SUZANNE BOSWELL is a PhD candidate at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her dissertation, “Tropics of Temporality: Science Fiction, Caribbean Literature and Narratives of the Future,” explores the Caribbean’s centrality to science fiction’s postwar imagination. In the post-WWII period, science fiction narratives adopted Caribbean literary aesthetics to produce a temporality that was segmented, non-linear and anti-evolutionary: a collapsed future that simultaneously resisted Western colonizing impulses, and supported the West’s desire to regain the tropical spaces it lost in the postcolonial era. The dissertation’s second chapter looks at the gap between the cyberpunk novel’s dystopian portrayals of cyber-technology and the technologist reception of cyberspace as a utopic escape. By eliding the ambivalent, dystopian aspects of cyberpunk narratives, publishers rebranded technology as value-neutral to the technologist consumer. In masking the dark side of virtual reality, SF publishers fed the desire of technologists to “make real” the science of cyberpunk, but technologists proved incapable of realizing a cyberpunk utopia, creating a constant cycle of anticipation, disappointment and dystopian corruption that continues to this day. She will travel to the Cushing Memorial library to examine the extensive archive of correspondence between William Gibson, his agent Martha Millard, and his publishers to further understand how publication practices in science fiction fueled technological transformations.
MICHAEL GREEN is a PhD candidate at West Virginia University. His dissertation, Beyond Horror: A Phenomenology of the Weird, explores the core defining features that he argues gives the Weird its own unique genre character. His work will trace through the fiction and non-fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his contemporaries working in the American pulps of the 1920s and 1930s, the development of what can best be described as a double-identity of ontological-embodied displacement: an identity expressed at once as a fundamental disruption of one’s “at-home-ness” in the cosmos, an a priori estrangement to one’s embodied being-in-the-world. This orientation is part and parcel to re-defining Weird fiction’s relationship to the uncanny along more ontological lines conceived by philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Gilles Deleuze. He plans to include the works of contemporary authors of the new weird to investigate the possibility of what Heideggerian scholar Katherine Withy calls an “owned uncanniness.” It is the very possibility of recuperating via an openness to dissolution and transformation our fundamental “unhomeliness” (unheimlich) in the world that distinguishes the weird as a particular phenomenological domain of inquiry all its own. To conduct the research necessary to support this project he will visit the H.P. Lovecraft archives within Brown John Hays Library’s special collections at Brown University to read both Lovecraft’s correspondence with people such as Clark Ashton Smith, Donald Wandrei and August Derleth, as well as the newly-acquired papers of one of the new weird’s most formidable practitioners, Caitlin Kiernan.
KATIE STONE is a PhD student working in the English and Humanities department of Birkbeck, University of London, who will visit the University of Oregon’s Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Collections to investigate the papers of Joanna Russ. In particular she will focus on Russ’s children’s book, Kittatinny: A Tale of Magic and her novel, We Who Are About To..., in which the possibility of future children is rejected in favor of a queer present. She will attempt to read these texts, and Russ’s contemporary correspondence, in conversation with one another in order to produce a more holistic understanding of the role of childhood in Russ’s queer feminist science fiction.
DEREK LEE received his PhD in English from Penn State University. His research project, Parascientific Revolutions, explores the concept of the paranormal mind in twentieth-century literature and science. The notion of a human consciousness capable of telepathy, clairvoyance, and other supernatural powers has attracted the interest of writers and philosophers ever since the birth of the psychological sciences. This study tracks the evolution of paranormal cognition from its roots in psychical research and literary modernism to its later transformations via quantum physics, systems biology, Golden Age science fiction, and speculative ethnic fiction. One area that remains underdeveloped in the literary and scientific history of paranormal discourse is the connection between the “psi fi” subgenre and government parapsychology. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the US government’s Stargate Project attempted to develop a new form of clairvoyant spycraft known as “remote viewing.” As the creator of remote viewing, a founding member of Stargate, and a prolific author of psychical literature, Ingo Swann is a central figure in modern parapsychology whose contributions to psi fi remained overlooked. Another area that requires development is the re-theorization of paranormal cognition in ethnic fiction. Many ethnofuturistic texts deploy non-Western science to authorize various psi functions. Understanding the epistemological and political ramifications of shifting from modern to nonmodern science is crucial for understanding contemporary configurations of the paranormal. In addition to reviewing the Ingo Swann papers at the University of West Georgia to study Swann’s notes and correspondence, he will visit the Bud Foote Science Fiction collection at Georgia Tech to research their ethnofuturism archives.
DENNIS WILSON WISE received his PhD in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He studies twentieth and twenty-first-century British and American literature, especially The Lord of the Rings and its relationship to political theory. Among J.R.R. Tolkien’s lesser known legacies, however, was his attempt—alongside C. S. Lewis and W. H. Auden—to revive alliterative poetry, an old verse form common among Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and medieval poets. At the same time, SFWA Grand Master Poul Anderson also made major contributions to the twentieth-century alliterative revival and, in fact, Anderson probably deserves co-credit as the movement’s originator. Unfortunately, modern scholars have failed to recognize Anderson’s impact. He never achieved Tolkien’s popularity, nor did he publish much alliterative verse outside of small fanzines, thus limiting his influence. Yet one of Anderson’s prodigies was another little-known alliterative poet named Paul Edwin Zimmer, and Zimmer mentions the existence of several other contemporary poets who felt Anderson’s influence. Sadly, these poets go unnamed. Thus, DWW plans to scour the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection at the University of California, Riverside in the hopes of ascertaining the extent of Anderson’s “pulp” alliterative revival. In what context did Anderson publish his work? What discussions did it start? How did it impact the speculative fiction community, and who were the poets who decided to follow Anderson’s lead? In other words, how far did this pulp alliterative revival go?
STINA ATTEBERY is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Riverside. Her dissertation, Refuse Ecologies: Indigenous Posthumanism in Polluted Futures, looks at the representation of polluted ecologies in Indigenous futurism. Indigenous science rethinks the divisions among life, death, animacy, inanimacy, ecology, geology, and toxicity in ways that emphasize precarious kinship in the face of climate change. In apocalyptic Indigenous futurism, the refuse of capitalism—bioengineered experiments, broken machines, landfill tricksters, unruly chemical agents, gas mask warriors—forges new kinship within a polluted ecosystem. Indigenous science fiction therefore explores the discomforting connections between futurity and waste at stake in human collaborations with the nonhuman world. She will visit the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale to research the papers and manuscripts of Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe), particularly his science fiction novel Heirs of Columbus and story collection Landfill Meditation: Crossblood Stories.
RHODRI DAVIES is a PhD Candidate at Birkbeck College, University of London. His dissertation, A Secular Religion: Pulp Science Fiction and Alien Theologies, explores the apparent contradiction between the privileging of scientific rigour that underpinned “Golden Age” science fiction and its appropriation in the formulation of science-fictional New Religious Movements—an interdisciplinary project drawing on methodological tools offered by the cognitive and digital humanities, as well as cultural history and literary criticism. The funding from this fellowship will enable him to visit the Eaton Collection, UCR, for two weeks, to conduct research for a chapter on fandom at a period in which many expressed interests and ambitions that are shared by later religious movements. Specifically, he will investigate fan publications and correspondence concerning Claude Degler, whose advocacy of “fanationalism” and attempts to establish a fan community to usher in the next stage of human evolution clearly prefigure such movements. Although Degler enjoyed a brief period of infamy and is mentioned in most histories of fandom, a closer analysis of his publications and other fans’ responses to his mission is overdue, and will help to illuminate an often overlooked history of sf: the genre’s imbrication with the mystical, occult and esoteric.
BETHANY DOANE is a PhD candidate at Penn State University. Her dissertation, Weird Reading: Horror as Radical Politics at the End of the World, draws on critical theory, feminist studies, and genre literature in order to posit the aesthetic and conceptual significance of weird fiction in the contemporary moment. This interstitial and speculative genre attempts to think toward the unthinkable by imagining what lies beyond human perceptual, epistemic, and phenomenological limits. It therefore engages directly with the conceptual framework of several aspects of the contemporary nonhuman turn. Following the mode’s fascination with the “outside” as one of such ambivalence that it easily opens to both reactionary and radical interpretations, this project is also devoted to the politics and practices of reading weird/horror, as well as to the political contexts of how various media, from pulp magazines to blogs, has enabled certain gendered and racially configured reading communities and practices. She will travel to the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature at the University of California, Riverside, to examine the extensive archive of early and mid-century weird fiction housed there, particularly the advertisements, artwork, and regular contributions to a section of Weird Fiction magazine called “The Eyrie,” a reader’s forum in which fans exchanged thoughts and opinions.
Andrew Ferguson received his PhD in English from the University of Virginia in 2017. His present project explores the role of editorial work in shaping the thing retroactively called the New Wave—not just in the tasks of selection and promotion, but also in the textual operations of line and copy editing. Studying these processes reveals the actual language of the New Wave in the process of becoming, language that continues to exert an outsized influence not only on the genre, but also on everyday reality, as the visions of that generation creep dangerously closer to quotidian life. Among the figures whose labor proved crucial to this movement, few stood as more central than Judith Merril, whose England Swings SF anthology capped two decades of work in the field. Although her papers contain Merril’s correspondence with almost every major author and critic of the day, and documentation of her contributions to their stories, they have rarely been consulted and have not yet been completely processed, in part because they are not held along with her books at the Toronto Public Library, but rather at the National Archives in Ottawa. Andrew will spend two weeks with these papers, developing a picture of Merril’s editorial tendencies and mapping her relations to the writings of others at the heart of the New Wave. He hopes also to begin the process of reuniting these materials with the collection in Toronto, placing them in the hands of those best able to preserve and curate them.
GUILIO ARGENIO is a M.A. student of Contemporary History in the department of Civilization and Forms of Knowledge at the University of Pisa. His dissertation investigates the various ways in which the booming landscape of U.S. mass media was portrayed in sf during the Fifties. The research is centered around Galaxy, a magazine both popular and aware of the changes in society, and aims at studying the social perceptions of media trough the lens of mass literature. Adopting a cultural history perspective, science fiction short stories and novellas become historical sources that require specific approaches and stimulates complex questions about the relationship between history and literature. The Fifties in America were an age when the anxieties of McCarthyism merged with a full blown consumerism, and a close examinations of these texts could let surface popular fears towards commercial conditioning and political propaganda. He will visit The Science Fiction Foundations Collection at the University of Liverpool to explore and read the vast number of Galaxy’s issues hosted by the archive.
FLEUR HOPKINS is a PhD candidate at University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in France. Her dissertation, At the frontiers of the invisible: optical instruments and visual culture of the scientific-marvellous novel at the turn of the century (1875-1930), wishes to rediscover a forgotten literary genre, the merveilleux-scientifique coined by Maurice Renard, and to investigate its visual culture via disciplines such as physiological optics and media archaeology. Indeed, her work examines a visual and physical fin de siècle turning point, when multiple scientific discoveries led to a constant back-and-forth between the known and the unknown, the visible and the invisible. She will visit for a week the Maison d’Ailleurs in Yverdon to gain access to rare books of forgotten French authors (Varlet, Couvreur, Thévenin, La Hire…) in the Pierre Versins and Brian Stableford collections and also to collect visual documents from the Andrew Watts collection.
IRENE MORRISON is a PhD Candidate at the University of California Riverside. Her dissertation, Decolonizing Utopia: Postcolonial Technosciences and Contingent Visions of Utopia in Science Fiction, focuses on how Indigenous and non-Western writers—including Native North American, Palestinian, and Afro-Caribbean writers—are transforming the genre. Rather than simply reject the techno-optimism of Western science fiction, these writers imagine new technologies based in Indigenous philosophies of science. They speculate on how new approaches to technology can address the world's most pressing problems, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and inequality—while maintaining healthy and just societies. Irene will visit the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale to study the papers of Gerald Robert Vizenor, focusing on materials related to the research and drafting of Vizenor's Heirs of Columbus, which will inform a chapter of her dissertation on genomics and biotechnology. The novel depicts a reservation where Indigenous scientists heal genetic trauma resulting from colonialism, and offers a decolonized view of utopia, in part through an approach to biotechnology informed by Indigenous philosophies.
IDA YOSHINAGA is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Creative Writing Program of the Department of English at the University of Hawai`i-Mānoa. Her dissertation, Writing Worldwide Wonder-Tale, Inc.: Fantastic Genre-Mixing, Screenplay Structure, & Cultural Creative Labor in the Era of “Peak TV,” an ethnography of millennial television, focuses on the creative labor of minority, LGBT, female, and indigenous scriptwriters who innovated fantastic genre mixes within teleplays and related industrial-writing products, towards counter-hegemonic story content. The Mullen grant funds research for this project’s chapter on horror and urban fantasy TV. Under the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Yoshinaga will visit the Bradbury-Albright Collection at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, one of the most extensive single-author archives available to sf researchers, to examine 65 unpublished teleplays and related correspondence from The Ray Bradbury Theater (TRBT, HBO and USA Network, 1985-1992), a rare-for-the-era, fiction-to-TV, adaptation project, executive-produced by Golden Age sf author Ray Bradbury. A horror and fantasy theorist, she will marshal affect theory, adaptation studies, and critical transmedial (media convergence) analyses to address the evolution of audio-visual modes depicting “horror” on television, evaluating how TRBT, together with its predecessors (Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Kolchak: The Night Stalker) and contemporaries (Tales from the Crypt, Amazing Stories), established narrative conventions that shape horror for the current age of twenty-first-century television. A seasoned Hollywood screenwriter as well as TRBT’s only teleplay author, Bradbury generally limited the “infidelity” of episode plots, keeping them “loyal” to his print-literary stories on which they were based. Directors and producers relied upon audio-visual techniques to make individual episodes work, rather than rewriting scripts. Attention will be paid to how these creative-industrial workers experimented with blending audio-visual modes of horror, urban fantasy, sf dystopia, fairy tales, noir, and surrealism, importing them from film and visual folklore into television, to “energize” episodes.
SAMUEL COOPER received his PhD in Classics from Princeton University in 2016. His work investigates the deep history of such science fictional topoi as the journey into the unknown, the literary utopia, the encounter with the Other (particularly the ‘nonhuman’ Other), the fictionalization and poeticization of ‘scientific’ rhetoric, the clash of disparate forms of life, and the colonization of a distant realm. He traces how these topoi function in and evolve throughout Greek and Roman literature, as well as how their ancient literary instantiations continue to influence their evolution from late antiquity to the present. His dissertation, entitled Aristophanes, Posthumanism, and the Roots of Science Fiction, argues that Aristophanic comedy adumbrates modern science fiction’s imaginative explorations of the consequences of radical biopolitical mutability. Part of this project involves investigating how modern science fiction writers such as Olaf Stapledon reconfigure ancient concepts of ‘tragedy’ and ‘comedy’ in order to render meaningful the possible destinies of diverse forms of life. Stapledon’s body of work in particular, with its vast visions of the mutability of ‘the human,’ merits close attention in the context of recent discussions of science fiction and ‘posthumanism.’ Stapledon programmatically figures future history as mythopoesis when, in the preface to Last and First Men, he writes, ‘We must achieve neither mere history, nor mere fiction, but myth. A true myth is one which, within the universe of a certain culture (living or dead), expresses richly, and often perhaps tragically, the highest admirations possible within that culture.’ While Stapledon often evokes the sense of the tragic, ‘a very special and subtle sense of humour’ is as characteristic of his work as it is of his superman Odd John. Samuel will visit the Stapledon archive at the University of Liverpool Library to examine Stapledon’s annotated books, manuscripts, lecture notes, and letters.
JENNIFER JODELL is a PhD candidate at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her dissertation, Mediating Bodies in Science Fiction, explores the ways in which sf texts represent the body as a medium for various forms of cultural, technological, and intersubjective exchange. Specifically, her project tracks the 19th-century trope of the mediating woman/medium through its various mutations in early sf and connects these representations to the later figures of the cyborg and posthuman. Using a combination of feminist, film, sf, and critical race theory, she hopes to understand how these "mediating bodies" figure in the genre's representations of film and media, subjectivity, agency, creativity, sociality, race, gender, and embodiment. The first stage of the project has as its focus short stories in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror pulps in which the body is depicted as mediating the "transmissions" of various types of networks. She will visit The J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature at the University of California, Riverside to examine selected runs of the collection's science fiction, fantasy, and horror pulps.
BRANDON JONES is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His dissertation argues that whereas many scientific and political discourses on ecology developed an antagonistic relationship with utopianism after World War II, certain genres of speculative and historical American fiction contributed to a rapprochement between ecology and utopia. He will visit the Huntington Library to review variant drafts of Octavia Butler’s unpublished Parable of the Trickster (1989-2006), as well as to examine Butler’s notes and outlines on the two published Parable novels, Parable of the Sower (1993) and Parable of the Talents (1998).
ANNEKE SCHWAB is a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her dissertation, In Situ: Scientific Space in the American Imaginary, explores scientific spaces in American sf at the turn of the 20th century. Authors deploy scientific practice as a tool to grapple with threatening and indeterminate geography in texts ranging from weird fiction to naturalism to non-fictional expedition memoirs. Texts make sense of these spaces—the Amazon, Death Valley, Antarctica—by depicting them as the site of scientific practice. The turn of the 20th century is a time when what Michael Houellebecq calls “blanks on the map” are rapidly disappearing at the same time as scientific practice is codified and institutionalized. Speculative fiction provides particularly fertile ground for reading these scientific epistemologies within a fictional space. Responding to the Antarctica that Eric Wilson has called “the world’s unconscious, a reservoir of its repressed terrors,” these texts make legible—although strange and often horrific—a continent that seems to exist in excess of attempts to tame it scientifically.
JOSHUA PEARSON is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of California, Riverside. His dissertation examines how contradictions and anxieties associated with the shift from industrial to finance capitalism are expressed via gendered subjectivity in science fiction. He will visit Stirling University to examine the recently acquired archive of Iain M. Banks’s papers, with a particular focus on reviewing differences among drafts of The Player of Games (1988), Look to Windward (2000), and Matter (2008). $2711
WALTER SHEPHERD is a PhD student in the Department of English at Stanford University. His dissertation explores the history of the complicated and under-examined relation of African American writers to speculative fiction, focused on specific representational preoccupations that both popular and canonical African American literatures share. He will visit the Huntington Library to examine its archive of Octavia Butler’s papers and compare variant drafts of Kindred (1979) and Wild Seed (1980), and to read the unpublished novel Blindsight and the out-of-print novel Survivor (1978). $3000
ANDREW UZENDOSKI is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Texas, Austin. His dissertation considers how recent indigenous and chicano/a speculative fiction engages with contemporary discourses about human rights, paying particular attention to responses to NAFTA and to critiques of the global celebrations of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s voyages. He will visit the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Archive at Yale University to review variant drafts of Vizenor’s speculative novels—Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles (1978), Griever: An American Monkey King in China (1987), and The Heirs of Columbus (1991)—and to review the research materials that Silko gathered while composing Almanac of the Dead (1991). $2300
JAMES MACHIN is a PhD student in Arts and Humanities at Birkbeck College, University of London. His dissertation offers a cultural history of “weird fiction,” with a focus on its “Golden Age” of 1880-1940. He has had articles published in The Victorian and East-West Cultural Passage and has a review forthcoming in the Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies. While at the Eaton, he will explore the legacy of nineteenth-century decadence in Weird Tales magazine and will also examine the recently acquired archive of William Hope Hodgson’s papers.
STEVEN MOLLMANN is a PhD student in English at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. His dissertation examines scientists in Victorian literature and the way that thinking like a scientist is represented as a visual practice. He has had articles published in English Literature in Transition and Gaskell Journal and has presented his work at numerous conferences. His time in the Eaton will be spent reading rare future-war stories from the turn on the twentieth century, investigating the ways in which science and scientists were mobilized in fictional scenarios of large-scale conflict and revolution.
HANNAH MUELLER is a PhD student in German Studies at Cornell University, where she is pursuing Minors in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Film Studies. She has had chapters published in books on gender in Sherlock Holmes stories and on nudity in “quality television” series and has also done extension translation work. While at the Eaton, she will examine materials relevant to her ongoing study of “transformative media fandom,” with particular attention to the influence of media fans on the representation of female and sexual minority characters in popular culture.
M. LOHMAR is a PhD student in Classics at the University of Florida. His dissertation studies representations of violence in ancient Roman epic and their echoes in modern horror media. He has presented his work at the Classical Association of the Middle West and South and at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, and has published reviews in Classical Outlook and in Extrapolation. While at the Eaton, he will review coverage of horror cinema in such publications as Famous Monsters of Filmland, Cinefantastique, and Gore Creatures, and will also survey the collection's holdings of EC Comics.
MICHELLE K. YOST is a PhD student in English at the University of Liverpool. Her dissertation -- which has already been infused with archival research conducted at Ohio State University and at the Library of Congress -- seeks to develop a comprehensive bibliography of "hollow earth" narratives and to offer a critical-historical study of their speculative geology. She has written reviews for Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction and entries for the third edition of the Science Fiction Encyclopedia. During a three-week trip to the Eaton, she plans to read several very rare hollow earth stories, as well as to explore more recent pastiches of the genre in professional fan publications.
MARK T. YOUNG is a PhD student in English at the University of California, Riverside. His dissertation examined modes of musical "retro-futurism" in postwar American literature, including scxience fiction. He has presented work at the annual SFRA Conference, the Eaton Conference, and the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Conference, and his reviews have appeared in most major outlets in the field: Science Fiction Studies, The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Extrapolation, and the SFRA Review. The fellowship will provide summer support enabling him to examine representations of jazz, blues, and rock music in magazine science fiction of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, as well as coverage of the rock scene in SF fan publications.
ANDREW FERGUSON is a PhD student in the English Department at the University of Virginia. His dissertation examines the aesthetics of “glitching” in modernist and postmodernist fiction, videogames, and sf. He received the award for best student paper delivered at the 2009 SFRA conference and the 2012 top prize from the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia for his work collecting the print materials of R.A. Lafferty. His work has appeared in SFS, the New York Review of Science Fiction, and other venues. He will spend ten days in the Eaton researching the “Shaver Mysteries” promoted in Amazing Stories during the mid-to-late 1940s.
MATTHEW HOLTMEIER is a PhD candidate in Film Studies at the University of St. Andrews. His research, on “biopolitical production and cinematic subjectivity,” uses fan culture studies to examine the dynamics of affect and belief in popular film and television audiences. His essays have appeared in Short Film Studies, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, and the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture. He will spend a week in the Eaton studying the emergence of fan communities surrounding The X-Files, including working in the Mari Ruíz-Torres Collection of books, scripts, posters, photographs, and fan club materials relating to the program.
MALISA KURTZ is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Humanities at Brock University. Her dissertation examines the intersections of (post)colonialism, technoculture, and race in twentieth-century sf. She has presented her work at the Popular Culture Association of Canada conference and the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, and has won a number of competitive research fellowships. During a month in the Eaton, she plans to explore “the cultural construction of a pan-Asian identity” in early pulp sf.