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Sci-fi panel members at 2019 Phoenix Fan fusion. / Photo courtesy Andrea Tovar and James Blasingame

ASU English, Library geek-out at Phoenix Fan Fusion


Kristen LaRue-Sandler

In what is likely one of its most eclectic collaborations to date, last weekend several faculty from the Department of English joined ASU Library colleagues in “nerd heaven” at Phoenix Fan Fusion, a comic-con-like event.

Notable features of the fest included the Thursday, May 23 panel, “Let's Talk about Science Fiction!” in which English faculty Peter Goggin and Jim Blasingame and librarians Ashley Gohr and Joe Buenker discussed some of the best and most important sci-fi writers and stories, and “why there are so many books about Mars.”

On Friday, May 24, film faculty member Kevin Sandler joined archivist Kathy Krzys and former librarian Sue Barrett to promote ASU’s “Vintage Nerd Collection Showcase,” which included Star Wars items from the Library’s Nicholas Salerno Collection (the late Salerno was a former Department of English professor and chair).

Later in the day, Sandler also discussed “Pulp Fiction, Counter Culture, and Hebrew Westerns” – an exploration of Hebrew-language stories taking place in an “imaginary Arizona” – with librarian Rachel Leket-Mor.

Film instructor Michelle Martinez joined a Friday panel that also included ASU librarians Matt Ogborn, Mimmo Bonanni, and Ashley Gohr and film buff Timothy Provenzanoon titled, “Histories of Horror.”

In other non-library activities at the fest, English tech staffer Bruce Matsunaga worked with the Kids Need to Read nonprofit exhibit and alum Rosemarie Dombrowski repped literary zines and presses in workshops and panels.


Image: From L to R, Joe Buenker, Peter Goggin, Ashley Gohr, and James Blasingame. Photo courtesy Andrea Tovar/James Blasingame.