AdaPhoto1000Welcome to the home page of Ada Palmer. I am an historian, an author of science fiction and fantasy, and a composer. I teach in the History Department at the University of Chicago.

Here you will find information about my works and activities, samples of my writing and music, links to publications and blog pieces, my curriculum vitae, my forthcoming schedule of teaching, public presentations and concerts, and other useful information.

The Latest Book

Perhaps The Stars

Perhaps The Stars is the fourth and final novel in the Terra Ignota series.  World Civil War engulfs humanity in a struggle for the shape of the future.  Soldiers walk the world for the first time in centuries, accompanied by living legends, artificial intelligences, and strange gods whose conflict is known only to the innermost circle of world influencers.  Mycroft and 9A bring their dedicated Reader to the conclusion of war and the dawn of the newly-shaped future.

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Strange Horizons column

I am now a regular non-fiction columnist for Strange Horizons, a wonderful magazine that it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with. I’ll have an essay coming out a couple of times a year, and I’m very excited to be working on this. The first is out now:
A Mitfreude of Anime and Manga’s Relationship with Anglophone Science Fiction (Or, This Essay WILL NOT Try to Get You into Anime and Manga!).


Podcast: Ex Urbe Ad Astra, with Jo Walton

I’ve launched my own podcast!  Ex Urbe Ad Astra

Teaming up with my good friend and fellow author & history-lover Jo Walton, we talk with fellow writers, historians, researchers, editors, & other friends about the craft of writing, history, food, gelato, and other topics, with some episodes of just me and Jo having the kinds of intense writing or history discussions we enjoy.

Listen for free on Libsyn, on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, and on YouTube, or support me on Patreon get new episodes early

Sample Episode: Speculative Resistance with Malka Older

The Latest in Academic Speaking

A Conversation with Ada Palmer on the Nature of Intellectual Transformation

A conversation with University of Chicago historian Ada Palmer on the nature of intellectual transformation. Looking across more than 500 years of European history—from Medieval scholasticism to the Enlightenment—we examine the relationship between ideas and historical change. The event is part of Conversations @Graham, our new series featuring big ideas discussions with extraordinary scholars and innovators who teach in the Graham School’s Open Program.

Censorship & Information Control In Information Revolutions

An exhibition and video series at The University of Chicago

Why do people censor? For ambition? Religion? Profit? Power? Fear? This global history of attempts to control or silence information, from antiquity’s earliest written records to our new digital world, examines how censorship has worked, thrived, or failed in different times and places, and shows how real censorship movements tend to be very different from the centralized, methodical, top-down censorship depicted in Orwell’s 1984, which so dominates how we imagine censorship today. From indexes of forbidden books, to manuscripts with passages inked out by Church Inquisitors, to comics and pornography, to self-censorship and the subtle censorship of manipulating translations or teaching biased histories, the banned and challenged materials in this exhibit will challenge you to answer: how do you define what is and isn’t censorship?

Sections of the Project:

  • Eight public Dialogues among the participants, October 5 through November 20, 2018.
  • Videos of the public dialogues, available streaming online.
  • Museum Exhibit “History of Censorship and Information Control from the Inquisition to the Internet” in the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Library, open September 17 through December 14, 2018.
  • A printed catalog of the exhibit, and further publications to come.

Recent Music

KickstarterCoverNewMy second Kickstarter campaign has funded two new CDs.  The first CD “Stories & Stone” is now complete, and contains variant recordings of my Norse Myth music, to accompany the “Sundown Whispers of Ragnarok” Cast Recording. Thanks to a stretch goal, a second CD “Friend in the Dark” is now in progress, the first album with myself and my vocal partner Lauren Schiller performing as the duo “Sassafrass: Trickster & King.” The album is up for digital pre-order, which gives you eight finished tracks now and a complete download as soon as the CD is released. Check out the Kickstarter Campaign.