Celebrating 90 Years of Analog Science Fiction and Fact
by Jason W. Ellis and Emily Hockaday
Editorial panel Emily Hockaday, Trevor Quachri, and Stanley Schmidt
Keynote Speaker Michael F. Flynn
Author panel Alison Wilgus, Leah Cypess, Phoebe Barton, and Jay Werkheiser
Frank Wu, editorial panel moderator
Author Louis Evans, and Publisher Peter Kanter
Trevor Quarchri and Stanley Schmidt
Photos by Ché Ryback
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, New York 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, winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Medal, Theodore Sturgeon Award, and author of Eifelheim (2006) and In the Country of the Blind (1990, revised 2001).
The daylong event was divided into themed sessions. Lucas Kwong, Assistant Professor of English, moderated the opening teaching interdisciplinarity with Analog panel featuring talks by Jason 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, Analog editor, and Emily 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 groundbreaking feminist SF scholar and winner of the 1997 Pilgrim Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Science Fiction Research Association, a study of page space given to the work of men and women writers in the magazine by Adam McLain, a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School, and a data-driven presentation on women’s visibility in Analog by Marie Vibbert, a six-time published author in the magazine and lead programmer for digital libraries at Case Western Reserve University.
The midafternoon writer’s roundtable, moderated by Emily Hockaday, featured Phoebe Barton, Leah Cypess, Jay Werkheiser, Alison Wilgus, and Frank Wu. Phoebe read from her newest story “A Square of Flesh, a Cube of Steel” from the September/October 2019 issue. Leah excerpted “Parenting License” (Analog March/April 2019) and discussed how Facebook groups helped inspire the tale. Jay Werkheiser brought some humor to the panel with his Probability Zero tale “Phenol-faerie” from March 2015. Alison Wilgus read a bit from her anthropology and sociology focused piece “A Neighborhood for Someone Else” from the July/August 2019 issue. Frank Wu read last with a multi-media component from his 2016 Analog Analytical Laboratory Award-winning story “In the Absence of Instructions to the Contrary.” Authors 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 and author of The Blackademic Life: Academic Fiction, Higher Education, and the Black Intellectual (2019), moderated the critical issues session, which featured Sharon Packer, M.D.’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, finding himself “dumped right there on Arakkus, 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 Science Fiction and Fact and Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine along with Dell Magazines’ vice president of editorial, Christine Begley. Industry professionals who made appearances at the reception include authors C. Stuart Hardwick, William Ledbetter, Lettie Prell, Eric Choi, Ken Brady, Rajan Khanna, D. Mercurio Rivera, Matthew Kressel, Nick Wolven, Marie Vibbert, Edward M. Wysocki, Timons Esaias, Douglas Dluzen, Louis Evans, and agent Kim-Mei Kirtland of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.
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 online here: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/sciencefictionatcitytech/2019/12/16/videos-from-the-fourth-annual-city-tech-science-fiction-symposium-an-astounding-90-years-of-analog-science-fiction-and-fact/. To follow Analog Science Fiction and Fact’s 90th anniversary events and features throughout the year, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@Analog_SF) or subscribe at www.analogsf.com/store.