Science Fiction Studies

#102 = Volume 34, Part 2 = July 2007


Prehistoric Humans. Thank you for Samuel Gerald Collins’s review of my Prehistoric Humans in Film and Television in SFS 33.3: (Nov. 2006): 548-551. Unfortunately, the reviewer barely mentions my coverage of documentaries. He writes that “physical anthropologists as well as scholars of sf may find this guide useful,” but since the fiction films and television are almost all highly unrealistic, anthropologists will wonder how they can benefit from my book. The materials of value to anthropologists are the 41-page section in which I describe 226 documentaries, several in detail, and the index, which includes subjects such as “Art, Prehistoric,” “Firemaking,” “Toolmaking,” “Warfare, Prehistoric,” and “Women, Status of” in both documentaries and fiction films and television. If my book is of use to sf scholars, so would be three other sources SFS’s readers should know about: the Prehistoric Fiction site by Steve Trussel, at <>; Human Prehistory in Fiction by Charles De Paolo (McFarland 2003), and Dinosaur Filmography by Mark F. Berry (McFarland 2002).—Michael Klossner

The “New” John Wyndham in The Literary Encyclopedia. The most detailed, currently available account of the surprising life and insufficiently understood work of John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (1903-69), who is often described as “the invisible man of sf,” is my 8,130 word entry for The Literary Encyclopedia (online either at <>or <www.>). I am completing a book tentatively titled John Wyndham, The Winshire Cuckoo: A Critical (Estranged Auto) Biography. “Winshire” (“Wyn[dam]shire”) is, according to John Beynon’s Foul Play Suspected (1935), a fictional county in the vicinity of Hampshire and Sussex; Midwich (home of those cuckoos) is in Winshire.—David Ketterer

Special SFS issue: The New Wave. By contrast with the 1940s Golden Age or cyberpunk in the 1980s, scholarly work on the 1960s New Wave, one of the most significant moments in the history of the genre, has been surprisingly sparse. Aside from Colin Greenland’s 1983 monograph, The Entropy Exhibition, and a handful of scattered articles and book chapters, the movement has received little sustained attention from sf critics. As a result, conventional wisdom on the New Wave has hardly shifted in decades, basically amounting to a series of critical-historical truisms that cry out for further inquiry and examination. Was the New Wave a radical rupture with previous historical forms of sf, or did it continue a trend of stylish extrapolation inaugurated by the new magazine markets of the 1950s? What were the precise connections between key New Wave themes—e.g., “inner space”—and the advent of the various countercultures of the period? How enduring were the transformations, aesthetic and political, wrought by the movement’s major authors?                

This special issue of SFS proposes to address these questions, along with other important theoretical and historical ramifications of the New Wave movement. It also seeks to expand the familiar canon of 1960s authors (e.g., Ballard, Dick, Ellison, Delany, Le Guin) who have received the lion’s share of critical study to include significant neglected figures whose work also helped define 1960s sf (e.g., Lafferty, Malzberg, Spinrad, Wilhelm, Zelazny). We also seek broad-based cultural studies of the New Wave that connect the movement with trends in the contemporary arts and popular culture.                

Please send 500-word abstracts by August 1, 2007 to Rob Latham at <>.—RL

Editorial Changes at Extrapolation. Extrapolation is an international, peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles and book reviews on science fiction and fantasy texts, broadly conceived. Beginning with the Fall 2007 issue, the journal will be edited by Javier A. Martínez (Executive Editor), University of Texas at Brownsville <>; Andrew M. Butler, Canterbury Christ Church University <>; Michael Levy, University of Wisconsin–Stout <>; and Sherryl Vint, Brock University <>. Patricia Melzer <pmelzer@> will be Book Review Editor.                

Extrapolation is interested in promoting dialogue among scholars working within a number of traditions and in encouraging the serious study of popular culture. We welcome submissions on all areas of sf and fantasy, and are particularly interested in racial constructions in speculative genres; sf and fantasy for children and young adults; sexualities; fantastic motifs in mainstream texts; gender and speculative texts; the history of sf and fantasy; new weird fiction; remakes, rewriting, and retrofitting; pulp sf and fantasy; the body in speculative texts; posthumanism; political sf and fantasy; non-Western speculative traditions; and technoculture. Essays should be approximately 4000-9000 words, written according to MLA standards; they should include a 100-word abstract. Do not use embedded footnotes or generated footnotes. Electronic submissions in MS Word are encouraged. Submissions should be sent to: <>or by post to Javier A. Martínez, Department of English, University of Texas at Brownsville, 80 Fort Brown, Brownsville, Texas 78520. If you are interested in reviewing a book for Extrapolation or if you have published a book that you would like to have reviewed, contact <>or write to Patricia Melzer, Director, Women’s Studies Program, Temple University, 816 Anderson Hall, 1114 West Berks Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122.—Michael Levy, U of Wisconsin, Stout

SFRA’s Pioneer, Pilgrim, Bray, and Clareson Awards. It is my pleasure to announce that Amy J. Ramsom is the winner of the 2006 Pioneer Award for Outstanding Scholarship for “Oppositional Postcolonialism in Québécois Science Fiction,” which appeared in SFS 33.2 (July 2006): 291-312. To quote one of the committee members: “Ransom observes [how] Quebec’s unique history complicates the usual reduction of postcolonial theory to a simple opposition of colonizer/colonized, and she demonstrates clearly and unarguably how that history has shaped the Francophone contributions to both colonialist and anti-imperialist themes.” The 2007 recipient of SFRA’s Pilgrim Award is Algis Budrys. I thank the Pilgrim Committee for its work and its wisdom in making such a fine selection. Certainly his review columns in Galaxy and F&SF, as well as his critical observations in a variety of other formats over the years, laid a solid foundation for the kinds of work SFRA champions and continually pursues. The 2007 Mary Kay Bray Award goes to Ed Carmien for his review of Space Opera Renaissance in issue #277 (9-11) of the SFRA Review. The recipient of this year’s Clareson Award is Michael Levy.—Adam Frisch, President, SFRA

Society for Utopian Studies. The 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society will be held in Toronto, Canada, from October 4-7, 2007. The deadline for submission of proposed papers has passed, but this promises to be a wide-ranging and stimulating conference for all who attend.                

Scholars from all disciplines are encouraged to present on any aspect of the utopian tradition, from earliest to most recent and including urban and rural planning, literary utopias, dystopian writings, utopian political activism, and theorizing utopian spaces or intentional communities. The link for the hotel is <
pCode=socsoca>. For information about registration, travel, and accommodations, contact the Conference Coordinator, Peter Fitting, at 73 Delaware Ave, Toronto M6H 2S9, <>, or (416-531-8593).—Peter Fitting

CFP: Two Australian Conferences. “Demanding the Impossible: Third Australian Conference on Utopia, Dystopia, and Science Fiction” will meet December 5-6, 2007 at the Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. Keynote speakers will include Tom Moylan, Lyman Tower Sargent, and Lucy Sussex. See the conference website at <> for more details. We invite papers from scholars, writers, and others interested in utopia, dystopia, and sf. Abstracts (100-150 words) should be sent by September 30, 2007, by e-mail to <> or by post to Utopias3 Conference, Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria 3800, Australia.                

On the following day, December 7, a one-day conference will be held on the related topic of “Intercultural Imaginaries of the Ideal: East-West Comparative Utopias.” Utopia and utopianism are perceived to be primarily Western constructs, and it is true that the definitions, design, and development of utopian literatures and theories have emerged from Western examples of the genre. Until recently, much of the scholarship on the subject has privileged the Western model of utopia, and it has been proposed that the only country outside the West to produce a real and ongoing utopian tradition is China. Nonetheless,  there is substantial evidence to suggest that most cultures generate some representations of an imaginary ideal place or time.               

The aim of the special sessions on Comparative Utopias is to identify generic tendencies as well as fundamental divergences in imagining the ideal society across various cultural contexts. We invite proposals from scholars who are working in utopian studies, but would also welcome contributions from researchers in comparative mythology, cultural anthropology, area studies, philosophy, comparative religions, indigenous histories, and any other relevant areas. We would like to include expressions of imaginary societies and projections from a wide range of cultures, such as African, Caribbean, Islamic, Indian, Russian, and Indigenous cultures of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, and the Americas. We will also explore non-Western utopian projections from Japan, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Possible panels or workshops might discuss archetypal utopias (including those grounded in oral histories, popular folklore, mythologies, and religious texts); utopia and sf, including futuristic fiction; (re)defining “utopia” or the imaginary of the ideal society, either with broad application to cross-cultural examples or a particular focus on certain cultures; comparative chronologies of the development of models for the ideal society; and philosophical, political, and social utopias.                

Most papers will be of 20 minutes’ duration, but proposals for workshop and round table discussions are also welcome. Selected papers will be solicited for publication in a volume to be edited by Gregory Claeys, Jacqueline Dutton, and Lyman Tower Sargent. Please send a 200-word abstract by email to Dr. Jacqueline Dutton, University of Melbourne, at <>. Your message should include your name, contact details, institutional affiliation, and discipline.— Andrew Milner, Monash University

CFP: ICFA 2008. The 29th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts will be held March 19-23, 2008, at the Marriott Orlando Airport Hotel in Orlando, Florida. The theme for 2008 is “Delightful Horror and the Sense of Wonder: Appreciating the Sublime in Fantasy and Science Fiction.” The focus will be on the relationship between the sense of wonder embodied by the sublime and the fantastic in literature, film, and other media. The sheer magnitude of the universe gives rise to the amazing, the astonishing, the astounding, the thrilling—the wondrous. Edmund Burke argued that it is “infinity [that] has a tendency to fill the mind with that sort of delightful horror which is the most genuine effect and truest test of the sublime.” It then should come as no surprise that the sublime has been a mainstay in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other related fantastic modes. Papers are invited that explore this topic; we especially welcome papers on the work of Vernor Vinge (Guest of Honor), Roger Luckhurst (Guest Scholar), and Greer Ilene Gilman (Special Guest Writer). As always, we also invite proposals for individual papers and for academic sessions and panels on any aspect of the fantastic in any medium. The deadline for paper proposals is November 30, 2007. Keep checking <> for updated information.—Graham Murphy, Trent University

Back to Home