Future Telling: Science + Fiction Conference

Thank you for your interest in the Future Telling Conference. Northern Illinois University has suspended all on-campus events and classes for the duration of the spring semester. Because of this and the continuing uncertainty of ongoing containment measures, we have decided to postpone the conference.

Extraordinary times like these reaffirm our belief that smart, creative people must work together, share ideas, and collaborate to bring about a better future. We hope that all of you are staying safe and staying home for the time being so that we can all work together once the global community sciences its way out of this pandemic.

We are investigating alternative delivery methods for bringing panels and conversations into online formats. Please check back for updates in the coming weeks. We look forward to joining together when the real world doesn't seem like some of our favorite dystopian novels.


Registration available now! Early bird registration: $295 (before June 1); regular registration $395 (after June 1). Discounts are available for graduate students. Please contact Sara Finnigan for more information.

Keynote Speakers

  • Ken Liu - Author

  • Rebecca C. Thompson – Author, Physicist

  • M.T. Anderson - Author

  • David Gunkel – Tech Ethicist

  • Bobby Kasthuri - Neuroscientist

Learn more about our keynote speakers and see all featured speakers.

NIU’s Future Telling Conference

Every great leap forward starts with a burst of creativity. Someone sees the world as it is, dreams of what it could be, and then works to make the dream a reality. This is future telling, something that writers, innovators, and STEM experts do every day to imagine and create a better world.

This fun, fast-paced event will include panel discussions, small-group ask-me-anything sessions, and even STEM-themed stand-up comedy. Our goal is to introduce writers to bleeding-edge concepts, to invigorate STEM experts with mind-bending views of the future, and to celebrate the connections between STEM and storytelling.

Who Should Attend?

  • Aspiring and established writers who want to hone their craft, add more science to their fiction, and network with other professionals
  • STEM experts interested in sharing knowledge, writing or contributing to a book, or serving as a subject matter expert
  • Teachers and librarians looking for creative new ways to engage students and readers in writing and STEM

Why You Should Join Us

STEM experts and writers are highly creative and productive in their own spaces, but they rarely have the opportunity to meet up and engage with each other in meaningful ways. Our goal is to bring these communities together to collaborate, share ideas, and build transformative relationships that will spur innovations in STEM and improve the quality of STEM’s representation in fiction.


Northern Illinois University Libraries and STEM Read are teaming up with the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships to bring together university experts and professionals for this unique conference experience. Collaborating partners include Argonne National LaboratoryFermiLab, the Science Fiction Writers of America, Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships, and the Friends of the NIU Libraries.


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