Science Fiction Studies

#148 = Volume 49, Part 3 = November 2022


Call for Applications: R.D. Mullen Fellowships. Named for Richard “Dale” Mullen (1915-1998), founder of our journal, the Mullen fellowships are awarded by Science Fiction Studies to support archival research in topics related to sf broadly construed.

There are two categories of awards:

One Postdoctoral Research Fellowship up to $5000. Candidates must have received their PhD degree but not hold (or be contracted to begin) a tenure-track position. Also eligible are ABD students who have not yet received their degree but are scheduled to do so before taking up the award. This fellowship is granted for research in support of a new project only; the relation between the new research and the topic of the dissertation should be clear in the proposal, particularly in cases of closely related projects.

There are two PhD Research Fellowships up to $3000 each. Qualifications specify that research must be in support of a dissertation, and students may apply at any stage of their degree. The proposal should make it clear that applicants have familiarized themselves in detail with the resources available at the library or archive they propose to use. Dissertation projects with an overall science-fiction emphasis will receive priority over projects with a more tangential relationship to the field (i.e., proposals that engage with sf only in a single chapter).

All projects must centrally investigate science fiction, of any nation, culture, medium, or era. Project descriptions should concisely:

Define the project.

Include a statement describing the project’s relationship to science fiction as a genre and sf criticism as a practice.

Show familiarity with the holdings and strengths of the archive in which the proposed research will be conducted and explain why archival research is essential to the project.

Offer a research plan that includes a time-frame and budget practical for the time proposed.

Applications may propose research in (but need not limit themselves to) specialized sf archives such as the Eaton Collection at UC Riverside, the Maison d’Ailleurs in Switzerland, the Merril Collection in Toronto, or the SF Foundation collection in Liverpool. Proposals for work in general archives with relevant sf holdings—authors’ papers, for example—are also welcome.

For possible research locations, applicants may wish to consult the partial list of sf archives compiled in SFS 37.2 (July 2010): 161-90, also available at <>. An expanded listing of updated sf research archives is being prepared, and will be posted on the SFS website within the coming months.

Applications should be written in English and include the project description (approximately 500 words), a work-plan and itemized budget (in addition to the 500-word description), a cover-letter clearly identifying which award is sought, an updated curriculum vitae, and two letters of reference (including one from the faculty supervisor in cases of PhD research).

Award recipients must acknowledge the support provided by SFS’s Mullen Fellowship in their completed dissertations, or other published work that makes use of research supported by the fellowship.

When research is completed, each awardee must provide SFS with a 500-word report on the results of the research prior to receiving their reimbursement. Reimbursements will be for allowed expenditures only (see below), with recipients reimbursed for valid research expenses, up to the amount of the award, after they complete their research and submit receipts. Covered research expenses include:
                airfare or ground transportation costs from one’s home to the archive
                meals for the scholar
                hotel or accommodation costs, and expenses associated with using an archive, such as photocopying, camera fees, and other institutional costs.

Mullen funding cannot be used in support of conference travel (though a Mullen Fellow may attend a conference at the same venue as the archive). Capital items including computers or other equipment, the purchase of books or other research material, and meal, travel, or accommodation costs for anyone other than the researcher are excluded.

Applications should be submitted electronically to the chair of the evaluation committee, Sherryl Vint <>. They are due April 3, 2023, and awards will be announced in early May. The selection committee for 2023 consists of SFS Advisory Board members Rachel Haywood and John Rieder as well as Phoenix Alexander (Klein Librarian) and SFS editor Lisa Swanstrom. The committee is chaired by Sherryl Vint, who manages the administration but does not participate in voting or deliberations.Sherryl Vint, SFS

Science Fiction in Korea: Between History, Genre, and Politics: A Digital Exhibition at USC. In July 2022, the Libraries at the University of Southern California launched a new exhibition on Korean sf on their exhibition site: <>. It was made possible through the support of USC’s Korean Heritage Library and the libraries’ Collection Convergence Initiative. The collection of Korean printed sf and fantasy, begun in 2014, has now grown to more than five hundred items, including books, magazines, pamphlets, and other materials. In 2022, the collection added a layer of extra historical depth by acquiring a trove of rare books, magazines, fanzines, and other fandom materials. Most were generously donated by Sang Joon Park, who is the founding president of the Korean Science Fiction Association and one of the contributors to the exhibition.

In addition to highlighting the libraries’ sf collection, the exhibition provides a critical look at science fiction as a conduit for debates about history, politics, social justice, and current affairs. It showcases the role of science fiction as an important medium through which Koreans have advanced their hopes and anxieties for techno-industrial modernity, often taking advantage of the greater freedom of expression that a speculative genre allows to its practitioners under state and social censorship. Planned as a modular project, the exhibition consists of five thematic essays that link science fiction to colonial modernity, surrealism, feminist and queer theory, and the history of fandom. The essays are written independently of each other by researchers and young scholars and have been curated by Sunyoung Park, editor of Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction (2019) as well as other volumes related to South Korean science fiction.—Sunyoung Park, University of Southern California

Annual Awards, Science Fiction Research Association. The SFRA’s 2021 awards were announced at the conclusion of the 2022 conference in Oslo, Norway. Congratulations to all winners!

The Award for Lifetime Contributions to SF Scholarship (originally the Pilgrim Award) was awarded this year to Roger Luckhurst, Professor of English, Birkbeck College, University of London.

The Innovative Research Award (originally known as the Pioneer Award) is given for the best critical essay of the year, and this year’s winner is Amy Butt’s “The Present as Past: Science Fiction and the Museum” from Open Library of Humanities 7.1 (2021). The selection committee also awarded a special honorable mention to Katherine Buse for “Genesis Effects: Growing Planets in 1980s Computer Graphics” from Configurations 29 (2021).

The Thomas D. Clareson Award for Distinguished Service is presented for outstanding service activities—promotion of SF teaching and study, editing, reviewing, editorial writing, publishing, organizing meetings, mentoring, and leadership in SF/fantasy organizations. This year’s awardee is Gerry Canavan of Marquette University.

The Mary Kay Bray Award is given for the best review to appear in the SFRA Review in a given year. This year’s awardee is Nora Castle’s review of Upload (2020, TV series) in SFRA 51.1.

The Student Paper Award is presented to an outstanding scholarly essay by a student that is read at the annual SFRA conference. The recipient this year is John Landreville (Wayne State U) for “Speculative Metabolism: Digesting the Human in Upstream Color.”

The SFRA Book Award goes to the author of the best first scholarly monograph in SF in each calendar year. This year’s winner is David M. Higgins for his book Reverse Colonization: Science Fiction, Imperial Fantasy, and Alt-Victimhood (U of Iowa P, 2021).

The Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Book Prize, awarded by the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies program at UC Riverside, honors an outstanding scholarly monograph that explores the intersections between popular culture, particularly science fiction, and the discourses and cultures of technoscience. The award is designed to recognize groundbreaking and exceptional contributions. This year’s winner is Sherryl Vint for Biopolitical Futures in Twenty-First-Century Speculative Fiction (Cambridge UP). The committee also chose to recognize Jayna Brown’s Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds (Duke UP) with a special honorable mention.—Gerry Canavan, SFRA President

Special Issue of Postmodern Culture: “Speculative Fiction and Futurism in the Middle East and North Africa.” The last few years have seen a wave of interest in futurism and speculative fiction produced in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Translations of contemporary novels such as Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad (2014), Basma Abdel Aziz’s The Queue (2013), and Ibtisam Azem’s The Book of Disappearance (2014) have greatly contributed to this notable rise in interest in the Anglophone literary field. Academic readings that frame these works and their Arabic and Islamic literary lineages as speculative fiction are only beginning to emerge (Campbell 2018; Determann 2021), emphasizing ways in which they stage a critique of their immediate contexts. In this special issue, we seek to deepen emerging lines of inquiry into MENA speculative culture. We seek to expand these frames of reference by putting works of MENA speculative culture in conversation with the recent theorizing of speculative fiction. We are looking for essays that explore questions of larger scope, including:

What can MENA speculative fiction add to recent accounts of how speculative fiction acts to change our understanding of life itself, through and beyond the human, as in Sherryl Vint’s (2021) or Steven Shaviro’s (2021) recent work?

What unique perspectives does MENA speculative fiction, with its wide array of itineraries, bring to Mark Bould’s (2021) reading of speculative fiction and climate catastrophe or “the anthropocene unconscious”?

More generally, how can we understand MENA futurism as articulating universal visions and criticisms while simultaneously intervening in local contexts?

How and why do works of speculative fiction, film, and the art of the Middle East and North Africa create alternative postcolonial futures? Beyond the utopian notion that such works generate “new maps of hope” (Smith 2012), what forms of mapping do such works produce?

How do works of MENA futurism use their critical sensibilities in analyses of social and economic changes and the contradictions of global capitalism?

If Western science fiction is intertwined with colonialism (Rieder 2008), how might MENA futurisms un-map or reconstitute colonial legacies?

What unique perspective does MENA speculative fiction bring to urgent new global problems such as the rise of authoritarianism, climate change, global inequality, and forced migration?

How do particular works evoke elements of Indigenous literary, linguistic, and artistic heritages of the region to construct alternative futures, not just for the region but also globally?

How can genre markers such as speculative, dystopian, or science fiction produce more nuanced readings of certain works, especially those that have previously been considered works of “magical realism?” On the other hand, to what extent may generic markers or designators undermine or restrict how such fictions are read?

What functions can MENA speculative culture perform that distinguish it from its counterparts in the US and Western Europe?

Prospective contributors should submit completed articles to Guest Editors Oded Nir <> and Shareah Taleghani <taleghani.s>, with “MENA Futurism” in the subject line, by 31 January 2023.

Postmodern Culture does not have a specific word-length requirement and can publish long pieces. Essays appearing in the journal tend to be between 6,000 and 9,000 words. Submission guidelines and more information can be found at: <>.—Oded Nir and Shareah Taleghani, Guest Editors

Call for Contributions: Femspec. The journal Femspec is opening a call for contributions for a special issue about the dystopian anthology series Black Mirror in relation to questions of gender and/or sexuality. The journal welcomes both critical essays and short pieces of creative writing, following the journal’s Submission Guidelines.

Black Mirror (Channel 4 and Netflix, 2011-present) is one of the last decade’s most iconic dystopias, a cultural phenomenon that has popularly become synonymous with the worst of the digital age. Even though it is an anthology show made of narratively independent episodes, the whole coheres around its thematic focus on digital technologies. Still, insofar as each episode gives voice to diverse users who interact with different technologies, the series does not offer a single metanarrative of injustice in the digital age, but rather a polyphony of critical narratives that make the political very personal. The show’s brand image makes clear that the black mirror refers to a fractured screen, and a fractured perspective is precisely what the series offers. Nonetheless, this prismatic polyphony is arguably one of the show’s strengths, potentially the narrative basis of an intersectional critique of the digital. But is this what Black Mirror really is?

Contributors should focus on aspects of Black Mirror that are centrally and ostensibly about gender and/or sexuality, but they may also consider the gaps, omissions, or misrepresentations that conform with and/or reinforce patriarchal normativity.

Regarding the creative contributions, we encourage feminist rewritings of any episode of Black Mirror, especially if they aim at deepening and/or amending the narratives: changing endings, revising specific aspects, giving voice to “background” characters, etc. With respect to critical contributions, the issue welcomes a range of essays that conduct close critical analyses of specific episodes, reflect on recurrent topics of the whole series, or examine the series’s own context of production. All contributors are required to subscribe using the Paypal forms available on the journal’s website, and submissions must be sent via Femspec’s Submission Form before 1 January 2023. Feel free to email me with any questions or ideas. We look forward to hearing from you. Questions should be directed to me as Guest Editor: <>.—Miguel Sebastián-Martín, MPhil in Film and Screen Studies, University of Cambridge and Universidad de Salamanca, Spain

The Incredible Nineteenth Century: New Journal of Nineteenth Century Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fairy Tale. Our journal seeks to publish the best scholarship on the century that was in many ways the period in which the modern genres of science fiction and fantasy began, and in which the academic study of fairy tale and folklore has its roots. I19 interprets “the nineteenth century” broadly, using the dates of “The Long Nineteenth Century”—roughly, from the beginning of the French Revolution to the end of World War I; yet even these dates are just historical markers, as they approximately coincide with Romanticism and Modernism. Scholarship on works from the eighteenth century that anticipated or influenced writers in the nineteenth, or that in nineteenth-century literature influenced later authors, also falls within the interests of this journal. I19 also publishes scholarship on Neo-Victorianism, Steam Punk, or other contemporary genres that react to the time periods contained within the long nineteenth century.

Genres such as horror and mystery, although not always strictly within the realms of the fantastic, are also welcome, due to their close affinity with science fiction and fantasy. Scholarship on early film is also welcome. In addition, I19 is dedicated to maintaining multicultural and global scope and encourages submissions on works from marginalized communities and from around the world. Submissions should be between 5,000-10,000 words (not including Works Cited) and should be documented according to MLA guidelines.

In addition to literary scholarship, I19 will also publish articles on pedagogy. These may be personal reflections, strategies on course design, innovative assignment sheets with commentary, or anything else that those teaching nineteenth-century literature may find useful. Submissions about pedagogy should be between 2,000 to 5,000 words. Please email all submissions in a Word document to <>.

The inaugural issue will be in press by October 2022, but subsequent issues will consider manuscripts on a rolling basis. All submissions will go through a double-blind peer review process.

If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, contact me at <>. Due to shipping costs, reviewers of hard copies of books are limited to the USA.—James Hamby, James Walker Library, Middle Tennesee State U

Back to Home