Stars Align for Eaton Science Fiction Conference

Luminaries from the worlds of SF literature, television, film and scholarship will gather for UC Riverside conference and symposium April 11-14

image of robots wearing 3-D glasses

The Eaton Science Fiction Conference opens April 11.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Scholars and science fiction fans will explore the explosion of the genre across the media landscape when UC Riverside’s Eaton Science Fiction Conference convenes April 11-14 at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Riverside.

With seven concurrent tracks for attendees to choose from, the 2013 conference will be largest in the 34-year history of the conference, said Melissa Conway, head of Special Collections and Archives of the UCR Libraries and conference co-organizer. It also is the first time the UCR Libraries and College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences have partnered with the Science Fiction Research Association, the largest and most prestigious scholarly organization in the field, to present the event.

Award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin, special effects creator Raymond F. Harryhausen and Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee will be recognized, in absentia, with the J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction.

Registration for students is $95; general registration is $170; and single-day registration is $95. Register may be made online by March 30. Registration may be made at the door for all events except the awards banquet on Saturday evening.

The conference will include the fourth Science Fiction Studies Symposium on Thursday, April 11, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Spanish Art Gallery at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. The symposium, “SF Media(tions),”  is open to registered conference attendees only. Featured speakers are: Mark Bould, reader in film and literature at the University of the West of England and co-editor of the journal Science Fiction Film and Television; Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr., professor of English at DePauw University, a senior editor of Science Fiction Studies and one of the founding editors of Humanimalia, an online journal of human/animal interface studies; and Vivian Sobchack, professor emeritus of film, television and digital media at UCLA and the 2012 recipient of the Society for Cinema Studies’ Distinguished Career Award.

“The past several decades have witnessed an explosion in science fiction texts across the media landscape, from film and TV to comics and digital games,” Conway said in explaining the conference theme, “Science Fiction Media.”

The conference will explore science fiction as a multimedia phenomenon from popular mass media in the form of Hollywood blockbusters, to niche and subcultural forms of expression such as MUDs (multiplayer Internet games based on genres such as fantasy and science fiction) and vidding (the process of producing fan-made music videos, which typically pair scenes from TV shows and movies with a particular piece of music), added Rob Latham, conference co-organizer and a professor of English at UCR.

Conference events begin at 8:30 a.m. daily and continue into the evenings with author readings, a Friday night screening of “Spectres of the Spectrum,” and an awards banquet Saturday evening during which winners of the Student Science Fiction Short Story Competition will be announced and the recipients of the Eaton Lifetime Achievement awards will be recognized.

Eaton Lifetime Achievement award recipients are: Ursula K. Le Guin, who will receive the award for 2012, author of 20 science fiction and fantasy novels and winner of Hugo and Nebula awards; Raymond F. Harryhausen (2013 award), creator of a type of stop-motion model animation known as Dynamation and part of the ARKO team that won an Oscar for special effects in 1949 for “Mighty Joe Young”;  and Stan Lee (2013), former president of Marvel Comics and co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and other superheroes.

Previous recipients of the Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award are Ray Bradbury (2008), Frederik Pohl (2009), Samuel R. Delany (2010) and Harlan Ellison (2011).

Among the science fiction writers who will be presenting on different panels are: Larry Niven, author of “Ringworld” and a five-time winner of the Hugo Award and a Nebula; Gregory Benford, astrophysicist and winner of a Nebula Award and a United Nations Medal in Literature; David Brin, astrophysicist and two-time winner of the Hugo Award; Audre Bormanis, writer/producer for “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Threshold,” “Eleventh Hour,” “Legend of the Seeker” and “Tron: Uprising”; Kevin Grazier, science adviser for “Battlestar Galactica,” “Defiance,” “Eureka” and “Falling Skies”; and James Gunn, winner of a Hugo Award and the 2007 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master, presented for lifetime achievement as a writer of science fiction and/or fantasy by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Members of the Art Director’s Guild will make special presentations in three separate panel discussions on Saturday, April 13.

The first of these panels, “Production Designers — Building Worlds,” begins at 10:30 a.m. and will include: Mimi Gramatky, a production designer who was nominated for an Emmy for “An Inconvenient Woman”; Kirk Petrucelli, a production designer whose credits include “The Incredible Hulk,” “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”; Christa Munro, an art director whose credits include “Jack Reacher,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “The Ring Two”; and Oliver Scholl, a production designer who has worked on such films as Mission to Mars,” “Batman Forever” and “Stargate.”

At 2 p.m., panelists who will discuss “The Art Department — Bringing Imaginary Worlds to Life” include: Robert Stromberg, a two-time Academy Award winner for art direction for James Cameron’s “Avatar” and Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”; Dylan Cole, a digital matte painter and concept artist best known for his work on feature films like “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Avatar” and “The Chronicles of Riddick”; Stefan Dechant, a supervising art director whose credits include “Lincoln,” “Minority Report” and “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”; and Todd Cherniawsky, a production designer with Asylum Design Works whose credits include, “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “War of the Worlds.

At 4 p.m., “Life Imitates Art — (Or why did the first Motorola flip phone look like a Star Trek Communicator?)” will feature: Cate Bangs, an art director and set designer whose television and film credits include “Desperate Housewives,”  “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”; Alex Hajdu, an art director who has worked on the film “Battle Beyond the Stars” and TV programs such as “Private Practice and “Night Stalker”;  Andrew Leung, a concept artist, matte painter and VFX designer whose most recent work is “Real Steel”; and Geoff Mandel, a production artist and designer who was the scenic artist for “Star Trek: Insurrection,” the sixth and seventh seasons of “Star Trek: Voyager” and the first season of “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

UCR is the home of the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy, the largest publicly accessible collection of its kind in the world. The collection embraces every branch of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian/dystopian fiction.

The collection, which attracts scholars from around the world, holds more than 300,000 items including English-language science fiction, fantasy and horror published in the 20th century and a wide range of works in Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, German, and a dozen other languages; fanzines; comic books; anime; manga; science fiction films and television series; shooting scripts; archives of science fiction writers; and science fiction collectibles and memorabilia.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Melissa Conway
Tel: (951) 827-3233

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