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.

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



Summer 2021

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review


“Heat Dome” is the phrase we’ve all learned to associate with Summer 2021: while here in Atlanta, it’s just another warm but unremarkable summer, a friend in Oregon tells me it’s like living on a different planet out there. The Anthropocene is already here: it’s just unevenly distributed. We can hope that the science-fictionality of the present will encourage the powers that be and the general populace to consider the solutions SF might have to offer, but given that citizens wanting yet another term for Jim Crow ransacked the Capitol on live TV, this seems rather unlikely.

In cheerier news, we have a great deal happening at the Review, including our transition to partial peer review. We believe that with the exponential growth in the serious study of SF in recent times, it’s important to provide a platform where emerging scholars can receive publishing credit that will help them advance. We are of course absolutely looking for established scholars to help with the peer review, so you may expect a politely phrased request from us at some point in the future.

In this issue, we also have the annual results from the SFRA conference, including statements from award winners, reports from officers and a version of the keynote. We also have statements from candidates for executive positions, so please take the time to read these before you consider how to vote. In addition, we have a long-form piece on and a translated story by the Bulgarian SF master Lyuben Dilov, a special section on Mormonism and SF, some papers from the 2021 ICFA conference and our usual suite of reviews.

The Editorial Collective would like to welcome three new members and two members to new positions. Former associate editor Virginia Conn is now our managing editor; former fiction reviews editor Jeremy Carnes is taking Virginia’s place as associate editor. Jeremy is joined by Andrea Blatz, our other new associate editor; Michael Pitts is our new fiction reviews editor. Josh Derke has also just joined us in the new position of fiction editor, so if you’ve always wanted to write SF, he’s the one to reach out to. We look forward to serving you with more and better content in future issues.

From the Editor



Spring 2021

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review


During the last few weeks, I’ve experienced William Gibson’s unevenly-distributed future. My wife was in a motorcycle accident last month, and as of a few days ago now has a knee supplemented with metal and polymer parts and ligaments from a cadaver. My father, who at 93 was still running on a treadmill up until quite recently, experienced tremendous pain from sciatica and is now re-learning how to walk: the surgery that inserted artificial spacers between his lumbar vertebrae and metal rods to hold them together has temporarily confused his spinal cord. My daughter and I are now the only family members who aren’t cyborgs, though both of us wonder how long that will last.

In this issue of the SFRA Review, we present to you at least three distinctly different versions of that future. First, we have a new Fiction section, inaugurated by the Chinese writer Tang Fei: we will be henceforth accepting fiction submissions, as delimited by the call for submissions at the beginning of the new section. We also have two symposia addressing the future. The first, Sinofuturisms, gives perspectives on the past, present and future of the rapidly-growing discourse around Chinese SF. Our other symposium consists of selected papers from the “Living in the End Times” conference, which detail a rich variety of takes on the slow-motion apocalypse many of us have found ourselves in: SF enables us to examine and critique the causes of and responses to the changes presented to us by the Anthropocene. We also have, in addition to the usual panoply of reviews, a call for papers relating to Indigenous SF, which will be one of the primary subjects of our November 2021 issue.

Finally, we bid farewell to one of our Associate Editors, Amandine Faucheux, whose competence and collegiality will be greatly missed. Please pass to your friends and colleagues our call for a new Associate Editor.

From the Editor



Winter 2021

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review


I’d like to thank you for reading SFRA Review. This is my first issue as senior editor, and while I cannot hope to surpass the standards Sean Guynes instituted during his tenure, I can try to maintain these standards. In fact, this issue is really his, as Sean directed the content, while I merely arranged it. We have him to thank for everything that’s been done to professionalize the Review and raise its visibility.

I live in Atlanta, in the lovely and newly-blue state of Georgia, where I work at Georgia State University. I primarily write about Arabic-language SF, though I also publish on postcolonial Moroccan literature in Arabic and French, and sometimes on Anglophone SF. I grew up on old-school Anglo-American SF, but have gradually learned not to reread the sort of things my teenage self thought magnificent.

It is in the spirit of looking back upon things we once thought magnificent, now with a more mature and critical eye, that we present to you the only part of this issue that is my contribution rather than Sean’s. The Review has been publishing for fifty years, now: half a century of discourse on SF as serious literature. We invite creators, critics, scholars and fans of all generations to take a look at what we’re calling Interrogating Our History, and to consider the call for papers, through which you can consider submitting a reflection upon works the critics, scholars and fans of the year 1971 considered influential. Please consider submitting: the papers will be published in the year’s remaining issues.

My role here is to boost the signals of other people: writers and artists, reviewers, graduate students, emerging scholars, established scholars, independent scholars and scholars from outside the Anglophone world. The Review provides a platform for anyone to make observations or draw conclusions about the vast, increasing diversity of SF and related genres. As an international publication, we have the reach to enable scholars from all over the world to discuss speculative fiction and how it manifests in corners of the world that my teenage self only knew about through stereotypes and Orientalism. Do you have a point to make, or an axe to grind? Contact us.

For now, little will change, especially structurally. Sean did a great job raising the level of professionalism, and I hope to build upon that. In this issue, in addition to reviews and feature articles, our editorial team brings to you papers from Us in Flux and Beyond Borders; future issues will maintain these symposia and special sections. Are you organizing a conference or part of a group of scholars who wish to present multiple perspectives on the same topic? Again, contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Namárië (From the Editor)



Namárië

Sean Guynes
Editor, SFRA Review


As the Fellowship departed Lothlórien, Galadriel recited a poem, a song of longing for the home she cannot return to. That poem is “Namárië,” the longest text in The Lord of the Rings written in Tolkien’s Elvish language Quenya. The title comes from a shortening of the Quenya phrase á na márië, or “be well,” a common Elvish greeting and farewell. I invoke it here, now, as farewell to you and the SFRA Review, just as I invoked Klingon in greeting nearly three years ago. Namárië, friends.

Over the past few years, since my first issue in the summer of 2018, things have changed quite a lot—in our geopolitical lives, in my personal life, and here at SFRA Review. New editors have come on and old editors have left. The Review changed format, leveled-up in terms of professional visibility, to look like a real journal: and damn straight, it’s been here for 50 years with scholars young and old contributing reviews, essays, and more. Why not treat it with the respect it deserves? If anything, the authors publishing here deserve to be contributing to a publication that takes itself seriously, I thought. And so I worked hard to professionalize the look of the journal and how things work behind the scenes. Moreover, we transitioned to a more secure digital home, bringing the journal to readers in a way that meets the basic standards of digital distribution for academic scholarship. No longer do Review articles linger in a PDF downloadable from an obscure SFRA webpage. Now, each article has a link, its own home on the web, and is fully text-searchable by search engines, optimizing the work our contributors have done for greater discoverability. Boring, time-consuming, subservient to neoliberal academia’s demands for digital presence? Yes, yes, yes, but necessary. Fight me or sue me, I’m right.

My editors have worked hard and now it’s time for me to move on. I have no doubt that the next editor (not yet chosen) will continue the work we’ve done, and then some. (I’ll be watching you, so don’t screw it up!)

Thanks for all your labor, editors, and for your words, contributors. And, if anyone reads this, thanks for doing so, but surely you’ve got something better to do! In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter (@saguynes) and at my website (www.seanguynes.com). Take care of yourselves, gentlefolk.

Be seeing you! / Namárië!

From the Editor



From the Editor

Sean Guynes
Senior Editor, SFRA Review


The previous issue of SFRA Review appeared in February of this year. Then, there weren’t even a dozen cases in the U.S. Now, the U.S. is once again a world leader in deaths caused by political leaders’ stupidity and the need by citizens to rebel against authority. Huzzah to this America-made-great and, well, really sorry about those tens of thousands dead. Despite the shittiness of our times, I’m convinced this double issue of SFRA Review (the spring issue delayed by COVID) will bring some smiles even as many readers return to universities while administrators look away, put fingers in ears, and shout “LALALALA” in an effort to pretend it’s all going to go fine, just fine, nothing to see here.

New Review Website

As has become the chorus of the editor’s note the past few years, this issue brings with it the announcement of several changes—all, we hope, for the betterment of the Review. To begin with, you’ll hopefully have discovered our new home on the web at http://www.sfrareview.org.

Prior to the creation of this website, SFRA Review had made the important transition in the mid-2000s to an online publication, providing the PDF of each issue online for free; by the mid-2010s, the Review had gone entirely online, with no print option. But, even if a PDF is freely available, presenting a PDF as a downloadable link poses significant issues for contemporary journals publishing—and for the tens of authors published in each issue. For one, PDFs put on a website as a downloadable link are not text-searchable, even if the PDF, once downloaded, is. Say a scholar, reader, fan, or whomever is searching online for an essay on Israeli SF or a review of a certain work of scholarship. That’s how most of us begin our scholarly reviews. But an article in a 100+-page PDF (hosted as a downloadable file no less) won’t show up in your search. Moreover, at a time when the discoverability and shareability of scholarship is tied to a scholar’s ability to promote herself, to be “known” in academia, and thus to get further writing commissions and/or relevance in an increasingly irrelevantizing job market, the inaccessibility of a full-issue PDF impedes discoverability, makes shareability next to impossible (unless you cut up the PDF and host just your article on a personal website), and ultimately dissuades folks from contributing to a journal. I could go on, but you’re already bored.

Tl;dr—ours is a scholarly ecosystem in which digital presence makes or breaks a journal (often regardless of the content of the journal!). My day job is spent as the editorial coordinator for Michigan Publishing, part of which means managing a journals program with more than 35 online open access journals. And yet until last month I was helming a journal that, quite frankly, I’d have been embarrassed to have in the program I manage. But no more! We are online, our website looks not bad, and each article and review has a permalink (not a DOI yet, sadly) that ensures authors can share their work on social media and elsewhere. SFRA Review has stepped into the present (of online journals publishing). And we’re excited to see how this will augment and help our growth in the coming years.

Speaking of growth, some announcements.

Editorial Collective

First, as of this issue, SFRA Review has rethought the relationship between the editor and editorial staff. From now on, we are operating as an editorial collective divided into two groups: the general editors and the reviews editors. The reviews editors are the heart and blood of the journal, which properly retains the review focus of the publication in its title and endeavors to publish an increasingly number of fiction and media reviews in the coming year alongside the considerable number of nonfiction reviews we already publish. The main change is that, rather than attempting to divide editorial duties between a “managing” editor and “associate” editors—and recognizing that duties often overlap and that work tends to unfold more as a collective effort than as a neatly oiled machine—the general editors will all take the title of “editor,” with the lone exception of the lead editor whose goal is to guide the overall direction of the journal and ensure timely publication (when the world makes that possible). That person (this is awkward, but: me) will be called the senior editor, with the acknowledgment that this is not a position “above” other editors but rather a recognition that the journal needs an official representative to the SFRA. We have also begun discussing a process for replacing the senior editor, which will involve members of the editorial collective (general and review editors) nominating themselves and submitting their reasoning to the whole collective, which will vote for a new senior editor that must ultimately be approved by the SFRA Executive Committee. Collectivity rules; rules drool.

Active Calls for Papers

SFRA Review has endeavored these past few years to engage the wider scholarly SFF community through two means: (1) special issues on topics of particular relevance and importance to contemporary SFF studies, and (2) symposia collecting papers originally presented in person or virtually at conferences, institutes, symposia, and other scholarly gatherings of SFF studies nerds. The present issue provides an excellent example of what a solid special issue in SFRA Review can look like, thanks to the wonderful editing chops of Virginia L. Conn (recently PhD’d!).

At present, we have two calls for papers active.

Us in Flux: Community, Collaboration, and the Collective Imaginations of SF

The first is a special issue being edited in collaboration with Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, which started the Us in Flux project in April to curate flash fiction SFF stories about the near-future ends of current crises and has included stories and interviews with authors like Nisi Shawl, Kij Johnson, Tochi Onyebuchi, Sarah Pinsker, Usman T. Malik, Ernest Hogan, and others. We have issued a call for papers for a special issue that builds on the Us in Flux stories through critical thinkpieces that address how SFF can help us figure out our shit and build a better future. The CFP can be found here: https://sfrareview.org/2020/07/31/51-1-cfp/. Abstracts for thinkpieces are due October 4, with full drafts of 2,000-3,000 words due November 29. Please consider joining this exciting collaboration!

Mormonism and SF

Much further in the future, and which I’ll plug more in a later issue, is a special issue edited by Adam McLain on Mormonism and speculative fiction. The CFP can be found here: https://sfrareview.org/2020/08/11/51-3-cfp/. Abstracts will be due March 1, 2021, with full drafts of 2,000-3,000 words (or more) due May 15, 2021.

In the future, please look out for a special issue CFP on Hungarofuturisms to be co-edited by Beata Gubacsi. The next issue, 50.4, will have two symposia, one spinning out of Lars Schmeink’s cyberpunk conference and the other from the German organization Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung’s annual conference in collaboration with German Popular Culture Studies Association.

SFRA Review is actively soliciting future special issues and conference symposia. Please reach out to the general editors to discuss possibilities for collaboration: https://sfrareview.org/submissions/.

In this Issue

In this issue, the editorial collective is happy to present not only an incredible article by former fiction reviews editor Jeremy Brett on information science in Fran Wilde’s Fire Opal Mechanism, plus the usual range of features, including Rachel Cordasco’s regular column on SFF in translation and an interview with up-and-coming scholar Julia Gatermann, but also a wide-ranging special issue on Sinofuturisms offering the brilliant insights of a dozen scholars from all over the world! Thanks to editor Virginia L. Conn for putting this together and editor Amandine Faucheux for helping with copyedits. Because the summer issue of each Review typically follows the annual SFRA conference, this issue features some Executive Committee musts, including the Treasurer’s report on SFRA’s financial situation and the Secretary’s report on the annual Executive Committee meeting. Moreover, although we couldn’t celebrate them in person, this issue presents to you the winners of SFRA’s annual awards, along with awards committee statements and the letters from each winner. Finally, but never least, you’ll also find an incredible number of reviews of recent works of SFF scholarship, and several fiction and media reviews.

Enjoy, share, and join us, won’t you?

From the Editor


SFRA Review, vol. 50, no. 1

From the SFRA Review


From the Editor

Sean Guynes
Editor, SFRA Review


This issue brings with it a further few changes, the last for a while as we settle in to our newly redesigned and revamped era of the Review.

The winter 2020 issue welcomes two new reviews editors: Jeremy M. Carnes, as fiction reviews editor, and Megan N. Fontenot, as fiction reviews assistant editor.

The second change is superficial but nonetheless an important signal of the Review’s standing in the SF research community: we have adopted a volume/number scheme, making the first issue of 2020 volume 50, number 1.

In addition to more than a dozen reviews of recent scholarship, fiction, and media, 50.1 features a symposium collecting papers from the day-long Medical Humanities and the Fantastic conference held at the University of Liverpool last July, compiled and edited by Beata Gubacsi.