The People of the
Center for the Study of Science Fiction

The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction is a lot of things, but what it comes down to is a bunch of human beings dedicated to science fiction and the possibilities it offers. Here's an introduction to some of the people of the Gunn Center.

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 SFWA and is chair of the Campbell Award jury to select the best science-fiction novel of the year. Dr. Gunn is on the advisory board of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame. At 91, he is still active and writing - now working on the third book of a new trilogy that began with Transcendental.

Christopher McKitterick is an author, scholar, editor, and faculty member at the University of Kansas. He teaches creative writing, the Speculative Fiction Writers Workshop, the Intensive Institute on the Study of SF, a number of regular-semester writing and science fiction courses at KU, and directs MA and MFA theses. His short fiction, nonfiction, and essays have been published in a number of magazines, journals, and anthologies, and his debut novel, Transcendence, was published by Hadley Rille Books. After a decade of association with the Center and assistant-teaching the summer program, Chris joined the KU faculty and was named Associate Director of the Center in 2002, then was named Director in 2010.

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 Award, and Hugo Award. Kij teaches the Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel Writing Workshop, a number of regular-semester writing and fantasy-related courses at KU, directs MA and MFA theses, and is Assistant Professor of Fiction Writing in the University of Kansas English Department. Kij first served the Center as a volunteer from 1995-2002, when she began serving as Associate Director, then joined KU as Assistant Professor of creative writing in 2012.

The Board of Advisors to the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction provides advice and advocacy on ongoing and new initiatives and programs offered and sponsored by the Center, on sources of material support, on its structure and goals, and on subjects for the Campbell Conference and other pursuits. The Board is encouraged to make suggestions on any of these aspects at any time to the Directors or other Center personnel, individually and collectively. We stay in contact through annual or bi-annual reports, and ask directly for advice on occasions. Should the need arise, the Board is responsible for appointing replacement directors.

We are currently expanding and re-defining the Center's Board of Advisors as we develop official bylaws. Our current Board:

  • Perry Alexander, Director and Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at KU.
  • David Brin, author and SF activist.
  • Pat Cadigan, author, editor, and former Center student.
  • Matthew Candelaria, author and former Center student.
  • Chair of KU's English Department.
  • Karen Hellekson, SF scholar and former Center student.
  • Elizabeth Anne Hull, author, scholar, Professor, and long-time friend of the Center and writer-in-residence of the Intensive SF Institute.
  • John Kessel, scholar, award-winning author, creative-writing Professor, and former Center student.
  • The Presidents of SFRA, SFWA, and ICFA.
  • Frederik Pohl (until his death in 2013). SF Grand Master.
  • Pamela Sargent, award-winning author and editor.
  • Thomas Seay, author and former Center student.
  • George Zebrowski, award-winning author and editor.

We also consult regularly with the Center's diverse group of Affiliated Faculty.

TBA - Forming soon. This working committee of KU faculty and staff helps the Gunn Center navigate KU bureaucracy to get things done.

TBA - In Spring 2014, we began organizing a group of faculty who offer courses relevant to those studying SF. It's comprised of faculty at KU... and elsewhere! Stay tuned.

Lydia Ash works as the secretary for graduate student concerns in the English department at KU and assists the Center with its administrative tasks in addition to her official job duties. The least academically-inclined of the CSSF staff and volunteers, Lydia eagerly awaits the day when she can converse via reaction gifs and emoticons in physical space as well as on the internet.

Lydia is the person who ensures that our summer-program attendees have a place to live, and she also takes care of a million other important tasks that make everyone's lives happier, so be sure to express your appreciation when dealing with her!

Michael Page teaches science fiction and holds an administrative position in the English Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His association with the Gunn Center began in 2007 when he attended the Intensive Institute on the Study of SF. In 2013, Mike organized a panel in honor of James Gunn at the joint Eaton/SFRA conference in Riverside, CA, which also included tributes by Chris McKitterick, Nathaniel Williams, and Marleen Barr. His book, Frederik Pohl, is scheduled for a fall 2015 release from the University of Illinois Press in the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series. He's the editor of a collection of stories, 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.

Mike is the contact person for those wishing to present during the 2015 Campbell Conference, a special symposium on the current state and future directions in SF education for the 21st century: "From the Fringes to the Classroom: What's Next in SF Education?"

The Gunn Center's educational-outreach arm is AboutSF. It's led by one or two Volunteer Coordinator student employees working to promote and expand the educational resources for teaching and studying SF. Check the website for regular updates from our Coordinators on the happenings at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and to sign up to become an AboutSF Agent!

Once upon a time, Christina Lord 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.

When his father exposed him to reruns of The Twilight Zone in the early days of the Sci-Fi Channel (not the SyFy Channel, there is a difference), Adam knew he was hooked on science fiction and its speculative kin. He is now in the second year of his PhD studies at KU in creative writing and literature, having previously received a BA in creative writing and an MA in English from Missouri State University, in addition to an MFA in popular fiction from the Stonecoast Writing Program based out of the University of Southern Maine. Adam served as Managing Editor for Weird Fiction Review Online from 2012 to 2014, during which time WFR was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Here at KU, Adam writes his own original fiction and studies science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction and film. 

Spring 2013 - 2014: Meagan Kane and Mackenzie VanBeest

Fall 2011 - fall 2012: Isaac Bell

Fall 2010 - fall 2011: Benjamin Cartwright

Summer - fall 2010: Kristen Lillvis

Spring 2010: Samantha Simmons

2007 - 2009: Nathaniel Williams

2005 - 2007: Thomas Seay

Prior AboutSF Web Developer/Designer: Patrick Flor.

Volunteer Librarians: Bruce Sherwood, Tommy Triplett, and many friends who help organize our lending library.

Volunteer Photographer: CJ Harries.

...and you!

Last updated 2/17/2015.

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