“It is traditional,” Kevin Brockmeier said, “to end every science fiction workshop at Iowa with gifts of robots.” It was the end of Spring semester 2012, and he had just finished teaching the first such graduate workshop that Iowa had ever offered. He passed a box of wind-up robots around the class. Mine was Bender from Futurama, holding a beer can and a magic wand, wearing a blond wig and a tutu printed with the words, “Gender Bender.”
It’s now the end of the Fall semester of 2012, and I just finished teaching the first Fiction Writing class for undergraduates devoted specifically to science fiction. Seventeen students read and wrote about genre classics, wrote stories of their own, and workshopped the fiction of their peers. At the end, in accordance with tradition, I got them some robots. Here are the intrepid Science Fictionauts of the University of Iowa, with their steadfast automata companions.