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Eaton Contest Winners Announced

Eaton Contest Winners Announced

Graduate students from UCR and UCI win the first short-story contest sponsored by the Eaton Science Fiction Conference.

(May 22, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Graduate students Edward A. Laag from UC Riverside and Andrew Warren from UC Irvine placed first and second in the first annual short-story science fiction contest sponsored by the Eaton Science Fiction Conference.

The winners were announced during the three-day conference that concluded May 18.

Laag, who is from Riverside, expects to earn a Ph.D. in earth science in 2009. His story, “The Eventful Career of Dr. Kevin Pearson, Astronomer,” won first prize. Warren, of Cleveland, Ohio, placed second with his entry, “Alms for Oblivion.”

Laag said he enjoys science fiction because “it shows that a devotion to the rational thought process of science is the key to creating the technologies that will fulfill our desire for adventures in space and on other planets.”

Warren likes the genre’s attention to thought and ideas. “In that way it stands as sort of a necessary, though admittedly flawed, corrective to the more traditional scene of contemporary American fiction, which currently seems far more focused on ‘smallness’ and craft.”

About 200 science fiction aficianados, authors and scholars from around the world attended the three-day conference, “Chronicling Mars,” which included the presentation of the J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction to renowned writer Ray Bradbury.

Nearly 500 people attended Bradbury’s free lecture and heard the author relate incidents and people from his childhood who inspired characters and plots in his books.

“Mars has been part of my life since I started to write,” Bradbury said. “Mars took me home and I never came back.”

Later he told the crowd that when he dies he wants his ashes sent to Mars. “I want to be the first dead person on Mars,” he said. “One way or another I’ll get there.”

Bradbury was introduced by National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia, who showed a brief clip from a DVD containing interviews and readings prepared to help classroom instructors teach “Fahrenheit 451.” The 1953 classic was the first novel the NEA chose for its Big Read initiative that is intended to revive interest in reading.

In addition to author discussions and scholarly presentations about the role of Mars in science fiction literature, the Science Fiction Poetry Association presented its archive to the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature. The collection, which is housed in Special Collections of the UCR Libraries, is the largest of its kind in the world.

The University of California, Riverside ( 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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