodore Sturgeon's papers to be united at the University of Kansas"
SF Signal: "Sturgeon Papers Donated"

Bradley Denton Joins CSSF Science Fiction Writers Workshop for 2011

Lawrence, KS

The Center for the Study of Science Fiction will again offer the Science Fiction Writers Workshop on short-fiction writing in 2011. SFWA Science Fiction Grand Master James Gunn, who has led this workshop since 1985, is stepping back a little and will participate during the second week; he will also join us for lunch each day.

Starting this year, author Christopher McKitterick, who has co-taught the workshop since 1996, will lead the first week, and guest author Bradley Denton - another former Gunn student - will lead the second week. Denton's novel Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede, won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 1992, and is now in production to become a film. His two-volume story collection The Calvin Coolidge Home for Dead Comedians / A Conflagration Artist won the World Fantasy Award in 1995. In July 2005, his novella "Sergeant Chip" won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Denton's music stylings have become a popular feature at SF events around the country.

Multiple-award-winner Kij Johnson is also now accepting applications for her SF/F/H Novel Writing Workshop, which runs concurrently with the short-SF workshop.

The workshops usually fill up, so if you're interested in applying, please contact as soon as practical, and we can let you know about openings.

Percival's Planet

Lawrence, KS

Tuesday April 19, 2011
6:30pm - 9:30pm
University of Kansas Student Union Ballroom, Level 5

Click the image
to see more about Pluto.

Here's a don't-miss event tomorrow night at KU:

Author Michael Byers discusses his novel, Percival's Planet, which was inspired by the true story of Kansan and noted astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto. Byers talk will be introduced by Steven A. Hawley, KU Professor of Physics and Astronomy and former NASA astronaut.

The Ballroom event will also feature a guided astronomy display including Tombaugh artifacts, presented from 6:30 p.m. by the KU Department of Physics and Astronomy. Following the talk, Michael Byers will sign his books. Click here to read a sample from his book, published in the New York Times.

The event will conclude with a telescope viewing session on the Kansas Union 6th floor deck (weather permitting).

Home | A Basic SF Library | About Gunn | AboutSF.com | Educational Program | Films and Online Videos | SF News | SF Youth Program
CSSF Awards | Campbell Conference | James Gunn Essays | SF Hall of Fame | CSSF Blog | Resources | Donate