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Volume 31 Climate Fiction

Call for Papers (anticipated publication date: December, 2019/January, 2020)

Editor: Paweł Frelik (University of Warsaw) & Alison Sperling (Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin)

Dan Bloom may have been the first to coin the much-debated moniker “cli-fi” back in 2007, but, as Susanne Leikam and Julia Leyda suggest in the special section of Amerikastudien, other terms have been used and include “climate fiction, petrofiction, Anthropofiction, ecofiction, or more particular concepts such as ecodrama, risk novel, and Anthropocenema,” all of which remain “entangled with specific long-standing cultural and critical traditions, ideological frameworks, socio-political and economic strategies, and affective motives.”

As a hyperobject (Morton 2013), climate resists representation and narrativization, but a spectrum of texts that approach and problematize it is both broad and rich. In the literary medium, some of these attempts have been marketed as science fiction (Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl [2009] comes to mind) while others circulate as cli-fi (Marcel Theroux’s Far North [2009] is a good example). Creative non-fiction has flourished, including Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014) and Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (2014). The media of film and television have figured equally prominently with the new cinema of disaster and post-apocalyptic series.

A number of excellent publishing projects have already investigated various vistas of climate, including Kristi McKim’s Cinema as Weather (2013) and Janine Randerson’s Weather as Medium (2018) as well as the recent special issues of Science Fiction Studies and Studies in the Novel. This issue of Paradoxa aims to build on these efforts but also expand the critical conversation. While we are interested in both in-depth analyses of individual texts and more general, theoretical discussions, we also seek to explode and slipstream the very term “climate fiction.” The term has been one used most often to date but, treating genre labels as practices rather than objects, we wish to invite new perspectives on thinking how our cultural production can engage the hyperobject in question.

The texts, bodies of texts, and media of interest include but are not limited to:

science fiction and fantasy foregrounding climate both terrestrial and extraterrestrial
non-genre and slipstream science fiction
non-fantastic climate fiction
narrowly and broadly understood cli-fi
climate cinema, climate television, climate comics, and climate video games
narratives of catastrophic and violent weather
indigenous climate fictions
non-Anglophone texts
texts originating in the Global South

Specific themes and tropes include but are not limited to:

atmospheric conditions and crises
climate change and climate crisis
climate justice and injustice
human and inhuman timescales and perspectives
hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes
change of climate and terraforming
climate and non-human agencies and perspectives

Possible approaches to such texts include but are not limited to:

economic and political contexts
aesthetic and formal aspects of representing climate
speculative realism

We are particularly interested in texts or bodies of texts that have received little critical attention thus far.

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be submitted by 15 June 2019 to the editors and Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by 30 June 2019. Full drafts (5,000 to 7,000 words) will be due by 30 September 2019. Publication of the issue is provisionally scheduled for December 2019/January 2020.