Editors, writers, scholars, and fans came together to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Analog Science Fiction and Fact and launch its milestone issue at the Fourth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium in downtown Brooklyn NY on December 12, 2019. Organized by Jason Ellis, assistant professor of English at City Tech, and Emily Hockaday, managing editor of Analog, the event featured an editors’ roundtable, author readings, Analog-focused research paper presentations, and a concluding keynote address by Michael F. Flynn.
The day-long event was divided into themed sessions. Lucas Kwong, assistant professor of English, moderated the opening “teaching interdisciplinarity with Analog” panel, featuring talks by Ellis and Zachary Lloyd, a PhD student in comparative literature at CUNY Graduate Center. Next, Stanley Schmidt, Analog editor from 1978 to 2012, Trevor Quachri, current editor, and Hockaday responded to questions from moderator Frank Wu and the audience about helming the flagship publication. Lisa Yaszek, SF scholar and professor from the Georgia Institute of Technology, moderated a paper presentation session on “Marginalized Voices and Feminist Futures”, featuring an analysis of Rachel Rodman’s “The Evolutionary Alice” (a story included in the 90th anniversary issue) by Marleen S. Barr.
The writer’s roundtable, moderated by Emily Hockaday, featured Phoebe Barton, Leah Cypess, Jay Werkheiser, Alison Wilgus, and Frank Wu. Authors did readings and spoke about their paths as writers, relationships to the magazine, and their visions for its future.
Lavelle A. Porter, Assistant Professor of English at City Tech, moderated the critical issues session, which featured Sharon Packer, MD’s presentation on Darwinism and ape-human brain transplant stories in Astounding, Stanley Schmidt’s talk on humor in Analog, and Edward Wysocki, Jr.’s study of fact articles during John W. Campbell, Jr.’s editorship from 1937–1971.
At the day’s end, Michael F. Flynn gave a heartfelt keynote address that began with how “science fiction came to be in me” through his father’s bedtime stories cribbed from Galaxy and If, his father’s 8mm production of “Around the World in 80 Frames”, made “before the word ‘astronaut’ had been coined by people too embarrassed to say ‘spaceman,”‘ and his first encounter with Analog (Jan. 1964) – seeing it on a magazine rack in a local bank on his way home from high school featuring part two of Frank Herbert’s Dune World, and finding himself “dumped right there on Arrakis, in the middle of the action… no clue what was going on.”
The symposium concluded with a reception attended by Peter Kanter, publisher of Analog and Asimov’s, along with Dell Magazines’ vice president of editorial, Christine Begley.
The City Tech Science Fiction Symposium series began in 2016 after the New York City College of Technology, CUNY received an anonymous donation of 600 linear feet of SF magazines and books, including a near-complete run of Astounding/Analog. Videos of the symposium presentations and more information about the City Tech Science Fiction Collection can be found at <openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/sciencefictionatcitytech>.
–Jason W. Ellis & Emily Hockaday
This story and more like it in the February 2020 issue of Locus.
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