Center for the Study of Science Fiction
News and Events

Looking for more SFnal goings-on in the area?
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Also lots of discussion on the Lawrence SF Club Facebook page.

New for 2015:
The Mark Bourne Speculative Fiction Writing Scholarship

March 10, 2015
For immediate release (pdf press release)

Thanks to a generous friend of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction, starting in 2015 we are pleased to offer a scholarship to help 1-4 outstanding speculative-fiction writers attend one of the Center's summer writing workshops. The scholarship is intended to enable writers to attend one of the Center's writing workshops who might not otherwise be able to afford it. The donor (Elizabeth Bourne, an alum of the summer program) hopes to "help more writers attend the workshops and benefit from the world-class instructors they attract."

The scholarship is established in Mark's name to honor a man who dedicated his life to speculative fiction. See this page for full details on the new scholarship.

Mark Bourne, 1961 - 2012

Mark Wilson Bourne was a science-fiction writer, science writer, screenwriter, and film and movie reviewer, as well as an actor, stage director, teacher, and general awesome person. He even got to work with Ray Bradbury.

Mark passed away February 25, 2012, at the age of fifty. He was born July 10, 1961 in Russellville, Arkansas, to Philip and Elizabeth Wade Bourne. The middle of three boys, he is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; his stepson, Austin Lawhead; both brothers, Richard Bourne of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Randall Bourne of Phoenix, Arizona; and a large network of friends and chosen family.

Mark graduated from Russelville High School in 1979 and first attended Arkansas Tech, then the University of Arkansas where he earned his bachelor's with a double major in Music and English. He then achieved a Master's Degree in Theatre at the University of Nebraska.

Mark went on to script shows at planetaria and museums across the country. He is well published and highly regarded in the science fiction field. His story "What Dreams Are Made On" was reprinted in the 4th edition of Literature and Ourselves: a Thematic Introduction for Readers and Writers, making Mark a writer of academic significance. Mark is also listed in Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction as having the earliest use of "morph" in his story, "Being Human."

But the things Mark was known best for can't be quantified by the remarkable facts of his life, like his dry and mischievous sense of humor, his infectious grin, his fierce friendship, his braininess and insight, and his love and generosity. He'll never truly be gone as long as we remember him.

Mark's bio:

In Memoriam:
Sculptor Elden Tefft

February 19, 2015
For immediate release

The Gunn Center remembers Professor Elden Tefft, the sculptor who designed and cast the permanent Campbell and Sturgeon Award trophies, and left an indelible mark on University of Kansas culture.

Tefft was Professor Emeritus of art and the artist behind two of the Lawrence campus' signature sculptures: "Academic Jay," perched outside Strong Hall; and "Moses," outside Smith Hall, where it faces a stained-glass window of a burning bush. Moses and the burning bush play prominently in the university's seal (see image at right). In 2008, a replica of Tefft's "Academic Jay" was installed on the KU Edwards Campus.

Tefft died Tuesday, Feb. 17, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

"I join the KU community in mourning the loss of Elden Tefft and in offering sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues, as well as alumni who remember the talents he shared with them in the classroom," said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. "Elden's pieces are such an integral part of Mount Oread - pieces such as 'Moses' and 'Academic Jay' - that it's nearly impossible to imagine our campus without them. The university is privileged to be a home for these iconic works and to have had Elden as part of our Jayhawk community." 

Services will be handled by Warren-McElwain Mortuary. 

Photo: "Moses," by Elden Tefft.

An Evening with Margaret Atwood


"Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
The Arts, the Sciences, the Humanities, the Inhumanities, and the Non-Humanities. Zombies Thrown in Extra."

The KU Commons is pleased to present Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?: The Arts, the Sciences, the Humanities, the Inhumanities, and the Non-Humanities. Zombies Thrown in Extra, through the support of the Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture fund.

Literary icon Margaret Atwood, celebrated for her prescient vision and poetic voice, discusses the real-world origins of her speculative fiction and the roles of art, science and imagination in her creative process. A winner of many international literary awards, including the prestigious Booker Prize, Atwood is the bestselling author of more than thirty volumes of poetry, children's literature, fiction, and non-fiction. She is best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman, The Handmaid's Tale, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood. Her non-fiction book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, was recently made into a documentary. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages. In 2004, she co-invented the LongPen, a remote signing device that allows someone to write in ink anywhere in the world via tablet PC and the internet. Born in 1939 in Ottawa, Atwood grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

When: 7:00pm Monday, February 2, 2015
Where: Kansas Union, Ballroom

A reception and book-signing will follow the talk.

The Lawrence Public Library and KU Libraries selected Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale as the first Read Across Lawrence book for 2015. Find out more about programs, activities, and opportunities to get involved in the conversation here.

Christina Nelson:
New AboutSF Volunteer Coordinator


Please give a warm welcome to the Center for the Study of Science Fiction's new AboutSF Volunteer Coordinator, Christina Nelson! A short bio:

Once upon a time, she wanted to be an astrophysicist in France... but being a scientist was not in the stars. After earning her BA and MA in French and Francophone Studies from the University of Iowa as well as teaching in France, Christina came to KU to study French SF literature and film in the Department of French and Italian. Now a second-year PhD student, she plans to work on J.H. Rosny and Luc Besson for her dissertation. Antoine Volodine, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Jean-Claude Dunyach are also possible contenders.

Christina has been getting up to speed, consulting with prior AboutSF Coordinators, setting up her workspace, and planning for future SF-education outreach. When in Lawrence, you can make an appointment to talk with Christina in the CSSF offices and Lending Library, or in her teaching office.

Check out the official AboutSF website, and hang out with us on your favorite social networks:

AboutSF Facebook Group  |  AboutSF Facebook Page  |  AboutSF Twitter

Meanwhile, welcome, Christina!

AboutSF is the Gunn Center's educational-outreach program. We help teachers, librarians, researchers, and readers learn more about speculative literature and how to use it in teaching. AboutSF is a joint project of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the Science Fiction Research Association, with generous support from Tor Books, The Heinlein Prize Trust, and several individual donors.

John Kessel and James Gunn:
Guest Authors for 2015 Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop


John Kessel joins the Workshop for his first visit since his student days at KU! Kessel is the author of the novels Good News from Outer Space (which placed for the 1990 John W. Campbell Memorial Award), and Corrupting Dr. Nice, which Kim Stanley Robinson called, "the best time travel novel ever written," and, in collaboration with James Patrick Kelly, Freedom Beach. His short story collections are Meeting In Infinity (a New York Times Notable Book), The Pure Product, and The Baum Plan for Financial Independence.

A writer of erudite comic and satiric short fiction, Kessel's stories have twice received the Nebula Award (for his novella "Another Orphan," a fantasy about a commodities broker who awakes one morning to find himself trapped in the novel Moby Dick, and more recently for "Pride and Prometheus," in which Mary Bennet from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice meets Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein), in addition to the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the Locus Poll, and the James Tiptree Jr. Award. His play "Faustfeathers" won the Paul Green Playwright's Prize, and his story "A Clean Escape" was dramatized as the first episode of the ABC TV series Masters of Science Fiction, starring Sam Waterston and Judy Davis. In 2009 his story "Pride and Prometheus" received both the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. With Jim Kelly, Kessel has edited five anthologies of stories re-visioning contemporary short SF, most recently Digital Rapture: The Singularity Anthology, as well as Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, The Secret History of Science Fiction, and Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology.

Kessel holds a B.A. in Physics and English, and a Ph.D. in American Literature. He helped found and served as the first director of the MFA program in creative writing at North Carolina State University, where he has taught since 1982. He also writes plays and performs in the independent films, such as The Delicate Art of the Rifle. He lives and works in Raleigh, NC. As has been our tradition with guest authors for the Workshop, Kessel is also a "Young Gunn," having studied science fiction and writing under James Gunn. He earned his PhD from the University of Kansas in 1981. For more, check out Kessel's website, his Wikipedia page, and his Goodreads page.

Science fiction Grand Master James Gunn - who founded the Center for the Study of SF at KU and led the workshop from 1985 to 2010 - returns to participate during Week One and offer sage advice during lunch get-togethers, health permitting. Jim expects to give comments on one of each workshopper's stories.

Author and Gunn Center Director Christopher McKitterick, who served as guest author from 1996 to 2010, has led the Workshop since 2011. He participates from the start of the application period in January through the end of the summer program, critiquing every story and giving short talks on writing - especially during Week One.

For 2015, the Workshop meets from May 31 - June 14, followed by the Campbell Awards and Conference, which runs from June 13 - 16, which in turn is followed by the two-week Intensive Science Fiction Institute and the new "Young Gunns Repeat Offenders" workshop (details coming soon). Gunn joins us for the first week of the Workshop, for lunches throughout, and for the Conference; Andy joins us for the second week plus the Conference; and our Campbell Award- and Sturgeon Award-winning authors are usually on hand for the last day or two of the Workshop to share their expertise.

The Workshop is a fantastic experience, intended especially for writers who have just begun to publish or who need that final bit of insight or skill to become a published author. We work with all brands of speculative fiction, including horror, fantasy, magical realism, slipstream, speculative philosophy, all genres of science fiction, and so on, and it's a wonderful way to bond with fellow writers in a friendly and dedicated atmosphere. Plus we go out to dinner every night at a different restaurant in downtown Lawrence, watch lots of (both admirable and awful) SF film, and write our brains out.

Since 2011, the Workshop is also available for KU graduate credit as ENGL 757. If you're a grad student who needs summer credit to accelerate that graduation date, perfect! Most attendees, however, simply enroll as a professional workshop rather than for credit. Attendees come to KU from all around the world, so you'll get the chance to work with new people.

Interested? This is quite the opportunity to gain insights from some of the most-respected authors in the field. We are open for applications from January through May 20, but sooner is better as we usually fill early. See the website for details.

Author David Brin
Presents Talk and Signing at KU

For immediate release
Click here for the poster (.pdf) (.jpg)

Facebook event here

"The Dangerous Impudence of Speculative Fiction"

David Brin is a scientist, inventor, and New York Times bestselling author whose novels, including The Postman and Earth, have been translated into 25 languages and won the Campbell, Hugo, Nebula, and other awards. A film directed by Kevin Costner was based on his novel The Postman. Brin's Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning Uplift Saga (including Startide Rising and The Uplift War) explores genetic engineering of higher animals (including dolphins) to enable inter-species communication. Brin's newest novel from Tor Books, Existence, explores the ultimate question: Billions of planets may be ripe for life, even intelligence. So where is everybody? 

Brin's nonfiction book, The Transparent Society, explores the dangers of secrecy and loss of privacy in our modern world. It won the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association.

Dr. Brin makes frequent appearances on television shows such as The ArchiTechs, Universe, and Life After People, as well as on PBS, BBC, and NPR. Brin is also a leading commentator on modern and future trends, sharing unique and often humorous insights into the way technology could affect our human future.

With degrees from Caltech and the University of California-San Diego, Dr. Brin serves on advisory panels ranging from astronomy, NASA innovative concepts, nanotech, and SETI, to national defense and technological ethics. Although he explores many fields, Brin has degrees from Caltech and UCSD, including a PhD in Physics (working with Nobelist Hannes Alfven). See this page for a detailed C.V.

Brin's website
Existence book trailer
The Brin Weblog
Brin on Facebook

Abstract for Dr. Brin's Talk

The Dangerous Impudence of Speculative Fiction: For 6000 years, storytelling traditions preached acceptance of hierarchy and notions of a past Golden Age. Reversing this pattern, modern mythmakers often tout diversity, suspicion of authority, and individual eccentricity. Most past societies (and many contemporaries) deemed this trend to be insane. But no artistic genre has promoted rebel memes as forcefully as science fiction. Is this still the case? And is SF appreciated for these values?

A book signing immediately follows Brin's talk.

Everyone is invited!

Monday, October 13
4:00pm - 5:30pm
  (Fall Break at KU)

Jayhawk Ink Bookstore
Kansas Union 2nd floor
University of Kansas
1301 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045


John Symons Presents Talk at KU

For immediate release

"What Can We Teach Our Posthuman Descendants?"

John Symons is Chair and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kansas. He received his PhD from Boston University. He most recently served as an associate professor and chair of the philosophy department at the University of Texas, El Paso. His research interests include metaphysics and epistemology of science (how scientists know what they know), the philosophy of psychology, and the logic behind knowledge and belief. Philosopher Nick Bostrom recently described a "posthuman" as an individual who has gone beyond "the maximum attainable capacities by any current human being without recourse to new technological means." In his lecture, Symons will discuss the posthuman, including what the term might mean and how we can talk to and think about our posthuman descendants. Sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities

Everyone is invited!
Official page here. Presented by the KU Hall Center for the Humanities.

Tuesday, October 7
7:30pm - 8:30pm

The Commons
Spooner Hall
University of Kansas
1340 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045


Campbell and Sturgeon Award Winners Announced;
Frederik Pohl Honored

LAWRENCE, KS - June 18, 2014
.pdf version
.doc version

The winners of this year's John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the best science fiction novel, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction, have been revealed, announced Christopher McKitterick, Director of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The awards were presented during the Campbell Conference Awards banquet on Friday, June 13, as part of the Campbell Conference held annually at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Sarah Pinsker won the Sturgeon Award for her story "In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind." Ms. Pinsker was present to accept her award in person, and read "A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide" on Sunday. Second place went to Robert Reed for "Mystic Falls." Vylar Kaftan took third with "The Weight of the Sunrise." The Sturgeon Award was established in 1987 by James Gunn, the Center's Founding Director, and Sturgeon's heirs, including his children and partner Jayne Engelhart Tannehill, as memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction. The jury consisted of Elizabeth Bear, Andy Duncan, James Gunn, Kij Johnson, and Nöel Sturgeon, Trustee of the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Estate.

Marcel Theroux won the Campbell Award for his novel Strange Bodies. Mr. Theroux was unable to attend the ceremony but provided a video of his acceptance speech. Second place went to Paul McAuley's Evening's Empires. Linda Nagata took third for The Red: First Light. Writers and critics Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss established the Campbell Award to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (later named Analog) to continue his efforts to encourage writers to produce their best possible work. Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, is called by many the father of modern science fiction. 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.

Depending on your reading tastes, your favorite book or short story for the year might turn out to be any of the finalists, so the jurors recommend that you read all the works on both the Sturgeon short-list and the Campbell short-list.

Other weekend events: A reception followed the Awards Banquet at the top of the Kansas Union, with a view six stories above Mount Oread overlooking beautiful downtown Lawrence. Using the theme "Science Fiction and the Real World," this year's Saturday-morning roundtable discussion explored SF's intersection with other disciplines, the future, and the world we live in today. After a mass signing with attending authors and editors, James Gunn, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Kij Johnson, Chris McKitterick, and Mike Page gave readings in honor of Frederik Pohl. Pohl's relationship with the Gunn Center goes back to its earliest roots in the 1970s; he recorded "Ideas in Science Fiction" for the Literature of Science Fiction Lecture Series, spoke at the Intensive Institute on Science Fiction and Science Fiction Writing Workshop, served the Sturgeon Award since 1995, and shared his wisdom and expertise for decades. On Saturday evening, attendees were treated to a special showing of CSA: The Confederate States of America, followed by a discussion with writer and director Kevin Willmott and cinematographer Matthew Jacobson. Sunday morning began with a Q&A with our special guests, during which Ms. Pinsker gave a reading, followed by an informal "Science Fiction Sunday" event at a local home.

Congratulations to the honorees! Much appreciation to all who participated, and thanks to the winners for providing us with such fine reading - Ad Astra!

John W. Campbell Memorial Award
Finalists Announced

LAWRENCE, KS - May 18, 2014
for immediate release
Also available in .doc or .pdf version

This year's finalists for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science-fiction novel have been selected, announced Christopher McKitterick, Director of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The awards will be presented on Friday, June 13, as part of the Campbell Conference held annually at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

The Center is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2014 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best SF novel of 2013:

Max Barry Lexicon Penguin
Stephen Baxter Proxima Gollancz
Dave Eggers The Circle Knopf
Karen Joy Fowler We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Marian Wood / Putnam
Nicola Griffith Hild Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Wolfgang Jeschke The Cusanus Game Tor (1st English edition)
Ann Leckie Ancillary Justice Orbit
Phillip Mann The Disestablishment of Paradise Gollancz
Paul McAuley Evening's Empires Gollancz
Linda Nagata The Red: First Light Mythic Island Press
Christopher Priest The Adjacent Gollancz
Alastair Reynolds On the Steel Breeze Gollancz
Kim Stanley Robinson Shaman Orbit
Charles Stross Neptune's Brood Ace
Marcel Theroux Strange Bodies Faber & Faber / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

The Campbell Award was created to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, now Analog. Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, is called by many the father of modern SF. Writers and critics Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss established the award in Campbell's name as a way of continuing his efforts to encourage writers to produce their best possible work, and presented the first Award in 1973.

The Award is selected by a committee small enough to discuss among its members all of the nominated novels. 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. In 2009, Paul A. Carter retired from the jury after serving for many years, and Paul Di Filippo and Sheila Finch joined the committee. In 2008, Paul Kincaid replaced Farah Mendlesohn.

The Award will be presented Friday, June 13, at the Campbell Conference, held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, June 13-15. The Campbell Conference has been held here each year since 1978. It includes a Friday-evening banquet where the annual Campbell and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards are presented; a Saturday-morning roundtable discussion with scholars, scientists, and writers of science fiction; an afternoon discussion about interdisciplinary science-fiction studies, and other events. This year's topic is "Science Fiction and the Real World," with a special focus on the work and life of Frederik Pohl, a long-time friend of the Center.

Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award
Finalists Announced

LAWRENCE, KS - May 5, 2014
for immediate release
Also available in .doc or .pdf version

This year's finalists for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short science fiction have been selected, announced Christopher McKitterick, Director of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The awards will be presented during the Campbell Conference on Friday, June 13, as part of the Campbell Conference held annually at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

The Center is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2014 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short SF of 2013:

"Bloom," Gregory Norman Bossert. Asimov's, Dec 2013.
"The Weight of the Sunrise," Vylar Kaftan. Asimov's, Feb 2013.
"They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass," Alaya Dawn Johnson. Asimov's, Jan 2013.
"Over There," Will McIntosh. Asimov's, Jan 2013.
"The Wildfires of Antarctica," Alan DeNiro. Tyrannia and Other Renditions, Small Beer Press (originally appeared in Oct/Nov Asimov's).
"The Irish Astronaut," Val Nolan. Electric Velocipede, May 2013.
"In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind," Sarah Pinsker. Strange Horizons, July 2013.
"Mystic Falls," Robert Reed. Clarkesworld, Nov 2013.
"Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer," Kenneth Schneyer. Clockwork Phoenix 4, Mythic Delirium Books.
"The Urashima Effect," E. Lily Yu. Clarkesworld, June 2013.

Sturgeon, born in 1918, was closely identified with the Golden Age of science fiction, 1939-1950, and is often mentioned alongside Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and A. E. van Vogt as one of the four writers who established and led the way through that time. All four published their first SF stories in 1939, usually identified as the start of the Golden Age, and Sturgeon was famous for providing the heart.

In addition to fiction (his best-known novel is the classic, More Than Human), Sturgeon also wrote book reviews, poetry, screenplays, radio plays, and television plays, including two classic teleplays for the original Star Trek. He was a popular lecturer and teacher, and was a regular visiting author during the Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction. Sturgeon died in 1985. His books, manuscripts, and papers are deposited at the University of Kansas.

The Award will be presented Friday, June 13, at the Campbell Conference, held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, June 13-15. The Campbell Conference has been held here each year since 1978. It includes a Friday-evening banquet where the annual Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award are given; a Saturday-morning roundtable discussion with scholars, scientists, and writers of science fiction; an afternoon discussion about interdisciplinary science-fiction studies, and other events. This year's topic is "Science Fiction in the Real World," with a special focus on the work and life of Frederik Pohl, a long-time friend of the Center.

Author and NASA Physicist Les Johnson
Presents KU Colloquium on Advanced Space Propulsion

LAWRENCE, KS - March 22, 2014

Les Johnson at the US Space and Rocket Center

Coming Friday, March 28: Les Johnson is gives a colloquium for the Aerospace Engineering Department about advanced space propulsion, particularly solar sails.

Les Johnson is a husband, father, physicist, manager, and author of science fiction and science fact. Baen has published two of his science-fiction books (Back to the Moon and Going Interstellar), with two more coming soon (Rescue Mode with Ben Bova, and Destruction From Near Earth). In addition, Springer Press has published four of Johnson's popular-science books. In his "day job," Johnson serves as Deputy Manager for the Advanced Concepts Office at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Find Les' blog here.

March 28
4:00pm - 5:00pm

Spahr Engineering Classroom
Eaton Hall
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS


Scholar Gary K. Wolfe
Presents KU Bold Aspirations Lecture

LAWRENCE, KS - February 22, 2014
Click here for the poster (.pdf)

Click here for the .jpg of the poster
Facebook event here

"Asking the Next Question: Science Fiction and the Rational Imagination"

Gary K. Wolfe presents KU's newest Bold Aspirations talk. Wolfe has been a contributing editor and reviewer for Locus magazine since 1991. He is a Professor of Humanities at Roosevelt University in Chicago, where he has also served as Dean of University College and Dean of Graduate Studies.

Wolfe's recent work includes Evaporating Genres: Essays on Fantastic Literature and Sightings: Reviews 2002-2006. His earlier studies include The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction (won the Eaton Award); David Lindsay; Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy; Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever (with Ellen R. Weil); Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996 (won the British Science Fiction Award, Hugo nominee); Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001 (Hugo nominee). Wolfe received the Science Fiction Research Association's Pilgrim Award, International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts' Distinguished Scholarship Award, and the World Fantasy Award for criticism and reviews.

He edited Up the Bright River (2011), the first posthumous collection of Philip José Farmer stories; and American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s (Library of America, 2012); he co-edited with Jonathan Strahan The Best of Joe Haldeman (Subterranean Press, 2013). Wolfe serves on the editorial boards of Science Fiction Studies and The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, and has served as manuscript reviewer for Oxford, Indiana, Illinois, and Wesleyan University Presses.

Since 2010, Wolfe and Australian editor Jonathan Strahan have also hosted the weekly Coode Street Podcast on science fiction, which has been nominated for four different awards in 2011 and the Hugo Awards in 2012 and 2013.

The title of Wolfe's talk borrows from Theodore Sturgeon's motto, "Ask the next question," which he referred to when signing his name with a Q and an arrow running through it, and described as: "...the symbol of everything humanity has ever created, and is the reason it has been created" (more on that here).

Abstract for Wolfe's Talk

While recent studies in cognitive science suggest that imaginative thought follows principles very similar to that of rational decision-making, science fiction literature has been demonstrating much the same thing for nearly two centuries. But science fiction as a mode of rational imagination has suffered from its reputation as pulp literature, from its somewhat degraded representations in film and media, and even from its own advocates. Using writer Theodore Sturgeon's dictum of "ask the next question," this presentation represents an effort to begin to outline both the narrative spaces encompassed by science fiction, represented by two widely disparate stories, and to suggest the importance of "science fictional thinking" as a mode of rational imagination.

A reception in the Spooner Hall Commons immediately follows Wolfe's talk, from 5:00pm - 6:00pm. Wolfe is a dynamic and fascinating speaker - don't miss this event!

Monday, March 10

Spooner Hall Commons
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS


KU Libraries Acquire
William S. Burroughs Collection

LAWRENCE, KS - February 6, 2014
Official KU press release here

The University of Kansas Libraries has acquired the last works of legendary author William S. Burroughs. James Grauerholz, executor of Burroughs' estate, Lawrence resident and KU alumnus, has donated the author's final personal journals, type scripts, and editing materials to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. The materials were the source for Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs, published in 2000, which Grauerholz edited. Grauerholz had multiple reasons for donating the journals to KU.

"William spent his last years, wrote his last books, painted his (first and) last paintings and jotted-down his last words in Lawrence, Kansas," Grauerholz said. "So the city of Lawrence, and the University of Kansas, which is the heart of our community, deserve to have the last word on Burroughs' life and works."

Burroughs, the often-controversial author, is perhaps best known as the author of Naked Lunch and numerous other novels, including Junkie, Nova Express, the Cut-Up Trilogy, and Cities of The Red Night. His work was highly influential on both American and international literature, and he was once described by Norman Mailer as "the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius." His work and influence were recognized professionally as well. He was inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and received numerous other professional honors.

Burroughs lived in Lawrence from 1982 until his death in 1997. While they were his final years, they were far from retirement. In fact, they were among his most productive, in which he wrote his final seven major books, created hundreds of artworks and worked on several multimedia projects, including The Black Rider, an avant-garde opera with Tom Waits and Robert Wilson, plus audio and music recordings with U2, REM, Laurie Anderson, and others; as well as film projects with directors such as Gus Van Sant and Howard Brookner.

The donation of materials marking the end of Burroughs' life coincides with the centenary of his birth, February 5, 1914. He was associated with many cities around the world, including New York, Mexico City, Paris, London, and Tangier, Morocco. But the fact that his Lawrence years were among his most creative and important led Grauerholz to donate the 10 journals, type script, and editing materials to KU Libraries. Several of the journals will be on display in the library throughout February.

"This is long overdue for the Burroughs estate to work with the Kenneth Spencer Research Library," said Grauerholz, who attended KU from 1969 to 1973 and taught American studies in the 2000s. "I'm grateful the University will be able to make these materials available to the community of scholars, here and worldwide. Now anyone with a good reason to read them will be able to."

The donations will add the libraries' already noteworthy holdings of Burroughs materials. Among the materials are contributions to periodicals and first editions of many of his works, including Naked Lunch, and a manuscript collection containing materials from the 1950s and '60s, including letters by Burroughs as well as letters written to him by Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, publishers, and others. There are also several short typescripts and "cut-ups" by Burroughs, written for Jeff Nuttall's My Own Mag and others by writer and artist Claude Pelieu. The collections also include audio recordings of Burroughs made in the early 1960s purchased from Melville Hardiment at that time, including Burroughs speaking on "A Day in the Life of a Junkie."

The materials will be cataloged and made available upon request to inquirers who wish to read or study them. Elspeth Healey, special collections librarian, said the donation will be of great scholastic and cultural value for a broad population.

"Research in the humanities depends on access to writers' papers and other primary sources. Burroughs' last journals will open up new avenues of scholarship for this significant cultural figure and shine a light on the Lawrence chapter of his life and creative output," Healey said. "We are pleased that the University of Kansas will be able to make these unique artifacts available to students, scholars and the public."

News items:
Utne Reader
Washington Times
Kansas City Star
Lawrence Journal-World
Topeka Capital-Journal
Channel 6 Lawrence
Kansas Public Radio
Wichita Eagle

To see the CSSF news archive from 2011-2014, click here.
To see news from 2009-2010, click here.
To see previous news, click here.

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