Science Fiction Studies

#103 = Volume 34, Part 3 = November 2007


NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE

Jean Baudrillard, 1929-2007. We cannot know how future sociologists and philosophers will treat the work of Jean Baudrillard, who died in Paris last March of cancer. But future sf should have a place reserved for him. Baudrillard belongs among those brilliant iconoclastic thinkers (a group that might include N.F. Fyodorov, J.D. Bernal, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Marvin Minsky, and Donna Haraway, among others) whose philosophical speculations open up portals leading directly to sf, and to viewing the world with science-fictional eyes.                

Of all the young Marxist Turks who were pushed into the poetry of theory by the failed revolutionary utopianism of May 1968, Baudrillard was the one to whom mass media and sf were most interesting. Perhaps this was because Baudrillard, virtually alone among the Parisian luminaries, was the first in a family of farmers and provincial civil servants to attend university, and one of the very few who did not attend the École Normale. (As he told the story, had he not been discovered by Henri Lefebvre, one of the most original Marxist thinkers of the century, he would have remained “un petit prof’ d’allemand.”) It was as if Baudrillard, frumpy, modest, and as poker-faced as Buster Keaton, truly did not care about the consolations of philosophy and textuality after his illumination (already hinted at in his “Requiem for the Media” in 1972) that capitalism’s victory had been more total than anyone could imagine. The Situationist/hippie/Frankfurt School dread of being co-opted by the Establishment was mere sentimental squirming by comparison. Baudrillard presented a world in which all communication, including critique itself, had become part of an unfettered process of a techno-metastatic production of value, the hyperinflation of meaning and signs that he would articulate in his most familiar works as hyperreality and simulation.               

Baudrillard was distinct among his Parisian theorist-contemporaries, most of whom were brilliant stylists within their own refined traditions, in that he was always essentially a literary mind. His first published works were translations of Hölderlin and Brecht, an unlikely duo whose presence can be detected in many of Baudrillard’s later ideas. Although he began his critical career with intricate more-than-Marxist critiques of Marxism, The Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign (1972) and The Mirror of Production (1973), he gradually shifted into a style that was more ludic and performative, a change that many of his readers did not appreciate. Once he recognized the implications of his theory that capitalism had broken free of the constraints of representation and production, he drew the conclusions. If the system of simulation makes even critique into a reified commodity, then the boundaries and distances between theory and the object world are just, to use William Gibson’s phrase, “consensual hallucinations.” From that point on, Baudrillard ceased trying to wedge open a way to see through hypercapitalism with the help of critique and began what he named the “fatal strategy” of following its development to its full, apocalyptic, literally absurd conclusions. Those who found Baudrillard’s ideas depressing, or incapacitating, or infuriating, betrayals of this or that school of thought or of human dignity tout court, treated his work as if it were somehow answerable, as if his ideas could be detached entirely from his writing. That was no more true of him than it was of Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Michel Serres, or Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Baudrillard avowed himself to be a pataphysical writer in the tradition of Alfred Jarry’s Doctor Faustroll, who freely mashed up all the authoritative technical discourses of his age into delirious metaphors—communication as metastasis, values achieving escape velocity, the satellization of the earth, history as leukemia—that could only end in paradox and oxymoron.                

Baudrillard was understandably attracted to sf, but he was not very well-versed in it. He invoked Philip K. Dick to bolster his notion of the simulacrum, but it doesn’t really work (as a future article in SFS by Jorge Martins Rosa will detail, Dick and Baudrillard had fundamentally different ideas about simulation and simulacra). Ironically, the misprision came around from the opposite direction when The Matrix (1999) gave his words to Morpheus and hollowed out Simulacra and Simulation (1981)for Neo to stash his blackware in. Baudrillard later noted that the Wachowskis, the film’s directors, had confused his notion of simulation with Platonic illusion. After the first film, he was invited to collaborate and declined. As he put it in a 2003 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur: “The Matrix is a bit like a movie that the Matrix could have made about the Matrix.” His true soulmates in sf were the borderline pataphysicians and surrealists, J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs, with whom he shared the pose of a deadpan witness to total meltdown. While orthodox Marxists and moralists clucked their tongues, Ballard praised America (1986) in SFS 18.3 (1991) as an “an absolutely brilliant piece of writing, probably the most sharply clever piece of writing since Swift—brilliancies and jewels of insight in every paragraph—an intellectual Aladdin’s cave” (329). Most of Baudrillard’s critics resembled the legendary Bishop who, tossing a copy of Gulliver’s Travels onto the fire, opined “personally, I think it’s a pack of lies.”               

SFS owes much to Baudrillard. After publishing the first English translations of his essays on sf and Ballard’s Crash (1973), around which we built 1991’s special issue on “Science Fiction and Postmodernism,” it became clear to us, as to many younger readers of cyberpunk and Ballardian post-Agenda sf (to use John Clute’s phrase), that Baudrillard had opened up a space in which to think in new ways about sf and the culture dominated by techno-media. Phenomena that made it hard for a science-fiction writer to keep up with reality became comprehensible, even predictable, via the concepts of simulation and symbolic economy. Baudrillard’s thinking remained to the end inspired by the spirit of sf as metatext of tropes, perspectives, and above all, fictions. His most provocative essays, such as “The Gulf War Did Not Take Place” (1991) and “Requiem for the Twin Towers” (2002), infuriated many righteous folks who did not read them. Read as sf about contemporary war and terrorism, they are uncanny reminders of Ballard’s axiom in his preface to Crash (1973) and elsewhere that “the fiction is already there. The writer’s task is to invent the reality.”               

Baudrillard posed as an agent provocateur, a nihilist, a terrorist, a fatalist, and many readers took him at his word. But taken as a writer and visionary ironist, he was also a most compassionate, witty, and humane affirmer of the imagination’s ability to survive—and perhaps even comprehend—a world without compassion, through seductive fictions that the Matrix cannot retell. With Baudrillard, we have lost a great poet-theorist, a great interpreter of terrorism and media, and even (dare I say it?) a most sympathetic interpreter of our age. It’s only right that he be given a place on the flying island of sf.—ICR
  
Race in SF and John Wyndham’s Color-Schemed Future.
There are six references in SFS’s “Afrofuturism” issue (34.2 [July 2007]) to the general assumption of a “color-blind future” in genre sf. This phrase is a catchy metaphoric way of describing what seems to have first been pointed to in the second edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (St Martin’s, 1993). In their “Politics” entry, Peter Nicholls and Brian Stableford maintain that “the tendency of genre sf has been to ignore the issue [of racism] or sanctimoniously to take for granted its eventual disappearance” (947). An important exact opposite example is provided by what might be termed the “color-schemed future” of John Beynon’s (i.e., John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris’s) “The Living Lies,” written in 1939. JBH, to use the initials of the name he went by in his daily life, was as progressive in his sf with regard to race issues as with regard to feminist and sexual ones.                

JBH wrote “The Living Lies” with the impending war urgently in mind, but he had to wait until that war was over to achieve publication. In the UK, presumably with the aim of gaining as wide an audience as possible, he had submitted what he described, in his self-deprecating way, as this “too tractarian” piece in 1939 to The News-Chronicle (on June 7), to Reynold’s News (on June 12), and to The Daily Herald (on June 29) as a possible serial, all without success. He sent “The Living Lies” to his American agent, Otis Adlebert Kline, on July 11, 1939, but Kline failed to place it. Seven calamitous years later, it appeared in the UK as the lead story in the October 1946 second issue of New Worlds: A Fiction Magazine of the Future (2-20). To the best of my knowledge, it has only been reprinted once. It appeared in the US magazine Other Worlds Science Stories (November 1950). Because it has apparently not been anthologized, it is not well known. But anyone now planning an anthology of racial issues in sf should include JBH’s trail-blazing direct critique. No earlier such examples of genre sf come to my mind. Researchers will no doubt thoroughly check for other early examples of such directness. Stories involving non-human aliens that might be interpreted as human others are by definition indirect.                  

“The Living Lies” is an ingenious postcolonial, satiric attack on skin-color prejudice. It takes place in the future on Venus, an Earth colony where the native inhabitants are the miscegenate descendants of the original colonists from Earth and the original human Venusians who have since died out from infection. The new natives are variously colored green, red, black, or white. The whites are dominant and the other color groups are also the victims of color prejudices among themselves: “There was teaching like that against Jews” (5). We are informed that racial problems, including anti-Semitism (JBH’s particular concern at the time of writing), have been “solved” on Earth by the Great Union. It turns out that, in actuality, all babies born on Venus are white, no matter what skin color (or colors?) the parents are. The different races on Venus have been artificially created to ensure that the elite world of vested interests—the white world—continues to benefit from the resultant dissension. Babies are colored green, red, or black shortly after they are born. The plot complications involve six “projectors,” machines that will make everyone revert to being white.                

By today’s standards, it may be judged telling that this “enlightened” solution does not explicitly acknowledge the existence of any genuine blacks among the, it may be presumed, Great-Union-all-male-colonists from Earth who had heterosexually mated with the original human Venusians, whose skin color(s) are not specified. It might, however, equally be argued that this obvious taboo “gap” cannot but evoke the enslavement and rape of blacks by whites on Earth, and the mixed-race progeny. “The Living Lies” should also be understood in the extraterrestrial miscegenation context (later explored in detail by Octavia Butler) provided by Stowaway to Mars (1936), where JBH’s Martians are as human as his extinct Venusians, and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957). In all three fictions, one or more children are born of sexual contact between human beings, male or female, from Earth and (human?) beings from elsewhere. The culmination of this adult theme, The Midwich Cuckoos, is JBH’s best novel. JBH’s concern with racial prejudice culminates with Web (or, as alternatively and revealingly titled by JBH, The Little Sisters [1979]). In that posthumously published novel, not yet published in the US, real blacks on Earth are central to the plot. According to JBH’s widow Grace, “Web is about the revolt of nature and the black man against the white man ... nature, of course, wins in the end” (qtd in “The Invisible Man Behind Those Plants of Death” [based on the Clem Lewis interview with Grace Harris and Vivian Beynon Harris, JBH’s bother], Birmingham Evening Mail, 8 September 1981; rpt in Foundation 75 [Spring 1999]: 40-43 [43]).                

The isolated Pacific island that is the setting of Web is presaged in the two Waimori fragments preserved at the University of Liverpool (Wyndham Archive 7/1/10 and 7/2/5). Probably written in 1946 and overlapping with the composition of The Day of the Triffids (1951) in an indebtedness to the comet in Wells’s In the Days of the Comet (1906), the Pacific island of Waimori is to an extent inhabited by the “hybrid” (meaning mixed-race, a usage now often regarded as offensive) descendants of the almost extinct natives and the white visitors. The “hybrid” protagonist Lui (based on the “Louis” of Louis Brent, his American father) and the other islanders are apparently the surviving remnant of humanity. JBH’s interest in the problematic identity of the human “hybrid” (and her or his kinship to the hybrid triffid) carries over into the character of Coker’s “being a hybrid” (Penguin 162) in Triffids and into the aborted fragment of his sequel to The Midwich Cuckoos. In “Midwich Main” (Wyndham Archive 1/6/3), JBH focuses on “hybrid” (meaning mixed-species crossed with mixed evolutionary stages) children, the first-generation offspring of the grown-up, alien-engendered children of the original novel and “normal” human beings. JBH must have been interested in the “utopian” possibility that worlds like that of Waimori and the Venus of “The Living Lies,” both inhabited by human “hybrids,” might be less prone to racist ideologies. That is to say, he saw interbreeding (influenced no doubt by his 1921-23 sheep-breeding apprenticeship) as a means of improvement, of accelerating progress and even human evolution.                

There is another biographical aspect to all this. JBH was infatuated with his beautiful blonde first cousin, Dorothy Joan Parkes, who was known as “Joan” and can be perceived frequently in his fiction, notably as the major aspect of his ideal woman [Jo]sell[a] Playto[n] (Joan + Sally + Plato) in The Day of the Triffids. JBH, who was aware of the dangers of inbreeding (as to some degree experienced by his Lucas ancestors in that part of South Wales known as “Little England Beyond Wales”), refers in Foul Play Suspected (1935) and the unpublished “Plan For Chaos” (mainly written in 1948) to the taboo against consanguineous sexual relations and specifically cousins marrying. Miscegen-ation would be the extreme and perhaps most desirable alternative.—David Ketterer
  
Tom Reamy: Lost But Not Forgotten.
I was going through boxes of stored books a few weeks ago. Twenty years’ worth, hours of isolated reading, firmly packed in cardboard and hoarded away in my closet. I came across an Ace paperback edition of Tom Reamy’s San Diego Lightfoot Sue and Other Stories; it was dog-eared, with yellowed pages and that tell-tale old, cheap paperback smell. I remembered the book, and the author, well. I had, in fact, first read Reamy in Nebula Award Stories 10, and later in the pages of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.               

This collection was published after Reamy’s death. He had a heart attack in 1977, age 42. His novelette “Twilla” was a 1974 Nebula nominee and “San Diego Lightfoot Sue” was nominated for both the 1975 Nebula and Hugo, winning the Hugo. Both works were his first published pieces, purchased by Ed Ferman for F&SF. They were borderline fantasies; today they would have been labeled slipstream or magic realism. Reamy was not a complete newcomer at the time; he had been quite active in the sf community in the 1950s and 1960s, publishing the fanzines Trumpet and Nickelodeon, both collector’s items now. He also gave Hollywood a run, optioning screenplays and treatments, none of which were produced; sick of Tinseltown’s games, he moved to Kansas City in 1975.                

Reamy was awarded the 1976 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He began to contribute to all the major anthologies of the time: Damon Knight’s Orbit, Harry Harrison’s Nova, and Robert Silverberg’s New Dimensions. Ace published his first and only novel, Blind Voices, posthumously in 1978, and the collection of stories a year later, with an introduction by Harlan Ellison, “Bracing the Departing Shadow.” “On November 4, 1977, Tom Reamy died a writer’s death,” Ellison explains:

[He] had a heart attack while sitting at his typewriter doing a story for Ed Ferman … a story Ed had been calling him about regularly; and he was only seven pages into it when the fist closed; and he was gone; and oh God it wasn’t right! It just wasn’t fair! (xix)

Ellison, like many in the field, wondered what kind of work Reamy would have produced had he lived.                

Along with the novel and handful of stories, one of his screenplays, Sting!, was published in Roger Elwood’s Six Science Fiction Plays. Despite the title, there are only three stage plays in the volume, along with a teleplay by Fritz Leiber, The Mechanical Bride, and Ellison’s original, two-hour, award-winning Star Trek script, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Sting! is a creature-feature set in a small American town. While the plot is by-the-numbers for the genre, the characters make it different: complex and well-rounded, they are unusual for what would have been a low-budget production, had it been made.                

Readers of 1970s sf remember Tom Reamy, but new readers are unlikely to have come across his work. Wildside Press reissued Blind Voices as a print-on-demand hardback, but San Diego Lightfoot Sue can only be found in used bookstores or packed away in the collections of people who never get rid of their old stuff. “And now the pages turn brown,” Ellison concludes. “And now the glue that binds the covers begins to consume the endpapers” (xxvii). Ellison is writing to those who find the book years later, not those who purchased a new copy in 1979. “And now the story ends,” he finishes.                

I sat down and re-read the collection and also wondered what Reamy would have produced had he lived, and whether or not he would have gained the status of a master, rather than a curious footnote in the body of twentieth-century sf literature.—Michael Hemmingson, San Diego
  
WORKS CITED
Elwood, Roger, ed. Six Science Fiction Plays. New York: Pocket, 1975.
Gunn, James, ed. Nebula Award Stories 10. New York: Harper, 1975.
Reamy, Tom. Blind Voices. New York: Ace, 1978. Reissued Halicong, PA: Wildside, 2003.
─────. San Diego Lightfoot Sue and Other Stories. New York: Ace, 1979.
 
Ed Note: Tom Reamy’s fiction has not been entirely overlooked in the pages of SFS. His story “Under the Hollywood Sign” (1975) is discussed in detail by Wendy Pearson in “Alien Cryptographies: The View from Queer” (SFS 26.1 [March 1999]).—VH
  
The Transmigration of PKD, Part 2. The New Yorker
for August 20, 2007 includes a critique linked to the Library of America’s recent reissue of three of Dick’s novels (see SFS 34.1 [March 2007]: 172). “The Return of Philip K. Dick” is by Adam Gopnik, best known for essays from Paris and a fantasy book for children. He is unfamiliar with or unsympathetic to the wide range of sf critical writing on Dick, reporting that “the first good critical writing on Dick came from France, and particularly from Paris” (79). Gopnik won no points from me for calling The Man in the High Castle (1962) “the least interesting ... of his sixties novels,” but there are also insightful moments throughout. Once a bastion of the realistic short story, The New Yorker is turning more often to the fantastic, notably in its frequent publication of the sly slipstream writer Haruki Murakami.—CM
  
New Way to Locate Authors’ Archives.
I’m pleased to announce a significant addition to Hal Hall’s list of sf library collections. Hal has now put together a list by major authors, so that scholars, students, and other researchers can locate the libraries where the papers of authors can be found without going through the library list. It is a major accomplishment and a fine addition to sf’s scholarly tools. He says that the list may not be complete, and he welcomes additions or suggestions. Look under “Library Resources” on the AboutSF website <www.aboutSF.com>. Also note that the AboutSF blog, which now is focusing on the teaching of sf, welcomes contributions, and that the sf  speakers’ service is not only open for acquiring speakers but also will add speakers who wish to volunteer. —James Gunn, University of Kansas
   
Salon Interview with William Gibson. A new interview by Dennis Lim—linked to the publication of Gibson’s novel Spook Country, a sequel of sorts to Pattern Recognition (2003)—appeared in Salon in August 2007. Describing Gibson’s shift from near-future dystopias to novels set now, “Now Romancer” elicits some interesting responses from Gibson. Pressed by Lim about the limitations of virtual communities, Gibson mildly dissents: “I used to worry that there was no more territory in which bohemias could grow, but now I think they grow best on the web.” The on-line magazine’s web address is <salon.com>.—CM
    
Tlön, Uqbar ... Galaxiki. SFS recently received information about a newly established website devoted to the creation of an imaginary galaxy. Participation is similar to that of Wikipedia users/editors. According to the website’s designer, Jos Kirps, Galaxiki, launched in July of this year, is “a fictional web 2.0 galaxy created, maintained, and owned by its own community. Galaxiki is a new kind of wiki-based community portal that allows its members to edit stars, planets, and moons in a virtual galaxy, creating an entire fictional world online.” Membership in the Galaxiki project is free, although more ambitious and/or power-hungry individuals have the option of purchasing their own solar systems. Galaxiki also features an online shop offering astronomy, science, and sf-related articles. The website address is: <http://www.galaxiki.org>. For more information, contact Jos Kirps at <jos@galaxiki.org>. The Galaxiki Project is headquartered in Ehlerange, Luxembourg.—VH
  
Locus Heinlein Tributes. To mark the one-hundredth anniversary of Robert A. Heinlein’s birth, the August 2007 issue of Locus collected a series of tributes from today’s sf authors. Especially strong are the tributes from Connie Willis (“Heinlein made the future real” [7]), Ben Bova (“Robert was a digital personality; he was either for you or against you, with no in-between” [56]); and Robert Silverberg, who mentions their quarrel over Silverberg’s refusal to build a bomb shelter in 1961: “It was my hope that ... the Russians would drop their bomb right on top of my house and finish me off quickly. That angered him” (57). Frank Robinson remembers that RAH was so nettled by accusations that Charles Manson’s murders were linked to Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) that he hired a detective to investigate, who reported back to Heinlein that Manson “was a near-illiterate; he had probably never read a book in his life” (58). Any tribute that considers Heinlein’s career as a whole is also going to constitute a kind of oral history of the genre itself. Other tributes, all of them  perceptive and interesting, are by Joe Haldeman, Larry Niven, John Varley, Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear, Yoji Kondo/Eric Kotani, Charles N. Brown, Spider Robinson, Russell Letson, and Gary K. Wolfe.—CM
  
New SF Journal Seeks Articles, Reviews.
Science Fiction Film and Television is a biannual, peer-reviewed journal published by Liverpool University Press and edited by Mark Bould and Sherryl Vint, with an international board of advisory editors. We invite submissions on all areas of sf film and television. We publish articles (6000-8000 words), book and DVD reviews (1000-2000 words), and review essays (up to 5000 words). Suggestions for papers include but are not limited to the following areas: silent sf; European sf (e.g., French New Wave, Turkish pop cinema); East Asian sf (e.g., kaiju eiga, anime); Hollywood sf blockbusters; animation and greenscreen adaptations; low-budget and independent sf; children’s sf; costume, design, and music; spectacle and special effects; the “soap opera-ization” of television sf; sf and avant-garde practice; the relationships among globalization, transnationalization, media convergence, and sf; the science-fictionality of media technologies and forms themselves; cross-media and transnational franchises; audience, fans, and consumption. Articles should be in MLA format and include a 100-word abstract. Electronic submission in MS Word is preferred. Send submissions to both editors at <mark.bould @gmail.com> and <sherryl.vint@gmail.com>. If you are interested in reviewing a book or DVD or have materials you would like reviewed, contact Sherryl Vint.—Sherryl Vint, Brock University; Mark Bould, UWE, Bristol
  
CFP: Special Issue of SFS on Gender and Sexuality.
Past special issues of SFS have focused on women writers and on queer theory, but this issue proposes to take a broader approach to gender and sexuality, focusing on a full spectrum of related topics: femininity/masculinity in sf, sf and sex/gender change, sf pornography, techno-fetishism, alien sex, multiple genders/sexualities, sexual subcultures in sf, sf and censorship, sex work(ers) in sf, slash/flash writing, and more. We welcome submissions from a range of disciplinary perspectives. The deadline for 500-word abstracts is May 1, 2008; please send them to Rob Latham at <rob-latham@uiowa.edu> and Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. at <icronay@depauw.edu>.—RL
  
CFP: Chronicling Mars.
The 26th J. Lloyd Eaton Conference will meet May 16-18, 2008, at the University of California, Riverside. The discovery and exploration of Mars have played a central role in the development of science fiction. As possibilities of scientific observation develop, Mars has gone from place of myth to possibly habitable planet and has been the location of very different speculative scenarios. These serve as a map both of how the genre has evolved and how attitudes toward the human condition have changed. For H.G. Wells, Mars as the place of war physically comes to life and brings devastating destruction to Earth. For Rosny aîné, Mars is a place where a parallel carbon-based evolution occurs. Heinlein peoples Mars with the “old ones,” who even with their decadent power and “wisdom” prove to be no match for human expansion. If Bradbury’s Mars is a nightmare mirror of the human condition, Clarke’s sands of Mars offer the location of a successful terraforming experiment. Clarke’s new world for mankind is for D.G. Compton, on the other hand, the ultimate penal colony.                

Mars is a mythic space, a hostile place, a colony, a refuge, a utopian experiment, and most recently again the neutral terrain of scientific investigation. Examining these Martian metamorphoses and their relation to the sf genre is the topic of this conference. Papers of 20-25 minutes in length will be considered on the following topics: Mythic Mars: Why its Survival in the Age of Modern Science; Mars: Utopia or Dystopia?; The Visual Mars: Imaginings versus Photos; The Mars of Science: The “Real” Mars as Source of Fiction; and The Future of Fictional Mars. Other Martian musings will be considered if significant. Please send submissions to Professor George Slusser, Eaton Collection, Rivera Library, UC Riverside, Riverside CA 92517, or to <george.slusser@ucr.edu<. Submissions are accepted until December 15, 2007.—George Slusser, Eaton Collection, U California, Riverside
 
CFP: Contemporary Gothic Science Fiction. Papers are sought for a critical collection, not yet contracted, exploring gothic traces in sf since 1980. “Gothic sf” is a hybrid, even an oxymoron. As Fred Botting notes, unlike the “gothic,” sf usually projects its contemporary anxieties onto the future rather than the past. Recent forms of science fiction such as alternative-history “steampunk” may unsettle this contradiction. A recent successful conference at Napier University has suggested this project, for which we invite abstracts on contemporary Gothic science fiction: i.e., literary texts and films produced since 1980. Possible subjects include Gothic monstrosity and gender in sf, Gothic tropes enacting anxieties over gender/class/race/sexuality, Anthony Vidler’s “architectural uncanny,” intersections between Ellen Moers’s “female gothic” and contemporary texts, “terror” versus “horror” in recent texts, China Miéville, M. John Harrison, The Matrix films, Iain M. Banks, Richard Morgan, James Blaylock, Maurice Renard, Richard Matheson, William Gibson, and later revisions of cyberpunk gothic (“steampunk”) sf. Deadline for abstracts has been extended to May 5, 2008. Please send a 100-word biography and 500-word abstracts as attachments in Microsoft Word to Dr. Sara-Patricia Wasson (Napier University) <s.wasson_ at_ napier.ac.uk>and Martyn Colebrook (University of Hull)<Martyn.Colebrook_at_english.hull.ac.uk>. The subject-line of any email correspondence should read “Contemporary Gothic Science Fiction”: all submissions will be filed electronically. Decisions on abstracts will be forthcoming within a month of the deadline.—Sara Wasson, Napier University
  
CFP: The Atomic Age. I invite proposals for “The Atomic Age,” a topic to be addressed at the 2008 Film and History Conference (“Film and Science: Fictions, Documentaries, and Beyond”) to meet October 30-November 2, 2008, in Chicago, Illinois <www.filmandhistory.org>. The first-round deadline is November 1, 2007. How did social or political events concerning atomic energy make their way into film? In turn, how did such films affect national policy or civic character? The panels in this area will investigate the impact of the nuclear age (1945 to the present) on society as portrayed through film and television. Presentations might analyze individual films and/or television programs from historical perspectives or survey documents related to the production of films; they might investigate nuclear history and culture as explored through film. Genres could range from Hollywood blockbusters, television programs, and mini-series to science fiction, propaganda, instructional films, documentaries, docudramas, newsreels and broadcast media, war films, national cinemas, music videos, avant-garde films, actualities, and direct cinema. Please send a 200-word proposal by November 1, 2007 to: Christoph Laucht, University of Liverpool at <c.laucht@liv.ac.uk>.             

This area, comprising multiple panels, is a part of the 2008 biennial Film and History Conference sponsored by The Center for the Study of Film and History. For registration information, see the Film and History website <http://www.filmandhistory.org>.—J. Christoph Laucht, University of Liverpool
   
CFP: 2008 Southwest/Texas Regional Meeting of the Popular Culture and American Culture Association. The conference will meet at the Hyatt Regency Conference Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on February 13-16, 2008. The area chair for Horror invites papers on any aspect of horror in literature, film, television, or general culture. Please send by e-mail a detailed abstract (300-400 words) for a paper of 18 to 20 minutes’ reading time, providing contact information, including name, mailing address, phone number, and especially e-mail address. If you want to propose a panel of three or four speakers, or three speakers and one respondent, include the following information: panel title; name and contact information of the panel chair; an abstract for each paper; and contact information for each presenter. The deadline for abstract and panel submissions to the area chair is November 15, 2007. Final registration deadline is December 31, 2007—all participants must register by this date! If you must present on a specific day or at a specific time, please let me know as early as possible. Remember that you must attend to present a paper: readings by proxy are not permitted. For further information, consult the Southwest/Texas PCA/ACA’s official web site: <http://www.hnet.org/~swpca /index.html> Send all abstracts, panel proposals, and queries to: Prof. Steffen Hantke, <steffenhantke@hotmail.com>.—Steffen Hantke, Department of English, Sogang University, Seoul
  
CFP: SFRA Conference, 2008. The 2008 Conference will be held at Trinity College, Dublin, from June 24-27, 2008. We invite papers on all aspects of the aesthetics of sf in any medium: conference theme is “Good Writing.” We particularly welcome papers on our guests: Karen Joy Fowler, David Mitchell, and Zoran Zivcovic. Proposals should consist of a title, a 250-word abstract (maximum), and a statement of any equipment needs. Deadline for proposals is February 29, 2008. Send proposals to <sfra2008@googlemail.com>.
 
CFP: Conference on Diana Wynne Jones.
We invite papers on any and all aspects of the writing of Diana Wynne Jones, on her influence and influences. Papers on fan activity and scholarship or television and film adaptations are also welcome. The conference will be held at the Watershed Media Centre, Bristol, England, from June 26-28, 2009. The organizers are Chris Bell, Charles Butler, and Farah Mendlesohn. Diana Wynne Jones lives in Bristol and may attend part of the conference. Hotel details will be made available in 2008. Please send queries to: <farah.sf@gmail.com>.—Farah Mendlesohn, Middlesex University, UK

Forthcoming MELUS issue on Asian-American SF. While the submissions deadline of September 30, 2007, will have passed before readers of SFS will see this item, they will be interested to hear of this forthcoming issue of MELUS (the journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the U.S.), which will focus on Asian and Asian-American writers of fantasy and science fiction.                

The so-called “Asian” has been the site of multiple anxieties that have marked this subject as the inscrutable immigrant alien (Immigration Act of 1924), the subhuman monster (as embodied by the evil machinations of Fu Manchu), or the eerily agreeable “model minority.” The special issue will focus on the perennial “alienness” of the Asian, from historical developments and stereotypes to today’s casting of the Asian as cyborg, robot, and alien species, perhaps inhabiting a post-apocalyptic world in which race takes on complicated new formations and intersectionalities. We define Asian/American narratives and texts broadly. Papers will dialogue with each other through broad theoretical, thematic, and analytical methodologies including but not limited to “post” critiques (e.g., postmodern and posthuman), hybridity and contact zones, allegories of empire and colonialism, cell and tissue theory, materialist approaches that consider scientific studies, and new media studies and hypertext, to name just a few. For further inquiries, contact <melus@uconn. edu>.—Paul Lai, Circle of Asian American Literary Studies  
                  
SFS Online Store. SFS is now accepting all credit card payments for subscriptions, back issues, etc., only through its online store located at <http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/store>. Unfortunately, we can no longer accept Canadian dollars, but with the secure credit card and Paypal features available through the SFS store, we hope that our non-US subscribers will not be too inconvenienced.—ABE


Back to Home