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Monthly Archives: February 2019

ICFA 40 “Politics and Conflict”

When: March 13–16, 2019

Where: Marriott Orlando Airport Hotel, Orlando, Florida, USA

Guest Scholar: Mark Bould (University of the West of England)

Guest Author: G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Alif the Unseen)


On-site registration is $165 for nonstudents, $110 for students.

Attendees are now on their own for finding hotel rooms, as the conference hotel is sold out and the overflow hotel’s rate has expired.

The final program is online:


View ICFA’s Accessibility Policy:

Please note that the hotel’s airport shuttle is not handicapped accessible.

Highly collectible merch (T-shirts and totes) featuring this year’s artwork will be available for purchase at the Registration desk. Meal tickets will be available for purchase until sold out ($48 for the luncheons and $65 for the banquet). In addition, outstanding membership and registration fees must be paid before you can get your packet. The Reg desk accepts cash, checks, and credit cards (but cannot take AmEx on site).

This year’s hashtag is #ICFA40.


Your stylish IAFA badge holder. (If you don’t yet have one, they are available for purchase on site for $5.) Pro tip: put it in your luggage and leave it there at all times.
Your computer dongle if you are using AV.


It’s not too late! The Registration and AV areas are still welcoming volunteer help. IAFA Bucks at a rate of $10 an hour will be provided. These may be used for merch and meal tickets at this year’s convention, or they may be held and put toward next year’s registration. IAFA Bucks may not be used in the Book Room. Sign up here:


SCIAFA is offering a job materials review workshop; is recruiting mentors and mentees for its mentorship program; and is offering its paper publishing workshop (no need to sign up; show up with a paper in progress), conducted this year by Rachel Haywood Ferreira. More info here:


IAFA Listserv:
IAFA on Facebook:
IAFA on Twitter:
Student Caucus (SCIAFA) on Facebook:

See you soon!

Karen Hellekson, IAFA Registrar (iafareg AT

The call for papers for the GFF conference has been extended. We will accept papers until Mar 15, 2019 … please do think about coming over to Berlin in September.

Romanticism again and again! In autumn 1979, Michael Ende’s novel The Neverending Story was published in the Federal Republic of Germany. Even to Ende’s contemporaries, Bastian’s journey to Fantastica and back seemed to be the beginning of a revitalization of romantic longings and ideas within popular culture. Almost at the same time, US-American cinema discovers the genre of fantasy film. The motif of Campbell’s hero’s journey, a world that needs healing and the interconnectedness of all things becomes a constitutive trait of these films’ poetics.

On the one hand, the corresponding novels and films emerged in answer to the uncertainty of a bipolar world – fear of the atomic bomb and nuclear fallout as ultima ratio of the Cold War – and the nascent awareness of environmental vulnerability. On the other hand, they, like their famous predecessors, have been accused of a penchant for escapism and ill-conceived inwardness.

A similar area of tension can be observed in the fantasic today. Once again, the potential of recent speculative fiction as well as its critique seem to be indicating a core collection of romantic notions. Like at the end of the 18th century, romanticism and the fantastic provide a corrective to the frigid, mercantile rationality of a world that no longer knows any secrets. In light of contemporary political, economic and ecological distortions, speculative fiction is looking for ways of rethinking the world – and man’s place in it. And once again, the fantastic is accused of turning its back on hard facts and necessities to take refuge in sentimentalized other-worlds.

Based on these findings, the conference will pursue two goals: First, it intends to take a critical look into the relationship of romantic ideas, poetics, and images to possible genealogies of the fantastic. What is to be gained by locating fantastic works in a romantic tradition? Does this dialogue facilitate a deeper understanding of the continued effect of romanticism or poetics of the fantastic? Second, the resilience of speculative fiction’s inherent capability for critique is to be scrutinized in reference to its romantic origins. Can the relation between fantastic worlds and everyday reality be conceptualized in a way that forgoes the dichotomy of critical realism and ahistorical escapism? Would it be possible to illustrate, using its stories, images, and audiovisual presentations, the untenability of accusations which label the fantastic as being politically reactionary and aesthetically conservative – or do the subversive moments in its poetics remain marginal?

All contributions are welcome which examine the complex relationship between romanticism and specific implementations/ of the fantastic, its types and genres, protagonists, and media, on a theoretical, historical, and analytical level.

Possible Topics:

• Universal poetry and worldmaking (atmosphere, synesthesia, science and art as modes of knowing and experiencing)
• Media of the supernatural: romantic concepts of media and their influence on the mediality of the fantastic
• Romantic conceptions of history and the faculty of historic imagination as driving forces of the fantastic (recourse to the Middle Ages)
• Fairy tales, myths, and legends as genres and modalities of fantastic narratives
• Traditions of gothic fiction in modern fantasy
• Updating gothic topoi in contemporary horror cinema (for instance ghosts, living dolls and possessed clerics in the Conjuring-franchise, or witches and religious mania in folk forror)
• The beautiful and the sublime, the gruesome and the grotesque as models for poetics of affect in horror and fantasy
• Romantic imagery and its influence on visual forms of the fantastic (art, comic, film, series, computer game etc.)
• Forms, practices and theories of the fantastic in the era of romanticism (ghost and witch lore, demonology, phantasmagoria etc.)
• Soundscapes which establish a quasi-natural stance beyond the human (as in Dark Ambient or Drone Metal)
• Poetics of fantasy as modes of magical thinking
• Romantic poetics and the becoming-fantastic of the ordinary
• Forms of romantic love in fantasy
• Fantasy as a form of political romanticism

As usual at GFF conferences, there will be an open track for all lectures which are not directly related to the topic of the conference. Hence, we are open to further proposals.

The GFF offers two scholarships of 250 euros each to students to help cover their travel expenses to the conference. Please indicate if you would like to be considered when submitting your abstract.

Deadline for abstracts and short biographies (max. 2000 characters): January 1st-March 15th, 2018.

Submission of constituted panels (3-4 speakers) is encouraged.

Submission form:

For additional inquiries, mail to:

Conference Board: Jun.-Prof. Dr. Jan-Hendrik Bakels, Regina Brückner, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Matthias Grotkopp, Dr. Tobias Haupts, Dr. Daniel Illger, Cilli Pogodda, Prof. Dr. Michael Wedel

Contemporary American Science Fiction Film: The Bush, Obama and Trump Years

deadline for submissions:
May 31, 2019

full name / name of organization:
Dr Stuart Joy, Solent University & Dr Terence McSweeney, Solent University

contact email:

Since the turn of the millennium the United States of America has undergone what many have considered to be a series of political, financial, and institutional crises. At the same time, the increasing popularity of the science fiction genre has, in many ways, frequently both dramatized and provided a commentary on the fears and anxieties this period has evoked. The philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin argued that allegory emerges most frequently in periods of crisis and uncertainty, correspondingly it is no coincidence that some of the most powerful films to emerge from American cinema in the last two decades are allegorical texts and many of which have come from the science fiction genre. What are they able to tell us about the turbulent times in which they were made? How might they be uniquely positioned to function as cultural artefacts intrinsically connected to their historical moments? How do the fears and anxieties they portray resonate beyond the frames of the screens?

With this in mind we are seeking scholarly, research informed and dynamic chapter-length contributions to an edited volume on the topic of the contemporary science-fiction genre in American film. This collection of essays will examine and explore how recent films have reflected, portrayed and interrogated the social, political and cultural climate of this fractious period during the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Topics for consideration may include, but are not limited to:

Allegories of 9/11 and the War on Terror
The threat of invasion: Aliens, immigration and border crossings
Disaster narratives: Mass extinctions, climate change and environmental damage
The post-human body and the rise of artificial intelligence
Young Adult dystopias
Representations of political and social resistance
Gendered nostalgia (with reference to movements such as #MeToo)
Nostalgia and contemporary political phenomena
Memory (e.g. false memories, artificial memories, memory transfer/erasure)
Alien Others: Race in the science fiction film
Global financial collapse
Cultures of science fiction fandom
The im/possibility of making America great again
Films for consideration may include, but are not limited to:

A Scanner Darkly (Linklater, 2006), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Spielberg, 2001), Avatar (Cameron, 2009), Children of Men (Cuarón, 2006), Cloverfield (Reeves, 2008), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Reeves, 2014), Donnie Darko (Kelly, 2001), Dredd (Travis, 2012), Edge of Tomorrow (Liman, 2014), Elysium (Blomkamp, 2013), Equilibrium (Wimmer, 2002), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2005), Ex Machina (Garland, 2014), Gravity (Cuarón, 2013), Her (Jonze, 2013), The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012), Jurassic World (Trevorrow, 2015), I am Legend (Proyas, 2007), Inception (Nolan, 2010), Interstellar (Nolan, 2014), I Robot (Proyas, 2004), Looper (Johnson, 2012), Mad Max: Fury Road (Miller, 2015), Monsters (Edwards, 2010), Minority Report (Spielberg, 2002), Moon (Jones, 2009), Oblivion (Kosinski, 2013), Primer (Caruth, 2004), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Wyatt, 2011), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Edwards, 2016), Safety Not Guaranteed (Trevorrow, 2012), Serenity (Whedon, 2005), Signs (Shyamalan, 2002), Snowpiercer (Joon-ho, 2013), Source Code (Jones, 2011), Star Trek (Abrams, 2009), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015), Super 8 (Abrams, 2011), The Day After Tomorrow (Emmerich, 2004), The Road (Hillcoat, 2009), The Martian (Scott, 2015), V for Vendetta (McTeigue, 2005), War of the Worlds (Spielberg, 2005), War for the Planet of the Apes (Reeves, 2017), Wall-E (Stanton, 2008).

About Us

The volume is edited by Stuart Joy co-editor of The Cinema of Christopher Nolan: Imagining the Impossible (Wallflower, 2015) and Through the Black Mirror: Reflections on ‘the Side Effects’ of the Digital Age (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2019) and Terence McSweeney author of The ‘War on Terror’ and American Film: 9/11 Frames Per Second (EUP, 2014), Avengers Assemble! Critical Perspectives on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Wallflower, 2018) and editor of “In the Shadow of 9/11”: American Cinema in the ‘War on Terror’ Era (EUP, 2016). Stuart and Terence’s previous collections have included some of the foremost scholars in the fields of film and television studies (including Henry Jenkins, Geoff King, John Shelton Lawrence, Alison Landsberg, Warren Buckland, Will Brooker, Ian Scott, Todd McGowan and many others), it is intended that this book should be the definitive volume on contemporary American science fiction film. A number of publishers have already indicated an interest in the volume, but a final decision will be made by the editors when the structure of the collection is finalised.


The deadline for proposals will be 31st May 2019

Draft chapters of 7,000-8,000 words are due on or before 31st December 2019

Final versions no later than 31st March 2020.

Anticipated publication December 2020-January 2021, i.e. at the start of the new REF cycle.

Please send 500-word proposals (including a provisional title), along with a CV, to Stuart Joy ( by April 30, 2019. Queries are welcome should there be questions about appropriate submission topics, perspectives and dates. Please note that invitation to submit a full essay does not guarantee inclusion in the volume.

Registration for ICFA 40 closes today, February 22nd. After today, you will need to register on site.

Karen Hellekson, ICFA Registrar (iafareg AT

HEED THE CALL: 2019 ICFA Flash Plays
It’s that time of year again, when the anticipation of spring…and ICFA…get our creative juices flowing.

As always, we encourage you to submit plays with the following parameters:
No more than TEN pages
No more than THREE characters
Include one of the following props:
…and include the following line of dialogue
“that’s the path to world domination”

Flash plays should be submitted via email to by March 10th.
The Flash Play performances are Friday, March 15th at 9:45pm.

And if you’re interested in joining the Flash Players on stage, please let us know!

IAFA Listserv:
IAFA on Facebook:
IAFA on Twitter:
Student Caucus (SCIAFA) on Facebook:

ICFA 40 “Politics and Conflict”

When: March 13–17, 2019

Where: Marriott Orlando Airport Hotel, Orlando, Florida, USA

Guest Scholar: Mark Bould (University of the West of England)

Guest Author: G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Alif the Unseen)

Conference hotel: Both the hotel and the overflow hotel are sold out at the conference rate. That said, because attendance is always in a bit of flux, do contact me if you need a room, and I’ll forward your request. The conference hotel room cost is the same regardless of how many people are in it. Room sharing is common, and we encourage it. If you have already booked, you are fine!

Program: The draft program is online:

Volunteering: The Registration and AV areas always welcome volunteer help. In addition, volunteers help out the Book Room by setting books out before meals. You get 10 IAFA Bucks per hour for help. These may be used for merch and meal tickets (sold at the lower preregistration rate) at this year’s convention, or they may be held and put toward next year’s registration. IAFA Bucks may not be used in the Book Room. Sign up here:

Additional purchases: If you would like to preorder a meal ticket, including an extra ticket for the included Friday Guest Scholar luncheon (perhaps for a companion), or if you have decided to preorder highly collectible merchandise, please visit IAFA’s storefront:

Student Caucus: SCIAFA is offering a job materials review workshop; is recruiting mentors and mentees for its mentorship program; and is offering its paper publishing workshop (no need to sign up; show up with a paper in progress), conducted this year by Rachel Haywood Ferreira. More info here:

Social media:

IAFA Listserv:
IAFA on Facebook:
IAFA on Twitter:
Student Caucus (SCIAFA) on Facebook:

Duplicated email: I’ve had members reporting they are getting email blasts implying that they are not registered, when in fact they are. Inevitably it is the case that the member has more than one profile in the system, and the mass emails are going to the identity/email that is not registered for the conference. If puzzled, contact me. I would love to merge your contact info into a single identity.

See you in March!

Karen Hellekson, IAFA Registrar (iafareg AT

Student Caucus Updates:

Job Materials Workshop

The Job materials workshop has extended their deadline until March 8. If you would still like Kathryn Hume and Mark Decker to look over and critique your job application materials, email Wendy Wood, at In your email, please include:

1) Subject Line: SCIAFA Job Materials Workshop

2) Your name & email address

3) Whether you are applying to a research or a teaching school (predominantly)

4) Attach: your CV, cover letter, and teaching philosophy

Mentorship Program

There is still time to sign up for the mentorship program. We are especially in need of mentors, those who have attended the conference before and would like to help a new attendee. If you are interested in being mentored or in being a mentor, please email Kylie Korsnack at Please title your email SCIAFA Mentorship Program, and in your email, please answer the following questions:

1. What is your name?

2. What is your e-mail address?

3. What is your institutional affiliation?

4. What would you consider to be your main interests in the field of the fantastic?

5. When will you be arriving at the conference?

6. When will you be departing from the conference?

7. Are you currently planning to attend the conference reception on Wednesday evening?

(*Please inform us if your plans change and make every effort to follow through with whatever you commit.)

8. Which role are you signing up for, mentor or mentee


Paper Publishing Workshop

Each year, one of the main events sponsored by SCIAFA is a Graduate Student Writing Workshop. It is a chance for graduate students to share their written work with a professional in the field and receive invaluable feedback and advice as they work to improve their writing and shift from conference papers to publications. This year, we have the honor of having Rachel Haywood Ferreira host our workshop. You do not need to register ahead, simply bring a paper in progress to the conference in order to participate in the workshop.

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2019 IAFA Crawford Award and Shortlist Announced

The winner of the 2018 Crawford Award, presented annually by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts for a first book of fantasy, is R.F Kuang for her novel The Poppy War (Harper Voyager).

The other finalists on this year’s Crawford shortlist are The Black God’s Drums, P. Djèlí Clark (, Armed in Her Fashion, Kate Heartfield (ChiZine),

The Breath of the Sun, Rachel Fellman (Aqueduct), Half-Witch, John Schoffstall (Big Mouth House), and Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga).

Participating in this year’s nomination and selection process were previous Crawford winner Candas Jane Dorsey and former IAFA president Farah Mendlesohn, as well as Cheryl Morgan, Niall Harrison, Karen Burnham, and Mimi Mondal. The award will be presented at a banquet March 16 during the 40th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida.

Also at the banquet, the IAFA’s Distinguished Scholarship Award will be presented to the conference’s guest scholar, Mark Bould.  The International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, or ICFA, is held annually in Orlando, Florida.  This year’s conference, March 13-16, on the theme of “Politics and Conflict,” will feature G. Willow Wilson as Guest of Honor.

Appointed Position, Effective March 17, 2019

IAFA seeks applicants for the position of Conference Director of the ICFA. The Conference Director is an appointed, voting member of the IAFA Board of Directors. Qualified candidates ideally should have experience with all phases of conference planning, including site inspections for potential sites, negotiation with hotels, and managing the conference on site. In addition, the Conference Director must attend the June Board meeting as well as conduct a site visit ten days prior to the conference.

The specific duties of the Conference Director are as follows:

General Overview
Make all necessary arrangements for the holding of the IAFA annual conference, including, but not limited to hotel site inspection and selection with Board approval, negotiation of all contracts with hotels with Board approval; providing for the physical needs of the annual conference and the annual Board of Directors meeting.

Time Line and Outline of Duties
The Conference Chair position requires year-round work on IAFA matters, and a planning cycle that looks 3-5 years into the future to ensure that appropriate contracts are in place for upcoming conferences. The contract negotiation duties encompass providing for meeting rooms, guest rooms, meal functions, and the maintenance of concessions in support of our event from the hotel (currently these include a reception, suites, upgrades, and complementary room nights). The negotiated contract must be approved by the Board and be consistent with current IAFA operations.

The Conference Director is responsible for inspecting and securing all physical spaces needed for the conference and for the summer Board meeting; investigating alternative properties, as directed by the Board; planning the annual conference budget; planning the menus and prices for conference food functions; making hotel reservations for major guests; managing all ongoing relations with the hotel, including guest rooms; negotiating an overflow hotel as needed; and monitoring food and beverage commitments leading up to and at the conference, adjusting as needed. The Conference Director must attend the conference each year and be available to make adjustments in any of these matters and otherwise troubleshoot, as required. The Conference Director is responsible for reviewing the account with the hotel and making any required payments at the end of each conference.

How to Apply
Application should include a cover letter, a one-page statement of previous event planning experience with an emphasis on budgeting and managing relationships with hotels, and a letter of reference from someone familiar with the candidate’s work in these capacities.

Please send all materials to Sherryl Vint, IAFA President, at

Applications are due February 20, 2019. The Board will review applications and make a selection prior to the start of the 2019 conference. The new Conference Director will be announced at the conclusion of that conference, with duties to commence immediately for the 2020 conference cycle.