RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin, special effects creator Raymond F. Harryhausen and Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee will be recognized with the J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction at the University of California, Riverside’s Eaton Science Fiction Conference April 11-14, 2013.
The conference will be held at the Riverside Marriott Hotel and will examine science fiction in multiple media. Conference registration opens Aug. 1 and may be completed online. Registration for students is $95; early-bird registration, $150 (ending Feb. 1, 2013); general registration (after Feb. 1, 2013), $170; and single-day registration, $95.
Le Guin, who will receive the Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award for 2012, has written 20 science fiction and fantasy novels, among them “The Left Hand of Darkness” and “The Dispossessed,” each of which won Hugo and Nebula awards. She is the author of many short stories, six volumes of poetry, 13 books for children, as well as criticisms, collections of essays and screenplays.
“Ursula Le Guin is probably the most significant American writer of science fiction and fantasy to have emerged in the past 50 years,” said Rob Latham, professor of English and conference co-organizer. “Her work has consistently pushed the envelope in terms of serious ethical and political engagement with these popular genres.”
Conference organizers decided to present two awards for 2013 “to honor both science fiction film culture and science fiction comic book culture, which we felt deserved to be recognized separately,” said Melissa Conway, head of Special Collections and Archives of the UCR Libraries.
Harryhausen, who created a type of stop-motion model animation known as Dynamation, will receive the award for his groundbreaking contributions to science fiction film. Among his best-known productions are “Mighty Joe Young,” for which the ARKO team won an Oscar for special effects in 1949; “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad”; and “Jason and the Argonauts,” which included a swordfight against skeleton warriors.
Lee, former president of Marvel Comics, also will be recognized with the award for 2013 for his various contributions in the realm of comic books. Lee, who began as a comic-book writer at age 19, moved on to become editor, producer, publisher, and president and chairman of Marvel Comics. The co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and other superheroes is also being recognized for his successful challenge to the Comics Code Authority.
Previous recipients of the Eaton lifetime achievement award are Ray Bradbury (2008), Frederik Pohl (2009), Samuel R. Delany (2010) and Harlan Ellison (2011).
The 2013 conference theme, “Science Fiction Media,” reflects the increasingly diverse forms of expression of science fiction.
“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,” said Conway, a conference co-organizer.
Scholarly papers presented at the conference will explore science fiction as a multimedia phenomenon, whether focusing on popular mass media, such as Hollywood blockbusters, or on niche and subcultural forms of expression, Latham said. Among the niche and subcultural forms of expression are 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).
The science-fiction writing competition for full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the UC system will continue in 2013. First prize is $750 and second prize is $500. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 7. Further details, including instructions for submitting entries, and length and format requirements will be posted at eatonconference.ucr.edu .
The conference will also feature the fourth Science Fiction Studies Symposium on the topic of “SF Media(tions)” on April 11, 2013, at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. Admission is free.
Symposium speakers will be 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 Engish at DePauw University and author of “the Seven Beauties of Science Fiction” (Wesleyan University Press, 2008); 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 conference is sponsored by the University of California, Riverside Libraries and the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. In 2013 the conference will partner with the Science Fiction Research Association, the largest and most prestigious scholarly organization in the field.
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.