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Monthly Archives: April 2017

We are saddened to hear of the death of the IAFA’s second President, Roger C. Schlobin. Roger had not attended the conference in several years, but he was instrumental in both founding the ICFA and preserving it through its early transitional stages. Our sympathy goes out to his family.

You can view his obituary and follow the link to leave online condolences here:

The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts is accepting applications for the position of Division Head of the Film and Television (FTV) and Fairy Tales and Folk Narratives (FTFN) Divisions.

Division Heads are appointed by the President, on the recommendation of the First Vice-President, who chairs the Council of Division Heads, after formal discussion and majority vote of the Board.The terms are for three years. The FTFN Division Head will begin immediately following the 39th ICFA in 2018, the Head of FTV will “shadow” the current Division Head until their appointment begins at the conclusion of the 40th ICFA in 2019. Descriptions of the divisions below.

Each Division Head organizes and supervises all conference activity within a subdivision of fantastic scholarship. Division Heads work under the guidance of the First Vice-President. Division Heads are responsible for recruiting session proposals and papers and are responsible for formatting these to the requirements of the First Vice-President. Division Heads are responsible for forwarding all information to the First Vice-President in a timely fashion. Division Heads have the responsibility to check the draft program for accuracy and AV needs. Division Heads are expected to liaise with other Division Heads and the First Vice-President. The First Vice-President is the final arbiter of the program under the aegis of the Executive Board. At the conference the Division Heads oversee sessions in their respective Divisions and collect suggestions for future topics, special guests, etc.

Those interested in applying must send a cover letter explaining their interest in and qualifications for the position, and a current CV, to the First Vice-President, Isabella van Elferen, no later than 20 May 2017.

Division descriptions:

The Fairy Tales and Folk Narratives (FTFN) division welcomes critical scholarship on all aspects of folk narrative and culture in all media. This includes but is not limited to oral and literary fairy tales, folk tales, wonder tales, legend, and myth, as well as adaptations. In placing fairy tales within a broad spectrum of folk narratives, we want to encourage embedding narratives in culture and considering non-Euro-centric genres. We want to feature artists and critics who draw upon a wide variety of perspectives. Papers in this division may explore traditional and contemporary folk narratives, including ways they influence literature of the fantastic and intersect with other genres of the fantastic. Texts discussed can range from traditional print texts and images to comic books and graphic novels, film and television, video games, live performances, fashion, and transmedia texts, among other media. Folk narrative studies is inherently interdisciplinary; cuts across genre, audience, and medium; and its current practices are informed by feminist, historical, linguistic, materialist, narratological, postcolonial, psychoanalytic, queer, translation studies, and others approaches. This division aims to bring together scholars and creators of fairy tales and folk narratives for productive and fruitful dialogue.

The Fantastic in Film & Television (FTV) division welcomes proposals for paper presentations that deal with the fantastic broadly construed in cinema and television.

Call for Papers

Conference: Caspar Walter Rauh and Phantastic Realism

Within German 20th century art, the graphic artist, illustrator, painter and writer Caspar Walter Rauh (1912-1983) is an outsider who has not yet received the attention that he deserves. The critical exploration of his oeuvre is still at an early stage.

Since Rauh started his career as an artist during the years of World War II, his work has unsettled viewers as he juxtaposes representations of the most frightening and traumatizing events of the epoch with joyful scenes of escapism into idyllic “alternate” worlds and into humour. Rauh’s dream-like images confront the viewer with the barbarism of the 20th century, with suffering, death and destruction on the one hand, and utopian sketches of better worlds on the other hand. His works have a strong narrative quality telling stories in a visual language based on fantasy and surrealism. They display private mythologies in which fish and birds, weird plants and imaginary vehicles play a major role.

The proposed conference will explore the specific “fantastic” dimensions in Rauh’s work. It will focus – although not exclusively – on the following key questions:

1. How can Rauh’s Phantastik be conceptualised and what is its significance in relation to the wider context of fantasy theory? What concepts of genre, what theoretical approaches can help to define it? Which concepts from philosophy, psychology, art history or literary criticism can be applied? To what extent can theories of dream contribute to an understanding of the “dreamlike” qualities in Rauh’s works?

2. What is the relationship between Rauh’s work and the canon of fantastic art and literature? What does Rauh’s oeuvre owe to iconographic traditions of fantastic art – from Hieronymus Bosch to Alfred Kubin and Félicien Rops? What role does literature play for him? Was it only relevant for Rauh as illustrator of works by authors such as E.A. Poe, Jean Paul, E.T.A. Hoffmann and Mary Norton, or was literature a general source of artistic inspiration for him?

3. For a brief period of not quite ten years following the Second World War, German writers and visual artists engaged significantly with a concerted attempt to describe war experiences through the medium of fantastic realism. Is there a taxonomy for this Nachkriegsphantastik and how does Rauh’s oeuvre contribute to it? Comparisons with other artistic and literary outputs of the late forties and fifties are invited, as are investigations into the causes for the proliferation of fantastic art and its subsequent decline over the given period.

The interdisciplinary conference is aimed at historians and theorists of art, literature and other cultural sciences. Multidisciplinary contributions are welcome, as are interpretations of individual works and motifs. Contributions should not exceed 30 minutes in length; conference languages are English, Portuguese and German.

Interested participants should send their proposed topic, including a working title, abstract (200 words) and short CV to one of the following before 31st May 2017:

Prof. Dr. John Greenfield:
Prof. Dr. Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa:

Costs of accommodation (and, if possible, travel expenses) will be refunded to contributors.
Selected papers will be published.

Time and venue:
Palacete dos Viscondes de Balsemão / Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, Porto, 26-28 October 2017

The conference is hosted by the DEG (Departamento de Estudos Germanísticos) / Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto and CITCEM (Centro de Investigação Transdisciplinar Cultura – Espaço – Memória).

The event is sponsored by the Câmara Municipal do Porto and the Goethe-Institut, Porto.

John Greenfield (Universidade do Porto),
Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa (National University of Ireland, Galway)

The conference will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected etchings by Caspar Walter Rauh in the Palacete dos Viscondes de Balsemão, Porto.
The opening of the exhibition will be on Thursday, 26 Oktober 2017 at 6 p.m..

“What still is the look of things”: A Reflection on Michael M. Levy
By Judith Collins

Mike Levy, ICFA 8, 1987, photo courtesy of FAU Special Collections, the Robert A. Collins Collection

I first saw the name Michael M. Levy in June of 1985.  It appeared at the top of a type-written book review, possibly of The Glass Hammer by K.W. Jeter.  My summer job consisted of “punching in” the book reviews for Fantasy Review, a small, “semi-pro” fanzine with offices at Florida Atlantic University.  At the behest of a seriously OCD Editor, I would sit for hours with a stack of typed manuscripts at my side, staring at a green DOS screen connected to two eight-inch floppy drives that comprised the essence of a 1984 Xerox personal computer, and I would type.  Three issues worth of reviews that summer acquainted me with several recurring names – names I still remember.  Michael M. Levy from the University of Wisconsin at Stout, was the most prolific of them.  Since the OCD Editor was also my dad, I viewed all the people involved with the magazine as family friends, and at the time, the impression I had of Mike Levy was of an old friend, someone who was always there and would always help, someone my dad could count on.  My reason for believing this was little more than a feeling about a name on a page, but I wasn’t wrong.

About twenty years later, when Mike had long since established himself as a presence in the field of science fiction and fantasy scholarship, my dad referred to him once, in casual conversation, as “Good ol’ Mike,” and while this may sound a bit bland, my dad meant it as the most exalted of compliments.  The emphasis was on the “good,” but with the “ol’” sounding in the background as a significant modifier – not one that emphasized age (Mike was twenty years younger than my dad) but one that emphasized the length of time my dad had known Mike to be “good.”  In the ten or so years since then, I, too, have had many opportunities to witness Mike’s “good”-ness, and it was vast.

Mike’s faculty vita page on his University’s web site, lengthy as it is, is a serious understatement.  Since those early days in the 1980s when he was a newly minted Ph.D. writing book reviews for an obscure semi-pro fanzine in Florida, Mike has written and co-written numerous books, book chapters, and journal articles.  He has served as Co-Editor and then Managing Editor for Extrapolation.  He has served as both Treasurer and President of the Science Fiction Research Association.  He has also reviewed many, many more books, seemingly constantly, not only for academic presses, but also for Publishers Weekly, Science Fiction Studies, Extrapolation, Los Angeles Review of Literature, multiple children’s literature journals, The New York Review of Science Fiction, The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, and many others, as well as written the introductions to at least four science fiction and fantasy book review anthologies.  And of course, Mike was both Vice President and President of our own International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts – which my dad founded, and on behalf of which, my dad had much reason for gratitude to Mike Levy.

Mike first attended the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in 1987, when he chaired one session.  He does not appear on the program again until 2000.  From that moment, however, his presence at the conference and his indispensability to our association became constant.  By the time the 24th ICFA began in 2003, Mike had not only organized the conference program as Vice President but had been instrumental in establishing an entire Division focusing on children’s and young adult literature, one of his many passions.  By the time the 26th ICFA began in 2005, Mike was President of the organization.  What many may not realize, however, is how vital to that organization Mike’s Presidency was.

In the previous decade, the organization had struggled with change.  Then Mike came on the scene, and . . . well, he was Mike.  He advocated for all groups and all people.  He balanced respect for the conference as it had been with foresight about what it could and should become, and during his ultimately eight-year tenure on the IAFA Executive Board (two years as Vice President, three as President, and three more as Immediate Past President), the ICFA grew substantially.

The IAFA, however, is only one example of Mike’s ability to transform people and their endeavors.  Sherryl Vint, the IAFA’s current President and Mike’s colleague both in the SFRA and on Extrapolation, has called him “a social glue that held together our at-times difficult communities through his warmth and kindness and compassion for people, his curiosity about ideas and their authors, his quiet way of just making everything better.”  Farah Mendlesohn, Mike’s co-author and immediate successor as IAFA President, credits him with “great gravitas and wisdom” and says that she would often “turn to him for advice on career moves, on projects to take up, and for sorting through in my head what kind of person I did and did not want to be.”  His fellow editors at Extrapolation have said that Mike was “a great mediator, a man who seemed to have a good word for everybody . . . unfailingly generous in his time and advice.  To many of us he was a mentor, but in such a way that it always felt like friendship rather than being taught.”

The recurring theme in all these tributes is Mike’s ability to serve many people in many capacities all at once.  He understood that everyone he met was a whole person, with professional ambitions, individual interests, and personal histories, and he didn’t feel the need to separate these things.  Whether or not a person should take on a job or continue with it, how a person should write or edit an article for publication, or in what ways a person should direct his or her life – Mike understood how these questions overlap and intertwine, and he was not only undaunted by the magnitude of ever-widening circles of human connectivity; he was inspired by it.

David Hartwell, Mike Levy, Bill Senior, June Board meeting 2006, photo courtesy of David G. Hartwell

Mike loved thinking.  In even the most casual conversation, if he heard you say something that interested him, even something you considered inconsequential, he would follow it up.  He would tell you a story of his own which in some small way explained his perspective, and then he would ask for yours.  And you would give it, because even if your perspective was different from his, you knew he wanted to understand, not judge.  You knew that his comparisons did not emphasize the contrasts.  And you knew that whatever conclusions he might draw would likely incorporate rather than divide.

His approach to the people whose lives he touched was therefore always one of inclusion and connection.  He recognized people’s strengths simultaneously with their sometimes crippling neuroses and simply added all of it to his understanding of them as whole people.  He loved and respected people for everything he knew about them.  He saw the best in us when others might have seen only our worst, but he also took that insight one step further, understanding that someone’s best and worst qualities were often the same thing, stemming from the same source, woven intricately together in the same whole person.

To say that Mike Levy was caring and thoughtful is certainly true, but those words, “caring” and “thoughtful,” have become so ordinary that they struggle to describe the depth of Mike’s care and thought.  The same could be said of the phrase “Good ol’ Mike,” but then, Bob Collins, Editor of Fantasy Review and Founder of the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, also understood the worth of real care and real thought.

Between 1984, when Fantasy Review began printing book reviews, and 1987, when the magazine folded, reviews by Michael M. Levy appeared in 28 out of 36 issues, often two per issue, sometimes even three.  Just to acknowledge the obvious for a moment, that means Michael M. Levy not only read but also thought and wrote analytically about at least one fantasy or science fiction novel per month, and he continued doing so for the rest of his life.  I don’t for a minute believe those books he reviewed were the only ones he read, nor will I believe they were the only ones he thought about in depth.  Nor can I imagine that, at any point in Mike’s career as a scholar, he ever solidified an opinion or a thought pattern or a position – on anything or anyone.  Mike was a thinker.  Thought was his way of living.  And he cared too much about people – authors, scholars, characters in books, as well as friends and family – ever to allow his thoughts to dig in their heels and stay put.  For Mike, thinking meant ever-widening circles.  To think about something new meant that one had to allow new thoughts to join the old ones.  Every book review Mike sent to my dad in those early years showed Mike’s care and thought.  Everything my dad had seen Mike do since then showed the same care and thought.  Mike’s ability and desire to think and to care were what caused my dad to consider Mike “good.”  The fact that Mike’s ability and desire never faltered explained the “ol’.”  “Good ol’ Mike” was a constant, steady, strong, unfailing force of all that was “good.”

And yet Mike was also, perhaps most importantly, a quiet man, which of course enabled him to listen, think, and analyze clearly, but it also allowed the astonishing breadth of his achievements to . . . not go unrecognized, exactly, but perhaps . . . be taken for granted in communities where others of us are louder.  His quiet manner most often resulted in positive outcomes for ideas, organizations, and people in his world, but I suspect they also spoke – or perhaps whispered – of very little desire for attention.  His lengthy but nowhere near all-inclusive faculty vita page and his befriending of so many people from so many backgrounds and of so many levels of influence all signify a man whose satisfaction came from doing the “good” rather than giving himself credit for it.  It came from the people and the ideas Mike Levy learned about and shared rather than from the rewards academia would offer to Michael M. Levy for the results.

Where people in Mike’s many circles have needed something, where there has been emptiness, confusion, urgency, or even strife, Good Ol’ Mike has stepped in – quietly – and more than once, saved the day.

Sandra Lindow, Miriam Levy, Mike Levy, ICFA 36, 2015, photo by Bill Clemente


The Handbook to Horror Literature – select chapters needed!

Most handbooks on the subject of horror focus specifically on film, whereas books on the literary manifestations of horror tend to be bound to the idea of the “Gothic.” The current field of Gothic studies grows out of the study of Romanticism, and refers specifically to a late eighteenth-century genre, but has also come to denote a critical approach to literature, film, and culture, drawing on psychoanalysis, post structural criticism, feminist and queer theory. These perspectives are all to be included here, but the book responds to a growing sense that “horror” is itself a worthwhile focus of analysis. This handbook will focus very strongly on literature, giving it specific value on established English literature University courses worldwide, and allowing for an exploration of horror that looks further back than the Gothic. It also takes an international approach. Each chapter will achieve a balance between a useful overview or context of the selected topic as well as posing an original argument.

We have collected several chapters for this handbook and are looking to fill some gaps. These include:
-Horror in Early Modern Europe
-Horror in Renaissance Drama (such as revenge tragedy)
-The Twentieth and/or Twenty First-Century Horror Novel
-Zombie Fiction
-Vampire Fiction
-Serial Killer Fiction
-Real-life Horror Stories
-Horror in Fairytales
-Horror and Censorship
-Transgressive Horror and Politics
-Horror and/or Beyond Psychoanalysis
-Other Theoretical Approaches to Horror (feminism, queer theory…)

Entries can be either longer (around 6000 words) or shorter (around 3000 words). Please specify which word count you would be interested in providing. Please send a 350-word abstract for one of these specific chapters to Kevin Corstorphine ( and Laura Kremmel ( by April 30th. Full articles will be due by June 30th.

Penny Dreadful, Gothic Reimagining and Neo-Victorianism in Modern Television

It’s been less than a year since Penny Dreadful ended dramatically in its third season, but this week brings the announcement of a collection of academic essays dedicated to the show. Edited by Manchester Metropolitan University‘s Jon Greenaway and Stephanie Reid, the collection looks to explore the show’s Gothic and Victorian heritage, as well as its contemporary contexts.

If you’re working on Penny Dreadful, do consider submitting an abstract to Penny Dreadful: Gothic Reimagining and Neo-Victorianism in Modern Television. The deadline is 15 May.

Penny Dreadful (2014-2016) has become one of the most critically well-regarded shows of the post-millennial Gothic television revival, drawing explicitly on classic tropes, texts and characters throughout its three-season run. However, despite the show’s critical success and cult following, a substantive academic examination of the show has yet to be undertaken.

This edited collection seeks to address the current lack within Gothic studies scholarship, and situate Penny Dreadful as a key contemporary Gothic television text. This collection will seek to trace the link between the continued expansion of Gothic television, alongside the popular engagement with Neo-Victorianism. In addition, the collection seeks to examine notions around the aesthetic importance of contemporary Gothic that become particularly prominent against the narrative re-imaginings that occur within Penny Dreadful. This collection explores exactly where Gothic resides within this reflexive, hybridized and intertextual work; in the bodies, the stories, the history, the styling, or somewhere else entirely?
Possible contributions could include, but are no means limited to the following:

Gothic adaptation and/or appropriation?
Pastiche and parody and Gothic aesthetics
‘Global Gothic’ in the sense of its commercialisation
Neo-Victorianism (styling, politics, economics); as well as explorations of the impact of ‘historicizing’ Gothic
Representation of gender within the text, specifically female monstrosity
The Post/Colonial context, as well racialized characterisation and presentation
The reworking/restyling of monsters in contemporary Gothic
Consideration of a ‘Romance’ aesthetic and how this alters conceptions of ‘Gothic’ texts and the influence of ‘romantic’ themes/styles in contemporary Gothic

What the proposal should include:

An extended abstract of 500 words (for a 6,000-word chapter) including a proposed chapter title, a clear theoretical approach and reference to some relevant sources.

Please also provide your contact information, institutional affiliation, and a short biography.

Abstracts should be sent as a word document attachment to or by no later than May 15th 2017 with the subject line, “Penny Dreadful Abstract Submission.”

Please click here for more information.

Journal of Dracula Studies

deadline for submissions:
May 1, 2017

full name / name of organization:
Anne DeLong/Transylvanian Society of Dracula

contact email:

We invite manuscripts of scholarly articles (4000-6000 words) on any of the following: Bram Stoker, the novel Dracula, the historical Dracula, the vampire in folklore, fiction, film, popular culture, and related topics.

Submissions should be sent electronically (as an e-mail attachment in .doc or .rtf). Please indicate the title of your submission in the subject line of your e-mail. Send electronic submissions to

Please follow MLA style. Contributors are responsible for obtaining any necessary permissions and ensuring observance of copyright. Manuscripts will be peer-reviewed independently by at least two scholars in the field. Copyright for published articles remains with the author.

Submissions must be received no later than May 1 in order to be considered for that year’s issue.

Conference website:

American Literature and Culture Section (Department of English Studies, University of Wrocław) and New Media and Popular Literature Section (Department of Polish Studies, University of Wrocław) invite paper abstracts for “Generation BioWare,” a conference focused exclusively on the Canadian developer and their games.

Founded in 1995, BioWare have been responsible for some of the most acclaimed titles in the history of the industry. The studio’s games are famous for multi-layered narratives and complex characters, both of which originated in titles set in the well-established worlds: Faerûn from the Dungeon and Dragons pen-and-paper RPG system and the Star Wars universe. Since their release, Baldur’s Gate (1998), Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000), and Knights of the Old Republic (2003) have enjoyed critical and commercial success and the two franchises have enabled the studio to create its own proprietary worlds in Jade Empire (2005), Mass Effect (2007), and Dragon Age: Origins (2009) as well as to further refine story-telling structures, character writing, karmic mechanics, and worldbuilding techniques.

The positive reception of BioWare titles has been accompanied by the development of a dedicated fanbase, whose general video game literacy was centrally shaped by BioWare’s design decisions and techniques. As a result, BioWare games have come to be regarded as templates for many western RPGs: the recent Kickstarter success of Divinity Original Sin (2014), Pillars of Eternity (2015), and Tyranny (2016) can be partly ascribed to the impact the Baldur’s Gate series had on these titles.

Consequently, BioWare’s impact on the medium as well as the industry can be perceived as nothing short of critical. To address this influence, we would like to create a platform for academic exchange and invite submissions from scholars and researchers across disciplines, including game studies, literary studies, linguistics, fan studies, media studies, sociology, and cultural studies.

Suggested areas of research include but are not limited to: • narratology and character research, • literary and ludological dimensions, • sociology of BioWare games and their fan communities, • BioWare games and classic RPGs, • worldbuilding techniques, • narrative techniques, • gameplay design, • poetics of BioWare games, • ethical and moral issues in BioWare games, • localization and adaptation, • paratextuality and transmediality, • video game market and the evolution of BioWare as a studio, • Interplay, BlackIsle, Troika, and Obsidian as competitors and creators of alternative worldbuilding and narrative techniques, • narrative and character design methods, • visuality and sound in BioWare games.

Call for Papers: Fafnir 3/2017

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research invites authors to submit papers for the upcoming edition 3/2017. Theme for the edition is ‘reception, audience/s and fandom studies’ (e.g. The World Hobbit Project). The theme issue has been moved from issue 2/2017 to issue 3/2017. We invite papers that focus on all aspects of the study of ‘audiences’ for cultural and media products and practices that are connected to speculative fiction. As Finland is hosting the 75th Worldcon in 2017, for this edition we would also be interested in studies of fan societies, conventions, and their history in Nordic countries and beyond. ‘Audience’ is here understood broadly without any specific theoretical orientations.

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is a peer-reviewed academic journal which is published in electronic format four times a year. Fafnir is published by The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (FINFAR) from 2013 onwards. Fafnir publishes various texts ranging from peer-reviewed research articles to short overviews and book reviews in the field of science fiction and fantasy research.

The submissions must be original work, and written in English (or in Finnish or Scandinavian languages). Manuscripts of research articles should be between 20,000 and 40,000 characters in length. The journal uses the most recent edition of the MLA Style Manual. The manuscripts of research articles will be peer-reviewed. Please note that as Fafnir is designed to be of interest to readers with varying backgrounds, essays and other texts should be as accessibly written as possible. Also, if English is not your first language, please have your article proof-read by an English language editor. Please pay attention to our journal’s submission guidelines available in:

The deadline for submissions is 15th June 2017.

In addition to research articles, Fafnir constantly welcomes text proposals such as essays, interviews, overviews and book reviews on any subject suited for the journal.

Please send your electronic submission (saved as RTF-file) to the following address: submissions(at) For further information, please contact the editors: jyrki.korpua(at),, More detailed information about our journal is available at our webpage:

This edition is scheduled for the end of September 2017.

Best regards,
Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Aino-Kaisa Koistinen & Jyrki Korpua
Editors, Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research

We are deeply saddened to learn of Michael Levy’s passing. Mike was a respected and loved scholar, colleague, mentor, past IAFA President, and above all, friend. Please join us in offering our deepest condolences to Mike’s family and friends during this difficult time.