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Neukom Institute to Honor the World’s Most Spectacular Speculative Fiction

November 2, 2017

HANOVER, N.H. – October 25, 2017 – The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College announced today the establishment of the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards, a global award program to honor creative works around speculative fiction.

While speculative fiction can take various forms related to science fiction and fantasy, the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards focuses on near-future creative writing featuring themes relevant to computational work or computing.

“The arts have always had strong creative connections to the sciences, including computational science,” said Daniel Rockmore, director of the Neukom Institute. “These awards recognize the role of artists as gadflies for the good, provocateurs and satirists when the sciences overreach, and as far-seeing prophets of scientific potential, for good or bad.”

Driverless cars and robot aides may make routine headlines today, but, before these ideas became reality, they were featured in speculative fiction, where they would often serve as the inspiration for social commentary and critique. George Orwell, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and Margaret Atwood are all masters of speculative fiction who have written stories that are fantastic, but not far-fetched, and, in many cases, have proven to be uncomfortably prescient.

“Great speculative fiction achieves an emotional, uncanny valley in its reader,” said Rockmore. “It feels like it could happen tomorrow, and we might not like the way it looks. It shows you that, without care, things could go badly.”

The inaugural awards will be announced in spring of 2018 in three categories honoring established and first-time authors for literary fiction and playwriting. Topics related to the societal effects of artificial intelligence, big data and other digital technologies are examples of themes that are relevant for consideration. Entries will be judged by panels of writers and scientists to be named in the early part of next year.

Each award comes with a $5,000 honorarium. The winning novelists will receive their awards during a Dartmouth-hosted panel to discuss the genre and their work. The award-winning play will be performed in a table reading at Vermont’s Northern Stage Theatre in collaboration with the Dartmouth College Department of Theatre in the spring of 2018, with additional support from Dartmouth’s Office of the Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities.

“Many of us have read, and continue to read, the greats of the genre, but there also seems to be a huge uptick in people writing speculative fiction today.” said Rockmore. “This award program is meant to recognize artists that inspire us to think deeply and carefully about the future that computational science and ‘the digital’ are creating; the best of this kind of work is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.”

The Neukom Institute for Computational Science is dedicated to supporting and inspiring computational work. The awards program is part of the Neukom Institute’s initiative to explore the ways in which computational ideas impact society.

“Books, plays and the arts generally connect in both obvious and subtle ways to the development of computational tools and ideas,” said Rockmore. “Conversely, computational sciences have played an important and transformative role in the arts, not only through their impact on modes of production of artwork, but also as a formative influence on its themes and motivations.”

All works published from June 1, 2015 are eligible for consideration. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2017.

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Editor’s Notes:

The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards Categories:

The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Speculative Literary Fiction ($5,000 honorarium)

The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Literary Fiction ($5,000 honorarium)

The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting ($5,000 honorarium)

For more information on the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards, please visit the following website: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/neukominstitutelitawards

Scheduling of the inaugural Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards will be announced in early 2018.

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About Dartmouth

Founded in 1769, Dartmouth is a member of the Ivy League and offers the world’s premier liberal arts education, combining its deep commitment to outstanding undergraduate and graduate teaching with distinguished research and scholarship in the arts and sciences and its three leading professional schools: the Geisel School of Medicine, Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business.

About The Neukom Institute

In an age in which all forms of knowledge and experience can find their way to the computer, computation is central to many of the investigations and innovations that range across the humanities, arts, and sciences. The mission of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College is to support this broad view of computational investigation across Dartmouth’s campus, and to catalyze creative thought throughout the Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, and Business, for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty.

Dartmouth has TV and radio studios available for interviews. For more information, visit: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~opa/radio-tv-studios/

Media contact: David Hirsch | david.s.hirsch@dartmouth.edu | 603-646-9130


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