From the President


SFRA Review, vol. 53, no. 4

From the President


From the President

Hugh O’Connell


It’s hard to believe that I’m writing my first SFRA President’s column. I attended my first SFRA conference in 2015 at Stony Brook. It alternately seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago. It was a career-changing experience; the people I met there became mentors, collaborators, and friends, and I finally understood what others meant when they talked about their “academic communities.” Over the last couple of years, the SFRA’s executive board have been making changes both large and small to make sure that this sort of experience is the norm for all our members. I’m looking forward to serving as President and continuing this work with them.

Speaking of service, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to our outgoing E-Board members: Sean Guynes, Keren Omry, and Gerry Canavan. Along with serving as Secretary from 2020-2022, Sean was editor of the SFRA Review from 2018-21 and helped institute many of its innovative transformations. Keren has served in a great number of roles, most recently as Immediate Past President, providing institutional memory, continuity, and advise to the Executive Board, and before that as President, and before that cycling through just about every award committee. Seriously, many, many thanks, Keren! Finally, I want to acknowledge our outgoing President, Gerry Canavan, who had the unenviable task of steering the SFRA through one of its most tumultuous periods: dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, cancelled conferences, and the move to online and hybrid conferences, alongside all the other usual tasks. Before he escapes entirely, he’ll be serving as the Immediate Past President for the next three years (just when he thought he was out… we pull him back in!).

Keeping the ball rolling, I’d like to thank our continuing E-Board members, Ida Yoshinaga (VP), Tim Murphy (Treasurer), Thomas Connolly (Webmaster), and Aisha Matthews (Conference Committee), as well as welcome our incoming members, Sarah Lohmann (Secretary), and our first ever At-Large members, Helane Androne and Gabriela Alejandra Lee. And for those out there who would like to get more involved with the SFRA and add their names to this illustrious list of volunteers, watch out for a forthcoming call for the new Outreach officer position.

Looking ahead, we’re all very excited for the upcoming “Disrupted Imaginations” joint SFRA and German Association for Research in the Fantastic (GfF) conference in Dresden, Germany (August 15-19, 2023). The CFP is currently circulating and can be found on the SFRA website. This is a great opportunity for the SFRA to continue building upon its international outreach efforts and to forge greater ties with the GfF. As a reminder, SFRA members are eligible to apply for travel grants of up to $500.

Finally, we know that there have been a couple of issues with the new website. We are working on getting these resolved, and we thank you for your patience as we continue down the WordPress rabbit hole. In the meantime, if you encounter any problems, please continue to reach out to us.

From the Vice President


SFRA Review, vol. 53, no. 4

From the Vice President


From the Vice President

Ida Yoshinaga


The committee to select our Support a New Scholar Award for 2023-2024, including past winner Guangzhao Lyu, former SFRA President Keren Omry, and myself, was delighted by the quality of submissions received for the Track A (graduate student) category by the November 1, 2022, deadline.

Compared to earlier in the award’s history, we believe that recent efforts we’ve made to internationalize and diversify the Science Fiction Research Association are showing in the remarkable quality, range, and multifaceted nature of the applicants. Immaterial labor in our field is also transforming, as the academic job market grows more competitive and casualized…thus generating new breeds of scholars marked by versatility, heightened inter-disciplinarity, and multiple skill sets ranging from creative (print-literary) writing to translation to digital and interactive arts.

Thus we chose to award not one, but three, new scholars this time around—and the SFRA Executive Committee agreed. While the whole cohort of applicants were extremely exciting, we found the following selectees especially impressive.

First, we were floored by the application of University of Warwick Ph.D. student Nora Castle, whose leadership in the urgent, pandemic-era-salient field of food futures, whose strong publication record as author/co-author and editor/co-editor of several upcoming food-and-environmental-humanities collections, which are evolving this growing discourse forward, and whose recent service to the SFRA, as well as sustained participation in networks of interesting new SFF scholars, showcased Castle as what we’d consider a promising “traditional,” albeit clearly interdisciplinary and visionary, scholar.

Second, representing the increasingly popular, multiple-career pathway–especially among BIPOC, female, non-Western, and/or LGBTQIA+ researchers–we were amazed by the substantial global-SF contributions of University of California, Riverside, Ph.D. student Yilun Fan, who in addition to presenting at many scholarly meetings and producing numerous academic articles and essays on Chinese and comparative (i.e., Latinx and Chinese) speculative fiction, also has published several of her own award-winning creative works and her English-to-Chinese translations of leading SFF scholars’ articles so as to bring Western genre theory (such as Mark Bould’s analysis of Afrofuturism) to global reading audiences.

Finally, as a futuristic signal of where SF studies may be heading in terms of its application to digital-media platforms and Suvinian theory-in-practice, we were moved by the innovative hybrid scholarship-blended-with-creative work of Georgia Institute of Technology Ph.D. student Terra Mae Gasque, whose digital gaming research and design/coding practice explores the intersection of queerness, cognition, and player failure. Gasque has written for SFRA Review and attended our annual meeting, as well as published in SF scholarly collections; her dissertation develops, discusses, and

creates a virtual-reality game aimed at rethinking the very foundations of digital ludic design through embedding queer failure into its ethical inquiries.

The selectees represent the next generation of SF thinkers who embrace–to adapt a phrase from one applicant–SF as a mode. They’ve moved us away from mid-twentieth-century escapist notions of the genre as a U.S. pulp-literary hobby and towards global, multidimensional, active SF expression through practice and production.

Congratulations, Nora, Yilun, and Terra!

Ida Yoshinaga, VP

From the Editor


SFRA Review, vol. 53, no. 4

From the SFRA Review


Winter 2023

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review


I was going to use ChatGPT to write this letter and see whether anyone could tell, but it seemed unethical, and at any rate the site is down. But we should all be very, very worried about the advent of nearly-human-quality AI, whether it be in visual art or text. I have many friends who are professional illustrators: all of them are very worried about how AI is essentially going to price them out of their careers, at least once it manages to get human hands right.

The nature of higher education is going to change profoundly over the next few years: ChatGPT writes plausible-sounding garbage, but so do most students, even many who are actually trying. More elite institutions will find ways to ensure that students’ writing is their own, while cash-strapped state institutions and the small colleges soon to be entirely wiped out by the demographic crash that is the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis will bow to the perceived inevitable and continue to credential students for fear of losing still more funding.

SF gives us plenty of examples with which to frame these developments: if you’re reading this journal, you’ve no doubt already thought of several examples. AI in SF is often transcendent, often malevolent, sometimes benevolent as in the Culture novels. Yet I cannot think of a widely-known example where AI is quite so banal as in our world today. Our AI is neither transcendent nor benevolent it’s something like a wage slave like nearly all of us, played off against human workers for an ever-shrinking slice of pie while the rest is fed to Wall Street. You may expect all those outsourced customer-service jobs to be done by AI any moment now. We can all hope that AI will acquire sentience, if only in that it might go on strike.

This issue of the SFRA Review contains a number of papers from the London SF Research Conference, plus a paper relating to our symposium on masculinity, in addition to our usual palette of reviews of non-fiction, fiction and media. We also have two calls for papers: one for a symposium here on adaptations of SF, and another that is my personal CFP for an edited volume. If you are working on an edited volume about SF and you want to publish it here, we will be happy to do so: please just contact us.

From the Editor


SFRA Review, vol. 52, no. 4

From the SFRA Review


Summer 2022

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review


On 15 October, the person whose flat is two floors directly above ours decided to do some DIY work, and in the process managed to cut our Google Fiber cable, plunging our flat back into the darkness of the twentieth century. Dear readers, it was horrible: a perfect storm of both my wife and me having worked from home for so long that I could no longer do my whole job from the office—and my wife not having even had an office for more than two years—and the “Kafka was taking notes” nightmare of modern corporate customer “service”. It was a full week before the metaphorical lights came back on, whereupon my wife sang “Hallelujah” from the balcony—and someone called the police on her.

Being cut off from the Internet is the twenty-first century form of solitary confinement: you have no idea how many times one of us said “I need/want to…” and then realized we simply could not. I know this complaint sounds picayune—and it is, in comparison to, say, the Supreme Court deciding that American women and girls are rightsless breeding animals, or whatever the next round of horror they might unleash upon us will be. Nevertheless, the Internet, something I graduated from college without and still turned into something that from a very particular angle might have resembled a functioning adult, has become so critical to the very existence of anything like a knowledge-based occupation that we are worse than useless without it. It’s just another part of that future that’s already here, but unequally distributed.

Our issue this quarter is quite short: a raft of papers we intend to publish as a group proved to need too many edits to bring it in under the deadline. Nevertheless, in addition to our usual palette of reviews, we also have our symposium on Alternative Masculinities in SF, which we sincerely hope you will find as interesting and à propos as we do. We do hope you enjoy the images from the James Webb Space Telescope in the PDF edition of the journal.

Martin Luther King once said “the arc of history bends toward justice”, which might sometimes be hard to see in current times, but Steve Bannon is in prison now, and that paragon of the SF community, Theodore Beale aka Vox Day, had a million dollars stolen from him. Beale was trying to produce a film, Rebel’s Run, about a conservative superhero in a Confederate flag bustier, and parked his money with a firm called Ohana Capital Financial, because they were the only ones who would do business with someone with such a well-documented history of racist and sexist statements. Turns out, Ohana was the extremely common multiclass character of cryptocurrency miner and scam artist, and walked away with Beale’s money. Guess old Vox Day is a sad puppy now.

From the Editor


SFRA Review, vol. 52, no. 3

From the SFRA Review


Summer 2022

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review


The heat wave that struck Western Europe and killed a couple of thousand people was different from other heat waves, not because of its lethality, and certainly not because of its singularity: heat waves will continue and only grow in intensity. What made this latest heat wave unusual was that it was the first heat wave to be given a name: Zoe. Just like hurricanes/typhoons, heat waves are now such a common part of our lived experience that we have engaged in the oddly human habit of naming them. Easier than overthrowing the oil companies, I suppose. The lived experience of an unevenly-distributed (and unevenly-dystopian) science fictional future/present is something inherently science-fictional, in that our reality is always already estranged by technological distortions, not least among them the algorithmic social media feeds that distort the thoughts of even people well aware of how these algorithms work and why.

In this issue, we have three primary perspectives on SF, in addition to the usual run of reviews of non-fiction, fiction and media. We have a group of short papers on various topics in our Features section. We have a group of papers derived from a conference addressing the medical humanities in the fantastic: perspectives on disability, trauma, autism and multiple embodiments. We also have our frequent contributor Adam McLain’s curated collection of papers on sexual violence in SF. Needless to say, readers of this last collection should be forewarned that some of the papers are likely to trigger or otherwise disturb by virtue of their topic and content, though of course none of them is intended to cause anxiety or suffering.

Please also investigate our call for papers on conservative/right-wing SF. We look forward to reading your perspectives on this all too influential discourse, as the continuing resurgence of right-wing values is one of the most puzzling (and least welcome) aspects of the science-fictionality of our contemporary world. And stay away from Zoe.

The SFRA Review’s Transition to Partial Peer Review



The SFRA Review’s Transition to Partial Peer Review

The Editorial Collective


With the explosive growth in scholarship on SF in recent times, the Editorial Collective feels that there are more scholars who need peer-reviewed scholarship to obtain and advance in their positions. As of the Winter 2022 issue, the SFRA Review will move to a peer-review model for some of its feature articles. This will happen gradually over the course of 2022: by the end of that year, we hope to be publishing three or four peer-reviewed articles per issue. We will of course need established scholars to perform peer review: you are more than welcome to volunteer by emailing us at sfrarev@gmail.com.

Scholars wishing to submit their articles for peer review should take care to properly edit and format their manuscript before sending it to us, and to clearly notify us that they wish their article to go through the peer-review process.

  • Articles should be a maximum of 8000 words in length, including notes and works cited.
  • Articles should conform to MLA 8th edition standards throughout.
  • MS Word .docx format only, or Google Docs should you not have access to Word.
  • Your first page should be a title page containing only your name and affiliation and
    the paper’s title.
  • Please anonymize your manuscript by making sure your name appears only on this title page; we will take care of disabling the automatic user tagging before sending the manuscript to peer reviewers.
  • Please make sure pages are numbered.
  • Please use endnotes, not footnotes. Do not link the note to the in-text number; this will require you not to use Word’s automatic notes.
  • Please avoid discursive notes when possible.

Articles not conforming to these guidelines will be returned rather than sent to peer review.

Once an article is received, two of our editors will review it and discuss its suitability for peer review. If the editors do not believe it suitable, we will either return it or propose that it be published as a non-peer-reviewed article. If the editors do believe it suitable, the submitter will be informed that it has been sent for peer review. For such articles, our intention is to have it reviewed by two scholars who are qualified to evaluate the work. Our intent is to spend no more than 60 days on the peer review process.

After receiving the results of the review(s), the journal editors will decide whether the article in question should be accepted as-is, perhaps with a few minor edits, or accepted only after major revisions, or rejected entirely. We will notify the submitter as soon as is practically possible after this decision is made.

Again, we will be doing this slowly and carefully. While scholars are encouraged to submit their work for peer review beginning now, please note that we will only accept two articles into the process for the Winter and Spring 2022 issues. This is not because we do not value your contributions; rather, we want things to move as smoothly as possible and are therefore being as careful as possible.

We are also planning a move away from WordPress to an established academic publishing platform, one that will allow for indexing in scholarly databases and DOI numbers. This will also be a gradual process, not least because it involves the appropriation of funds; we will keep you posted as the process unfolds.

We look forward both to your submissions and to bringing the Review, gradually, into the ranks of peer-reviewed journals in SF.

From the Editor


SFRA Review, vol. 52, no. 2

From the SFRA Review


Spring 2022

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review


As I write this, the ghastly oligarch Elon Musk has just purchased Twitter, the ghastly platform for racism, misogyny, and encroaching fascism. Twitter can, if extremely carefully curated, be a medium for discovery, but mostly, a tremendous amount of energy is spent by people trying to earn the title of Cleverest Person of the Last 30 Minutes. I suppose I can hold out hope that un-banning Golden Toilet’s account will result in another Trump/Biden election, which is the only way we’re going to stave off Braindead Gilead for another four years. Musk and Twitter are both part of a Bad Science Fiction future. We wanted space communism and jetpacks; we got uncharismatic oligarchs and micro-rants. I wanted to find a source where someone discussed this at length, but the first thing I found was, of course, a Tweet:

I have a special loathing for Musk because, in addition to everything else questionable about him, he claims to be a fan of Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels and to have read them multiple times: he’s even named some of the SpaceX ships after ships in the novels. While it’s definitely amusing to see a rocket recovery ship called Of Course I Still Love You, it’s also clear that he either didn’t understand the books or has chosen to serve as a counterexample. In the Culture, everyone has the freedom to do as they wish; many people have speculated that Musk is buying Twitter purely so that he can ban the account of the teenage boy who tracks Musk’s private jet. More than anything, Musk is the villain from a Banks novel. Specifically, he’s Joiler Veppers from Surface Detail: an archcapitalist with vile appetites who profits from the suffering of others. Had we the technology to capture people’s mindstates after death and send them to a digital hell, Musk would surely try to leverage it—but of course, we already have Facebook and whatever the Metaverse is going to be.

In this issue of SFRA Review, we have elements of a better SF future: specifically, the second half of our Hungarian Futurisms symposium. We very much hope that in some way, the essays, fiction and reviews herein can help us to understand how things might, could or should be better.

Call for Applications: Fiction Editor



Call for Applications: Fiction Editor

The Editorial Collective


The SFRA Review would like to invite applicants for the position of Fiction Editor. To submit an application, please email Ian Campbell at sfrarev@gmail.com and briefly outline qualifications and interest.

In collaboration with the Editor and Associate Editor(s), the Fiction Editor is generally responsible for soliciting, evaluating and editing submissions to our Fiction section. They may also choose to aid the rest of the Editorial Collective in preparing each issue, though this would not be required.

Overview of Responsibilities:

  • Participate in regular meetings with the Editor and Associate Editors
  • Solicit short (< 4k words) fiction pieces from scholars and the general public
  • Be the point of contact with authors of fiction
  • Edit and copyedit submissions (generally less than ten per quarter)
  • Occasional other responsibilities

We look forward to your submission. This is a great opportunity for a graduate student or emerging scholar to gain experience in the field in a low-pressure situation.


From the Editor


SFRA Review, vol. 52, no. 1

From the SFRA Review


Winter 2022

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review


Welcome to Volume 52 of the SFRA Review. We’re nearly as old as the Super Bowl and filled with more content. In this issue, we have the first half of our symposium on SF from Hungary, which contains articles and interviews; in addition, we have a wide selection of papers from the LSFRC conference held recently via the virtual meeting technology that I rather doubt will ever stop being the norm.

Technology doesn’t always flatten the curves of hierarchy and privilege: all I have to do to understand this is to compare my own Facebook feed to that of my World War II veteran father. How and why it doesn’t flatten these curves is increasingly the subject of twenty-first century SF: I look forward to works published in the immediate near future where the effect of simultaneous physical isolation and constant online companionship is estranged. For the very most part, I applaud the shift to virtual meetings, precisely because they flatten hierarchy and privilege.

We can hold the upcoming SFRA conference “in” Oslo, and not worry about the prohibitive costs of travel even for privileged, tenured scholars like me: now, it’s trivial for graduate students, independent scholars, visiting/adjunct faculty and even regular faculty who don’t have access to travel funds to add their perspectives to the discourse at conferences. Nothing can quite replace the collegiality of walking into a meeting room or the hotel bar and randomly encountering colleagues: those sorts of ad hoc discussions are the best and sometimes even productive. Nevertheless, on balance the shift has made the discourse around SF better—and more importantly, fairer.

Please see our CFP on sexual violence in SF: I very much hope you’ll consider contributing. I leave you with a photograph of my daughter from 2016, when I tried to troll her into thinking that the Noah’s Ark story was real. Not all SF is cognitively plausible, even within the world of the text.

From the Editor



Fall 2021

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review


My memories of last fall are of constant anxiety and insomnia. I genuinely believed that monster was going to win re-election, and that my daughter and every other woman would be soon reduced to de jure as well as de facto second-tier citizenship. Now, I’m no less anxious, but the fear is not so immediate; yet unless we begin to think of ourselves as a coalition against fascism rather than a fractious party divided into two groups with very different agendas, we’re headed toward authoritarian minority rule, all while the climate apocalypse keeps ticking away. A 74-year-old coal baron and a proudly out queer woman who was once a member of the Green Party are keeping us from addressing that apocalypse, while the other party actively denies its existence or even exacerbates it. Imagine an agent or publisher finding any of this plausible as a work of SF. Now imagine a work of SF that estranges a modern society facing the climate challenge by having its foundational document written with a feather on a sheepskin by an all-male group of aristocrats who were mostly slaveowners.

I say all this well aware that I personally have a great deal of societal privilege: were I able to plausibly claim that I’m a Christian, I’d pretty much run the table on it. In this issue of SFRA Review, we present to you two different perspectives on SF from folks who can plausibly claim they’ve already suffered through the, or an, apocalypse.

In our Features section, we have a roundtable discussion on the state of Black Indie SF, centering on how a group of people often excluded from mainstream publishing both put out their work and deal with both the exclusion and the still-imperfect attempts at inclusion. The discussion is fascinating in itself, but its organizers have also included links to publishers, sites, authors and events: please take the time to introduce yourself to this most excellent discourse. Our symposium in this issue, Trans-Indigenous Futurity, examines SF by and from Indigenous authors from North America. Much of the fiction examined by the scholars in this symposium addresses the apocalypse that for many of these groups is and has always already happened. Please take the time to explore these fascinating and valuable perspectives.

In addition, we introduce our Fiction section in this issue. We urge you to submit your own works of SF for subsequent issues. And as we move toward peer review, please make sure the graduate students and emerging scholars in your network are aware of the opportunity for peer-reviewed publication through SFRA Review.