#106 = Volume 35, Part 3 = November
NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE
Thomas M. Disch, R.I.P. Science-fiction author, poet, playwright, critic, and iconoclast Thomas M. Disch killed himself on July 4, 2008 at the age of 68, following a lengthy depression. His Livejournal blog, “Endzone” (<http://tomsdisch.livejournal.com/>), drew some notoriety for its occasional anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rants, giving painful evidence of how Disch’s perspective on the world darkened in his final years. That he chose Independence Day to say finis is not surprising to anyone who remembers his scathing 1965 novel The Genocides, in which the alien invaders’ edict to exterminate earthbound life is delivered on July 4, an implied rebuke to the jingoistic arrogance of Vietnam-era America. That novel, like much else in Disch’s life, sparked controversy, becoming a flashpoint for the developing wars over the New Wave, with its casual dismissal of the heroism, scientism, speciesism, and other isms that marked the US pulp tradition. It is a poignant irony that this and other Disch novels, including Camp Concentration (1968), 334 (1973), and On Wings of Song (1985), have come to be celebrated as classics in a genre he scorned—in such books as The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of (2000) and On SF (2005)—as juvenile, provincial, and aesthetically impoverished.
This is not the place to adjudicate Disch’s jaundiced view of sf, nor even to attempt the sort of career summary so ably managed by Locus magazine in its tribute page (<http://www.locusmag.com/2008/Disch_Obit.html>), which features links to memorials by friends and critics who knew Disch far better than I. John Clute’s obituary in the Independent, linked on the Locus page, cannot be bettered for its calmly eloquent, stoically grieving valedictory. Clute’s comment that “the heart of Disch in person … was glee” does much to counter the impression given by some uncharitable commentators that he was a constitutionally grim and cynical man whose stern verdicts about sf can therefore be ignored as mere griping. Clute’s comment about Disch’s native ebullience also tallies with my own modest experience: I met the author twice, in 1986 and again in 2001, and while I was shocked by his physical decline in the interim, I was also charmed by his scintillant wit and unfailing generosity.
The initial meeting was prompted by my first visit to New York City, Disch’s haven and chosen hometown. I had attended the Clarion SF Writers Workshop at Michigan State the previous summer, and I thought, in my naïve pride, that this gave me leave to contact Disch out of the blue to suggest a meeting. So I sent him a desperately callow fan letter saying that he was my favorite sf writer (which was true), while also opining that I was myself an aspiring writer of some note (which was not true), and outlining my future visit. He responded with an invitation to phone him when I reached the Big Apple. This I did, and we arranged to meet at a museum that was hosting an exhibition he was keen to see. When I arrived, Disch was standing at the door reading a currently popular hard-sf novel, which surprised me because this did not seem the sort of fare to which he would normally be drawn. He laughed when I mentioned this, and said it was important to keep an eye on what the enemy was up to. He then led me through a gauntlet of paintings by Eric Fischl, a gallery of teenage masturbators and voyeurs that seemed, to my provincial self, to encompass all the sardonic decadence of urban modernity. As we left the museum, Disch turned to me with a gratified smile and simply asked, “Sated?”—at which point I realized, for perhaps the first time in my life, that art could be someone’s food, that it could nourish. Then, for another two hours, he gave me a guided tour of his favorite downtown haunts, expatiating on the literary-historical significance of certain venues in a way that went far over my head but whose easy wit and erudition I have never forgotten. I also never forgot the extraordinary kindness that led this famous and busy man to trouble himself so much over a total stranger.
The second and last time I met Disch was at the 2001 International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, where he was an author guest of honor. I was hardly surprised that he didn’t remember me, though I was shocked at how fragile he seemed, walking with a cane and leaning on the arm of his life partner, Charles Naylor, who was clearly a bulwark in many ways (and whose untimely death in 2005 was a major cause of Disch’s descent into depression). In 1986, Disch had seemed immensely hale, but—as he reminded a crowd of conference-goers who were chatting fatalistically about their own mortality—“time is the fire in which we burn.” I was very proud of myself for recognizing the Delmore Schwartz allusion, although shamefully, I knew it from a reference in the film Star Trek Generations (1994) rather than from my grad-school education in American literature. At ICFA, I had the great pleasure, during a luncheon gathering, of introducing Disch to four star-struck PhD students of my own from the University of Iowa, and he proceeded to charm them in the effortless way that I remembered. One of them had the odd habit of carrying around stuffed animals that he invested with personality and with which he publicly conversed. Disch, with unfeigned relish, engaged not only him but his entire menagerie in a bantering, mock-scholarly dialogue about the evolutionary value of fur that had the rest of the table in stitches. I’m certain he has left my grateful students, as he once left me, with vivid memories of a famous sf author whose work may be relentlessly savage and bleak but whose large heart was full of glee.—RL
Donald F. Theall (1928-2008). With the death of Professor Donald F. Theall, science fiction and Science Fiction Studies have lost a great friend in the academic world. His distinguished career took him from education at Yale and Toronto to professorships at Toronto and McGill, and then to the Presidency of Trent University. Meanwhile, his work unfolded from his graduate theses on poetics and communication, directed by Cleanth Brooks and W.K. Wimsatt, Jr., and then Marshall McLuhan, to the publication of an extensive array of paraliterary and para-aesthetic articles on communication, film, media, the internet, the avant-garde arts, the semiotics of tactility, gesture, movement, neurological information and sensory interplay, and the formative traditions of digital cyberculture, as well as four important books on the intersections of culture and technology—two organized around McLuhan (The Medium is the Rear View Mirror: Understanding McLuhan [Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 1971]; The Virtual Marshall McLuhan [Montreal: McGill-Queens UP, 2001]) and two around James Joyce (Beyond the Word: Reconstructing Sense in the Joyce Era of Technology, Culture and Communication [Toronto: U Toronto P, 1995]; James Joyce’s TechnoPoetics [Toronto: U Toronto P, 1997]). All of these, plus his innovative Finnegans Web (<http://www.trentu.ca/faculty/jjoyce/>), comprised Theall’s notes and probes into the immense project of understanding our pan-sensory and multi-dimensional (post) modernity by way of a focus on the medley of languages promoted by the mutating technological mediations of our expanding and interacting modes of communication, expression, experience, and knowledge.
Theall’s institution-building work supported his intellectual concerns and vice versa. His chairing of the McGill English Department, during which time he supervised my M.A. thesis on McLuhan, opened the windows of a traditional curriculum to let in the interdisciplinary 1960s, with all their paraliterary, verbi-voco-visual, and cyberglobal intertexts. He also directed McGill’s graduate department of Communications in the late 1970s, giving material form to the discourse-generating epistemic frame initiated by the Innis-McLuhan-based Toronto school of communication. In 1979, he became founding President of the Canadian Communications Association under the Learned Societies rubric and thus expanded the collegium of scholarship to new regions of knowledge. In the 1980s, as professor and President, he oversaw at Trent University the growth to maturity of North America’s first Cultural Studies B.A. and its development to graduate-level instruction and research.
In time, Theall came to understand his early work on T.S. Eliot and James Joyce and his early interests in radical modernism and the avant-garde as an immersion in the pre-history of cyberculture, which had, in time, given rise and dimension to the sequences of McLuhan, hypermedia, virtual reality, and postmodernism. In short, his work morphed during his career from a traditional academic erudition to an erudite contemporary inclusivity of the arts, sciences, and cognitive discourses alongside the outer edges of the weird, the innovative, and the marginal, on the same axis as traditional humanist scholarship generally was morphing into the interdisciplinary disseminations of the digital infomatrix.
Theall’s very catholic central commitment was to that communion, whether liturgical or electronic, that McLuhan also embraced, and that rested both on an ecology of sense, for which Theall’s books make a compelling argument, and on a radically interactive new techno-environment or ecology of media, which might be construed as amenable to utopian social forms. Theall was a leading academic of the era in which Jean Baudrillard could say that reality itself had become science-fictional, meaning a construct of the blended languages of the arts and sciences; and in which Darko Suvin could say that science fiction was always poised between dystopian and utopian horizons, referring to a range of radical contingencies that Theall, following Joyce, would have called the emerging cultural “chaosmos.”
It should be noted that it was Theall who brought Suvin, the sf theory luminary, to McGill as a colleague during his transformation of the English Department. Theall and Suvin maintained a life-long correspondence. Theall joined the editorial board of Science Fiction Studies with its first issue in 1973, and remained an editorial consultant up to his death more than 100 issues later. He was of the generation that brought science fiction into the academy and supported it as a sophisticated, ambitious, and valuable experimental genre, as admirable for its literary qualities as for its thematic and theoretical engagements. Theall wrote the introduction to Judith Merril’s Survival Ship and Other Stories in 1973, and published two notable pieces in SFS over the next few years, elucidating his characteristic topics: “The Art of Social Science Fiction: The Ambiguous Utopian Dialectics of Ursula Le Guin” (SFS 2 [Nov. 1975]) and “On SF as Symbolic Communication” (SFS 22 [Nov. 1980]). As late as March 2001 (SFS 28.1), Theall, then in his 70s, was contributing reviews to SFS that testified to the persistence of his attention to newly evolving communicative symbols: reviews of Kurt Lancaster’s Warlocks and Warpdrive: Contemporary Fantasy Entertainments with Interactive and Virtual Environments (1999) and Vivian Sobchack’s edited volume Meta-Morphing: Visual Transformation and the Culture of Quick-Change (2000). The journal and its megatext of interests could always count on his continuing encouragement. His friends, colleagues, collaborators, and students, and the world of science fiction to which he belonged but whose future moves he will now not see, will miss his lively intellect, his capacious mind, his tradition-based contemporaneity, his steady judgment, and his generosity of spirit.—John Fekete, Trent University
Blood’s a Rover: Harlan Ellison’s Waiting. Along with the mythical third volume of Dangerous Visions, one of the longest awaited sf novels in the genre’s history is Blood’s a Rover, Harlan Ellison’s novelization of his 1969 Nebula Award-winning novella, “A Boy and His Dog,” which first appeared in the UK: a 15,600-word version in the April 1969 edition of New Worlds and a full 18,000 words in the US in Ellison’s The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World (1969). This is a post-apocalyptic story about a teenage boy surviving in a nuked America, traveling around with his best friend and only family—a telepathic dog (an apparent product of military experimentation) named Blood. Their adventures include sex, violence, and tongue-in-cheek banter. The low-budget film of 1970 starred a young Don Johnson, who makes Vic seem closer to twenty than fifteen, as Ellison portrays the character. Both the fictional and cinematic heroes have overactive libidos, though: both live to eat and to fornicate. The film, a cult favorite among sf fans, is often shown late at night at conventions. It mostly met with Ellison’s approval, except for the ending.1
In his introduction to Vic and Blood (Edgeworks Abbey/iBooks, 2000), Ellison writes that “A Boy and His Dog” is actually the mid-section “of an intended 150,000-word novel” (5). Ellison’s forte has always been the short form, the screenplay and teleplay. Although he wrote a handful of non-sf novels at the beginning of his career (Web of the City ; Spider Kiss ; The Juvies ), from the 1970s to the present his longest works have been novellas—“All the Lies that Are My Life” (1980); “Mephisto in Onyx” (1994)—and he has not produced any novel.
In the early 1980s, Ace Books announced it would publish Blood’s a Rover. I remember being excited by this news; I was fourteen and an Ellison fan. I asked my mother to pre-order the book as a birthday present. She did, but months later received a letter from Ace stating that the book would not be coming out. As I would later learn, Ellison never turned in a manuscript, although he spent the advance. In exchange for not paying back the advance, Ellison allowed Ace to re-issue a number of his out-of-print collections and early novels: thirteen books in all in exchange for the non-existent novel’s advance.
Two stories written during the later 1980s about the boy Vic and the K-9 Blood have appeared: “Eggsucker” and “Run, Spot, Run.” “Eggsucker” is a prequel to “A Boy” that shows how Vic and Blood first met. “Run, Spot, Run” is set after the events in “A Boy”: Vic and Blood wander into an area inhabited by half-dead, zombie-like victims of the nuclear war, who lie in wait for live, normal humans to take as victims. All three stories are collected in a graphic quasi-novel, Vic and Blood (1989), that offers the full-text versions alongside visual adaptations by Richard Corben, rendered in Corben’s trademark dark surrealism, with sultry female bodies and a Heavy Metal-style of blood, guts, breasts, and sf gone awry in dark, desperate worlds.
Printing two versions—Ellison’s and Corben’s—allows the reader to see the artist’s interpretation of what needs to be left out for the sake of space in a comic book, as well as what the artist envisions that the writer may have not seen, such as the facial expressions of the characters, background imagery, and details of clothing, hairstyles, and body types. Ellison has been known to work closely with the artists adapting his works in order to maintain the integrity of his vision, as demonstrated in The Illustrated Harlan Ellison (1978) and the Dream Corridor series from Dark Horse Comics (1995-96).
The question lingers: when will the world read the complete adventures of Vic and Blood, a novel now five decades in the making?2 Will my deeply disappointed 14-year-old self ever read the book that never arrived? Ellison claims that he has finished Blood’s a Rover but that “the final, longest section is in screenplay form—and they’re bidding here in Hollywood, once again, for the feature film and tv rights—and one of these days before I go through that final door, I’ll translate it into elegant prose, and the full novel will appear” (Vic and Blood 5). This was written on March 23, 2003. The waiting continues.—Michael Hemmingson, San Diego
1. In the movie it is insinuated that Vic joins in eating Quilla June’s flesh, but Ellison has made it clear, in the novella and by his own later account, that Vic never feeds on Quilla June: the meal is for Blood, to regain his strength and heal. Ellison notes, in his introduction to Vic and Blood, that he has suffered the label of misogynist for that part in the movie, when it was the director’s invention.
2. The longest gestating sf novel is possibly Samuel R. Delany’s They Fly at Çiron (1995), which he began in the late 1950s.
SF Studies at UC Riverside. I thought I should give the field at large some news regarding the ongoing sf initiative at the University of California at Riverside. Following the first national search for a senior position in science fiction, I accepted an offer from UCR to join the English Department faculty beginning in Fall 2008. The Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Stephen Cullenberg, has committed to hiring two more people over the next two years to build a concentration in sf studies: in 2008-09, the Department of Creative Writing will mount a search, and in 2009-10 there will be an additional search in a discipline yet to be determined. The long-term prospect is a degree-granting unit in Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies, most likely augmenting and building upon the existing PhD track in Science Fiction, Science, and Literature in the Department of Comparative Literature.
Part of my new position involves serving as an informal academic liaison to the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature. In that capacity, I am happy to announce that SFS has agreed to endow the R.D. Mullen Research Fellowship, beginning in Fall 2009 and named in honor of our late founding editor, to support PhD students working in the archive. SFS will be sponsoring a half-day symposium on Thursday, April 30, as a kickoff to next year’s Eaton Conference, which will be held from May 1-3 (see the Call for Papers below). Focusing on “The Histories of Science Fiction,” this symposium will bring together three major scholars—Veronica Hollinger, De Witt Douglas Kilgore, and Roger Luckhurst—to address theoretical issues and debates in the historiography of sf. Dean Cullenberg has provided a substantial budget to mount other events, such as scholarly talks and author readings. In sum, the future of sf studies at UCR is bright indeed.—RL
Sherryl Vint, Andy Sawyer Win SFRA Awards. SFS congratulates Sherryl Vint of Brock University, winner of the 2008 Pioneer Award for best sf-related article: “Speciesism and Species Being in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” which appeared in Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature (40.1 [Mar. 2007]). Kudos also to Andy Sawyer, Librarian of the Science Fiction Foundation Collection and Director of the M.A. in Science Fiction Studies at the University of Liverpool, who has received the Clareson Award for outstanding leadership and service to sf scholarship.—Eds.
Low-Fi Sci-Fi in Pomo LA. To celebrate the release of issue 18 of Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Inquiry, the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles sponsored a series of film screenings, on Thursday evenings in August, collectively titled “Making Strange: Rooftop Sci-Fi at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.” The subtitle is a bit misleading: the “rooftop” was actually the fourth-floor plaza area near the pool, while the “sci-fi” was not big-budget Hollywood productions but rather “low-fi cult features and artist videos that use elements of science fiction to cast new light on earthly struggles and everyday phenomena” (to quote the event’s promotional brochure). The series title refers to classic formalist theories of estrangement, extensively deployed with a grad-school earnestness in the brochure (though without reference to Suvin’s adaptation to sf contexts specifically): “the artistic concept of ostranenie, or defamiliarization, through which known things are made to appear strange, heightening one’s perception of the familiar”; thus, “[o]uter space is used as a metaphor for psychological inner space, post-apocalyptic futures and interplanetary utopias are imagined through the quotidian lens of social progress, and android life illuminates human dysfunction on earth.”
The series kicked off with a showing of Andrei Tarkovsky’s narcotic Solaris (1972) and culminated with John Coney’s delirious documentary on Sun Ra, Space is the Place (1974). The night I attended featured a handful of short films, including Joan Jonas’s Double Lunar Dogs (1984), an agonizingly self-conscious meditation on memory ostensibly based on Heinlein’s generation-starship classic “Universe” (1941), with a goatish Spalding Gray mugging for the camera; Martha Colburn’s Lift Off (1999), a kaleidoscopic collage of porn images designed to spoof the masculinist biases of space exploration; and two magnificently lurid pieces by George and Mike Kuchar: Ascension of the Demonoids (1985) and Sins of the Fleshopoids (1965), the former an extended riff on UFO-abduction fantasies replete with a transgendered alien tasked with the “supervision of development in the human species,” the latter a camp vision of futuristic decadence that suggests what R.U.R. might look like if directed by Kenneth Anger. The Kuchar shorts were distinct crowd-pleasers, drawing chuckles and warm applause from the assembled hipsters and art-school denizens lounging on the lawn, enjoying a diabolical picnic amid the skyscrapers. The Bonaventure itself, once famously identified as architectural ground zero of postmodernism by Fredric Jameson, is now little more than a temple of ’80s-era kitsch, evoking memories of the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81), which used its futuristic towers as a backdrop. Given this checkered theory/pop history, the hotel was a perfect setting for a festival of avant-garde/sf crossbreeds.
The journal Afterall also publishes a series of art books, including one by Boris Groys on Russian artist Ilya Kabakov’s “The Man Who Flew Into Space from His Apartment,” a Ballardian montage/installation in which a lone dreamer, inspired by Soviet Space Age propaganda, catapults himself into infinity through the ceiling of his shabby flat.—RL
Dr. Brian Aldiss. Acclaimed science fiction writer Brian Aldiss, OBE, was among twelve to receive honorary degrees from the University of Liverpool on June 30, 2008. Aldiss was honored for his contribution to the development and understanding of science fiction throughout the world. The oration touched upon his career as a writer. A touching moment occurred when Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who was receiving an honorary Doctorate of Laws for his work, stated how honored he was to receive his honorary degree on the same platform as one of his favorite writers.—Andy Sawyer, University of Liverpool Library
New Discussion and SF Criticism Site. The first official issue of Fruitless Recursion is now available online at <www.fruitlessrecursion.com>. This issue offers four critiques, leading with Alvaro Zinos-Amaro’s piece on Barry Malzberg’s critical collection Breakfast in the Ruins (not to be confused with the 1972 novel by Michael Moorcock). Malzberg recently picked up the Locus award for this collection and is a contender for a 2008 Hugo. Martin Lewis’s review of Roz Kaveney’s From Aliento The Matrix (2005) follows, and our final review offers Paul Kincaid’s critique of David Hajdu’s book on the 1950s controversy over comic books, Ten Cent Plague (2008). The final piece is something I would like to see more of: field reports from conventions and live interviews. Paul Kincaid’s interview of Christopher Priest is a great example. If you have read anything interesting that you would like to cover, let me know. Authors with a book that they would like to have reviewed should also contact me at <www.fruitlessrecursion.com>.—Jonathan McCalmont
Correction: Lavinia Note. One letter can make a lot of difference. In my note on Ursula K. Le Guin’s Lavinia (SFS 35.2 [July 2008]), I wrote: “Lavinia isn’t responsible for the Empire and can’t be blamed for it any more than Eve—or the she wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus—for a terrorist like Crassus.” This appeared in print, however, as “or a terrorist like Crassus.” The dropped “f” yielded another “or” and a sentiment I definitely did not intend: Crassus et al. can definitely be blamed. Could you run a correction?—Richard D. Erlich, Professor Emeritus, Miami University of Ohio
CFP: 2009 Eaton Science Fiction Conference. “Extraordinary Voyages: Jules Verne and Beyond” will meet from April 30-May 3, 2009 on the campus of the University of California at Riverside. Extraordinary voyages have shaped world literature since the Biblical Flood and The Odyssey, but no single writer has done more than Jules Verne to forge this device into a narrative template for addressing modern issues. The UCR Libraries’ Eaton Science Fiction Collection, in coordination with the North American Jules Verne Society, plans a two and one-half-day conference that will examine the traditions Verne exploited, Verne’s own extraordinary work, and his far-ranging influence in modern fiction and culture. In 1863, Jules Verne published the first of the sixty-four novels and short-story collections that would become known as the “Extraordinary Voyages.” Verne’s influence on the locales of modern science fiction—the center of the earth, the bottom of the seas, outer space—is widely recognized. More significant is his influence on the shape of modern sf: the extraordinary voyage has become a foundational motif by which scientific knowledge is linked to the exploration of richly-imagined worlds. This conference will explore the implications of the extraordinary voyage as a narrative and ideological model that resonates in world sf down to the present day.
The conference welcomes scholars, collectors, and enthusiasts of the extraordinary voyage and will address, but not necessarily be limited to, the following sets of questions. What is the place of the extraordinary voyage within the complex of genres that makes up early or proto-science fiction: the utopia, the scientific romance, the hollow-earth tale, the Robinsonade, etc.? How has the extraordinary voyage been linked to discourses of travel and tourism, to scientific and technological revolutions, to the history of European colonialism and the rise of industrial militarism? In what ways does a detailed focus on the mechanisms of locomotion (balloon, rocket, steamship, submarine, train, aircraft) transform the imaginary voyage into an extraordinary voyage, and how has this technique influenced other sf traditions? Does the theme of travel, of transit across physical borders and toward extreme destinations, serve as an allegory for contact and communication across other sorts of boundaries (linguistic, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, national)? How do twentieth-century writers (such as the so-called “steampunks”) rework legacies of Verne and other nineteenth-century sf writers, whether earnestly or satirically? What accounts for the remarkable afterlife of Verne’s characters, and those of nineteenth-century sf more generally, who appear in numerous revisions and elaborations by twentieth- and twenty-first-century sf writers? What are the influences of the Vernian paratext—the thousands of maps, illustrations, photographs, and ornately colored and ornamented bindings of the first editions—on contemporary works of imaginative fiction? How has the extraordinary voyage been translated into other cultures and other media, from comic books, graphic novels, and film to theme parks and digital texts? Abstracts of 300-500 words (for papers of 20-minutes in length) should be submitted by December 15, 2008 to Melissa Conway at <email@example.com>.—Melissa Conway, Eaton Collection, UC Riverside
CFP: Place and Space in Children’s Literature. On March 27-28, 2009, Keble College (University of Oxford) will host a conference sponsored by the Oxford Children’s Literature Reading Group. The keynote speaker will be Philip Pullman. Papers are invited on the themes of place and space. The keynote speech, opening reception, and delegates’ dinner on the evening of Friday, March 27 will be followed by a day of panels and discussions on Saturday, March 28.
From the Prince Edward Island of Anne of Green Gables to Gossip Girl’s glamorous Upper East Side to the multiple Oxfords in His Dark Materials, the locales of children’s and young adult literature often aid in defining the child’s relationship to his or her world, delineating the terms and possibilities of youth. This conference aims to address these issues through a day of papers by established and rising academics in the field of children’s literature studies. As such, the Oxford Children’s Literature Reading Group solicits a wide range of submissions that explore how metaphorical and physical space create landscapes of power, knowledge, and identity in texts aimed at youth audiences. E-mail your 250-word abstract with your name and institutional affiliation to the University of Oxford Children’s Literature Reading Group at <firstname.lastname@example.org> by December 1, 2008.—Farah Mendlesohn, Middlesex University
Second CFP: “Time and the Fantastic.” The 30th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts will be held March 18-22, 2009 at the Orlando Airport Marriott in Orlando, Florida. Malcolm J. Edwards and Brian Stableford write that “the metaphysics of time continues to intrigue writers inside and outside the genre” of the fantastic, and the focus of ICFA-30 is on the intriguing relationships between time and the fantastic. Papers are invited to explore this topic in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related modes of the fantastic. In addition, we especially look forward to papers on the work of our honored guest authors, Guy Gavriel Kay and Robert Charles Wilson. Guest Scholar will be Maria Nikolajeva. As always, we also welcome proposals for individual papers and for academic sessions and panels on any aspect of the fantastic in any media. The deadline is October 31, 2008. We encourage work from institutionally-affiliated scholars, independent scholars, international scholars who work in languages other than English, graduate students, and undergraduate students. For more details, visit <http://www.iafa.org>.—Graham J. Murphy, Trent University
CFP: Anticipations. The 67th World SF Convention will be held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montréal, Québec (Canada), from Thursday, August 6 to Monday, August 10, 2009. Science fiction has its roots in the anticipations of H.G. Wells’s scientific romances as well as Jules Verne’s voyages extraordinaires. Anticipation is also a commonly used French term for sf literature and has bilingual echoes. In honor of our location in the world’s second-largest French-speaking city, the theme for this year’s meeting is “Anticipations in Science Fiction.” The academic track welcomes fifteen-minute papers on this and any other topic related to sf. We especially invite papers on our guests of honor, Neil Gaiman and Élisabeth Vonarburg. Those proposing to give papers should send a 300-word abstract, mentioning any audiovisual requirements, as an RTF file attachment to both Academic Track Division Heads by the deadline of January 15, 2009: Christine Mains <email@example.com> and Graham J. Murphy <firstname.lastname@example.org >. Information and updates may be found at <www.anticipationsf.ca/>.—Graham J. Murphy, Trent University
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