Cowboy Bebop and Dune are back on screens but it’s not 1965, 1984, or 1998. Is it that everything old is new again, or is space opera just a genre that keeps on giving? If E.E. “Doc” Smith’s The Skylark of Space is the root of the tree and Asimov’s Foundation series is the trunk,… Continue reading The Phylogenetic Tree of Space Opera
Fantasy and science fiction seem to have a love affair with battles where two armies charge headlong at each other across vast plains or the immense vacuum of space for no good reason, and there is a notable absence of blood, bowels, and trauma. What are the best examples of realistic warfare? What methods can… Continue reading The Complexities of War
Washington, DC, is a popular and compelling setting for mysteries and political thrillers, but what about speculative fiction? How is DC and its culture represented in science fiction and fantasy? How can you avoid reducing this complex city to a caricature? Which writers get it right, and how badly do some get it wrong?
Two academic talks: Laura Osur: Alt-Histories Against Technological Determinism. For All Mankind (Apple TV+, 2019-) and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut series (2018, 2020) present alternative histories of the space race. Read in conversation with each other and as part of a global debate around ethical technology and the commercialization of space, these two properties… Continue reading Changing the Future of the Future
Where is Punt? Where is Cleopatra buried? Who was Jack the Ripper? What happened to the Minoans? If you had access to time travel, which burning questions and unsolved mysteries from history would you want to solve?
The fall of the Eastern bloc and Soviet-dominated governments signaled a massive change in the cultural, legal, and economic status of many former Soviet-satellite nations. Now with 30 years of perspective since the fall, how did this affect the themes, topics, and formats of genre fiction, in those nations, on the page and screen?
The name Tiffany sounds modern, but is actually old. Sometimes historical accuracy can look like an anachronism to modern readers. How should writers address this? When should you change things to seem more plausible, and when should you stand your ground?
Feminism doesn’t stand still. Nor is there only one feminism. Since the 1970s, science fiction and fantasy have been the genres par excellence to work out new ideas and explore what feminism can be and do. Our panelists discuss how feminism has grown and developed alongside the publishing world of science fiction and fantasy, how… Continue reading Global Feminist Science Fiction
Why do writers bother assigning gender to AIs? Would an AI accept the gender we assign it, and would it bother performing gender the way we often see in fiction? Do we ever see AIs performing masculinity in the same way we seem them performing femininity? Panelists will discuss how various writers have explored the… Continue reading Artificial Intelligence and Gender
From the royal purples of the Mediterranean to sumptuary laws, what people wore (or were allowed to wear) was a political statement. Join historians in a discussion of the politics of clothing. Let’s talk about textiles, clothing styles, adornments, and politics.