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Ad Astra News

banner for Kij Johnson's book release event Book release event in LFK!
The Privilege of the Happy Ending:
Small, Medium, and Large Stories,
 by Kij Johnson

At 7:00pm on October 24, 2023, the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas, will host the official book release of Kij Johnson's newest collection of brilliant short fiction.

This is Kij's sixth public book release event and something like her eighth book (more if you count ebook-only books, and even more if you count gaming and other books). Her work has won the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards among others, and been short-listed for many more. Her writing is varied and diverse not only in the spec-fic genres, but also reaches far into the mainstream experimental realm.

She's also one of the Ad Astra Institute directors, and served our forebear spec-fic centers at the University of Kansas for decades.

If you cannot attend either event but want to get a copy of the book, you can order directly from the Raven in trade paper or get the hardcover (of course they’re also available from big booksellers like Amazon)

The weekend following, Kij is also Author Guest of Honor at the World Fantasy Convention in Kansas City, if you can't make this event but are going to be at WFC and want to meet her.


screenshot from Futurama episode, with Bender floating among the stars saying, 'I was God once,' and a disembodied voice saying, 
'Yes, I saw. You were doing well until everyone died.'"Writing in (and about) the Age of Artificial Intelligence"
Ad Astra's newest spec-fic writing workshop
October - December, 2023

We're excited to announce "Writing in (and about) the Age of Artificial Intelligence," third in our "Science into Fiction" series of speculative fiction writing workshops. Enrollment opens late August through October 20 (at the latest - might fill sooner).

Events kick off with a STEM-expert talk followed by a weekend of brainstorming and story development followed by six weeks of AdAstranaut write groups and check-ins as participants write a new piece. The workshop culminates in a weekend of critique sessions where we'll help make your story the best it can be.

For this cycle, we're adding a reading and discussion component to help participants develop a strong understanding of what AI is and how it might affect us in the years to come. Think of this as a combo science, technology, and society (STS) literature course combined with a writing workshop!

All activities are hybrid - we get together both in-person and online - and events take place on evenings and weekends to improve accessibility for those who cannot get away during weekdays or take time off.

Enrollment for the workshop is limited to 10 enrollees, though everyone is invited to participate in the online reading discussions. Registration is now live, though it's filling fast, so apply soon if you're ready for a deep-dive into AI and writing a story by December!

As always, generous supporters enable us to offer scholarships for those in need to attend our workshops and other courses. We are deeply grateful to the donors who help make our educational program available to worthy writers, educators, and scholars who might otherwise be unable to pursue their professional education - thank you!

Ad Astra's Science Fiction Summer 2023
(June 18 - July 14)

We are privileged to announce that for Week Two of the Spec-Fic Workshop, plus both weeks of the advanced Repeat Offenders Workshop, experimental particle physicist and science-fiction expert Phil Baringer joins us as this year's Special Guest Instructor!

Kij Johnson and Barbara Webb's Novel Architects Workshop is now full, but their Repeat Offenders Workshop still has room, and they're taking applications for their upcoming masterclasses.

Enrollment for the Ad Astra Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop is limited to 6-10 participants, though for the "Repeat Offenders" Workshops we can usually make room for more. We can also reserve space for alums wishing to stay with the crew for a Writing Retreat, but let us know the dates you'd like to stay by June 4 so we can reserve you a place to stay (contact McKitterick at after that date to see if there's still space). There's still room for more in all three, so apply soon!

If you'd like to attend McKitterick's Repeat Offenders and don't need housing, we can almost always make room right up until before we get started - KU Housing is the main reason for a deadline to apply for this alums-only workshop.

Ad Astra crew at ConQuesT 54
in Kansas City

The Ad Astra crew will be at this year's ConQuesT science fiction convention in Kansas City to run the Benefit Auction all weekend. You can examine all the SFnal (and other) goodies at the Silent Auction Friday, Saturday, and early on Sunday, then come to the live auction on Sunday afternoon.

Proceeds support participants in Ad Astra programs, and help our mission to "Save the world through science fiction." So come say hi and maybe bid on some cool stuff. We'll be in the Dealer's Room staffing the tables.

Check out the ConQuesT convention website, which lists guests of honor, programming, and more. Many thanks to the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS) for the ongoing support!


Thanks to the SFWA Givers Fund Grant, the Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS), Farbeyond Books, attendees paying full-price tuition, and other generous supporters, we offer scholarships for those in need to attend our workshops and other courses.

The Ad Astra Institute is a registered not-for-profit educational and research organization, and we have applied for 501(c)3 classification, so your donation might also be tax-deductible. If you wish to support our activities by making a charitable donation to help others attend the workshops who might otherwise not be able to, or to otherwise support our educational outreach, contact director McKitterick ( We can accept checks or Zelle, and PayPal.


Stay tuned for regular news about the Ad Astra Institute for Science Fiction & the Speculative Imagination! Better yet, follow us on our blogs and social media and sign up for our mailing list.

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We believe strongly in the free sharing of information, so you'll find a lot of content - including course syllabi and many materials from our classes - on this and related sites and social networks as educational outreach. Feel free to use this content for independent study, or to adapt it for your own educational and nonprofit purposes; just please credit us and link back to this website. We'd also love to hear from you if you used our materials!

This site is associated with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), AboutSF, and other organizations, and its contents are copyright 1992-present Christopher McKitterick except where noted, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License: Feel free to use and adapt for non-profit purposes, with attribution. For publication or profit purposes, please contact McKitterick or other creators as noted.

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Creative Commons License
Works on this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

updated 10/3/2023