2nd Annual Sturgeon Symposium: Fantastic Worlds, Fraught Futures

2nd Annual Sturgeon Symposium: Fantastic Worlds, Fraught Futures, September 20-22, 2023 @ Hall Center for the Humanities

Celebrating science fiction, speculative fiction, & the 2023-24 KU Common Book

Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower

September 20-22, 2023

with collaborative event on September 19

All events open to the public! Register now at link above!

(not required for attendance, but this will help us with planning.

Off-campus registrants, contact sfcenter@ku.edu for parking information)

NOTE: All events will be held

at the Hall Center for the Humanities,

900 Sunnyside Ave, Lawrence, KS,

except when otherwise noted.

events will be online only (not 


Tuesday night, 9/19

6-8 pm, Kansas Union, The Jay

Feminist Futures Forum with Olaronke Akinmowo

In collaboration with the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity and the KU Common Book

Wednesday, 9/20

(all virtual am, in-person zine workshop pm)

9:15-10:15 am, Virtual, Zoom link (Meeting ID:  712 192 3424)

Panel: Storytelling as alternative universe

Moderator: Ali Brox
  • Sumanta Pramanik & Shri Krishan Rai, “Traversing the Multiverse in Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle through the Lens of Quantum Mechanics” 
  • Sarah Nolan, “Theodore Sturgeon’s Utopian Dreams: Encountering Generic Lineage in the Archive”
  • Marleen S. Barr, “The Queens English Or What’s a Nice Feminist Scholar Like Me Doing Writing Science Fiction About a Former President Like This?”

video recording

10:30-11:15 am, Virtual, Zoom link (Meeting ID:  712 192 3424)

Panel: Ecocritical approaches to SFF

Moderator: Jasmine Holthaus
  • Emad Aysha & Ahmad Al-Madhi, Ecocriticism and Environmental Themes in Arabic and Muslim Science Fiction
  • [Azadeh Mehrpouyan, “Womanhood and Motherhood in Ecofeminist Science Fiction: Sheri Stewart Tepper” - unable to attend]

video recording

Some links from chat:

Work by Emad Aysha

Interview with Ahmad Al-Madhi (text link)


[lunch on your own]

1-2 pm, Virtual, Zoom link (Meeting ID:  712 192 3424)

Roundtable: Latinx Speculative Poetry Futures
  • Angela Acosta (chair), Angel Leal [Violeta Orozco, unable to attend]

video recording

some links from chat:

Angela Acosta's poem in collection

Angel Leal's poem

Discord server: Calamitous: A Queer SFFH Writing Group 

3-4:30  pm, Spencer Museum of Art (in person)
  • Olaronke Akinmowo, Zine workshop

    in collaboration with the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity and the KU Common Book

Thursday 9/21

(virtual am, in-person pm) 

9:30-10:15, Virtual, Zoom link (Meeting ID:  712 192 3424)

Panel: Ethics of Nonhuman Life

Moderator: Silvia Park
  • [Sonakshi Srivastava, “In(ter)ventions:  Technologies of Preserving Nonhuman Life in the Anthropocene” --unable to attend due to technical difficulties; presentation to be uploaded when available]
  • Himangshu Sarma, “Nonhuman Animals and the Ethics of Biotechnology in Octavia Butler's Dawn

video recording

10:30-11:00 am, Virtual, Zoom link (Meeting ID:  712 192 3424)

Panel: CSSF

Moderator: Katie Conrad
  • Michael Alan Johnson and Sandra Jacobo, "Building Connections, Building Community: The Gunn Center's Efforts to Promote Science Fiction Scholarship"


video recording

[lunch on your own]

1 – 2 pm, Hall Center

L. L.  McKinney Y. A. / S. F. creative writing workshop (in person)

All levels welcome! Join YA and SF author L. L. McKinney for this wonderful opportunity to work with a celebrated local writer of international renown and a noted advocate for equality and inclusion in the publishing world. McKinney is the author of the Nightmare-verse series and a number of SF and YA titles, including but not limited to Marvel's Black Widow: Bad Blood, Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness, and contributions to The Black Girl Survivies in This One and Wonderland

Crowdcast recording coming soon

2:15 – 3:15, Hall Center

Panel: Octavia Butler

Moderator: Giselle Anatol
  • Deja Beamon, “Maternal Memory: Re-membering Black Motherhood in the Face of Alzheimer’s in Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower
  • Kylee Smith, Something ‘other-than-human’: Re-reading Parable of the Sower and the Broken Earth Trilogy as a Posthuman Map for Survival and Resistance” 
  • Rachel Schwaller, "God  is Change: Using Religion in Parable to Engage and Decolonize our Classrooms" 
3:30 – 5 pm, Hall Center

State of SF Roundtable
  • Philip Drake (chair), L. L. McKinney, Silvia Park, and Bogi Takács
5:30 – 7 pm, Hall Center

Sturgeon Award presentation & reception
  • Reception at 5:30; program at 6

    In person, with Crowdcast option: https://www.crowdcast.io/c/sturgeon
  • Opening remarks, Theodore Sturgeon Collection, Elspeth Healey, Spencer Special Collections Curator
  • Introduction and Award Presentation, Noël Sturgeon, Trustee, Theodore Sturgeon Literary Trust
  • Reading, Samantha Mills, 2023 Sturgeon Award Winner

Crowdcast recording coming soon

Friday 9/22

(all in-person) 

9-10 am, Hall Center

Panel: Affect, power, community

Moderator: Zack Smith
  • Bogi Takács Perelmutter, "Transcendent Sharing - Early Counter-Imaginaries of Gendered Magical Power in American Speculation” 
  • RB Lemberg Perelmutter, “Representations of queer neurodivergent communities in Ada Hoffmann’s The Fallen and Andi Buchanan’s The Sanctuary” 
  • A.D. Boynton, II, “‘Damn, Yall Feel That?’: Sensitivity at the End of the World”
10:15 – 10:45 am, Hall Center

Creative reading 

Introduction: Katie Conrad
  • Maria Melendez Kelson, “The Parable of Nati (short story)"
10:55 am – 12 pm, Hall Center

Roundtable: Hispanic Speculative Fiction

Moderator: Emily Ryan
  • Miguel González-Abellás, “Cloning as a Nightmare: Representations of Clones in Paraguayan Sci-Fi Novels”
  • Sean Gullickson, “Escaping España: Spanish Climate Fiction Searches for the Space between Today and Tomorrow" Sean Gullickson,
  • Zachary Glassett, "“Roots, Chains, and Invisible Threads: Milpa as Representative of Capitalist Exploitation and Anti-capitalist Resistance in Sleep Dealer”
  • Miguel Ángel Albújar-Escuerdo, “From garden to farm, exploitative suggestions of techno bros in two of Liliana Colanzi´s sci-fi short stories"

LUNCH (Hall Center, catered for registrants) 12-1 pm

12:30 – 1:30 pm, Hall Center 

Panel: SFF, Disability, and Justice

Moderator: Phil Drake
  • Rachel Andreini, “Technology, the Body, and Disability: A Posthuman Response to Marie Corelli’s A Romance of Two Worlds
  • Margarita Nuñez-Arroyo, “Disability Justice in Helena Viramontes’s Under the Feet of Jesus” 
  • Emily Aguilar, “Against Criminality: Storytelling as Abolitionist Practice in Midnight Robber”
1:40 – 2:40 pm, Hall Center

Teaching SF Roundtable

Moderator: Giselle Anatol
  •  Silvia Park, RB Lemberg Perelmutter, Ani Kokobobo, Christian Holt, Jasmine Holthaus, and Phil Drake.
3 – 4:30 pm, Spencer Museum of Art

Closing Reception 

KU Common Work of Art

Remarks by Joey Orr

6:30 pm, Woodruff Aud., KS Student Union

Movie, “The Host” (dir. Bong Joon Ho, 2006), followed by trivia and panel discussion

Free! Co-sponsored by SciFlix, KU Edwards