From the SFRA Executive Committee
From the Vice President
Greetings, SFRA–Hoping that your health and personal journeys thrive in the Year of the Tiger.
As vice president, I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge about the speculative and fantastical genres, as I meet with you in 2022. I hope to hear about your scholarship and artistry–so do not hesitate to be in touch, especially should I run into you (virtually or in person) at March’s ICFA or our annual summer meeting in Oslo!
We just held SFRA’s first-of-2022 gathering of country representatives over Zoom, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out how intellectually persistent and curious SFRA members have been (thus far!) during this third year of the global pandemic. Reps from Estonia (which will host a national SFRA conference in the next few years) and South Korea testified as to how the field is growing in their regions, while others from Europe, the U.S., and Latin America spoke of intriguing hybrid and online conferences on posthumanism, AI, materialism, weird narratives, spoiler studies (!), critical futures research, and affect theory. Many have been publishing on a slew of old-reliable SF subgenres (cyberpunk, utopian studies, cinematic/televisual spec fic, area/language studies) in all kinds of fresh, necessary, fascinating collections.
Everyone has been astonishingly generative amidst the spread of corona’s variants! And calls for a hopeful speculative arts, for comforting genre stories that inspire optimism and celebrate utopian communalism, have bloomed…though these have never quite been my jam. But what public-health historians are calling a mass-disabling event are giving at least some people pause to rethink anti-science ideologies. In the U.S. south (where I now reside), we are finally seeing people queue in long car lines for free COVID-19 testing. The hardcore dystopian inside me who has waited a whole life to experience the apocalypse—that films and pop culture of a 1970s childhood had once promised—is now giving way to a fresh variant. She does not bake sourdough, but she does dig into her family recipe file to re-make ancestral meals anew. If the world is ending soon, this is not what the post-apocalyptic playbook had laid out as the first step towards humanity’s inevitable return to its own decisive mistakes.
We will try to freshen SFRA with mindful, engaged conversations about how to diversify our membership ranks, to (further) globalize our conversations and research, and to live lives vibrant and rich with community-centered imaginative arts. Why not share your ideas with us in this growling wildcat of a year!