Sci-fi lectureship set for Thursday

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — Jack Williamson, who turns 97 in March, still works to pique sci-fi readers’ interests.

While he usually does this through his writing, Williamson also is part of a lectureship series in its 29th year at Eastern New Mexico University.

“I enjoy the lectureship,” Williamson said. “It gives me a chance to visit with my friends at Eastern. Dr. (Patrice) Caldwell does a great job of setting it up and making it successful.”

This year’s lectureship, set for Thursday, is entitled, “Post-humanity Evolving.”

Patrice Caldwell, an organizer of the event, said the lectureship will explore what impact science fiction has had on today’s technology and the future of technology, under the name of a writer who has had influence on the science fiction community for nearly 80 years.

A “Post-humanity Evolving” panel discussion will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Buchanan Hall of the Music Building.

Science fiction author Connie Willis will host a luncheon at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday in the Campus Union Ballroom to start off the lectureship. Williamson will be attending the luncheon while Gregory Benford and Walter Jon Williams are scheduled to be the guest speakers.

The luncheon in the CUB ballroom is $7 at the door while the panel discussion in the Music Building is free. People can call 562-2315 to make reservations for the luncheon.

Caldwell instructs a creative science fiction writing class along with Williamson at ENMU each spring semester. Caldwell said there are 14 ENMU students in this year’s class.

Williamson has devoted 76 years of his life to science fiction writing and has earned grand master status — an honor voted on by members of Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc.

“The number one purpose of the lectureship is to honor his many years of science fiction work,” said Rick Hauptmann, a friend of Williamson and a collector of his works. “It’s going to be really interesting, especially when you have three of the top-notch science fiction writers in their field.”