Katherine Buse

Katherine Buse's picture
323 Voorhies
Office Hours
by appointment only


Katherine Buse is a scholar of science fiction and the culture of science and technology. Currently a PhD Candidate in English and Science and Technology Studies at UC Davis, she is writing a dissertation on how the history of climate modeling and planetary science has interacted with world-building practices in science fiction literature, films, and videogames. Katherine is also a graphic and game designer at the UC Davis ModLab and co-organizer of the Technocultural Futures Research Cluster at the Davis Humanities Institute.

See more at katherinebuse.com

Honors and Awards:

  • Bilinski Scholar, 2019-2020
  • Marshall Scholar, 2011-2013
  • AB Duke Memorial Scholar, 2007-2011
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 2007


“The Working Planetologist: Speculative Worlds and the Practice of Climate Science.” Forthcoming in Practices of Speculation: Modeling, Embodiment, Figuration, eds. Jeanne Cortiel, Christine Hanke, Jan Hutta, and Colin Milburn. Transcript Verlag, 2020.

"Genre, utopia, and ecological crisis: world-multiplication in Le Guin’s fantasy." Green Letters 17.3 (2013): 264-280. 

Selected presentations

  • “The Planet Behind the Forecast: Climate Modeling, World Building, and Science Fiction,” American Comparative Literature Association, Chicago, IL, March 2020
  • “Climate Science, General Circulation Models, and Speculative Planetology,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Denver, CO, April 2020
  • “Of Puzzle Planets and Water Worlds: Speculative Planetology, Science, and Fiction,” Society for Literature, Science and Art, Irvine, CA, November 2019
  • “Speculative Media and Epistemic Change,” 4S, New Orleans, September 2019 (co-authored)
  • “’A Concentration of Subjects’ in Speculative Planetology,” Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, Davis, June 2019
  • “Speculative Worlds and Allegorithmic Climate Science in Educational Video Games,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Seattle, March 2019
  • “‘Natural, but Currently Unobservable’: Modeling the Mind’s Eye in the 1980s,” Society for Literature, Science and Art, Toronto, November 2018
  • “Beyond the Teapot: The Worldly Atmospherics of CGI in the 1980s,” American Studies Association, Atlanta, November 2018
  • “‘Speculative Media, Science, and the Future,” Symposium on Speculative Futures, HATCH, UC Davis, October 2018 (co-author)
  • Panelist, “Science Fiction and Cultures of Science” WorldCon, San José, August 2018
  • “‘We are not trying to model the Earth, but rather a fictional world’: Arrakis, Daisyworld, and other model climates,” Science Fiction Research Association, Marquette University, July 2018
  • “Model, Manual and Meaning: Paratexts in SimEarth and in Climate Science." Society for Literature, Science and Art, Arizona State University, August 2017
  • “Determinism, Deep Time, and Desert Ecology: Re-reading Dune for the Anthropocene." Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, Detroit MI, June 2017.
  • “Is Climate Change a Game? SimEarth, Emergent Systems, and our Playable Planet." Science Fiction Research Association, Riverside, CA, June 2017
  • “History’s Heat Map: 1990’s SF and the Narrative Impossibility of Climate Change." Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, Moscow, ID

Education & Interests:

  1. University of Cambridge - M.Phil in Criticism and Culture, 2013
  2. University of Liverpool - M.A. in Science Fiction Studies with Distinction, 2012
  3. Duke University - B.A. in English with Highest Honors, 2011