Science Fiction Studies

87 = Volume 29, Part 2 = July 2002


NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE

Bould on the Boom. Well, that’s 2001 done with. Pan Am is long gone, computers are still pretty dumb, and we didn’t find any monoliths on the moon. In fact, Clarke/Kubrick probably got just three things right: phones are a hot gift for small children, the Russians and Americans are working together in space (although there is no reason to think that this has anything to do with a burst of maturity/sanity/reason), and there is a dreadful aura of mind-numbing obeisance to corporate culture—as if the aerospace industry doesn’t get enough corporate welfare.                

But prediction’s not the game. We live in a chaotic universe. Who could have guessed that it would take the British tabloids two whole days to dub our geeky teenage doper-Prince “Harry Pot-Head”? And who could have guessed that we would be living in the middle of a boom in British and Irish sf? The tip of the iceberg is the two British finalists for the 2001 Hugo novel—J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Ken MacLeod for The Sky Road. So what if the wrong one won, and the one that won isn’t sf? We’ve never policed that boundary as rigidly as the US pulp and paperback tradition, and the Brit sf boom does need to be situated in relation to the fantasy boom—of which everyone has heard: the overnight successes (!) of Clive Barker, Jonathan Carroll, Michael Cobley, Storm Constantine, Peter Crowther, Christopher Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Robert Holdstock, Tom Holland, Diana Wynne Jones, Graham Joyce, Garry Kilworth, Juliet E. McKenna, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Kim Newman, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Robert Rankin, Philip Ridley, Geoff Ryman, Tanith Lee, Jo Walton, John Whitbourn, Chris Woodings, and, of course, J.K. Rowling (who, despite being one of the more recent additions to this list, writes fiction that seems to date from sometime before 1939 and Orwell’s “Boy’s Weeklies”).                

The problem with the current spike in UK sf is that it is quiet, drowned out by quidditchy rattlings. In sf, we expect a revolution per decade, and, at least since the Sturm und Drang in a teacup of the New Wave, we like them to be noisy. In one respect, what’s going on in British sf bears a closer similarity to the feminist sf of the 1970s: that was the sf men didn’t see, whereas this is the sf no one seems to notice. The reason is obvious enough: there is no agenda, rallying cause, or cry. It was a quiet revolution. We went to bed one night and when we woke up, everything had changed.                

Some landmarks are gone—no more John Brunner, Bob Shaw, James White, or Keith Roberts. Some landmarks remain. In the 1990s, Brian Aldiss gave us Remembrance Day (1993), A Tupolev Too Far and Other Stories (1993), Somewhere East of Life (1994), The Secret of This Book (1995), and another volume of autobiography, The Twinkling of an Eye: My Life as an Englishman (1998). They are late works, reeking of mortality; sometimes wise but more often not; and that has always been his gift. Moorcock left us, but only went as far as Texas. Ballard was still striking out for the same old new territory, fifteen minutes into the future but hanging with Graham Greene. Super-Cannes (2000) was set just sideways of now, but it looked like the past to me. Whatever. They were doing things differently there. M. John Harrison wrote the perfect short novel—again. It was called Signs of Life (1997) this time. Ian Watson and Christopher Priest continued to do their things, as did Brian Stableford (still without sufficient honor—or even a publisher—in his own country) and David Langford, a Hugo-magnet─or is it magnate?                

As I write, Interzone has managed 175 issues. The Third Alternative has reached number 29, and new-kid-on-the-block Spectrum SF has put out seven issues. This is a far cry from when I started reading British sf magazines in the early to mid-1980s and had to wait for a quarterly (and much slimmer) Interzone. And it’s with Interzone that any account of the current boom must begin, although, as Andrew Butler has pointed out to me, a surprising number of our best and/or most popular new sf writers—most obviously Ken MacLeod and China Miéville—were not Interzone discoveries (though that does not mean that they do not have bottom drawers stuffed with Interzone rejection slips). If nothing else, Interzone represented the possibility of publication and a steadily less tenuous sense of continuity. So its 1982 launch has to be on any prospective timeline of the boom, in the section labeled “foreshadowings” or “The Crazy Years.” Other important dates on the timeline would include the following:
                1983: Terry Pratchett publishes The Colour of Magic. Although most of his work is not sf, his tremendous popularity assures that the fantastic genres are represented in best-seller lists for the next twenty years (and who knows for how much longer?) in forms other than media spin-offery. This is also the year in which Colin Greenland’s The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British “New Wave” in Science Fiction is published, constituting a farewell of sorts to the New Wave. Greenland’s subsequent fiction is intimately tied to this leave-taking.
                1987: Iain M. Banks publishes Consider Phlebas. This much-vaunted and extremely popular litfic enfant terrible (Fay Weldon once described him, I hope without thinking, as “the great white hope of English literature”) does sf successfully. This presumably draws non-traditional readers into the genre; more importantly, in his (early) revisionist version, space opera rocks. Also, the Arthur C. Clarke Award is established in this year, though in its first four years it is won by two Canadians, an Australian, and an American.
                1990: For me, this is probably the richest year in terms of symbolic events, and the boom should be dated from here. Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, a collaboration between (arguably) the two most important US sf writers to emerge in the 1980s, and unquestionably the two hottest at that time, is not only set in Britain but has a British first edition and a pre-publication extract in Interzone. Colin Greenland’s Take Back Plenty largely leaves behind the entropic decline of the New Wave (which infused his earlier novels, even as he sought escape) for the more exuberant style of space opera (complete with Dan Dare references) as pioneered in Britain by Banks; Greenland’s is the first novel by a British writer to win the Clarke award. In this year, Interzone goes to a monthly schedule.                

Andy Butler disagrees with me, and says we must date the boom from 1995. In this year, Jeff Noon wins the John W. Campbell Award for best new sf writer. Ken McLeod’s first novel, The Star Fraction, is published. The Worldcon comes to Glasgow. (I think I’m right in saying that this is also the year in which Andy Butler takes over editing the BSFA’s Vector—but I’m sure this hasn’t influenced his thinking in any way.) Obviously we could keep on playing this kind of game until the cows come home (which is, of course, later than usual as there are fewer of them here now). The big question is: who are the main contributors to the boom?

After completing the Aleutian trilogy (1994-1999), Gwyneth Jones rested and let her Ann Halam pseudonym take the strain, writing young-adult fantasy and horror, as she has done since the late 1970s. After several flirtations with YA sf in Dinosaur Junction (1992)(whose big Time Machine riff makes you wonder why she called the villain Parrinder) and The N.I.M.R.O.D. Conspiracy (1999), she finally went whole hog with Dr. Franklin’s Island (2001), a Moreau riff, but with no treacherous Wells scholars that I noticed. The Inheritors is forthcoming. Jones’s return to adult sf came with Bold as Love (2001), a stunning near-future thriller that makes use of the Matter of Britain to show us what’s the matter with Britain: our obsessions with minor celebrities, racist fantasies, regional identities, pedophiles, and bitching tunes. Castles Made of Sand is out this year, and despite Amazon.com’s Borg-like christening of it as Third of Three, I’m assured that it’s an open-ended series. If she’s not careful, Jones is in real danger of becoming the most important post-war British sf writer.                

With partial exceptions such as Arthur C. Clarke and Brian Stableford, Britain does not have an impressive record of producing hard-sf writers in the modern (Campbellian and post-Campbellian) sense—perhaps because our industrialization happened so much sooner and, often, so much closer to where we live; perhaps because we were losing our Empire at the moment when the possibilities of Empire were just becoming apparent for the US. Are you familiar with the British expression about waiting and waiting for a bus, only to have three come along at once? If Paul McAuley, whose best novels are probably Eternal Light (1991) and Fairyland (1996), and the too-prolific Stephen Baxter—the XEELEE sequence, the MANIFOLD series, Voyage (1997), The Time Ships (1995), Moonseed (1999), etc.—are numbers one and two, who is the third? It’s early days, but my money would be on Alastair Reynolds, whose Revelation Space (2001) is a fine hard-sf space opera.                

The influence of the cyberpunk money-printing licence was strongly felt over here, and a number of writers might be best described as starting out cyberpunk-flavored and heading away from it in different directions as rapidly as possible. Jon Courtenay Grimwood has moved into alternative-world, near future, North African noir. Richard Calder has come over all decadent. Jeff Noon seems to have faded away of late, although like Steve Aylett he still plays with fireworks. Peter F. Hamilton left near-future East Anglia for outer space in his massive space-opera trilogy; if it lacked the sophistication and joy of Colin Greenland, many found its peristaltic plotting compelling nonetheless. Ken Macleod has also moved outward while remaining one of the most politically astute, eyeball-kick-profligate sf writers. Eric Brown followed the opposite trajectory. He established himself with space opera/planetary romance as it might have been written by Conrad or Greene (or even a young Ballard), and has only recently come closer to Earth with his near-future VIREX novels (New York Nights, first in the series, appeared in 2000).                

With the politically urgent Perdido Street Station (2000), a science fiction story set in a fantasy sub-creation, China Miéville joined the vastly neglected Ian McDonald in the game of handling the anxiety of influence. Miéville’s new novel, The Scar (2002), is the best nautical fantasy since John Calvin Batchelor’s The Birth of the People’s Republic of Antarctica (1983) and the most important one since B. Traven’s The Death Ship (1934). It’s about colonialism, and it makes Moby Dick look like a big fat book about whales.                

Obviously this list is far from complete. Neal Asher, Keith Brooke, Molly Brown, Eugene Byrne, Paul Cornell, John Clute, Jack Deighton, Ben Jeapes, Roger Levy, James Lovegrove, Ian R. MacLeod, John Meaney, Adam Roberts, Justina Robson, Stephen Palmer, Charles Stross, and Liz Williams all have produced substantial work or promise to in the near future; and there are others I’ve forgotten or omitted because to date they’ve only produced a handful of short stories.               

It’s not all good news, though. One of the most distressing things about this list is its gender bias. We have talented women sf writers, just not enough of them. In part this reflects a perennial problem in sf that has been exacerbated by the collapse of overtly feminist sf publishing and the failure of mainstream sf publishing to provide adequate replacement venues (in this context it would be churlish to criticize Interzone, TTA, or Spectrum for their occasional boy’s club atmosphere). And then there is the Angela Carter Effect: many of the best contemporary women writers find that they either do not need sf or can achieve sf effects without recourse to genre publishing.           

So this is it. I know that we Brits are very good at having our imminent arrival announced—Paul Revere, Lonnie Donnegan, Colin Welland—but this time we’re already here. This is the newest new wave in science fiction. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to last because all it has to offer is quality (in quantity). And who could have predicted that?—Mark Bould, Bucking-hamshire Chilterns University College

[Mark Bould’s letter is by way of preview: in 2003, he and Andrew Butler will edit a special issue of SFS on the current British sf boom.—Eds.]

Lord of the Rings Discussion, Continued. I agree with many of the editors’ comments in the Fellowship of the Rings discussion (SFS 29.1:149-52)—except that, contrary to C, I think that Gimli’s accent is Welsh, not Scottish (though I am terrible on accents). A Welsh accent plays into the stereotype of a Welshman as miner: “He’s small and he’s dark—more like monkey than man./ He works underground with a lamp in his hat;/ And he sings far too often, far too loud, and flat.”               

C’s comments on divesting power were interesting. One of the things I did not like about the movie compared with the book is the omission from the movie of the forces of power that are older than Sauron and hence outside the good-versus-evil conflict of the Second Age. The effect is to make the good/evil dichotomy much starker, and to make the story “float in a void,” as A says. Bombadil (who is older than the Second Age; the ring has no power over him) is omitted completely; but more importantly, Saruman is clearly made responsible for the snowstorm that defeats the fellowship on Caradhras, whereas in the book it is the mountain itself that acts to defeat them. The earth has forces for good and evil beyond the epic of the ring. This makes it hard in the movie to place the suggestions (which the movie keeps) that Bilbo’s finding the ring was not intended by the ring and yet was not an accident.                

Despite C’s comments on nature, I have always thought that Tolkien’s image of forests shrinking in bad times when vigilance is relaxed is a very European one that I cannot sympathize with. My image of wilderness (as opposed to rural, agricultural peace) is one of dark forests waiting to expand and take over human-occupied land as soon as humanity is careless or weak. This comes from growing up in an area where much farmland, including most of the farms around my parents’ summer cottage, was (and still is) being abandoned and reverting to forest, a process that takes only about ten or fifteen years of carelessness. I think most settlers in North America would agree with my image, but I suppose even in America this image was being challenged as early as Thoreau; and Teddy Roosevelt (bless his violent soul) did much to make us see wilderness not as a dark force surrounding us, but as small surrounded areas needing defending.

C comments on how “white” the movie is. I also noticed that the number of characters with blue eyes is far out of proportion to blue eyes even amongst whites in Britain. I think they must have looted Iceland to get all those blonde, blue-eyed elves. But C does not comment on how “male” this story is, or on the obvious queer content. The movie expands Arwen’s role slightly beyond the beloved-woman-who-stays-at-home while Aragon goes off to fight. Galadriel has power, of course, but it is only the power to defend the home. The only female with any real role is Eowen (whom we have not seen in the first movie), and she only gets to play a role by pretending to be a man. Perhaps it is obvious, but this is a very male story.               

Which makes the queer content all the more interesting. It is obvious that Merry and Pippin are a couple, and that Frodo and Sam become one (as do Gimli and Legolas). I saw the movie the first time with a group of gay friends and there wasn’t a dry eye in our row at the end, when Frodo says that he is glad that Sam has come with him. C observes that Sam calls Frodo “Mr. Frodo,” but this class reference is quite consistent with traditional British images of gay couples—for example, see Maurice and Scudder in E.M. Forster’s Maurice (1913-14), or the monied, leisured Rat taking the working-class lad Mole to live with him in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (1908). I thought, by the way, that the class motif was mostly played down in the movie; Sam is not constantly calling Frodo “Sir.” And why are Frodo’s fingernails always dirty (even in Rivendell, where presumably he could wash) and bitten to the quick?                

Why is the Eye a vertical slit and not round like a human eye? Is it intended to remind one of female sexual organs? If so, is the message that female sexuality is the ultimate evil that threatens the all-male fellowship of the ring? What a “straight male” idea that is!                

C’s comments on the background I agree with for the scenes with large outdoor images—except that some of the mountains looked real. But indoors, the architectural details you could see behind people I thought were great. I loved the inside of Bag End, though I thought the outside scenes of the Shire were a bit twee. And the Charles Rennie Macintosh motifs for the elves’ houses (especially at Rivendell) were wonderful and extremely appropriate—though again the long shots of Rivendell seemed a bit schmaltzy; not exactly homely in the way that the last homely house west of the sea should be.                

To respond to A’s critique, I like “tales of lost innocence and golden ages.” I don’t think they are peculiar to any culture, nor do they say much about a particular culture or time. They say something about human beings, childhood, aging, and dreams. I thought, by the way, that Frodo’s maturing character came across rather well. He really is very “boyish” at the start of the movie, and anything but at the end. I did like and enjoy the movie.—John Bishop, Trent University

Marleen S. Barr Throws the Book. Wendy Pearson’s review of Genre Fission: A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies (SFS 28.3: 448-51) is misguided. I list below my responses to direct quotations from her argument:               

1. “Everyone, we are told ... remembers where they were when John F. Kennedy was shot. This ‘everyone’ somehow does not include those of us who were too young or unborn or living in a place where JFK’s assassination was not a momentous event” (449-50). Pearson just does not get it: one of the purposes of Genre Fission is to advocate a prose style for literary critics that is direct rather than convoluted. Everyone who reads criticism can be expected automatically to understand that “everyone” does not denote those unborn during a particular historical event. Ludicrously unnecessary clarification is simply not my style.  

2. “Barr characterizes the contemporary American landscape ... without appearing to notice ... that many Americans do not live in suburbia, either literally or discursively” (448). As is clear from the discussion of New York City and Los Angeles geography in Genre Fission, I situate suburbia as a metaphor. The claim that I (a native New Yorker who lives in Manhattan) fail to notice that not all Americans are suburbanites is so silly that I cannot address it in an intellectual vein.               

3. “The Holocaust is a theme which haunts this work in a variety of ways, giving it both a poignancy and an immediacy which the book’s somewhat narcissistic relationship to US popular culture can only lack. That these two broad thematics are also linked is perhaps most evident in the work currently being done by some Holocaust scholars, particularly Peter Novick’s and Hilene Flanzbaum’s work on the Americanization of the Holocaust, an issue which Genre Fission does not consciously address” (449). My Holocaust chapter cites Saul Friedlander, Lawrence Langer, Geoffrey Hartman, and George Steiner. What does Pearson think that Friedlander, Langer, Hartman, and Steiner are in relation to Holocaust studies—chopped liver? These scholars have written about the Americanization of the Holocaust—and so do I in my chapter. Pearson also just does not get it that one of the purposes of Genre Fission is to advocate a prose style for literary critics that is devoid of unnecessary citation.                

Why does Pearson argue that this American theorist’s approach to American popular culture should be different from all other American theorists’ approaches to American popular culture? I reserve the right to write about my field: American popular culture. Would Pearson fault, say, Eric Bentley for writing about Brecht? Just when I am co-editing a science-fiction issue of PMLA—just when I thought it was finally kosher to be a science-fiction critic after years of being told that science fiction is garbage rather than canonical American literature—Pearson says my work is too steeped in American culture. Oy, enough already. (Speaking New Yawk sometimes keeps the author of Genre Fission from exploding.)                

3a. “Genre Fission is peculiarly American in its approach to both literary criticism and popular culture” (449). The book contains repeated references to “particularly American icons ... [including] US Presidents” (449). Would Pearson fault, say, Theodore H. White for writing about American presidents? Surely Pearson, an English woman who resides in Australia, should realize that it is not peculiar for an American Americanist to write about American icons.                

3b. Pearson mentions the [American] “inwardness” of the book’s focus (449). American inwardness? Moi? Some of my best friends are Germans and Austrians. I married an alien. Genre Fission, which was completed during a year in which I taught in Austria and South Africa, reflects my outward interactions with non-American cultures: I wrote the Holocaust chapter while living in Austria, and my time in South Africa informs the portion of the suburbia chapter called “Los Angeles’ Potential Jump Toward Johannesburg.”                

4. “The project of Genre Fission is an ambitious one, yet it is one which seems at the same time curiously ungrounded in what should be its natural field, i.e., postmodernist thought” (448). Genre Fission discusses various (mostly American) cultural manifestations as a means to provide representative examples of how to write in terms of a new discourse practice. Yes, presenting a new discourse practice certainly is an ambitious project. I very purposefully restricted the book to one agenda; it was not my purpose to cite myriad theorists of postmodernism. In regard to grounding my ideas in postmodernist thought, I had already accomplished that objective in Feminist Fabulation: Space/Postmodern Fiction (U Iowa P 1992).               

5. I suppose that Pearson felt compelled to mention that “Marleen Barr has had an indubitable influence on the development of feminist science fiction criticism; her anthologies collect many of the important works on the topic” (450). There was an extreme paucity of feminist science-fiction criticism to develop before I started to write. Pearson puts forth a left-handed compliment, a dark response to my work’s totality. What about all that I have done other than edit anthologies? Pearson fails to articulate one good word about any of all the words I have written in my articles and books.                

6. Genre Fission concludes with a metaphor that asserts that literary theory can accomplish good in the world: throwing the book at evil isms can explode them. Pearson reads my metaphor literally: “I prefer books I’m intended to read, not throw” (451). For writing this review, I judge that Pearson should have the book thrown at her.—Marleen S. Barr, Columbia University

The “Frankenstein” Notebooks. What began as a review for SFS of The “Frankenstein” Notebooks, ed. Charles E. Robinson (Garland 1996), ended up as an article that was too long and too bibliographically-oriented for SFS. But the article by David Ketterer, entitled “The 1816-17 Frankensteins: An Alternative Reconstruction of Their Composition,” is concerned with Frankenstein as proto-sf and the interested reader may locate it in the “Scholarly Editing in Canada” double issue of English Studies in Canada 27 (March/June 2001; published in 2002): 99-127. It concludes a series of six Ketterer publications on The Frankenstein MSS, including three in SFS—two in March 1997 and one in November 1998.—David Ketterer, Concordia University
  
The Nation and Star Trek. A review by Donna Minkowitz of Enterprise, the new Star Trek series, appeared in The Nation on March 25, 2002. “Beam Us Back, Scotty!” critiques the new program not only as a “roiling race opera” but as a giant step backward for the franchise. The article can be found online at <http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020325&s=minkowitz>.—CM
 
SF and Old Babylon. While teaching The Epic of Gilgamesh this semester, I have been struck by the names and places from that very distant era that have been taken by sf writers and projected into the far future. One example is Lagash, a city in ancient Mesopotamia as well as the name of the planet that experiences catastrophic “Nightfall” in Isaac Asimov’s famous story (1941). In “Return to Tomorrow,” an episode of the original Star Trek series (1968), a disembodied group of very ancient aliens (“perhaps our forebears”) is led by a character named “Sargon,” which is also the name of a dynasty of Mesopotamian kings (2350-2220 BC). The first Sargon ruled over the city-state of Akad, but the name of a city to the south, Kesh, recalls the name that Ursula Le Guin gives to her valley-folk in Always Coming Home (1985). And the “Uruk-Hai” of J.R.R. Tolkien (they are soldier-Orcs of the Third Age) in part recall the city-state of Uruk in Sumeria, the same city probably built by the historical Gilgamesh. Although these could be coincidences, it seems likely that sf writers in search of alien exoticism have sometimes found it on maps (and in histories) of the ancient world. This is to say nothing of the appropriation of ancient Greek titles and names (e.g.,“Hegemon”) in today’s fantasy and sf. —CM
 
On-Line Film Journal. I am working as commissioning editor for Kinoeye, an online film journal that is expanding to a focus on sf. The journal is interested in European science fiction, particularly Eastern European sf films. Those who might be interested in becoming contributors may contact me at <chendershot@mail.astate.edu>.—Cyndy Hendershot, Arkansas State University
 
Call for Papers: Blacks In Science Fiction—A New Frontier. This interdisciplinary conference, to be held at Howard University in Washington DC on March 27-28, 2003, aims to address the role of African-American sf writers in defining the genre. At the core of the conference will be exchanges of ideas and identity theories surrounding the African-American in a genre of literature and film that has only recently been seen as a viable space for Black experience. Contributions focusing on the works of Octavia Butler (keynote speaker), Tannarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, Samuel R. Delany, Steven Barnes, and LeVar Burton are particularly welcome. Other suggested topics: The Absence/Presence of Race in SF; Afri­can-American/Caribbean Folklore and SF; Matriarchies and Patriarchies of the Future; Speculative Fiction vs Science Fiction; Gender Construction in the Past/Present/Future; Embracing Difference; Sacrifice and Survival; Time-Travel for the African-American; Memory as a Time Machine; Slave Narratives of the Future; Aliens and Black Bodies; Immortality and the Ancestors; Robots and Slaves; White and “Other” in Film; Lilith and Other Black Witches. To submit essays or for more information, contact the conference organizer, Gregory J. Hampton, Assistant Professor of African-American Literature, Department of English, Howard University, Locke Hall 212, 2400 Sixth Street, Washington, DC, 20059; (202) 806-5611 <ghampton@howard.edu>.—Gregory J. Hampton, Howard University
 
CFP: Hong Kong Conference 2003. “Technoscience, Material Culture, and Everyday Life” is the theme of a conference to be held on March 27-29, 2003 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. With the previously separate categories of science and technology inexorably merging in postmodern society, technoscience is reshaping not only our daily lives, but also the ways in which we define who we are. One area of conference focus will be the literature and scholarship of science fiction, although papers on other genres, media, and forms of societal expression are also welcome, as are papers addressing the ways that technoscience might transform global societies, with particular attention to the kaleidoscopically diverse cultures of Hong Kong and the Asian-Pacific region. Among other suggested topics are: technology and the media (including sf, action, and martial-arts films); the impact of digital special effects and computer games; virtual gender; embodiment as inter-corporeality; cybercultures, youth identities, and communities in an online world; feminist science studies; genetic engineering and material cultures; cyberdemocracy, cities, and civic networks; virtualities and cyberspace textuality; post-humanism and technoscience; human-machine interfaces and symbiosis. The conference is jointly sponsored by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of California, Riverside. Paper proposals must be received by January 10, 2003, and may be mailed or e-mailed to either of the addresses below. Expedited letters of acceptance for applications for financial support can be provided on request. For further information, contact Wong Kin Yuen, Coordinator, Chairman, and Division Head, Department of Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, China, <b114766@mailserv.cuhk.edu.hk>; or Gary Westfahl, Coordinator, The Learning Center, University of California at Riverside, Riverside, CA 91711,<gary.westfahl@ucr.edu>.—Amy Chan, Chinese University of Hong Kong
 
CFP: The Image of Paradise. The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of St Petersburg State University announces a conference to be held at the Centre of Comparative Study of Religion from October 31 to November 2, 2002. “The Image of Paradise: From Myth to Utopia” will discuss themes ranging from the topography of paradise and “virtual” paradise (images of paradise in art and literature) to paradise in utopian thought. Additional topics and ideas are welcome. To offer a proposal for a 20-minute paper, send a 400-word abstract not later than September 5, 2002 (in WinWord file or by e-mail) to St. Petersburg University, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Mendeleevskaya linia, 5 St Petersburg, 199034 Russia. Fax: +7(812)3280871; Tel: +7(812)3289590; e-mail: <relig@philosophy.pu.ru> or <mmarsh@ MS1013.spb.edu>.—Prof. Dr. Marianna Shakhnovich

CFP: “What Might Be Going to Have Been: Dark Myths and Legends.” The 24th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts will meet March 19 to March 23, 2003, at the Fort Lauderdale Airport Hilton. The conference theme is "Dark Myths and Legends," and special guests will include include Charles de Lint, Ramsey Campbell, and S.T. Joshi. Proposals should be submitted to the appropriate Division Heads no later than October 15, 2002. The Division Head for Science Fiction Literature and Theory is Greg Beatty, University of Phoenix On-Line (gbeatty@earthlink.net). Additional information about the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts and about its upcoming conference can be found on the IAFA website at the following adddress: <http://www.iafa.org>.—VH


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