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The Marvelous Diversity of Science Fiction and Fantasy — Symposium


Thursday, Apr 13, 2023

1:00-2:00pm — Roundtable: Diverse Voices in Science Fiction and Fantasy (virtual) — Darcie Little Badger, Martha Wells, Stina Leicht, Selene DePackh
2:30-3:30 — Coffee and Craft Chat (LAAH 535) — Darcie Little Badger
4-5pm — Reading and Signing (Mayo-Thomas Room, Cushing Library) — Darcie Little Badger, Martha Wells, Stina Leicht

Friday, Apr 14, 2023

9:00-10:30 — Science Fiction Scholars Panel (virtual) — Lisa Yaszek, Grace Dillon, Rebecca Hankins
10:45-12:15 — Fantasy Scholars Panel (virtual) — Cait Coker, Robin A. Reid, Noah Peterson, Melissa McCoul
1:15-2:45 — Scholar Roundtable (virtual) — Lisa Yaszek, Grace Dillon, Robin A. Reid, Cait Coker
3 pm — Keynote Address (Mayo-Thomas Room, Cushing Library and virtual options) — Darcie Little Badger

Click Here to Register

Talk Titles

  • Darcie Little Badger: "Our Stories Persevere"
  • Lisa Yaszek: "Notes toward a Feminist Futurism (through Fashion)"
  • Robin Reid: "Virtual Culture Warriors: The Alt-Right Crusade Against Diversity in The Rings of Power"
  • Cait Coker: "American Reception of Chinese Fantasy in Translation"
  • Rebecca Hankins, "Muslim Futurism: Challenging the Master Narrative"
  • Noah Peterson, "The Black Middle Ages: Imagining the Past"
  • Melissa McCoul, "Fantasy in the Poison Garden: Trauma, Health, and Playing Outside in Secret Garden and Kalynn Bayron's This Poison Heart."

Speaker Biographies – Authors and Scholars


Darcie Little Badger:

An author and earth scientist (who received her PhD in Oceanography from Texas A&M University), she specializes in horror, fantasy, and science fiction. She is a member of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas, and an important voice in the emergence of Indigenous futurisms, a movement that decolonizes science fiction and fantasy. Her writing is also noted for its concern with LGBTQ themes. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, and The Dark, among other journals, and she also has contributed to the critically-acclaimed anthologies New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology, and The New Voices of Science Fiction. Her YA fantasy novels Elatsoe (2020) and A Snake Falls to Earth (2021) have won many awards: Elatsoe won, among other, the 2021 Locus Award for Best First Novel and the American Indian Youth Literature Honor Book Award, and made a number of Best Books of 2020 lists. A Snake Falls to Earth won the 2022 Ignyte Award for Best YA Novel as well as the 2022 Nebula Andre Norton Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. In addition, Time Magazine in 2020 voted Elatsoe one of the 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. Little Badger has recently branched out into comics writing, having contributed to Marvel Comics’ Marvel Voices: Indigenous Voices with a story about Dani Moonstar, an X-Man and member of the Cheyenne Nation, and co-created the character Joe Gomez, the Captain America of the Kickapoo Tribe.

Darcie Little Badger will give a reading, sign copies of her work, meet with undergraduate creative writing students, participate in a roundtable discussion with other writers, and deliver a keynote address about indigenous and queer futurisms.

Robin A. Reid:

Her specializations include creative writing, new media, critical theory, and fantastic literatures, especially the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. Her stylistics publications include articles on The Lord of the Rings, both the novel and the film. Her peer-reviewed articles have appeared in Extrapolation, Style, and Tolkien Studies. She is serving as the co-editor of a special Race, Ethnicity, and Fandom edition of an online peer-reviewed journal of fan studies, Transformative Works and Culture. She has published poetry, critical books on Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, and edited the first encyclopedia on women in science fiction and fantasy (Greenwood 2008). She has been involved in a number of interdisciplinary activities on and off her campus. She regularly team-teaches with Dr. Judy Ann Ford, A&M-Commerce, a medieval historian (The Lord of the Rings); they have co-written two successful NEH grants for Summer Institutes for School Teachers (2004, 2009), and have published three collaborative essays. She regularly posts about her work online in an academic blog in Dreamwidth. Robin A. Reid will present a conference length essay and participate in a roundtable discussion between scholars of science fiction and fantasy.

Grace Dillon:

Grace Dillon is a professor in the Indigenous Nations Studies Program in the School of Gender, Race, and Nations at Portland State University. Dillon coined the term Indigenous futurisms as editor of the first anthology of Indigenous science fiction, Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (2012). Grace Dillon will present a conference-length essay and participate in a roundtable discussion between scholars of science fiction and fantasy.

Cait Coker:

Cait Coker is an Associate Professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Curator of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. She is an editor of the science fiction journal Foundation and studies fan fiction. Cait Coker will present a conference-length essay and participate in a roundtable discussion.

Lisa Yaszek:

Lisa Yaszek is Regents’ Professor of Science Fiction Studies at Georgia Tech, where she explores science fiction as a global language crossing centuries, continents, and cultures. Her most recent books include Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction (2016); Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century (2020, co-edited with Isiah Lavender III) and The Future is Female! Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women series (2018-present). Professor Yaszek’s ideas about science fiction as a window to cultural history have been featured in venues including The Washington Post, Food and Wine Magazine, and USA Today, and she has been an expert commentator for CBS Sunday Morning, the BBC4, Turner Classic Movies, and the AMC miniseries James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction. A past president of the Science Fiction Research Association, Professor Yaszek currently serves as a juror for the Eugie Foster and Philip K. Dick Speculative Fiction Awards.

Lisa Yaszek will present a conference-length essay and participate in a roundtable discussion.

Martha Wells:

Martha Wells (TAMU ’86) has been an SF/F writer since her first novel, the fantasy The Element of Fire, set in the imperiled kingdom of Ile-Rien, was published to acclaim in 1993. Her third novel , the Nebula Award-nominated The Death of the Necromancer (1998), was also set in Ile-Rien, as were a subsequent novel trilogy (The Fall of Ile-Rien, 2003-2005) and several short stories. Her other work includes, among other titles, the sweeping fantasy series of novels and short fiction The Books of the Raksura (2011-2015), which was nominated for the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Series; media tie-in fiction for the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now Star Wars Legends) and the television show Stargate: Atlantis, as well as additional short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has gained renewed and widespread for her ongoing science fiction series The Murderbot Diaries, which relates the adventures of a self-aware cyborg permanently exasperated with the humanity with which it has to cope. The series, which began in 2017 with the novella All Systems Red, has earned legions of fans and eager readers across the globe and has won four Hugo awards and two Nebula awards. She has won Nebula Awards, Hugo Awards, and Locus Awards, and her work has appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the BSFA Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Her books have been published in twenty-two languages. In May, Wells’ new fantasy novel The Witch King will be released by Tor, and November 2023 will see the release of the latest Murderbot novel, System Collapse.

Martha Wells will participate in a Roundtable discussion and a book signing.

Stina Leicht:

Stina Leicht, a native of Austin, is a John W. Campbell/Astounding New Writer Award- and Crawford Award-nominated writer of science fiction and fantasy. In addition to a number of well-received works of short fiction, she has written several novels. In 2011 her first novel, Of Blood and Honey, was released -- the first in her The Fey and The Fallen duology, the book is set in 1970s Northern Ireland, where a bloody human conflict is mirrored by an otherworldly war between supernatural forces. The sequel, 2012’s And Blue Skies from Pain, was on the Locus Recommended Reading list for 2012. Her next fantasy duology The Malorum Gates, was an epic flintlock fantasy with a Tolkienesque spin: Cold Iron was released in 2015, and Blackthorne in 2017. In 2021, Leicht published the space opera Persephone Station (2021), a queer feminist retelling of The Magnificent Seven. Another space opera, Loki’s Ring, was released in March 2023 by Galley/Saga Press.

Stina Leicht will participate in a Roundtable discussion and a book signing.

Selene DePackh:

Selene DePackh is a queer, physically disabled, neuro-divergent crone who forefronts marginalized characters and subjects in her work. Prior to turning to writing, she worked primarily as an illustrator. Kirkus describes her 2018 debut novel Glitch in the System: Troubleshooting as “a gripping, lyrical, and ambitious dystopian novel,” whose lead character is one of the “few protagonists in sci-fi—or literature in general—that present an autistic perspective with such specificity and pathos.” 
Her short genre-fluid speculative fiction has recently been included in The Nightside Codex, Recognize Fascism (for which her story received a Pushcart nomination,) Nightscript, and Oculus Sinister anthologies, among others. Her essay on online friendships among autistics appeared in the Identities issue of the British litmag Shooter. Her horror novella The Golden Road was published by JournalStone last year. She is presently reworking the Glitch series, because near-future speculative fiction is a fast-moving target.
Connect with her at; Most of her published fiction can be found at