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Literature [clear filter]
Sunday, May 27
 

9:00am

Science Fiction and Fantasy Characters as Dramatis Personae
Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF) literature and television offer us textual and visual representations of what possible futures might look like, what challenges are likely to arise in in the digital age of progress, and how we might handle encountering the unknown, including the probable existence of alien life. But parallel to their ethical and speculative dimensions, SFF literature and television offer for our consideration various complex characters through whose development the text’s innermost meaning becomes intelligible, and the “human condition” is highlighted.

Upon closer examination however, many of the characters created within SFF appear to be constructed with various stock roles or “masks” in mind. This is a paper presentation panel. Presenters will analyze the functions of specific dramatic personae and the presence of stock characters in science fiction and fantasy literature, television and film, examining their roles in the construction of SF worlds, canons, cult classics, and in the interrogation of ethics.

Moderators
avatar for LG Ransom

LG Ransom

L.G. Ransom, the author of Hollin's Heir and Conquering Mount Ta-Ta,  was born in Miami, Florida but grew up living in various countries around the world including Europe and the British West Indies. She is an accomplished artist who’s computer art and canvasses have graced... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Robert Aldrich

Robert Aldrich

Robert V. Aldrich is a novelist and writer based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. He writes mostly sci-fi/fantasy, and draws inspiration from anime, video games, comics, lucha libre, and even opera (no really, it’s true). Robert has three books published through Caffeine & Ink Books... Read More →
avatar for PJ Manney

PJ Manney

author, PJ Manney
PJ Manney is the author of the bestselling and Philip K. Dick Award nominated (R)EVOLUTION, book 1 in the Phoenix Horizon series, and book 2, (ID)ENTITY. She is a former chairperson of Humanity+, the author of "Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy... Read More →
avatar for Gary Morgenstein

Gary Morgenstein

Gary Morgenstein’s new science fiction novel A Mound Over Hell, set in 2098 following America’s defeat by Islam in World War Three as baseball begins its final season ever, has been called “1984 Meets Shoeless Joe.” It’s the first book in The Dark Depths series. His previous... Read More →

Staff
avatar for Aisha Matthews

Aisha Matthews

Director of Literature Programs at Escape Velocity, Museum of Science Fiction
Aisha Matthews is a Ph.D. student in English Literature at Southern Methodist University, having finished her Master’s Degree at Southern New Hampshire University in early 2017. As an undergraduate at Yale (’13), she studied Young Adult Science Fiction Literature (alongside more... Read More →

Sunday May 27, 2018 9:00am - 9:50am
 Woodrow Wilson D

2:00pm

Why Are They Spiritual Machines? AI and Religion
Cognitive science removed the necessity for thinking about mind as an embodied soul, and replaced it with a computational theory of mind. So why is humanity so interested in making intelligent machines our spiritual companions, guides, and gods? This panel will pull together science fiction and science fact to contemplate questions of religions and machines. Are there religious motivations at work in robotics and artificial intelligence research? What should we make of literature, television, and films centered on confrontations between AIs and traditional (human) religious beliefs? What do our machines, and the stories we share about machines, tell us about the human spirit?

Moderators
avatar for Phil Frana

Phil Frana

Associate Dean and Associate Professor, James Madison University
Philip Frana is an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies and Associate Dean of the Honors College at James Madison University (Harrisonburg VA). He is currently writing a book on the history of artificial intelligence, The Past, Present, and Future of Artificial... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Michael Klein

Michael Klein

Associate Professor, James Madison University
Michael Klein is Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric & Technical Communication and Director of the Cohen Center for the Humanities at James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA). He teaches a course about zombies, and uses science fiction literature and film as a means of exploring... Read More →
avatar for Joe Loyacano

Joe Loyacano

Instructor and Academic Advisor, James Madison University
Joe Loyacano is an Instructor and Academic Advisor in the School of Media Art and Design at James Madison University (Harrisonburg VA). He teaches The Mind and Brain in Literature and Film, and his interests include art house cinema, film adaptation, new media writing, and the art... Read More →
avatar for Barry Luokkala

Barry Luokkala

Physics professor, Carnegie Mellon University
Barry Luokkala is a teaching professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his BS and MS degrees in physics at the University of Pittsburgh, where he did experimental research in the physics and chemistry of the ionosphere. He received his PhD in experimental condensed... Read More →
avatar for PJ Manney

PJ Manney

author, PJ Manney
PJ Manney is the author of the bestselling and Philip K. Dick Award nominated (R)EVOLUTION, book 1 in the Phoenix Horizon series, and book 2, (ID)ENTITY. She is a former chairperson of Humanity+, the author of "Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy... Read More →

Staff
avatar for Stacy Bruss

Stacy Bruss

Director, Event Programming, Museum of Science Fiction
Stacy Bruss, MS, MSIS, is a reference librarian at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). At NIST, she supports all Physical Measurement Laboratory researchers and manages the Innovation Hub, a center with 3-D printers, technology bar, data visualization tools... Read More →

Sunday May 27, 2018 2:00pm - 2:50pm
 Woodrow Wilson D