Obituary: Stephen Hawking

Physicist Stephen Hawking (b.1942) died on March 14. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He published the popular book A Brief History of Time and has played himself in episodes of The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Hawking has suffered from ALS and was confined to a wheelchair, using a computer to communicate and speak.

Obituary: Peter Nicholls

Editor and author Peter Nicholls (b.1939) died on March 6 from cancer. Nicholls is perhaps best known as the editor of The Science Fiction Encyclopedia, which won a Hugo Award in 1980 for its first edition. The second and third editions, under the title The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction also earned Nicholls a second and third Hugo Award when they were released. Nicholls also won the Pilgrim Award, Peter McNamara Award, and Eaton Award. From 1974-1978, he was the co-editor of Foundation.

SFRA Awards

The Science Fiction Research Association has announced their annual awards.

  • Thomas D. Clareson Award for distinguished service: Veronica Hollinger
  • Mary Kay Bray Award for best essay, interview, or extended review to appear in the SFRA Review: Hugh C. O’Connell for his review of Jack Fennell’s Irish Science Fiction
  • Pilgrim Award for lifetime contribution to SF and Fantasy scholarship: Carl Freedman
  • Pioneer Award for best critical essay-length work of the year: Thomas Strychacz for “The Political Economy of Potato Farming in Andy Weir’s The Martian” in Science Fiction Studies
  • Student Paper Award for outstanding scholarly essay read at the annual SFRA conference: Josh Pearson, for “New Weird Frankenworlds: Speaking and Laboring Worlds in Cisco’s Internet of Everything.”
  • Honorable mention for student paper goes to Kylie Kornsnack for “Towards a Time Travel Aesthetic: Writing-between-worlds in Okorafor, Butler, and Baledosingh.”

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Obituary: Joseph Polchinski

Physicist Joseph Polchinski (b.1954) died on February 2. Polchinski helped create the mathematical foundation for the idea that our universe is part of the multiverse. He was also working with string theory and credited his interest in physics to his love of science fiction.

Thomas Named to Endowed Professorship

Hugo Award winner Lynne M. Thomas will be named Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Rare Book & Manuscript Professor on April 6 at the University of Illinois. Thomas helped build up the science fiction collection at Northern Illinois University until 2017, when she took over as curator of University of Illinois. Thomas is also one of the co-editors and publishers of Uncanny.
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Worldcon 76 Issues Call for Papers

Worldcon 76, to be held in San Jose from August 16-20, 2018, has issued a call for papers for its Academic track. The Academic Track Committee welcomes proposals for scholarly presentations, especially those that study content tied to our “Make the Future” convention theme. The submission deadline is February 5.

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Professor Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson has been named Adjunct Professor in Publishing and Genre Fiction at Western State Colorado University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. Anderson has published numerous books and short stories and is the publisher and editor of WordFire. He is currently wokring on an MFA from Lindenwood University.

Obituary: Jenni Tyynelä

Finnish academic Jenni Tyynelä died on October 4 following a battle with cancer. Tyynelä was a scholar at the University of Tampere in Finland and was working on her PhD. She was active in Finnish SF study circles and was an attendee at conventions and academic conferences, including ICFA in Orlando, FL.

Obituary: William F. Touponce

Academic William F. Touponce (b.1948) died on June 15. Touponce has taught English and American Studies at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) since 1985 and in 2007 co-founded the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at the university. He served as the center’s first director for four years and established The New Ray Bradbury Review, an annual scholarly journal.

Obituary: Michael Levy

Fan and academician Michael Levy (b.1950) died on April 3. Levy published Young Adult Science Fiction as Bildungsroman and had articles in The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction and The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction, and wrote the entry on Octavia Butler for Fifty Key Figures in Science Fiction. Levy had been battling cancer and underwent surgery on March 28 to stop bleeding and entered hospice shortly thereafter. Levy served as the editor of Extrapolation and as a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly. He was a frequent attendee at Madison area conventions as well as ICFA in Orlando.