Nine Worlds Conference: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Academia

9worldsPapers are invited for the first Nine Worlds conference. Nine Worlds is a convention for fans of science fiction, fantasy and related areas taking place at The Renaissance Hotel, Heathrow, from the 9th – 11th August.  As part of this, an academic conference is being organised to allow academic study and layperson interest in this field to overlap. The conference itself will be from 10am on the 10th through to the evening of the 11th. Confirmed speakers include Edmund Weiner, Beth Tovey, Professor Marion Gibson and Dr Andrew Crome.

In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in the areas of science fiction and fantasy in general, and within the fan communities themselves an interest in studying works in this domain more closely. We therefore intend the conference to be accessible to the well informed non-academic, whilst still remaining valuable for those within the field.

We welcome contributions from any field that intersects with science fiction or fantasy, including the following:

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Academia
Just why is it important to study Science Fiction and Fantasy in an academic setting? What can different disciplines tell us about these genres? We’d like to look at just why academia is important, and can help us appreciate these genres even more.Race, Gender and LGBT+ Issues in Science Fiction/Fantasy
Science Fiction and Fantasy allow us to create worlds unlike our own, and yet, all too often, we find the same societal structures in place. Here, we invite you to discuss anything to do with the importance of science fiction and fantasy for tackling things such race, gender and LGBT+.

Cultural Influences and Themes
Was Tolkien inspired more by Christianity, or Celtic Folklore? What does Harry Potter tell us about the world we live in today? Is Zelazny’s “Lord of Light” appropriative, or an genuine attempt to consider the religious ideas it uses? Can utopias and dystopias shed light on current societal practices? We aim to consider how our present culture informs the speculative cultures we study, or how it can subvert this.

We are looking for a broad variety of topics, and therefore welcome proposals for individual papers and panels from any discipline and theoretical perspective, from academics and students alike. Talks will be 20-25 minutes each.

Please send a title, a 300 word abstract, your name and affiliation (university) to sffacademic@nineworlds.co.uk
The deadline for submissions is March 31st, 2013.

Registration will be done through the purchase of a ticket to the convention as a whole, available until the end of February for £65 via the kickstarter page and thereafter on the website (details at the links below). Accommodation is available at the hotels, but will be booked separately by individual participants. All profits from the conference/convention will go to PEN. Please do email if you have questions: sffacademic@nineworlds.co.uk

Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1089256184/nine-worlds-geekfest-an-unconventional-convention
Other tickets: http://www.nineworlds.co.uk/tickets
PEN: http://www.englishpen.org/