Crown Social Fiction Conference

 Media has always been a great way to analyze society and what is considered the social norm. The Social Fiction Conference is a Crown affiliated gathering of people over two days for analyzing issues of social justice that are imbedded in the science fiction, gaming, and fantasy genre and examining how it reflects and affects real life.

(Not just the conference UCSC needed but the conference that UCSC deserved)

On Friday, Tim Yamamura gave a presentation on how the fictional figure Urashima Taro is relevant in the intersections of Asian American literature and science fiction, then a group from the Bay Area Steampunk Society gave conference goers a 101 on Steampunk. Later at midnight, conference goers were given a free ticket to go to the midnight showing for Howl's Moving Castle at the Del Mar downtown.

(The Bay Area Steampunk Society)

The next day, Saturday, conference goers got to go to sections about differenct subject matters and listen to the keynote speaker. This year, the keynote speaker was Kim Stanley Robinson. He is an American science fiction writer known for his award winning trilogy Mars.Dr. Michael Blumlein also gave a speech on the promise and perils of science and scientific thinking.

(Dr. Michael Blumlein surrounded by great superheros and villains and Aquaman)

After the keynote speaker, conference goers had their choice of multiple workshop sessions and there were 3 sessions total that conference goers could go to. Some particularly interesting workshops included:

-Examining racism and religion in the game Skyrim: Elder Scrolls to see how it affects perceptions in the game and how the skills learned from playing can be applied to the outside world.

-A creative writing workshop focusing on describing difficult fantasy and science fiction concepts using metaphors.

- Examining female characters in media and how femininity is portrayed with regards to gender presentation and character agency and how aesthetics betray cultural stereotypes about femeninity and competence.

- A discussion about Twitch play Pokemon and it's implications for a structurally vulnerable society.

- and a workshop discussing about how sexism has changed in the video game industry and market using the game Duke Nukem.

At the end of the day, everything winded down with a raffle, ranging from Social Fiction Conference t-shirts to a signed copy of the Mars Trilogy.

All in all, it was a positive environment for discussion of social justice in the media with lots of fun and camaraderie. I highly recommend going to next year's Social Fiction Conference!