Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

June 13, 2003

International science fiction conference comes to U of G

The Science Fiction Research Association's annual conference is being held at the University of Guelph June 26 to 29. This is the first time in more than two decades the conference will take place in Canada, said conference director Peter Brigg, a professor of English at Guelph.

Some 80 science fiction scholars and eight authors will address the theme "Speculating Histories: Remembering Yesterday, Experiencing Today, Predicting Tomorrow." Science fiction and fantasy writer Geoff Ryman is the conference guest of honour. He received the British Science Fiction Association Award and the World Fantasy Award for his 1984 novel, The Unconquered Country.

Other speakers include Canadian science fiction author Robert Sawyer, who has published 15 novels and has won 27 national and international writing awards, including the Nebula for his book The Terminal Experiment. Frederick Pohl, a major science fiction author and a central figure to the Futurians, and Phyllis Gotlieb, Canadian poet, Governor General Award nominee and science fiction author whose first novel, Sunburst (1964), provides the name for Canada's Sunburst Award, will also give talks and appear on a panel during the four-day event.

"My hope is it will be the largest conference yet,"said Brigg, who attended last year's conference in Scotland. He's optimistic that the Guelph conference, with talks on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the link between rave culture and science fiction, as well as a demonstration of digital 3-D technology, will attract younger science fiction scholars. Having taught a course on science fiction at Guelph since 1973, Brigg knows the genre is continually gaining popularity. More than 450 science fiction courses are currently taught across North American campuses, he said.

Conference highlights:

"Naked Apes and Holy Hobbits: Fantastical History in 20th-Century Speculative Fiction," Sarah Winters of the University of Toronto, Elaine Ostry of Plattsburgh State University and Ann-Barbara Graff of Nipissing University.

"Embodying History in Science Fiction: Cyborgs," Robyn Morris of the University of Wollongong, Veronica Hollinger of Trent University and Sophie Levy of the University of Toronto.

"Tales of Many Cities: Cyberpunk and Urban Fantasy," Christine Mains of the University of Calgary, Jeff Prickman of Minnesota State-Southeast Technical and Carlen Lavigne of McGill University.

"Actualizing Imagery: Science Fiction/History on Film," David Wilson of Michigan State University, scholar Lyra McMullen and Shelley Rodrigo of Arizona State University.

The conference will take place on the third floor of the MacKinnon Building, with three rooms dedicated to sessions and one room to book sales. Plenary sessions will be in the George Luscombe Theatre.

Registration for the conference is $75 for Science Fiction Research Association members and includes all sessions, the reception, a banquet and lunches. A visitor's pass to unlimited conference sessions can be purchased for $30 at the conference site.

Prof. Peter Brigg
School of English and Theatre Studies
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 53251 /

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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