5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Science Fiction Centre has lift off!

Published: 9 February 2017 at 13:00

Dr Helen Marshall

The first university-based research group of its kind is established at Anglia Ruskin

The Anglia Ruskin Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy, the first university-based research group of its kind in the UK, will be officially launched on Wednesday, 15 February.

The Centre, which will connect the areas of writing and publishing with literary criticism, will hold a series of events and conferences designed to bring together academics, authors, editors, and members of the book publishing industry.

The Anglia Ruskin Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy will host the first ever online “shadow jury” for The Arthur C. Clarke Award, the UK’s most prestigious science fiction award.  The jury will be led by author and critic Nina Allan.

It will also support the publication of Samovar, a quarterly magazine devoted to translated speculative fiction, with fiction and poetry published in their original language and in the English translation.  Anglia Ruskin University is also preparing to launch a specialist MA in Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2018.

Dr Helen Marshall, Lecturer in Creative Writing and Publishing at Anglia Ruskin University and Director of the new Centre, said:

“The study of science fiction and fantasy is now over 75 years old.  Although historically it was focused in English departments, in the past 20 years this has changed and strong work is emerging in film, TV, art, and a variety of other academic fields. 

“While these genres might be seen to look backwards to the distant past and forward to myriad potential futures, at their heart these genres are deeply concerned with processes of myth-making, processes vital to understanding contemporary society.

“The current interest in alternative facts and George Orwell’s 1984 shows just how relevant our extrapolations of past concerns into the future imaginings can be.  As Orwell himself says, ‘He who controls the past controls the future.  He who controls the present controls the past’.

“The Anglia Ruskin Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy will connect two major strengths within Anglia Ruskin University – writing and publishing, and literary criticism – and place them within the wider context of media, game design, linguistics and film and television.”

The official launch event will feature readings from PhD student Marian Womack’s Lost Objects (Luna Press, forthcoming 2018) and Dr Una McCormack’s Star of the Sea (Abaddon, October 2016).  Dr McCormack, Lecturer in Creative Writing at Anglia Ruskin, is a New York Times bestselling author of novels based on TV franchises such as Star Trek and Doctor Who.

The launch event on Wednesday, 15 February (4-6pm) takes place in room LAB207 at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus and is free to attend.  For further information, please email helen.marshall@anglia.ac.uk.