Los Angeles

Our Sci-Fi City: A Celebration

Celebrate LA's robust science fiction cred at a two-day event.

While innovations regularly pop up in cities around the world, and visionaries who don't call California home often dream of tomorrow in fresh and fantastical ways, LA is the longtime capital of Sci-Fi-donia.

It would not be incorrect, in other words, to say that those who call Los Angeles home are so skilled at speculative vision-having that the entire city lives about sixteen minutes in the future.

That's compared to everywhere else, just to be clear, and while we realize there's a whole official time zone thing going on, and we're technically existing in the PST, there's another zone that allows LA to prevail beyond the Border of Now.

Just look to our science fiction-rich past, a legacy that is as much a part of our city's creative identity as the invention of noir and the rise of movie-making. It's a legacy that the "Science Fiction Los Angeles: Words and World Building in the City of Angels" conference will ponder, prismatically, on Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29. 

(Pondering something prismatically feels like something a hero of a sci-fi novel must do to untangle multiple plot knots.)

Our city's sci-fi cred is, in short, incredible: Ray Bradbury was a longtime resident of Cheviot Hills, while Pasadena-born Octavia Butler began her resplendent writing career as a student at PCC. Both masters will receive dedicated panels during the conference, so bone up on their amazing stories, again, ahead of time.

A screening of "Her" and before-an-audience chitchats with a bevy of local authors fill out the scholarly and surreal and spectacular worlds that first took root right here, in Southern California.

The host of the two-dayer, which alights at a couple of different locations around town? The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.

Reveling in the future, or a dystopia, or a byte-sized world inside a computer, or a planet populated by robots just ahead of Halloween, and doing so with an eye on sci-fi's LA connections? It isn't as frightful as the ghosts and goblins who rule the holiday, but to say science fiction doesn't play an imaginative part in the most fantasy-driven holiday is as wrong as claiming the universes authors dream up couldn't actually come to pass one day soon.

What's completely right, though? The fact that LA does live in the future, as evidenced by its memorable forays in "Blade Runner" to Steve Erickson's cinema-obsessed "Zeroville" to a host of other works it has inspired over the decades.

So celebrate our sci-fi city on Oct. 28 and 29. Just be sure to arrive for the conference ahead of time, or, more accurately, about sixteen minutes into the future.

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