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
"Tomorrow Is Now." Its look and feel is based on that
1939 World's Fair, whose theme was "World of Tomorrow,"
not only exploring what tomorrow would be like but also celebrating how far we
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Though we especially encourage papers
or presentations on
MidAmeriCon II's theme or
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
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
- 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
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.
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.
1941 Retro Hugo will be given this year at WorldCon.
- Scientific topics:
- We welcome science scholars presenting research relevant to an SF
- 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
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
- 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 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
- 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
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
- 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.)
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
names are also engraved on the permanent
that remain on display at the Center's office.
This year's Conference begins when
MidAmeriCon opens its
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.
This year's Campbell
Conference guests will
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
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
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
& 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.
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
Award jury. His short fiction, nonfiction,
and essays have been published in a number of magazines and anthologies,
and his debut novel,
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.
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
Special Guests from 2004
George Zebrowski (Campbell Award
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
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
Your packet will have all the up-to-date info!
For details about the full
programming schedule, visit this page.
Registration and Costs
Because this year is a joint event with
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
(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
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.
Click the links below to see reports about previous Campbell Conferences.
Photos from Past Conferences
Click the links below to see Keith Stokes'
MidAmerican Fan photo-archives of
previous years' activities.