Sci-fi writers discuss work in Vail Monday |

Sci-fi writers are bringing their imaginative expertise to a Vail Symposium program today

The Star Wars franchise is perhaps one of the the most well-known stories in the genre, but sci-fi has roots all the way back to Mary Shelley's 1818 "Frankenstein" and earlier.
Special to the Daily

Science fiction is sometimes called the “literature of ideas,” but most English departments are adamantly dismissed the genre, saying it’s not literature at all. As a result, sci-fi writers have charted their own way through the publishing and entertainment world.

On Monday, Oct. 21, a panel of four science fiction authors will discuss the multi-faceted genre of literature for a Vail Symposium event entitled High Country Sci-Fi: Explore the Literature of Ideas. The event starts at 6 p.m. in The Sebastian Vail.

“Fiction transports the reader into the mind of the writer and to other places and times,” said Claire Noble, programming manager of the Vail Symposium. “Science fiction goes even farther — inviting readers to experience worlds and times wholly invented in the mind of the writer. Fresh from Mile High Con, we have gathered four science fiction writers who will provide a glimpse behind the curtain of their creative processes.”

Few literary movements can match science fiction’s contributions to technological innovation. Through the World Wars, the Space Age, the Information Age and beyond, science fiction writers have dreamed up concepts for technologies we now take for granted, such as robots and genetic engineering.

Sci-fi legend H.G. Wells is most known for “War of the Worlds,” but his book “The World Set Free” featured a uranium hand grenade, not unlike the atomic bomb. Some say Dr. Leo Szilard, the man who split the atom, got the idea for an atom bomb from Wells’ book. Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” predicted mood-boosting pills and reproductive technology, which today we know as antidepressants and in-vitro fertilization. The list goes on.

However, despite the word “science” in its name, sci-fi stories are not limited to plot lines about technology or stories set on other planets. The genre encompasses political thrillers that predicted the Arab Spring (Walter Jon Williams), injects Native viewpoints into popular modern tropes (Rebecca Roanhorse) and uses the laws of physics to tell gripping, action-packed stories set in the far future (J. Barton Mitchell).

Enjoy an evening with four authors and listen to them discuss their latest books, sharing facets of the literature that helped birth the modern world.

About the speakers

J. Barton Mitchell
Special to the Daily

J. Barton Mitchell is a writer of speculative fiction living in Santa Fe, NM. He’s developed properties for Warner Bros, Twenty First Century Fox, Sony, Valve Software and Boom! Studios and is a published author of four novels. His third novel, “Valley of Fires,” was awarded Best Science Fiction Novel of 2015 by the RT Book Review; TOR Books published his fourth novel, “The Razor,” in November 2018. He is also the founder of Night Rocket Productions, a production company created to produce high concept, narrative properties in audio and traditional film and television formats in collaboration with genre artists and creators in the Southwest. Night Rocket’s first project, a narrative podcast named “Derelict” will begin production this year in Santa Fe.

Rebecca Roanhorse
Special to the Daily

Rebecca Roanhorse is a Nebula and Hugo Award-winning speculative fiction writer and the recipient of the 2018 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her short fiction has also been a finalist for the Sturgeon, Locus and World Fantasy awards. Her novel “Trail of Lightning” was selected as an Amazon, B&N, Library Journal and NRP Best Books of 2018, among others, and is a Nebula and Hugo award finalist for 2019. Her short fiction can be found in Apex Magazine, New Suns and various other anthologies. Her non-fiction can be found in Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons and How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation (Macmillan).

Emily Mah Tippetts
Special to the Daily

Emily Mah Tippetts (moderator) is an author of science fiction and fantasy and is a former attorney with degrees in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University and business law from UCLA. She has also published more than a dozen contemporary novels under her married name, E.M. Tippetts. A lifelong New Mexican, she now lives in Santa Fe with her family. When she isn’t chasing her small children or writing, she designs jewelry, sculpts with polymer clay and runs her formatting company, E.M. Tippetts Book Designs.

Walter Jon Williams
Special to the Daily

Walter Jon Williams is the bestselling author of more than thirty volumes of fiction in addition to works in film, television, comics and the gaming field. He began his career writing historical fiction, the sea-adventure series Privateers & Gentlemen. Williams later turned his skills to writing science fiction: cyberpunk (“Hardwired,” “Voice of the Whirlwind,” “Angel Station”); near-future thrillers (“This Is Not a Game,” “The Rift”); classic space opera (“Dread Empire’s Fall”); “new” space opera (“Aristoi”); post-cyberpunk epic fantasy new weird (“Metropolitan” and “City on Fire”) and the world’s only gothic western science fiction police procedural (“Days of Atonement”). A prolific writer of short fiction, Williams contributed to George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards project. He won Nebula Awards in 2005 and 2011. His writing also shows up in the gaming industry. Williams was the Guest of Honor at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention, held in Helsinki.

If you go …

What: High Country Sci-Fi: Explore the Literature of Ideas with a Panel of Science-Fiction Writers

When: Monday, Oct. 21. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 6 p.m.

Where: The Sebastian Vail

Cost: Tickets for this program are $25 in advance, $35 at midnight before the show and at the door.

More information: Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

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