Science Fiction Studies

#149 = Volume 50, Part 1 = March 2023


Science-Fiction Archives and Collections in North America, Europe, and Australia, now on the SFS Website. Updating Rob Latham’s compilation in July 2010 of notable sf archives and special collections (SFS [37.2]: 161-91), we have recently posted an expanded account of sf research resources. The entries, provided by the librarians themselves and coordinated by Jeremy W. Brett, Curator of the SF and Fantasy Research Library and Archives at Texas A&M, describe each library’s strengths and focal points; many collections in the original survey have greatly broadened their sf holdings. Scholars interested in early and evolving fandoms—and fanzines—will be happy to see that several libraries have increased their acquisition of fandom resources. The updated materials include archives in nineteen libraries in the US, two in Canada, one in Australia, one each in Norway and Spain, and one in the United Kingdom. Graduate and post-graduate students considering applying for an R.D. Mullen Fellowship for archival research (details are given in the Nov. 2022 issue; the deadline is 3 April 2023) may find a perfect match in one or more of these archives. For full details, see the SFS website at <>.—The Editors

Special Issue of The Wellsian, Journal of the H.G. Wells Society: “The War of the Worlds, 125th Anniversary.” Wells’s The War of the Worlds has been identified not only as the first alien-invasion novel but also as the first imaginary-war fiction: the enemy is from an alien world and the fate of human, non-human, and bacterial species all are threatened. On the 125th anniversary of the serial version, there continue to be re-imaginings and adaptations of one of science fiction’s most enduring works. The War of the Worlds remains front and center not only in the literary and cultural realm but also the STE(A)M disciplines—most notably with ongoing efforts to “invade” Mars by privatized corporations such as SpaceX and Blue Origin. This special issue of The Wellsian invites contributors to be part of the constant and powerful influence that is Wells’s legacy.

Potential topics/areas of focus include historical accounts and considerations of the original (text) version as compared to more contemporary media adaptations (written, oral, aural, or visual); Wells’s background in biology, evolution, and the sciences and its reflection throughout the original version; bacteriology and epidemiology studies as they relate to the death of the Martians and more recent viral invasions, such as COVID-19; what we now know about Mars; the ethics of space travel and colonizing other planets in the face of climate emergency; social justice movements, or how we can study and interpret Wells’s views of race, ethnicity, eugenics, ability, women and gender, and feminism; and Wells and warfare, transportation, and mobility studies.

To encourage a diverse and representative issue, submissions that are not traditional scholarly essays are not only acceptable but strongly encouraged. These submissions may include teaching The War of the Worlds (including lesson plans and curriculum); artistic interpretations and representations of the novel; creative writing submissions, video games, and design plans or blueprints for Wells’s various machines, human and Martian.

Send proposals to <> by 1 May 2023. Submissions will be reviewed by an editorial team, and notifications of acceptance will be distributed around 1 July 2023. Final revisions will be due no later than 1 October 2023.—The Editors of The Wellsian

Special issue of REDEN (Revista Española de Estudios Norteamericanos): “(Super)Heroes in the 21st-Century American Imagination.” Superhero and heroic narratives have seen a resurgence since the turn of the century. New and old heroes and heroines have populated US popular culture, giving rise to texts that tackle diversity, nostalgia, and the need for narratives that address the struggles of our time. This two-part special issue, co-edited by Marica Orrù and Igor Juricevic, seeks essays on (super)hero figures in twenty-first century US popular culture, with an emphasis on diversity, cross-genre texts, and transmedia representations.

Topics of interest include superhero franchise and transmedia representations; heroic narratives and nostalgia; diverse heroisms: e.g., hero figures conceived from gender/ethnic/queer perspectives; video game and board-game heroes; social justice and the construction of real-life popular heroes; comparative studies of US and foreign superheroes as well as US adaptations of foreign figures; merchandise, collectibles, and toys and the use of superheroes in advertising and communication; the role of superhero narratives in the construction of US national discourse; cross-genre feats, such as heroes and heroines in horror versus sf; nonhuman heroes in human narratives; antiheroes and supervillains; saturation, or the overabundance of superhero narratives, franchises, and adaptations; and finally, how trends favoring inclusion have influenced the most recent hero-related productions. The deadline for submissions is 15 March 2023. For any inquiries, refer to <>.—Marica Orrù and Igor Juricevic, REDEN

Call for Submissions: Edited Collection on “Nightmare/s in the Long Nineteenth Century.” Building on the exciting multidisciplinary conference held in May 2022 at King’s College, University of Cambridge, funded by the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, we invite proposals for essays to be included in an edited collection titled “Nightmare/s in the Long Nineteenth Century.” The collection aims to explore the rich and multifaceted theme of nightmare in the arts, thought, and culture of the long nineteenth century. From Johann Heinrich Füssli (better known as Fuseli in England, where he produced much of his art) in his 1781 oil painting The Nightmare, which was to become the iconic image of a newly emergent sensibility, to the first psychoanalytic investigations culminating in the Freudian study On the Nightmare by Ernest Jones (first published in 1911), the nineteenth century was characterized by a pervasive fascination with nightmares, both as frightening dreams and, in their personified form, terrifying creatures or spirits (such as the incubus).

Described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as “not a mere Dream” but a peculiar oneiric phenomenon taking place “during a rapid alternation, a twinkling as it were, of sleeping and waking,” the nightmare raised fundamental questions about conscience, the mind, and fear of the Other. It occupied a special place in “the mythology of the Gothic imagination” (Philip W. Martin), not only because nightmares abounded in Gothic texts but also, and more significantly, because some of the most famous works in this genre—such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)—allegedly had their origins in their author’s nightmares. As “a phenomenon of passivity, self-effacement, irrationality, terror, and erotic excess” (Lisa Downing), the nightmare also conveyed cultural anxieties about repressed and deviant aspects of sexuality, as exemplified by another Füssli painting, An Incubus Leaving Two Sleeping Girls (c. 1793), and by Louis Dubosquet’s definition of the nightmare as a nervous illness similar to hysteria in Dissertation sur le cauchemar (1815). In addition, the century witnessed the rise of “colonial nightmares,” which haunted the Western imagination and gave voice to fears of racial otherness, as can be seen in Edward Lucas White’s “Lukundoo” (1907), an American short story (based on the author’s own nightmares) about an explorer cursed by an African traditional healer (“witch-doctor” in the text).

We invite proposals for contributions from various disciplines across the arts and humanities, with diverse methodological approaches and geographical focal points. Topics may include nineteenth-century literary and artistic representations of nightmare; psychological and medical understanding of nightmare during the period; nightmares and the unconscious; nightmares and the Gothic; nightmares and the creative mind; nightmares, eroticism, and sexuality; nightmares and spectral apparitions; nightmares and hallucinations; nightmares, altered states of consciousness, and psychoactive substances; nightmares and madness; prophetic nightmares; nightmares and the fear of racial, ethnic, social, or sexual Otherness; and nineteenth-century non-Western conceptions and/or depictions of nightmares. Send abstracts of 500 words with a short biography (maximum 200 words) to <nightmaresconference@> by 15 March 2023.—Frances Clemente, University of Oxford; and Greta Colombani, University of Cambridge; Editors

Call for Submissions: “Posthumanism: Twenty-First Century Perspectives.” This anthology of critical writings on posthumanism, to be edited jointly by Dr. Pinaki Roy, Professor of English, Raiganj University, and Dr. Tanima Dutta, Assistant Professor of English, Buniadpur Mahavidyalaya, is likely to be published from a reputed Maryland-based publishing house in the US near the end of 2023. The volume takes diverse approaches to posthumanism, a term that refers to a wide variety of disciplines, including ecology, art, architecture, cybernetics, geology, music, psychoanalysis, and quantum physics. Scholarship in the field can be subdivided into a number of branches: the explanation of the posthuman condition; antihumanism; exploration of the milieu where the robots and AI have come to dominate human beings; and cultural posthumanism versus philosophical posthumanism.

We invite proposals of 300 words, suffixed with 5 to 6 keywords and precise bio-notes, to both Pinaki Roy <> and Tanima Dutta <> by 31 March 2023. —Pinaki Roy, Raiganj University, West Bengal and Tanima Dutta, Buniadpur Mahavidyalaya, North Bengal

Call for Submissions: “Narrative Complexity in Recent Time-Travel Media.” We are seeking additional contributors for an edited collection of scholarly essays on time-travel media (film, television, gaming, music media, and literature). Our primary emphasis is on the increasing narrative complexity of recent time-travel media. Historically, time-travel films and television shows relied on science-fiction tropes and storytelling devices. Yet an increasing number of time-travel media have begun incorporating non- science-fictional elements to create increasingly complicated scenarios. While many viewers today still seem receptive to the recycling of time-travel tropes in more traditional sf, recent authors have begun adapting time-travel tropes to engage audiences in new ways. These more recent time-travel media have reconditioned audiences to expect the unexpected, requiring audiences to learn how to engage with the story to better understand the narrative on multiple levels. This edited collection will argue that time-travel media are more complicated than ever before, but also that newer time-travel media have expanded into the mainstream. This project aims to reveal the interdependent relationship of the time-travel trope to genres and media beyond science fiction.

Submissions interdisciplinary in theory and method are welcome, especially those in popular culture, science fiction, fantasy, genre studies, critical media studies, and narratology. Abstracts and papers discussing recent time-travel media (approximately within the last decade) might include research on narrative structure, theme, genre, reception, comprehension, and other relevant topics. Some works of special interest are Stranger Things (2016–); Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022); Avengers: Endgame (2019); Loki (2021); The Adam Project (2022); The Umbrella Academy (2019–), and Doctor Who (2005–).

Abstracts of up to 300 words should define research intentions, the research’s original contribution, and how the focus aligns with the collection’s main theme—narrative complexity. Papers should be approximately 10-25 double-spaced pages and should follow the current 9th ed. MLA style, with in-text citations and Works Cited page. We are currently in conversation with publishers and will provide more concrete publication deadline information as those decisions are finalized. Please submit abstracts (or draft papers) by the new deadline, 31 May 2023. Direct abstracts, papers, and inquiries to <>. We look forward to hearing from you and learning more about your contributions.—Liz Trepanier, Eastern Florida State College; Luke Leonard, Eastern Florida State College; and Emory O’Malley, Editors

CFP: Like A Version: Adaptations, Reboots, and Remakes in Popular Culture. PopCRN (the Popular Culture Network) is back with a virtual symposium exploring adaptations, reboots, and remakes in popular culture, to be held online on Thursday 1 December and Friday 2 December 2023. Adaptations, reboots, and remakes not only extend the popular appeal of a work or artist, but also they can cause controversy as they reinterpret the text. This is further complicated by the feeling of ownership that artists and fans frequently have over the original. This symposium examines how texts have been adapted, rebooted, and remade in popular culture. We welcome papers from researchers across the academic spectrum, and we encourage papers from postgraduate researchers and early career researchers. Possible approaches might include:

“Play it Again, Sam” (misremembering original texts)
“This never happened to the other fellow” (different interpretations of character)
“The part of [character] will now be played by [new actor]” (who is more important, the actor or the character?)
“I’m the Doctor, or will be if this regeneration works out” (popular culture and recasting)
“As If!” (can adaptations ever be true to the original work?)
“Surely the Second Coming is at hand” (religious aspects of reinvention)
 “I’ll be back” (the promise of more); “I’m baa-aack!” (should some texts never be revived?); “Backstreet’s Back!” (is the original the only one with artistic value?); “Get back to where you once belonged” (historical-social constraints of popular culture);
“They take an old movie and change just enough to make you pay all over again” (economic motivators for recycling popular culture)
“It was always a story that should have been told from a queer perspective or a woman’s perspective” (how changes of perspective evolve the text)
“I’ve seen your face before, my friend, but I don’t know if you know who I am” (the unrecognizable adaptation)
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this” (fan reception of remakes and reboots)
“To thine own self be true” (faithful adaptations)
“Of all the space bars in all the worlds, you had to re-materialize in mine” (How modern adaptations can evoke nostalgia for original texts)
“That’s how this story could have ended, but how about this? (multiple interpretations of the central text).

Email abstracts of approximately 200 words to <> by 31 August 2023. Please include your name, affiliation, email address, title of paper, and a short biography (100 words). Registration is free. Jo Coghlan and Lisa Hackett, founders of POPCRN, University of New England, NSW, Australia

Call for Papers: America and Deep Time: Alternate Geographies, Temporalities, and Histories. The 2023 Annual Conference of the Polish Association for American Studies. In 2023, the conference will be held and hosted by the Department of American Literature and the Department of Studies in Culture, Faculty of English, at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, on 25-27 October 2023.

In Other Continents: American Literature Across Deep Time (2006), Wai Chee Dimock proposed a new way of interpreting American texts, arguing that the current practice of reading US literatures and cultures within their customary context should be replaced by interpreting these subjects through alternate geographies. This would be more sensitive to reading American texts within a global totality and within world literatures. Dimock argued that the short time-frame of history within which criticism of American texts is usually considered (starting from 1620) ought to be replaced by a more extensive concept of “deep time,” inviting scholars and critics to look at America from broader perspectives.

We invite papers about US themes, written from perspectives that present the USA as a “planetary entity” (Spivak), part of a complex network of events and processes often beyond America’s control, imaginary power, or understanding. Recent and recurring factors might include global biology and epidemiology, the anthropocene, global warming, transnational politics, cosmopolitan wealth and poverty, global migration flows, new historical epochs and timescales, global crime networks, and fluctuating global energy and food markets. Such themes and events call for new perspectives.

We invite papers on the following (and related) issues: overlapping territories; migration, immigration, and diasporic cultures; hybridity, assimilation, creative appropriation, adaptation, and translation; borderland cultures and histories; modifications by periphery cultures of genres and plots from core cultures; new readings of “the international theme” in US literature and culture; global environmental change and global extinction events; past and current pandemic discourses; the use of non-American timescales and epochs; polycentric historiographies; elusive, forgotten, neglected, and repressed events and historical relations; the literature and history of slavery as a transatlantic phenomenon; histories of Native Americans and Indigenous topological knowledges; critical perspectives on American archeology and anthropology; multispecies histories and interspecies responsibility; posthuman and more-than-human onto-epistemologies; ecocritical approaches to American literature and culture; Ocean narratives as global narratives (as in, for example, Melville, Poe, Katherine Anne Porter, Toni Morrison); the Global North and the Global South; the US and world religions; digital activism, algorithmic cultures, digital citizenship, metadata society, networked affects, partial communities; transnational sonic phenomena, network noise, bioacoustics; American visual, film, and new media studies, including ecocinema and ecomedia, from a transnational perspective; transnational and transcultural relations, cooperations, movements, and trends; the transnational model in Black and African American studies; transnational America and Women’s Studies; transnational models in Gender and Queer studies. Send panel proposals or abstracts of approximately 250 words together with a short biography (up to 100 words) to <> by 15 June 2023. More details may be found on the conference website: <http://paas2023.>.—The Organizing Committee

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