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Creative Writing & Genre Fiction

This guide offers resources for creative writers and information about the Library's genre fiction collections.

SF & F Writers & Artists Organizations, A-Z

ASFA: The Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists

ASFA is a non-prfit, education association "organized for artistic, literary, educational and charitable purposes concerning the visual arts of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology and related topics. We are dedicated to providing a communications link among our members, as well as providing helpful information and technical assistance.   Part of ASFA's purpose is to stimulate the public's interest in these areas of art. We're also here to encourage and develop amateur artistic talent, educate the public, publishers, patrons of the arts and anyone interested in works of these particularly types of art and craftsmanship in the rights, needs and problems of the people involved in the creation of this material."  Its membership is made up of amateur and professional artists, art directors, art show managers, publishers, and collectors.

Broad Universe

"Broad Universe is an international organization of women and men dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror."  They have an online catalog, present events at conventions, etc.

The Heinlein Society

"The Heinlein Society exists to preserve the legacy renowned writer Robert Anson Heinlein lef us in novels, essays, speeches, and short stories . . . "  Their motto is to "Pay It Forward".

Horror Writers of Association [HWA]

Founded in the 1980's, the HWA "is a worldwide organization of writers and publishing professionals dedicated to promoting the interests of writers of Horror and Dark Fantasy. . . . One of HWA's missions is to encourage public interest in and foster an appreciation of good Horror and Dark Fantasy literature."  The site provides links to members webpages, and has a reading list, writing tips, and 'horror links.'

Mythic Imagination Institute

The Mythic Imagination Institute "creates experiences of the mystery and metaphor in myth and story through art, hands-on activity and cross-disciplinary conversation . . . [conducts] conference and performance festivals . . . endeavor to bring together artists, scientists, business people, psychologists, scholars, performers, educators, philosophers, writers, astronauts, farmers and anyone else who'd like to be a part of it through the common medium of story . . . "

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America [SFWA or SFFWA]

Founded in 1965, the SFWA is an organization of more than 1200 SF and fantasy writers, artists, editors, and related professionals.  There is information about writing as a craft and as a business, plus links to members webpages, and other related resources.  SFWA annually presents the Nebula Awards for best SF or fantasy short story, novelette, novella, and novel.

Science Fiction Poetry Association

'The Science Fiction Poetry Association was founded in 1978 to bring together poets and readers interested in science fiction poetry. What is sf poetry? You know what they say about definitions—everybody has one. To be sure, it is poetry (we'll leave that definition to you), but it's poetry with some element of speculation—usually science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Some folks include surrealism, some straight science."


"Canada's National Association of Speculative Fiction Professionals."  "To qualify for SF Canada membership, an author must have published for payment at least two short stories or three poems in commercial markets, or received a royalty advance for a novel.  An editor must have contracted for payment at least one book manuscript or three issues of a magazine.Other Canadians with a substantial professional interest in SF (specialized publishers, academics, librarians) will be considered for membership on a case by case basis."Speculative fiction" is understood by members to include science fiction, fantasy, horror and any other other weird fiction that invokes a sense of wonder."


Fan-run SF & F Conventions

 Major Conventions: 

LocusOnline Conventions

The ever useful Locus: The Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field provides listings of upcoming SF & F conventions" including announcements of conferences, contests, etc."  Includes archives of convention listings back to 2002.

World Fantasy Convention

"The World Fantasy Convention is an annual gathering (almost a reunion) of professionals, collectors, and others interested in the field of Light and Dark Fantasy art and literature. The number of Attending memberships are limited (to 850), and usually sell out in advance of the start of the convention. "  The convention has presented the World Fantasy Award since 1975.

World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon)

The 'WorldCon' or World Science Fiction Convention, has been run by science fiction fans annually since 1939 (excluding 1942-1945) in various cities around the world.  This site acts as a gateway to the websites for the individual conventions.  The individual WorldCons present the Hugo Awards for Science Fiction Achievement.  The WorldCon will be held in San Antonio, TX in 2013 (LoneStarCon III), and in London in 2014 (LonCon 3).  For a complete listing of all past WorldCons, please see The Long List.


The NASFIC: North American Science Fiction Convention is held somewhere in North America in those years that the WorldCon is held in a location outside of North America. 


Readercon is an annual conference or convention devoted to "imaginative literature" — literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called "slipstream."  A typical Readercon features over 150 writers, editors, publishers, and critics, attracting prominent figures from across the U.S., and from Canada, the U.K., and occasionally even Australia and Japan. They are joined by some 500 of their most passionate and articulate readers for a long weekend of intense conversation.

WisCon (Wisconsin Science Fiction Convention)

WisCon is the major feminist SF convention, first held in 1977, and now held annually over the Memorial Day weekend.


West Coast and Local Conventions:

FOGcon: Friends Of Genre Con

What Is FOGcon?:  Friends of the Genre (FOGcon) is a literary-themed San Francisco Bay Area SF/F con in the tradition of Wiscon. Each year we focus on a new theme in speculative fiction and invite Honored Guests ranging from writers to scientists to artists. We build community, exchange ideas, and share our love for the literature of imagination.  FOGcon is a project done jointly by Friends of Genre and the Speculative Literature Foundation. 

What is Genre Fiction?  The definition is “genre” in fiction is as loose and baggy as the form of the novel. It can refer to setting (Western), intended audience (children’s or young adult fiction), subject (murder mystery), writing style (literary fiction), time period (historical fiction), or emotion evoked (horror, romance). Every genre has its own rules, traditions, ideas, and stock characters that the reader will expect to find. The reader enjoys the author’s skill in combining the familiar elements of the form with fresh ideas, unexpected twists, unusual insights, and evocative language.  All these and many more genres of modern prose fiction fall into two basic categories:  Realistic fiction, which places (usually) imaginary characters in recognizably true-to-life settings.  Speculative fiction, which places its characters in settings that are in some way counterfactual, and that difference from what we usually call “real life” is the driving engine of the plot. Perhaps all but one of a world’s unicorns have disappeared. Perhaps there’s a planet where human beings are almost all hermaphrodites. Perhaps the Roman empire is still going strong in the fifteenth century. What happens then?  Speculative fiction, what we are calling the Literature of the Imagination, answers that question, and in exploring small differences illuminates our common humanity.


Loscon is an annual (since 1975) Los Angeles area regional SF&F convention, now occuring over Thanksgiving weekend.


The SF fan-run West Coast SF Convention, or WesterCon, has been held annually since 1948.