Campbell Conference and Awards 2016
"Tomorrow Is Now"
Academic Track for MidAmeriCon II:
The 74th WorldCon

August 17-21, 2016
Kansas City, Missouri

Connect with SF authors, scholars, editors, and fans while celebrating the best SF of the year. Since 1978.
This year, we combine forces with the biggest SF event in the world,
the annual World Science Fiction Convention! Since 1939.

NEW: Call for Presentations

Special Guests for 2016
Schedule of Events
Airport Transportation
Reports from Prior Conferences

         Updated November 11, 2015

Thanks to everyone who attended last year - we had a great time and made lots of connections.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Campbell and Sturgeon Awards. Ad Astra!

This year's Campbell Conference is proud to serve as the academic-programming track for MidAmeriCon II: The 74th World Science Fiction Convention on August 17-21, 2016, in Kansas City, Missouri. All of this year's activities will take place at the MidAmeriCon facilities.

Even though WorldCon is the biggest annual gathering of SF fans and professionals in the world, it does not always offer academic programming. This year, Gunn Center Director Chris McKitterick was asked to put together an academic track. So, rather than host a separate Campbell Conference with WorldCon just a month later in neighboring Kansas City - thus forcing out-of-town guests to choose one or the other! - we decided to combine the two. Our regular attendees and award winners gain the opportunity to be part of the biggest SF event of the year while still celebrating the Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award. And WorldCon attendees gain a taste of the Campbell Conference.

By presenting at MidAmeriCon II, SF students and academics have the opportunity to enhance their CVs by presenting research to a potentially much wider audience and to participate at the world's first and biggest SF event.

Using MidAmeriCon's theme of "Tomorrow Is Now," we'll discuss the current state and future of science fiction. See the Call for Presentations, below, for details.

In addition to a running track of presentations, we also plan to hold our usual round-table discussion. And of course we'll celebrate the winners of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best SF novel and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short SF, and host a reception for our winning Guests of Honor (we usually announce our final Guests of Honor in early May - check back then for our full list of talented authors).

Call for Presentations:
Campbell Conference 2016
(MidAmeriCon II Academic Track)

This year's academic-track panels, presentations, and round-table programming for MidAmeriCon II is hosted by the Campbell Conference (normally held each June at KU's Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction). MidAmeriCon II's theme is "Tomorrow Is Now." Its look and feel is based on that of the 1939 World's Fair, whose theme was "World of Tomorrow," not only exploring what tomorrow would be like but also celebrating how far we have come.

Depending on how many suitable proposals we receive, we will either offer a single academic track or two concurrent tracks of 60-minute sessions offered Thursday morning through Sunday afternoon. Sessions may consist of short individual presentations (three 15-minute or two 20-minute presentations) grouped together by topic, panel presentations of 3 or more presenters, round-table discussions led by facilitators, poster and multimedia presentations, workshops led by facilitators, idea sessions, and special interest groups. Featured or keynote presentations will be organized by the Campbell Conference committee.

Possible formats for your proposed presentation:

  • Individual Presentation
    • Individual presentation or conference paper of 15-20 minutes (typical). The academic-track committee will place you on the program with others presenting on similar interests.
    • Individual presentation or conference paper of 50 minutes, if you feel your topic can draw a broader audience.
  • Poster or Slide Presentation
    • A format typical of scientific and tech fairs.
    • Does it make more sense to present your research in a visual format (typically using literal posters or slideshows) rather than a traditional conference's spoken presentation?
    • Successful proposals of this type typically show a visual presentation, then informally discuss the research with attendees.
  • Panel Presentation
    • We encourage you to create a panels among peers to submit as a group on a single theme.
    • You pick your panel co-presenters as you examine a particular theme, question, or topic.
    • Two 20-minute presentations.
    • Three 15-minute presentations.
  • Roundtable Discussion
    • A more-flexible format. Plan for 50 minutes.
    • We encourage proposals for roundtable discussions. Audiences - particularly SF convention audiences - love active participation.
    • Typically opens with a few minutes of introductory comments by your chosen moderator.
    • Moderator poses questions for the presenters to formally discuss.
    • Typically concludes with questions from and discussion among attendees.
    • (Note: This CFP is for the academic track only. Submit general fan-related panel proposals via the MidAmeriCon II Program Idea Form.)
  • Workshop Session
    • 50-minute interactive sessions revolving around participant involvement.
    • Consider including physical objects to interact with, games, and so forth to engage the audience.
    • Some kinds of workshops require their organizers to work with prior submissions from the audience; in this case, prepare to connect in advance with at least one or two whom you know will attend, to ensure you have material to workshop or use in demonstrations.
  • Idea Session
    • 15-to-50-minute presentations designed to stimulate ideas in audience members or otherwise develop collaborative efforts.
    • Visual and other sensory stimulation is important.
    • Consider including a rich diversity of slides, video, music, and other multimedia.
  • Special Interest Group
    • 15-to-50-minute informal conversations with colleagues and peers.
    • Include a brief description and overview of how you will involve, attract, and engage participants.
  • We encourage all types of papers presented in a friendly, audience-engaging manner.
  • Non-traditional formats welcome! Just give us a good description of what you have in mind.

This is WorldCon, so think of ways to attract a wider audience than you might see at a traditional academic conference. Consider how you can provide an engaging experience rather than simply read a paper to people sitting quietly in their chairs.

Suggested Topics
Though we especially encourage papers or presentations on MidAmeriCon II's theme or its Guests of Honor, we also welcome any other science-fiction presentation proposal topics. Some ideas:

  • Consider the theme: "Tomorrow Is Now" (or "The World of Tomorrow").
    • What is the predictive or anticipatory value of SF?
    • How does SF focus on today's problems?
  • One of this year's MidAmeriCon II Guests of Honor and their work.
  • One of the other MidAmeriCon II attending authors (full list of currently registered members is here) and their work.
  • Current or previous Campbell Conference special guests and their work.
  • Prior winners of the Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award and their work.
    • (We plan to bring the winners of the Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award as Guests of Honor, as well, but won't announce this year's winners until May. Perhaps make this a research challenge to produce a new paper on one of the winners between May and August.)
  • In 1939, the first WorldCon was held in New York City, just down the road from the World's Fair, which is why the first WorldCon was held in New York City that year, and why it was called "WorldCon."
  • On that note, consider a First Fandom- or Futurians-related proposal.
  • Some aspects of the 1939 World's Fair:
    • It was very optimistic about the future. This was the end of the Depression, the US wasn't yet involved in WWII, and skyscrapers were beginning to rise like metaphors from the hearts of our cities.
    • TV debuted that year.
    • GM built Futurama, the city of tomorrow.
    • Westinghouse displayed a robot that walked (and smoked cigarettes!).
  • Many consider 1939 to be the start of science fiction's Golden Age, seeing Heinlein, Asimov, and Sturgeon's first publications. This makes John W. Campbell (whose memory we honor with the Campbell Award) particularly relevant, as he published all the Big Names of the Golden Age that year.
  • The first MidAmeriCon in 1976 took place when the field was really starting to break out. This is still true: The future is cracking open, women are becoming more respected by SF in general, SF is becoming more respected by academia, and so on.
  • The 1941 Retro Hugo will be given this year at WorldCon.
  • Scientific topics:
    • We welcome science scholars presenting research relevant to an SF audience.
    • Scholarly scientific topics presented in a speculative frame.
    • Literary topics investigated through a scientific lens.
    • Demonstrations of futuristic science or technology.
  • ...or other ongoing research relevant to an SF audience.

The WorldCon audience is very large and diverse. Often, fans who have never attended an academic conference in their lives will drop in to a presentation or panel that catches their fancy. What can you do to attract them to your presentation or event?

See the next section for how to submit your proposal.

How to Submit

Send your proposal via email to:

What to Submit
Please use a clear subject line using this format:

  • MidAmeriCon II Proposal: [title]
    • Example: MidAmeriCon II Proposal: "The Alien Canterbury Voyage of James Gunn's Transcendental."
    • Example: MidAmeriCon II Proposal: "The Science Beneath The Europa Report's Alien Ocean."
  • Make your title engaging, intriguing, interesting, appealing... you get the idea. Before anyone reads your abstract, your title needs to draw them in.

In the body of your email, include:

  • A little information about yourself, including:
    • Your name (and preferred honorifics, if desired).
    • Any professional affiliations (for exmaple, SFRA, SFWA, ICFA, university or research institution, editing position, or so forth).
    • Your relationship to SF (student, professor, independent scholar, author, fan, or so forth).
    • If you're already a member of MidAmeriCon II.
  • The format you're proposing. Examples:
    • 20-minute academic literary presentation.
    • 50-minute scienctific slide session.
    • 50-minute panel discussion.
    • ...and so forth.
  • The abstract of your proposed presentation, session, panel, or round-table. Maximum words: 300.
  • Be specific and clear about the focus and purpose of your proposal. Please don't include supplemental material.
  • If you're proposing a group event:
    • Let us know who else has agreed to participate, or who you (reasonably) expect to participate.
    • We cannot set up group panels for you, though we might be able to assist if you're looking for suggestions for that last spot in your group.
  • If you wish to apply for an academic scholarship, please indicate this and follow the instructions below.

Deadline: January 14, 2016.
We will make final decisions on presentations soon after the deadline. Until then, we'll use a rolling acceptance process beginning with the first submissions, so don't delay!

All presenters must register for MidAmeriCon II within 30 days of accepting our invitation in order to appear in the convention program. (Scholarship recipients work with us to become officially registered.)

Academic Scholarships
Because we're honored and excited to be a part of this year's WorldCon, and we want to make the event accessible to scholars with less financial privilege, the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction is offering two need-based scholarships for academic-track participants whose proposals have been accepted and who otherwise might not be able to attend.

To apply:

  • Indicate your interest in your CFP submission email.
  • Give us a short explanation of how your ability to participate on the MidAmeriCon II academic track depends on being able to afford membership to the convention.
  • Are you a student or faculty who cannot get travel funds to cover the event? Are you an independent scholar who doesn't have the funds to attend WorldCon but would really love to do so? Let us know how our help will make it possible for you to attend when you might not otherwise be able to do so.

Our decision is based on:

  • Those who requested to be considered for a scholarship in their CFP submission.
  • Whose proposals we have accepted.
  • Who most need the assistance.

We will announce who will receive these two free memberships (or have their memberships reimbursed if already purchased, up to $150) on or before February 1, 2016. If you can afford to purchase your membership, we urge you to register for the event ASAP, even if you are applying for a scholarhip: Costs rise as we approach the convention!

We will also give at least two free memberships to volunteer staff helping run the academic track. Stay tuned for details.

Drop us a line:

Award winners at the 2009 Campbell Conference Awards Banquet
Cory Doctorow, Ian MacLeod, James Alan Gardner (James Gunn in background). Photo by Keith Stokes.

Normally held annually at the University of Kansas (except for the special joint event in 2007 with SFRA and the Heinlein Centennial), the Conference provides a setting for intelligent discussion about SF centered around the presentation of these science-fiction honors:

We invite winners of the Campbell and Sturgeon awards (and often their editors) to the event. These Guests of Honor take home trophies, and their names are also engraved on the permanent trophies that remain on display at the Center's office.

This year's Conference begins when MidAmeriCon opens its doors. Planning is in the early stages, so check back for more details. Full schedule TBA as we evaluate presentation proposals.

Campbell Conference book signing from 2008
Kij Johnson, James Gunn, Chris McKitterick, and Frederik Pohl.

Speakers and Special Guests for 2016

Because of our combined event this year, the Campbell Conference not only plans to invite the winners of the Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award as Guests of Honor, but attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and hear from the thousands of other MidAmeriCon II authors, editors, and fans! Visit the MidAmeriCon II website for details.

MidAmeriCon II Guests of Honor:

MidAmeriCon II Toastmaster:

This year's Campbell Conference guests will be announced as plans firm, but here's who has so far affirmed participation in the Campbell Conference at MidAmeriCon II:

James Gunn is a science fiction author and historian, KU professor emeritus of English, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and SFWA Grand Master. He is a past president of both SFRA and SFWA, and chairs the Campbell Award jury to select the best science-fiction novel of the year. Dr. Gunn served on the advisory board of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame for a number of years. See his page on this website for his bibliography and a fuller bio.

Kij Johnson's fantasy and SF novels and short stories have won the Sturgeon Award (which she now serves as juror), World Fantasy Award (which she also serves as juror), Nebula Award (three times), IAFA Crawford Award, and Hugo Award. Kij is Associate Director of the Center, teaches the Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel Writing Workshop as well as a number of other regular-semester writing and fantasy-related courses at KU, where she is Assistant Professor of Fiction Writing in the University of Kansas English Department.

Christopher McKitterick is an author, editor, and faculty at the University of Kansas, where he teaches fiction writing, creative writing, and science fiction; he is the Center's Director, and serves on the Campbell Memorial Award jury. His short fiction, nonfiction, and essays have been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, and his debut novel, Transcendence, was published by Hadley Rille Books. Chris teaches the Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop and Intensive Institute on the Study of SF, as well as a number of other regular-semester writing and SF courses.

Michael Page teaches science fiction and other English courses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mike recently edited the story collection, The Man with the Strange Head, by Miles J. Breuer, an early science fiction pioneer. His critical study The Literary Imagination from Erasmus Darwin to H.G. Wells: Science, Evolution, and Ecology, explores the intersections between literature and science in the nineteenth century. His latest essay on Golden Age science fiction and ecology appears in Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, edited by Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson. He is currently completing a book on Frederik Pohl for the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series from the University of Illinois Press.

The Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award winners are always invited to be present to receive their awards, and their editors often attend, as well.

More guests TBA!

Keep your eye out for talks and readings by and about these special guests! We will continue to update the guest list until shortly before the Conference begins.

Campbell Award winners and Hall of Fame inductees
Special Guests from 2004
George Zebrowski (Campbell Award 1999 winner and Sturgeon Award juror), Frederik Pohl (the only two-time Campbell winner, 1978 and 1985), Gregory Benford (Campbell 1981), Jack McDevitt (Campbell 2004), Brian Aldiss (1983 Campbell winner, SF&F Hall of Fame inductee, and First Fandom Hall of Fame inductee), and Hall of Fame inductee Harry Harrison. Aldiss and Harrison created the Campbell Award in 1972. Photo courtesy Karen Gunn.

Schedule of Events

Stay tuned: This is a working draft of the schedule, which will grow as we confirm presentations and special guests, and as as we add other events of interest to SF scholars and educators. Your packet will have all the up-to-date info!

For details about the full MidAmeriCon II programming schedule, visit this page.

Registration and Costs

Because this year is a joint event with MidAmeriCon II, simply register for that event and you'll have full access to all WorldCon and Campbell Conference activities, including the Campbell and Sturgeon Awards Ceremony. If you wish to eat dinner during the Campbell and Sturgeon Awards Banquet, stay tuned for reservation information for that.

For those who intend to only participate in the academic track, we are looking into alternative registrations.

For Campbell Conference questions not related to the Call for Presentations, contact Lydia Ash:

Housing for the 2016 Campbell Conference
at MidAmeriCon II

This year's joint event with MidAmeriCon II means we'll share convention-hotel space with other WorldCon attendees. Reserve your room beginning in January, 2016, to ensure you have a convenient space to stay during the big event! Full details and registration links here.

Hotel and reservation information here.

Transportation from MCI Airport
to MidAmeriCon II

This year's Conference takes place in Kansas City, Missouri. This lovely metropolis is centrally located in the US, which means you can easily get there by plane, train, or automobile; its central location is especially convenient for within driving distance. The Kansas City International airport (MCI) is only a 20-minute drive from the convention center and hotels. The train station is only 1.5 miles away. Come on by and enjoy what Kansas City has to offer!

Many transport services offer rides from the Kansas City International (MCI - the "M" is for "Mid-Continent") airport, including:

  • Better Alternative Transportation Services (BATS): 24/7 door-to-door service; individual rates.
  • Roadrunner (also known as "KCI Airport Shuttle"): individual rates. Toll-free phone contact number: (800)747-2524 or call your travel agent.
  • SDM Transportation: 24/7 door-to-door service; offers airport shuttles or luxury cars with individual rates.
  • Jayhawk Taxi: 24/7 door-to-door service; fixed rate to the airport for 1-2 passengers.
  • Super Shuttles: 24/7 door-to-door service; group rates; discount if you use the group discount code: S6Q2W.
  • Five Guys Shuttle: 24/7 door-to-door service; rates per van, not per person.
  • Here 2 There Shuttle: 24/7 DD service, airport shuttle, and reservations for special events. Can hold up to 10 passengers at once. Call or text 785-380-8879 or email
  • KCI Express Shuttle offers pickup and delivery right to the door for only $5 more than the normal rate. Phone Reservations: (816)645-1815. After 8:00 PM CST (816)372-1556.
  • Ground Transportation Services, Inc, is a local Lawrence business that provides 24/7 taxi service within Lawrence, and the surrounding areas. They also operate daily door-to-door shuttle service to the Kansas City Airport. (888)467-3729 or (785)838-4500. See a schedule here.


  • Reserve well in advance of your trip to confirm pricing and availability.
  • KCI stands for "Kansas City International Airport," though the official airport code changed to MCI - "Mid-Continent International Airport" - a few years ago.
  • This list is for your information only. KU and the Gunn Center are not affiliated with these services.

Past Conferences

Click the links below to see reports about previous Campbell Conferences.

2015 Campbell Conference

2014 Campbell Conference

2013 Campbell Conference

2012 Campbell Conference

2011 Campbell Conference

2010 Campbell Conference

2009 Campbell Conference

2008 Campbell Conference

2007 Campbell Conference

2006 Campbell Conference

2005 Campbell Conference

2004 Campbell Conference

2003 Campbell Conference

2002 Campbell Conference

poster for the 2008 book signing event
2008 Campbell Conference reading & signing poster

Photos from Past Conferences

Click the links below to see Keith Stokes' MidAmerican Fan photo-archives of previous years' activities.

2015 Campbell Conference

2014 Campbell Conference

2013 Campbell Conference

2012 Campbell Conference

2011 Campbell Conference

2010 Campbell Conference

2009 Campbell Conference

2008 Campbell Conference (by Ed Carmien)

2007 Campbell Conference

2006 Campbell Conference

2006 Campbell Conference (by Tracy Majkol)

2005 Campbell Conference

2004 Campbell Conference

2003 Campbell Conference

2002 Campbell Conference

2001 Campbell Conference

2000 Campbell Conference

1998 Campbell Conference

1997 Campbell Conference

1996 Campbell Conference

Giselle Anatol and other SFRA speakers at the 2008 Campbell Conference
Giselle Anatol and other SFRA speakers at the 2008 Campbell Conference.

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