Annual Sturgeon Symposium

The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction is thrilled to announce our 1st Annual Sturgeon Symposium (Thurs. 9/29 – Fri. 9/30/2022), which will feature the presentation of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best science fiction short story and a reading from this year’s winner. This hybrid in-person/online symposium will also feature panels, presentations, and roundtable discussions that highlight the diversity of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and the Speculative Arts

More on the Sturgeon Award here

2022: Celebrating Speculative Communities

The program committee invited abstracts and proposals in English (250 words or less) on any topic related to the Gunn Center's new mission of showcasing international speculative literatures, including creative work from Indian Nations, such as the Kaw, Osage, and others on whose homelands KU stands. We especially welcome thematic panels and papers that touch upon how community informs the speculative arts and vice versa.

At CSSF, we celebrate the interconnected global communities of students, scholars, creators, and fans whose engagement with speculative modes enriches our understanding of the world we share and challenges our notions of what is possible. We hope to illuminate the array of SF-related work being done across disciplines, genres, media, and identities. For example, in her groundbreaking essay “Poetry Is Not a Luxury,” Audre Lorde identifies poetry as “not only dream and vision,” but as something that “lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before” (Lorde, 38). In this way, poetry takes on a clearly speculative, generative aspect. Where/how else might we find other points of connection that broaden our conceptions of the field?

Questions? Contact

1st Annual Sturgeon Symposium

  • Thursday, September 29 - Friday, September 30, 2022

  • The Commons - Spooner Hall, University of Kansas



Thursday, September 29


  • Giselle Anatol, Director of the Gunn Center for the Study of SF

ROUNDTABLE: Fan Fiction | 3:15 PM

  • Kristina Busse (Philosophy, University of Southern Alabama) [VIRTUAL]
  • Katie Conrad (English, University of Kansas)
  • Leslee Friedman (author)
  • Cherin Russell (English, University of Kansas)
  • Izzy Wasserstein (author + English, Washburn University)

CREATIVE WRITING READING & ROUNDTABLE: Indigenous Writers of Speculative Fiction | 4:30 PM

Crowdcast Link

  • Andrea L. Rogers – (author of Man Made Monsters)
  • Alexander Casey, Aaron Kiʻilau, Kristina Togafau, Briana Uʻu, Brittney Winland – (authors of “Bowl of Stars,” University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

OPENING RECEPTION (outdoors, if weather permits) | 6:00 PM


Crowdcast Link

  • Elspeth Healey – “Literary Remains: Speculative Fiction in the Papers of Theodore Sturgeon”

Special Recognition, Announcement of the T-shirt Design Contest winner, Announcement of the winner of the 2022 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Prize, Reading by the prizewinner.

Friday, September 30

PANEL: Translations & Transitions of Language & Culture | 9:00 AM

  • samm binns (Creative Writing and Translation, University of Arkansas) - “To Speak of Everything: Sun Ra’s Space Poetry” [VIRTUAL]
  • Nora E. Derrington (English, Washburn University) – “Kindred and Watchtower: Looking to the Past to Envision a Better Future”
  • Lili Wang (Center of Digital Humanities and Literature, School of Foreign Studies, Harbin Engineering University) – Overseas Readers’ Acceptance of Chinese Online Fantasy Fiction: A Sentiment Analysis Approach to Coiling Dragon” [VIRTUAL]
  • Margarita Alely Nuñez Arroyo (American Studies, University of Kansas) –
    “The sinking of teeth en un país y cuerpo que no te pertenece: Colonization and Violence in Silvia Moreno’s Certain Dark Things”

ROUNDTABLE: The Current State of SF | 10:30 AM

  • Philip Drake (English, University of Kansas)
  • Tessa Gratton (author of YA and adult SFF)
  • L.L. McKinney (author of YA fantasy)
  • Natalie C. Parker (author and editor of YA SFF)
  • Jeanne Vaccaro (Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Museum Studies, University of Kansas)
  • Abraham Weil (Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, University of Kansas)


PANEL: Eastern European SF | 12:30 PM

  • Maria Galina, (author) – “Speculative Military Fiction in Post-Soviet Russian Literature (2000-2014)” [VIRTUAL]
  • R.B. Lemberg (author + Jewish Studies and Slavic & Eastern European Languages & Literatures, University of Kansas) – “Ecology and Empire: The Brothers Strugatsky and Le Guin in their Cold War Translations”
  • Bogi Takács (author + Jewish Studies and Slavic, German and Eurasian Studies, University of Kansas) – “Space Pioneers Versus State Censorship: The Children’s Science Fiction Novels of Zsuzsa Kántor”

PANEL: Dystopian Visions | 1:45 PM

  • Angela Acosta (Iberian Studies, The Ohio State University) – "Apocalyptic Spain: The Daily Dystopia of Ángeles Vicente’s ‘Cuento absurdo’ (1908)" [VIRTUAL]
  • Sandya Maulana (English, University of Kansas) – “Dystopian Future Malaysia in Foo Sek Han’s ‘Extracts from DMZine #13 (January 2115)’” [VIRTUAL]
  • Miguel González-Abellás (Spanish/Modern Languages, Washburn University) – “Dystopian Politics? Power and Control in Paraguayan Sci-Fi Narratives in the 21st Century”

PANEL: Gender in Global Speculative Fiction | 3:00 PM

  • Andrew Korah (English, University of Kansas) – "On Faith and Masculinity in Lijo Jose Pellisserry’s Films"
  • Timothy S. Miller (English, Florida Atlantic University) – “The Rise of the Artificial Boyfriend: Dating the Algorithm in My Holo Love (2020), I’m Your Man (2021), and AI Love You (2022)” [VIRTUAL]
  • L. Favicchia (English, University of Kansas) – “Gender and AI Identities in Franny Choi’s Soft Science
  • Victoria Millen (Literary Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) – “Taming Male Creation in The Island of Dr Moreau and Lilo & Stitch

PANEL: Gender in the Black Fantastic | 4:30 PM

  • Anthony Boynton (English, University of Kansas) – “‘No, I Am Not a Spook’: On Black Masculinity and Haunting”
  • Sandra Jacobo (English, University of Kansas) – “Black Femme Embodiment in Liselle Sambury’s Blood Like Magic
  • Ashley Simmons (English, University of Kansas) – “The Complications of the Ideal in Trouble on Triton and An Unkindness of Ghosts

PEDAGOGY ROUNDTABLE: Teaching SF in the Current Age | 5:45 PM

  • Miguel Albujar-Escuredo (Spanish & Portuguese, University of Kansas)
  • Giselle Anatol (English, University of Kansas)
  • Divya Bhalla (English, University of Kansas)
  • Ali Brox (Environmental Studies, University of Kansas)
  • Vitaly Chernetsky (Slavic and Eastern European Languages & Literatures, University of Kansas)
  • Ani Kokobobo (Slavic and Eastern European Languages & Literatures, University of Kansas)



We are grateful for contributions by these generous sponsors:

  • Cindy Reiss-Clark
  • The Commons
  • The Hall Center for the Humanities
  • KU Office of Research

and the following Departments, Programs, and Centers: 

  • English
  • Global and International Studies
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Latin American & Caribbean Studies
  • Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies
  • Slavic, Germanic, and Eurasian Languages and Literatures
  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS)
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