Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Utopias Conference, Day Two

Another fantastic day at Changing the Climate, the fourth Australian conference on utopia, dystopia and science fiction. The opening keynote today was by Tom Moylan on climate change and the fiction of Kim Stanley Robinson, titled "N-H-N': Kim Stanley Robinson's Dialectics of Ecology." After morning tea I attended a series of papers on Robinson's Science in the Capital trilogy (which Robinson himself also attended).

After lunch I presented my own paper, titled "The Victorian Crisis of Faith in Australian Utopian Literature, 1870-1900," based on some research I undertook during a 2008/2009 Summer Research Scholarship at the Australian National University. I was, of course, quite nervous, but the whole thing went really well. I kept the paper within the allotted 20 minutes and endured the 10 minutes of question time quite well, glad I had spent the last few days revising the material I was speaking on, although the questions really were actually really good.

After my paper, Andrew Milner, my honours supervisor, spoke on Nevil Shute's On the Beach (1957) and George Turner's The Sea and the Summer (1987), in a paper titled "From the Beach to the Sea: Two Paradigmatic Australian Dystopias".

The day ended with a fantastic keynote address by Robinson on "Utopia in the Age of Climate Change," in which he discussed his fiction and what he called his addiction to writing utopias. His paper ended with an environmentalist calls to take action on climate change and for the sciences and humanities to combine their efforts in battling global warming. Afterwards I descended into a moment of fannishness and asked Stan to sign a copy of The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson (2010), which he signed "from a fellow Wolfean"! Oh, and I also got this photo:

Me, John Clute and Kim Stanley Robinson

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