Worldcon 75

The 75th World Science Fiction Convention, 9-13 August 2017, Messukeskus, Helsinki, Finland

Academic Track


The convention will include a full academic programme track, where scholars in humanities and social sciences from around the world will dig into the concept of estrangement. Estrangement, or defamiliarisation (ostranenie), has long been crucial to our understanding of speculative fiction. Since its first appearance in Viktor Shklovsky’s essay “Art as Technique” (or “Art as Device”) in 1917, estrangement has made its way into the theories of prose fiction, of theatre, and of film, and it forms the core of some of the foundational works in the theory of science fiction, such as Darko Suvin’s definition of SF as cognitive estrangement.

The questions discussed in the Academic Track include:

  • How do works of speculative fiction balance estranging techniques and the naturalising effects inherent to its worldbuilding and characterisation? How does defamiliarisation relate to the realistic illusions created by speculative fiction?
  • What are the differences and similarities between the techniques or strategies of defamiliarisation in different media (e.g. prose fiction, graphic narratives, theatre, films, games)? How does defamiliarisation relate to inter- or transmedial storytelling?
  • What is the dynamic between defamiliarisation, mental transportation and identification? How do estranging and fantastical effects impact the reader’s perception of the storyworld or sympathy towards the characters?

For more information on the topics and speakers, tune in to the Academic Track Twitter feed @W75academic!

The Academic Track is organised in cooperation with the Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (FINFAR), finfar.org/en/what-does-finfar-do.