Sunday, December 11, 2011
A Tale of Two Conferences
I have been, lately, working pretty hard to get a Philip K Dick Conference scheduled for Sept 2012. I've laid lots of ground work, lining up a few of the bigger names, putting together a committee at SFSU, talking to my department heads, scheduling meetings and putting the infrastructure in place. This Wednesday will be a major day, as I am scheduled to meet with the dean of Humanities and I need him to get excited about this project.
In a somewhat Dickian twist (*say appearing at the very end of a chapter three and ensuring the reader turns the page and begins reading chapter four) I have been informed of another Dickian conference to take place in Dortmund, Germany in November of 2012. While this new circumstance was met by a cold, hard spot deep in my stomach, I have learned to revel in this pair of conferences, one on each side of the Atlantic, and can now see that these conferences will be fairly different and I'm excited about each now.
First of all, the Dortmund conference appears, from their call for papers, to be a fairly conventional academic conference with heavyweights like Norman Spinrad, Roger Luckhurst, and Umberto Rossi scheduled to appear. Their call to papers offers a nod to the scholarly contributions of Jameson and Darko Suvin. The organizers will even be collecting several of the presented papers to be published in a book. I am glad to see this kind of event taking place for two reasons: 1) this is long overdue and will be an awesome contribution to Dickian studies, and 2) because the conference I am organizing no longer has to aspire to such lofty goals.
Instead, I am hoping that our California conference will attract a broad spectrum of fans and scholars, while having a slightly less formal, more fun tone. Additionally, being in the Bay Area will allow some sightseeing of Dickian touchstones, Art Music, the Francisco Street house, etc.
We are still in the midst of the early stages of planning and though there has been an initial call for papers (which you can read, for the time being, over at the PhilipKDickFans site), we are still working on sending out more formal invitations and creating a dedicated website for our American fest. Additionally, for interested parties, I am pasting the Dortmund call for papers below.
2012 is going to be one hell of a Dickian year. Stay tuned for a Kickstarter link and a chance to buy some cool stuff, and raise funds for the conference.