1 / 3
Kolkata, city of joy
2 / 3
3 / 3

Workshops of Horrible Creation:

200 Years of Imagined Humans
International Conference and Workshop on Science Fiction

Organized by the Centre of Advanced Study, Department of English, Jadavpur University, and Kalpabiswa Webzine

22-24 November, 2018

Anita Banerjee Memorial Hall, UG Arts Building, Jadavpur University (ABH)
Audio-Visual Room, Department of English, Jadavpur University (AVR)

The conference will feature:

1. Academic papers

2. Workshops on SF writing

3. Panel discussions by contemporary SF writers

4. Special focus on SF writing in Bengali, Marathi and other Indian languages

5. Felicitation of SF editors and writers

6. Special issue of the Kalpabiswa webzine

7. Open house and road shows on kalpabigyan

8. Pop-up SF book stall

9. Call for Papers

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) opened the floodgates for speculation as to the limits and possibilities of the human, as imagined through the unimaginably powerful new tools of modern science. After Shelley, the artificial or non-natural human steps out of the realm of horror and enters a new realm: the future. From H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr Moreau to Villiers del’Isle Adams’s The Eve of the Future, the nineteenth century threw itself into this new theme with gusto. In the twentieth century, as biotech grew more sophisticated and powerful, so did our imaginings of the people who might result from these moral and material experiments, and what the ethical fallout of these actions might be. Twentieth century imaginings of artificial humans are too numerous to count, but certain themes appear to recur. In both Rossum’s Universal Robots by Karel Capek and in Philip K. Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, the moral perils of creating a sentient race and then enslaving it are explored. Other questions also arise: what would a completely rational being see as morality? How much of our humanity is an accident of nature, and how much of it is a factor of our self-fashioning? The idea of the artificial human is like an empty space in which we can inscribe many of our speculations about these problems, and by so doing they become real to us, or at least as real as stories.

We propose the following broad themes for the conference:

1. Robots: artificial beings and slavery

2. Planned Parenthood in the laboratory: relations with the creator

3. The Galatea effect: love and romance with artificial humans

4. We are one: mind-melding and hive minds

5. Terminator salvation: fears and dreams of machine imperialism

6. Cyborg /goddess: machines and the divine

7. Ghost in the shell: the hard problem of consciousness

8. The Bokanovsky process: ownership, cloning, hacking human

9. Reproduction Golem of mine: artificial humans through history Will

10. You be assimilated? the alien as provisional human

Abstracts and a short bio may be sent by 31 August 2018 to judeseminars@gmail.com


Day 1

10:00-10:30 Registration

10:30-10:45 Welcome addresses

10:45-11:45 Panel 1: Indian SF in English: Samit Basu, Indrapramit Das, Rimi B. Chatterjee

11:45-12:00 Coffee: ABH Foyer

12:00-01:30 Session 1 (ABH)

Sumita Sharma, Shyam Lal College, Delhi : When SF Meets Poetry: Reading Susan Slaviero’s Cyborgia

Sudeshna Datta-Chaudhuri, KIIT, Bhubaneswar : The Mirror Up to Nature: Robot Rights and Wrongs

Sudev Pratim Basu, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan : ‘Into the Void’: Science Fiction and Heavy Metal Music

Session 2 (AVR)

Abhishek Lakkad, CSSTIP, Gandhinagar : Genes on Screen: The genetic imaginary in Indian popular cinema

Abhishek Sarkar, Jadavpur University, Kolkata : Sentimental Humanism vs. Biotechnological ‘Dehumanization’ of Third World Bodies: Select Science Fiction of Muhammad Zafar Iqbal

Krushna Dande, Jadavpur University, Kolkata : Humans in Hard SF: From Biopower to Geopower

01:30-02:30 Lunch

02:30-04:00 Session 3 (AVR)

Jasmine Sharma, IIT Ropar : Gynoids Rebellion: A Techno-Philosophical Analysis of Alex Garland’s Ex Machina

P.B. Sharon, Central University of Tamil Nadu : The Unique, the Normal, and the Grotesque in Katherine Dunn's Geek Love

Mandira Charaborty, Bethune College, Kolkata : Non omnis moriar: politics of isolation and degrees of loneliness in Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let me Go

Session 4 (AVR)

Pratyasha Basu, Jadavpur University, Kolkata : Do humans worship android gods? : Analyzing the android as a divine figure in popular science fiction

Meghamala Ghosh, Hiranya Mukherjee, Sriroopa Dutta, Presidency University, Kolkata : Augmented reality: Experiencing the futuristic sublime: A case study of Frankenstein and Perfect People

04:00-04:30 Tea: ABH Foyer

Launch of three titles

1. FTL, a compilation of world SF in Bengali translation; translated by the Kalpabiswa Collective; published by Joydhaak

2. A collection of essays on Frankenstein, published by Kalpabiswa

3. Chirokaler Hawking : A 360 degree birds Eye view on Stephen Hawking's works and life by renowned scientists and popular science writers; published by Joydhak

04:30-05:30 Panel 2: Bengali SF past and present :

Debojyoti Bhattacharya, Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay, Anindya Sengupta; in conversation with Sumit Bardhan, Tridibendra Narayan Chatterjee, Soham Guha : moderated by Riju Ganguly

22 November, 2018

Day 2

10:30-11:15 Keynote speech: Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, University of Oslo; Centre for Advanced Study, Oslo

Frankenstein’s descendants, two centuries later

11:15-11:30 Coffee: ABH Foyer

11:30-12:30 Panel 3: Indian SF in English: Sami Ahmad Khan, Salik Shah, Sukanya Datta

12:30-01:15 Lunch: ABH Foyer

01:15-2:00 Meet the Authors: Samit Basu and Indrapramit Das (ABH) Sami Ahmad Khan and Salik Shah (AVR)

02:00-03:30 Session 5 (ABH)

Asijit Datta, Heritage College, Kolkata : (Dis)Abling Body and Consciousness: Technological Afterness and After-Humans in Realive and Upgrade

Sulagna Chattopadhyay, Jadavpur University, Kolkata : Medical Posthumanism, Bioethics, and Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis Trilogy

Soumava Maiti, Delhi University, New Delhi : Disability and Alternative Human Imagination in Samuel R. Delany’s The Einstein Intersection

Session 6 (AVR)

Shaona Barik, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan : British Fantasy about Constructing Clockwork Coolie in Colonial India

Diganta Bhattacharya, Presidency University, Kolkata : The Individual vis-à-vis the Collective: Mind Is Where the Frontier Is

Balagopal Menon, Jadavpur University, Kolkata : Of Gods, Monsters, and Other Casualties: On the Origin Stories of Indian Superheroes

03:30-03:45 Tea: ABH Foyer

03:45-04:30 Afrah Shafiq Sultana’s Reality: a digital-art project

04:30-05:15 SF in comics Gautam Karmakar, Ujjwal Dhar, Pinaki De, Rimi B. Chatterjee. Moderated by Debkumar Mitra

23 November, 2018

Day 3

10:15-11:00 Kalpabiswa and webzines: Dip Ghosh, Santu Bag, and Sandipan Ganguly

11:00-11:15 Coffee: ABH Foyer

11:15-12:45 Session 7 (ABH)

Swagata Sinha Roy, Salesian College, Siliguri: Postenvironmental Ethics in Frankenstein

Soham Guha and Dip Ghosh, Kalpabiswa: Shelley And Lovecraft: The Interpretation of Their Tales of Reanimation in The Lights of Modern Scientific Age

Session 8 (AVR)

Ruchira Mandal, Jadavpur University, Kolkata: The Distorted Human Body in Mervyn Peake’s Boy in Darkness and Titus Alone

Siddharth Sinha, Independent scholar : Do Transgenics Dream of Electric Elephants: A Trans-Human Study of Richard Starking's Elephantmen

Srijan Uzir and Madhurima Mazumder, Jadavpur University, Kolkata : Posthuman Birth and the Shame of the Modern Prometheus

12:45-01:45 Lunch

01:45-2:45 Session 9 (ABH)

Rajarshi Roy, Jadavpur University, Kolkata: The still point of the turning world: Anxieties of the ‘timeless’, and postponed teleology in Bangla science fiction works of Satyajit Ray and Taradas Bandopadhyay

Arunava Banerjee, Jadavpur University, Kolkata: These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings : Visions of a limiting human consciousness

Session 10 (AVR)

Archita Mitra and Madhubrata Bhattacharya, Jadavpur University, Kolkata : Patriarchy and His (Un)natural Creations: A Study of Monstrosity And Masculinity in Jessica Jones

02:45-3:15 Remembering Siddhartha Ghosh: Prasadranjan Ray and Debojyoti Guha

03:15-03:30 Tea: ABH Foyer

03:30-4:00 Remembering Premendra Mitra: Enakshi Chattopadhyay

04:00-5:00 Remembering Bismoy, the SF magazine: Ranen Ghosh, Amitananda Das, Enakshi Chattopadhyay, Rajkumar Raychowdhury (Felicitation of authors by Kalpabiswa)

** Parallel events (details to be announced later):

1. SF writing workshop

2. SF comics workshop

3. Digital-Art installation

4. SF and science quiz for high school students

5. Cosplay

6. Exhibitions

24 November, 2018

Registration form:

Click here to go to registration page
*Registration is not mandatory for general audience but encouraged.

Meet the speakers and the panelists:

Samit Basu is an Indian novelist best known for his fantasy and science fiction work. His first novel, The Simoqin Prophecies, published by Penguin India in 2003, when Samit was 23, was the first book in the bestselling Gameworld Trilogy and marked the beginning of Indian English fantasy writing. The other books in the trilogy are The Manticore’s Secret and The Unwaba Revelations. Samit’s global breakthrough happened with the superhero novels Turbulence and Resistance. Turbulence was published in the UK in 2012 and in the US in 2013 to rave reviews. It won Wired’s Goldenbot Award as one of the books of 2012 and was superheronovels.com’s Book of the Year for 2013. Its sequel, Resistance, was published in the UK/US in 2014 and was just as well received. Samit also writes for younger readers: other works include the ongoing Morningstar Agency and Adventures of Stoob series. Samit’s work in comics ranges from historical romance to zombie comedy, and includes diverse collaborators, from X-Men/Felix Castor writer Mike Carey to Terry Gilliam and Duran Duran. His latest GN, Local Monsters, was published in 2013. He’s currently working on a number of book, TV, film, comics and new media projects. Samit was born in Calcutta, educated in Calcutta and London, and currently divides his time between Delhi and Mumbai. He can be found on Twitter, @samitbasu, and at samitbasu.com.

Indrapramit Das (aka Indra Das) is a writer and editor from Kolkata, India. His fiction has appeared in several publications including Clarkesworld Magazine, Asimov’s, Lightspeed Magazine, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com, and has also been widely anthologized. He is a Shirley Jackson Award nominee, an Octavia E. Butler scholar, and a grateful graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. He completed his M.F.A. at the University of British Columbia (class of ’11) in Vancouver, where he wore many hats, including dog hotel night shift attendant, TV background performer, minor film critic, occasional illustrator, environmental news writer, pretend-patient for med school students, and video game tester. He never wore any actual hats, except a toque during winter. He has lived in India (where he has worked as consulting editor for publisher Juggernaut Books), the United States, and Canada. Indra has written about books, comics, TV and film for publications including Slant Magazine, Scroll.in, The Hindu Business Line, Vogue India, Elle India, Strange Horizons and Vancouver Weekly. Indra’s debut novel The Devourers was the winner of the 2017 Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBQT SF/F/Horror. The novel was also placed on the 2017 Honor List for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and shortlisted for the Crawford Award, the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize, and the Tata Live! Literature First Book Award. The Devourers was published in South Asia and North America by Penguin India and Del Rey (Penguin Random House), respectively. For more information about The Devourers and other fiction by Indra, visit indradas.com/writing/. He is represented by Sally Harding of the Cooke McDermid literary agency. He may also be found @IndrapramitDas on Twitter.

Debjyoti Bhattacharyya spent his childhood in Naihati of North 24 Paraganas. He had been a member of the Indian Revenue Service. He is also known as the originator and editor of the first magazine for children, the Joydhak, and the library portal for Bengali literature called Padakkhep. He has been awarded ‘Kolom Samman’ for his travel writings. He has 13 books in his name and three papers on Narmada cave paintings. He loves to write articles and stories for both young and adults.

Born in the Kolkata, Tridibendra N. Chatterjee did his doctorate in astrophysics at the Institute of Radio Physics in 1996. In that same year, he was also given URSI Young Scientist Award and now is teaching young minds in Dinabandhu Andrews College. His first story came in Saradiya 2016 Tatthakendra and then praised for his story in Desh, 2017. Being an indolent introvert and an omnivorous avid reader, he spends his leisure in creating stories for both online and print format magazines.

Being a civilized servant of an IT firm, Sumit Bardhan likes have dogs set loose on him by the editors who are terrified with the ‘Bardhan’ knocks on their glass doors. Loves to read novels, especially science fiction novels on that. He thinks of the stories created by those who became masters of SF and writes some to call his own. Being a lover of gramophones, he now likes to irritate those around him with Beethoven on Bluetooth.

Soham Guha just finished his masters in Serampore College, University of Calcutta. He is an avid reader of speculative fiction and thinks of creating worlds of words. His stories and novel had appeared in magazines like Unish-Kuri, Kalpabiswa, Desh and Kishor Varati. He also tries to give his opinions in the Critter's Workshop like a cricket in a midsummer century.

Riju Ganguly:
Reader. Loves Science Fiction, Mystery, and Action Thrillers. Tries to fuse all three whenever opportunity beckons. Lives surrounded by books and real or perceived ghosts.

Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay:
One of the most popular Bengali authors of this Century. Writes novels and short stories within as well as beyond genre fiction. His "KALYATRI" (কালযাত্রী) is the finest exploration of the theme of time travel in Bengali so far.

Sami Ahmad Khan studied literature at Delhi University, completed his master’s in English at JNU, and then went to the University of Iowa on a Fulbright grant. Sami has taught at IIT Delhi, JNU and JGU, and has offered one of the first dedicated MA-level courses on 21st century English-language Indian Science Fiction (SF). Sami holds a PhD in SF, and is fascinated by creative writing, literature, and communication. He has dozens of radio and TV programmes – and creative and critical (research) publications – to his credit. Sami’s debut thriller Red Jihad (Rupa, 2012) won NBT’s “National Debut Youth Fiction Award” and was runners-up to “Muse India Young Writer Award”. His second novel – Aliens in Delhi (Niyogi/Juggernaut 2017) – fictionalises an alien invasion of India’s capital, and has garnered rave reviews. Sami currently discusses life, language and literature at GGS Indraprastha University, Delhi. You can connect with Sami on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KhanSamiAhmad.

Salik Shah is an Indian science fiction writer and filmmaker from New Delhi. His work has been nominated for Elgin, Toto and Kumaon Literary Festival’s Fellows of Nature awards. One of his short stories appears in a course syllabus at SOAS University of London. He is the founding editor of Mithila Review, Asia’s leading science fiction and fantasy journal, and a founding member of Plurality University (Paris). His poetry, fiction and nonfiction has appeared in leading publications around the world, including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Open Democracy, Juggernaut, La.Lit, Vayavya and Himal Southasian. Shah is a Future of India Fellow and The Seasteading Institute Ambassador to India. He is currently working to set up a research institute for science fiction and futures studies in New Delhi. His writings explore alternate futures, fluid identities and open movement across shifting geographies and borders. He is deeply interested in a range of issues including sustainable development, transparency, blockchain, universal basic assets and healthcare, privacy and freedom. He is the editor of a forthcoming anthology of speculative stories, “India 2049: Utopias & Dystopias,” which explores urgent and critical issues that humanity is facing already: climate change, unemployment, hunger, water conflicts, data breach, hypernationalism and intolerance, erosion of privacy and freedom, etc. Shah has a degree from Film and Television Institute of India, and has written a feature film, and produced videos and documentaries for channels like National Geographic. You can find him @salik on Twitter and on his website: http://salikshah.com.

Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay is Senior Researcher at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, and, in 2018–19, Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. He is the book series editor of Studies in Global Genre Fiction (Routledge), editor-in-chief of Fafnir: Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (FINFAR, Finland) and editor for Journal of Science Fiction (MOSF, Washington, D.C.). His most recent publications include the co-edited Indian Genre Fiction: Pasts and Future Histories (2018) and All Borders are Temporary (2018), an edited anthology of global SF. He primarily works on science fiction, and has written and published widely in this area.

Sukanya Datta:
Indian zoologist, with a doctorate from the University of Calcutta, and author of both popular science books and sf short stories, the latter first assembled as Once Upon a Blue Moon: Science Fiction Stories (coll 2006). Her work, some of which could be described as Hard SF, focuses on the challenge of new Technologies in the complex world of Near Future India, which is seen as a land of humane enterprise. Some of the tales are fantasy. Further collections in similar vein are Beyond the Blue: A Collection of Sci-Fi Stories (coll 2008), Worlds Apart: Science Fiction Stories (coll 2012) and Other Skies (coll 2017).

Debkumar Mitra: Current position: Editor Next Step Magazine and Visiting Faculty National Institute of Design Experience: Formerly CEO – Education & Knowledge Services, Gray Matters Consulting 2010-2018 Deb has Director — Research and Development at Derek O’Brien & Associates; Led the team that created the content for Penguin Yearbooks 2005-2009, The Penguin CNBC-TV18 Business Yearbook 2006-2007 and 2008-2009. Previously worked with The Statesman and The Telegraph in the Editorial department as a feature writer on science, sports, cinema and more. He is a consultant editor with Penguin India, reference section. Education: Graduation in Mathematics from Jadavpur University. Post Graduation in Applied Mathematics with specialization in Mathematical Biology from Jadavpur University, research on Mathematical Modeling of Estuarine Ecosystems under special assistance programme UGC, JU International Fellowship: Gordon M. Fisher Fellow at the University of Toronto, Canada Publications: Among others published Mindstretch a book on mathematical puzzles and miscellany, The Mad, Mad world of Elections with Sudhir Dar, ‘Penguin India Fact File’, ‘Business Traveler’s Guide To The World’, ‘States of India’ with Penguin India. Led the research team that created The Penguin India Yearbook 2004-2009 and Penguin-CNBC Business Yearbook 2005-2009 Invented a mathematical tool — Knowledge Quotient — to measure an individual’s information base vis-à-vis information base of her immediate environment; Designed soft skill programme for children — KQ School Advantage. Authored a recreational mathematics column Brainstorming (that appeared uninterrupted for 14 years in The Telegraph); He edits and designs the children’s magazine The Next Step Edited: Longform I: An Anthology of Graphic Narrative published by HarperCollins India in 2018 Shows, Concepts and Content: He led the team to that created content and concepts for Bournvita Quiz Contest, Brand Equity Quiz, Jeeto Chappar Phad Ke, Jigyasa, Sawal Dus Karor Ka, Challenge, Kodeeswaran, Kam Ya Zyada, Bharat Ke 8 and many other TV game shows. In 2011, he led the team as Head Content that created the 50-episode Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in Bengali and in 2018 did the same show in the same language for 35 episodes Visiting programmes: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and Harvard University under US Visitors’ Program; Helsinki University Arctic Research Unit

Arghya Manna is a journalist and a comics artist. He had been researching at Bose Institute, India on Cancer Biology. Arghya participated in several projects related to cancer cell migration, metastasis, and cancer stem cell. He had published several papers in journals with high repute. But he found more interest in storytelling and comics making over handing pipette at lab. Currently, he is working as science-feature writer at Anandabazar Patrika-school edition and in The Telegraph, India. In parallel Arghya loves to tell stories of history of science through artworks and comics in his blog 'Drawing History of Science'.

Afrah Shafiq (b. 1989) lives and works in the world of Documentary Film, Visual Art and the Internet sometimes as Artist, Filmmaker, Researcher, Editor, and Writer; and at other times as Manager, Producer and Facilitator. Her work as artist has been shown at I am Sutradhar - a group show curated by Archana Handle at The Guild Art Gallery, Alibaug; Digital Graffiti Festival at Alys Beach, Florida; as part of Mumbai Gallery Weekend at What About Art? Mumbai; Be. Fantastic a Tech-Arts festival in Bangalore; Spams: The Internet Restaurant by IRL Studio (an incubator of emerging digital media arts) at The Museum of Human Achievement in Texas, The Fusebox Festival and Marfa Open – festivals of digital art in Texas; Homeostasis Lab at the Wrong Biennale and Gender Bender a group-show hosted by Sandbox Collective and the Goethe Institut Bangalore. Her web project Sultana’s Reality won an award for mobile applications in art at the Computer Space festival, Bulgaria. Her web-comic Searching for Network commissioned by Deep-Dives – Sexing the Interweb won the South Asian Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity 2017 in the “Best web series" /"Special edition” category. She has been a fellow with the Archival and Museum fellowship program by the India Foundation for the Arts and a curatorial fellow with the Katha Centre for Film Studies. In the past she has worked as the Creative Associate on Agents of Ishq - Paromita Vohra’s web project on sex, love and desire; the Manager for the 6th edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival, Producer on The Convening, a collateral event of the Kochi Muzirus Biennale 2016 by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna; Assistant on Tejal Shah’s multichannel video work Between the Waves that was exhibited at Documenta 13 in Kassel and as Line-producer, Researcher and Fixer on various international documentary projects set in India for The BBC, Youtube LA, Boiler Room Berlin, MTV Finland, Arte France, Sweden National TV and Arts Council England. She is currently working on a commission as part of the New North and South, for a multimedia installation with archival collections to be shown at the upcoming Kochi Biennale.

Sultana’s Reality by Afrah Shafiq:

Click here to download the flyer

Abstracts of the accepted papers:

Click here to download the abstracts

Jadavpur university Main Campus

How to reach Jadavpur University campus

Please feel free to contact us if you need any further information: