Tag Archives: change

Science Fiction Foundation Masterclass 2008 – change of venue

I’ve been asked to pass on this news by the inestimable Farah Mendlesohn – there’s a new venue for the 2008 SFF Masterclass in science fiction criticism.

To quote from Farah’s email:

SFF Masterclass:  June 20th, 21st, and 22nd 2008

Class Leaders: Wendy Pearson, Geoff Ryman, Gary K. Wolfe.

The aim of the Masterclass is to provide those who have a serious interest in sf criticism with the opportunity to exchange ideas with leading figures in the field, and also to use the SFF Collection.

The Masterclass will take place in Seven Sisters, London. Each full day of the Masterclass will consist of morning and evening classes, with afternoons free to prepare.

Applicants must provide a short CV of either: academic credentials, essay/book publications, reviews  and writing sample (this may be from a blog); all of these will be valued equally as we are looking for a mixture of experiences and approaches.

Applications will be assessed by an  Applications Committee consisting of Paul Kincaid, Andy Sawyer and Jenny Wolmark.

Completed applications must be received by 31st January 2008.

Due to the cancellation of the Science Fiction Research Association’s conference in Dublin we have decided to relocate the Science Fiction  Foundation Masterclass to the UK. As the University of Liverpool archive will still be closed for refurbishment in the summer of 2008 we have decided to relocate the Masterclass to London, specifically to Seven Sisters where the James/Mendlesohn collection of critical works will be available, and will be supplemented by a visit to the famous Clute Cellar.

Dates: 20-22nd June 2008
Times: 9-7pm each day.

Venue: Kitap Evi Café and Bookshop on Tottenham High Street (underground to Seven Sisters and then a bus—numbers will be provided—, three stops north drops you outside the café).

[The Kitap Evi Café is a Turkish café which is also a bookshop, highly committed to education and with a book lined, large, airy upstairs room which they use regularly for meetings for evening classes. Downstairs there is internet access, and fabulous food suitable for omnivores, vegans, vegetarians,  celiacs and the lactose intolerant. Prices range from £2.50 for soup or mezze, to around £7 for an entrée.

Please note: this venue is not wheelchair accessible for which we apologise profusely. Our regular, Liverpool venue is accessible, but the need to relocate the masterclass and keep the rates down has left us with very few options.]

Evening venue: 23 Ranelagh Road for drinks, chat and general book perusal.

Accommodation: we will make details of hotels in the area available, but we are also actively seeking cheaper accommodation.

Masterclass Fees: £170

As some of you may remember, I went to the inaugural Masterclass earlier this year … and despite some people thinking I was being uncritical (only kidding, Jonathan), I really would recommend it to anyone who wants to get their teeth into the more serious end of lit-crit as applied to genre work.

It’s also a great opportunity to meet people in the field with a similar close-focus interest to yourself, which can be harder to achieve in the social hustle and bustle of a full-blown con. Plus, the chance to check out the legendary Clute Cellar … that’s got to be worth the price of admission alone!

I was going to skip it this time, ironically enough because of the location, but this move makes it a more viable option. That is, if they’ll have me back a second time … 🙂

[tags]Masterclass, Foundation, venue, change, relocation, 2008[/tags]

Author interviews and other good stuff to read

Futurismic is currently in redevelopment, having a new engine fitted … two evenings without posting to it, and I feel a peculiar absence. Blogging definitely has addictive properties.

So, in the interim, I’ll round up a batch of good stuff for sf heads to read on the web and post them here instead.

Kim Stanley Robinson on climate change

The man behind the much lauded Mars Trilogy (which I’ve still never read), Kim Robinson talks about climate change issues at Wired, in the context of his latest novel, Sixty Days and Counting.

Watts, MacLeod, McAuley and Slonczewski on science fiction and the biosciences

Thanks to Peter Watts, we can read [warning – PDF] a group discussion interview from Nature magazine where he, Ken MacLeod, Paul McAuley and Joan Slonczewski talk about their writing, the biological sciences, and the connections between the two.

There is apparently a longer and unexpurgated online version to come, reached by the URL at the end of the piece, but it doesn’t appear to be live yet.

(Special bonus material! Ken MacLeod is not too worried about doctors who think they can be terrorists. It’s the engineers we should be looking out for.)

Lewis Shiner gives it away

A little late to the pixel-stained revolution, but very welcome nonetheless, is Lewis Shiner’s decision to release all of his short fiction online under a Creative Commons licence. Yes, all of it, along with a manifesto about the importance of short fiction for developing one’s writing – and for cultivating readers, too.

I must confess to not having read any Shiner before, but his is a name I’ve had recommended to me countless times. Now I have no excuse, except the old ‘lack of time’ saw. Thanks to the omniprescient BoingBoing for the tip-off.

Happy reading!

Foresight consultancy; worldbuilding redux

Remember me linking to Jamais Cascio’s post about worldbuilding a little while ago, where he said that what he does (foresight consultancy, or what used to be referred to as ‘futurism’) is a remarkably similar skill to science fiction writing in some respects?

Well, here’s Jamais on the Worldchanging blog, pitching four brief potential future scenarios set three decades from now, showing the potential results of different reactions to the climate change issue. I’ll quote one as an example:

02037: I stumbled across a memory archive from twenty years ago, before the emergence of the Chorus, and was shocked to see the Earth as it was. Oceans near death, climate system lurching towards collapse, overall energy flux just horribly out-of-balance. I can’t believe the Earth actually survived that. I had assumed that the Chorus was responsible for repairing the planet, but no — We told me that, even by 02017, the Earth’s human populace was making the kind of substantive changes to how it lived necessary to avoid real disaster, and that 02017 was actually one of the first years of improvement! What the Chorus made possible was the planetary repair, although We says that this project still has many years left, in part because We had to fix some of We’s own mistakes from the first few repair attempts. The Chorus actually seemed embarrassed when We told me that!

OK, so it doesn’t have the snap and crackle of the prose of a practiced novelist, but that’s a slice of science fiction right there. I know for a fact that Karl Schroeder does this sort of work for a living, too; maybe foresight consultancy will be an industry where sf writers can use their skills to earn a good living in times to come?

Go and read the whole post, by the way. The scenarios are hauntingly familiar to any sf reader, and there’s some serious food for thought there.