Speculative Fiction Studies

Some resources that may be especially of interest to academics studying speculative fiction. Feel free to suggest more.

Journals:

Other:

Fission #1

We are excited to announce the contents of the inaugural issue of Fission, ed. Allen Stroud:

  • ‘The Aminals Marched in Two By Two’ by Syeda Fatima Muhammad
  • ‘A Pall of Moondust’ by Nick Wood
  • ‘Lyonesses’ by So Mayer
  • ‘The Lego Calf’ by Jon Bilbao (trans. from the Spanish)
  • ‘The Witch and the Elderman’ by Peter Haynes
  • ‘The Trip’ by Michael Crouch
  • ‘Etaerio’ by Rosie Oliver
  • ‘The First and Last Safe Place’ by C. John Arthur
  • ‘Here’ by Gene Rowe
  • ‘The Blood Between Us’ by Katherine Franklin
  • ‘Wanderlust’ by Eugen Bacon & E. Don Harp
  • ‘Time Keep’ by Elad Haber
  • ‘Power of Attorney’ by Louis Evans
  • ‘I Love Google Maps / Death to Google Part 1’ by Paul Beacon

So Mayer’s ‘Lyonesses’ will also be translated into Spanish for Celsius.

Fission is an experiment this year, which we plan to turn into an annual event. There will be another submissions window for Fission #2 in late 2021 or early 2022, so watch this space. You may want to follow the BSFA on Twitter, and/or if you’re not already a member, you can join here. For a little more info, see the latest newsletter.

Fission #1

Vector in 2020

Vector continues to publish a broad range of SFF criticism, as well as interviews, reports, and reviews, including both scholarly and fan writing. This year we again published two bumper issues of Vector, #291 (unthemed) and #292 (SFF and contemporary art).

This year, in collaboration with Fanac, we also made sixty years of back issues available digitally. You can explore the archives here (see also this earlier note). Going forward, Vector is likely to be publishing more themed and guest-edited issues, including #293, a special on Chinese SFF guest-edited by Yen Ooi and Regina Kanyu Wang.

The BSFA also continues to publish Focus (for SFF writers, ed. Dev Agarwal) and The BSFA Review (a digital SFF reviews zine, ed. Sue Oke), and has announced a new annual fiction publication, Fission, will be launched in 2021.

We also ran the 2020 Solidarity Salon series, with readings from a variety of wonderful authors, all available here. We don’t currently have firm plans in place for something similar in 2021, although it does seem likely we’ll continue to be doing more things online, so we very much welcome feedback, ideas, and possibilities for collaborations.

The BSFA also adopted a new constitution at our 2020 AGM, and is preparing for a new website launch in (probably early-ish) 2021.

If you’re not currently a member of the BSFA, please consider joining!

In previous years we’ve often done some kind of “Best SFF of the Year” type feature. We won’t be doing that this year exactly, but do check out …

Updates

Vector

Thanks to the assistance of yet another layout volunteer, Vector 271, the last issue of 2012, will be coming out in January 2013, along with a guest-edited version of Focus. Vector 272 should follow a month or two later, along with the BSFA Award Booklet.

BSFA Awards Nominations

The deadline for the BSFA Awards Nominations is January 13, 2013. BSFA members should nominate early and often!  Works currently nominated are available to peruse here. Don’t take for granted that if your favourite sf book, short story, work of non-fiction, or artwork is on that list that it will receive enough nominations to make the shortlists. Equally, if a work worthy of nomination isn’t on that list, consider it your personal responsibility to nominate it so that it is.

Divine Endurance: Flowerdust Edition

Gwyneth Jones has revised her first sf novel, Divine Endurance, collating it with its companion novel Flowerdust. Divine Endurance was the first novel published under her own name, in 1984. The edited pair are available and, more specifically, available for free today on Amazon.co.uk!

Imagining London

I apologise for recent silence around here. On top of various bits of Life, I was thrown by the resignation of Martin McGrath.

If anyone could have been said to have been doing too much for the BSFA, it was he, inasmuch as he was single-handedly dealing with a good half of the organisation’s day-to-day business, from editing Focus, to storing any extra publication copies, to mailing out new member’s packs, to doing all design and layout for all of the BSFA’s publications and liaising with the printer. (And that’s not all.)  It’s far more than any one person should need to do for one organisation, and it’ll take at least three new committee members to replace him!

Insofar as Vector is concerned, his resignation meant that the publication schedule for the next issue (due out in June or early July) was put in doubt, as at least some of its contributors are aware.

The good news is that we now have a volunteer, as a one-off, to do layout for this next issue of Vector: so this issue definitely happening, and on schedule too at this rate! And I’m excited about the contents – this issue has articles from an exciting group of contributors! (To whom I still owe many edits – coming soon, now that the issue is back on track!) (This is no guarantee that the following issue of Vector will be coming out on time, however. That depends on one or more additional, as yet not-found, volunteers.)

However, as a caveat, it’s up to me, as features editor, and any other willing volunteers, to track down, volunteer, and recruit any and all images to be used in this issue, from the cover art to all the interiors. Without imagery, the issue can still go ahead – but it will look notably image-free!

The theme of this forthcoming issue is “London & SF”, as proposed by James Bacon, as a tie-in to the London in 2014 Worldcon bid.

The cover art will be in full colour, but otherwise, reproductions will be in black and white.  Do you have drawings, photographs, and paintings you’ve made yourself and can grant permission for their use in this one issue of Vector, whether in print or PDF?  Suggestions of artists who might be willing to contribute to this issue? Ideas of other legal and appropriate ways to illustrate this issue?

Can you help?

Looking ahead

We’ve gotten a bit behind with plans here at Torque Control. I’ve had a busy end-of-semester, and Niall and Tony both ended up over-committed, which is why you haven’t seen the end (or in one case, beginning) of discussions of Farthing and The Carhullan Army. I can’t tell you when those posts will be along, but I can tell you the following…

I have a special preview of the next Vector for you tomorrow. The issue itself was as waylaid as this blog, but you should still have it before the end of January. In the meantime, tomorrow I’ll be posting an article which will appear in the print issue when it comes out, but which you really need to read much sooner than that: Andrew Butler’s writeup of the John Martin: Apocalypse show which is currently at the Tate in London, but closes January 15th.

Next week, I’ll be posting on Lavinia.

Then, two weeks later, in January, I’ll post about Gwyneth Jones’ Spirit. Shortly after which, you should be receiving the next BSFA mailing, about which much more anon.

Coming up: Lavinia

Next up in reading the Future Classics is a novel set in ancient Latium.

For November, what’s left of it, I’ll be looking at Lavinia, Ursula Le Guin’s retelling of part of the Aeneid from the perspective of a character who, in the original, has no lines. The book was contentious as science fiction at the time: does it even count as part of that genre? Whether or not it does – we’ll reconsider the arguments – it’s certainly a fascinating and admirable book. It won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and was shortlisted for the BSFA Award.

Lavinia was published in 2008 (meaning we’ve skipped 2007). In that year, Fidel Castro resigned as president of Cuba, Bill Gates as chairman of Microsoft, the island of Sark lost its distinction for preserving feudalism, the summer Olympics were held in Beijing, and the Large Hadron Collider was officially opened. Arthur C Clarke died, and Terry Pratchett announced that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The BSFA began its experiment with running Matrix as an online magazine.

I can promise you a discussion of Lavinia before the end of the month. I’ll be posting on it starting a week from today.

P.S. These year recaps paid off at the BristolCon quiz for me, when, thanks to doing them, I knew in which year Pluto lost its planetary status.

Coming up: Farthing

The next book in our ongoing Future Classics series is Jo Walton’s Farthing.  Niall will be leading discussion, likely starting before the end of September.

Farthing was published two years after Gwyneth Jones’ Life, which means 2005 is the first year of the last decade we have skipped. None of the books published that year made it onto our list of the top-10 science fiction novels by women of the last decade.

2006, however, gave us Farthing, the first of Walton’s Small Change trilogy. It was also the year that Pluto was demoted from being a planet; novels by five male authors were shortlisted for the best novel for the Hugo Award; and Octavia Butler, Stanislaw Lem, Jack Williamson, and Jim Baen died.

Farthing was shortlisted for a slew of awards, including the Nebula, the John W Campbell Memorial Award, the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, and the Locus award.  It won the Romantic Times 2006 Reviewers’ Choice Award for Science Fiction.

I hope you will be able to join us in reading and discussing Farthing.

Life: Recap

(Isn’t that a fantastic title for a post?)

Over the last few weeks, Nic has posted a series of thought-provoking explorations of Gwyneth Jones’ Life, looking at its relationship with institutions and attitudes towards scientific practice; its self-consciousness as feminist sf, as a commentary on the role of women in a science fictional world; the core of the relationships which define the plot of the book; and the fictional scientific discovery at the heart of the story and how it affects gender.

Life, the seventh book we’ve examined in the Future Classics series here on Torque Control, is our last book from 2004, the end of the first half of the decade this book list covers.  The remaining four books cover the rest of the decade. For planning ahead, those are

  • Jo Walton, Farthing (in late September)
  • Sarah Hall, The Carhullan Army/Daughters of the North (October)
  • Ursula Le Guin, Lavinia (November)
  • Gwyneth Jones, Spirit (December)

My thanks to Nic for joining us for this discussion (and perhaps more in the future?), and to those of you who read along and participated in the discussion. It’s never too late to come back to these posts and do so.

Discussion: Part 1 – Science and Sensibilities; Part 2 – Feminisms; Part 3 – Roles and Relationships; Part 4 – Gender and Conclusion

A recent, related post:

bookgazing asks for insights into what new things cis-gendered women could become “in the middle of a pre-existing world full of pre-conceptions about gender and behaviour?”

Vector 267

Go away for a week, and all sorts of things happen! Vector 267 arrived while I was traveling. Most people seem to have received their copies on Saturday, although a fair minority of those were partially soaked from the ongoing rains.

This quarter’s mailing includes, in addition to Vector, a booklet of Maureen Kincaid Speller’s writings, edited by Jonathan McCalmont and laid out by Martin McGrath.

This issue contains a broad assortment of intriguing and (I hope) thought-provoking content, including a few pieces, including Sam Mardon’s elegant cover, in honour of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Arthur C Clarke Award.

Cover of Vector 267 by Sam MardonTable of Contents

Matrix: A Magazine out of Time, Ian Whates
Introducing The BSFA Review, Martin Lewis
Sci-Fi London in 2011 in REview, Alys Sterling
Against Utopia: Arthur C Clarke and the Heterotopian Impulse
Homer’s Odyssey: The World’s First Fantasy Novel?, Juliet E McKenna
An Interview with Samuel R Delany, Roz Kaveney
Avatar: The New Fantastic Horizons of Oneiric Justice, Roberto Quaglia, trans. Teo Popescu
Kincaid in Short, Paul Kincaid
Now and Then, Terry Martin
Resonances, Stephen Baxter
Foundation Favourites, Andy Sawyer

The BSFA Review, edited by Martin Lewis
Reviews

The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction, edited by Mark Bould, Andrew M. Butler, Adam Roberts and Sheryl Vint (Routledge, 2009) – Reviewed by Glyn Morgan
The Mervyn Stone Mysteries: Geek Tragedy, DVD Extras Include: Murder and Cursed Among Sequels by Nev Fountain (Big Finish, 2010) – Reviewed by Gary Dalkin
Sci-Fi London Film Festival: Dinoshark (2010), Sharktopus (2010), One Hundred Mornings (2009), Zenith (2010), Gantz (2011) and Super (2010) – Reviewed by Martin McGrath
Ignition City, written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Gianluca Pagliarani (Avatar, 2010) – Reviewed by James Bacon
Twin Spica: Volume 1 by Kou Yaginuma (Vertical, 2010) – Reviewed by Nick Honeywell
Mardock Scramble by Tow Ubukata, translated by Edwin Hawkes (Haikasoru, 2011) – Reviewed by Alan Fraser
Gantz (2011) – Reviewed by Lalith Vipulananthan
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay (Harper Voyager, 2010) – Reviewed by Dan Hartland
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Andy Sawyer
On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers (Corvus, 2011) – Reviewed by Paul Kincaid
The Broken Kingdoms by NK Jemisin (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Sandra Unerman
The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham (Orbit, 2011) – Reviewed by Sue Thomason
The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz, 2011) – Reviewed by Maureen Kincaid Speller
The Scarab Path by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor, 2010) – Reviewed by Nic Clarke
The Wolf Age by James Enge (Pyr, 2010) – Reviewed by A.P. Canavan
Blood and Iron by Tony Ballantyne (Tor, 2010) – Reviewed by David Towsey
The Evolutionary Void by Peter F Hamilton (Pan MacMillan, 2010) – Reviewed by Martin Potts
Point by Thomas Blackthorne (Angry Robot, 2011) – Reviewed by Alan Fraser
Embedded by Dan Abnett (Angry Robot, 2011) – Reviewed by Stuart Carter

Vector welcomes letters of comment, or feedback on the forum.