Off to WorldCon I go…

Where to find me at MidAmeriConII (WorldCon) in Kansas City

I’ve got a great schedule of programming this week at MidAmeriConII (the 2016 World Science Fiction Convention). I hope to see you there!

 

Panel title: The Interstices of Historical and Fanfiction

Day/Time: Wednesday Aug 17 at 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM

Location: Kansas City Convention Center – 2204
Historical fiction is a work of literature, comic, film, or television program set in the past. Fanfiction is a work of fiction produced by fans for fans, using famous people or source texts as their inspiration. Frequently the worlds overlap. Let’s discuss the overlaps, benefits, and pitfalls of working in these genres. The overlaps include writing fanfiction about historical fiction, setting fanfiction in an alternative universe by placing the narrative in a different historical era, fanworks about real-life historical figures (Historical RPF), or historical fanworks — any fanwork set in the past.

With Lyda Morehouse; Ms Sumana Harihareswara; Teresa Nielsen Hayden

 

Panel title: Joyful Disruption: Narratology and the SF/F Franchise (Solo presentation)

Day/Time: Thursday Aug 18 at 09:00 AM to 10:00 AM

Location: Kansas City Convention Center – 2201

Despite familiar complaints about the lack of creativity, interlocking franchise stories like those in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars saga rely on complex narrative functions that I weave together into a cohesive theory involving disruption among layers of narrative; the role of canon, and other forms of cultural memory; and textual boundaries. My overall goal is to identify what it is about these franchise stories that creates “built-in” loyal audiences in the first place. In other words, I’m working to answer the question, what are the narrative features of these franchises that keep bringing audiences back time and again?

 

Panel title: Science Fiction at Universities: Creating the Canon

Day/Time:Thursday Aug 18   06:00 PM to 07:00 PM

Location: Kansas City Convention Center – 2204

Different universities including Dundee, Liverpool and the local Kansas City University run science fiction courses. The reading material they cite as foundational varies considerably, with some including very few women, PoC or otherwise diverse SF while others start from a basis that SF began with Mary Shelley and includes works such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland (1915) and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s, We (1921). What influence do university courses have on canon formation and what responsibilities do they have in representing and encouraging awareness of the diversity of material that is published?

With Dr. Paul Booth; Ms. Lynne M. Thomas; Gary Wolfe

 

Panel title: I Don’t Believe in Science

Day/Time: Sunday Aug 21   01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

Location: Kansas City Convention Center – 2204

All too often we hear about people who “Don’t Believe in Science”, but science isn’t about belief.  A discussion about why talking about science in terms of belief does science, and faith, a disservice.

Moderating this discussion with panelists Renée Sieber, Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, Carl Fink, and Benjamin C. Kinney.

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My finalized LonCon3 schedule (where to find me at WorldCon next week)

In case you might have missed the news, the World Science Fiction Convention begins next week in London. And I’m so excited (and not just because I’ll be debuting a new hall costume inspired by Brave’s Merida).

My official programming appearances are on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (see below) but I am also planning on attending the events on Thursday to open the academic conference.

Come and find me and we’ll chat about….well, I’m sure if you follow me on social media and are at WorldCon, we’ll have plenty of topics.

Hope to see you there!

I’ll also be in Dublin the next weekend for Shamrokon (the Dublin Eurocon 2014) and hope to have that schedule finalized soon.

 

 

Thursday, August 14

“Diversity in Speculative Fiction”: Welcome to the Academic Conference

Capital Suite 6 (Level 3), 10:30am – 11am

A chance to find out what the academic programme is and to meet (other) academics at the event before the first session. Please bring your own drinks along.

 

Diversity in Speculative Fiction Conference Reception

South Gallery 21/22, 10pm – 11:30pm

A reception primarily aimed at participants in the academic programme “Diversity in Speculative Fiction” but open to those who are interested in meeting the academics and discussing the programme with them. It is sponsored by the Science Fiction Foundation, who will be publishing selected papers drawn from the programme in the journal Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction.

 

 

Saturday, August 16

Place and Time: Capital Suite 6 (Level 3), 9:30am – 11am

Panel Title: Mediated Boundaries

Panelists: Jo Lindsay Walton, Pawel Frelik, Colin Harvey, Heather Urbanski

Three academics each give a 15 minute presentation. These are followed by a jointly held 30 minute discussion with the audience.

  • Heather Urbanski, “Narratology of Science Fiction and Fantasy Franchises”**
  • Colin B Harvey, “Tink Talks! Transmedia Memory and Neverland”
  • Pawel Frelik, “Subversive Moddernity—Fantastic Game Modification and Politics”

**I’ll be presenting the latest version of my analysis of Agents of SHIELD, Hunger Games, and Once Upon a Time as narratively disruptive franchises.

 

Sunday, August 17

Place and Time: Capital Suite 1 (Level 3), 10am – 11am

Panel Title: Working for a Living

Panelists: Martin McGrath, Donna Scott, Susan Connolly, Alison Page, Heather Urbanski

Most SF TV focuses on (and is written by!) professional/white collar/middle class individuals. But a few recent examples — such as The Walking Dead, True Blood, Orphan Black and Misfits — have included a greater focus on working class/blue collar experiences. How does this affect the stories such shows tell, the range of characters and identities they include, and how they use their fantastic elements?

 

Place and Time: Capital Suite 15 (Level 3), 1:30pm – 3pm

Panel Title: Secrecy in Science

Panelists: David L Clements, Katie Mack, Heather Urbanski, Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf, Sunil Patel, Leah-Nani Alconcel

What role does secrecy have in science? Should drug companies be allowed to hide trial data from their competitors? Should scientists be allowed to publish papers and not the data they are based on? Is there a place for commercial confidentiality in space missions? But if everything is open, how will anybody get commercial benefit from new inventions and discoveries? And do we really want DNA sequences for super-flu, and the designs for dirty bombs and plutonium refineries to be available to all?

 

 

Monday, August 18

Place and Time: Capital Suite 13 (Level 3), 12pm – 1:30pm

Panel Title: Brave Young World

Panelists: Cory Doctorow, Gillian Redfearn, Heather Urbanski, David Farnell

How is the nature of young people’s reading changing, and how should it change the ways we write and publish? Are new forms of storytelling emerging along with new technologies?

 

 

 

My LonCon3 (2014 WorldCon) Schedule

I’m so excited about my LonCon 3 schedule. Be sure to follow @loncon3 and @AcademicLoncon3 on Twitter for even more details and updates.

 

Here’s where to find me at WorldCon this August:

Mediated Boundaries (Part of the Academic Track)

Saturday (8/16) 09:30 – 11:00

Three academics each give a 15 minute presentation. These are followed by a jointly held 30 minute discussion with the audience.

  • Heather Urbanski, “Narratology of Science Fiction and Fantasy Franchises”
  • Colin B Harvey, “Tink Talks! Transmedia Memory and Neverland”
  • Pawel Frelik, “Subversive Moddernity—Fantastic Game Modification and Politics”

 

Working for a Living

Sunday (8/17) 10:00 – 11:00

Most SF TV focuses on (and is written by!) professional/white collar/middle class individuals. But a few recent examples — such as The Walking Dead, True Blood, and Misfits — have been grounded more in working class/blue collar experiences. How does this affect the stories such shows tell, the range of characters and identities they include, and how they use their fantastic elements?

Panelists: Chris N. Brown (Moderator), Kate Keen, Martin McGrath, Donna Scott, Heather Urbanski

 

Secrecy in Science

Sunday (8/17) 13:30 – 15:00

What role does secrecy have in science? Should drug companies be allowed to hide trial data from their competitors? Should scientists be allowed to publish papers and not the data they are based on? Is there a place for commercial confidentiality in space missions? But if everything is open, how will anybody get commercial benefit from new inventions and discoveries? And do we really want DNA sequences for super-flu, and the designs for dirty bombs and plutonium refineries to be available to all?

Panelists: David L Clements (Moderator), Katie Mack, Heather Urbanski, Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf, Sunil Patel (@ghostwritingcow on Twitter), Leah-Nani Alconcel

Hugo Award Eligible Work: Better Late Than Never

We are more than a month into Hugo Award nominating season and I have begun collecting recommendations for eligible works that I want to check out before the deadline of March 31, 2014.

And I suppose it is high time that I also posted details on my own Hugo-eligible book: The Science Fiction Reboot (eligible for Best Related Work).

The Science Fiction Reboot page here includes links and details about the analysis and conclusions I come to in the book about reboots such as Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, V, and even Star Wars. But here are a few you might be interested in visiting:

I am particularly proud of this book because of the way I was able to blend my academic training with my fandom. I was introduced to narrative theory in the fall 2000 semester, during the first required course of my Master of Arts in Writing program, and most definitely didn’t get it. But, as I grew as a scholar, I came to not only understand the theory, but also its inherent power for explaining my fannish experiences. This book, like my other publications, is so strongly rooted in fandom because it is based on several ideas I just couldn’t get out of my head until I wrote them down. So write them down I did.

But there are many more categories in the Hugos and here are just a few of the works/authors I am considering nominating (with related links):

** I’m not the only one recommending Lissa for this award, by the way. Harlan Ellison is urging us to do so as well. See this link to his boards for the original location of this blurb: “I urge any of you who have the Vote to suggest an excellent new writer named LISSA PRICE who wrote STARTERS for Random House YA last year for the upcoming bestowment of the John W. Campbell Award — Most Promising New Writer. A very good read, a sparkling choice for the JWC newcomer trophy. Go viral with this hurrah, if you like, and tell’m SFWA Grand Master Harlan Ellison sent’cha!”

And here are a few resources that list many other eligible works:

So my question is: What else am I missing? What else should be on my ballot?

You have until the end of March to leave a comment here with suggestions.

Happy reading/viewing!

My LoneStarCon 3 (2013 World Con) Schedule

For those who will be in San Antonio at the end of the month, here is where you can find me at LoneStarCon 3. If you have any ideas on these topics that you’d like me to share during the panel, be sure to leave a comment at the end.

FanAc: Steampunk Fashion and Digital Fandom

Saturday, 8/31 12:00 – 13:00

Paper session.

Courtney Stoker of Lone Star College presents “My Corset Is Just As Political as Your Tech: Steampunk Fashion and Its Subversive Potential.”

Heather Urbanski presents “Rhetorical Memory and Digital Fandom.”

From Child of Fortune to The Hunger Games

Saturday 8/31 14:00 – 15:00

Child of Fortune: How does its young female protagonist compare with those in today’s SF, especially Hunger Games?

Ginjer Buchanan , Emilie P. Bush, Heather Urbanski

Reading: Heather Urbanski

Saturday 8/31 17:00 – 17:30

The Science Fiction Reboot

Summer Blockbusters – 2013

Monday 9/2 10:00 – 11:00

This year’s summer blockbusters are now (almost) history. Iron Man 3, Star Trek…it’s all over but the long form Hugo nominations. Let’s discuss this year’s crop. Why are they always franchises?

Mark Oshiro, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Elektra Hammond, Heather Urbanski