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Science Fiction and International Orders

Department of International Relations Literary Festival event

Date: Thursday 17 February 2011 
Time: 1.15-2.45pm
Venue:  Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Paul McAuley, Ken McLeod
Chair: Professor Chris Brown

The study of popular culture has always been a feature of the social sciences as well as of the humanities – indeed, the social sciences have often been in advance of the humanities in this area, more willing to recognise the importance of genres that are frowned upon by the arts establishment. Scholars of International Relations have been particularly interested in science fiction and similar genres. Sci-Fi authors have speculated in very interesting ways about the kind of political and social arrangements that might emerge in interstellar, post-human civilisations, or via alternative histories; freed from the necessity of remaining true to the facts of contemporary international orders, utopian and dystopian futures can be explored – but always with a view to understanding our world and our natures. This event will bring together a number of writers of imaginative fiction and academics who have written in this field.

Jon Courtney Grimwood is an award-winning author, recently novels include Felaheen, which won the BSFA Award for Best Novel, End of the World Blues, which also won the BSFA award and The Fallen Blade, the first of three novels set in an alternate 15th-century Venice.

Ken MacLeod is a Scottish science fiction writer, whose award-winning books include the Engines of Light  trilogy and most recently The Restoration Game.  

Paul McAuley won the Philip K. Dick Award for his first novel and has gone on to win the Arthur C. Clarke, British Fantasy, Sidewise and John W. Campbell Awards. He gave up his position as a research biologist to write full-time. His novels include Fairyland, The Quiet War  and Gardens of the Sun He lives in London. You can find his blog at: http://www.unlikelyworlds.blogspot.com.

This event will be followed by a roundtable discussion on the uses- and limitations- of imaginative fiction in the study of International Relations, Science Fiction and International Orders Roundtable, entry for which will be on a first come, first served basis.


A podcast of this event is available to download from the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email info@cpduk.co.uk).