New Genre Army call for papers

Papers are invited for the first international conference on the work of British writer Adam Roberts. Crowned the “King of High-Concept SF”, his novels have been shortlisted for major awards such as the Philip K. Dick Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the BSFA Award. His fiction “represents some of the best work being done in our 21st-century genre” (Locus). Writing for the New Scientist, Kim Stanley Robinson argued that Roberts’ 2009 novel Yellow Blue Tibia should have earned the Man Booker Award, and Niall Alexander has similarly privileged Roberts within contemporary literature, stating that “Roberts stands head and shoulders above many of his contemporaries, pushing this and that genre every which way but loose, year in and year out” (SF Signal).

Author of thirteen novels, Roberts is influenced by the modern classics of Golden Age SF and Victorian poetry, and his fiction offers us unique visions of this and other worlds. A society where people photosynthesise sunlight. An army of interconnected consciousnesses that functions as a single person. And alternative histories, where Jonathan Swift was telling the truth about the Lilliputians or where Stalin hired a group of science fiction writers to make up news of an alien invasion. His latest work, Jack Glass, is indicative of this ability to stretch and combine genres and has been called “an attempt to shackle together the golden age of detective fiction with the golden age of SF” (Christopher Priest, Guardian).

This is, of course, only one of the many Adam Robertses, the writer of New Model Army (2010), By Light Alone (2011) and so many others. There is also Professor Adam Charles Roberts, who’s written The History of Science Fiction (2007), co-edited The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction (2009) and teaches Victorian Literature and Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. And finally, there is A.R.R.R. Roberts, writer of such parodies as The Sellamillion (2004), The Va Dinci Cod (2005) and The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo (2010). A writer of many-dimensions, Roberts contributes to contemporary speculative fiction in a unique combination of modes: he writes it, he writes about it – both as a scholar and as a critic – and, of course, he parodies it.

This event aims to bring together scholars, critics, writers and fans for the first academic conference dedicated to the literature and ideas of Adam Roberts. Papers are welcome on any topic related to Roberts’ writing from academics, researchers, fans, and anyone else interested. Topics might include, but are not limited to: -‘High-Concept SF’ and the Novel of Ideas
-Writing science fiction in the 21st Century: responsibilities and challenges
-Military SF, Political SF, Philosophical SF
-Britishness / British humour, sarcasm, style
-Utopia and Dystopia
-Unreliable Narrators
-Heroes and Antiheroes
-Postmodernism: Metafiction and Intertextuality
-Writing under nicknames: alternative writer identities
-Propaganda, Deception, Conspiracy Theories
-‘Practicing what you preach’: writing fiction with an academic background
-The role of technology
-Cynicism and Satire
-Depictions of Britain
-Dictators, Mass-Murderers, Criminals
-Crime Fiction in Science Fiction, Genre within Genre, and beyond Genre
-Space Colonization and Galactic Empires
-Pop Culture and Parody
-Alternative History
The conference welcomes proposals for individual papers and panels from any discipline and theoretical perspective. Please send a title and 300-500 word abstract for a 20 minute paper along with your name, affiliation and 100 word professional biography to by 15th February 2013.

The conference is organised by Christos Callow, PhD candidate, Department of English, University of Lincoln and Dr Caroline Edwards, Lecturer in English, Department of English, University of Lincoln. The conference is sponsored by Gylphi: Arts and Humanities Publisher and the English Department of the University of Lincoln.

New Genre Army: An International Conference on the Writing of Adam Roberts

Friday 5th April 2013, Department of English, University of Lincoln

Sponsored by Gylphi: Arts and Humanities Publisher and the University of Lincoln. Part of the Gylphi Contemporary Writers series

Keynote Speakers: Professor Farah Mendlesohn (Anglia Ruskin University) Dr. Andrew M. Butler (Canterbury Christ Church University)

Response and Q&A from Adam Roberts

For more information or to respond to the call please contact:

Christos Callow
University of Lincoln

Dr. Caroline Edwards
University of Lincoln


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