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Archived News -2009

I.F. Clarke - a tribute from the Science Fiction Foundation

I.F. Clarke, bibliographer and scholar of future-war fictions died on November 5th 2009. According to his wife Margaret, he survived an operation to amputate his left leg in August, but was not strong enough to fight off various complications that followed, and spent his last few weeks in a nearby nursing home.

Born 1918, he worked in Intelligence during World War Two and studied at Liverpool University, where his DA and MA theses were on "the Tale of the Future". He taught at the University of Strathclyde until 1964. Among his achievements were editor of the bibliography Tale of the Future, from the beginning to the present day (Library Association, 1961, 3rd. Rev ed 1978), Voices Prophesying War (O .U. P. 1966, rev.1992, two volumes of "Future-war" stories from Liverpool University Press (1995, 1996), and the 8-volume British Future Fiction (Chatto, 2001). His latest work was (with his wife Margaret), translations and critical editions Jean-Baptiste Francois Xavier Cousin de Grainville's 1805 _The Last Man_ (Wesleyan UP, 2002) and Emile Souvestre's 1846 Le Monde tel qu'il sera (The World as it Shall Be) which were published by Wesleyan University Press in 2002 and 2004. In 1974 he was awarded the Pilgrim Award for distinguished contribution to the study of sf by the Science Fiction Research Association. In 1997 he was given the SFRA's Pioneer Award for his essay "Future-war Fiction: The First main Phase 1871-1900" (Science Fiction Studies 73, Nov 1997).

The Trustees, Committee and Members of the Science Fiction Foundation would like to extend their sympathy to his wife, family and friends.

Charles N Brown - a tribute from the Science Fiction Foundation

The Trustees, Committee and Members of the Science Fiction Foundation are sorry to hear of the death of Charles N. Brown: publisher and editor of /Locus/ since 1968, bibliographer, reviewer, and fiction editor, eminent participant in the conversation of science fiction.

There has been a conversation of and about science fiction for a long time, and Charles N Brown was a contributor to that discussion in many capacities for much of his life. As editor of anthologies, fan writer and participant in conventions, and later as bibliographer, he contributed directly to the field. As co-founder and managing editor of /Locus/, reviewer, and judge of numerous awards he contributed to its development and continuance for the benefit of all of us across the world.

The Science Fiction Foundation has been particularly grateful for the role of Locus in recent years in publicising our Masterclasses and Conferences among the science fiction community.

We offer sympathy and best wishes to his family, friends and colleagues on their loss.

Science Fiction Foundation announces 2009 AGM

The 2009 AGM will take place at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, on Saturday 27th June 2009.

This is being run as part of a Joint Event with the British Science Fiction Association.

The SFF is pleased to announce that Paul Kincaid will be our Guest for the day. Paul is the author of What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction, which is on the short-list for the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Related Book, and has been nominated for numerous other awards. Paul's website is at

The day will run from 10 am - 4 pm, with an events timetable as follows:

10:00SFF speaker Welcome
10:05BSFA Panel - Launch of the British Science Fiction and Fantasy Survey 2009
11:00SFF Guest - Paul Kincaid
12:00-12:30BSFA AGM
12:30-13:30lunch break
13:30-14:00SFF AGM
14:00BSFA Guest - tba
15:00SFF Closing Panel - tba
16:00BSFA speaker Closes

Other Guests and panel participants will be announced in due course.

Directions to and details of Conway Hall may be found here: All events will take place in the Ground Floor Hall.

Tom Milne donation

We are extremely grateful to the estate of Tom Milne for donating his large collection of science fiction books to the Science Fiction Foundation. Tom Milne was a film critic who wrote extensively for the British Film Institute as well as a wide range of newspapers and magazines. He also subtitled hundreds of films for the BBC and Channel 4.

Among his diverse interests were science fiction and fantasy, and the books added to the collection strengthen the depth of the Science Fiction Foundation Library, as well as allowing us to replace some of our material in poor physical condition.

A website devoted to the memory of Tom Milne, one of the foremost British film critics, can be found at

For their help in securing and accessing this collection, we would like to thank Nigel Algar of the BFI and Mike MacLean of Asylum Comics and Games in Aberdeen .

Book Price Reductions

The Science Fiction Foundation is pleased to offer its two most recent critical books at a special reduced rate. 'Parietal Games: Critical Writings by and on M. John Harrison' by Mark Bould and Michelle Reid is now available for £6 plus P&P, whilst 'Christopher Priest: The Interaction' by Andrew M Butler, can now be ordered for £4 plus P&P. Furthermore, we are now able to offer these for order via an Amazon seller. Please see Parietal Games and The Interaction for information and links. For details of other Foundation publications visit our book listing page.

BSFA Award Nominees

The BSFA has announced nominees for its annual awards. Among them are our own John Clute and Farah Mendlesohn who have each been shortlisted for the Best Non-Fiction award. A full list can be found here, on the BSFA website

Hay Lecturer on TV

2005 Hay Lecturer Armand Leroi presents a 90-minute documentary Monday 26th January on BBC 4, 'What Darwin Didn't Know". Viewers in the Uk should be able to watch this on iPlayer if they miss the broadcast.

See Ken MacLeod in Ediburgh

The Edinburgh International Book Festival have contacted us to let us know they are hosting an event with Ken Macleod this August where he will talk about his latest book The Execution Channel (shortlisted for The Clarke Award this year). The details are as follows:

Ken MacLeod

2.30pm | Sunday 17 August | £9.00 (£7.00)

One of the most imaginative science fiction writers of our times, Scottish author Ken MacLeod always connects his alternative universes tightly into our own, shedding new light. His brand new book The Execution Channel is a futuristic thriller set in a war-torn Middle East where a father fights to rescue his soldier-son and protester-daughter.

New patrons

With the recent death of Sir Arthur C Clarke, the Science Fiction Foundation lost not only an enormously influential figure in the genre but also one of our two Patrons. Alongside Ursula K Le Guin, Sir Arthur had acted as Patron for many years; by lending us the prestige of their endorsement, our Patrons also embody the high standards we aspire to reach and sustain.

Sir Arthur's eminence as both a science and science fiction writer was almost unrivalled, and on reflection the committee and trustees of the Foundation felt it appropriate to appoint two new Patrons to reflect this breadth of achievement. I am therefore delighted to announce that with immediate effect Neil Gaiman and Professor David Southwood are joining Ursula Le Guin as Patrons of the Science Fiction Foundation.

Neil Gaiman has been a leading comic book writer and author since the mid-1980s. His wide-ranging work on comics includes the award-winning and critically acclaimed Sandman, whilst his novels include American Gods, the New York Times No 1 best-seller Anansi Boys, and, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens. He has worked extensively in film and television, writing the BBC series Neverwhere and co-writing the screenplay for MirrorMask. Neil Gaiman's appointment as a Patron is not his first involvement with the Science Fiction Foundation, as he was involved in running it in the late 1980s; we are delighted that he is part of the Foundation again.

One of the UK and Europe's leading space scientists, Professor David Southwood has been deeply involved in the exploration of the solar system though his work building instruments for space probes such as the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the ongoing Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn, and currently serves as Director for Science and Robotic Exploration for the European Space Agency. Special Science Guest for Interaction, the 2005 World Science Fiction Convention, Professor Southwood also delivered the 2008 George Hay Memorial Lecture on behalf of the SF Foundation.

Clarke Award Winner

Clarke Awards The winner of this year's Clarke Award was announced this evening (30th April). The Science Fiction Foundation would like to extend our congratulations to Richard Morgan, whose novel Black Man won.

AGM details

Date: Saturday 7th June

Venue: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square (nearest underground: Holborn)

Doors open 10.30 am.

SFF AGM: 12.30 pm to 1 pm.

BSFA AGM: 2 pm to 2.30 pm.

Close (and decamp to pub) at around 5 pm.

The SFF Guest will be Geoff Ryman, and the BSFA Guest will be Peter Weston. The BSFA's part of the event will in particular be focussing on the 50th anniversary of the BSFA.

RIP Arthur C Clarke

Arthur C Clarke died at his home in Sri Lanka on March 18th. This is a very sad loss for the science fiction community and we will make a more detailed comment shortly.

Clarke Awards shortlist announced

The shortlisted books for The Clarke Award were announced today. The Science Fiction Foundation has been involved with the award since the mid 80s when we helped to found it and we continue to support it. Two of the judges, currently Pat Cadigan and Francis Spufford, are provided by the Science Fiction Foundation.

The shortlisted books follow and we extend our congratulations to their authors and publishers.

The Red Men

Matthew de Abaitua - Snow Books

The H-Bomb Girl

Stephen Baxter - Faber & Faber

The Carhullan Army

Sarah Hall - Faber & Faber

The Raw Shark Texts

Steven Hall - Canongate

The Execution Channel

Ken MacLeod - Orbit

Black Man

Richard Morgan - Gollancz


Foundation Editor

Foundation has a new editor. Farah Mendlesohn is stepping down and Graham Sleight is taking over as of the forthcoming issue #101. Graham is well used to working on the journal, having been in the position of assistant editor for some time.

SFF newsletter

We have produced a newsletter for distribution at events and for general information. Please feel free to distribute this at will.

Recent award of two SFF Travel Grants

The Science Fiction Foundation has recently awarded travel grants which enabled two sf scholars to conduct research at the SFF Collection in Liverpool.

Ria Cheyne completed her PhD thesis on language in science fiction at Royal Holloway, University of London. She visited the SFF Collection to continue examining the creation of languages, both human and non-human, in works of sf. She found her visit to the Collection extremely helpful as it allowed her to expand the scope of her initial reserach by consulting a far greater number of texts. She is compiling a database of works of 'linguistic science fiction' and looking to build on, then publish, her thesis.

Ria's article, 'Ursula K. Le Guin and Translation' is published in the recent issue of Extrapolation (Winter, 2006).

Valentina Fenga is visiting the UK from the University of Bologna, Italy. She is working towards her PhD thesis on the interface of human beings and technology in contemporary English and French science fiction.

Valentina writes, "In particular my research at the SFF Archive has been focused on science fiction magazines, such as Foundation and New Worlds, during the 60s and 70s to define the concept of 'inner space' coined by J.G. Ballard which became one of the major themes of the British New Wave Fiction. The analysis of essays and short stories of the same period helped me also to understand the main features of the literary movement so as to create a theoretical framework for the analysis of this kind of fiction.

The research at the Liverpool Archive has been very useful, thanks to the quantity of material present and most of all to the staff. They were really helpful and efficient and were able to provide materials in a very short time. The online database is also a very useful tool that allows researchers to easily find both article and book titles that suit the criteria of research chosen."

The Science Fiction Foundation wishes both Valentina and Ria all the very best in their future studies.

The Travel Grants and Bursary are just one of the ways that the SFF helps researchers further their study of science fiction.

To apply for a grant, send a proposal of your planned research (maximum 300 words) to Dr Michelle Reid at There is no deadline for applications as proposals will be judged on a case by case basis according to the needs of the applicant and merit of the research. More than one travel grant or bursary may be awarded per year.

Philip Strick

The Committee and Trustees of the Science Fiction Foundation are saddened to learn of the death late last year of Philip Strick, a film critic with a long-standing interest in science fiction and related material. Although never directly involved with the SFF, Philip Strick was known to many of its early members as the founder of the University of London's extramural course in sf studies in the late 1960s; author of Science Fiction Movies, he was a frequent reviewer for the BFI. Our sincere condolences go to his friends and family.

Ralahine Centre

Tom Moylan writes to tell us that the Ralahine Centre is thriving:

On our events:

Last year, we launched our Ralahine Workshops. Held once each semester, these full day programs feature presentations by five people, each taking an hour to speak to their work and enter into discussion. In each, we aim for a mix of international and regional/local visitors and our own UL faculty and postgrads. In the first two Workshops, we heard from Vincent Geoghegan and Susan McManus from Queens-Belfast, Ruth Levitas from Bristol, Fatima Vieira from Porto, John Eastlake from NUI-Galway, as well as from our own Joachim Fischer, Michael Griffin, Luke Ashworth, Deirdre ni Chuanachain, and Mairead Conneely.

Our next Workshop is now set for 25 May, and you are all welcome to attend and join in the discussion. We will hear the following: Serge Riviere (UL): "Content or Form? Seventeenth-century French Literary Utopias, with Reference to Foigny and Gilbert";

Simona Sangiorgi (Universita di Bologna, Forli): "Invitation to Utopia: Values, Communities, and Landscapes in Western Theme Parks";

Morten Auklend (University of Bergen): "The Norwegian Dystopian Novel";

Barbara Goodwin (University of East Anglia): "Utopia versus Liberalism Revisited";

Lyman Tower Sargent (U. of Missouri-St. Louis/Oxford): "Ideology and Utopia."

Then, do watch for Ralahine's hosting of the 2008 Utopian Studies Society annual conference. It will be held in early July, 2008.

On our projects:

This year we are launching our book series: Ralahine Utopian Studies. The series is the publishing project of the Ralahine Centre at UL and the Department of Intercultural Studies in Translation, Languages, and Culture at the University of Bologna at Forli. Our aim is to publish scholarship that addresses the theory and practice of utopianism (including Anglophone, continental European, and indigenous and postcolonial traditions, and contemporary and historical periods). Publications will include original monographs and essay collections (including theoretical, textual, and ethnographic/institutional research), English language translations of utopian scholarship in other national languages, reprints of classic scholarly works that are out of print, and annotated editions of original utopian literary and other texts (including translations). While we seek work that engages with the current scholarship and debates in the field of utopian studies, we will not privilege any particular critical or theoretical orientation. We welcome submissions by established or emerging scholars working within or outside the academy. Given the multi-lingual and inter-disciplinary remit of the University of Limerick and the University of Bologna at Forli, we especially welcome comparative studies in any disciplinary or trans-disciplinary framework. See the attached announcement for further information on submissions, etc.

Our first two volumes -- Utopia Method Vision: The Use Value of Social Dreaming and Exploring the Utopian Impulse: Essays on Utopian Thought and Practice will be out this year (we hope by the July Utopian Studies Society conference in Plymouth). Our next two volumes, part of our "classics in utopian scholarship" series, will also be out this year: Barbara Goodwin and Keith Taylor, The Politics of Utopia and Vincent Geoghegan's Utopianism and Marxism. Watch for them, and please order them for your libraries!!

In addition to the publishing project, we are taking our postgraduate program further. We now offer a seminar in Utopian Theory and Texts (with work on Anglo-American, Irish, German, and French theory and writing) in the new MA in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, offered by our Department of Languages and Cultural Studies. We are also developing a group of UL students working at the PhD level on utopian topics as well as welcoming our visiting postgraduate students.

That's it for now. I'll be back to you again to keep you updated on our work. Do keep in touch, come visit, and join in.

IASFS newsletter

The Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies newsletter for February is available. A copy in PDF format can be found here.

Generous donation from Neil Gaiman

In late 2006 the Science Fiction Foundation was thrilled to receive a very generous donation from Neil Gaiman which among other items included the following books:

  • Faces of Fantasy (includes an article on Neil)
  • Hanging Out with the Dream King
  • Mirrormask (copy of the script lavishly illustrated)
  • Anansi Boys US edition
  • Angels and Visitations (his collection)
  • Fragile Things (his collection)
  • Guys Read anthology (contains a Neil essay)
  • Melinda
  • Murder Mysteries in slip case
  • Nicholas Was (set of 6 greeting cards)
  • Noisy Outlaws...anthology (contains a Neil story)
  • Shoggoth's Old Peculiar illustrated by Jouni Koponen
  • Smoke and Mirrors (his collection)
  • Snow Glass Apples in slip case
  • Stardust (Headline novel, no Charles Vess)
  • Walking Tour of the Shambles (with Gene Wolfe)

The donation also included a number of comics and recordings. We are delighted that Neil and his librarian were able to offer us these items and Neil told us he was happy for us to publicise the donation and hoped it might encourage others to do the same.

Mystery Donation

A very generous (but apparently anonymous) of eight plastic cartons of books was received by the library while Andy was away in June. There seems to be no sign of who they were from, but we would like to thank the donor.If he/she omitted their name accidentally, could they please get in touch. Otherwise, can we use this means of thanking you, whoever you are.

Clarke Award announces new administrator

The Arthur C. Clarke Award has appointed a new administrator.

This follows the recent resignation of Paul Kincaid, the previous Administrator and Chairman of the Jury, who held the position for eleven years and was involved in the initial creation of the award.

Following Paul's resignation the Serendip Foundation, the managing body of the Award, opted to split the existing role into two new parts.

Tom Hunter has now joined the Serendip Foundation as the new Award Adminstrator. He joins Paul Billinger who recently stepped up to the role of Chairman of the Jury.

Although relatively new to the wider science fiction and fandom communities, Tom has previously been involved with the creation and promotion of sf events in the UK and he is the current editor of Matrix: the news magazine of the British Science Fiction Association.

Tom says: 'It's a great honour to be asked to take on this role and I'm grateful to both Paul Kincaid and the Serendip Foundation for the opportunity to become involved.'

He added: 'The strength of this year's shortlist and the success of the ceremony, in partnership with the Sci-Fi-London film festival, shows that the Award not only continues to stand as a vital part of the UK's Science Fictional landscape but that it plays an equally vital role in the sf community too. It is perhaps these futures, as well as those depicted in the nominated books, that continue to draw the support that has kept the Award popular, recognised and influential.'


To contact Tom Hunter please email

Further information on the Arthur C. Clarke Award, including details of past winners, shortlists and the creation of the Serendip Foundation can be found online at