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Monthly Archives: November 2007

These Irish eyes aren’t smilin’ given the recent news from our SFRA compatriots that deserves mention on our IAFA blog (economically prudent and understandable, but disappointing nonetheless):

The SFRA Executive Committee has decided that, due to the uncertainties caused by recent currency fluctuations, the only financially prudent course is not to hold our 2008 annual meeting in Dublin, Ireland. We sincerely regret any problems this announcement will cause our members, wherever they reside. It was not a decision the Committee reached lightly, and it is a decision that has caused all of us bitter disappointment. But whether or not we could reach sufficient prepaid registrations by preset cancellation deadlines, which given the rapid decline of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies seemed a major uncertainty, the amount of money SFRA would have to upfront for registration subsidies to attract a minimal attendance seemed almost to guarantee a significant deficit, one that could grow substantially under certain conditions. The SFRA Executive Committee agreed that we should not commit to this level of expenditure at this time.

We would like to thank the Dublin Conference Group for all the hard work they have put in over the past several years on this project. We stress that it is not the fault of any of them that these plans have not worked out, but rather the declining value of the U.S. dollar that is the major culprit here. And we stress that SFRA will continue to do all it can in the future to serve ALL of its membership, wherever they reside.

The SFRA Executive Committee will work to find a site in the United States for SFRA’s 2008 Conference that is affordable and will make for a quality academic gathering. We hope to announce this new venue in the next couple of weeks. In addition, SFRA will do what it can to offer graduate students willing to present a paper at that conference, particularly non-North American students who were looking forward to the Dublin locale, travel grants to lessen the cost of attending the U.S. venue.

We hope that out of this disappointment will somehow come a shared determination to make SFRA a more vital and more dynamic group of science fiction scholars.

Adam Frisch
SFRA President

Note: for those of you intent on going to Ireland this summer, there is a viable alternative that deserves a plug:

9th International Conference of the Utopian Studies Society
University of Limerick, Ireland, July 3-5, 2008.

The 9th. International conference will be hosted by the Ralahine Centre at the University of Limerick. A Call for Papers will be posted as soon as it is available.

Special themes identified by the Steering Group so far will be Architecture, Music, and Irish Utopias, but proposals on a wide range of Utopian topics will be welcome.

Venue: The Ralahine Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland
The nearest airport is Shannon.
For information, click here.

Update: Queering the Fantastic
Edited by Robin Anne Reid and Jes Battis

New deadline for essays on specified topics (listed below)

We have received a number of excellent proposals for this volume but would now like to solicit proposals for essays to fill gaps in the collection.

We need essays on children’s/ya fantasy, fanfiction, graphic novels, horror, and cinema, as well as theoretical pieces on the fantastic itself as a queer medium.

We are seeking scholarly essays (20 pgs max) that explore the links between the fantastic and queer studies.

Email abstracts (1000 word max plus Working Bibliography) to:

Professor Robin Anne Reid ( AND Professor Jes Battis ( Please include a recent CV and short bio.

Deadline for abstracts is December 15, 2007.

Contributors will be notified within a week.

This volume will address all the fantastic in all media, focusing particularly on queer uses, adaptations, and reformulations. Since its definition as “a hesitation between genres” by Tzvetan Todorov in the 1970s, the fantastic has often been compared to Freud’s ‘uncanny,’ or to the marvelous realms of the picaresque, the fairy-tale, and the medieval romance. But the fantastic is not precisely any of these things, and, with this volume, we are interested in linking it to the ambivalent and charged position of ‘queer’ as a sexuality, a mode of life, a genre of literature, and even a type of impossibility.

Robin Anne Reid is currently professor of creative writing and critical theory at Texas A&M University-Commerce. She has authored two books for Greenwood’s Critical Companions Series (on Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury), and is currently editing an encyclopedia on women in science fiction and fantasy, also for Greenwood. She has published essays on feminist science fiction, queer approaches to fan studies, and Peter Jackson’s film of Tolkien’s novel. Her poetry has been published in a variety of small magazines and online.

Jes Battis is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the City University of New York in Manhattan, and teaches as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at CUNY-Hunter College. He has authored two scholarly books on fantasy and media: Investigating Farscape: Uncharted Territories of Sex and Science Fiction, (Palgrave, 2007) and >am>Blood Relations: Chosen Families in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (McFarland, 2005). He also has a fantasy novel, Night Child, forthcoming from Penguin USA/Ace in spring of 2008.

The 29th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts
Delightful Horror and the Sense of Wonder: Appreciating the Sublime in the Fantastic

[Feel free to distribute this general Call for Papers. The more it’s passed around the merrier! Also, although the original deadline of Oct. 31 has passed, the recent news of SFRA’s change of venue ((see below)) for SFRA 2008 has prompted the IAFA to revise its deadline for paper proposals for ICFA-29. The new deadline is December 15th.]

The 29th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts will be held March 19-23, 2008, at the Orlando Airport Marriott in Orlando, Florida. The conference begins at 3 pm on Wednesday and ends at 1 am on Sunday upon the conclusion of the conference banquet. The focus of ICFA-29 is on the relationship between the sense of wonder embodied by the sublime and the fantastic in literature, film, and other media. The sheer magnitude of the universe gives rise to the amazing, the astonishing, the astounding, the thrilling, and the wondrous. Edmund Burke argued it is “infinity [that] has a tendency to fill the mind with that sort of delightful horror which is the most genuine effect and truest test of the sublime.” It then should come as no surprise that the sublime has been a mainstay in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other related fantastic modes. Papers are invited that explore this topic. In addition, we especially look forward to papers on the work of our guests:

Guest of Honor: Vernor Vinge, author of “The Technological Singularity” and Hugo Award-winning A Fire Upon the Deep.

Guest of Honor: Greer Ilene Gilman, author of the Crawford Award-winning Moonwise.

Guest Scholar: Roger Luckhurst, author of The Trauma Paradigm (Routledge) and Science Fiction (Polity Press).

As always, we also welcome proposals for individual papers and for academic sessions and panels on any aspect of the fantastic in any media.The new deadline is December 15th.

We encourage work from institutionally-affiliated scholars, independent scholars, international scholars who work in languages other than English, graduate students, and undergraduate students.

The Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for an Essay Not in English is open to all members of the IAFA. The IAFA Graduate Student Award is open to all graduate students presenting papers at the year’s conference. Details are available via Robin Reid, Second Vice-President ( Finally, the Dell Magazines Undergraduate Science Fiction Award will also be handed out at this year’s conference.

Please See Page Two (Over) for Submission Guidelines
Look for Information and Updates at the IAFA website:

Submission Guidelines

In order to be considered for the 2008 program, your proposal to (1) read a paper, (2) recruit and chair a paper session, or (3) organize and chair a panel discussion should be date-stamped no later than December 15th.; electronic correspondence is welcome. Proposals must be sent to the appropriate Division Head (addresses below). Advise the Division Head if you would like to volunteer to chair a paper session. Proposals must include a 500-word abstract and appropriate bibliography indicating the project’s scholarly or theoretical context. Presenters must be members of IAFA at the time of the conference. Be sure to indicate all audio-visual equipment needs in this initial proposal; later A/V requests cannot be guaranteed.


All aspects of the fantastic in work aimed at children and young adults. Division Head: Joe Sutliff Sanders, California State University, Dept. of English, 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, CA, 92407-2397 (DR.JOESS@GMAIL.COM).

All aspects of the fantastic in British, American and Commonwealth literature. Division Head: Charles W. Nelson, Humanities Dept., Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931 (CWNELSON@MTU.EDU).

All aspects of the fantastic in television, video, and film. Division Head: Susan A. George, Gender & Women’s Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 3326 Dwinelle Hall, Berkeley CA 94720-1070 (SAGEORGE13@SBCGLOBAL.NET).

All aspects of the fantastic in fan cultures and communities, including fan fiction, comics/graphic novels, filking, conventions, hypertexts, viral marketing, RPG. Division Head: Barbara Lucas, VIS, 31225 Bainbridge Rd, Suite M, Solon OH 44139 (BARBEDWRITING@YAHOO.COM).

All aspects of the fantastic in live drama, music, dance, sculpture, body art, and photography and digital imagery. Division Head: Stefan Hall, Bowling Green State University, Dept. of Theatre and Film, 338 South Hall, Bowling Green, OH, 43403-0180 (STEFANH@BGNET.BGSU.EDU)

All aspects of horror in mainstream and popular literature, including literary traditions, aesthetics, psychological constructs, and comparative influences. Division Head: Stephanie Moss, 10032 N. 52nd. Street, Tampa, FL 33517 (SMOSS@CAS.USF.EDU).

All aspects of the fantastic in international and comparative literature. Division Head: Dale Knickerbocker, Dept. of Foreign Languages, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858 (KNICKERBOCKERD@MAIL.ECU.EDU).

All aspects of science fiction literature, history, and theory. Division Head: Sherryl Vint, Dept. of English Literature, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, L2S 3A1 (SVINT@BROCKU.CA).

March 19-23, 2008
Marriott Orlando Airport Hotel
Look for Information and Updates at the IAFA website:

CFP: Special Issue of Science Fiction Studies on Gender and Sexuality. Past special issues of SFS have focused on women writers and on queer theory, but this issue proposes to take a broader approach to gender and sexuality, focusing on a full spectrum of related topics: femininity/masculinity in sf, sf and sex/gender change, sf pornography, techno-fetishism, alien sex, multiple genders/sexualities, sexual subcultures in sf, sf and censorship, sex work(ers) in sf, slash/flash writing, and more. We welcome submissions from a range of disciplinary perspectives. The deadline for 500-word abstracts is May 1, 2008; please send them to Rob Latham at or to Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. at

Hello, all IAFA members attending (or still thinking about attending) this year’s conference in beautiful Orlando, Florida in March 2008.

While our early deadline for submissions has passed, we do have a secondary deadline this year, November 30, 2007. Those of you who regularly attend ICFA know that we aim to provide a good mix of programming. We think that it’s in part this mix of programming that makes ICFA such a wonderful experience for all of us, whether we’re scholars or teachers, authors or poets.

We’ve already received lots of proposals for all kinds of events for this conference, but we’re still looking for more. For one thing, our new hotel (Orlando Airport Marriott) has an extra conference room for us to fill! We would love to hear from any member of IAFA about ideas for panels, fiction workshops, additional author and poetry readings, and special events.

Keep in mind that there are some limits on how many and what kinds of events participants can be part of. For instance, if you’re an attending author reading from your fiction in the creative track, you can’t also present an individual paper in an academic session, although you can still participate in a panel discussion. And if you’re an academic reading a paper, you can’t also read from your creative work in the creative track, although you can still participate in other kinds of creative events, such as workshops or themed talks about writing the fantastic.

If you’re not sure who to approach about what, you can contact any Division Head or 1VP Chrissie Mains (cemains AT or cmains AT and we’ll work on putting you in touch with others with similar interests and ideas.

Anyone interested can organize both academic and creative events and propose them for inclusion in the programming (although obviously we can’t guarantee that every proposal can be accepted). The only limit to participation in ICFA is space (which is larger than in previous years) and the needs of the 1VP to be able to schedule events with a minimum of conflicts (sadly, that will never change).

Looking forward to seeing you in March
Chrissie Mains

Special Extapolation Issue on Geoff Ryman

The Summer 2008 issue of Extrapolation will be devoted to the work of Geoff Ryman. Ryman is increasingly recognized as an important writer in the field of science fiction, the author of six novels and numerous other works and the recipient of the James Tiptree Jr. Award, the British SF Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the John W. Campbell and Arthur C. Clarke awards (the latter twice). His writing inspires consideration as science fiction, especially in the contexts of gender, sexuality and embodied technologies, but also compels us to consider questions of generic convention and definition, particularly in the intersections between science fiction, fantasy and history. Indeed, Ryman’s brief discussion at the end of Was of the importance of using fantasy and history against each other has been widely taken up in the discussion of sf and fantasy more generally. The editors of this issue invite consideration of any aspect of Ryman’s work, including his hypertext novel 253, and his involvement with the ‘Mundane SF’ movement, which calls for an emphasis on near future and present day ‘realist’ sf.

All manuscript submissions, including explanatory notes and the list of Works Cited, should be double-spaced on one side of the sheet only. Neither embedded footnotes nor generated footnotes that some software systems make available should be used. Documentation should follow the MLA Style Manual (1999) with parenthetical citations in the text and a Works Cited list at the end. Only explanatory endnotes are needed.

Please send an electronic submission in either MSWord or WordPerfect to the Guest Editors, Wendy Pearson ( or Susan Knabe ( An e-copy in Word should be submitted to Javier A. Martínez at Please contact the editors with specific questions.

Please note the extended deadline of March 15, 2008.

Relevant Across Cultures: Visions of Connectedness and World Citizenship in Modern Fantasy for Young Readers

University of Wrocław, 28-31 May, 2008

International Conference hosted by

Second Call for Papers

“We need a story, a myth that does what the traditional religious stories did: it must explain. It must satisfy our hunger for a why. Why does the world exist? Why are we here? […] It must provide some sort of framework for understanding why some things are good and others are bad. […] We need a myth, we need a story because it’s no good persuading people to commit themselves to an idea on the grounds that it’s reasonable”
–Philip Pullman, “The Republic of Heaven,” 665-666

Works of literature are distinctive to the specific culture which produced them and embody that culture’s place- and time-bound consciousness. However, many of the themes and topics in literature are relevant across cultures. The well-being of children, the importance of family, the need to foster human relationships, and the right for happiness are some among the many concerns central to most cultures. In the global reality of contemporary uni-media-verse, an increasing number of fantasy novels and films addressed to young audience cross cultures in their important themes. They explore what it means to grow up and get along in the modern world, provide glimpses into the cultures and traditions that make up the fabric of this world, and define human rights and responsibilities toward this world in its social, political, cultural and environmental dimensions.

Since its inception the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Fiction has had a strong interest in the way in which literature addressed to young audience, especially fantasy, can bring about empathy for and understanding of cultures and situations other than those we are familiar with. In our Relevant Across Cultures Conference we want to look at how novels, picture books and films of the last three decades are helping to bridge cultural, social and political gaps between different groups of people. We are particularly interested in the current mythopoesis toward connectedness and world citizenship, in new heroic and gender patterns which are beginning to fill the mythology gap, and in visions of viable value systems which promote intercultural dialogue, harmonious coexistence and environmental awareness.

Our key-note speaker will be Brian Attebery, American critic and scholar, author of The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature (1980), (1992), and Decoding Gender in Science Fiction (2002). His presentation on “Stories Linked to Stories: Fantasy as a Route to Myth,” will open what we hope will become an exciting debate on the place of fantasy literature and film in the shaping of transnational cultural referents of the global tomorrow. Our intention is to provide a forum for a wide range of scholarly presentations and workshops.

Suggested topics for proposals include, but are not limited to:

  • political and social holism in fantasy literature and film,
  • the exchange of various cultural forms across borders as a theme in fantasy,
  • fantasy as reflecting modern understanding of myth and the need for relevant mythic narratives,
  • the significance of national/regional boundaries and categories like “citizen,” “immigrant,” “stranger” in fantasy narratives; ways in which introducing non-human thinking races shapes the reader’s concept of social relations,
  • the impact, on fantasy literature and film, of the theoretical and political frameworks of globalization,
  • ways in which fantasy allows its audience to better understand the effects of globalization on the nation and the environment,
  • the implications of “common speech” versus racial languages in fantastic worlds,
  • fellowships, guilds, republics and leagues in fantasy and role-playing games as a form of integration above divisions, suggesting a partnership-based cultural and racial patchwork with a place for individuality; imaginary relevance of culturally diverse union to the idea of European integration,
  • the journey—not only an archetypal, but also actual experience—and the quest-based plot as reflecting the mobility of the contemporary globalized world,
  • the positive and negative motivations for unification and cooperation,
  • fantasy narratives as a type of discourse on important contemporary issues: eugenics, genetic manipulation, artificial intelligence, human and animal cloning, culture clash,
  • essentialization and relativiziation of moral concepts in fantastic literature and film,
  • speculation on the merits and dangers of a community constructed around a specific ideological or moral issue: matriarchy, patriarchy, technology, nature-worship, sexual affirmation or constraint, and so forth.

    The deadline for proposals is December 31, 2007. Proposals must include your name, e-mail address, mailing address, telephone number, institutional affiliation, technology requests (availability to be confirmed later), presentation/workshop title, and a 300-word abstract. Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes; workshops to 30 minutes. Selected papers will be considered for publication in the conference proceedings. Please submit your proposals to:

    Marek Oziewicz and Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak
    Institute of English Studies, University of Wroclaw
    ul. Kuźnicza 22, 50-138 Wroclaw, Poland

    Electronic submissions are preferred, but not required. Please send them as Word document attachments, alternatively via plain-text email. Detailed information about costs, accommodation, optional tours etc. will follow in January.

    Conference secretary:

    Conference organizers: