On Saturday evening we will welcome acclaimed science fiction writer Kameron Hurley to deliver the final keynote speech at ESSFIC. Hurley is the Hugo, Locus, and British Science Fiction Award winning author of The Stars are Legion, The Worldbreaker Saga series, and the Bel Dame Apocrypha series.
Informed by a Master’s in History from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, specializing in the history of South African resistance movements, Hurley’s works are rife with characters both fighting against violent systems and acting in complicity with them. Both her novels and short stories feature women engaged in brutal violence, speaking to the fact that women have always participated fully in their various societies regardless of how they are depicted afterward. These depictions are part of what makes Hurley’s work so engaging; with each character fully immersed in each outlandish scenario, Kameron Hurley is helping to change the stories told about non-male or otherwise non-normative bodies. In her essay “We Have Always Fought,” Hurley writes,
Stories tell us who we are. What we’re capable of. When we go out looking for stories we are, I think, in many ways going in search of ourselves, trying to find understanding of our lives, and the people around us. Stories, and language tell us what’s important.
Not only does Hurley continue to gift the world with her raw and fundamentally true stories, she remains open to her readers through her blog in which she describes her struggles with writing and politics.
At ESFFIC, Hurley will give a talk entitled “We Are Made of Meat: Imagining an Embodied Future,” about which she writes:
Many futurists await the coming singularity – the moment in which humanity as we know it becomes unrecognizable to us – with the fevered excitement of doomsday preppers anticipating the apocalypse. This moment is heralded as a semi-religious, inevitable event grounded in absolute faith. Humanity is expected to circumvent and transcend its bodily limitations to become something… else. And soon! Some transhumanist enthusiasts posit that future humans will only exist as pure consciousness uploaded into the cloud, or swapped among robotic or cybernetic bodies. We have taken for granted this idea of a disembodied future. But what if humanity cannot transcend its organic limitations? What does our future look like if consciousness cannot exist outside of a meaty organism? This talk will explore how future humans may be more like us than we care to admit, framing the human experience as one universally bound to the bodies we inhabit. The future explored here relies not on our physical tools, but in our ability to undertake our own bodily revolution (for better or worse) and the social, moral, political, economic, and cultural consequences that lie ahead.