Conferences: An Introduction:

IASFS has organized 15 National and 5 International Science Fiction conferences at different locations in India. The first conference was attended only by a dozen delegates. But from the second conference there was no turning back. The Association had begun to collaborate with many Colleges, Universities, Local Bodies and Institutions in organizing conferences. Hence, it could bring together hundreds of   academicians, scholars, scientists, writers, publishers, critics, movie makers, journalists, fans, webmasters, industrialists, technologists, farmers and readers.  So far the Annual Conferences were held at Chennai, Coimbatore, Gandhigram, Gudiattam and Vellore in Tamil Nadu, Bangalore, Yelahatti and Mysore in Karnataka, Varanasi in UP, Aurangabad and Pune in Maharashtra States, Pondicherry a Union Territory and Ernakulum in Kerala State in India. During the annual conferences, participants have shown keen interest in discussing the following topics: the forms of science fiction, Artificial Intelligence, Cinema and SF,  “Science Fiction Film : Seventy Years of Synergy, 1926 to 2003”, Aliens, A Tribute to Kalpana Chowla,  Technology and Science Fiction, Fantasy, Genetic Engineering, Hindi SF, Indian Responses to World SF, Indian SF in Vernacular languages, Literary Criticism on Indian SF, Myth, Fantasy, Utopia, Feminism, Colonialism, Popular Science, Genetic Engineering, Robotics, Media and SF, Information Technology, Nanotechnology, Print versus Visual SF, Science and Science Fiction, Space travel, Time, Science Fiction Today, Science Today, SF and Mainstream Fiction, Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary prospective, SF Narration, SF the Human Aspect, Women in Science Fiction,  SF & Technology  and others. Each conference had plenary sessions and story reading sessions by respective authors in addition to paper presentation. IASFS had also arranged an SF Story Writing Workshop conducted by Eric Miller and story reading session by respective SF writers. The association had a video conference with Professor James E Gunn Director, Center for Science Fiction Studies, Kansas University, Kansas, USA.

The association has held the 19th Annual/5th International Science Fiction Virtual Conference in collaboration with Bangalore University, Bangalore on, December 7,8, 9, & 10, 2020. The unique feature of the conference is that all the 52 PG departments of the University, Sci-Fi fans, media and the general public had converged at “All Roads to Science Fiction” as ISFC -2020. There were themes varying from Myth to advanced technology and to the life in other worlds. The conference was inaugurated by Honorable Chief Minister of Karnataka State, The Hon. Deputy Chief Minister & The Minister for Higher Education, Hon.Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University, Nobel Laureate Professor Didier Patrick Queloz (Keynote- Physics 2019), had made their august presence. Plenary sessions, presentations, special lectures, interviews, panel discussions, narrating stories of tomorrow variety of programs from the PG department of Performing Arts and others were the highlights of this mega event.     

The 20th Annual SF conference is a recent milestone in the path of progress of IASFS. This Virtual Conference was held during the last week of August 2021 in collaboration with ISFWA, Ayodhya. UP; Kalpabishwa, Kolkata, West Bengal; Marathi Vidnyan Parishad, Mumbai; Malayalam SF Association, Kerala; and the host institution Deogiri College, Aurangabad, Maharashtra state.

The Association has begun preparation in holding 21st Annual/ 6th International Science Fiction Conference during January – February 2022. As there are alternate raise and fall of the effect of the pandemic situations in the world as in a wave motion, it is highly difficult to predict the status of pandemic conditions during the period. The association has great concern for the participants whether they are on receiving end or on the delivery end. Therefore, we shall all come to a conclusion that we shall have a Virtual Conference this time. Science Fiction has taught us to have ‘Hope and Optimism’. Hence, we shall hope that we shall have offline conferences after our 21st Conference.

Dr. Srinarahari

Secretary – General, IASFS

For Team IASFS

20th Annual Science Fiction Conference:

Video links: Distinguished Guest Lectures:

Audio speech: Purushothaman

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DqoY1DogchsZ8_HeYKcDdXsqsKOaC_OH/view?usp=sharing;

Inaugural Address:

Dinkar Charak

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dinker-charak-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Damien Walter

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/events/damien-walter-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Mugdha Sinha

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/mugdha-sinha-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Bal Phondke

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-bal-phondke-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Srinarahari

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-m-h-srinarahari-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Arvind Mishra

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-arvind-mishra-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Gautham Shenoy

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/t-gautham-shenoy-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Supriyo Das

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/supriyo-das-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Dip Ghosh

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dip-ghosh-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Sowmya Murukesh

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/sowmya-murukesh-releases-insight-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Shantala

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-shantala-on-her-book-3019-ad-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Kiran Kumar Singh

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-kiran-kumar-singh-on-his-book-the-five-friends-battle-against-aliens-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Others

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVZoHvVUK1Rnv9dZjrUiNww

Subha Das Moulick & Sudipto Shankar Roy

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/subha-das-maulik-sudipto-shankar-roy-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Unnikrishnan

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iK9OQpSp6RCEo5okvLzrwpRai2KIGUke/view?usp=sharing;

Pradeep Kumar Sengupta

Ranjan Garge:

Ravi Kopparapu

Harish Goyal

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dm3nnG1wnJJ8aACO4IFJtG8JzKwirnNz/view?usp=sharing;

Sumit Bardan

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/sumit-bardhan-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Harish Yadav; Magic show:

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/magic-show-by-harish-yadav-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Valedictory address:

AP Jayaraman

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/a-p-jayaraman-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

Courtesy: IASFS is indebted to the Mr. Dinkar Charak who has been generous enough to in taking pains in editting, arranging the videos of the Conference. We owe to http://www.adhbut.in for permiting us to copy the links created by the webmaster.

((()))

20th Annual Science Fiction Conference:

Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies (R), Bangalore, Karnataka, India had orgainzed the 20th Annual Conference in collaboration with ISFWA, Ayodhya, UP; Marathi Vidhyan Parishad, Mumbai; Malayalam SF Writers Association, Kerala, Kalpabiswa, Kolkata, and the host institution Deogiri College, Aurangabad, Maharashtra State. The following links connect to the details like the brochure, program link, proceedings, Guest lectures, plenary sessions and other activities of this mega event:

20th-annual-sf-conf-program-listDownload

Video Links:-

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVZoHvVUK1Rnv9dZjrUiNww

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/events/damien-walter-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/mugdha-sinha-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-bal-phondke-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/  https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-m-h-srinarahari-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/ https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dinker-charak-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-arvind-mishra-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/t-gautham-shenoy-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-indiahttps://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/supriyo-das-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dip-ghosh-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/sowmya-murukesh-releases-insight-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-shantala-on-her-book-3019-ad-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

https://www.adbhut.in/2021/09/magazine/issue-32/dr-kiran-kumar-singh-on-his-book-the-five-friends-battle-against-aliens-20th-annual-national-virtual-science-fiction-conference-india/

19th Annual/5th International Virtual ScienceFiction Conference

IASFS had organized the conference in collaboration with Bangalore University, Bangalore, Karanataka, India during Deember 2020. The unqueness of the conference is that all the 52 PG Departments and affiliated Colleges had joined hands in organizing the mega event. There were 12 channels which beamed simultaneously the event. Science Fiction group events and Performing Arts group event programs were beamed from Channel One. This was led by Dr.Srinarahari Secretary – General, IASFS and Dr. Susheela SN HoD of Performing Arts.The credit goes to the Honorable Vice Chancellor Professor Venugopal KR.

Links for the mega event programs:

Collaborators: BU & IASFS

Brief Report: Channel 1:

Video links:

Valedictory Function:

 Speech of Nobel Laureate; Professor. Didier Patrick Queloz; 2019 for Physics;

Click the following links to access the 18 sessions of Channel I – IASFS Science Fiction group::

  1. https://youtu.be/7qZCSCrg1Xc
  2. https://youtu.be/ZTAy0Rk8Wqc
  3. https://youtu.be/BnNpAzTu94I
  4. https://youtu.be/pq0tDBp960Y
  5. https://youtu.be/7u2W8F9w3kA
  6. https://youtu.be/6hIZexn2Kkk
  7. https://youtu.be/B2DXniJrOHU
  8. https://youtu.be/aO9AISGxx9o
  9. https://youtu.be/figFLMzZpEg
  10. https://youtu.be/C0eBktiAztM
  11. https://youtu.be/AJASgoaimZA
  12. https://youtu.be/BNgTL-7CgRM
  13. https://youtu.be/5zboK4R3K7g
  14. https://youtu.be/xjZuCuL59tQ
  15. https://youtu.be/Z5DlCYuZYvI
  16. https://youtu.be/B2CkIyyWf50
  17. https://youtu.be/-s_jvDRUi28
  18. https://youtu.be/WHZC19ZKc-4

Channel 1 SF Group: Facebook link for all:

https://www.facebook.com/19th-Annual5th-International-Science-Fiction-Virtual-Conference-2020-107585411212794

Haridasa Sangeetha AP

Enhancing music through technology;

YouTube’s links for IASFS Conference – Day 3, Department of Performing Arts, Channel 6.

Session 1 :

Session2

Session 3

Session 4

session 5

YouTube links for IASFS conference: Dept of performing arts.

DAY 2:

Session 1:

Session 2:

Session 3:

PA

DAY 2:

Session 1:

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Channel 11

PG department of Law:

[09:46, 08/12/2020] +91 99005 14367:

Live Stream on our YouTube channel – University Law College Bangalore:

https://bit.ly/3lOK8hR

Dept of Women Studies

A Report of the 18th National Science Fiction Conference

Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies®, Bangalore (IASFS), Indian Science Fiction Writers Association, Ayodhya (ISFWA), Marathi Vidnyan Parishad, Mumbai (MVP), Marathwada Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Aurangabad (MSP) and Deogiri Institute of Engineering and Management (DIEM) had joined together with the host Mukthananda College, Gangapur, Aurangabad District, in organizing the 18th Science Fiction Conference at Aurangabad, Maharashtra state, India on January 10 & 11, 2020.

The celebration of Isaac Asimov’s Birthday Centenary; video speech by Michael Brotherton, U of Wyoming, the USA; Paper reading by 130 scholars and researchers; story reading sessions; keynote address and plenary sessions by eminent personalities in the field; a magic show entitled “SF and Mentalism” are the highlights of the event.

Drs. Madhusudan N Sarnaik and Balaji A Navale the conveners of the conference welcomed the gathering. Dr.Srinarahari the Secretary-General of IASFS with a power point presentation displayed how the growth of SF has taken place after the second wave of Indian SF from the sixties of the twentieth century. Also, he pointed out how India has been able to appear on the map of SF producing countries. He briefed about the conference theme: Science and Science Fiction: Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Perspective. Further, he highlighted how the genre has influenced other branches of knowledge in their futuristic vision and vice versa.

Dr. Pramod Yeole the honorable Vice-Chancellor of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad inaugurated the Conference by lighting lamp. Speaking on the occasion the VC pointed out the positive impact of Science and Technology in the life of common man in the street. He highlighted how the mobile being a communication gadget has been providing multiple services for booking cabs, ordering food, and carrying on banking transaction. Being a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences for thirty-two years, he cited a number of instances to explain how the theme was relevant in the current context to churn out solutions for many complex issues. He called for the translation of global works to the vernacular and regional languages to enable the local people to know the current trends in this direction.

Dr. Arvind Mishra the secretary of ISFWA spoke about the association and its activities explaining how the association could provide a platform for the Hindi writers to publish their works regularly in Vignyan Katha magazine.

Mr. Mohanrao Savant Member of the Executive Council, and Mr. Deshmukh  College Development Committee  of MSP joined the dignitaries while releasing the peer-reviewed – online and print version of  International Science Journal during the inaugural session.

While giving the keynote address Mr.AP Deshponde the honorary Secretary of MVP traced the development of the genre from the times of the Vedas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. He traced the contributions of the British, and the boom in the growth of the genre in the American continent. He also pointed out how the MVP could conduct the short story writing competitions during the seventies and how the writers in Marathi could align themselves to the emerging trends of popularizing Science and Science Fiction along with the stalwarts like Jayanth Narlikar, Bal Phondke and others. Mr.Deshponde added that MVP has been conducting a number of short story writing workshop thereafter till date. He gave an account of the growth of the genre in other vernacular languages like Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, and Tamil. He stressed upon the point that the publication of It Happened Tomorrow (1993) edited by Bal Phondke is a proof to show how the authors of different locations in India could align with one voice and one India. The selection of Laxman Londhe’s “Einstein the Second” as the best Indian Science Fiction story from the sub-continent  by Dr.Srinarahari for its publication in The Road to Science Fiction edited by James E Gunn has brought a global flavor for the Indian SF works. The impact could be seen in the present day with 120 Marathi Science Fiction Writers publishing SF stories in 400 magazines during Deepavali (The festival of lights during October- November) every year.

Professor of astronomy at the University of Wyoming, the USA, Michael Brotherton who is a Science Fiction writer and editor of anthologies gave a video talk on the “Synergies of Science and Science Fiction”. He remarked that Science and SF are complementary to each other.  Quoting Carl Sagan he conveyed that Science is a way of thinking rather than a body of knowledge. Then he quoted Albert Einstein who said that imagination is more important than knowledge.  Quoting Bernard Baruch he said that the spirit of enquiry is essential as in the case of Newton alone who questioned why the apple falls. Citing the idea of flying cars, he demonstrated how telescope, spacecraft, and the time machine are interconnected. He drew conclusion that Science requires speculation as much as skepticism, Science Fiction can educate, inspire and entertain. Hence, he concluded that Science Fiction is the crucial imagination of Science.

During one of the plenary sessions Dr.Ashok Thorat the Director Center for Digital Humanities, Pune, India explained its concept, scope and highlighted how it can encompass the whole of humanities, Science and other branches of knowledge.  He brought out the point how Science Fiction and Digital Humanism go hand in hand in their methodology.

Arvind Mishra speaking on Indian SF scenario highlighted how the social media has provided a platform to unite every writer in the genre and interact over a particular topic in recent days. Also speaking about Asimov he recalled the “Park Avenue Pact” between Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke.

Dr. YH Deshponde brought out facts how the Science Fiction has its roots in Indian mythology right from the days of Veda Vyas the pioneer writer of the Mahabharata. Mr. Harish Yadav presented a paper on “Magic and Mentalism in Science Fiction”. He dealt with the definition of SF, magic, mentalism, and magic in SF in print and movies.

Speaking on the occasion of the birth centenary celebration of Isaac Asimov, Dr. Srinarahari drew out a few anecdotes from the life of Asimov. His long hours of stay at the candy stores, the expression of surprise of his father over his production of a few books, his acknowledgement of gratitude to his father for he who inspired for his writing as he “valued learning”; how excited they were when they could get a telephone connection to their home and an extension to the kitchen; returning to full time authorship like Jules Verne; described  space travel vividly being an acrophobic; considering reading news paper as a change of work in the hospital when he had heart surgery; creative writing and personal habits and aspirations. The speaker described Asimov’s writing his own biographies; authenticity of matter, appealing language, narration techniques, lucidity, and others.

The speaker on the occasion categorized Asimov’s four hundred works and focused on his Science Fiction works: He spoke about the foundation series and robot novels and their culmination in the novel Robots and Empire (1995). Dr.Srinarahari being an Asimovian scholar dealt with his structure, plot, characterization point of view, themes and others. He highlighted that Asimov is alive here with us because of his extra-ordinary ability to sketch the character of Susan Calvin, Kelden Amadiro, Gladia Solaria, Harry Seldon, Elijah Bailey, Robot Giskard, R. Daneel Olivaw and others.

In addition to the speaker’s address in the past dealing with the impact of Asimovian works on Indian SF and the “Indian Response to American Science Fiction”, he enlisted the following Indian scholars who have done research on Asimovian works for which the doctoral degrees were awarded by various Indian Universities. The theses and dissertation works which have focused on Asimov’s works are Prakash S. Rao’s “Isaac Asimov’s Works of 60’s and 70’s: A Study in Scientific Humanism”; Veena’s “Paradoxes of Order in the Fiction of Isaac Asimov”; S.Guruswamy’s “Asimov’s Vision of Utopia in Foundation’s Edge and Foundation and Earth.”Fiat Homo- Let There be Man – Apocalyptic Renewal in Asimov’s Foundation Series” by K.S.Purushothaman; Panneer Selvam’s “Credibility Criterion in Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy”; The Robotistic Works of Isaac Asimov: A Study” by the speaker and the recent contribution of Anand Arul Das who has applied the theory of Post humanism in the works of Isaac Asimov.

Concluding his talk the he explained that Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies®, Bangalore, India was established on the birth day of Isaac Asimov on January 2nd, 1998. Now, the institution is celebrating its 22nd year of its establishment. Asimovian topics were chosen by many scholars in presenting their papers during the last 18 Science Fiction Conferences held in India. Thus, it acknowledges a tribute to the great giant of Science Fiction.

Dr. Yeshwant Deshponde is often referred to as Indian Asimov. Coincidentally, his birth day was on the second day of the conference. Hence, it was celebrated with all pomp. The celebrity was honored by the organizers and participants.

Apart from the presentation of one hundred and thirty papers by the participants, there was a magic show entitled “SF & Mentalism” by Harish Yadav. There was a festive mood, a sense of thrill, a sense of achievement, contentment and gratification among the delegates, participants and the host. This conference has paved way for the scheduled 19th Science Fiction Conference in India which will be organized by Bangalore University in collaboration with IASFS, ISFWA and others on 5, 6 and 7th of October 2020 at Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

A report of the 17th Science Fiction Conference

Host: Indian Instititute of Technology, Benaras, UP

17th Indian Science Fiction Conference was organized by Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies, Bangalore, India in collaboration with Indian Science Writers Association, Ayodhya, India and MCIIE, IIT, Benaras, India at Indian Institute of Technology, Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India on 15th and 16th of December 2018.

The theme of the conference was “Technology and Science Fiction”. Twenty-five papers were presented, two Science Fiction books were released; a session on the Introduction to Science fiction; a session on how to write science fiction script for broadcasting over the radio; an interactive session of Indian SF writers with Korean SF writers; celebration of the Bicentennial year of the publication of the first SF work Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft; a show on mentalism and science fiction; beaming of a Tamil Science Fiction short movie and others.

The inauguration of the function took place with a prayer praising the goddess of knowledge Saraswati and lighting the lamp in Indian traditional style. Dr.Manoj Patairia the Director for Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Institute of Science Communication And Information Resources, New Delhi in his inaugural address highlighted how the present conference is coinciding with the 200th year of first science fiction novel Frankenstein (1818); the 500th Death anniversary of Saint poet Kabir who was in this city had worked against myth and always worked for scientific explanations. Speaking about the history of Indian SF, the eminent Scientist cited the contribution of physicist Dr J.C. Bose and the Vishwa Parichay by the Nobel laureate for literature Rabindra Nath Tagore in the past for the growth of Indian Science Fiction particularly in the field of astronomy. He concluded how the genre science fiction could foresee Future Shock.

In his Keynote address, the Secretary – General of Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies Dr. Srinarahari described two ways of approach to the philosophy of life. Formerly, the sages (Rishis) achieved the supreme power by means of penance. The modern Indian citizens have been practicing yoga by which the mind could reach status of blank. The Science Fiction of today is the science of tomorrow and in turn applies the principles of science to make technological gadgets, apps in the service of humanity. To elaborate the idea he gave an analogy of representation of a god or an eminent person’s sculpture. The Sculpture is made by chiseling the unwanted parts of a wood or stone ultimately to make a sculpture. Whereas in the case of technology one fills up color in making a portrait. Thus, he concluded how there is culmination of Indian philosophy, culture, tradition, way of life, myth and history on the one hand and the adoption of technology on the other go hand in hand in the development of what he christened as “Techno-Fiction”. 

Dr. Rajiv Ranjan Upadhyaya the president of ISFWA in his address quoted how the Vedas and Upanishads of the ancient times have had dealt the science and technology.

Suhyeon Lee and Boyoung Kim the writers from Korea were on the dais and they were introduced to the audience. The former is a prolific writer of Korean SF and has bagged many honors at a young age. She has written about minority groups, terra-farming in outer space and under water cities. The latter has a base in game development, graphic designer and scenario writing. Further she has earned a name for extrapolation and for a vivid description of the protagonist’s psyche in her SF works.

The SF books Trends in Science Fiction in Tamil by Nellai S Muthu (former scientist at Indian Space Research Organization) and Dr. Archana Mirajkar’s Home were released. The youngest 21 year old Indian Science fiction writer Rishabh Dubey also introduced his Krikos during the conference.

Dr. Pramod Jain Director of Indian Institute of Technology, Benaras Hindu University in his presidential address, pointed out that the conference theme “Technology and SF” was the first of its kind in the history of the institute and hoped how the two communities would exchange ideas in their future positive ventures.

Dr. Arvind Mishra the convener of the event welcomed the dignitaries and participants. The vote of thanks was given by Dr.PK Mishra the Chairperson of the Malviya Center of Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship, IIT, Varanasi.

Immediately followed by the inaugural function, Dr.Srinarahari presented an  “Introduction to Science Fiction with Special Reference to Indian Ambience”. Though, the target audience were the participants namely, a class of students who had represented local Varuna College, and to those who were new to genre SF, the session was attended by all the dignitaries and all the participants. During his presentation, he briefed about the origin, history, concept, definitions, themes, movements, representative world class writers, and kinds of SF in general. However, the focus was on Indian Science Fiction beginning with Indian states which have promoted SF studies; Universities, Colleges and organizations which have taken up research works at the higher education level by providing facilities to the scholars for pursuing their Master and doctoral degrees in SF; the SF writers in English, Hindi and vernacular languages; Indian SF visual media and others were also highlighted in his lecture.

 The same pre-lunch session was made further interesting by beaming an Indian Tamil vernacular language Science Fiction short movie of thirty minutes duration which had the subtitles in English. It is based on SF novel Munusami 1.2.1 by Sujatha one of the stalwarts of Indian Science Fiction writer. The movie is entitled Mathi Mayanginen which is directed by Ramanan Purushothama.

The post – lunch session focused on the paper presentations. To begin with Mr.Abhishek Kumar Mishra presented a paper on “Hindi Cinema aur Vignyan Kathaye”. It was followed a paper “Deconstructing Myths: Narrating the Story of Sita” by Indrani Das Gupta. Sita is the wife of Lord Rama in the Epic the Ramayana. The paper was based on several modern Indian SF works which have overcome gender bias in characterizing Sita. Dr. Shiva Kumar Sonalkar’s “Jayant Narlikar’s Science Literature: A Study” served as a base for Meenal Kale’s paper on “Time and Space in Return of Vaman”. Both of them dealt with Astro-Physicist and the top SF writer Jayant Narlikar’s works.  “The Concept of Avatar in Science Fiction” by Dr. Reema Sarwal and Arvind Mishra generated a long-term interaction among the group.

 Ashish Kumar Yadav’s “Hindi Vignyan Katha Sahithya” further supplemented the ideas presented by Zeashan Zaidi’s paper which reflected on the application of futuristic technology by the impact of Science Fiction in Hindi SF in general and Zeashan’s stories and novels in particular.

The youngest SF writer Rishabh Dubey marveled by taking the audience a step ahead in introducing the latest ideas in the field which could bring about a drastic change in the technology of the near future.

In addition, young scholars who are   carrying out doctoral research in the field of SF exhibited their ability to open up new horizons in terms of innovative ideas. The exemplary attempt in making novel interpretations were noticed in the papers presented by  Indrajit Patra on “Impact of Science and Technology on Future Science Fiction”; Rishabh Dubey: “A Route to a Better Tomorrow: The Power of Science Fiction”;  Kailash Atkare: “Post – Colonial Literature: A Critical Perspective”; Debraj Moulik: “Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle: A post Colonial Study” and above all they were by Dr. Alpana Gupta’s  “Science Fiction in the Post Truth Era” and Dr.Kalpana Kulashreshtra’s views on contemporary SF trends.

The sessions with Chairpersons Dr.Archana Mirajkar, Dr. YH Deshponde, Mr. Harish Yadav, Dr. Harish Goyal, Dr. Rajiv Ranjan Upadhyaya, Nellai S Muthu, Dr.PK Mishra, Arvind Mishra and the anchor persons Dr. Bhise Ram, Dr.Balaji A Navle, Kalpna Kulshreshtha have created an ever lasting impression upon the general public and media persons due to their spontaneous direction, monitoring,  and spell bound remarks about the papers as well as for being democratic in providing equal opportunity for the open house audience to interact with the scholars who presented the papers.

Most popular All India Radio program makers Ms. Meenu Khare and Ms. Rajashree Banerjee addressed the SF writers about making a science fiction script for a radio show. The topic was “Science Fiction on Radio: How to see through ear?” Speaking about the Indian ambience, they pointed out that in spite of the advent of TV, the radio media continues to be accessible throughout the country and pointed out how FM radio has been preferred to Television media in recent days. They also gave hints for the SF writers how cautious they should be in writing the script that the listeners should be made to visualize the situation by mere audio effect. Also they stressed how catchy the title, loudness, pitch, pause, dialogues, background music, expression of the mental status {The Indians call them as Navaras – the nine types of emotions namely, Shringara (love), Hasya (laughter), Karuna (kind-heartedness or compassion), Raudra (anger), Veera ( courage), Bhayanaka (terror), Bheebhatsya (disgust), Adbutha (surprise), and Shantha (peace or tranquility)}. These are the emotions which are contextualized may aid the listeners to visualize the situations. In addition, they pointed out how editing and rehearsals help to improve the recording and enhancing the quality of the production.

Harish Yadav is a Guinness World Record participant under the Magic category. He gave a show on magic – mentalism. He could read the minds of the audience and made them public. In turn, the subjects acknowledged them as the rightful thought that they had which he could read. He also connected the matter to SF telepathy and suggested that an intensive study and practice could make perfect in their performance.

The year marks the completion of 200 years of the publication of Frankenstein or the Prometheus unbound by Mary Wollstonecraft. The celebration took place in dedicating  an entire session during the conference. Dr. Balaji A Navle in his paper “The Origin of the Species” traces the storyline and also the criticism, reviews and the continuous flow of publication of works on the theme for the past 200 years. As Navle puts it, “…it is time tested and deals with the problems of artificial creation as well as deals with the revolt against the machine culture which have all immortalized Mary’s work”,

Reacting to the paper, Dr.Srinarahari, explained how intense was the industrial Revolution. He also dealt with the terms “Frankenstein complex” and tracked the works from Rossums’ Universal Robots till the 2018 December release Indian movie 2.0.

In addition, to mark its celebration, the organizers had conducted a writing competition for the students on Frankenstein theme. Winner of the prize was Smriti Raghuvanshi. She was given a cash prize with a certificate on the spot.

There was an interactive session with Indian Science Fiction writers and the Korean science Fiction writers. The writers on the Indian side were Dr.Arvind Mishra, Zeashan Zaidi, Nellai S Muthu, Dr. Y.H.Deshponde, Dr.Archana Mirajkar, Dr.Harish Goyal and Rishab Dubey, the Korean counter parts were Ms.  Suhyeon Lee & Ms. Kim Bo Young. The former is a Korean writer and translator, her area of specialization is fantasy particularly extrapolation. Her protagonists are all perfect characters. She has introduced more than 100 SF/Fantasy works to Korean readers. The latter is excelled in the field of mythology and science. Evolutionary Myths which is published by Clarks World magazine – deals with the reinterpretation of Korean mythology and evolution.

In his introductory remarks, Dr.Srinarahari said, “we are one. Hence, we term all the countrymen belonging to Science Fiction producing Asian Countries as WE and US. The initiative taken up by the organizers of Chinese in holding the First SF con at Beijing in this year has made us to work together. The Asian countries have both myth and technologically advanced modernity. We are having ancient cultures which might be due to the impact of the ancient civilizations on the banks of prominent rivers of the respective countries.

We want to preserve our past and to adapt to the contemporary progress of the technologies and to foretell accurately the future through ‘Gedenken experiment’ that is, Science Fiction. We have a common understanding that today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s Science and Technology.”

 The interaction covered the exchange of information, methods of writing, major themes dealt, the response of the media, publication, criticism, forums, organizations, research work carried out, upcoming events and accessible websites.

The 17th Indian Science Fiction Conference is not the end but it has paved way to the proposed 4th World SF Conference. In other words the 18th ISFC is proposed to be held at Aurangabad, Maharashtra state in India during 2019.

A Report of the 16th Indian Science Fiction Conference

The sixteenth Indian Science Fiction Conference was organized by Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies and KMG college of Arts and Science, Gudiayattam, Vellore District, Tamil Nadu state, India at KMG College on March 25 & 26, 2017.

It was attended by one hundred participants comprising of students of KMG College, student delegates from Tamil Nadu, delegates from different parts of India, Resource Persons from Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and from California, the USA.

As per the Indian tradition, the invocation by undergraduate English major students of KMG College attracted the crowd.  Dr.Peruvalluthi who is the Professor of English, Dean (CDC), Registrar in Charge, Thiruvalluvar University, Vellore inaugurated the conference by lighting the lamp spoke about the state of Science Fiction globally and cited from history how the writers like Tamil language Sujatha have contributed to the genre by producing a number of SF stories. The professor presented a paper on Arthur C Clarke’s work under the title “Childhood’s End: Mythology Revisited”. Initially, he highlighted the works of the author and then focused on analyzing the characters in the novel. Also, he said “In this novel of epic dimension, Clarke has attempted to address the predicament of humanity as a whole ranging from the past to the present and into the future.” The paper reader has observed that the entire novel is divided into three parts namely, the transition of the past, the golden age period of culmination in the present and the future is shown as the both spiritual and cultural era.

Further, the professor has explained the mythical aspect of the novel under the headings “the quest, water symbolism, color, shadow archetype, trickster, wise old man, the whale, archiypal woman, initiation, and others”. The interesting part of the study is that the paper reader has taken up the psychoanalytical method adopted by Carl Jung in substantiating his argument. The paper concludes by quoting the text, “the primordial experience is the source of his creativeness; it cannot be fathomed, and requires mythological imagery it give a form.” By which Childhood’s End has expanded the vision of humanity.

In his annual report the General Secretary of IASFS Dr.Srinarahari explained the numerous Indian Science Fiction activities which are taking place in the country like the establishment of online Marathi language Science Fiction fans club Sci-fi Khatta in Maharashtra state. He explained how three dozen active members are writing and posting the SF stories, the group interacting on the others’ stories commenting upon the structure, theme, characterization, point of view, relevance of the Gedenken experiment and highlighting the elements of science and others. The forum is active every day in discussion, modification, editing the stories. But it is limited to the interaction in the vernacular language Marathi. Identically, he added the activities of the Bengali language Science Fiction fans who are also contributing stories online website: www.kalpabishwa.com. He informed the gathering that he was negotiating both the language groups to make a common platform with English as a language of communication so that their thought process could be shared globally. The major hitches are that it lacks funding, resource persons and dedicated team.

The report highlights the efforts of Sami Ahmed Khan who has edited an online magazine Muse India which came out with a special feature on “Indian Science Fiction” on May 17, 2015. The special issue contained the works of Vandana Singh, Anil Menon, Arvind Mishra and Srinarahari. Meanwhile, Srinarahari is helping the Italian movie maker Matteo Primiterra in his study of Assamese Science Fiction at Guwahati. The report was concluded by complimenting Dr. Zeashan Heider Zaidi who was awarded the Best SF writer by Print Media Working Association on 10.02. 2017.

Science Fiction for Sci-fi Fans (SF in Print and Eye SF) by Dr. Srinarahari and an anthology of seven SF short stories Space Station by Mohan Sanjeevan were released during the event.

In his Presidential speech Dr. Purushothaman reiterated that there were only twelve participants in the first IASFS conference held in Chennai in 1998. The second conference had fourteen participants. Later the number improved gradually in the Pune conference to reach 400 hundred paper presentations in a span of four days.

Further, the President explained how Science Fiction stories are captivating the readers’ interest. It begins with the element of ‘sense of wonder’ and ‘amazement’ and then dealt with the element of answering to the question of what is human. He explained the sequences of incidents in “the Bicentennial Man” by Isaac Asimov. The protagonist Andrew robot had a desire to become ‘human’. It had to undergo an operation changing its form from metallic to organic form. But it realizes that it has to change its brain pattern. Ultimately, it realizes that to become human one has to become ‘mortal’.  

A retired scientist Nellai S Muthu who has served in Indian Satellite Research Center in his keynote address traced the ideas and the concepts of science from the mythical epic Kamba Ramayana to the philosophy and vision of the  ‘missile-scientist’ and the past President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam. He named the science popularization programs in the region and condemned the non-science advertisements in the name of science.  The scientist also quoted science fiction anthologies written by him and the Tamil writer Sujatha’s works in highlighting the status of Tamil language Science Fiction. Furthermore, he dealt with the science ideas in Tamil movies including Endhiran. Dr.Jayashri Rani the Principal of the KMG College of Arts and Science welcomed the gathering and Dr.Gajapathy honored the chief guest Dr. Peruvalluthi.

During the first plenary session Dr.Ashish Mahabala who is a senior Data Scientist with the center for Data-Driven Discovery at Caltech, California, spoke on “American Science Fiction”. His presentation focused on Contemporary American movies, Television Serials, Science Fiction Organizations, Conferences, Writing, Editing and Markets. The Astro-Physicist gave a detail account of the SF & Politics, Climate Change: Fact and Fiction, Fancy Dress, Writing, Panel discussion, ideas to develop stories forum, Redy Player one by Ernest Clinets, Writers of the Future, the Expanse TV serial, the idea of inertia, the chief who took Thatcher and Indira Gandhi as models, a musical parody band upon Star Treck, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, highlighting the presence of Larry Niven, Forest J, as well as described in detail about the huge library, fiction Trivia and others.

Mr. Sunil Sule who was a captain of a ship and now teaching Navigation in Mumbai Colleges is a prolific writer of Science Fiction. During the second plenary session he drew the point the wrong depiction of science in literature, advertisements, popular magazines, TV serials, in children’s program, and in whats app messages. He also pointed out that in these forms of communication how the names of NASA, AIMS, and a few eminent scientists to boost up the sale of certain products. He explained how pseudo-science and wrong depiction of the facts would create a negative impact on the people. He called for the experts to react to this kind of a wrong depiction where they come across.

Mr.Ponnivalavan screened his Tamil science fiction film Mr. Muniswami 1.2.4 during the post lunch session. It depicts the innocent security guard in a hospital named Raju falls in love with the beautiful lady doctor. Luckily he is chosen for an experiment by her and her senior Neuro surgeon. They assure him that by administering a medicine and by operation, he could become smart and the most intelligent man in the community.  Raju agrees for proposal to become an intelligent man as he dreams that the act may yield him the benefit of possessing the lady doctor as his life partner. It is astonishing that he becomes over smart in all aspects as he could read a number of books, sets the Rubik Cube in 20 seconds, suggest diagnostic methods for complicated cases. Ultimately, he expresses his wish to the doctor. But she says discloses that the experiment has failed and the senior doctor is much worried about that. She demonstrates how he has begun to forget things. Reversing the process, he again becomes a security guard and daily he smiles at her whenever she passes the hospital gate. Though the theme is found in Tamil sf story of Sujatha in the sixties, often it reminds of Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw, English movie My Fair Lady, and a Marathi play Thi Phula Rani and Kannada play Hoo Hudugi.

Eight student delegates presented papers on various works of Global Science Fiction including two papers on the movies Transformers and Passengers. A group photo session of all the participants marked the end of the day.

The second day session began with the SF writers reading their stories. Mr. Sharad Puranik   from Maharashtra state where Marathi is the spoken language read a story stressing the impact of science on the loss of human values and relationships. Mr. Sule read a story which is set in a college campus where the concern of each professor was innovative. By the coordination of  Bio-Geo departmental heads, the story brings out that a possibility of a emergence of new species in combination of rats and pigs which could be made use of in substituting JCBs to demolish the buildings. 

The chairperson Dr. Palanivel who has headed the English departments in various Universities of Tamil Nadu narrated a number of incidents how the reading of science fiction influences a reader in solving innumerable human problems. He dealt with Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in detail. Also, he highlighted how he had conceived the Asimovian foundation trilogy in a philosophical way. He explained elaborately about the research which is going on in English departments on various issues of science fiction. Dr. Sangeetha read her paper on Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics”. Mohan Sanjeevan read a paper about “Space Sync”. Meanwhile, to break the monotony of series of paper reading activity, Mr. Sule showed his creation of Sci-toons. He has made use of bats, astronauts and turtles in all his slides. After the feedback given by the delegates and participants, Dr.Purushothaman gave his valedictory address. Dr.Srinarahari in his vote of thanks thanked the management team, Administrators like Director, Principal and Vice-Principal, heads of the departments, faculty members, office staff, sub staff, food & accommodation committees of the KMG college of Arts and Science, media persons and above all the involvement of all the delegates in making the 16th Indian Science Fiction Conference of Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies a grand success.

– Dr Srinarahari M H

First International Science Fiction Conference: Pune Maharashtra: 1st and 2nd Feb. 2012

Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies in collaboration with the host the Department of English had organized the First World Conference on ‘Science Fiction Studies’ in India on 1st and 2nd February 2013. The world conference was the first largest event in the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Bharati Vidyapeeth. The Conference was inaugurated at the auspicious hands of renowned Scientist and Chief Mentor, Indian Space Research Organization, Bengluru Padma shri Dr. Y S Rajan and Dr. Christina De Coursey from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong was the guest of honour for the function. Dr. Vishwajit Kadam, Secretary, Bharati Vidyapeeth was in chair. The organizing President Dr. R. S. Zirange introduced the theme of the conference. Dr. V A Rankhambe introduced the chief guests. Principal K D Jadhav welcomed all the dignitaries and scholars in his welcome address. The Conference proceedings which consists 141 research abstracts had been released at the hands of Dr. Vishwajeet Kadam.

This conference was organized in association with Vigyan Parishad, New Delhi, Marathi Vidnyan Parishad, Mumbai and Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies, India. There were 257 delegates participated in the conference from 15 states of India and 5 countries of the world.

Prof. Dr. Y S Rajan enlightened the audience with his thoughtful inaugural address. He said, “Over the last six decades, we have failed to make our people friends of science. He said and called for efforts by science fiction writers to bring people closer to science through their imaginative Stories, Novels and Serials.

According to Rajan, Science and its applications used in the Nehruvian sense are too precious to be overlooked. There is a greater need to apply Science to solve economic and social problems in more practical ways. He said “In India, Sci-Fi writers have the unique advantage of the country’s culture and heritage as embedded in Indian Languages, epics, mythologies, folklore literature and living traditions”.

While giving Chair Person’s address Dr. Vishwajeet Kakam visualized the Bharati Vidyapeeth and its academic activities and continuous progress. He concluded by congratulating the Department of English for having thought on this interdisciplinary theme of the conference.

In the First Plenary Session Dr. Christina De Coursey, the prime speaker, spoke on ‘Virtuosity in Verne: Scientific and Antiquarian Models of Knowledge in Journey to the Centre of the Earth’.She deliberated on the 19th century historical context in which Verne was writing to interpret two inter-related Victorian versions of scholarship, the scientific and the antiquarian. The triumph of Darwin has tended to mean that contemporary scholars see 19th century science and humanities as competing epistemologies. Yet at the time Verne was writing, the supremacy of science, and even its separation from humanistic models of knowing, was neither fixed nor complete. In the 19th century, the term “science” covered a broad range of knowledge, including history, linguistics, politics and philosophy.

Dr. De Coursey related Verne’s literary representation of virtuoso scholars to scholarly practices and personas of that time, and through this build a more accurate picture of the human practice of knowledge Verne sought to express and celebrate.

While offering his Chairperson’s remark Dr. Palnivel, Former Professor and Head, Department of English, Bharatihar University, Coimbatore expressed happiness about the scientists and humanitarians are coming together for the welfare of the mankind. He said that teachers of English Literature need to go in for a paradigm shift in teaching SF. We must get away from the esoteric impulse to mystify SF and rather use its plots as concrete contexts to make students become responsive and sensitive to theories in Sciences so that they think about the way they are impacting life on this earth, probably elsewhere too. In recent times biological fantasies have dominated creative imagination, in fiction as well as in movies, and may offer us a meaningful start to achieve the goal.

The Second Plenary Session was chaired by Dr. A P Deshpande, Honorary Secretary, Marathi Vidnyan Parishad. The Chief Speaker, Mr. Samar Nakhate, noted Film Critic and Former Dean, FTII, Pune talked about the image making, image creation, reality, logical imagination, fantasy and fact. Being a film critic he presented some video clips to justify his stand on Science Fiction. In his lively and cheerful talk he surveyed the whole genre of Science Fiction Films.

Dr. A P Deshpande, in his Chair Person’s remark deliberated that history of science fiction writing is about 100 years old in Maharashtra, however it really picked up after 1970. Film and television can make a forceful effect on the minds of people, even on illiterate mind. Although not directly propagating a science fiction but channels like; Discovery, National Geography etc. are the examples, how science can be brought forward to people in an interesting way. In fact these channels are, providing seeds for science fiction.

The Third Session of the first day was devoted to paper presentation. Paper Presentation Sessions had been observed in six different classrooms simultaneously. Overall 60 papers were presented on the first day.

This session was followed by the Screening of the Science Fiction Film Total Recall. After the film Mr. Samar Nakhate, noted Film Critic commented upon the scientific elements of the film and its pedagogical implications.

The Second Day began with the second paper-reading session of the World Conference. The First Plenary Session was chaired by Dr. M H Shrinarhari, Secretary, Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies, India. The Prime Speaker of the session Mr. Niranjan Ghate, noted Marathi Science Fiction Writer pondered on his own shaping as a Science Fiction Writer. He said that his popular science writing has helped him handling new themes in his Sci-Fi stories. Unfortunately, there is no good criticism of SF in Marathi. SF is not taught anywhere. Marathi professors do not understand science in SF while science professors do not understand literary style. Writing SF is a balancing act, a tight rope walk maintaining balance between science and literature but it brings tomorrow, today with all its problems

While offering the Chair Person’s remarks Dr. Shrinarhari appreciated Mr. Niranjan Ghate. He talked about Computer, Internet, Space travel and its application while teaching Science Fiction in Classroom situations. He concluded by briefing about the contribution of Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies.

The Second Plenary Session of the Day was engaged by Dr. Abhay Rajput, Head, Library, Information and Publication Division, Indian Institute of Tropical Meterology, Pune. He deliberated on Science Poetry as a Genre of Science Communication. Science poetry presents science in a creative, imaginative and innovative way that can be interesting and entertaining while taking the message of science across. Science poetry communicates through metaphor, and imagery created through the intelligent and creative use of words. As humans, we learn through images rather than words. Therefore, poetic images of science can have a lasting impact on our understanding of science and of course, on our memory. Further, poetic expressions coupled with emotions and feelings can even make the experience more enjoyable and memorable

The Session was chaired by Dr. S G Deshpande, Head, Department of Marathi, SNDT University, Mumbai. He said that Sci-Poetry is not just depiction of a scientific phenomenon or a device to increase one’s knowledge or wordsmithing from a science dictionary.  It is very much an evolution of ultra neo poetry with new and modern perspective and matching the scientific systems with aesthetic pattern that one selects. Note that scientific system does not mean logical thinking using cause and effect

The Third Session was devoted to the paper-reading. Paper Presentation Sessions had been observed in six different classrooms simultaneously. Overall, 30 papers were presented in the session.

The Fourth Plenary Session was engaged by Mr. Arvind Gupta, Senior Scientist, IUCCA, Pune with practical representation of various Science Experiments. He guided to prepare Science Toys through simple material, instruments. In the last twenty years there has been a remarkable shift in science teaching. From the passive chalk and talk method science teaching is slowly shifting towards a more active method – learning by doing. Before children can understand a thing, they need experience: seeing, touching, hearing, tasting, smelling; choosing, arranging, putting things together, taking things apart. Children need to experiment with real things. Often such “activity” based learning is termed as elitist. Some think that this method can be used only in developed country with an abundance of resources.

While offering the Chair Person’s remark Dr. K S Purushottaman advised to cultivate scientific mind. He said that SF is a wonderful literary genre. The SF wonder, in most stories, is because of the innovative gadgets that is the result of advancing technology.  Spaceships, Flying Saucers, Time Machines, Ray Guns and a plethora of robots are the attractions for eager eyed youngsters. Like Leonardo Da Vinci’s various machines which are being studied and appreciated even today, SF inventions have always fascinated SF fans and readers. With the advent of the SF cinema, especially films like ETStar WarsJurassic Park, etc brought about a visual perception of SF’s power of invention and innovation

In the Fifth Plenary Session, Dr. Coomi Vevaina, Head, Department of English, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, was the prime speaker and Noted Scholar Mr. Y S Kalamkar was the Chairperson. Dr. Coomi Vevaina deliberated that as a literary genre, science fiction, permits “realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method”. While offering imaginative renderings of the Horatiam dictum “to teach and to delight”, the formenables the literary writer to discuss philosophical ideas such as freedom, identity, morality and power politics, to name only a few.  As against hard core science fiction which deals with extra-terrestrials, ray guns and teleporting, the science fiction of Shelley and Atwood belongs to a sub-genre known as “soft or social science fiction”.

Prof. Y S Kalamkar, while offering his Chair Persons remark summarized the Speakers view and briefly talked about the recent trends in Science Fiction Studies. He lamented on the necessity of serious critics of the Science Fiction genre. He concluded by the hope that Science Fiction studies will gain the magnitude in the field of research and other critical pursuits

The Valedictory Session of the Conference was graced by Dr. Y H Deshpande, Secrtary, West Zone, Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies, India and Joint Secretary of Bharati Vidyapeeth Prin. K. D. Jadhav was presiding over the function. Prof Dr. Palnivel from Coimbatore, Mr. Sudev Basu, from Shantiniketan, Kolkatta, and Dr. Coomi Vevaina, From Mumbai made impression speeches. In his Valedictory address Dr. Y H Deshpande summarized all the sessions in of the conference.

Courtesy: Dr. R. S. Zirange

    

9th & 7th Science Fiction Conferences:

The 9th National Science Fiction Conference was held December 8-9, 2007 at Pondicherry University in Puducherry, India. Vignyan Prasar (an organization for the popularization and propagation of science & technology, and an autonomous body under the Department of Science & Technology in the Indian government) and the Department of English at Pondicherry University joined with the Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies (IASFS) in organizing the conference. More than 200 delegates from various parts of India, students of the University, and two Americans representing NakedLaw.org actively took part during the sessions. The inaugural function was followed by eight sessions of 28 paper presentations with themes including “Science in Science Fiction”, “Science Fiction Today”, “Science Fiction Theme: Time”, “Science Fiction: The Human Aspect”, a story reading session, a replay of a video conference featuring James Gunn, “Science Today”, “Science Fiction in Vernacular Languages”, and a concluding valedictory function.

After the traditional Indian invocation ceremony, Dr. Natarajan Professor (head of the Department of English) welcomed the distinguished guests and delegates. Dr. Clement S. Lourdes, coordinator of the program, explained the scope of the conference. While reading the Annual Report, Dr. Srinarahari (the General Secretary of IASFS) thanked the editors and publishers around the world for publishing reports on previous conference proceedings in Locus, Concatenation.org, Emerald City, SFS.org; for the full-length articles by Andrew Sawyer and James Gunn; and for the publication of articles in German and Spanish by Nova and Axxon respectively. In addition, he thanked the National Book Trust, various Indian Universities, and other public and private organizations for conducting SF sessions and special lectures, promoting research, and instituting awards for Indian SF authors.

In his address, IASFS President Dr. Purushothaman said SF is important because it can change the attitudes of people. Quoting Isaac Asimov’s observation about rational man in an irrational world, he spoke on the concept of the unification of minds. In his inaugural speech, Dr. Kannan (the Honorable Vice Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University, Tamil Nadu) expressed his happiness in inaugurating the conference. As a scientist, he stated that SF provides authenticity and develops scientific spirit and temper. He said the conference was a turning point, and expressed his concern that though most of the people write, there is lack of readership. He called on the younger generation to read and write extensively. Showing immense concern about future science ventures, he said, “Though the sea is beautiful and bountiful, marine plants and animals are endangered. Little work has been done in the area of marine biology. Therefore, exploration of the possibilities of preserving and developing research in the unexplored vast regions of the undersea world is the need of the hour.”

In his keynote address, Dr. Balaswamy, a retired professor of English, recalled that in the previous conference the theme was “Grain”, and spoke on the relevance of the focus on Science in Science Fiction. He said students should learn about the second law of thermodynamics at the same time they’re learning about Shakespeare, and that there should be a culmination of science and fiction. SF is predictive genre, and a literature of change, and hence it explores “what if…” He concluded by saying humanity is software and science is hardware, and there should be a marriage between the two.

Dr. Subodh Mohanti spoke about the organization Vignyan Prasar and explained its goal of fostering the spirit of science and technology at various levels in the country. In popularizing science, the projects should reach the rural India. He expressed his wish that vernacular languages should produce qualitative and quantitative literary works — one of the aims of Vignyan Prasar is to encourage young writers. Since readers and writers are humans, SF must stress the human angle.

The IASFS publication division published Understanding Science Fiction by Drs. Srinarahari & Purushothaman. Concise and comprehensive, the book combines a brief account of the origin, history, concepts, forms, and themes of the genre with an exhaustive bibliography. Dr. Panneer Selvam explained the book is useful for students, teachers, research scholars, and to readers new to SF.

The Sessions held during the two-day conference:

“Science in Science Fiction”, chaired by Dr. Sujatha Vijayaraghavan, included the following programs: “Dreams Come True” by Dr. Srinarahari; “Hindi Science Fiction: An Overview” by Mr. Manish Mohan Gore; “Material vs Immaterial: Time Travel in Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Gibson’s ‘The Gernsback Continuum'” by Dr. Kalpana H; and “Fictionalizing Christ: A Study of Gore Vidal’s Live from Golgotha by Dr. Binu Zachariah.

“Science Fiction Today”, chaired by Professor Palanivel R, included: “Science Fiction Today: Introductory Note” by Dr. Mukherjee PK; “Ecological Nightmares in Science Fiction” by Ms. Zahirah Banu; and “Scientific Humanism: A Study of the SF Indian film Krrish” by Ms.Zuligah.

“Story Reading by SF Writers” was chaired by Dr. N Natarajan and featured Dr. Deshponde YH, Professor Bhoosanurmutt, Dr. Panneer Selvam, and Dr. Srinarahari.

The fourth session was a replay of a video conference. Before switching on the video, the Honorable Vice Chancellor of Pondicherry University Dr. JAK Tareen expressed the concern that, though man can reach the outer world, not much progress is seen in the area of Earth science. He expressed his happiness over the present conference and wished to provide support in the days to come. The video conference was recorded last year and was replayed for the benefit of the delegates in this part of the country. Professor James Gunn, director of the Center for Science Fiction Studies at the University of Kansas, was interviewed by Mr. Deshponde AP, Dr. Bal Phondke and Dr. Deshponde YH. Dr. Gunn spoke about the genre and his earlier interaction with Indian Scholars on the development of Indian Science Fiction.

“Science Today” was chaired by Dr. Deshponde YH and included: “The Contribution to Indian Science by Azim Premji Foundation” by Mr. Surendranath Banarjee; “The Highlights of Science in P. Tejaswi’s Karvalo” by Manoj CR; “Scientific Fantasy and Reality” by Ms. Prashanth Kumari, and “Science in Asimov’s Foundation Triology” by Dr. Panneer Selvam.

“Science Fiction Theme: Time”, chaired by Dr. Murali S, had: “H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine as a Science Fiction” by Ms. Muneera TR; “Scientific Romance in H.G. Wells’s ‘The Truth about Pyecraft'” by Mr. Arun C; “H.G. Wells’s Conscious, Artistic Envisionment of the Prospective Future of Humankind” by Ms. Lily Sharmila; and “The Time Machine: The Truncated Epic Novel in SF” by Mr. Umashankar S.

“Science Fiction: The Human Aspect” was chaired by Dr. Subodh Mohanti and featured these presentations: “Aliens as Humans” by Mr. Ram Kumar; “Science Fiction as Autobiography” by Mr. Mugundan; “The Thematic Study of Gibson’s ‘Burning Chrome'” by Mr. Shanmugavel P; and “Quest for a Genderless World in Le Guin’s The Dispossessed” by Ms. Parimala M.

“Science Fiction: The Human Aspect (Continued)” was chaired by Dr. Babu Abraham and included: “Man as Prey: The Disastrous Consequences of Namnotechnology — An Analysis of Michael Crichton’s Prey” by Dr. Rashmi; “Adventure as Escape: A study of Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under the Sea and Michael Crichton’s Congo” by Mr. Raju Parghi; “Promise or Peril: Fear of Machine in Asimov’s The Caves of Steel and Jayanth Narlikar’s Waman Didn’t Return” by Mr. Vishnu Patil; “Science Fiction and Fantasy” by Dr. Michael Vishwamitr; and “Science Fiction in Vernacular Language — ‘Tamil Science Fiction'” by Dr. Arivunambi.

Dr. VC Thomas Dean, School of Humanities of the University, gave the valedictory address, the felicitation lecture was given by Dr. Bapu Abraham and Dr. Purushothaman presided over the function. Dr. Natarajan and Dr. Mohanti were on the dais. Professor R Bhosnurmutt proposed the vote of thanks, and the conference closed with a singing of The National Anthem. The Tenth National Science Fiction Conference is proposed to be held during October — November 2008 at Varanasi, Uttara Pradesh near New Delhi.

M.H. Srinarahari

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7th Conference Report:

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Updating Shortly:

The team is searching for the reports, proceedings, brochures, program list, photographs, videos, scholarly papers, and keynote address in each of the missing conferences in the above list. They might be in the form of A drive or B drive floppy discs,CD’s, video cassettes, and wordstar files. Attempts are being made to upload the missing conference reports shortly.

Dr.Srinarahari Secretary – General, for Team IASFS.

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