Anyone who still thinks science fiction is a boys' club can have his reality adjusted at the 2011 Women Writers in Science Fiction Symposium, presented by the Humanities Institute, on Wednesday and Thursday at the University of South Florida.
USF has presented the science fiction symposium since 2006, but this year's lineup of guest speakers is its first all-woman panel.
The keynote speaker Wednesday will be fiction writer, editor and teacher Nalo Hopkinson. Born in Jamaica, raised in the Caribbean and a resident of Canada since 1977, Hopkinson brings a wide range of elements to her science fiction and fantasy — from fractal mathematics and evolutionary biology to myth, magic and gender issues. Her novels include The Salt Roads and The New Moon's Arms, and she has edited several collections of fiction, including So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy.
Hopkinson will also participate in a panel discussion on Thursday with writers Julie Czerneda and Kathleen Goonan, moderated by Rita Ciresi, a novelist and coordinator of USF's creative writing program.
Czerneda, a Canadian biologist turned author and editor, has published 13 science fiction novels; her most recent is Rift in the Sky, the third book in her Stratification trilogy.
Goonan, an American writer, has published six novels. Many of her earlier works, such as Queen City Jazz, are in the nanopunk genre, although her most recent, In War Times, is a venture into alternative history.
Rick Wilber, a professor of mass communications and prolific SF author himself who helps put together the symposium, says the three writers will "talk about writing, science fiction, issues of gender in a field once dominated by male writers, gay and lesbian issues, and more."