Sci-fi lectureship honors Portales Legend

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — Portales will be the center of the science-fiction world Thursday when experts join local science-fiction writing legend Jack Williamson of Portales for the 30th annual Williamson Lectureship.

“I enjoy the variety of people who have different points of views,” Rick Hauptmann of Portales said. Hauptmann, a friend of Williamson, said he’s attended about 15 of the lectureships.

“Jack’s writing has always been on the cutting edge of science fiction. He’s always been interested in applying science in writing. He’s a very friendly person, and he’s really a superb person.”

The lectureship starts at 11:45 a.m. in the ballroom of the Campus Union Building.

Williamson, 97, spent more than 76 years writing science fiction, with his first works dating back to 1928.

Guest speaker Kim Stanley Robinson shares similarities with the writing legend, specializing in writing about Mars and environmental issues.

“Both have written about Mars,” Patrice Caldwell, friend of Williamson and organizer of the event, said. “Robinson started writing about Mars in 1981. Even though Jack started writing more than 50 years before Robinson, they share similar interests and views about Mars.”

Robinson wrote “Red Mars” (published in 1992), “Green Mars” (1993) and “Blue Mars” (1995).

The books deal with the first settlement of Mars by a group of scientists and engineers, according to the Wikipedia encyclopedia. The site said the tale begins with the first colonists leaving Earth for Mars in 2027.

Williamson’s book “The Girl From Mars and The Prince of Space” was published in 1998, and he created the comic strip series “Beyond Mars” that ran exclusively in the now defunct New York Sunday News from 1952 to 1955.

Robinson, who spoke at the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow in August, will participate in a science-fiction forum titled “Ecological Apocalypse” scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Buchanan Hall of the Music Building. Admission is free.

Caldwell said there will also be other special guests, well-known science-fiction writers and experts at the discussion that will focus on natural disasters and global warming.

Williamson has received awards for his books “Darker Than You Think” and received accolades for “Humanoids,” written in 1949 about the concept of robots controlling humans.

For information, contact Caldwell at 562-2315.