A long time ago, in a galaxy…well, in Ancient Greece and Rome, actually… seeds of the thoroughly modern genre of science fiction were unwittingly sown. These strange new worlds of classical reception remained largely unexplored until the 2015 publication of the groundbreaking Classical Traditions and Science Fiction. Its editors, Brett Rogers and Benjamin Stevens, also made every effort in their book and the subsequent conference and media events to reach out to classicists and the science fiction community and to make them equal partners in the ensuing conversation. In so doing, fresh intellectual energy and relevance were granted to both. We are therefore proud to offer the 2017 SCS Outreach Prize to Brett Rogers and Benjamin Stevens.
The essays found in Classical Traditions and Science Fiction were curated to appeal to the widest possible readership. Just by glancing at its table of contents, one is launched into an extraordinary intellectual space in which Virgil and Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, Oedipus and the film Forbidden Planet, and Homer and Frank Herbert’s Dune (to name just a few) are brought into mutual orbit. By insisting that Classical Traditions and Science Fiction be sold in paperback from the start, Rogers and Stevens further guaranteed that their book would would be affordable for a popular audience.
Rogers and Stevens did not simply set out to write a book, but to initiate a longer and mutually-beneficial conversation between classicists and science fiction enthusiasts. To this end, they co-organized a conference on classical reception in science fiction at the University of Puget Sound. Registered attendees included not only the predictable established scholars, but members of the Tolkien Society, Mythopoetic Society, and the Star Trek Association. Regional college and high school students also participated.
The publication of Classical Traditions and Science Fiction was likewise supported by a media blitz that was notable for its size and, in particular, its acknowledgement of venues outside academia. Support articles and interviews appeared in relatively public forums such as Publicbooks.org and the Tacoma News Tribune. The volume also received very positive press in a number of important science fiction media outlets including Tor.com, SF Signal, and Worlds Without End.
In gratitude for their efforts in bringing the worlds of classics and science fiction together, we are, again, delighted to present Brett Rogers and Benjamin Stevens with the SCS Outreach Prize. May they live long and prosper!
Outreach Prize Committee
Peter Meineck, Chair