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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
2:30-330 — Coffee and Craft Chat (LAAH 535) — Darcie Little Badger
4-5pm — Reading and Signing (Evans 204E) — Darcie Little Badger, Martha Wells, Stina Leicht

Friday, Apr 14, 2023

9:00-10:30 — Science Fiction Scholars Panel (virtual) — Lisa Yazek, Grace Dillon, Rebecca Hankins
10:45-12:15 — Fantasy Scholars Panel (virtual) — Cait Coker, Robin A. Reid, Noah Peterson
1:15-2:45 — Scholar Roundtable (virtual) — Lisa Yazek, Grace Dillon, Robin A. Reid, Cait Coker
3 pm — Keynote Address (Evans 204E 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"


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 Extrapolation and studies fan fiction. Cait Coker will present a conference-length essay and participate in a roundtable discussion.

Lisa Yaszek:

Lisa Yaszek is Professor of Science Fiction Studies in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech, where she researches and teaches science fiction as a global language crossing centuries, continents, and cultures. She is particularly interested in issues of gender, race, and science and technology in science fiction across media as well as the recovery of lost voices in science fiction history and the discovery of new voices from around the globe. Yaszek’s books include The Self-Wired: Technology and Subjectivity in Contemporary American Narrative (Routledge 2002/2014); Galactic Suburbia: Recovering Women’s Science Fiction (Ohio State, 2008); and Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction (Wesleyan 2016). Her ideas about science fiction as the premiere story form of modernity have been featured in The Washington Post, Food and Wine Magazine, and USA Today and in the AMC miniseries, James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction. A past president of the Science Fiction Research Association, Yaszek currently serves as an editor for the Library of America and as a juror for the John W. Campbell and Eugie Foster Science 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 won the 2021 Hugo Award for Best Series. 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 creates innovative story lines that expand the science fiction genre of cyberpunk into an entirely new subcategory which she calls Neuropunk, which draws on her own autism to immerse the reader in a firsthand experience of institutional bias. Her powerful characters spring off the page. Her books draw the reader into a turbulent alternative reality based in primordial myth and grounded in contemporary social upheaval. Troubleshooting: Book One, Glitch in the System series demonstrates her command of the genre and her ability to subvert it. In addition to writing compelling books, Selene DePackh creates digital illustration and graphic design. DePackh’s website: . Selene DePackh will participate in a Roundtable discussion.