IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 624: The Middle Ages in Science Fiction

Tuesday 2 July 2013, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Centre for Late Antique & Medieval Studies, King's College London
Organisers:Carl Kears, Department of English, King's College London
James Antonio Paz, School of English, University of Leeds
Moderator/Chair:James Antonio Paz, School of English, University of Leeds
Paper 624-aMedieval Science Fiction: An Impossible Fantasy?
(Language: English)
James Antonio Paz, School of English, University of Leeds
Carl Kears, Department of English, King's College London
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Medievalism and Antiquarianism, Science
Paper 624-b'Safeties Off!': Holodecks, Dystopias, and Science Fiction Medievalism
(Language: English)
Jeff Massey, Department of English, Molloy College, New York
Paper 624-cTriumphs and Limits of Language: Edwin Morgan’s Aliens and Anglo-Saxons
(Language: English)
Denis Ferhatović, Department of Literatures in English, Connecticut College
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Abstract

The medieval period is casually associated with Fantasy literature (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, et al.) in the popular imagination. But can the Middle Ages also be found in works of modern Science Fiction? This session seeks to identify medieval themes, tropes and images in this, the most ‘futuristic’ and ‘scientific’ of all genres. What distinguishes the medievalism of Science Fiction from that of Fantasy? What does this say about the relation between the Middle Ages and Science and/or the History of Science? Speakers may also wish to consider issues of time and space. Where are the Middle Ages located in works of SF – in the past, in the present, in an imagined future, or in a different timeframe altogether? Finally, should our discussions of ‘Medieval SF’ be purely pleasurable? What happens if we take the topic seriously? What is at stake for Medieval Studies, for science, and for genre fiction?