30th Williamson lectureship comes to ENMU campus

By Tony Parra

Portales will be the center of those who view the world in a different way on Thursday when experts in the field of science-fiction join local science-fiction writing legend Jack Williamson of Portales for the 30th annual Williamson Lectureship.

“I enjoy the variety of people who have different points of views,” Rick Hauptmann of Portales said. Hauptmann, a friend of Williamson, said he’s attended about 15 of the lectureships. “Jack’s writing has always been on the cutting edge of science fiction. He’s always been interested in applying science in writing. He’s a very friendly person and he’s really a superb person.”

The lectureship starts at 11:45 a.m. in the ballroom of the Campus Union Building. Williamson has spent more than 76 years of his life writing science fiction. His first science-fiction works date back to 1928.

Kim Stanley Robinson, a guest speaker for the lectureship, has not been writing science-fiction as long as Williamson, not even close, but still he shares similarities with the writing legend.

“Both have written about Mars,” Patrice Caldwell, friend of Williamson and organizer of the event, said. “Robinson started writing about Mars in 1981. Even though Jack started writing more than 50 years before Robinson, they share similar interests and views about Mars.”

Robinson, who has been writing since 1975, has specialized in writing about Mars and environmental issues. Robinson wrote “Red Mars” (published in 1992), “Green Mars” (1993) and “Blue Mars” (1995).

The books deal with the first settlement of Mars by a group of scientists and engineers, according to the Wikipedia encyclopedia. The site said the tale begins with the first colonists leaving Earth for Mars in 2027.

Williamson, 97, wrote, “The Girl From Mars and The Prince of Space”, published in 1998 and created the comic strip series, “Beyond Mars” which ran exclusively in the old New York Sunday News from 1952 to 1955.

Robinson spoke at the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow in August.

Robinson will also speak on a science-fiction forum titled “Ecological Apocalypse” scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Buchanan Hall of the Music Building. Admission is free and Caldwell said there will also be other special guests, well-known science-fiction writers and experts at the “Ecological Apocalypse” discussion.

She said the discussion will be about natural disasters and global warming.

Williamson has received awards in science fiction writing for his books, “Darker Than You Think” and received accolades for “Humanoids,” a book he wrote in 1949 about the concept of robots controlling humans.

Science fiction readers from New York, Colorado and Chicago traveled to be at the lectureship, last year.

The ENMU Golden Library has a science fiction/art show which opens on Thursday highlighting the lectureship. There are paintings, drawings, photographs, collages and art work that people can view all month at the library.

Tickets are $8 per person. For more information, contact Patrice Caldwell at 562-2315.