Life, the Universe, & Everything

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Life, the Universe, & Everything
Life, the Universe, & Everything symposium logo.png
Status Active
Genre Fantasy, horror, science fiction
Venue Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
Location(s) Provo, Utah
Country United States
Inaugurated 1983
Attendance 600-1700
Organized by Utah County Events, LLC

Life, the Universe, & Everything: The Marion K. "Doc" Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy is an academic conference held annually since 1982 in Provo, Utah. It is the longest-running science fiction and fantasy convention in Utah,[1] and one of the largest and longest-running academic science fiction conferences.[2][3] An annual proceedings volume, Deep Thoughts (named after the computer Deep Thought from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), publishes the academic papers and main addresses given at the event. The symposium was named, jokingly, after the Douglas Adams novel Life, the Universe and Everything.[4]


The roots of the Life, the Universe, & Everything (LTUE) and other science fiction efforts at Brigham Young University (BYU) began with a one-day symposium on science fiction held on January 20, 1976.[4] Four years later, Orson Scott Card gave a speech in 1980 at the university about morality in writing, which showed some of the students and faculty that a serious, academic forum for discussion of science fiction writing was a possibility at BYU, but there weren't enough students interested in trying to make things work at that time.[4]

This changed in February 1982 when Ben Bova was invited to speak at a university forum event. The English Department assigned Marion Smith, the professor whose name is now part of the title of the symposium, to take care of Bova while he wasn't speaking. He[5] and a handful of his writing students (including M. Shayne Bell) got together and held a discussion with Bova. This inspired those students to try to create something like that the following year, when they invited Card back to be the first guest of honor.[4] The first official symposium was held in 1983.

From 1982 through 2012, the symposium was held at BYU. In 2013, it was held at Utah Valley University, and in 2014, it moved to the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Provo.

The Leading Edge science fiction and fantasy magazine was started by these same students,[6] all members of a 1980 creative writing class at BYU.


This is a list of guests of honor and notable special guests.

Year Name(s)
1983 Orson Scott Card[4]
1984 James C. Christensen
1985 Elizabeth Boyer, C. J. Cherryh, Frederik Pohl
1986 Orson Scott Card, Alan Dean Foster, Madeleine L'Engle
1987 Orson Scott Card, Stephen R. Donaldson, Julius Schwartz, Jack Williamson
1988 Algis Budrys, Michael R. Collings, Tim Powers, Michael Whelan
1989 Karen Anderson, Poul Anderson, David Brin, Octavia Butler
1990 Hal Clement, Robin McKinley, Mike Resnick
1991 Forrest J. Ackerman, Connie Willis
1992 Jane Yolen
1993 Kevin J. Anderson, Orson Scott Card, Barbara Hambly, Chris Heimerdinger, Rebecca Moesta
1994 Robert L. Forward, Katherine Kurtz, Roger Zelazny[note 1]
1995 Lois McMaster Bujold, Richard Garfield, Patricia McKillip, Néné Thomas
1996 Tracy Hickman, Steve Jackson, Bill Ransom, Kristine Kathryn Rusch,[note 2] Dean Wesley Smith,[note 2] Martha Soukup, K.D. Wentworth, Dave Wolverton, Patricia C. Wrede
1997 Orson Scott Card, Judith Moffett[7]
1998 Dave Wolverton, Elizabeth Moon, Sherwood Smith[8]
1999 Kevin J. Anderson, Marty Brenneis, Michael Liebman, Rebecca Moesta[9][10]
2000 L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Margaret Weis, M.K. Wren
2001 Jeanne Cavelos, Tracy Hickman, Sam Longoria, Harry Turtledove
2002 Marty Brenneis, Larry Niven, Christian Ready
2003 Orson Scott Card, Esther M. Friesner, Patricia C. Wrede[11]
2004 Robert J Defendi, Sam Longoria, Tri-Destiny[12]
2005 Michael R. Collings, David Howard, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Jerry Pournelle
2006 Mike Allred, Kevin J. Anderson, Michael R. Collings, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Rebecca Moesta, Theresa Mather
2007 Julie E. Czerneda, Gloria Skurzynski, Howard Tayler, Stacy Whitman
2008 Orson Scott Card, Gail Carson Levine, Kevin Wasden
2009 Laura Hickman, Tracy Hickman
2010 Marty Brenneis, Nathan Hale, Brandon Sanderson
2011 James Dashner, Steven Keele
2012 Mary Robinette Kowal, James A. Owen, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells
2013 James A. Owen, Megan Whalen Turner[6]
2014 Orson Scott Card, Michael R. Collings, Michaelbrent Collings, David Farland, Brian C. Hailes, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., James A. Owen, Brandon Sanderson, Anne Sowards[3][13]
2015 Steven L. Peck, Eric G. Swedin, Toni Weisskopf
2016 Kevin J. Anderson, Shannon Hale
2017 Beth Meacham, Dan Wells


  1. ^ This was the last major public appearance of Zelazny before he died in 1995.
  2. ^ a b Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith put on the Kris & Dean Show, a writing workshop, as a fundraiser for the symposium on January 5-6. They did not attend the symposium itself.


  1. ^ "Orson Scott Card speaks at writers' conference". Daily Herald. February 16, 2014. Archived from the original on November 12, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ Farland, David (May 3, 2016). "Introduction". In Farland, David. Writers of the Future, Volume 32. Writers of the Future. Galaxy Press. ISBN 978-1-61986-502-0. has grown to be the largest of its kind in the world. 
  3. ^ a b Pace, David (February 10, 2014). "Fantasy & science fiction flying into Provo". The Universe. Archived from the original on February 11, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Allred, Lee (1997). "Nobody Here Still but Us Orcs...: An Incomplete History of Life, the Universe, & (Mostly) Everything" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ Hyatt, Bethany (April 11, 2005). "English class is out of this world experience". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Schouten, Lucy (February 20, 2013). "Life, the universe and fantasy literature". The Universe. Archived from the original on July 8, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  7. ^ Melander, Nathan (February 26, 1997). "Symposium to discuss religion’s affect on sci-fi". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on July 13, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  8. ^ O'Kelly, Amy (March 11, 1998). "Symposium offers a look into the Sci-Fi universe". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  9. ^ Furst, Amber (March 14, 1999). "'Filk' singer combines love of science fiction, music". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  10. ^ Martin, Erin (March 10, 1999). "BYU launches science fiction symposium". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  11. ^ Ferguson, Bonni (February 12, 2003). "Symposium opens up new worlds". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  12. ^ Stout, Emily (February 17, 2004). "Quick move for science fiction symposium". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  13. ^ Pace, David (February 18, 2014). "Orson Scott Card delivers keynote science fiction address". The Universe. Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2016.