Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.
15:38

The Bicentennial 21st-Century Symposium of All About Me.

 

If you'd rather not go I completely understand.

If you’d rather not go I completely understand.

This feels a bit weird. Creepy, even.  If it makes any difference, I advised them not to go ahead with it.

A couple of weeks from now— Nov 10-11— the University of Toronto will be hosting an academic symposium about me. More precisely, about my writing.

You could even call it an international event. While U of T is providing the venue, the symposium itself is organized by Aussie Ben Eldridge, of the University of Sydney. At least two of the presenters are from the US (although one of them will be Skyping in, doubtless to avoid the mandatory cavity search that seems to be SOP at the border these days).

Friday is layperson-friendly: a round-table discussion of my oeuvre, or omelet, or however you say that; a reading (new stuff, yet to be published); an interview; a bit of Q&A.  The schedule only listed 15 minutes for drinks after that, but as Ben reminds me he is an Australian and would never make so rookie a mistake. That 15 minutes is only for warm-up drinking on campus, after which we retire to the Duke of York.

Saturday is the academic stuff. I don’t know who’s giving what talks just yet, but apparently the titles include—

  • The (Grammatical) Autonomy of Angels: “Malak” & The Language of Logic.
  • The Influence of Paratextual Reputation on Textual Authority.
  • Rifters and Beyond: An (Overly) Educated Fan’s Perspective.
  • “Lenie Clarke is God”: Religion & Peter Watts.
  • Peter Watts’s Rifters Trilogy and the Apocalyptic Tradition.
  • Cyborgs, Hybrids, and Alien Others: Peter Watts’s Posthumanism.
  • From Simile to Metaphor: The Alien in Clarke’s Rendevous with Rama and Watts’ Blindsight.

—plus a couple of others yet to be finalized.

Honestly, I don’t even understand one of those titles. Can’t wait to hear the actual talks.

I remain skeptical that my work is of sufficient influence to support such a dedicated event, especially on such short notice. I’ve been told to stop being an Eeyore, and to just get on board with the thing; the speaking slots are all filled, after all. Surely that speaks to the fact that academically at least, I do have my own Niche. What remains to be seen is whether those speakers will be holding forth to an actual audience, or merely to each other— and since they’re going ahead with it regardless, the least I can do is try and encourage some asses to find some seats.

So there it is. If you’re in town, and if you’re so inclined, I’d much rather see you there than rows of empty chairs. And to repeat: while the entire event is open to all, Friday night’s events are gonna be especially accessible to a general audience.

Also, it’s free.

Although you get what you pay for.


Update 28/10/2017: The schedule seems to have firmed up. Nine talks, four things-with-me-as-participant, eight institutions represented:

FRIDAY 10th NOVEMBER

1500-1515  Welcome / Event Introduction 1515-1600 Roundtable Discussion: On Peter Watts and the Science/Fiction Divide. Allan Weiss, Amy J. Ransom, Dominick Grace, Michele Braun 1600-1615
Peter Watts Introduction by Michael Johnstone 1615-1645 Peter Watts Reading 1645-1730 Peter Watts in Conversation with Ben Eldridge & Michael Johnstone 1730-1745 Peter Watts Q&A 1745-1800
Close / Drinks 1830-late Symposium dinner @ Duke of York.

 

SATURDAY 11th NOVEMBER

1000-1015 Welcome / Coffee 1015-1145 Canonical Distortions TBA: Edward Keller (Parsons New School of Design) “Lenie Clarke is God”: Religion & Peter Watts. Dominick Grace (Brescia University College) Rifters and Beyond: An (Overly) Educated Fan’s Perspective. Amy J. Ransom (Central Michigan University) 1145-1245 Narratological Distortions From Simile to Metaphor: The Alien in Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama & Watts’ Blindsight. Michael Johnstone (University of Toronto) Sculpting the Past: Fractal Narrative in Peter Watts’ Rifters Trilogy. Devin Oxman (Concordia University) 1245-1330 Lunch 1330-1430 Cyborgs, Hybrids, and Alien Others: Peter Watts’s  Posthumanism. Clare Wall (York University) 1430-1530 The (Grammatical) Autonomy of Angels: “Malak” and the Language of Logic. Ben Eldridge (University of Sydney) 1530-1630 The Influence of Paratextual Reputation on Textual Authority. Michele Braun (Mount Royal University) 1630-1645 Afternoon break 1645-1745 Peter Watts’s Rifters Trilogy and the Apocalyptic Tradition. Allan Weiss (York University) 1745-1800 Close / Drinks

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl