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Eaton Science Fiction Conference May 16-18, 2008


Eaton Science Fiction Conference Scheduled May 16-18, 2008

UC Riverside event will feature authors Ray Bradbury, Frederick Pohl and Arthur C. Clarke, and a student writing contest.

(December 17, 2007)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The role of Mars in science fiction literature will be explored in the Eaton Science Fiction Conference of the University of California, Riverside and in the science fiction short-story competition that is part of the May 16-18, 2008, event.

“Chronicling Mars” is the theme of the conference, which is returning to the UCR campus after nearly 10 years.

Highlighting the event will be science fiction legends Ray Bradbury, author of more than 500 published works including “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451,” and Frederick Pohl, award-winning author of the “Heechee” series.

The conference will include a teleconference from Sri Lanka with Sir Arthur C. Clarke, author of numerous essays and novels, including “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “The Fountains of Paradise.”

Other notable authors who will participate are Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Ben Bova, Geoffrey Landis and Kim Stanley Robinson.

Winners of the first Science Fiction Short Story Contest will be announced at the Eaton Conference on May 17. Entries will be judged by writer Howard V. Hendrix, the author of 30 published science fiction short stories and novelettes, six novels and scholarly nonfiction in science fiction studies.

The competition is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the UC system. First prize is $500 and second prize is $250. Submissions must by postmarked by Feb. 15, 2008. For entry details, including requirements for submitting entries, visit the conference Web site at http://eatonconference.ucr.edu.

Conference organizer Melissa Conway said bringing the Eaton Conference back to UC Riverside has been a dream of hers since she became head of Special Collections at UCR in 2001. Since 1999 conferences have been held abroad or elsewhere in the U.S.

“The idea to focus on Mars originated with Professor Emeritus George Slusser, who served as curator of the Eaton Collection for more than 25 years,” Conway said.

Reinitiating the Eaton Conference at UCR is an important part of both celebrating and strengthening the preeminent place that the Eaton collection currently holds as a world-class resource, said University Librarian Ruth Jackson.

“This is an exciting and wonderful opportunity to engage science fiction fans, scholars, students and the puboic in celebrating the role that science fiction has played in impacting and influencing not only world culture, but also the scope of science,” Jackson said.

The Eaton Conference program will include the presentation of the first Eaton Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science Fiction, academic papers and panel discussions, a Science Fiction Association poetry reading, films about Mars, and exhibitions and receptions.

Conference registration made by April 14 is $110 for the entire event, $55 for one day, or $20 for students with valid student ID. After April 14 the fee is $125 for all three days, $75 per day, or $25 for students. Registration information is available on the conference Web site. For information call 951-827-3233.

UCR is the home of the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Utopian Literature, the largest in the world. The collection embraces every branch of science fiction, plus fantasy and horror, and contains the largest holdings of 16th- to 21st-century utopian and dystopian fiction in North America.

The collection, which attracts scholars from around the world, holds more than 100,000 volumes of English-language science fiction, fantasy and horror published in the 20th century and a wide range of works in Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, German and a dozen other languages.

Building on the popularity of science fiction literature and the renowned Eaton Collection, UCR’s Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages launched a science fiction track in its Ph.D. program this fall. It is one of the few Ph.D. programs in science fiction in the United States, said Thomas Scanlon, department chair.

The department has a global vision of science fiction literature, a vision the Eaton Collection enriches with its extensive array of international material, including Japanese anime, Scanlon said.

The science fiction genre has long struggled to be accepted by in academia, Scanlon said.

“There is more willingness now to understand all forms of literature,” he said. “Science fiction is a field for all ages and all ages of human accomplishment. … It gives complete freedom to explore the boundaries of human dimension, nature and culture. It gives a gifted writer the opportunity to speculate about issues that are important — the other, the alien, gender social class, colonization of other countries — and suggest solutions for problems.”

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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