Wednesday, Dec. 9
Maceli’s (1031 New Hampshire)
Doors at 7:30, presentations at 8:00


No spoilers. No midi-cholorians. Nerd Nite is calling to you. Just let it in.

Our Program for the Evening:

Expanding the Universe: Kitbashing as Three-Dimensional Fan Fiction by Matt Jacobson

‘You Don’t Know the Power of the Dark Side’: The Mysterious 24% of the Universe We Call Dark Matter by Alex Ford

‘I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing’: Science Fiction vs. Star Wars by Adam Mills



“Expanding the Universe: Kitbashing as Three-Dimensional Fan Fiction”

by Matt Jacobson

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (well, actually in Van Nuys, CA, in 1976), modelmakers from Industrial Light and Magic pushed the envelope of model design and construction to create the groundbreaking mechanical details of the worlds of STAR WARS. Their work set the standard for movie FX for years to come, and their designs became the basis for commercial plastic models, built by generations of STAR WARS fans. Today, some of those fans “bash” their own models into new designs that expand on the ideas presented in the Star Wars Universe. This presentation covers one fan’s creation of “kitbashed” designs, and how “kitbashing” can become a kind of storytelling in its own right.

When he’s not down in the Cavern of Awesomeness (a/k/a the model-building room in the basement), Matt Jacobson works as a professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of Kansas, teaching cinematography and film and media production. For the last sixteen years, he has worked as director Kevin Willmott’s cinematographer, filming projects like CSA: CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, THE ONLY GOOD INDIAN, and JAYHAWKERS. Previous to that, Matt worked in the film industry in Los Angeles, including working as an FX-unit technician on ED WOOD and MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: THE MOVIE. He has three children, and two-and-a-half Corgis.

“‘You Don’t Know the Power of the Dark Side’: The Mysterious 24% of the Universe We Call Dark Matter” by Alex Ford

Alex Ford will discuss how we first discovered something was amiss with our understanding of galaxy dynamics, the differences between modified gravity and dark matter, and finally what the current understanding of dark matter is.

Alex Ford is working on a phd in astrophysics from KU. His primary research focus is plasma production in the magnetosphere around spinning black holes and its implications to astrophysical jets, but he is excited to take a break from the brightest objects in the universe to talk about the darkest.

“‘I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing’: Science Fiction vs. Star Wars”

by Adam Mills


It would seem uncontroversial to say that Star Wars is regarded as a high-water mark in the history of science fiction film and storytelling – and yet, since the initial release of A New Hope back in 1977, there has been significant argument not only over whether Star Wars is in fact science fiction, but also whether or not it “ruined” science fiction to some extent in the public imagination. This presentation hopes to profile the controversy within the fan community upon precisely these questions, and then go further to ask why these questions are so important in the first place. In other words: why does it matter whether or not we think of Star Wars as science fiction? Why does it matter that we call anything science fiction?


Adam Mills is a PhD student in Creative Writing at KU. He is also volunteer coordinator of AboutSF, the educational outreach branch of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. He has previously served as Fiction Editor for Beecher’s Magazine and Managing Editor for the webzine Weird Fiction Review. To this day, Mills credits The Empire Strikes Back for first stoking his affection for wild twist endings. You know, the one where Boba Fett takes his helmet off to reveal that he’s actually Lando Calrissian. Yeah, that one.

Doors open at 7:30 PM. Presentations begin at 8:00. $1 Cover.


May the Force be with You