Award-Winning Author To Make Appearance at UCR

By Laila Rashid, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Intern
December 2, 2014

Geoff Ryman, British writer of fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction, will be speaking at UCR tomorrow evening.

His novel Air, a story about a town’s fashion expert and worldwide experiments with new information technology,won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, the British Science Fiction Association Award, and the James R. Tiptree Jr. Award for science fiction and fantasy that explores and expands gender and gender roles. His novel 253 was an early hypertext novel, the “print remix” of which received the Philip K. Dick Award. Much of Ryman’s work is based on travels to Cambodia. His most recent novel, The King’s Last Song, was set both in the Angkor Wat era and the time after Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

His other works have received the Nebula Award, the John W. Campbell Award, the World Fantasy Award, and most recently, a second Sunburst Award for his short fiction collection, "Paradise Tales." He is one of the founders of the "Mundane Science Fiction" movement, which focuses on stories set on or near the Earth, with a believable use of technology and science as it exists at the time the story is written. He has been trained as an actor and currently lectures in creative writing for The University of Manchester’s English department. In 2008, he and Nalo Hopkinson, professor of creative writing here at UCR, co-taught the final two weeks of the Clarion Science Fiction Writing Workshop at UC San Diego.

“Geoff's visit is an amazing opportunity for our students to hear from a writer who's an important stylist and thinker,” she said. “Too, it's a great opportunity for students taking the undergraduate minor and the graduate Designated Emphasis in Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies.”

Nalo Hopkinson, along with Sherryl Vint and Rob Latham of the English department, have long been involved with the Center for Ideas and Society’s science fiction collective workshop, which fosters a scholarly community to explore the impact of modern technoscience on global cultures and ways of life.

Nalo Hopkinson received the 2013 Andre Norton Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for her novel Sister Mine. Rob Latham received the Thomas D. Clareson Award for Distinguished Service to the Field, given by the Science Fiction Research Association. Sherryl Vint presented the keynote at the Science Fiction Research Association Conference this past year.

“UCR is a perfect venue for an appearance like this because of our focus on science fiction and the presence on campus of the Eaton Science Fiction Archive, a world class archive that is open to the public,” Hopkinson said.

The event, which is open to the public, is co-sponsored by Creative Writing, the Center for Ideas and Society (through the graduate science fiction reading group) and Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies, and will take place tomorrow at 6 p.m., in Interdisciplinary building North 3043. Parking permits may be purchased at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

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