Pathways To Possible Worlds: Science Fiction & Sustainability

Friday, May 27th at the Calit2 Auditorium at UC-Irvine

This day-long event explores the interplay between science fiction and sustainability in policy, public opinion, popular culture and practice.  Science fiction has always proven a fertile meeting ground for the natural and social sciences and the humanities, and issues of sustainability and the future demand broad-reaching, cross-disciplinary thinking. In this workshop, science fiction authors join in conversation with students and faculty to reflect on the logic of sustainability within the realm of science fiction. What kind of choices lead to one kind of world or the other, and what effects do the depiction of these choices have on actions in the present? Can science fiction and its critical methodologies allow a greater immersion into science fictionality as a conceptual mode for reflecting on the future? What pathways to possible worlds do we see stretching before us, and how might we influence where they lead?

Event flyer for web distribution


Finding Calit2

If you are driving to campus, the closest parking lot is the Anteater Parking Structure; see the Parking Flyer for directions.  Day permits are available for purchase at the kiosk located at the entrance at the intersection of East Peltason and Anteater.

Once you exit the parking structure, you should see signs directing you to Calit2, which is on the south edge of campus in between Donald Bren Hall and Engineering Gateway.  The auditorium is on the ground floor, just off the lobby. Please check in at the lobby registration desk when you arrive.

How can you participate? 

1) Attend! Register to attend here: Registration. Morning coffee and lunch will be provided, plus an evening reception.  Online registration is closed.  In-person registration will be allowed during the event as space permits.

2) Present! Submit slides to be part of the afternoon Pecha Kucha presentation session. Deadline: midnight, May 20th 23rd! Extended! More details below. (Submissions closed)

3) Write! Enter our speculative fiction writing contest, with a prize of a $100 gift certificate to the UCI bookstore. Deadline: midnight, May 20th 23rd! Extended! More info below. (Submissions closed)

Questions?  Contact


Pecha Kucha: Pathways to Utopia & Dystopia

A Pecha Kucha (Japanese for “chit-chat”) is a design exercise in which participants deliver concise presentations intended to grab the attention of an audience, convey key information, and permit a group to share ideas quickly.

In a “proper” Pecha Kucha, each participant shows 20 slides for 20 seconds each. We’re doing a shorter variation on the format—just 2 slides with 60 seconds for each.

The theme for this Pecha Kucha is “Pathways to Utopia & Dystopia“.  One of your slides should represent a Utopia.  One should represent a Dystopia.  You have 60 seconds to explain each one, for a total of 2 minutes of talking.  Time limits will be strictly enforced!  The slides will be bundled into a single presentation that plays through continuously.

We recommend that you make your slides highly visual.  Go for evocative imagery, not text. You must submit your slides ahead of time, by midnight of May 20th.  Participation will be limited to 30 presenters (1 hour total of presentations). Submit early!

Slides should be in .jpg or .ppt/.pptx format.  Submissions containing more than 2 slides or in the wrong format will be returned for revision.  Email your slides to: with the subject line Pecha Kucha.  


Writing Competition: Possible Worlds

If we cannot solve the very real problems facing our environment, what does the future look like? Are there paths to sustainable futures that we haven’t imagined?  In this competition, we are asking you to submit a 500 word long speculative fiction piece exploring possible sustainable or unsustainable futures.  This piece can take any format you wish (flash fiction, poem, speculative essay, thought experiment) as long as it is under 500 words!

These will be judged in two tracks, one for undergraduate submissions, and one for all other contributors.

The top candidates from each track will be printed & displayed during lunch time for participants to read and discuss.  The winners will announced during the closing session.  Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to the UCI bookstore.  The winning entries will also be posted online on this website.

Entries must be 500 words or fewer and submitted in .doc/docx format.  Submissions over the word limit will be returned for revision.  Please indicate whether or not you are an undergraduate when you submit.  Email your entry to with the subject line Writing Contest.

sci-fi-sustainability sponsors

Creative Commons Licensed Image Credits


Pecha Kucha:

Writing Contest: