Thursday, September 11, 2008

First National Discussion of Science Fiction in Varanasi, India

Arvind Mishra has posted a notice for the "First Ever National Discussion of Science Fiction: Past, Present, Future" in Varanasi, India. The conference will be held November 10-14, and is jointly sponsored by the National Council of Science and Technology Communication, the Indian Science Fiction Writers' Association, and the Indian Association of Science Fiction Studies.
The discussion is aimed at focusing on various aspects of science fiction and its role in communicating science and technology related issues to the common people and children .The goal of the five-day exercise is to prepare a draft for “Benaras Document 2008”. The programme would also examine as how science fiction input could be enhanced and successfully employed in various science communication modules currently in vogue in India.


Following 5 sub themes are incorporated in 5 technical sessions. However, the discussion on a particular theme or topic may continue informally beyond the stipulated session until the final conclusions are drawn, reviewed and finalized.

i) Science Fiction - Historical Perspective : The programme shall begin with analysing the development and evolution of science fiction in India vis-à-vis in the world with comparative and analytical accounts on evolutionary trends.

ii) Understanding Science Fiction - A Cognitive Approach : A number of definitions and theories are prevalent across the world when it comes to understanding science fiction. The session will try to redefine various forms such as science fantasy, story, fiction, tale, etc., with pedagogical and cognitive enrichment.

iii) Current Trends in Science Fiction : This shall examine many contemporary issues on science fiction currently debated. It may present an overview on possible cultural influences on the genre, emerging trends, changing styles and characteristics of science fiction.

iv) Science Fiction for Science Communication : This session shall emphasize on various formats and styles suitable for presenting different contents and concepts using mass media, such as drama, theatre, puppetry, tableaux, novel, cartoon strip, film, etc.

v) Science Fiction : Future Perspective : The discussion shall focus on whether science fiction could be made better by making it more like mainstream fiction. The future scope and possibilities of science fiction in development of science and technology would also be explored. The session will also try to understand whether insinuation of science fiction or fantasy into serious mainstream literature is detrimental to hard science fiction!

I hope Arvind plans to blog about the discussions.

Conference schedule and registration information (pdf).



  1. Thanks a lot Peggy for highlighting the concerns of oriental fraternity !
    Deeply indebted !!
    please check the link again as it is not opening !

  2. Yes! Yet more -Serious- exposure for Science fiction.

  3. Arvind: I fixed the link. Thanks for pointing that out!

    Chad: I agree that it's nice to see a serious discussion about SF.


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