This past Wednesday, the Lawrence chapter of Nerd Nite put on a spectacular round of presentations devoted to a franchise near and dear to (or disliked by) many in the science fiction community: Star Wars. With The Force Awakens coming to theaters in less than a week(!), many have been chomping at the bit and looking at both prospective new installments, prognosticating what’s to come, and looking back on the older films, once again assessing their place in SF and movie history.
Here at AboutSF.com, we're continually looking for new academic materials to share with all our users. We are all about helping people reach a better understanding of SF, and we know that the field is changing significantly, on a constant basis. As such, if you have anything you'd like to share with us - syllabi, course assignments, reading lists/bibliographies, critical reviews, etc. - feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For our final From the Archive feature for the time being, we have a special hour-long lecture from noted scientist and thinker James Lovelock, who visited the University of Kansas back in 1991 to give this lecture. Those who study environmental science and philosophy, and especially those who have done so for a few decades now, will likely recall Lovelock as the creator of the Gaia Hypothesis.
At AboutSF, we pay close attention not just to strong cultural movements and moments regarding science fiction, but also to when those things intersect with life in our adopted home: Lawrence, KS, home of the University of Kansas and the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. One of the most prominent events to take place in Lawrence, regarding SF and culture, in the past few decades was the filming of the then-unprecedented nuclear war apocalyptic drama The Dar After.
We've been digging through the video archives here at AboutSF and the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and we've found some real treasures that we want to share with readers and viewers, especially those interested in the history of SF in other media. The first offering we have for you all is a real treat: an interview with Rod Serling conducted by CSSF founder James Gunn, back in 1970 at the CSSF offices at the University of Kansas.
AboutSF has gone through some significant changes in the last year, one of which is the hiring of new volunteer coordinators: myself, Adam Mills, and my colleague, Christina Lord. The website for AboutSF itself is going through some changes as well, and before I explain what you can all expect, I thought I would properly introduce myself and Christina to you all!
This past weekend, AboutSF participated in the latest iteration of ConQuesT, Kansas City’s (MO) longest-running science fiction convention, at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. For CSSF Director Chris McKitterick and other associates of AboutSF, this convention has been a long-running commitment for years now. For myself and fellow volunteer coordinator Christina Lord, however, this was our first trip.
Teaching SF for the first time can be an incredibly daunting experience. Personally, you have to be prepared to discuss difficult and often delicate topics to a group of students, some of whom may think they hate science fiction. Academically, you will have to strike a balance between what you consider important, relevant, or good SF and what is generally understood as important, relevant, or good.
New books of science fiction and fantasy criticism are published every week. Here are a few of the more recent scholarly books concerning the field of speculative fiction, from some of the foremost scholars in the genre.
Disability in Science Fiction: Representations of Technology as Cure ed. Kathryn Allan (August 2013)
Lightspeed Magazine announced several months ago a special issue devoted to women and science fiction. Recently, the editors launched a Kickstarter to fund the issue. Here's their philosophy behind the project: