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Sci-fi writers visiting USF today

Past, present and future will be coming together today at the Alumni Center.

Science fiction and fantasy admirers have the opportunity to interact with a few award-winning writers today from 1 to 3 p.m.

Writers John Clute and Elizabeth Hand will be hosting a panel discussion, and local writers Kathleen Goonan and Rick Wilber, a journalism professor at USF, will also be in attendance. Wilber will be moderating the event, titled “Past/Present/Future.”

“(The panel discussion is going to look at) how science fiction as a genre is going to change,” said Mark Greenberg, director of Special Collections at USF Tampa Library.

The past 50 years of science fiction writing will be a main topic of discussion for the panel.

“One of the things that has been happening is that there has been more and more women entering the field of science fiction writing, and they have quickly become prominent as science fiction writers,” Greenberg said. “It will be very interesting to hear from them … and (whether) they think (more women in the field of science fiction writing) is a growing trend.”

This is the second consecutive year that the USF Library and the Humanities Institute has sponsored the event.

Last year’s speakers were authors Piers Anthony, Harry Harrison and Joel Haldeman.

According to Wilbur, the Library has been acquiring personal papers and manuscripts from famous science fiction writers, which inspired the event.

“It makes sense (that the) Library brings them onto campus,” Wilber said.

After the panel discussion, students will have an opportunity to ask questions, get books signed and interact with the writers.

“We plan to have a very informal chat session,” Wilbur said. “For some students on campus, these may be one of their favorite writers.”