Report from the 2013 Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy

By Derek Newman-Stille

The term “Academic Conference” often intimidates the general public. To many people “Academic” has come to be synonymous with “inaccessible language”, “boring discourse”, and “pomposity”, but the Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy’s real potency is the focus of the conference on accessibility to an interested public. Organiser Allan Weiss wants the conference to be open to the pubic and the conference’s position in the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy means that it is in a more public space. The conference brings researchers, authors, and fans together in discussions about Canadian SF.

As you have probably noticed from my posts, I really enjoy opportunities to bridge the gap between people engaging with Canadian SF in different ways. The ACCSSF conference is all about bridging the gap between those interested in Canadian SF and inviting everyone into the discussion.

Speakers engaged in discourse about the richness complexity of Canadian SF and perspectives on Canadian SF. From genre questions to French Canadian science fiction metal music, from place and identity to mythic themes, this conference raised questions and excited attendees to incredible discussions. As often happens at academic conferences, some of the richest places for examining ideas happened between sessions around the tea pot and after sessions at dinner and the pub. It is exciting and heartening to know that there are so many people excited about Canadian SF and interested in looking beyond the surface of their favorite novels.

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