Us in Flux: Community, Collaboration, and the Collective Imaginations of SF
SFRA Review, vol. 51, no. 1 (Winter 2021)
Co-edited by Bob Beard, Joey Eschrich, Amandine Faucheux, and Sean Guynes
SFRA Review is partnering with the Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI) at Arizona State University to create a special issue of short thinkpiece essays that build on the flash SF stories published by CSI’s Us in Flux project.
Us in Flux began in April 2020 during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, just weeks before a new wave of protests against anti-Black racism and state brutality emerged worldwide. Us in Flux brought together a diverse range of authors like Kij Johnson, Nisi Shawl, Tochi Onyebuchi, Usman T. Malik, Ernest Hogan, and others to explore themes of community, collaboration, and collective imagination in response to transformative events, through flash-fiction stories and conversations between authors and experts in a broad range of subjects. Stories have tackled pressing issues of agronomy, ecology, virtual reality, educational theory, conflict journalism, the human microbiome, and more.
For this special issue of SFRA Review, we seek thinkpiece-style essays of 2000-3000 words that use Us in Flux, its guiding themes, and its stories as jumping-off points to examine speculative fiction and its interactions with a variety of mutable possible futures, and its intersections and collisions with real-world efforts to reimagine and redefine community, collaboration, and collectivity.
We seek pieces that focus on Us in Flux stories and the conversations around them—but also pieces that use Us in Flux to frame or inspire broader analyses of SF, extending to other texts, movements, trends, and patterns. Of particular interest are pieces that trace connections between SF and concrete efforts to forge new communities and systems in the face of calamity, uncertainty, and upheaval. We encourage submissions by folks from historically marginalized and oppressed groups, as well as early-career scholars, fiction writers, and public intellectuals.
Abstracts of c. 250 words and short author bios should be submitted by email to the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “Us in Flux Submission / Name Surname” by Sunday, October 4, 2020. Abstracts should clarify how the thinkpiece will engage with the Us in Flux themes, but prospective authors are encouraged to be creative in their approach to the questions raised by this special issue of SFRA Review. Authors will be notified of acceptance (or rejection) within two weeks.
If you are interested in writing a piece and would like to discuss with the editors before submission of the abstract, please contact us via the email address above and the appropriate special issue editor will reach out to you.
Drafts of 2,000-3,000 words will be due at the end of November. A full project timeline is listed below.
October 10 = Abstracts due
November 29 = Drafts due to editors
December 13 = Edits on drafts returned to authors
January 17 = Second/Final draft due to editors
Early February = Publication of special issue in SFRA Review 51.1
Us in Flux Stories and Conversations
Essays for the Us in Flux special issue should draw on the ideas, conflicts, and solutions imagined in the following flash SF stories and conversations with authors. If you are interested in writing a thinkpiece essay for the Us in Flux special issue, but unsure of how to incorporate an Us in Flux story, please reach out to the editors (above) to discuss essay ideas.
“The Parable of the Tares” by Christopher Rowe
“An Attempt at Exhausting My Deck” by Kij Johnson
“When We Call a Place Home” by Chinelo Onwualu
“A Room of One’s Own” by Tochi Onyebuchi
“Skating Without Streetlights” by Tina Connolly
“Fourth and Most Important” by Nisi Shawl
“Notice” by Sarah Pinsker
- Us in Flux: Conversations – Observation, Learning, and Choice with education researcher Punya Mishra
“A Cyber-Cuscuta Manifesto” by Regina Kanyu Wang
“The Wandering City” by Usman T. Malik
“Even God Has a Place Called Home” by Ray Mwihaki
“Tomorrow is Another Daze” by Ernest Hogan
- Us in Flux: Conversations – TK with Latinx cultural theorist Frederick Luis Aldama