The Bicentennial 21st-Century Symposium of All About Me.

 

If you'd rather not go I completely understand.

If you’d rather not go I completely understand.

This feels a bit weird. Creepy, even.  If it makes any difference, I advised them not to go ahead with it.

A couple of weeks from now— Nov 10-11— the University of Toronto will be hosting an academic symposium about me. More precisely, about my writing.

You could even call it an international event. While U of T is providing the venue, the symposium itself is organized by Aussie Ben Eldridge, of the University of Sydney. At least two of the presenters are from the US (although one of them will be Skyping in, doubtless to avoid the mandatory cavity search that seems to be SOP at the border these days).

Friday is layperson-friendly: a round-table discussion of my oeuvre, or omelet, or however you say that; a reading (new stuff, yet to be published); an interview; a bit of Q&A.  The schedule only listed 15 minutes for drinks after that, but as Ben reminds me he is an Australian and would never make so rookie a mistake. That 15 minutes is only for warm-up drinking on campus, after which we retire to the Duke of York.

Saturday is the academic stuff. I don’t know who’s giving what talks just yet, but apparently the titles include—

  • The (Grammatical) Autonomy of Angels: “Malak” & The Language of Logic.
  • The Influence of Paratextual Reputation on Textual Authority.
  • Rifters and Beyond: An (Overly) Educated Fan’s Perspective.
  • “Lenie Clarke is God”: Religion & Peter Watts.
  • Peter Watts’s Rifters Trilogy and the Apocalyptic Tradition.
  • Cyborgs, Hybrids, and Alien Others: Peter Watts’s Posthumanism.
  • From Simile to Metaphor: The Alien in Clarke’s Rendevous with Rama and Watts’ Blindsight.

—plus a couple of others yet to be finalized.

Honestly, I don’t even understand one of those titles. Can’t wait to hear the actual talks.

I remain skeptical that my work is of sufficient influence to support such a dedicated event, especially on such short notice. I’ve been told to stop being an Eeyore, and to just get on board with the thing; the speaking slots are all filled, after all. Surely that speaks to the fact that academically at least, I do have my own Niche. What remains to be seen is whether those speakers will be holding forth to an actual audience, or merely to each other— and since they’re going ahead with it regardless, the least I can do is try and encourage some asses to find some seats.

So there it is. If you’re in town, and if you’re so inclined, I’d much rather see you there than rows of empty chairs. And to repeat: while the entire event is open to all, Friday night’s events are gonna be especially accessible to a general audience.

Also, it’s free.

Although you get what you pay for.


Update 28/10/2017: The schedule seems to have firmed up. Nine talks, four things-with-me-as-participant, eight institutions represented:

FRIDAY 10th NOVEMBER

1500-1515  Welcome / Event Introduction
1515-1600 Roundtable Discussion: On Peter Watts and the Science/Fiction Divide. Allan Weiss, Amy J. Ransom, Dominick Grace, Michele Braun
1600-1615
Peter Watts Introduction by Michael Johnstone
1615-1645 Peter Watts Reading
1645-1730 Peter Watts in Conversation with Ben Eldridge & Michael Johnstone
1730-1745 Peter Watts Q&A
1745-1800
Close / Drinks
1830-late Symposium dinner @ Duke of York.

 

SATURDAY 11th NOVEMBER

1000-1015 Welcome / Coffee
1015-1145 Canonical Distortions
TBA: Edward Keller (Parsons New School of Design)
“Lenie Clarke is God”: Religion & Peter Watts. Dominick Grace (Brescia University College)
Rifters and Beyond: An (Overly) Educated Fan’s Perspective. Amy J. Ransom (Central Michigan University)
1145-1245 Narratological Distortions
From Simile to Metaphor: The Alien in Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama & Watts’ Blindsight. Michael Johnstone (University of Toronto)
Sculpting the Past: Fractal Narrative in Peter Watts’ Rifters Trilogy. Devin Oxman (Concordia University)
1245-1330 Lunch
1330-1430 Cyborgs, Hybrids, and Alien Others: Peter Watts’s  Posthumanism. Clare Wall (York University)
1430-1530 The (Grammatical) Autonomy of Angels: “Malak” and the Language of Logic. Ben Eldridge (University of Sydney)
1530-1630 The Influence of Paratextual Reputation on Textual Authority. Michele Braun (Mount Royal University)
1630-1645 Afternoon break
1645-1745 Peter Watts’s Rifters Trilogy and the Apocalyptic Tradition. Allan Weiss (York University)
1745-1800 Close / Drinks
This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday October 25 2017at 07:10 am , filed under public interface . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

47 Responses to “The Bicentennial 21st-Century Symposium of All About Me.”

  1. Congratulations on making it to the literary big time. My project goes live that weekend. I doubt whether I will get much sleep much less go to a literary conference – and I dearly want to go. But I hope to quaff beers in your presence soon.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Congrats! A whole event about you yourself, wow! Now feel free to go ahead and become insufferably self-important. Also post pics, plse.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Congratulations! This is awesome. I would definitely be there, if I wasn’t here.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. Congratulations, PW. You’d better wear your Legitimate Pants to this one!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. Wearing any pants at all is going to be a novel and deeply awkward experience for me…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  6. Does this thing have a webpage? Google is throwing up its arms at “peter watts university of toronto” or even the complete title. I want to see if they livestream….

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  7. Hope it becomes a runaway success, and they repeat it at UBC!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  8. Thank goodness we finish work early on Fridays… I think I can actually go to this!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  9. Fuck – if only I could get there. Would love it if they would livestream – maybe Facebook live or something?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  10. If they are doing 2 days all about your works, just your works, you are not obliged to wear pants.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  11. Hans:
    Does this thing have a webpage? Google is throwing up its arms at “peter watts university of toronto” or even the complete title. I want to see if they livestream….

    I’m told they’ve gone old-school on the publicity; apparently paper posters are in evidence around a number of local university campii (which is presumably the protected habitat in which interested academics might be found). I was expected some kind of online announcement myself, but as of a couple days back I couldn’t find anything either.

    I myself was only invited at the tail-end of September, so this thing came together very fast and with little notice. (This is one of the reasons I was doubtful; a month and a half seems like precious little time for potential presenters to work up talks. But that hurdle, surprisingly, seems to have been cleared.)

    As for live-streaming— or even archival video posted to Youtube— I have no idea. I should ask. A part of me hopes, though, that they don’t stream the proceedings; that would just put me under that much more pressure to wear pants…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  12. Don Reba:
    Hope it becomes a runaway success, and they repeat it at UBC!

    Hey, any excuse to get back to the west coast.

    Is Granville still half-boarded-up?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  13. There’s no way I can make it, but please tell me they’ll be recording talks & posting videos later.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  14. Gah! Timing. If it were a month later, I’d be in the position to drive up and see it. Still, a well deserved bit of ego service, pants or no pants. Hope all goes well.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  15. Damn. Shit. I want to attend. If I weren’t already over-committed for those dates, I’d brave the border crossing checkpoint to be there.

    I agree with the previous suggestions that this event must be recorded and uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo. The university should have an AV department who does this very thing, so it’s not a question of skill or equipment.

    Congrats, Peter. This should be an exciting night for you!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  16. Also, what’s up with the images in the poster? I’ve been trying to figure them out and attach some kind of significance to them with respect to your writing. As far as I can tell, these are not images from any of your published works.

    The Eye of Sauron? Canada is freakishly cold?

    Any interpretations would be welcome.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  17. The first pic is a scene from “Giants” (in the Sunflowers Cycle), by Dan Ghiordanescu. The second is from Zhivko Petrov’s cover for the Bulgarian edition of “Beyond the Rift”.

    I’ll grant you it’s not the kind of layout you usually get for an academic proceeding. Then again, maybe that’s the point.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  18. Peter Watts,
    It’s not boarded up anymore.. They’ve starting developing now. Lots of identical looking, expensive apartment buildings / townhouses on Grandville and Cambie now.

    PS Any new info on the Blindsight animated short?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  19. Don’t know about influence, but *quality*…you earned it.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  20. It’s going to be a blast, if anyone’s driving down from Montreal I’d be interested in car pooling.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  21. Think that one title means, do the end notes add to the impact of the story and, if so, how?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  22. Damn, what i would not give to go there. Sadly i doubt i can just book a flight to Canada and abscond from work during Holiday Season.

    Any chance this is getting streamed or recorded?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  23. Pee-Wubs you’ve earned this kind of recognition, a true Canadian(ish) national treasure.
    Any chance for foreign and poor fans to interact? Anyone streaming this? (For free?)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  24. This is all of course just an elaborate excuse to get you to read some unpublished material. The lengths hungry fans will go to…

    Wrong continent for me, so some recordings would be welcome.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  25. FANTASTIC. And overdue. You deserve this. We’d all love to virtually participate, and hearty congratulations.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  26. Makes me wish I still lived in TO.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  27. Dude, if I was rich I would totally fly over just for that event. Sounds awesome!

    Alas, I am not so I at least hope that somebody will record it and put it on youtube.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  28. Congratulations! Sometimes there may be exceptions to Luke 4:24!! 😉

    Seriously, you write stuff that makes people think. Then, things like this happen.

    Like many others, I wish I was there for the symposium. Hopefully your concitizens apreciate the chance they are having!

    By the way, if there is any chance that the talks are made available online, it would only be great. Just saying. Beside all those cat videos online, you know.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  29. That’s really great!

    I’ve waited for an opportunity to see you live since I moved to Toronto.
    Shuffling my vacation days around so I’ll be able to see the whole event.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  30. Ah, alas I’m not in the area but it looks fun! You may want to list this on the side, under ‘Upcoming Appearances’, since this post will eventually get bumped off the top of the site.

    Hope all have a good time!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  31. Record and or stream that shit, in 2017 it’s basically an affront to the genre not to deploy as much technology as can be arranged when doing this sort of thing. I suspect even Canadian society has hurled you bodily into the Stygian nightmare that is “wearing pants” for quite awhile anyway.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  32. squirrelblue: You may want to list this on the side, under ‘Upcoming Appearances’

    Good point. Done.

    Sean: Record and or stream that shit, in 2017 it’s basically an affront to the genre not to deploy as much technology as can be arranged when doing this sort of thing.

    Kind of an affront to not have any online advertising at this stage too, but it all kind of came together at the last moment. I have broached the subject of recordings with Ben. Hopefully that will happen.

    BTW, we seem to have a final schedule: see the coda I’ve just appended to the parent post.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  33. I think I’m gonna try to make it, at least the Friday one. Work makes Saturday’s difficult.

    Fun fact (okay it’s not that fun but it’s a nice bit of coincidence for me): Alan Weiss was professor for one of my English electives back in my bygone University Days (Apocalyptic Science Fiction).

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  34. >Kind of an affront to not have any online advertising at this stage too

    Don’t know if you have Facebook or not, but in my experience, a simple Facebook Event is a free and a pretty functional way to inform people about an event. It’s also an easy way for attendees to pass along the information and invite their friends.

    If an official FB event hasn’t already been created, it might be worth making one.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  35. Don’t forget an intern or grad student to stand behind you at all times whispering “Remember you are mortal” into your ear at regular intervals

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  36. Comments are off at the older post, but as an FYI, I dropped a short and polite email to the X-Prize Foundation. I figured there was no point in making in harder for new fans to find your other work, and a link to a different author by the same name seems a bit unfair to newbie fans. The X-Prize people have now updated your Seat14C story with the correct link to rifters.com, and removed to link to the other Peter Watts’ twitter.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  37. > please tell me they’ll be recording talks & posting videos

    And transcripts. Please. Make text!

    Heck, see if you can submit a transcript of one or two of the talks to a journal.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  38. Oh man I would love to go…. Damn!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  39. Well might’ve tried attending, were this further in the future so one may book flights.
    Have fun and +1 for hoping for video archive to watch.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  40. squirrelblue: FYI, I dropped a short and polite email to the X-Prize Foundation. … The X-Prize people have now updated your Seat14C story with the correct link to rifters.com, and removed to link to the other Peter Watts’ twitter.

    Thanks. I didn’t actually realize that the X-Prize people had associated me with a twitter handle in the first place. (In fact, I seem to be the only one of approximately ten thousand Peter Wattses who hasn’t been sucked into that evil platform…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  41. Mention in Chinese Digital for “Peter Blitz’s Blindness” novel. Gets it right elsewhere, picture of cover.

    AI discussion

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  42. So, how was it? Did you have fun? Did you figure out what that one title meant?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  43. So, how did it go down? Any chance we get to see it on our screens?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  44. I was there for the first day’s events (though left as others broke for dinner), and it was enjoyable, low key, interesting. Always fun to hear our host speak or read (although I confess I was just a tad disappointed that one of the things he read was a fragment from the Freeze-Frame Revolution that was already posted here).

    Didn’t go the second day because of work, but I didn’t feel like I wasted my money!

    Of course, it was free, so…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  45. Oh fuck, you’re right. I was going back and forth between that excerpt and another, and I went with Occasional Demons because it required less set-up and— for some dumb reason— I thought I’d read it in Berlin but never posted it, so it would be new. But of course I had posted it, and just forgot about that in a moment of senility. Should’ve gone with “Meltdown” instead.

    OTOH, if I’d gone with “Meltdown” I wouldn’t have had time to also read the longer piece that National Geographic.Rupert Murdoch owns. So you did get 4,000 words of embargoed, never-before-seen story.

    Anyway, I’m just closing in on a report on the weekend. I’ll post it later today. Stay tuned.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  46. In іtѕ core, last day on earth survival hack Dɑy ⲟn Earth is a
    survival sport.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

Leave a Reply