Special Issue CFP / Mormonism and SF (March 1, 2021)


Mormonism and SF

Special Issue of SFRA Review, vol. 51, no. 3, Summer 2021

Edited by Adam McLain


Background

Since its inception in the early nineteenth century, Mormonism has shot for the stars. With angelic visitors, planetary afterlives, and astronomical texts written by ancient patriarchs, the theology and history of Mormonism is ripe for analysis and criticism through the lens of SF. In addition to the beliefs, practitioners of the religion—the largest denomination of which is formally known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with various smaller sects that use or engage with the same history and scriptures—have been and remain actively involved in the history and growth of SF. From staple science fiction authors like Orson Scott Card to contemporary authors like Brandon Sanderson and Shannon Hale, the genre has been shaped and will continue to be shaped by those who are practitioners and those who are adjacently connected to Mormonism broadly.

Submissions

SFRA Review seeks essays of c. 2,000-3,000 words for a special issue interrogating, analyzing, and critiquing the intersections of Mormonism and SF, where SF and Mormonism are understood in their broadest and most inclusive senses.

Submission should address but are not limited to:

• Early Mormonism and 19th century SF

Examples: Parley P. Pratt’s “A Dialogue between Joseph Smith and the Devil”, Nephi Anderson’s “Added Upon

• Mormonism and Latter-day Saints/Mormons represented in SF

Examples: The Expanse (Spaceship Nauvoo), Starcraft (Zarahemla Starport and Helaman Colony in Tracy Hickman’s Speed of Darkness), Battlestar Galactica, Angels in America

• SF texts by Mormon/Latter-day Saint authors

Examples in Literature: Orson Scott Card, Brandon Sanderson, Shannon Hale, D. J. Butler, Stephenie Meyer, James Dashner, Ally Condie, Brandon Mull, Chris Heimerdinger, Jessica Day George, Obert Skye, J. Scott Savage, Aprilynne Pike, David Farland/Wolverton, Tracy Hickman, Charlie N. Holmberg, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, Richard Paul Evans, and more.

Examples in other media: Glen A. Larson (Battlestar Galactica), Justin Santistevan (Dragon Prince), Sanderson board games (The Reckoners; Mistborn: House War; Call to Adventure: Stormlight Archive), Mormon versions of classic board games (Settlers of Zarahemla, Count Your Blessings Monopoly, Missionary Risk, Trek to Zion), Sandy Petersen (a creator of Doom), and more.

• History of Mormon fantasy and science fiction institutions

Examples: The Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium; Leading Edge Magazine

• Mormon theology as SF

Examples: Planetary afterlives, angelic visitors, astronomy in the Book of Abraham, Saturday’s Warrior

For further reading on this topic, to help shape and springboard ideas, the editor suggests reading:

Michael R. Collings, “Refracted Visions and Future Worlds: Mormonism and Science Fiction,” Dialogue

Liz Busby’s recent five-part series on Mormon speculative fiction for the Association for Mormon Letters

Abstracts of c. 250 words and short author bios should be submitted by email to the special issue editor Adam McLain at adam.j.mclain@gmail.com using the subject line “Mormonism and SF Submission / Name Surname” by March 1, 2021.

Abstracts should clarify how the essay will engage with the intersections of Mormonism and SF, 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 an article for the special issue and would like to discuss it with the editor before submission of the abstract, please do so.

Accepted drafts of 2,000-3,000 words will be due in mid-May and should be prepared in MLA style with a Works Cited in MLA 8th edition. A full project timeline is listed below.

Timeline

March 1, 2021 = Abstracts due
March 15 = Authors notified of acceptance
May 15 = Drafts due to editor
June 15 = Edits on drafts returned to authors
July 15 = Second/Final draft due to editors
Early August = Publication of special issue in SFRA Review 51.3

Special Issue CFP / Us in Flux: Community, Collaboration, and the Collective Imaginations of SF (Oct. 10)


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. 

Background

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. 

Submissions

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 sfrarev@gmail.com 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.

Timeline

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

“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

A Contact List of Graduate Students, Postdocs, Adjuncts, and Alt-Acs in SF, Fantasy, and Horror Studies

For the sake of solidarity among graduate students, postdocs, and other contingent members of the academy, SFRA Review editor compiled a collaborative list via Google Docs of folks working on/in/at the intersection of science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, and horror (SFFH) studies. SFRA Review now presents the list publicly for further collaboration.

Whether it’s your primary focus, a side focus, a minor interest; whether you are in literary studies, history, media studies, sociology—we want to get to know you in order to connect, share resources, and develop camaraderie between graduate students, postdocs, adjuncts, and others struggling up through the ranks of academia or now working outside it. This is also a good way to get a sense of the breakdown of institutions, fields, and research interests represented by global scholars of SFFH.

This list is administered by the SFRA Review; information provided here is for the benefit of all SFFH scholars; if contact info is provided, it may be used to contact listees for the purpose of academic work and camaraderie.