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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Words and words. Dear all, it’s time to think of offering a fantastic/scifi/horror poetry (no prose please!!) reading at the conference! As usual, we have two sessions, 1 hr and 1 1/2 hours, so aim to be able to have a maximum of twelve to fifteen people reading. This always fills up fast, so please let me know if you want to read.


See you there!

Gina Wisker

Friday 5th September 2014

University of Westminster

Doctor Who is the BBC’s longest-running drama television series and the world’s longest-running science fiction series. The massive public attention devoted to the show’s 50th anniversary and to its choice of new lead actor confirms that the programme merits serious academic attention. Politics, law and constitutional questions often feature prominently in Doctor Who stories, whether in the form of the Time Lords’ guardianship of the universe, the Doctor’s encounters with British Prime Ministers, or the array of governance arrangements in Dalek society. The show’s politics is also an adventure through time, from the internationalising moralism of the Barry Letts-Terrance Dicks years, the dark satire of Andrew Cartmel’s period as script editor and the egalitarianism of the Russell T. Davies era. Yet the politics and law of Doctor Who have yet to be the subject of wide-ranging scholarship. Proposals for 20 minute papers are therefore invited for a symposium on 5th September 2014, to be held in the University of Westminster’s historic Regent Street building just metres away from BBC headquarters. Possible subjects for papers might include, but are by no means limited to:


• Doctor Who’s ideology

• The Doctor’s political morality

• Comparison of politics of Doctor Who with politics of other

science fiction

• The merits/demerits of Harriet Jones as Prime Minister

• Doctor Who and devolution

• Portrayals of British sovereigns in Doctor Who

• Doctor Who’s politics of class, gender and sexuality

• Fan responses to “political” Doctor Who stories

• International law, intergalactic law and non-interference

• Globalisation and corporate domination

• Satire in Doctor Who

• Politics and law in audio adventures, comic books and novels

• War crimes and genocide

• The politics of UNIT and Torchwood

• The will of villains to secure power

• Political history and political nostalgia in Doctor Who

• Doctor Who’s construction of British national identity


Abstracts should be 250 words in length, and should be accompanied by a 100-word biography of the author. Abstracts should be sent to – deadline for receipt of abstracts 17 January 2014.

Guillermo del Toro is one of the most interesting people currently involved in genre in its various expressions. He is an artist who embodies his art that comes as a result of his creative passions and deep reflection. One of the elements that make him so interesting is critical reflection on various elements that contribute to his approach at bringing genre to life. This includes his interests in monsters, myth, archetype, metaphor, Carl Jung, the paranormal, and even religion in the form of reactions against his Catholic upbringing. This volume will explore these and other facets that inform and shape del Toro’s approach to genre. I am seeking the submission of abstracts for chapters for this proposed volume. Possible topics may include the following in connection with Guillermo del Toro:


*Medieval Catholicism and its iconography

*Relationship between del Toro’s self-professed atheism/agnosticism and interests in monstrous transcendence

*Monsters as metaphor

*Jungian archetypes

*Joseph Campbell’s mythology

*Gods and monsters as overlapping and co-existing concepts

*Mexican folk creatures

*Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos


*Paranormal experiences (particularly ghosts)

*Concept of the monstrous sacred

*Primal storytelling on the fantastic as spiritual function

*Fantasy as high art form

*Influence of Mexican culture

*Life experiences (e.g., his work in a morgue, the kidnapping of his father, and his reflections on the Spanish Civil War), and how this relates to his negative views of Catholicism and organized religion

*Bleak House “man cave” memorabilia and grotesque collection as inspiration for imagination


Abstracts of up to 350 words should be sent to my attention as the volume’s at Submissions will be accepted through November 30. Once contributors are identified a proposal will be submitted to potential publishers. I work as a scholar, editor, writer, and commentator on the fantastic in pop culture. I am co-editor and contributor to The Undead and Theology (Pickwick Publications, 2012), and co-editor of Joss Whedon and Religion (McFarland, 2013). I have written essays on genre for various books and journals, book reviews for the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts and Extrapolation. I am a contributor to Cinefantastique Online and my blog TheoFantastique, and sit on the editorial board for GOLEM: The Journal of Religion and Monsters.


Pulp magazines were a series of mostly English-language, predominantly American, magazines printed on rough pulp paper.  They were often illustrated with highly stylized, full-page cover art and numerous line art illustrations of the fictional content.  They were sold for modest sums, and were targeted at (sometimes specialized) readerships of popular literature, such as western and adventure, detective, fantastic (including the evolving genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror), romance and sports fiction. The first pulpArgosy, began life as the children’s magazine The Golden Argosy, dated Dec 2, 1882 and the last of the “original” pulps was Ranch Romances and Adventures, Nov. 1971.

The Pulp Studies area exists to support the academic study of pulp writers, editors, readers, and culture.  It seeks to invigorate research by bringing together scholars from diverse areas including romance, western, science fiction, fantasy, horror, adventure, detective, and more.  Finally, the Pulp Studies area seeks to promote the preservation of the pulps through communication with libraries, museums, and collectors.

With this in mind, we are calling for papers and panels that discuss the pulps and their legacy.  Suggested authors and topics:

  • Magazines:  Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Wonder Stories, Fight Stories, All-Story, Argosy, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Spicy Detective, Ranch Romances and Adventures, Oriental Stories/Magic Carpet Magazine, Love Story, Flying Aces, Black Mask, and Unknown, to name a few.
  • Editors and Owners:  Street and Smith (Argosy), Farnsworth Wright (Weird Tales), Hugo Gernsback (Amazing Stories), Mencken and Nathan (Black Mask), John Campbell (Astounding).
  • Influential Writers:  H.P. Lovecraft, A. E. Merritt, Robert E. Howard, C. L. Moore, Fritz Leiber, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Donald Wandrei, Clark Ashton Smith, and Henry Kuttner.  Proposals about contemporary writers in the pulp tradition, such as Joe Lansdale and Michael Chabon are also encouraged.  New Weird writers and others, such as China Mieville, whose work is influenced by the pulps, are also of interest.
  • Influences on Pulp Writers:  Robert Bloch, H. Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London, and Edgar Rice Burroughs were all influences, along with literary and philosophical figures such as Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edgar Allen Poe, and Herbert Spencer.
  • Popular Characters:  Conan of Cimmeria; Doc Savage; Solomon Kane; Buck Rogers; Northwest Smith; The Domino Lady; Jiril of Jiory; Zorro; Kull of Atlantis; El Borak; The Shadow; The Spider; Bran Mak Morn; Nick Carter; The Avenger; and Captain Future, among others.  Also character types: the femme fatale, the he-man, the trickster, racism and villainy (such as Charles Middleton’s Ming the Merciless), and more.
  • Artists:  Popular cover artists including Margaret Brundage (Weird Tales), Frank R. Paul (Amazing Stories), Virgil Finlay (Weird Tales), and Edd Cartier (The Shadow,Astounding).
  • Periods:  The dime novels; Argosy and the ancestral pulps; Weird TalesAmazing Stories, and the heyday of the pulps; the decline of the pulps in the 50s and 60s; pulps in the age of the Internet.
  • Theme and Styles:  Masculinity, femininity, and sex as related to the heroic in the pulps; the savage as hero, the woman as hero, the trickster as hero, etc.
  • Film, Television and Graphic Arts:  Pulps in film, television, comics, graphic novels and other forms are especially encouraged.  Possible topics could include film interpretations such as Conan the Barbarian, comic book incarnations of pulp magazines and series; “new weird” reinventions of the pulps such as the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and The Watchmen; fan films; and newer productions, including the recently released Solomon Kane and Conan.
  • Cyberculture:  Cyberpulps such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies and pulp-influenced games such as the Age of Conan MMORPG or the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.

These are but suggestions for potential panels and presentations.  Proposals on other topics are welcome.

For general information on the Pulp Studies area, please visit our website:

  • When submitting your paper, abstract, proposal, or panel please include your name, affiliation, and email address. For those submitting a panel, include the name, affiliation, and email address for each participant and note who will be the principle contact and panel chair.
  • Abstracts should be approximately 250 words in length.
  • Indicate if presentation media is required.  Projectors will be present in most locations, but presenters must supply their own computers.
  • A preliminary version of the schedule will usually be posted on our website in January.  Due to the number of panels and participants, we are unable to accommodate individual scheduling requests.  We encourage participants to come for the entire conference.  The final version of the schedule will be distributed in hard copy at the conference with addendums if needed. For privacy reasons we do not publish email addresses in the online version of the program.
  • Only one paper is accepted from the same presenting author. All presenters, including invited panel speakers and session chairs, must register and pay the conference registration fee. If you need an early confirmation for visa or budgetary reasons, please indicate this in your submission.

How to Submit Proposals:  Submit proposals through the following website:

Please send all inquires to:

Justin Everett, PhD
Interim Director of Writing Programs
University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
600 S. 43rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Jeffrey H. Shanks, RPA
National Park Service
Southeast Archeological Center
2035 E. Paul Dirac Drive
Johnson Building, Suite 120
Tallahassee, FL 32310

Benjamin J. Robertson, University of Colorado, Boulder

I seek proposals for essays that explore the relationship between late capitalist culture/economics and texts which, in one manner or another, are “merely” generic. According to Fredric Jameson and others, late capitalism is characterized by new forms of business and financial organization, developments in media and the relationships amongst media, and planned obsolescence. By “merely generic,” I refer to those texts in any medium that seem less interested in pushing generic boundaries than in maintaining or perhaps hyperbolizing them (such as books by Robert Jordan and David Eddings) and/or belong to an obvious genre, but turn away from that broader genre in order to develop their own environments and/or conventions on massive scales (such as the expanded Stars Wars Universe). These texts may be: swiftly produced, developed in explicit and careful relation to others in their series or world, targeted at an existing audience already familiar with the genre, and crafted for easy consumption and quick obsolescence.

How do such merely generic texts define the cultural landscape of the postmodern/contemporary world? How does this cultural landscape condition them?

Possible topics include:

+The audience for merely generic texts. Can anyone enjoy them, or are they only consumable by those who have an established, if not hypertrophied, relationship to the broader genre in question?

+The development of groups of texts that predate the advent of late capitalism, but transform in some way afterwards or otherwise provide antecedents for more contemporary works, such as The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew Mysteries.

+Proprietary universes—such as the Stars Wars, Star Trek, or Dragonlance universes—and questions of authorship.

+Fan fiction and other non-canonical or heterodox narratives set within established universes.

+Problems of continuity in the mega-text.

+The relationship between such merely generic texts and gaming, whether tabletop RPGs, first-person shooters, MMORGs, or other types of gaming.

+The economic or cultural conditions that govern the production of merely generic texts, such as the nigh-injunction that, after Tolkien, works of heroic fantasy should be published as trilogies.

+Mass-produced series of books for children, such as Goosebumps and Animorphs. How do these texts prepare youngsters for subsequent late capitalist consumption?

+The shift, especially in film, from generic concerns to the logic of the tentpole and/or the franchise.

+The development of the massive multimedia text in which the same storylines develop in print, in films, on television, etc. simultaneously.

+The residue of genre in a post-generic world. With increased

specializiation and fragmentation in daily life, does genre make any sense as a cultural form? Does genre become, or return to being, one niche product amongst others?

Obviously, numerous other avenues of inquiry exist and many of those mentioned here dovetail with one another. Please inquire at the email address below with suggestions or ideas.

Although I will consider a range of approaches, I am especially interested in essays that situate groups of texts or series in an historical moment or cultural frame. I am less interested in thematic and formal readings of individual texts.

Please send proposals of approximately 500 words as attachments (.doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, or .odt) to by 15 January 2014. Again, also feel free to contact me with questions or other concerns.

Dear Colleagues,

I’d like to draw your attention to this forthcoming Bram Stoker event in Whitby:


The 2nd Bram Stoker Birthday Lecture and Symposium will take place at Whitby Museum on 8 November 2013 (11am – 5.45pm). PROF. SIR CHRISTOPHER FRAYLING will deliver the Bram Stoker Birthday Lecture, ‘Mr Stoker’s Holiday in Whitby’, at 4.30pm. The Lecture will be preceded by papers from 11am by David Pybus, Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society, on Stoker and Victorian Whitby; Dr Martin Arnold (University of Hull) on Celts, Goths and the Old North; Dr Catherine Wynne (University of Hull) on Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and Egyptomania. Professor Martin Goodman (Professor of Creative Writing, University of Hull) will read from the manuscript of his new vampire novel. The True book of the Vampires reveals aspects of ancient vampire lore hitherto unknown to humans. A lunch-time walk to St Mary’s Churchyard will be included (optional).

Tickets (full day): £15 (half-day from 2.30pm): £10

To book a place, contact Dr Catherine Wynne ( by 4 November.

Organized by Dr Catherine Wynne, Department of English, University of Hull, UK

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to pass on the announcement of the launch of the first issue of the new journal Alambique: revista académica de ciencia ficción y fantasía /Jornal acadêmico de ficção científica e fantasia [Alambique: Academic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy].

Alambique (ISSN 2167-6577) is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal devoted to scholarly research and criticism in the fields of science fiction and fantasy originally composed in Spanish or Portuguese.

You can find it at:

Best Regards,

Rachel Haywood Ferreira

Martha Bartter, 80, a longtime member of IAFA and perhaps its longest serving treasurer from 1995-2003, died on June 18 following an automobile accident in Kirksville, Mo., where she was a retired professor of English at Truman State University.  She and her husband Andy Hilgartner had been regular participants at ICFA since its early years.

Martha earned her PhD from the University of Rochester, and later taught at the University of Rochester, the Ohio State University at Marion, and Truman State University. She was the author of The Way to Ground Zero: The Atomic Bomb in American Science Fiction (1988), and edited the ICFA proceeding volume The Utopian Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Twentieth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (2004).


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