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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Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy – June 7-8

As many of you who have been following Speculating Canada know, I like to support research in Canadian Science Fiction, particularly when it is directed toward public access and public discussions. I have given papers at the Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy (ACCSFF) for the past few years and have enjoyed it both for the amazing quality of the papers given, but also for the public focus and dedication to making the conference accessible to the public. I hope many of you who are in the Toronto area or able to travel to the Toronto area will join me there for exciting discussions about Canadian Spec Fic.

I have included a forwarded message from ACCSFF for those who are interested:

“The 2013 Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy will be held June 7-8, 2013, at the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy. Author Keynote Address speaker will be Tanya Huff, author of numerous novels including the Blood series of dark-fantasy mysteries; our Scholar Guest Speaker will be Robert Runte, one of the pioneers in the study of Canadian SF

For information on how to register, please visit their website at http://www.yorku.ca/accsff and go to the Events page”