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
Board of Directors
Founding Director James Gunn
James Gunn is a science
fiction author and historian, KU professor emeritus of English, Founding
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
Director Christopher McKitterick
is an author, scholar, editor, and faculty member at the University of Kansas.
creative writing, the Speculative Fiction Writers Workshop,
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.
Associate Director Kij Johnson
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 Award, and Hugo Award. Kij teaches the
& 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.
Board of Advisors
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
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 and AboutSF Volunteer
- Nathaniel Williams, author, scholar,
professor, and former Center student and AboutSF Volunteer Coordinator.
- George Zebrowski, award-winning author and editor.
We also consult regularly with the Center's diverse group of Affiliated
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.
Gunn Center Secretary Lydia Ash
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
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!
Staff Writer Dan Dutcher
Dan Dutcher discovered his love of books when his mother started buying him illustrated classics in elementary school. After that, he read everything he could find. He started writing his own stories in eighth grade, and wrote for the yearbook and newspaper all four years of high school. In 2013, he graduated from the KU School of Journalism and Mass Communications and is now the district manager for the
Lawrence Journal-World. Science fiction and fantasy are his favorite genres, especially if they include time travel or astronomy. His current favorite SF book is
The End of Eternity, by Isaac Asimov.
Campbell Conference Administrator Ruth Lichtwardt
Ruth Lichtwardt is administrator of the
As a KU student she took several of Jim Gunn's writing classes, and later
initiated the tradition of the annual Campbell Conference booksigning while
working as a trade book buyer in the KU Union bookstore. She is active in Kansas
City and Lawrence-area SF clubs and conventions, including
ConQuesT, where she
runs the benefit auction with the Gunn Center's
AboutSF as the recipient. She
has also held various positions at several Worldcons including Hugo Awards
administrator. Currently Ruth is co-chairing MidAmeriCon II, the 74th Worldcon,
which will be held in Kansas City, MO, in August 2016. Her day job has nothing
to do with science fiction but helps feed the habit.
Campbell Conference Academic Program Director Michael Page
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?"
AboutSF Volunteer Coordinators
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
AboutSF.com 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.
Prior AboutSF Volunteer Coordinators
Spring 2013 - 2014:
Meagan Kane and
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
Other Gunn Center Volunteers
AboutSF Web Developer/Designer: Patrick Flor, Nick
Librarians: Bruce Sherwood, Tommy Triplett, and many friends who have
helped organize our lending library.
Photographers: CJ Harries,
Last updated 5/21/2015.