Natalie Matthews-Ramo/Slate

Future Tense Fiction: online discussion of “The Void”

March 4, 2021
10:00 am – 11:00 am Mountain / – Eastern


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Join us on Thursday, March 4 for an online discussion of the short story, “The Void” by Leigh Alexander. This story is the second in a series for Future Tense Fiction presented by Slate and Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, as part of its Learning Futures and Principled Innovation work.

This Future Tense Fiction series aims to explore how learning experiences — of all kinds — will be shaped by technology and other future forces, along with the moral, ethical and social challenges this will entail.

Author Leigh Alexander and Andrea K. Thomer, information scientist and assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Information, will lead the conversation, while Punya Mishra, professor and associate dean of scholarship and innovation at MLFTC, will moderate. To read the short story in advance of the discussion, visit Future Tense after Feb. 27.

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.

“The Void” by Leigh Alexander

Response essay by Andrea Thomer


Punya Mishra

Punya Mishra

Associate Dean of Scholarship and Innovation

Punya Mishra is an educator, researcher, designer, artist, and professional dilettante interested in life, the universe and everything. He is particularly keen on shoehorning Douglas Adams’ book titles into his bio statement. You can find him at @punyamishra and

Leigh Alexander

Leigh Alexander

Leigh Alexander is an award-winning writer working at the intersection of technology, culture and narrative. Whether she is designing stories for video games, creating fiction about digital society, experimenting with narrative systems or creating worlds designed to be explored, she loves authoring the delightful and unexpected moments that can emerge from systems.

Leigh’s futurist fiction projects draw on the ten years she spent as a journalist online and in print, during which she drew fire as a progressive games critic and worked as a tech industry columnist and presenter. Leigh frequently speaks about narrative design, procedural storytelling, online culture and arts in technology.

Andrea K. Thomer

Andrea K. Thomer is an information scientist, and an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. She conducts research in the areas of: data curation, museum informatics (particularly natural history museums), earth science and biodiversity informatics, information organization, and computer supported cooperative work.

Andrea is especially interested in how people use and create data and metadata standards; the impact of information organization on information use; long-term data curation and infrastructure sustainability — on the scale of decades rather than years; improving data curation processes and workflows; and issues of data provenance, reproducibility, and integration.