IC5070 Pelican Nebula astrophotograph taken by Chen Liu

Ad Astra Center for Science Fiction & the Speculative Imagination

Ad Astra Center for Science Fiction & the Speculative Imagination brings writers, readers, educators, and fans of speculative fiction together to learn about and create work that changes the world.

Learn about the Ad Astra Center for Science Fiction & the Speculative Imagination

University of Kansas skyline set against a star field.

Who We Are

Discover who we are and learn more about Ad Astra Center staff.
In this French illustration from 1899 by Jean-Marc Côté, citizens walk in public square and hail aero cabs.

What We Do

Explore what we do and why we are dedicated to speculative fiction
Fictional toroidal (doughnut-shaped) space colony, illustrated by Rick Guidice, one of many artistic renderings that were born out of an art program at NASA's Ames Research Center in the 1970s.

Our Events and Conferences

Learn about upcoming events and conferences.
Silhouetted figure amid a swirl of stars.

The Ad Astra Blog

Check out the latest posts from the Ad Astra blog

Science fiction, fantasy, horror—speculative fiction—have become the most popular forms of storytelling in the world. And why not? Humanity is living in the future now, in a world that is changing incredibly, incomprehensibly, fast. What if? What else? How do we stay human in a universe filled with nonhuman entities, known, potential, and impossible? What is “human,” anyway? How do we move into the future? Speculative fiction is a way to ask and answer these and other questions, through art that informs, entertains, extrapolates, and inspires.

Ad Astra News

How Science Fiction Helped Inspire the Modern Space Movement

Ad Astra SF Director Chris McKitterick is quoted in this wonderful article about the influence of science fiction and the current age of space exploration. “Beyond creating a climate where innovative thinking is acceptable,” said Chris McKitterick, who directs the Ad Astra Center for Science…

Ad Astra Presents Science-into-Fiction: Creativity and the Brain

Join us for our second Science into Fiction talk, Creativity and the Brain. This event features Dr. Barbara Kerr and Christopher Tacca, Ph.D student in Mechanical Engineering, Christopher McLamb, Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology, and Kaylie Lyons Ridgeway, Ph.D. student in Counseling…

Ad Astra Presents Science-into-Fiction: The Higgs Boson In This Particular Universe

We are excited to announce our first event! "The Higgs Boson in This Particular Universe: Facts, Speculation, and the Story of a Little Ripple with a Big Bang" features a talk with KU physicist Dr. Phil Baringer, with a follow-up story development and workshop.

Ad Astra at ConQuesT 53  

In one of our first events, the Ad Astra Center for Science Fiction & the Speculative Imagination participated in this year’s ConQuesT, Kansas City’s longest-running science fiction and fantasy convention. 
Nebula astrophotograph by NASA

“Speculative fiction posits other worlds, other ways of being, and then puts real people there, which lures the reader into that space, where they can look around with wonder, with terror, with hope, with dread — but what matters is that they're imagining a different reality. And doing that imaginative work is what gets us to make new places, and new ways of being, real."

Stephen Graham Jones
Professor of Distinction, University of Colorado Boulder

Image of the Milky Way galaxy

What is Science Fiction and Why Study It?

Science fiction is the literature of the human species encountering change, whether it arrives via scientific discoveries, technological innovations, natural events, or societal shifts.

Defining Science Fiction