#91 = Volume 30, Part 3 =
NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE
SF Intertextuality: Echoes of The Pilgrim’s Progress in Baum’s The Wizard of Oz and Burroughs’s First “Mars” Trilogy. There is a dreaming strain in modern sf that John Bunyan evidently helped to nourish. While I’m not proposing that the concerns of Bunyan and sf are identical, there are elements of kinship. For one thing, like Bunyan, sf writers reject the mundane present to focus on the future, or as Bunyan puts it in his title, the “world which is to come.” Paul K. Alkon has argued the “radical incompatibility” of “futuristic fiction” and religious prophecy as “practiced in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.... [T]he two forms tend toward opposite ends of the spectrum” (60-61). While agreeing about a fundamental disparity between the speculative and “allegorical” impulses (Alkon 61), my premise is that Bunyan’s focus on dreaming allows him, and writers who revise him, to access both ends of this narrative spectrum at once, producing characters and plots that are simultaneously emblematic and idiosyncratic.1
Part 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress, describing the journey of Christian, appeared in 1678; it was followed six years later by Part 2, in which Christian’s widow Christiana travels the same road. Bunyan’s tale was echoed two centuries later both by L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and Edgar Rice Burroughs in his first Barsoom trilogy (1912-1914).2 Baum and Burroughs, though more often linked to fantasy, deserve the attention of sf critics because of their influence on later writers undoubtedly in the sf genre from Robert A. Heinlein to Cordwainer Smith -- and this is to say nothing of the late-career path of Philip José Farmer as a Baum and Burroughs impersonator in his neo-Tarzan novels and such works as A Barnstormer in Oz (1983), Jesus on Mars (1979), and the Riverworld series. The Bunyanesque elements brought into sf by the immensely popular Baum and Burroughs go beyond adaptations of specific episodes to broader elements of plot and characterization. For like Bunyan’s Christian and Christiana, Baum’s Dorothy Gale of Kansas and Burroughs’s Captain John Carter of Virginia traverse an exotic dreamscape whose successive challenges demonstrate their “progress” into the heroism to which they are called -- however differently heroism and “calling” might be defined by each author.
Bunyan dwells on ontological rather than epistemological matters, on being and believing as opposed to knowing. As Barbara Johnson has said, “Bunyan’s metaphors do not deflect us toward a concept but rather embody an experiential truth” (124). My purpose in considering his legacy to popular sf is to consider an often overlooked element in sf’s complex heritage -- a focus on consciousness that, if not rigorously logical, can be analytic and speculative in its way.3 In emulating Bunyan, in fact, adventure fiction took on psychodramatic elements, prompting such later writers as Cordwainer Smith (who as a teenager wrote an imitation-Burroughs “Mars” story [Hellekson 7]) to show that for heroes, the way out can also be the way in.
Bunyan’s own battle to defend a singular consciousness was hard fought. He was jailed in Bedford in 1660 at the age of 32 for refusing to worship in the established religion and remained in jail twelve years. In 1676, jailed again for praying and preaching as the spirit, not the state, directed, he completed Part 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress, his twenty-fourth published work. It was wildly popular, selling over 100,000 copies before 1688, the year of his death. Bunyan recounts in Grace Abounding (1666) his rejection of that masterpiece of consensus, The Book of Common Prayer, which prescribes rituals and forms of devotion for the English church. In Bunyan’s view, even the “Our Father,” though taken directly from scripture, lost its force when recited out of context (Grace 112-14). For Bunyan, prayer was an outpouring of the spirit -- a gift to be received, not a lesson to be learned by rote. There could be no common prayer because there could be no common experience of “the Spirit,” a position Bunyan argued vigorously but unsuccessfully before the Bedford magistrates. Bunyan’s radical Protestant belief in the singular status of every human soul is conveyed in The Pilgrim’s Progress by an emphasis on dreams that is plain even in the printing of the word in extra-large type on the title page of the first edition: “The Pilgrim’s Progress From This World to That Which is to Come; Delivered Under the Similitude of a DREAM.” No two people can have the same dream, as in Bunyan’s view no two people can pray the same prayer or travel the same road. Dreams know nothing of consensus, though in Freud’s analysis they perform crucial work for the psyche.
Part 1 describes Christian’s journey. Though told to stay on the straight and narrow path, he twice strikes out on his own with disastrous consequences: Mount Sinai almost falls on his head when he attempts an early detour to the town of Morality (21) and he is imprisoned in Doubting Castle by Giant Despair (and almost commits suicide) when he is talked into trying a short-cut (101). Christian travels with a single companion and handler; after Faithful’s execution at Vanity Fair, he walks with Hopeful. In Part 2, Christiana, widow of Christian, is called in a dream to travel the same road, but her experience is entirely different. At first she walks with her four sons and her friend Mercy, but (like Baum’s Dorothy Gale two centuries later) she acquires an ever-increasing entourage of other pilgrims, most of them disabled in some way. This band of pilgrims support and encourage each other, but it is Christiana, a serene matron very unlike self-doubting Christian, who sets the steady tone of Part 2.
Even though they meet the same people and stop at the same places, Christian and Christiana enact stories as different as their personalities. It may be precisely this hospitality to contradiction in Bunyan, this dream-possibility of seeing the same road from two contrary perspectives, that popular sf has found so useful. Freud wrote that a major attribute of dreams is that in them the whole category of “contraries and contradictions” is “simply disregarded”: situations that in real life would be mutually exclusive must in interpreting a dream be given equal weight, added up as supplements rather than logically reconciled:
“No” seems not to exist as far as dreams are concerned. They show a particular preference for combining contraries into a unity or for representing them as one and the same thing. (929)
Indeed, Bunyan’s portrayal of dreaming is in itself dreamlike in its contradiction. For the narrative so enticingly offered to readers as two compelling dreams repeatedly warns readers (in passages later recalled by Baum) of the dangers risked by pilgrims who fall asleep on Enchanted Ground.4
Baum and Burroughs revisit episodes in Bunyan’s plot, but more importantly they adapt Bunyan’s contradictory portrayal of characters who are at once realistic (speaking a racy contemporary English) and didactic/symbolic. Broadly enough conceived to work as archetypes -- the little girl, the man of action -- Dorothy Gale and John Carter at the same time exhibit, as do Christiana and Christian, distinct personalities and a nimble mother-wit.5
Let me conclude these thoughts (preliminary to a larger project) with a few examples of shared motifs. Though I had been taking notes on these before encountering his essay, I should say that L. Karl Franson’s essay on Bunyan and Baum covers some of the same motifs, though drawing different conclusions.
The Calling. All three stories open with a great change. Graceless, a man clothed in rags, flees the City of Destruction to seek the gate that Evangelist has told him opens onto a road leading straight to the Celestial City; he becomes a pilgrim and assumes a new name, Christian. As The Wonderful Wizard of Oz opens, Dorothy Gale’s introduction is preceded by a famous description of a desiccated landscape:
The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass.... Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.
When Aunt Em came to live there she was a young, pretty wife. The sun
and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray; they had taken the red from her cheeks and lips and they were gray also. She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled, now. (8)
The cyclone intervenes, transporting Dorothy from this blank and futile space -- this Prairie of Destruction -- to Oz, a child-sized, child-centered, colorful place that seems, like a dream or a toy, designed just for her interaction. Burroughs’s first chapter also begins with a departure. John Carter, a former Confederate officer who is prospecting in Arizona, is chased by Apaches into a cave. Felled by a misty vapor that induces sleepiness, Carter loses consciousness, only to recover as a spirit looking down on his own dead body. In a magnificent dream-move reminiscent of the non-transitions in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), the newly deceased Carter’s immediate reaction is to step outside for a breath of fresh air. Surveying the splendid view, he sees Mars in the night sky:
As I gazed upon it I felt a spell of overpowering fascinationit was Mars, the god of war, and for me, the fighting man, it had always held the power of irresistible enchantment. As I gazed on it that fargone night it seemed to call across the unthinkable void.... I closed my eyes, stretched out my arms toward the god of my vocation and felt myself drawn with the suddenness of thought through the trackless immensity of space. (PM 9)
Like Christian, John Carter is born again at the beginning of his story; the next chapter is appropriately titled “My Advent on Mars.” Carter, seen by the Martians alternately as “arch-blasphemer” (WM 69) and Jeddak of Jeddaks (Prince of Princes), bears the same initials -- JC -- as another controversial messiah. He pursues his vocation as hero across a dreamlike “planet of paradoxes” (PM 46) that is the very place to perfect through trial his skills as a “fighting man” (PM 9). And like Christian and Dorothy, Carter is in a closing scene “promoted” after many mishaps, receiving the title “Warlord of Barsoom” as he stands on the “Pedestal of Truth” in the “Temple of Reward” and faces what he calls the “Throne of Righteousness” (WM 157).
The Mark. The calling of the hero is visible as a shining mark. In Bunyan, the character named Interpreter marks Christiana and Mercy: “he set his mark upon them that they might be known in the places whither they were yet to go.... This seal greatly added to their beauty” (185). Dorothy’s mark is bestowed by the witch (not named Glinda in the novel) who tells her about the yellow brick road and the Emerald City: “‘[N]o one will dare injure a person who has been kissed by the Witch of the North.’...Where her lips touched the girl, they left a round, shining mark” (17). The Guardian of the Gates at the Emerald City admits Dorothy to the city because of this mark, which is also the reason that the Wizard grants Dorothy and her friends an audience. The shining mark protects Dorothy, just as it does Christiana and Mercy. The Wicked Witch of the West tells the Winged Monkeys to kill Dorothy, but when they see the shining mark, they bring her back to the Witch, who instead of killing the child (she too fears to harm the bearer of this mark), sets her to work in the scullery, leading to a memorable later scene involving dishwater.6 Though not as central in Burroughs’s first Mars trilogy, there is a small crisis in Warlord of Mars that remembers Bunyan’s shining mark. When John Carter is disguised as a red Martian, a spy washes some of the red paint from his forehead while he sleeps, exposing him when he next enters the court, for the telltale circle of white is a “fatal sign ... upon my brow” that leads to his exposure and capture (68). Throughout the 1920s, Burroughs unsuccessfully pitched to publishers the idea of an “Autobiography of Cain” that presumably would have explored further this idea of the “marking” of protagonists.
Enchanted Ground. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, the Enchanted Ground is a pleasure-ground near the earthly paradise, Beulah; it has been cursed by a hostile worldling, Madame Bubble. Bunyan’s message: the seductions of worldliness lull pilgrims, inviting them to a spiritual sleep. Part 2 explains its properties:
By this time they were got to the Enchanted Ground, where the air naturally tended to make one drowsy .... [H]ere and there ... was an enchanted arbour, upon which ... if a man sleeps, ‘tis a question, say some, whether ever they shall rise or wake again in this world. (264)
Christiana’s anxious query about them: “Ay, ay, I saw Heedless and Too-bold there. And for aught I know, there they will lie till they rot” (268). As Karl Franson has also noted (104), this dangerous ground near the end of the pilgrims’ journey may have inspired the field of deadly poppies near the Emerald City that in Baum’s novel endangers Dorothy: “Now it is well known that [the poppies’] ... odor is so powerful that anyone who breathes it falls asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried away ... he sleeps on and on forever” (50). When Dorothy and the Lion do fall asleep in the poppy field, Baum echoes Standfast’s writing off of Heedless and Too-Bold. The Scarecrow and Woodsman move Dorothy, but sadly agree that they “can do nothing for [the Lion] ... for he is much too heavy to lift. We must leave him here to sleep on forever, and perhaps he will dream that he has found courage at last” (51). Finally, John Carter’s adventures are made possible by the sleep brought on by an enchanted vapor in a magical cave, which induces the same deathlike trance: “a sense of delicious dreaminess overcame me” (6). For Carter, profound sleep on enchanted ground in Arizona is the prelude to adventures on Mars.
Gods, Wizards, and Humbugs. This is a point of major difference. Baum and Burroughs focus on false calling and deluded pilgrimage. Unlike Bunyan’s Christian and Christiana, the Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Woodsman already possess the special talents that they are on pilgrimage to find. And the Emerald City is no transcendent final destination, especially if the mandatory green spectacles that make it look a certain way are removed. (In Baum’s original, it isn’t an Emerald City at all: everyone is just required to wear green glasses.) Though Dorothy liberates Oz, she doesn’t want to live there: “Send me back to Kansas ... I don’t like your country, although it is so beautiful” (66). Oz is revealed as a false Heaven around the same narrative moment that its presiding spirit, the Wizard, reveals that he is a false god:
“I have been making believe.”
“Making believe!” cried Dorothy. “Are you not a great Wizard?”
“.... Not a bit of it, my dear. I’m just a common man.”
“You’re more than that,” said the Scarecrow in a grieved tone; “you’re a humbug.” (97)
Later, the Wizard says to himself, “How can I help being a humbug, when all these people make me do things that everybody knows can’t be done?” (105).
Burroughs’s portrait of the “gods” of Mars goes beyond Baum’s gentle derision to flamboyant hostility. Carter reports that Martians never die of old age, though they often perish in battles, assassinations, and sporting accidents. It is the custom of those who survive many battles, however, at “about the age of one thousand years” to “go voluntarily upon their last strange pilgrimage down the river Iss, which leads no living Martian knows whither and from whose bosom no Martian has ever returned” (PM 16-17). In the second novel, The Gods of Mars, Carter discovers that the entire Martian religious system is a sham: the priest class, the so-called “Holy Therns,” eat the faithful immediately upon on arrival at the far shore, sparing just a few for use as slaves and sex partners. “This, John Carter, is Heaven,” says his green friend Tars Tarkas bitterly, after he is rescued from the Plant Men who drain the blood from arriving pilgrims in order to sanctify their flesh for consumption by the Holy Therns (31). Carter resolves to escape this fiendish false Heaven in order to bring the blessings of his own agnosticism to the deluded Martian masses: “Only thus may we carry the truth ... though the likelihood of our narrative being given credence is, I grant you, remote, so wedded are mortals to their stupid infatuation for impossible superstitions” (GM 45).
Ontologies of “Progress.” In Warlord of Mars, while imprisoned in the Pit of Plenty in the city of Kadabra, Carter is sent a message that is not as symbolically weighty as Christian’s instructions to keep on the straight and narrow path or even the witch’s directions to Dorothy to follow the road of yellow brick. Carter’s instruction sheet reads only: “Follow the rope.” Using the rope provided to climb out of the Pit, he follows its path through a labyrinth of Kadabran subterranean passages. But the rope ends just before the junction of five branching tunnels. So much for following orders; Carter must make his own decision about where to go next. The breaking of the rope is not even the result of some enemy’s evil intent: “It must have been cut by someone,” decides Carter, “in need of a piece of rope” (123).
Bunyan’s unifying vision of a single road and a single human soul traversing wonder and peril is recast for children in some detail by Baum, though he reserves for his conclusion a thorough debunking of Bunyan’s emphasis on unswerving faith. But the road, like the rope, plays out in Burroughs, leaving the hero in a maze of unmarked paths. Burroughs’s decision to jettison this effective unifying trope -- following the road -- might be simply a lapse of artistry, but it could also be read as a fitting enough emblem for 1914. In the year that Warlord of Mars was published, what lay ahead for the world was as hopeless a puzzle as the branching tunnels that confront John Carter in Kadabra. Even when Bunyan’s adapters change the story, they obliquely evoke, as Bunyan did and as dreams do, the historical world out of which the hero’s dream is projected.
In the poem that precedes Part 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan justifies his departure from theology into allegorical fiction with a defensive implied comparison of himself to Plato: “I find that men as high as trees will write/Dialogue-wise, yet no man doth them slight/For writing so” (7). Bunyan seems to have envied the intellectual prestige enjoyed by speculative philosophers, even though he disagreed with their commitment to reforming rather than fleeing the City of Destruction. In any event, his work enriches (through Baum and Burroughs) an ontological/psychological current -- a recurrent emphasis on consciousness and states of being -- in the popular sf tradition. Like many a later sf hero, Bunyan’s Christian begins to make “progress” only after, intent on a private errand, he frees himself from the gravitational pull of the mundane world. The energy with which Christian rejects the material world provides a distant historical model for some later heroes of popular sf, who also depart this world in order to traverse a dreamlike space.
Baum dreamed up Oz when he was forty-four: though born into wealth, he had failed in a long series of business ventures. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first John Carter of Mars story was his first publication. Burroughs was thirty-five and had begun the manuscript of what is now known as A Princess of Mars on the backs of unused letterhead stationery from his own string of failed enterprises. Baum evidently derived from Bunyan (and Burroughs from Baum) the emphasis on a linear journey that dramatizes the calling of the hero, the main action of travel to a City, and a stylized symbolism that progresses in Baum to a color-coded Oz and in Burroughs to contrasting (and often warring) Green, Red, White, Black, and Yellow Martian societies. Yet both American writers transfer Bunyan’s motifs to a distinctly secular and democratic vision. Christian is intent on saving himself, but Dorothy Gale and John Carter are wholesale emancipators of oppressed peoples, from the Munchkins and Winkies of Oz to the various factions and religious sects of Barsoom. Both U.S. writers exhibit a pragmatic value for action over Word that is antithetical to Bunyan’s own beliefs. Yet both were, like Bunyan in his den of a prison cell, outsiders who dreamed into print wildly popular stories of contemporary characters whose adventurous road takes them out of this world, across a fantastic dreamscape, and into their own heroism.7--CM
1. These protagonists are a sometimes disjunctive blend of realistic and symbolic qualities. Burroughs’s John Carter, for instance, first-person narrator, is a veteran of the Civil War, a native of Virginia, a proponent of nudism, a prospector -- a specific person of the late-nineteenth/early-twentieth century. Yet he is also something of an abstract emblem and superhero, and not only in his resurrection after apparent death. In introducing himself in the first novel, for instance, he discloses a strange detail: “I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood. So far as I can recollect I have always been a man of about thirty” (PM 1).
2. From the first of his Barsoom tales, Burroughs seems intent on setting the groundwork for an extended Oz-like saga, though marketed to young adults rather than children. His echoes of Bunyan are most likely secondary, through his close study and revision of elements in Baum’s super-successful series.
3. One small instance of Bunyan’s interest in character analysis may be seen in his extended account of the misadventures of neurotic but plucky Mr. Fearing: “He had, I think, a Slough of Despond in his mind, a slough that he carried everywhere with him, or else he could never have been as he was” (222). Mr. Fearing may have inspired Baum’s Cowardly Lion; he certainly shows how well a linear adventure plot can serve a writer interested in the workings of his characters’ minds.
4. J. Karl Franson’s essay was especially useful to my researches in its account of the Enchanted Ground and also of the parallels between Christiana and Dorothy.
5. Water and general cleanliness are associated with heroism by all three writers. Christiana, Mercy, and the boys are instructed to bathe at Interpreter’s house: “and [when] they came out of that Bath ... they looked fairer a deal” (184). In Oz, Dorothy explains her need to bathe (as well as to eat, sleep, and drink) to her new friend the Scarecrow, who remarks that “It must be inconvenient to be made of flesh” (29). In Warlord of Mars, John Carter notes approvingly that the public house at which he is lodging requires that all guests “bathe daily or depart from the hotel” (98).
6. Though the film of 1939 presents Dorothy’s Oz adventures as having been induced by a blow to the head, Baum does not present his original story as a dream. When Dorothy returns to Kansas courtesy of her silver shoes, Uncle Henry has had time to build a new house to replace the old one that the cyclone carried to Oz; and on the homeward journey, Dorothy’s silver shoes fall off and are “lost forever in the desert” (132).
7. Heinlein’s rugged-individualist heroes are reminiscent of Burroughs’s quasi-supermen. And like both Baum and Burroughs, Heinlein often revisits old characters, retelling earlier stories. The heroine of The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985), for instance, is Hazel Stone, who was the feisty matriarch of the Stone family in The Rolling Stones (1952) and the child-revolutionary and child-wife in The Moon is A Harsh Mistress (1966). In Cat, Jubal Harshaw pays tribute to Baum and Burroughs: “A truly strong myth-maker, such as Homer, such as Baum, such as the creator of Tarzan, creates substantial and lasting worlds ... whereas the fiddlin’, unimaginative liars and fabulists shape nothing new and their tedious dreams are forgotten” (365).
Alkon, Paul K. Origins of Futuristic Fiction. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1987.
Baum, L. Frank. The Wizard of Oz. Critical Heritage Series. Ed. Michael Patrick Hearn. New York: Schocken, 1983.
Bunyan, John. Grace Abounding and The Life and Death of Mr. Badman. London: Dent (Everyman), 1956.
─────. The Pilgrim’s Progress. Ed. Roger Sharrock. 1965. London: Penguin, 1987.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice. The Gods of Mars. 1913. New York: Del Rey, 1979.
─────. A Princess of Mars. 1912 (as Under the Moon of Mars). New York, Del Rey, 1979.
─────. The Warlord of Mars. 1913-14. New York: Del Rey, 1979.
Freud, Sigmund. “The Dream-Work.” The Interpretation of Dreams. Trans. James Strachey. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent Leitch. New York: Norton, 2000. 919-99.
Franson, J. Karl. “From Vanity Fair to Emerald City: Baum’s Debt to Bunyan.” Children's Literature: Annual of The Modern Language Association Division on Children's Literature and The Children's Literature Association 23 (1995): 91-114.
Heinlein, Robert A. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls: A Comedy of Manners. 1985. New York: Ace, 1988.
Hellekson, Karen. The Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith. Jefferson, NC: McFarlane, 2001.
Johnson, Barbara A. “Falling into Allegory: The ‘Apology’ to The Pilgrim’s Progress and Bunyan’s Scriptural Methodology.” Bunyan in Our Time. Ed. Robert G. Collmer. Kent: Kent State UP, 1989. 113-37.
Request for SF Illustration/Animation Materials. For developing a project in animation for a Brazilian television sf series, I need to set up a file or reference library with material on prior sf series. I have had difficulty finding such materials in Brazil, and I lack the money to import them, so I am asking for help. If you have any sf photographic material (books with illustrations of space-ships, comics, or photo-novels with an sf theme), I would find them most useful. I cannot pay but would offer my work as an illustrator in exchange; and when my animated film is ready, I will send a copy, citing in my acknowledgments those who have helped me. My postal address is: Alexandre Ramos Mastrella, Caixa Postal 181, 75701-970, Catalao, Goias, Brasil. -- Alexandre Ramos Mastrella
Clarion Funding Cut at MSU. The Clarion Writer's Workshop has lost its university funding from Michigan State University. (This is the original Clarion, not Clarion West in Seattle, which is supported by donations.) The survival of both Clarions is immensely important to the quality of writing, criticism, and editing in the sf field. Those who wish to express their support for Clarion should send an email to MSU's Interim President and Provost, Dr. Lou Anna K. Simon, at <email@example.com> and the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Dr. Wendy K. Wilkins, at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Please copy any messages to <email@example.com>. -- Michael Levy, U of Wisconsin, Stout
Mervyn Peake News. Inside Out, a television film about Peake’s years (in the mid-1930s) on the Channel Island of Sark, aired in Britain on BBC South West last June 30. Other Peake-related summer events in the UK included the July 3 auction at Christie’s of Peake’s original drawing for “Where are you going to my pretty maid?” and the placement of Gormenghast (1950) on the BBC’s poll of the “nation’s 100 best-loved novels.” For further details, see <http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top100.shtml>and <www.unil.ch/angl/ docs/peake-st>. -- G. Peter Winnington, Editor, Peake Studies
Heinlein’s First Novel Surfaces. “For Us, The Living” was written by Heinlein in 1938 or 1939 and, according to Virginia Heinlein, destroyed in 1987. But a remaining manuscript has been found among the papers of Leon Stover (biographer of Heinlein) and has been sold by the Heinlein estate to Pocket Books. Publication is expected in January 2004. The novel is said to have been influenced by H.G. Wells’s Things to Come (1936) and to be similar in theme to Heinlein’s Beyond This Horizon (serialized in 1942). The title evidently alludes to “The Gettysburg Address”: “It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” -- CM
Call for Papers: ICFA. The 25th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts will focus on the global fantastic. Global culture is threaded with strands of the fantastic: Japanese anime, Russian folk-tales, fragments of the Ramayana, Latin American magic-realism, African trickster tales. Possible topics for papers include postcolonial theory and the fantastic, the racialized Other, representations of race and gender, fantastic film, legends and fairy tales, the fantastic in translation, and the multicultural fantastic. Papers on less-known authors of sf, fantasy, and horror (from all nations) are welcome, as are papers focusing on the work of Guest of Honor Daína Chaviano, Guest Scholar Marcial Souto, and Special Guest Writer Elizabeth Hand. As always, we also welcome proposals for papers and panels on any aspect of the fantastic. For general information, contact Gary K. Wolfe, IAFA Committee Director, Evelyn T. Stone College, Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605; FAX: (312) 281-3132; e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. To submit a proposal (formal deadline for submission of proposals was October 15, 2003), quickly contact the appropriate Division Head. Contact information is available on the website: <http://www.iafa.org>. -- Christine Mains, University of Calgary
Mythic Imagination Newsletter and Conference. Mythic Passages is the newsletter of the Mythic Imagination Institute, sponsor of the Mythic Journeys Conference, to be held in Atlanta from June 3-7, 2004, in celebration of the centennial of Joseph Campbell’s birth. We plan a series of conversations, performances, and workshops, exploring patterns that disclose ways of finding meaning in an increasingly dangerous world and that furnish generative metaphors for art, poetry, conflict resolution, mental well-being, and personal growth. Those who register on the website <http://www.mythicjourneys.org> will be kept up to date about the conference and other Mythic Imagination programs; we hope that the poems, news items, and book reviews in the newsletter will be of interest, too. Mythic Passages may be found online at: <http://www.mythicjourneys.org/passages>. If you have any comments about the newsletter, we’d like to hear your thoughts. Write to John Adcox at email@example.com or call (404) 832-4127. -- John Adcox, Mythic Imagination Institute
CFP: A Commonwealth of Science Fiction. Papers are desired on science fiction/fantasy from any part of the Commonwealth for a conference presented by the Science Fiction Foundation at the Foresight Center, Liverpool, from August 5-8, 2004. Guests are Nalo Hopkinson, Damien Broderick, and Jon Courtenay Grimwood. Building on the success of the “2001: A Celebration of British Science Fiction” event, we wish to bring scholars, critics, researchers, academics, librarians, and readers together to consider the Commonwealth and the common weal: the Empire writing back, centers and margins, national histories of sf, national identity and sf, dialect and idiolect, hybrid identities, post-imperial melancholy, international and local markets, the Pacific Rim versus the North Atlantic, and evaluations and re-evaluations of sf in any media, written or visual, from Commonwealth countries. Send abstracts or expressions of interest to Andrew Butler, D28, Arts and Media, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, High Wycombe, HP11 2JZ, UK; or email <andrew.butler @bcuc.ac.uk>. Closing date for proposals is January 31, 2004. Further (and updated) information may be found at <http://homepages.enterprise.net/ ambutler/acosf/index.html>. -- Andrew M. Butler, Canterbury Christ Church University College
Sunburst Award Shortlist. The Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic takes its name from the first published novel of Phyllis Gotlieb. The winner receives a cash stipend of $1000 and a specially designed medallion. The short list for the 2003 award was announced in July: Talon by Paulette Dubé (NeWest 2002), Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson (Time Warner 2001), Salt Fish Girl by Larissa Lai (Thomas Allen 2002), Permanence by Karl Schroeder (Tor 2002), and Dead Man’s Gold by Paul Yee (Douglas & McIntyre 2002). The jurors were Lesley Choyce, Hiromi Goto, Terence M. Green, Eileen Kernaghan, and Arthur Slade. For further information and the name of the winning author, visit the web site at <www.sunburstaward.org>. -- CM
Tomb of Gilgamesh Discovered? Archaeologists in Iraq may have found the lost tomb of the historical Gilgamesh, hero of the oldest “book” in history. See <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2982891.stm> for details. -- Hal Hall, Texas A&M University
Back to Home