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UCR Conference Celebrates Science Fiction

UCR Conference Celebrates Science Fiction

(January 6, 1999)

EDITORS NOTE: Complete schedule is posted at on the Web at:

The 20th J. Lloyd Eaton Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature -- where Star Trek and Godzilla collide with metaphor and postmodernism -- will be Jan. 15 through 18 at the University of California, Riverside.

George Slusser, a professor of comparative literature at UCR and the curator of the largest cataloged collection of science fiction literature in the world, said he chose the theme "Science Fiction at the Crossroads of Two Cultures," to help bridge the traditional acrimony between scientists and humanities scholars.

"We are trying to find some common ground for dialogue, and we have discovered that science fiction may be it," Slusser said.

Academics and authors will come to UCR from all over the U.S. and the world, including South Africa, Canada and New Zealand, to present papers such as, "Why Godzilla Does Not Attack the Imperial Palace: Anxiety and Ambivalence in the Nostalgic Evocation of Popular Science Fiction in Contemporary Japan;" and "Can Biculturalism Be Cured? Or, `Damnit, Jim, I'm a Doctor, Not a Cultural-Materialist Semiotician!'"

For the first time, UCR's Center for Ideas and Society is co-sponsoring a special panel discussion, to begin at 5:45 p.m. Saturday, called: "Eyes on the Enterprise: Science, Society, and Star Trek." Confirmed participants include science fiction author Gregory Benford; Daniel Bernardi, who has written a book about race and gender in Star Trek; Judy Burns, who once wrote Star Trek scripts; and Joseph D. Miller, a neuro physiologist who directed a project for NASA.

All events are free to the public. Those who pay a $40 registration fee can attend the closing banquet and awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Sunday.

On Monday, Jan. 18, Slusser will lead informal tours of the 80,000-volume J. Lloyd Eaton Collection, which recently moved from the Rivera Library into larger quarters in what is now the Special Collections annex of the UCR Library, near the science classrooms.

"We're up where we belong here, finally," Slusser said, who has been the curator of the hardbacks, paperbacks, fanzines, comic books and pulp magazines since 1979. "Given the nature of this collection, many of the readers of this literature are in the sciences," he said.

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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