Big Game Hunt (Call for Papers)



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2017: A Clarke Odyssey

A Conference Marking the Centenary of Sir Arthur C. Clarke
Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK
Saturday 9 December 2017

Keynote Speakers: Stephen Baxter
Dr Sarah Dillon (University of Cambridge)

Sir Arthur C. Clarke is one of the most important British sf writers of the twentieth century – novelist, short-story writer, scriptwriter, science populariser, fan, presenter of documentaries on the paranormal, proposer of the uses of the geosynchronous orbit and philanthropist.

We want to celebrate his life, work and influence on science fiction, science and beyond.

We are looking for twenty-minute papers on topics such as:

  • any of Clarke’s publications
  • influences on Clarke
  • Clarke’s influence on others
  • the Second World War
  • Sri Lanka/Ceylon
  • the Cold War
  • adaptations to film, television, radio and comic books – 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Rendezvous with Rama, Trapped in Space, etc.
  • collaborations
  • A.I. and computers
  • alien encounters and first contact
  • astronomy, space and space travel
  • Big Dumb Objects
  • the destiny of life and mind in the universe
  • the far future
  • futurology
  • politics
  • religion, the transcendent and the paranormal
  • science and scientists
  • world government
  • Young Adult fiction
  • the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for achievements in space and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation awards

Please submit four-hundred-word abstracts and a hundred-word biography to and by 30 July 2017.

The conference will be co-organised by Dr Andrew M. Butler (Canterbury Christ Church University) and Dr Paul March-Russell (University of Kent). Further details will be available from

The Fires Within


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The conference is being organised by Dr Andrew M. Butler (Canterbury Christ Church University) and Dr Paul March-Russell (University of Kent). Please send emails to both and where possible.

Paul March-Russell teaches Comparative Literature and Liberal Arts at the University of Kent, Canterbury.  He is the editor of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, general editor of the critical studies series SF Storyworlds (Gylphi Press), and a current judge with the Arthur C. Clarke Award.  His most recent book was Modernism and Science Fiction (Palgrave 2015), and he also has forthcoming chapters on sf in The Cambridge History of the English Short Story, The Cambridge History of Science Fiction, and Popular Modernism and Its Legacies (Bloomsbury Academic).

Andrew M. Butler is the non-voting Chair of Judges for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the author of Solar Flares: A History of Science Fiction in the 1970s (2011), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2014), “Human Subjects/Alien Objects? Abjection and the Constructions of Race and Racism in District 9” in Alien Imaginations (2015), “Sleeping/Waking: Politicizing the Sublime in Science Fiction Film Special Effects” in Endangering Science Fiction Film (2016). He has also written books on Philip K. Dick, Cyberpunk, Terry Pratchett, Postmodernism and Film Studies. He was the coeditor of The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction (2009) and Fifty Key Figures in Science Fiction (2010).

The Star: Dr Sarah Dillon


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Dr Sarah Dillon will be one of our plenary speakers at the conference. She is Lecturer in Literature and Film at the University of Cambridge, where she specialises in 20th and 21st century British and American literature and film, and a member of the British Society for Literature and Science. In 2013, she was appointed a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker for her work on what scientists read, an ongoing project originally started at the University of St Andrews.

Sarah continues to broadcast on Radio 3 and also has an occasional mini-series, “Close Reading”, as part of Radio 4’s Open Book programme.

Her first book The Palimpsest (Continuum 2007), based upon her PhD thesis at the University of Sussex, combined her interests in literature and philosophy whilst her current book project, Queer Intimacies, extends those interests to include film. Future projects include studies of feminist science-fiction film and the role of reproduction in science-fiction film and literature.

Sarah is also general editor for Gylphi Press’s Contemporary Writers series for which she has edited essay collections on the work of David Mitchell and (with Caroline Edwards) Maggie Gee. She is Chair (Elect) of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies, and is an editorial advisor for the journals, C21 and Fantastika.

The Star: Stephen Baxter


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The science-fiction writer Stephen Baxter will be one of our plenary speakers at the conference. His novel The Light of Other Days (2000) was based on a synopsis by Arthur C. Clarke in which information may be sent instantaneously between any point in the space-time continuum via wormholes. Stephen later collaborated with Clarke on the Time Odyssey trilogy (Time’s Eye (2003), Sunstorm (2005) and Firstborn (2008)), an orthoquel to the Space Odyssey novels in which godlike aliens are destroying sentient species in order to preserve the universe. More recently The Medusa Chronicle (2016), with Alastair Reynolds, is a sequel to Clarke’s “A Meeting with Medusa” (1971).

Stephen was born in Liverpool, England, 13 November 1957 and now lives in Northumberland. He has degrees in mathematics, from Cambridge University, in engineering, from Southampton University, and in business administration, from Henley Management College. He has taught maths and physics and worked for several years in information technology. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society.

His professional sf debut was “The Xeelee Flower” in Interzone (Spring 1987) as by S. M. Baxter, a story that was to form part of his Xeelee Sequence of future history (1991-). In 1991 he applied to become a cosmonaut and visit Mir, but lost out to Helen Sharman. He consoled himself with writing an alternate history trilogy about NASA (1996-98); other alternate histories by Stephen include Anti-Ice (1993), his Mammoth trilogy (1999-2001), his Manifold trilogy (1999-2001) and the Northland Trilogy (2010-12).

Baxter has also collaborated on a series with Terry Pratchett, The Long Earth (2012-16) and written two novels for shared world Young Adult series The Web (The Web: Gulliverzone (1997) and The Web: Webcrash (1998)).

Stephen’s The Time Ships (1995) is a sequel to H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895) and his The Massacre of Mankind (2017) is a continuation of The War of the Worlds (1898). He is a Vice-President of the H.G. Wells Society and a director of the BSFA.

In addition to over forty volumes of fiction, he is author of the non-fiction Deep Future (2001) and Omegatropic (2002).


Early Bird

I (Andrew M. Butler) am in the early stages of planning a conference to mark the first century of Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

2017: A Clarke Odyssey

It will take place in early December 2017 —  16 December 2017 being a little close to Christmas if we go to the weekend after his birthday — and will be in Canterbury, Kent, specifically at Canterbury Christ Church University. Saturday 9 December 2017 is the favoured date. Stephen Baxter and Sarah Dillon have provisionally agreed to be keynote speakers.

You know the standard Call for Papers — a four hundred words or so abstract, a brief note about yourself and I envision twenty minute slots.

Obviously there’s his novels and short stories to talk about, his non-fiction, the media adaptations (especially the Stanley Kubrick film), his collaborations, his television appearances and the man himself.

But you might want to think about his context — who influenced him and who he influenced, British sf, British writers in American contexts, sf in Sri Lanka/Ceylon…

Politics, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, nationality, religion, philosophy …

And his good works — not least of which is the Arthur C. Clarke Award, now thirty years, ahem, young.

Anyway, I hope to have a more solid call for papers soon and further information here, but in the meantime you can register your interest by emailing me at