University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa English professor John Rieder has been named the 2019 recipient of the Pilgrim Lifetime Achievement Award by the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) of America. He retired from the department in 2018.
The Pilgrim award, created in 1970 by the SFRA to honor lifetime contributions to science fiction and fantasy scholarship, is named after the groundbreaking book Pilgrims Through Space and Time by the first recipient of the award, J.O. Bailey.
Rieder’s recognition by the SFRA is based on a career in science fiction scholarship that includes his 2008 book Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, which was the first scholarly work to thoroughly describe and analyze the pervasive relevance of colonial history, discourses and ideologies to science fiction up to World War II.
In 2012, Rieder received the SFRA’s award for the year’s best essay for his “On Defining SF, or Not: Genre Theory, Science Fiction, and History,” which has subsequently been translated into French, German and Hungarian. His most recent book, Science Fiction and the Mass Cultural Genre System, is described in the editors’ introduction to the just-issued Cambridge History of Science Fiction as a “paradigm-shifting” work.
Rieder taught in the UH Mānoa English department 1980–2018, and received the Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching in 2005. He resides in Honolulu, a short walk from campus, and remains active as a scholar and editor.