Visions of the Apocalypse

Maya prophecies and Science Fiction meet at USF in a three-day event by the Humanities Institute.

Special to USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (March 12,  2012)  For the last few years, the blogosphere has buzzed with dire predictions that the end of the world is at hand – either at the hands of God, ancient Maya prophecies, or human beings’ capacity to destroy ourselves or our environment.


The USF Humanities Institute invites you to explore such “Visions of the Apocalypse” in a three-day event  March 19-21, when two renowned science fiction authors will join a USF Mayan expert and professors in Religious Studies and Chemistry to debate our fascination with end-time scenarios.


The event kicks off with a public talk by Christian Wells, associate professor of Anthropology at USF, and a well-known scholar of ancient Maya culture.  At 7 p.m. March 19 in Marshall Student Center  2707, Wells will invoke archaeological evidence in addressing “The Ancient Maya Doomsday prophecy: Some helpful tips for surviving the end of the world.”


On Tuesday March 20th, USF will host two leading apocalyptic science fiction writers: Joe Haldeman and Nancy Kress.


Haldeman, who teaches science fiction writing workshops at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the author of nearly 30 novels and short story collections. His work has won numerous awards and his 1998 novel, ForeverPeace, won the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell Award.


Nancy Kress has authored 26 novels and collections, often focusing on genetic engineering. She has won several Hugo and Nebula Awards and her novel, Probability Space, won the 2003 John. W. Campbell Award.


The authors will treat audiences to a reading at 7 p.m. March 20 in the TECO Room (Education

Building), preceded by a wine and cheese reception and book launch in the rotunda outside the TECO room, starting at 6 p.m. Kress will sign copies of her new book, After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, while Haldeman will present his 2011 book Earthbound.


While in Tampa they will visit several USF classes to discuss their writing techniques, genre-specific ideas, and cultivating creativity. On March 21, Kress and Haldeman will be joined by USF  faculty David Merkler (Chemistry) and Dell de Chant (Religious Studies), for a panel discussion on our cultural obsessions with the apocalypse. That event will be held at 2 p.m. in Marshall Student Center, room 3705.


The series of events is co-sponsored by the USF School of Mass Communications and the Department of English.


Media Contact: Elizabeth Bird; 813-974-0802,