CRSF is about bringing together the most cu

First held in 2011, CRSF is an annual postgraduate conference designed to promote the research of speculative fictions including, but not limited to, science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Our aim is to showcase some of the latest developments in this dynamic and evolving field, by providing a platform for the presentation of current research by postgraduates. The conference will also encourage the discussion of this research and the construction of crucial networks with fellow researchers.

Watch this space for upcoming CRSF news.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

In Praise of CRSF 2013

One of our keynote speakers for CRSF 2013, Pat Cadigan, took to our facebook page to express her opinions on the conference and because they delighted us so much (and because due to some quirk of facebook, it's actually quite hard to find the comment unless you're a page administrator), I decided to post it up here:

Hi, everybody–

Well, I am officially spoiled rotten. I'm sure this is great news for our friends who have been waiting for us to come home, as I am already insufferable anyway.

Chris and I have had a wonderful couple of days here in Liverpool. We loved listening to the speakers, talking with the attendees, and hanging around listening to new ideas, new perspectives, and every other kind of new and different. What a wonderful collection of lively, varied ideas.

Perhaps it's a measure of just how restricted our movements became while we were caring for my elderly parent that we spent Sunday and Monday jumping up and down (sometimes not just metaphorically) about the papers presented on comics, zombies, disasters, inner space, outer space, and Umwelt(en) (to name only a few). We are going home to London today tired, happy, and encouraged.

We really hope that we can come back again next year just to hang around and enjoy the company of so many highly intelligent, stimulating people. Props to Glyn, Chris, Michelle, Leimar, everyone who gave papers, listened to papers. Respect also to Waterstone's at Liverpool1–anyone who hasn't been to this bookshop should hustle their bad selves over there right now and see what a bookshop is supposed to look like/be like–and to the extraordinary staff at the Hope Street Hotel, who not only go out of their way to be helpful but also know when you need help even if you don't know it yourself.

I have been to bigger conferences that lasted longer in fancier places with budgets equal to the GNP of a medium-sized country. I'm not trying to take anything away from any other conference that has graciously hosted me but CRSF is an example of how to take something from a basic level and turn it into Disneyland-for-your-brain.

The secret is, everyone who works on it slaves like mad, never gets to rest, seldom gets an uninterrupted meal (if they get a meal at all), and they treat all the guests' partners/plus-ones with the same respect and consideration as the guests themselves. (Syntax much? Huh? I'm tired. But happy. I think I mentioned that.)

I'm exhausted, so happy you invited me. Thank you all again.
She continued in a comment:

Also, I would just like you to know that CRSF tired me out so much, I wrote a 4000-word short story yesterday. (For reference: 4000 words is twice as much as I usually squeeze out on my best days, and four times my average.) You guys did me a lot of good.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

CRSF 2013: Post-Conference Report

Another year, another successful Current Research in Speculative Fiction.

The standard of papers at this year's conference was once again superb, as was the diversity of both speakers and topics. We heard everything from zombies to umwelts, Doctor Who to the Holocaust, Final Fantasy to the Mars Trilogy, William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, and so much more besides. The first of several rounds of thanks has to go to the delegates who once again delighted us and took the ethos of CRSF to heart with their friendly, inclusive and open-minded discussions and debates...

Our 2013 Conference Photo. As with past years, a handful of people had to rush off early and so, sadly, couldn't be included here.

A conference is, after all nothing without its delegates!

This year we maintained last year's thirty-five papers, by delegates representing institutions all over the UK, as well as Brazil, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Poland. Counting non-presenting delegates, attendance was further boosted to a respectable forty-nine attendees.

Huge thanks must also go to our keynote speakers Dr. Peter Wright (Edge Hill University) and Pat Cadigan (Queen of Cyberpunk), and their respective partners - who also attended the entire day - Jennifer Woodward and Chris Fowler, for maintaining the high standards of our previous keynote speakers and for being brilliantly encouraging, kind, and inquisitive about every paper they sat in on, as well as for their remarkable (and remarkably different, but both brilliant) keynote speeches. Peter's talk "Science Fiction from Text to Screen: Towards a Taxonomy of Cinematic Estrangement" was a thought provoking and entertaining way to start our day, whilst Pat's examination of, and commentary on, some science fictions staples was frequently stimulating, as well as emotionally challenging, brave, and often funny.

We also have to thank the University of Liverpool's staff who provided support both on the day and in the build up to the conference: the AV technician, the porter of the Mathematical Science Building, and Filomena Saltao who was our liaison point for everything from catering to stationary. Thanks also to Andy Sawyer, academic librarian for the Science Fiction Foundation collection at the University of Liverpool's Sydney Jones Library (and keynote speaker at CRSF 2011), for once again arranging for all delegates to receive free copies of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. And to Prof. David Seed for kindly donating a recent Liverpool University Press edition for us to raffle off as a bonus for our delegates.

We should also thank Waterstones Liverpool One and the Il Forno restaurant for so ably accommodating our social events and for making so much effort to help us keep things going smoothly.

As ever we would appreciate feedback for CRSF 2013 and suggestions on how we could improve for the future, please leave comments on this post or send us an e-mail to We're also interested in any photos you may have taken of the conference or any of the affiliated social events, if you've got anything you'd be willing to share then please email it to us, or post it on our facebook page.
CRSF will return in 2014. Watch this space.

- Glyn Morgan, Chris Pak, Michelle Yost and Leimar Garcia-Siino

Friday, 14 June 2013

CRSF 2013 Final Schedule

Barring any last minute problems or issues, the below schedule is representative of how the day will go:

VENUE: The Mathematical Sciences Building, The University of Liverpool.

9:00 - 9:30
Registration and Refreshments    Mathematical Sciences Building Reception          

9:30 -10:30
Keynote Lecture #1: Dr. Peter Wright
         Room 029

10:30 -12:00
Fans & Fandom

Room 029
• Kerry McAuliffe
• Kasi Paterson
• Mark R. Adams
The Urban

Room 103
• Felicia Buciu
• Amy Butt
• Adam Welstead

Undead Icons

Room 104
  Beverley Dear
  Jennifer Harwood-Smith
  Michelle Yost

Room 105
• Mateusz Marecki
• Amanda Dillon
• Lykara Rydar
12:00 -13:00

Room 029
• Marie Lottman
• Eve Bennett

Anthropology and Travel
Room 103
• Giulia Iannuzzi
• Rhys Williams
Margaret Atwood

Room 104
• Miriam Rune
• Lucas Alexander Boulding
Gibson and Cyber-Culture
Room 105
• Grace Halden
• Anna McFarlane

13:00 -13:45
Lunch           Mathematical Sciences Building Reception

13:45 -14:45
Keynote Lecture #2: Pat Cadigan
        Room 029

14:45 -16:15
Biology and Environment
Room 029
• Sandra Mänty
• Katherine Buse
• Chris Pak
Myriad Horrors

Room 103
• Valerio
De Simone
• Vitor Cei
• David McWilliam

Liminal Fantasy

Room 104

• Carolyn Ellam
• Audrey Taylor
• Leimar Garcia-Siino

[Room Vacant]
16:15 -16:30
Refreshment Break          Mathematical Sciences Building Reception

16:30 -18:00
Alternative Media
Room 029
• Jacob Murphy
• Andrew Cooper
• Glyn Morgan
Room 103
• Claire Browne
• Arthur Newman
• Zosia Kuczynska

[Room Vacant]

[Room Vacant]
18.00 -19.00
Post-Conference Wine Reception                    Mathematical Sciences
and Official Conference Group Photo                  Building Reception

Panel 1.1: Fans and Fandom (10:30 – 12:00, Room 029)

  • McAuliffe, Kerry – Fandom in Fiction and “The Family Business”: Fan Participation and Reformation in the Narratives of Supernatural
  • Paterson, Kasi – “Silhouettes from Popular Culture”
  • Adams, Mark Richard – Lunatics Running the Asylum: Exploring the Influence of Fandom and Fan-Producers on the Narrative Worlds of Doctor Who

Panel 1.2: The Urban (10:30 – 12:00, Room 103)

  • Buciu, Felicia – Anger and Abulia: Two Faces of Collective Anxiety in Selected English and Italian Dystopian Fiction
  • Butt, Amy – The Tower City
  • Welstead, Adam – Dystopia and the “Crowd” in 21st Century British Writing

Panel 1.3: Undead Icons (10:30 – 12:00, Room 104)

  • Dear, Beverley – From Coffin to Couch: Fin-de-Siècle Anxieties and the Rise of the Psychological Vampire.
  • Harwood-Smith, Jennifer – The Death of the Mind: The True Fear at the Heart of the Zombie Narrative
  • Yost, Michelle – Preparing for Horror: the Zombie Survival Market

Panel 1.4: Linguistics (10:30 – 12:00, Room 105)

  • Marecki, Mateusz – From the Real to the Fantastic to the Scientific: Double Reading in Joan Slonczewski’s Brain Plague
  • Dillon, Amanda – Worlds Out of Words: World-Building and Metafiction in Ursula K. LeGuin’s ‘Feeling at Home With the Hennebet’ and ‘The Language of the Nna Mmoy’
  • Ryder, Lykara – Not All Conlang Material is Written in a Conlang

Panel 2.1: Television (12:00 – 13:00, Room 029)

  • Lottman, Marie – Ambiguous Objects in 1970s SF Set Design: “Raumpatrouille Orion”
  • Bennett, Eve – The Mad Doll in the Attic: Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse as Female Gothic for the Neoliberal Era

Panel 2.2: Anthropology and Travel (12:00 – 13:00, Room 103)

  • Iannuzzi, Giulia – Italy on Mars: Italian SF Between Space Travel and Hallucination
  • Williams, Rhys – Anthropology & the Fantastic: Magic, Rationality & Fetish

Panel 2.3: Margaret Atwood (16:30 – 18:00, Room 104)

  • Rune, Miriam – ‘Seeing Gestalt’: Genre Expectations, and How Perspectives Further the Transhumanism Debate in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake.
  • Boulding, Lucas Alexander – Mrs Brown Among The Crakers: Character and Virtue in Speculative Fiction

Panel 2.4: Gibson and Cyberculture (14:45 – 16:15, Room 105)

  • Halden, Grace – The Technologically Rapine: Science Fiction and Technology during the 1980s with specific reference to William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984)
  • McFarlane, Anna – Gestalt Perception in William Gibson: ‘Fractals’ and Pattern Recognition

Panel 3.1: The Environment (14:45 – 16:15, Room 029)

  • Mänty, Sandra – Umwelt and its Application in Literary Analysis
  • Buse, Katherine – Heat Maps: American SF, Global Warming, and the Shape of History in the 1990s
  • Pak, Chris – ‘The Goal of Martian Economics is not “Sustainable Development” but a Sustainable Prosperity for its Entire Biosphere’: Science Fiction and the Sustainability Debate

Panel 3.2: Myriad Horrors (14:45 – 16:15, Room 103)

  • De Simone, Valerio – “Slasher Movies and Feminism”
  • Cei, Vitor - New Aeon: Aleister Crowley and Raul Seixas on Thelema and Counterculture
  • McWilliam, David – ‘Beyond the Mountains of Madness’: Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror and Posthuman Creationism in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (2012)

Panel 3.3: Liminal Fantasy (14:45 – 16:15, Room 104)

  • Ellam, Carolyn – “Falling Between Categories”: Realism and Fantasy in Looking for Eric (Ken Loach, 2009)
  • Taylor, Audrey – The Formulation of ‘Active Time’ in Fantasy Literature
  • Garcia-Siino, Leimar – Exploring Gaiman: The Colourless Worlds of Coraline and The Graveyard Book

Panel 4.1: Alternative Media (16:30 – 18:00, Room 029)

  • Murphy, Jacob - ‘Always “We Had No Choice”’: An Exploration of Freedom and Unfreedom in the Final Fantasy X Saga.
  • Cooper, Andrew – Smallville: From Print to Screen and Back Again.
  • Morgan, Glyn – More Than Just Maus: The Holocaust in Comics.

Panel 4.2: Post-Catastrophic (16:30 – 18:00, Room 103)

  • Browne, Claire – Worse Games to Play: Death, Hope and Trauma in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy 
  • A Short Suite on the Theme of Post-Catastrophic Space-Time:
  • Newman, Arthur – ‘An Argument in Time’: Iron Council as Post-Catastrophic Novel.
  • Kuczyńska, Zosia – ‘Total Event Collapse’: Post-Catastrophic Space-Time and its Place in Speculative Fiction