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Sci-fi author Alan Dean Foster to appear at ASU

September 11, 2012

Event to help launch ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination

Celebrated science fiction author Alan Dean Foster, a contributor to the Star Trek, Star Wars and Alien franchises, and story writer for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), will appear at two events at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, Sept. 12.

The first event is the opening of “End of the Golden Age: Science Fiction Before and After the Atomic Bomb,” a new exhibit at ASU’s Noble Science Library. The opening takes place from 1-2 p.m. in the Noble Library’s front lobby, and the exhibit will be on display in the library through Oct. 12.

The exhibit chronicles the emergence of the modern genre of science fiction in the pages of Astounding Science-Fiction in the late 1930s and early 1940s. It features original fiction from ASU Libraries’ Special Collections by Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and others, along with materials from ASU’s collection of Alan Dean Foster’s papers.

During the opening event, Foster will give a short talk about working with the legendary science fiction editor John W. Campbell, and guests will be able to tour the exhibit and converse with the author in a relaxed, low-key environment.

The second event is the launch of the Science Fiction TV Dinner Series, a series of science fiction television show screenings and discussions hosted by ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination that will recur throughout the year. The event also takes place from 5:15-7 p.m., Sept. 12, in Bateman Physical Sciences Center F-123.

The event features the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Arena,” based on a short story by the famed science fiction writer Frederic Brown. Following the screening, Foster and ASU’s Braden R. Allenby, Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and professor of law will discuss the episode and its implications for cultural conversations about science, exploration and encounters with the Other.

The Science Fiction TV Dinner series is designed to provide spaces for transdisciplinary conversations about science, technology and possible human futures. The series pairs classic and contemporary science fiction television shows with open discussions that engage scientists, humanists and artists in key issues around scientific inquiry, the social and cultural impact of technological advances and the kind of future that we want to create.

“We are thrilled to welcome Alan Dean Foster to campus,” notes Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English. “He represents a living connection to the Golden Age of Science Fiction as well as the cutting edge of contemporary storytelling across film, television, fiction and non-fiction.”

Both events are presented by the Center for Science and the Imagination, the ASU Libraries and Project Humanities. The events are part of the Project Humanities fall kickoff, which features a series of film screenings, scholarly conversations, public forums and other events confronting the question, “Are We Losing Our Humanity?”

The Center for Science and the Imagination is a new initiative at ASU that brings writers, artists and other creative thinkers into collaboration with scientists, engineers and technologists to reignite humanity’s grand ambitions for innovation and discovery. To learn more about the Center and its official launch event on Monday, Sept. 24, visit