Skip navigation

Call for Proposals

Bridging the Solitudes:
Essays on Canadian Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror

Ed. Amy J. Ransom (Central Michigan University)
Dominick Grace (Brescia University)

This call is to solicit chapter proposals for an edited volume of scholarly essays on Canadian science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. A book proposal, including accepted abstracts, will be submitted to the Palgrave/Macmillan series on Studies in Global Science Fiction (series editors Anindita Banerjee, Rachel Haywood Ferreira, and Mark Bould).

Submit chapter proposals by January 1, 2017
Ø 500 Word abstract
Ø Working bibliography
Ø Brief author bio
Ø e-mail to: AND

Completed chapters for accepted manuscripts due by September 1, 2017

Project description
Canadian science-fiction, fantasy, and horror literatures imagine the nation—indeed, the world–as other, different than it is in the here and now. One of the recurring dissatisfactions about Canada concerns two central metaphors that have been used to define the Canadian nation: the lack of communication between French- and English-Canadians as constructing The Two Solitudes described in Hugh MacLennan’s 1945 novel, and the problem of envisioning a multicultural Canada as a mosaic. The nation’s genre literatures in French and English have engaged with these issues from their very beginnings in the nineteenth-century through the present day. Indeed, when Judith Merril decided to edit a volume of Canadian speculative fiction (published in English but including French-Canadian writers), she founded the Tesseracts series of anthologies, whose title references not only the four-dimensional image of a cube, but which also includes the Greek tessera, an individual tile in a mosaic.

Since the publication of that foundational text, Canadian speculative fiction in both French and English has expanded exponentially. From its controversial relationship with the nation’s best-known author (in any genre), Margaret Atwood, to outspoken proponents like Robert J. Sawyer, to fierce defenders of the French presence in Canada like Élisabeth Vonarburg, to the rise of Québec’s equivalent of Stephen King, Patrick Senécal, in its maturity Canadian speculative fiction spans the entire gamut of genres and subgenres, literary styles, and so on. Although divisions certainly exist, writers and scholars of Canadian speculative fiction have frequently worked to bridge the two solitudes in their works and activities, publishing translations, attending each other’s cons, and so on. This task has become increasingly complex as the genre has also expanded its definitions and evolved to embrace more fully the national policy of multiculturalism and the global realities of cultural exchange. Thus, the success of writers like Nalo Hopkinson, Hiromi Goto, Larisa Lai, Stanley Péan, and others hailing from a wide array of cultural communities who practice forms of genre writing that may sometimes appear alien themselves to old guard readers have challenged and expanded the idea of the fantastic, making the term “speculative” fiction more appropriate than ever. Furthermore, a growing number of First Nations writers, filmmakers, graphic artists, and game designers like Eden Robinson, Tomson Highway, and Jeff Barnaby have put Indigenous Futurisms on the generic map.

The editors seek proposals for chapters on an array of topics linked to the production of sf, fantasy, and horror in an array of media by Canadian writers, filmmakers, and artists. Although essays must be in English, we are actively seeking contributions that address the work of French-language, First Nations, and diasporic writers. Ideally, chapters will somehow address the metaphor of the bridge, connecting with the utopian desire to reach out to the other or conversely, the dystopian burning of such bridges, understanding that Thomas More’s original utopia was “perfect” because isolated from corrupting influences, and, of course, in the end, was far from perfect. Chapters may address the work of a single author or engage a problem found in the work of several writers; single-text studies will need to be particularly rigorous or open out onto wider applications in order to be considered.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
Ø Themes related to the volume concept, such as:
Ø Bridge as metaphor/motif in Can SF & F
Ø Trans/Canada: the queering of Canadian SF
Ø Border crossings, in texts/by authors (US-born writers who have become Canadian)
Ø Regionalisms beyond Quebec/TROC divide
Ø Significant authors, such as:
Ø Margaret Atwood (proposals must address the volume’s aims directly)
Ø Robert J. Sawyer; Robert Charles Wilson; Peter Watts
Ø William Gibson (particularly the Bridge trilogy; proposals must address the “Canadian”)
Ø Candas Jane Dorsey; Nalo Hopkinson; Eden Robinson
Ø Élisabeth Vonarburg; Esther Rochon; Sylvie Bérard
Ø Jean-Louis Trudel ; Yves Meynard ; Joël Champetier
Ø Patrick Senécal ; Éric Gauthier ; Stanley Péan
Ø Genres or theory specific to Canada, including:
Ø Genre hybridity/ mash-up
Ø What is Canadian speculative fiction?
Ø Transmedia texts
Ø Canadian comics and the fantastic