The 26th J. Lloyd Eaton Conference
April 25-28, 2008
University of California, Riverside
The discovery and exploration of Mars has provided a central element in the development of science fiction. Since actual physical observation of what seemed a possibly habitable planet in the 19th century, Mars has been the location of very different scenarios, which could serve as a map both of the evolution of SF, and of changing modern attitudes toward the human condition. For Wells, Mars the place of neverending war awakens, and brings us real devastating destruction. For his contemporary Rosny aîné, Mars offers a place of parallel, carbon-based evolution. Heinlein’s Martian “old ones,” on the other hand, with their decadent wisdom, prove to be no match for human expansion. If Bradbury’s Mars is a nightmare mirror of the human condition, Clarke’s sands of Mars are the place of a successful terraforming experiment. In turn, Clarke’s new world for mankind becomes, for D. G. Compton, a terrible penal colony. Mars has been a mythic place, a hostile place, a colony, more recently a utopian space, and finally the neutral terrain of scientific investigation. Examining the nature and significance of these Martian metamorphoses is the subject of this conference.
Papers of 20-25 minutes in length will be considered on the following topics: The Mythic Mars: Why its survival in the age of modern science; (2) Mars: Utopia or Dystopia? (3) The Visual Mars: Imaginings versus photos; (4) The Mars of Science: the “real” Mars as source of fiction; (5) The Future of Fictional Mars. Other Martian musings will be considered if significant.
Please send submissions to:
Professor George Slusser
Riverside CA 92517
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