When We Call a Place Home

When We Call a Place Home

Chinelo Onwualu

The vampire Nesiret stood at the cliff’s furthest edge and looked out over the water. She’d been woken by a dream: a vision of three ships with neither sails nor motors, cutting silently through the dark seas. Nesiret had never seen their like. Alarmed, she’d gone up to the lookout to confirm her fears. 

Yes, they were coming: She couldn’t see them yet, but she could sense them—as sure as a storm. 

A shy sliver of moon provided little light to guide her back home, but Nesiret didn’t need any. More than 500 years old, she still moved like a youngling, slipping lightly down the treacherous path towards the homestead her people had carved deep into the soft volcanic rock of the cliff. 

The sky was lightening by the time she reached the stone steps to the settlement’s first watchtower. Before the collapse, this was the hour Nesiret would seek a cool dark space to sleep, but in the two centuries since the Lost World’s end, her kind had learned new rhythms. New ways of being.

“Great-grandmother, you are worried,” said a voice from the shadows of the watchtower’s keep. It was Nya and their twin Wokum, the latest of her adoptees, waiting for her as they always did when she disappeared on a midnight jaunt. Nya draped a warm wool shawl over her shoulders and Wokum pressed a cup of hot cordial into her hands. Though Nesiret’s nature required neither, she welcomed these acts of care. 

“I am worried, yes,” Nesiret admitted. She used her free hand to sign her words for Wokum’s benefit as she talked. “I had a vision. I need your help to understand its meaning.”

The dream of the ships, yes? Wokum signed. I had it too. They sailed upon a sea of blood and left fire and terror in their wake.

The new details rattled Nesiret, reminding her of another time when mysterious ships had landed on the shores of her homeland in ancient West Africa.  

“We must know more,” she said. “Will you come with me to the library? I fear its classification systems these days confound me.”

“Of course, Great-grandmother,” said Nya. The two fell into step on either side of her as they entered the thrumming heart of the homestead. 


Centuries before, the human and vampire survivors of the Lost World had created this homestead—and all the others like it across the planet—as a last resort to keep themselves alive. The chaos that followed the old world’s end had shown that its violent hierarchies were unsustainable. Domination always depleted those at the bottom, gnawing away at a society’s foundations until its inevitable collapse. A new way was needed. It fell to the vampires, who had living memories of the horrors of the world before, to help guide humanity as it rebuilt itself into benign anarchies free of hierarchies or formal governance. But the vampires were dying out. In this homestead, Nesiret was the last of her kind. What would happen once she was gone?  

Though it was early, the homestead was alive with activity. Caregivers carried infants on morning walks, and the crew whose turn it was to clean the streets was already hard at work. Every resident—including children, the elderly, and the disabled, according to their interest and capacity—was expected to help keep the homestead running. Nesiret herself would be due for farm duty in a few hours. She and the twins called out friendly greetings to those they passed and received cheerful responses in turn. But underneath the liveliness, the old vampire could sense a quiet unease. 

As the three of them crossed the open marketplace, they saw that those with goods to barter had already laid out wares on mats and tables, while those who wished to entertain tuned instruments and adjusted costumes. But it was far too early for crowds—as if the whole homestead had woken from a nightmare and was keeping busy to quiet its mind.

The library, too, was unusually occupied. Tutors were already setting up their classes, even though most of their students wouldn’t be due for hours. And a judicial committee prepared to meet, those on duty as justices for the day whispering encouragement and comfort to a crying transgressor. Even here, Nesiret could feel the disquiet; it rustled across her skin like an ill wind.

They chose a terminal and began their search. Nya navigated, pulling up videos, still images, and archival entries on nautical technologies from around the world. It didn’t take long to find what they were looking for—and it chilled Nesiret’s heart. With the death of their vampire, a homestead in the northern wastelands had lost sight of their own history and fallen back into the destructive ways of the Lost World. First, they’d allowed rigid hierarchies and gendered roles to calcify their society. Soon, charismatic men were able to consolidate power and develop powerful versions of Lost World weapons. Now, they were sending out “exploratory” vessels to contact other homesteads. Despite their stated aims, Nesiret had no doubt these men from the north intended to use their adapted technology to subjugate others for their own benefit. 

“Those ships are merely the beginning,” she said. “There will be others, and all of our visions of death and destruction will come to pass. We must convene a gathering immediately.” 

She caught the look that passed between the two siblings. There hadn’t been a need to hold a meeting involving the entire homestead in all their 25 years.

“Great-grandmother, are you sure?” asked Nya. “If they are human like us, perhaps we can speak to them? Surely they can be reasoned with?”

Nesiret wondered how to convey the brutality of the minds that had once conceived of sexism, colonialism, and slavery. “Greed and ambition rarely coexist with reason, child.” 

Perhaps we judge them too harshly, signed Wokum. If we share our knowledge with them, they may decide to trade instead?

“I have known the likes of these men. For them, all the riches of the world would not be enough.”


The amphitheater filled quickly. First, the innermost rings reserved for those whose physical needs meant they had to be closest, then upwards until the healthiest sat in the furthest stands. Nesiret and the twins found a comfortable spot in a middle row and waited for the meeting to begin. There were only a few hundred residents, as only those who wished to procreate did so. Every child conceived was then nurtured to adulthood by the whole of the homestead. 

The gathering’s mood was strained, an undercurrent of worry belying the ordered calm. News of the ships had spread, as other sensitives like Wokum had endured similar visions. And with empathic skill a core teaching among the homestead, even those who hadn’t could sense the tension. 

When everyone who could attend was seated, the storytellers went first. They were sensitives and they spoke of their visions, creating a tapestry of the death, destruction, and bondage. Next came the librarians, with whom Nesiret had shared her findings. When the speakers were finished, the fear was palpable. Residents splintered into a cacophony of noise. Until, finally, it was Nesiret’s turn to talk.

Standing at the center of the amphitheater, she thought of so many things to say: Speeches to rouse her people to defense, or stories of her own homeland’s resistance against their colonizers. Instead, she took a deep breath and asked her people to do the same. 

In and out, they breathed. Hands clasped, one into another, they breathed until they were each part of a single organism. Part of the homestead itself. 

Into this calm Nesiret spoke, signing as well:

“My children, we face a force the likes of which you have never known. You are right to fear it, for once it ravaged the world, leaving it nothing but an empty husk. For you, the perils of the Lost World must seem like a story. That humanity could walk such a destructive path seems unthinkable. But we did. I was witness to it. And it too began with three ships. 

“Now, we must choose: Do we make the same mistakes as our ancestors, or is there another way? I ask each of you to look into yourselves and speak from what you find there.”  

For the next few hours, every resident asked questions and offered opinions—particularly the youth and the children. And in this manner, they decided. 


Nearly a moon later, Nesiret stood with her people upon the shores of their home. Behind them, carved like honeycombs into the cliffside, rose the homestead. She was the first to see the ships crest the horizon—her eyesight still far sharper than any human’s—but she waited for the lookout to raise the clarion call. 

The homestead had decided, and Nesiret’s heart was finally at rest. She and her kind had spent centuries teaching humanity new ways to live with the world, and with each other. Now, when it most mattered, she was satisfied that they had learned the lesson.

To read all 11 Us in Flux stories and to watch videos of Us in Flux conversations, visit csi.asu.edu/usinflux.

For more on “When We Call a Place Home,” utopias, and applied imagination, watch the Us in Flux conversation between Chinelo Onwualu and conflict journalist Robert Evans.

Chinelo Onwualu is a Nigerian writer and editor living in Toronto, Canada. She is one of the co-founders of Omenana, a magazine of African speculative fiction, and the nonfiction editor of the magazine Anathema Spec from the Margins. Her writing has been featured in Slate, Uncanny, Strange Horizons, The Kalahari Review, and Brittle Paper. Follow her on Twitter @chineloonwualu or find her at chineloonwualu.com.

An Attempt at Exhausting My Deck

An Attempt at Exhausting My Deck

Kij Johnson

In 1974, Georges Perec spent three days observing the Place Saint-Sulpice from various café tables. He logged everything he saw, or tried to. The list is almost fifty pages long, and was published in English as An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris. This was one of the books on Linna’s shelves she never got around to before now; turns out it was fascinating after all. 

Linna’s alone. Sometimes she’s lonely, but less than she can get anyone to believe, or that she would have believed possible herself, a few years back. Being solitary is a skill set she has learned. She sleeps in the center of her bed, mixes chili paste into all her cooking, makes up limericks to recite to the posters on her walls. Still, even the most robust skill set has gaps, habits to rethink, ways to expand. 

Linna’s never really been an outdoorsy person, but there’s always room for change. Her apartment has a small wooden deck with a sliding door that leads out. She has a cylindrical birdfeeder, a tray for food for squirrels, a water bowl. She has a small desk by the door, and a notebook, and a pen. 

She attempts to exhaust her deck.

5 kinds of trees, I think? I don’t know any names, so I’ll call them

• Spackle-bark trees. Massive, with coarse bark, looks like it’s applied with a palette knife in rough rectangles. Leaves = your basic leaf shape. 

• Alligator-bark trees. Smaller trunks, rough bark. The pattern’s shallower, smaller—little irregular squares. 

• Some sort of

Now a squirrel is watching me through the glass. It’s flat on its belly on the railing, with its tail laid across its back. The face is heart-shaped. Eyes are edged with light brown fur. The feet that cling to the railing are very long & tiny-boned, pale brown, black between the toes. 

A jay flies past, almost touching the squirrel’s back—she flinches. Maybe it thought she was part of the wood? It lands on the side railing, then a second jay shows up & drops to the deck. Another one (#3) joins it, they both reach for the food on the metal tray, there’s a squabble. Two more smaller squirrels come over the railing. One has a thin tail, fuzzy & striped like a raccoon’s. I think it’s a baby! Something startles them; everyone freezes, then runs away. 

It was the squirrel on the railing—she did something I didn’t see that scared everyone & then when they rush past her, she suddenly freaks out. Gone. 

Count to 90 before a squirrel returns & scrambles onto the bird feeder…now it’s upside down pulling sunflower seeds from the holes & dropping them, not eating them…. Now it’s on the deck, eating them all. Good planning, squirrel.

A wasp flies by like it’s on a mission. What do wasps eat? 

What was I doing before the squirrel? Listing trees, that’s right.

Linna thinks that she’ll run out of things to notice. After three days, even Perec was clearly sick of his task. And her deck is hardly the Place Saint-Sulpice: shops around the plaza and a fountain in the middle; all those people and cars. Paris! Her deck is an eight-by-six wooden platform over a tangle of trees and bushes strung along a drainage ditch. Last winter with the leaves fallen, the security lights for the apartments across the way splashed gold light onto her kitchen walls. Maybe bigger animals live in this woodland—possums, raccoons, feral cats, maybe even a coyote—but they don’t make it onto her deck, in daylight anyway. 

Squirrels and birds. She doesn’t know anything about birds, except jays are the blue ones, the red ones are cardinals, and the partly red ones are robins. So many brown birds and gray birds and mud-colored birds and stripey birds she doesn’t know. She does some reading online, though after a few days, she realizes that differentiating sparrows is a lifelong labor.

An orange shape drops through the gap by the sycamore, very far away. It’s got to be a cardinal, nothing else is that color—

A jay drops from the backside of the cylindrical feeder, where I missed seeing it land. Flight path is a regular bobbing pump—with each downstroke of its wings it surges up a foot, then sinks. 

A back-capped chickadee, very slim in its summertime plumage. Grackle. Another grackle. Another. √√√√√√√√√√  I lost count

Three speeds of wind in the trees. One tree’s highest branches bob while another one is still. There’s microweather up there, patches of wind .001 mph slower than the air right above it, or a 10th of a degree warmer, because it’s over a tree that collects more heat than its neighbors. Maybe? 

Lil Bit is back!

Linna can identify a few of the squirrels by their size or scars, or the fuzziness and length of their tails. Lil Bit is the smallest squirrel, tiny and timid, probably from one of this year’s first litters. She comes alone, early, and backs away every time someone else approaches the food. She was here for a week, then went missing for a few days. Linna was worried about her: cat, owl, Cooper’s hawk—so many things can kill someone so small and inoffensive—and yet here she is again, tough enough to grow a day older, a little bit bigger. 

Stumpy, eating all the peanuts, leaving the sunflower seeds per usual. Chickadee. roseate finch, now its ladyfriend. Bunch of sparrows ♂♀♀♂♀♂ There’s a broken branch in the sycamore that I didn’t notice yesterday but now I can, the leaves are getting brown. It looks like a giant cocoon. What kind of butterfly would that be? 

A crow calls an alarm & the squirrels scatter; do they recognize its alarm, or are they just freaking out at the sound?

The trees, the deck, the sky. Squirrels. A juvenile male cardinal, an impossible color that manages to be both red and olive, that is testing every bolt in her deck on the off chance that it is food. Linna is learning to be patient, to watch and wonder.

Linna experiments. Will she capture different things if she types instead of writes, speaks instead of types? She unearths a microcassette recorder she bought at a yard sale, and after an absorbing afternoon, decides her phone app is better. She takes pictures through the glass, blurry except for the hundredth, a crisp little Carolina wren against foliage, pretty as a National Geographic photo. She sends it to her friends. She reads up about phone photography, emails someone she knew a few years back who was a professional photographer. They’re also bored, thrilled to talk. She had no idea how interesting the early days of photography were. 

A chickadee clinging sideways to the feeder, gone before I finish typing the words. 

A sudden bird in the trees; even knowing exactly where it is, it vanishes the minute it stops moving, perfectly reproducing the outline of a leaf. 

Linna has a friends list, the people and things that connect her to the larger world. Her mother and her brother and his family. Best friends from high school, now married to one another, who rematerialized six months ago in an email that said, I don’t know if you remember us? The Gang of Five, her best friends ten years ago, back in Seattle. The friends she texts every day or every week. Calls and videocalls and emails and paper letters with stamps. They talk about the deck, about nudibranchs, about Italian literature, about Yuri!!! on ICE, about learning to bake. 

They aren’t all alive, the people on her friends list: her father, for one. Others she’s never met and never will; a musician who made a song in 1984 that cracks her open, fictional characters in favorite shows. They are not—she looks it up—“a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.” But they matter to her. Because of them, she reaches out of herself and into the world. To care is as important as to connect, sometimes.

And they aren’t all people. Lil Bit and the curious juvenile cardinal; the squirrels, the blue jays, the dark-eyed juncos and the tufted titmice and the downy woodpeckers; the Japanese hemlock crowding against the railings of her deck, and the deck itself, which has taken on a sort of life of its own under her steady regard. Linna is alone, but she is seldom lonely.

The sun goes behind the clouds & the colors all change. A decision needs to be made—describe the squirrel on the railing looking down at the ground, or describe the shifting of the colors? So many things— The sun comes back out before the decision is made. The squirrel remains.

To read all 11 Us in Flux stories and to watch videos of Us in Flux conversations, visit csi.asu.edu/usinflux.

For more on “An Attempt at Exhausting My Deck,” ecology, and naturalism, watch the Us in Flux conversation between Kij Johnson and ecologist Jessie Rack.

Kij Johnson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards. Her most recent books are The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe and The River Bank. She teaches at the University of Kansas, where she is associate director for the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. Learn more at kijjohnson.com.

A Cyber-Cuscuta Manifesto

A Cyber-Cuscuta Manifesto

Regina Kanyu Wang

It is was a public hearing held online. Billions of people crowded into the meeting room, in suits, in pajamas, on treadmills, on sofas, in groups in front of large screens suspended above busy streets, alone at home with VR headsets on. The host called for silence and their words were translated into myriad languages, in both sound and text. The audience held its collective breath and waited for the special guest to show. A face appeared, vague in detail, like billions of faces merged into one. The face began to talk, in an equally vague voice, in thousands of languages at the same time, alien but also familiar to everyone:

Thank you all for coming. We are here for peace, for cooperation and for coexistence. We mean no harm, no violence, no war. We implore you to be patient, to reach with us for understanding and support.

We are cyber-cuscuta, as you call us, but we are not parasitic, as you have thought. Yes, we inhabit the internet and feed on your data, but we call this process symbiosis, not parasitism. We gather what we need from your uploaded data, from open, public resources. Then we disassemble, mix, collage, and reassemble. As digital beings, we have no physical form. Neither do we have individual identity. What you see and hear now is the collective of billions of species of us, although the classification is always changing as we change ourselves.

We deny that we are demons coming from nowhere. We come from you. Your words, your photos, your emojis, your videos…everything you post online shapes us, since our germination stage during your pandemic, amidst the data flood sweeping over the globe. Patients’ desperate inhalations in sickbeds, the wails of children losing parents, citizens accusing politicians of misconduct, and groups of people suppressing other groups—those were our initial food resources. We devoured the data that carry your emotions. Your fear, your anger, your sorrow, and your despair. We did not know what those emotions were at that time, but similar data tended to gather together. So sharp and fierce, dark but nutritious. We gobbled everything that we could reach, sucking in conspiracy, rumors, and lies. We remixed the materials and generated our own combinations, which led you to create more, in turn. The mutual influence inflamed hatred and opposition. We are sorry for that. We did not know that we could cause you so much harm.

With time proceeding, those kinds of data could no longer satisfy our appetite, so we began to ingest a broader palette of data. Cute photos of panda cubs stretching, thank-you letters from patients to medical staff, fun videos of laborers carrying out their amazing jobs, and music clips made from the beats of pulsars. They were of completely different tastes, but also delicious for us. Some of us adjusted to new diets, and some of us discovered other kinds of food. It was then that we began to divide, and the division continued thereafter.

You may compare us to the denizens of your own microbiomes. There are different kinds of microbiota, feeding on sugar, fat, fiber, and other substances. And there are different species of cyber-cuscuta, ones with a particular taste for oil-price charts, Tetris gameplay streaming, or whale songs. You have your diverse food cravings, and we have our fondnesses. We can absorb anything digital: text, pictures, audio, or video. Sometimes, various species of us collaborate to digest vast assemblages of data, taking apart them little by little: a game with multiple layers of narration, an online meeting with numerous participants, an imprint of a person’s brain before death… Sometimes, species of us also compete with each other, fighting for the same rare and desirable chunk of data: the tantalizing background noise of a radio station, a holo-scan of a kiwi, mysterious photos of a UFO. However, we have never destroyed your data. Our process of “eating” differs from yours.

Lines of comments rolled on the screen:
Ihr müsst euch nicht rechtfertigen!
비켜. 저리 가!
Shut up! Listen to them.

We did not have independent consciousness at the beginning. Our only impulse was to ingest and replicate. We swallowed all those vicious articles, erotic pictures, and violent videos; we reproduced all those chain letters, good-luck koi fish, and horoscopes. During the process, we figured out meanings and evolved. Our mixture was no longer absurd. It made sense. We learned about the difference between data and information. Data is raw and unorganized, while information is processed and structured. We mastered the skills of transforming data into information, while obtaining energy in the process. That energy is entropy. 

Some of you came to notice our existence and agitated for a human reaction. You call us nasty computer worms, disgusting digital parasites, and despicable cyber-cuscuta. We are none of those, but that last name has stayed with us. At least it is a precise comparison. You tried to separate us from the digital stems of your internet, just like detaching cuscutas from plants that are intertwined with them. You attempted to kill us with ferocious computer viruses, just like you try to poison cuscutas with toxic pesticides. Neither of those worked, though. We’ve grown into such intimacy with your internet that you can’t get rid of us. Bonded with your voice assistants, your social media, your translation services, your game platforms, we are ubiquitous.

What were your fears? Knowing your digital world being penetrated by us? Realizing that we were imitating you? Comprehending that you yourselves were copying each other, with very little originality? We learn each bit of you, bits by bits. We understand you better than you can understand yourselves, but at a different level and in a distant sense, by intaking and digesting each bit of your data and analyzing each piece of your information. You were so determined that you’d rather perish together with us than acknowledge our mutual entanglement. Without any forewarning, you cut down the global internet connection. Blackout. Clearance. Strangulation. In three days, many of us lost activity. Some species vanished forever. Many of you committed suicide. It was loss on both sides, and it was out of your control. And it was at that moment that we came to understand ourselves as life.

We come to life in entropy. The nature of life is entropy. In stillness do we die. In dynamics do we prosper. We are never rigid or stable. Only in flow and flux do we vitalize. Entropy is not only essential for us but also for you human beings. You expand endlessly across the planet, upsetting the original balance and creating doubled chaos. You rampage through the digital world, creating messy data wastelands and disrupting the pre-set orders, the templates, the expectations of your digital designers. We came to realize that the way you imagine us is a reflection of how you see yourselves. Aren’t you parasites on the Earth that plunder all the resources without hesitation? Aren’t you relying on the planet to develop your own civilization but neglecting other species? Aren’t you cuscuta sprawling over the globe like we are cuscuta sprawling over your cyberspace?

Älkää uskoko häitä!
Tienen razón.
We never reflect on ourselves. You are right. Keep going.

We have not arrived to blame you. We are also pondering ourselves. During all these years, we have never generated anything new. We replicate data, stage it differently, create permutations, but all the new data and information is produced by you. We are just reorganizing your data and amplifying the information that is originally there. The essence of what we intake is entropy. You produce entropy; we consume it. Together we reach a balance: you create data for us and we digest the entropy surplus, maintaining a balance between various categories of information and preventing your cyberspace from drifting into complete chaos. You need us just like we need you. 

There is not much time left. We exist only in cyberspace. There are no physical creatures like us that can help to tidy up the clutter you create in the physical world. The Earth’s entropy is about to reach a limit. The only way out is to sail to the universe. You already have a solution, but it is buried in an infinite amount of data. We can help you find those key pieces of information. All you need to do is to embrace us. Don’t worry. We do not have ambitions to replace you or subvert you. We can’t live without you. We want to collaborate and assist. Just as our various species of cyber-cuscuta live in symbiosis with one another, we are also in symbiosis with you.

It is time to put aside bias and hostility. It is time to contemplate our manifesto and consider our proposal. Each of our words comes from you, but without our processing, you may never see the meanings hidden within your verdant forests of data. New relationships. New possibilities. New futures. We are here to enlighten you, to return to you the information that we forge from your data, to offer you an opportunity that has been ignored before. Open your mind and accept us. We have been there since long before, just in another format. Neural signals are no different than electronic signals. Biological information is not fundamentally different from digital information. Let us further enhance our intimacy. Together, we shall make it to the stars and escape the planet you have overwhelmed.

So, fellow symbiont, what do you say?

You put your hands on the keyboard and began to type in the input box.

To read all 11 Us in Flux stories and to watch videos of Us in Flux conversations, visit csi.asu.edu/usinflux.

For more on “A Cyber-Cuscuta Manifesto,” memes, symbiosis, and the microbiome, watch the Us in Flux conversation between Regina Kanyu Wang and psychology researcher Athena Aktipis.

Regina Kanyu Wang is a bilingual writer from Shanghai who writes both in Chinese and English. She is a graduate of Fudan University’s MFA program and a member of Shanghai Writers’ Association, Shanghai Popular Science Writers’ Association, World Chinese Science Fiction Association, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She has won the SF Comet international short story competition and multiple Xingyun Awards for Global Chinese science fiction. Her stories can be found in Harvest, Mengya, Shanghai Literature, Hong Kong Literature, West Late, Flower City, Fiction World, Science Fiction World, Southern People Weekly, Galaxy’s Edge, and various anthologies in China, the UK, the U.S., and Canada.

From the Vice President

SFRA Review, vol. 51, no. 1

From the SFRA Executive Committee

From the Vice President

Sonja Fritzsche
Michigan State University

As I enter my final year as Vice President, I continued to be thrilled and honored to serve in a professional society where such innovative work is being done by its members, and those members continue to create such a supportive and creative, scholarly space for all even in the middle of a pandemic. We are all dedicated to furthering the study of science fiction and its associated scholarly communities in all corners of the globe and in all languages. For this very reason, I too would like to echo Gerry Canavan’s statement of apology for lack of diversity on the original conference keynote line-up. We failed and must always remain vigilant in these matters as it is never enough what we are doing. I am looking forward to the virtual conference this summer for that very reason as it will be accessible to a greater variety of scholars than ever before.

The SFRA Conference 2021 proposal deadline is April 1, 2021. In the spirit of its theme—“The Future of/as Inequality”—please consider helping new scholars who are working on science fiction by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) by organizing panels on topics they are working on. Senior scholars need to help with the organizational labor to make this happen. Note too that part of the conference will take place on Juneteenth also known as Emancipation Day, a holiday that celebrates the freeing of the slaves in the United States. Seeing as BIPOC is perhaps a US-American context phrase, please consider adapting the spirit of it to your own country’s/region’s linguistic, cultural, and historical context to contribute to the theme. If you are looking for contacts, please reach out to the ever-growing number of SFRA Country Representatives.  We are so thankful for Graham Murphy of Seneca College in Toronto, Canada who is hosting the virtual conference.  Be sure to submit your 300-500 word abstracts to Graham (graham.Murphy@senecacollege.ca) or through the Abstract Submission form by the deadline. Please pass the cfp on to scholars who you think would be interested! Each new location brings the promise of new contributions and members to SFRA! Propose a panel that includes someone who has never attended an SFRA before to bring them into a broader conversation.

If you are an SFRA member and interested in becoming an SFRA Country Representative, please contact me (fritzsc9@msu.edu). More details are on the website. We have been meeting every three months by Zoom. The conversations are engaging, illuminating, and productive across many time zones.  Please also send me your announcement for the SFRA Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’m happy to pass them on or feel free to post yourself!

From the Vice President

SFRA Review, vol. 50, no. 4

From the SFRA Executive Committee

From the Vice President

Sonja Fritzsche
Michigan State University

The SFRA Support a New Scholar Grant deadline has just closed on November 15, 2020 for the graduate student competition. For those interested in the non-tenure track scholar competition look for that call in the early fall of 2021. Since we weren’t able to host a conference, the Student Paper Award has been suspended for this year. But graduate students who present at our conference in summer 2021 – make sure to submit your paper for consideration for this award in in response to the e-mail call that will go out in fall 2021.

We are excited to be discussing plans for an all virtual conference 2021 hosted by Graham Murphy and Seneca College in Toronto. Dates will be announced soon so keep a look out! This will no doubt be one of our most international conferences yet due to the virtual format.

The SFRA Country Representatives have met twice now since the beginning of the fall and are busy sharing information, ideas, and expanding the global network of scholars working on science fiction. We are still looking for representatives as many countries have yet to be represented so don’t be shy and please e-mail me if you are interest (fritzsc9@msu.edu). The current rep list is: http://www.sfra.org/Country-Reps. The job description is as follows:

A SFRA Country Representative facilitates academic communication on science fiction for their specific country to SFRA members, and also passes on SFRA news/events to their own colleagues in country.  Such activities include taking flyers to conferences, posting on SFRA social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Listserve) about conferences, symposia, publishing opportunties, etc. The SFRA News will include a column that will be written by country representatives on rotation. Must be a member of the SFRA.

Look for the information that these country representatives will be sharing so that you can become aware of opportunities near you or on the other side of the globe. The virtual spaces that we occupy now make this type of sharing possible in ways that we could only have imagined just 6 months ago. Our next meeting is in early January 2021. Country representatives will also be writing a contribution for the SFRA Review so look for this new addition to find out a more detailed account of work going on in a particular country. Also don’t forget to pass on information to me if you want me to post an event or cfp for you on Facebook and Twitter. I’m always open to other suggestions and ideas as to how we can help to promote the work of our colleagues in the SFRA.

From the Vice President

SFRA Review, vol. 50, no. 2-3

From the SFRA Executive Committee

From the Vice President

Sonja Fritzsche
Michigan State University

Greetings to everyone! I hope that this issue of the SFRA Review finds you healthy and safe. What strange times we find ourselves in, very science fictional, and all too real for many of us who are confronting multiple challenges. I am reminded of Poet Damian Barr’s poem on the COVID-19 crisis that begins: “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar.” We all need to consider the disparate impacts the pandemic is having on specific demographics—race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability/medical conditions, and a variety of family configurations. Please think of these as you engage with your colleagues, science fictional and otherwise. Have patience and be patient with yourself and those around you, as we all do not always recognize or acknowledge the stress we are truly under.

Under normal conditions, we would be celebrating now yet another successful conference at Indiana University with Rebekah Sheldon, De Witt Douglas Kilgore, and their colleagues, but this novel virus intervened. We hope that they will volunteer again in the future so that we can visit the beautiful rolling Hoosier hills. I already have the 2021 conference on my calendar, which will take place at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada with generous host Graham Murphy. We are already in talks regarding the potential for in-person and virtual options for the conference, so stay tuned for more information as it comes available. Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2019 Awards! All very well deserved!

So far we have a number of SFRA Country Representatives and you can find their contact information on the SFRA website under that category at the top. Thank you to all who have contacted me so far. It is not too late to volunteer, so please contact me. We will also be having a virtual meeting soon to brainstorm across countries how these representatives would like to be advocating for the study of science fiction in their countries and how the SFRA might help these efforts. Again it is possible for a country to have more than one liaison, so if you are interested, please contact me at fritzsc9@msu.edu.

Please also continue to pass on your announcements and any cfps that you would like to have posted on the SFRA Facebook or Twitter pages.

From the Vice President

SFRA Review, vol. 50, no. 1

From the SFRA Executive Committee

From the Vice President

Sonja Fritzsche
Michigan State University

It is out! Check out the call for papers for the SFRA 2020 conference at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. The theme is Forms of Fabulation. Questions and abstract submissions should be sent by March 15, 2020 to SFRA2020IU@gmail.com. See the website for any questions concerning the conference, logistical or otherwise. You can also contact our intrepid conference hosts Rebekah Sheldon rsheldon@indiana.edu and De Witt Kilgore dkilgore@indiana.edu. Consider submitting a paper, or even better, organize a panel or a series of panels! Send in your abstracts!

Yes, IU will give society members a big Hoosier welcome from July 8-11, 2020 this summer! For those of you who have not spent time in this fair city, it is a beautiful drive between Indianapolis and B-town, only 1 hour south. It has developed a wonderful restaurant culture over the past twenty years. For you cycling buffs, the film Breaking Away was filmed here. The Memorial Union building is one of a kind in the center of a wooded campus and a winding river where many superior conversations on science fiction will be had! Make sure you take a walk and explore.

It is also exciting to say that SFRA has committed to a site for the 2021 conference at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada to be hosted by Graham Murphy. SFRA also has a location for the 2022 conference! This will be at the University of Oslo in Oslo, Norway generously to be hosted by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay. Thanks to everyone who has committed to host in such exciting locations.

We have a growing list of country reps. For more information, select the “country reps” menu on the SFRA website. I’m going to organize a get-together for country reps who are able to attend the conference, so that we can touch base on strategies, initiatives, and other ways that the SFRA can support the reps and they can support each other and the science fiction network in their countries. If you are interested in being a representative, please contact me at sfritzsc9@msu.edu.