New Theme Preview + First Reading Group

Image: photograph (by Laura Rodríguez 2015), taken at the “Gran Nacional” mining-cooperation between Venezuela-Ecuador, Quito.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, LSFRC will be thinking with, through and about the theme of SF & Extraction. We will release a framing of the topic soon. In the meantime, we are delighted to announce that the first reading group session for the theme will take place on Zoom on October 18th (7-8.30 pm UK time) and will centre on Samuel R. Delany’s 1968 novel Nova and Mark Kernan’s article “Indigenous Peoples and the Impact of Extractivism: A Slow Cultural Genocide?

Activism & Resistance Conference Registration + Draft Schedule

Artwork by Thomas Johnson

Registration for our SF + Activism & Resistance conference is now live! You can find the event page here. Please note that you do not need to ‘prove’ eligibility for whichever ticket type your purchase.

We are also very pleased to reveal the conference schedule! Please note that this is a provisional schedule, and that titles, chairs and even panel composition may change. All times provided are British Summer Time (GMT +1).

Thursday 9th September

12.45-13.00: Introduction/Welcome

13.00-14.00: Panel Block 1

14.00-15.00: Panel Block 2

15.00-15.30: BREAK

15.30-16.30: Panel Block 3

16.30-17.00: BREAK

17.00-18.00: Panel Block 4

Friday 10th September

9.45-10.00: Introduction/Welcome

10.00-11.00: Panel Block 5

11.00-12.00: Panel Block 6

12.00-13.00: LUNCH

13.00-14.00: Panel Block 7

14.00-15.00: Creators Roundtable (Jeannette Ng, Rivers Solomon, Neon Yang, Chair: Avery Delany)

15.00-15.30: BREAK

15.30-16.30: Panel Block 8

16.30-17.00: BREAK

17.00-18.00: Keynote: Radha D’Souza (Chair: Heather McKnight)

Saturday 11th September

10.45-11.00: Introduction/Welcome

11.00-12.00: Panel Block 9 [Session 9A has a duration of 90 minutes]

12.00-13.00: LUNCH

13.00-14.00: Panel Block 10

14.00-15.00: Keynote: Grace Dillon (Chair: Katie Stone), “Moozhig-aendum-itchigaewin: Indigenous Futurisms and Climate Justice”

15.00-15.30: BREAK

15.30-16.30: Panel Block 11

16.30-17.00: BREAK

17.00-18.00: Indigenous Games Roundtable (Johnnie Jae, Santo Aveiro-Ojeda, Weyodi OldBear, Chair: Johnnie Jae)

18.00-18.15: Thanks, acknowledgement & closing remarks/farewell

Panel Block 1

Panel 1A: Digital Somatics: Feminism, Bodies, Dominion (chair: Avery Delany)

  • Adam McLain (he/him), My Body, My Data: Orwell, Social Media, and #MeToo (Content Warning: sexual violence)
  • MK Pinder (she/her), “She infected us with her gift” An Ecofeminist Look at Resident Evil Antagonists as SciFi Horror Matriarchs

Panel 1B: Recuperating Agency: Challenging Dystopia to Salvage Utopia (chair: Cristina Diamant)

  • Alba Gallego (she/her), Revisiting the Future: Social Criticism and Resistance in Walter Mosley’s Futureland (Content Warning: brief discussion of slavery and mutilation)
  • Megen de Bruin-Molé (she/her), Salvaging Utopia: Lessons for (and from) the Left in Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017), The Deep (2019), and Sorrowland (2021)
  • AM Marini (she/her), Dystopias in the Trump Era: Anti/Immigration and Resistance in Calexit

Panel Block 2

Panel 2A: Publishing Feminist SF: A Model for Activism (self-moderated roundtable)

  • Una McCormack (she/her), Paul March-Russell (he/him), Sarah Kember (she/her) &  Aishwarya Subramanian (she/her)

Panel 2B: Can Chinese Science Fiction Transcend Binary Thinking? (self-moderated roundtable)

  • Mia Chen Ma (she/her), Yen Ooi (she/her), Regina Kanyu Wang, Frederike Schneider-Vielsäcker & Angela Chan (she/her)

Panel 2C: Realising the Fictional: Mapping, Narrative, Speculative Activism (chair: Tom Dillon)

  • Gwilym Eades (he/him), Dhalgren as handbook for mapping an activist hyperobject
  • Heather McKnight (she/her), “I don’t see how singing and dancing could be dangerous” Becoming Utopian in Utopia Falls: Interrogating a Nano-Utopian Moment in Teen TV
  • Kate Meakin (they/she), Feminist speculative activism: narrativising the use of the speculative in UK movement building

Panel Block 3

Panel 3A: Star Wars and Star Trek: Sagas of Hope for a More Just Future (self-moderated roundtable)

  • Randall Milstein (he/him), Jose-Antonio Orosco (he/him) & Mohammed Shakibnia (he/him)

Panel 3B: Imagining Crip Futures (chair: Marietta Kosma)

  • Sarah King (she/her), Real Soviet Men: Disability and (Token) Representation in Viktor Pelevin’s Omon Ra
  • Laura Nash (she/her), Crips Claim Space: Disabled Writers Resisting Eugenicist Ideology Through Science Fiction
  • Chiara Montalti (she/her), (Crip) feminist futures. The case of Woman on the Edge of Time (Piercy, 1976) (Content Warning: eugenics)

Panel 3C: Decolonising the Future: Spiritual Technologies and Alternative Futurisms (chair: Edward King)

  • Arwen Spicer (she/her), “I Come from the East of the Mountain: Greg Sarris’s How a Mountain Was Made: Stories as a Transformative Indigenous Futurism” (Content Warning: discussion of trauma, addiction and other impacts of colonialism)
  • Julia Wintner (she/her), Cosmism and Afro-Futurism: Life Against Death
  • Adwait Singh (they/them) & Rachel Hill (she/her), An Ode to Devour: Spiritual Eating and Kinship in N. K. Jemisin

Panel Block 4

Panel 4A: Justice for the Margins: Building Intersectional Futures (chair: Kate Meakin)

  • ksenia fir (they/she),  Border Hacking and Queer Utopias of Sense8 and Transfinite
  • Marietta Kosma (she/her), Politics of the margins in Octavia Butler’s Kindred – queerness, disability, race
  • Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso (Peter, he/him) & Laura Atherton (she/her), Speculative Fiction as a tool for Sexual Justice

Panel 4B: Cultivating Indigenous Futures (chair: Jarrel de Matas)

  • Nicole Ku’uleinapuananiolikoawapuhimelemeleolani Furtado (she/her), Wandering the World’s Most Isolated Metropolis: Structured Dispossession & Post-Apocalyptic Stress Syndrome in the Film Waikiki
  • Abdenour Bouich (he/him), Beyond the End: Indigenous Futurisms’ Intervention in the Anthropocene

Panel 4C: Exploding the Borders of the Human (chair: Megen de Bruin-Molé )

  • Zita Hüsing (she/her), Racism and the Control of (Post)human Bodies in Minister Faust’s Mir: Volume I: Ascension
  • Helane Androne (she/her), Theorizing Emancipation: Butler’s Parable through Sandoval’s Methodology of the Oppressed
  • María Ferrández San Miguel (she/her), Posthuman Ethics and Human-Animal Ontologies in Ted Chiang’s “The Great Silence”

Panel Block 5

Panel 5A: Are you game? Videogame activism in Hong Kong (chair: Avery Delany)

  • ACAB (she/her)

Panel 5B: When the Past Remains: Activism, Care, Writing (chair: Sophia Bazile)

  • Gillian Polack (she/her), When the personal affects the story: activism and novel writing
  • Kathryn Heffner, Participatory Cultures of Care: Femizine and Proto-Feminist Fan Productions in the Mid-Century

Panel 5C: Disposable Lives Amid Disaster (chair: Alba Gallego)

  • Sonakshi Srivastava (she/her), Sub/versions: Speculating Justice in Animal’s People
  • Danny Steur (he/him), Living beyond stonelore: Suturing towards a multi-epistemic literacy in the dehumanist ethico-politics of non-imperial communities in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth

Panel Block 6

Panel 6A: Poetics of Pain and Enchantment (chair: Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso)

  • Yen Ooi (she/her), 6 4 Lines
  • Chiara Cigarini (she/her), Challenging the system by subverting the canon: re-enchanting Chinese science fiction through poetry

Panel 6B: The Tumultuous Alternatives of Historical Futurisms (chair: Francis Gene-Rowe)

  • Ruiying Zhang (she/her), Phantom Narrative in Three Science Fictions set in Ming Dynasty China
  • Christopher Loughlin, When was Celtofuturism? Proto-Science-Fiction and Voyages Extraordinaires

Panel 6C: Cosmic Resistance (chair: Nat Muller)

  • Flis Holland (they/them), Subserotic Bulge [Screening]
  • Emma Puranen (she/her), Exoplanets as Sites of Rebellion

Panel Block 7

Panel 7A: A World Beyond This World’: A Panel on Queer and Trans Resistance in The Deep (self-moderated roundtable)

  • Beyond Gender Collective

Panel 7B: Revolutionary Emotion Against Injustice (chair: Yen Ooi)

  • Eliza Rose (she/her), The Communist Hypothesis in SF, or: The Sad Metaphor of the Marxist Archeologist
  • David M. Higgins (all pronouns acceptable), “Save It For When It Will Make a Difference” – Cynical Reason and Revolutionary Activism in Ancillary Justice
  • Danxue Zhou (she/her), Urbanization and Social Inequalities in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction

Panel 7C: Inciting Disobedient Subjects: Desire, Empathy, Grief (chair: Cristina Diamant)

  • Emily Hall (she/her), The Meaning of Life: Grievability, Human Rights, and Readerly Empathy in Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods and Jesse Ball’s The Divers’ Game (Content Warning: discussion of representations of suicide)
  • Agnibha Banerjee (he/him), “There is still chaos”: Eros as Error in the Construction of the Posthuman Subject in Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We

Panel Block 8

Panel 8A: Labouring Towards the Unknown (chair: Emily Hall)

  • Jo Lindsay Walton (he/him), ABOLISH MONEY
  • Ellie Campbell (she/her) & Antonia Eliason (she/they), Teaching Law and Science Fiction at the University of Mississippi
  • José Gomez Moreno, Film Sleep Dealer (2008)

Panel 8B: Ruinous Recuperation (chair: Zita Hüsing)

  • Dave Hubble (he/him), Bricoleurs in SF: making do beyond the walls of Utopia
  • Zoe Goldstein (she/her), If It’s Vacant Take It: Spatial and Environmental Justice in the Reconfiguration of Urban Refuse
  • Nat Muller (she/her), Utopian Impulses through Ruin in Larissa Sansour’s In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain (2015)

Panel 8C: Counterfiguring Hegemonic Injustice (chair: AM Marini)

  • Simran Gindwani (she/her), Subversion of patriarchal norms through the metaphor of Mythology in Indian Science Fiction
  • Jarrel De Matas (he/him), Configuring the Caribbean through sf
  • Edward King, Afrofuturismo and the Aesthetics of Resistance to Algorithmic Racism in Brazil

Panel Block 9

Panel 9A: Gaming the Futures of Activism and Resistance (chair: Avery Delany) [90 minute workshop]

  • Sophia Bazile (she/her)

Panel 9B: The Softer Path: Quiet Activisms and Failed Resistance (chair: Rachel Hill)

  • Roy Tristan B. Agustin (he/him), Tacit Resistance Against Authoritarianism and Imperialism in Gregorio Brilliantes’ “The Apollo Centennial”
  • Iuliia Ibragimova (she/her), Outlaws and Bounty Hunters: Failed Resistance in Farscape (1999-2003) and Killjoys (2014-2019)
  • Gabriely Pinto (she/her), So we can walk forward with knowledge of who we were before”: Landscape, History and Resistance in Sarah Maria Griffin’s Spare and Found Parts

Panel 9C: Glimpsing a Resilient Hope: The Fight for Climate Justice (chair: Angela Chan)

  • Yue Zhou, Representation of Ecological Injustice in Post-1990s Chinese Science Fiction
  • Erika De Vivo (she/her), Gállogieddi 100 years from now: Markomeannu#2118 Sámi art-activism between past and futures at the intersection of climate-fiction and reality

Panel Block 10

Panel 10A: Glitching Exchanges, Subverting Coloniality (chair: Kathryn Heffner)

  • Päivi Väätänen (she/her), Resisting and reshaping the alien encounter narrative
  • Elsa Bouet (she/her), Is the price right?: Decolonising Global Trade in Octavia Butler’s Dawn
  • Chandrica Barua (she/her), A terrible femininity: Ornaments, cyborgs, and monstra

Panel 10B: Sertaopunk (chair: Ariela Parisi)

  • Alan de Sa, Gabriele Diniz, Ariela Parisi (she/her)

Panel Block 11

Panel 11A: Counter-Protagonistic Resistance (chair: David M. Higgins)

  • Jonathan Thornton (he/him), Dissolving the Individual: Collective Consciousness as a Rebellion Against Neoliberalism in Tade Thompson’s Rosewater and Chana Porter’s The Seep
  • Ana Romão (she/her), Resisting Military Futurism: Black Mirror’s ‘Men Against Fire’ and the Dystopian Representation of the Military Cyborg
  • Thais FL (she/her), The Hero Doesn’t Need a Face and We Don’t Need a Hero: 3%, Social Justice and the Shared Protagonism of Brazilian Science Fiction

Panel 11B: From Dystopian Impasse to Vistas of Hope (chair: Elsa Bouet)

  • Ariela Parisi (she/her), Of Black Bodies and Celestial Bodies: Queer Afrofuturism and New Spatialities in Diego Paulino’s Negrum3
  • Meltem Dağcı, An Ecofeminist Look at Apocalyptic Solarpunk
  • Lucía Leandro Hernández (she/her), Dystopian scenarios in “the Switzerland of Central America”: science fiction stories by female Costa Rican writers

Climate Justice + SF: Online guest roundtable and presentations, Saturday 14th August 13:50-18:00 BST

The LSFRC’s Climate Justice + SF day event schedule is now announced!

Climate and environmental changes have long been an integral part of science and speculative fiction. As part of our Activism & Resistance programme, we’re looking at how the increased engagement recently reflects the growing global climate movement towards action. 

For Climate Justice + SF, the afternoon event features artists, organisers and scholars working in climate justice and its themes around the world. We have a selection of workshop-style presentations and discussions, and the day concludes with a guest roundtable featuring Blanca S. Villalobos, Idman Abdurahaman and Chris Pak.

With this event, we ask:

  • What kinds of cultural narratives and activistic strategies does SF shape in relation to climate change globally? 
  • How do these work to confront the colonial history of climate change and challenge the systemic powers that caused and sustain the climate crisis? 
  • What are the critical approaches in SF that ensure intersectional approaches are integral to the work, which joins the global struggle for climate justice in sincere solidarity?

We’re encouraging an expansive and inclusive view of what climate justice looks like in relation to SF across activism, the arts, academia and beyond. We recognise that climate change is a problem of power, one that originates from colonial extractions and continued petrocapitalist imperialism. Therefore, only intersectional approaches towards climate issues will do – such that climate justice exists together with anti-colonial social justice activism that fights for racial, disability, LGBTQIA+ and class justices. 


Schedule for Saturday 14th August, 13:50-18:00 

To attend, please open our newsletter for the Zoom link and you can sign-up to the LSFRC newsletter here. Free and open to all.

13:50-14:00 Welcome to LSFRC’s Climate + SF event

14.00-14.30 Amanda Sun: Why We Need Climate Optimism

14.30-15.00 Sami Rafiq: Social Change and Social Justice in Modern Day Science Fiction

15.00-15.30 Owen Moravitz: Requiem for the Holocene: Resisting Climate Change and the Difficulty of Writing Anthropocene Fiction

15.30-15.45 Break (15 mins)

15.45-16.15 Verena Hermann: Tarot cards: Universal world-building with mnemonic devices and chaos magick

16.15-16.45 Josephine Taylor + Katie Stone: Ecological Mothering and Queer Intersubjectivity in Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood

16.45-17.00 Break (15 mins)

17.00-18.00 Climate Justice + SF: Roundtable: Blanca S. Villalobos, Chris Pak, Idman Abdurahaman


Roundtable Guests

Idman Abdurahaman is a black feminist and a climate justice researcher. As an environmentalist, she is dedicated to exploring the climate crisis and environmental injustices from radical and alternative lenses, always moving towards full decolonisation and liberation for all. Currently Idman leads community food growing and nature connection projects in East London.

@_radicalecology Black Radical Ecology 

Blanca S. Villalobos (they/she) is a freelance cultural worker & interdisciplinary artist from the San Gorgonio Pass of Southern California with ancestral roots in Jalisco. They are a proud, queer daughter of Mexican immigrants and comes from a lineage of educators, artists and dream practicioners. Over the past 10 years they have had the honor of working with youth & families of color as a community educator and is currently co-facilitating a racial justice program for California desert conservation advocates.

Chris Pak specialises in the study of Science Fiction and was an Arthur C. Clarke award judge from 2018-2020. His first postdoctoral appointment was as a researcher on the Corpus Linguistics project, “‘People’, ‘Products’, ‘Pests’ and ‘Pets: The Discursive Representation of Animals’” (Lancaster University), his second on the Digital Humanities project, “Modelling Between Digital and Humanities: Thinking in Practice” (King’s Digital Lab). He is the author of Terraforming: Ecopolitical Transformations and Environmentalism in Science Fiction (Liverpool University Press, 2016), a contribution to the Environmental Humanities, Utopian Studies and Postcolonialism that analyses how transformations to environments in science fiction interrogate the global politics of climate change and the Anthropocene.


Presentation Speakers

14.00-14.30 
Amanda Sun: Why We Need Climate Optimism

Amanda Sun seeks to help people adapt to and slow climate change, goals that led her to study Engineering and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. There, she chairs the Environmental Stewardship Division and is looking to start an effective altruism group as well. Outside of Dartmouth, she is involved with nonprofit EarthEcho International as a Youth Leadership Council member, and Cross-Campus Sustainability, a social justice and sustainability community she co-created that represents students from 40+ universities.

14.30-15.00
Sami Rafiq: Social Ferment and a Call for Justice in Modern Science Fiction Stories

Professor Sami Rafiq is Professor of English at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India.
Her published writings are related to Climate Change, Spirituality, Womens’ Studies and Translation. She has published more than 150 translations, features, short stories and poetry in Indian and international journals. She has also translated collections of poetry by noted Urdu writers like Asrarul Haq Majaz and Kaifi Azmi. She is the Founding and Chief Editor of Cloverleaf an online journal of Spiritual Heritage Education Network, Ontario, Canada.

15.00-15.30
Owen Moravitz: Requiem for the Holocene: Resisting Climate Change and the Difficulty of Writing Anthropocene Fiction

Owen Morawitz is an Honours graduate of the University of Queensland. He completed a BA (Hons Class I) with majors in English Literature and Philosophy and his work has been featured in Jacaranda and Exordium. His research focuses on violence in narrative fiction and media, alongside issues in continental philosophy, ontology, representation, aesthetics, anthropocentrism, and posthumanism. His Honours thesis deploys speculative realism and object-oriented ontology as a critical framework to analyse acts of violent transgression and the representation of things in author Cormac McCarthy’s novel, Blood Meridian (1985). Additionally, his writing on film, music, media and alternative culture has been featured in several publications for both print and online. Academic CV | Online Portfolio @PitchDiscontent

15.45-16.15
Verena Hermann: Tarot cards: Universal world-building with mnemonic devices and chaos magick

Verena is an independent researcher and author, who has attended the MA Interactive Media programme at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths. She creates speculative fiction, which deals with subjects like change, dynamics and time. Her experiments within a wide range of disciplines and media come together in the form of games, performance and poetry. In 2019 she published the RPG The VteX Files, which was performed at Noiselab, Berlin. In 2020, the ongoing project Sounds from the Stone Age (SftSA) was launched at STWST48x6, Linz, Austria.

desire-direct.com

16.15-16.45 
Josephine Taylor + Katie Stone: Ecological Mothering and Queer Intersubjectivity in Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood

Josephine Taylor is a PhD student nearing completion at Royal Holloway, University of London in Comparative Literature and Culture. Her research explores petrocultures – cultures grounded in fossil fuels – and how regimes of extraction impact more than human life. She is one of the directors of LSFRC and member of the Beyond Gender collective. She has articles forthcoming on zombies, petrocultures, science fiction and energy. Her research interests include SF, Marxism, Queer Theory, and Philosophy.  @JosieTaylor94

Katie Stone is an Associate Research Fellow based at Birkbeck, University of London where she recently completed her PhD. Her thesis explores the role played by childhood within utopian science fiction. Specifically, she suggests that the strange children of SF defy the conservative logic of capitalist, reproductive futurity that the Child is frequently enlisted to support. Katie is co-founder of the research network Utopian Acts and the research collective Beyond Gender. She has published work on H. G. Wells and imperialism, James Tiptree Jr. and transfeminism and has a forthcoming article in Utopian Studies on vampirism and utopian hunger.  @cyborg_feminist

CfP and Event Announcement – Climate Justice + SF

Saturday 14th August
(afternoon to early evening, times to be confirmed, BST)
Online, video conferencing
Quick open call for short presentations! 

The LSFRC is excited to announce Climate Justice + SF as part of our Activism + Resistance programme. Climate and environmental changes have long been an integral part of science and speculative fiction, and the increased engagement recently reflects the growing global climate movement towards action. 

With this, we ask:

  • What kinds of cultural narratives and activistic strategies does SF shape in relation to climate change globally? 
  • How do these work to confront the colonial history of climate change and challenge the systemic powers that caused and sustain the climate crisis? 
  • What are the critical approaches in SF that ensure intersectional approaches are integral to the work, which joins the global struggle for climate justice in sincere solidarity?

We’re encouraging an expansive and inclusive view of what climate justice looks like in relation to SF across activism, the arts, academia and beyond. We recognise that climate change is a problem of power, one that originates from colonial extractions and continued petrocapitalist imperialism. Therefore, only intersectional approaches towards climate issues will do – such that climate justice exists together with anti-colonial social justice activism that fights for racial, disability, LGBTQIA+ and class justices. 

For Climate Justice + SF, the afternoon event features two guest roundtables and we are inviting proposals for short presentations. These presentations will each last 15 minutes followed by a 10 minute discussion. We welcome any form of contribution relating to climate justice and science and speculative fiction, from work in progress projects or paper excerpts, artworks (video / audio/ online portfolios), to activistic provocations. This is an opportunity to share works for constructive feedback in an informal setting with a group of peers of different backgrounds in climate and SF work. While we are not offering fees for the presentations segment of the event, we are hosting this collective workshopping environment for our participants to develop your projects in a supportive way and meet others working in these overlapping spaces.

Please propose with: 

  • A short description of your presentation, naming your activity type and what you intend to share. We acknowledge that writing proposals can be time consuming, therefore we welcome proposals that are brief, provisional and/or informally written (max 200 words)
  • A short bio (max 100 words) and any weblinks you would like to share
  • Any times you may be unavailable on Saturday 14th August (afternoon to evening, UK time) 
  • We encourage contributions from around the world, please let us know if you would like to pre-record any presentations due to timezone accommodations 
  • Any access requirements you require

Please email us at lsfrcmail [at] gmail.com by Monday 2nd August and we’ll respond by the following Monday 9th with the selection and proposed timetable. 

July Reading Group: 80 Days

PC: https://www.thegamecritique.com/recent-posts/following-fogg-adapting-around-the-world-in-eighty-days-into-80-days/5438/

Our July session was LSFRC’s first video game reading group, we discussed:

How 80 Days homages Jules Verne Sci-Fi without ignoring colonialism – https://screenrant.com/80-days-game-jules-verne-colonialism-legacy-explored/Chasing the anti-colonial video game – https://uppercutcrit.com/chasing-the-anti-colonial-video-game/80 days is the alternate reality, anti-colonial video game we all deserve – https://killscreen.com/previously/articles/80-days-alternate-reality-anti-colonialism-adventure-we-all-deserve/Don’t be a hero – 80 days the game – https://theliteraryplatform.com/news/2014/07/dont-be-a-hero-80-days-the-game/Verne and Victorian Futurism – https://www.inklestudios.com/2014/05/08/victorian-futurism.htmlTowards a Steampunk without steam – https://www.tor.com/2010/10/29/towards-a-steampunk-without-steam/
Everfair by Nisi ShawlSid

Meier’s Civilisation series

Bury me, my love

Coyote & Crow

Into the Motherlands 

Sunless Sea

Event Schedule: Queerness & SF

The Keep by Edie Fake, 2018, from the Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections

3rd July, Zoom. Zoom details will be provided closer to the time on our website and through our mailing list.

11:30-12:00: Opening remarks

12:00-13:00: “Pride in Pixels: Queer SF Video Games”, roundtable, with Mia Violet, Jesse Xander, Florence Smith Nicholls and Olivia Vespara and Avery Delany

13:00-14:00: Lunch Break

14:00-15:00: “The Politics, Power, and Problems of Queer Superheroes”, roundtable, with Tolu Ajayi, Zane Robinson and Ibtisam Ahmed

15:00-15:30: “Can the ‘BT’ in LGBT Speak? The Spectrum of Public Engagement with Queerness in Romania”, discussion, with Mãdãlina Lazãr and Cristina Diamant

15:30-15:45: Comfort break

15:45-16:15: Stone Rose, short story reading and discussion, with Carin Jaeger

16:15-17:15: “Beyond Gender”, roundtable, with members of the Beyond Gender collective

17:15-17:30: Comfort break

17:30-18:30: Author roundtable and Q&A, with Aliette de Bodard, Kaia Sønderby, S. L. Dove Cooper and Claudie Arseneault

Event: Queerness & SF

The Keep by Edie Fake, 2018, from the Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections

We are delighted to issue an open call for a special event on Queerness & SF to be held online on Saturday, 3 July. The goal of the event is to celebrate queer voices in a thoughtful and joyous way, while also meaningfully engaging in ways that such voices can be highlighted even further. (Please note that we understand that there may be individual reservations against the use of the word “queer” but we view it as an empowering umbrella term that is a reclamation and defiant statement of our existence.)

As part of the event, we will be hosting a roundtable featuring community organisers and activists Tolu AjayiZane Robinson and Ibtisam Ahmed discussing the power, politics and problems of queer superhero representation. Additionally, we would love to showcase work that speaks to the event theme in the broadest sense as a true celebration of queer voices. We are open to contributions in any format that can be accessed virtually. We welcome a variety of performance pieces, artwork, readings, creative writing, community interventions/conversations, academic presentations, or something altogether unexpected and joyfully different. Please do feel free to bring something that is still a work in progress; we aim to use the day to nurture new ideas as much as celebrating existing ones.

We are able to offer slots of either 15 minutes or 30 minutes, with a preference that the longer slots include a form of interaction with the audience (such as a Q&A). Just email us at lsfrcmail@gmail.com by midnight on 16 June with a proposed title, the required time for your slot as well as any scheduling preferences. If possible, please include a brief description of what you want to do, but do not worry about sending in a formal abstract or pitch. We will get back to you within a week with a confirmation email and a proposed schedule. Please direct any queries to the same email address.

CFP – Activism and Resistance

Artwork by Thomas Johnson.

9-11 September 2021, online

Keynote Speakers: Grace Dillon, Radha D’Souza

Guest Creators: Jeannette Ng, Rivers Solomon, Neon Yang

In an age when Me Too, Black Lives Matter, Decolonise the Curriculum, Refugees Welcome, and movements for global solidarity with oppressed populations have become part of mainstream discourse, it is vital to re-examine the relationship between activism, resistance and the mass imagination vis-a-vis science fiction. As a genre dedicated to imagining alternatives, science fiction is an inherently radical space which allows for diverse explorations of dissent. It is, also, a space that has been rightfully critiqued for its historic inequities favouring white cishet men (as recently addressed by Jeanette Ng during the 2019 Hugo Awards among others). There needs to be reckoning with how precarious bodies engage in activism and resistance in the context of their material realities and restrictions. Therefore, we must deny universalising a single experience as “radical enough” and instead acknowledge how communities in the margins – queer, trans, disabled, neurodivergent, BIPOC, immigrants and refugees, religious minorities, indigenous populations, casualised workers, the homeless and unemployed – have specific ways of subverting and undermining the system, as well as specific stakes and reasons to do so. It is imperative to not only revisit how science fiction has been a space for activism and resistance, but also resist and challenge the genre’s shortcomings.

For our 2021 conference, the LSFRC welcomes submissions that explore the theme of “Activism and Resistance.” We recognise the urgency of this theme and the broad ways in which it can be interpreted and applied. We welcome contributions that explore SF as the site of activism and resistance, critical reflections of activism and resistance against SF’s tradition so far, and broader contributions on the topics of activism and resistance. We are especially keen to welcome practitioners, activists, change-makers and dissidents who are working to create a more equitable world. We do not adhere to strict reading of the term SF; instead, we encourage a widening of the genre to highlight and uplift different voices and perspectives. We invite proposals for papers, panels, workshops, protest and disruption sessions, performances, installations, and creative responses to the theme, and we would like to actively encourage alternative and innovative forms of presentation and engagement.

We are aware that academic conferences often have barriers to access and if you have any specific concerns, please do reach out, especially as the online format carries its own challenges (and benefits). We hope we can alleviate some of these concerns with the reassurance that paying for registration is completely optional. 

Please email proposals (300 words + 50 word author bios) and/or enquiries to lsfrcmail@gmail.com by 30th June. For this conference, we are organising a track on gaming, SF and activism + resistance. If you would like to be considered for this track, please indicate this in your proposal. 

Possible topics include:

  • Depictions and history of protest in SF
  • Anti-capitalism, anti-authoritarianism, anti-imperialism and decolonisation, and other anti-establishment politics in SF
  • Utopia, dystopia, ustopia
  • Politics of the margins in SF – queerness, disability, race and ethnicity, nationality, religious minorities and caste, immigrants and refugees
  • Reproductive justice in SF
  • Depictions of class, class warfare and social reproduction
  • Climate justice in SF
  • Futurisms from specific race and ethnic perspectives – Afrofuturism, Indigenous futurisms, Asian and South Asian futurisms
  • Reform, rebellion and revolution in SF
  • Cyberpunk, steampunk, dieselpunk, silkpunk, Afropunk, solarpunk, acid communism as forms of dissent
  • Specific SF response to contemporary activist movements – Trans Justice, Me Too, Black Lives Matter, Refugees Welcome, and others
  • Critiques of established/Western SF
  • Challenges to the canon
  • Limits of accessibility in SF
  • Limits and critiques of genre writing
  • Lack of diversity versus tokenism in SF
  • Value of #OwnVoices
  • Toxic fandom and gatekeeping

Suggested Reading:

Texts on collective action, community change, and strategies of care: Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds; Temporary Autonomous Zone; Deciding for Ourselves: The Promise of Direct Democracy; Overcoming Burnout; Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of a Movement; Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement; Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity in This Crisis (and the next; Glitch Feminism; The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Self-Love; Traditions, Tyranny, and Utopia: Essays on the Politics of Awareness

Texts on class revolution and socio-economic reform: The Society of the Spectacle; Traditions, Tyranny, and Utopia: Essays on the Politics of Awareness; The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class; Post-capitalist Desire; Social Class in the 21st Century

Texts on intersectional feminisms: Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice; Living a Feminist Life; Utopian Bodies and the Politics of Transgression; BodyMinds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction; How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective; Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements; Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot; Glitch Feminism; Feminism in Play

Texts on queer rights and justice: Cruising Utopia: the Then and There of Queer Futurity; Transgender History: Roots of Todays Revolution; Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements; Queer Phenomenologies; Queer Universes: Sexualities in Science Fiction; I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes from the End of the World

Texts on critical race theory, racial justice and decolonisation: The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study; The Wretched of the Earth; Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds; The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics; There Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack; Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice; Decolonizing Science Fiction and Imagining Futures: An Indiginous Futurisms roundtable (Strange Horizons); Liberating Sápmi: Indigenous Resistance in Europe’s Far North; From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai’i; Intersectional Tech: Black Users in Digital Gaming; Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code; Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life; Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures; As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock

Texts on bodily autonomy, reproductive justice and sex work: Pleasure Activism; Revolting Prostitutes; Know My Name; Dis/Consent: Perspectives on Sexual Consent and Violence; Post-capitalist Desire; The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Self-Love

Texts on disability justice and care work: Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice; BodyMinds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction; Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the 21st Century

Texts on digital activism and technological futures: Perfecting Human Futures: Transhuman Visions and Technological Imaginations; The Freudian Robot: Digital Media ad the Future of the Unconscious; Playing Nature: Ecology in Video Games; Intersectional Tech: Black Users in Digital Gaming; Woke Gaming: Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Justice; Feminism in Play; Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need; Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code; Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life; Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures

Texts on eco-sustainability and environmental justice: Playing Nature: Ecology in Video Games; Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene; Engage, Connect, Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth as Environmental Leaders; Environmental Justice in a Moment of Danger; As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock

Acceptance speeches and calls to action:

Jeannette Ng’s 2019 speech for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer (written speech and recorded speech), Elsa Sjunneson’s 2019 Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine acceptance speech (written speech), N.K Jemisin’s 2018 Hugo award for Best Novel acceptance speech (written speech and recorded speech)

A FIYAHCON Retrospective 

To Build a Future Without Police and Prisons, We Have to Imagine It First //OR// Rewriting the Future

Using Science Fiction to Re-Envision Justice

Short Story Month Reading Group Bibliography

Cover image for New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color by Yoshi Yoshitani

For our May reading group session, we discussed:
“By Degrees and Dilatory Time” by SL Huang
“Design a Spaceship” by Andi C. Buchanan
“Harvest” by Rebecca Roanhorse
“The Robots of Eden” by Anil Menon
“The Ones Who Stay and Fight” by N.K. Jemisin
“Valedictorian” by N.K. Jemisin

From the anthologies/collections/magazine issues:
“Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction” (Uncanny Magazine issue 24)
New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color (ed. Nisi Shawl)
How Long ’til Black Future Month? (N.K. Jemisin)

It was an excellent and enjoyable session. Here is a bibliography of references raised in the discussion:
“An Open Letter to the Family” (Jennifer Brozek, in “Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction”)
A True Utopia: An Interview With N. K. Jemisin (Abigail Bereola for The Paris Review)
“Becoming-pelagic” (Daniel Clinci)
Changing Planes (Ursula K. Le Guin)
Damien Broderick’s concept of the sf megatext
Deus Ex (Ion Storm)
Echinox Journal, forthcoming special issue on Contagion
Elatsoe (Darcie Little Badger)
Elon Musk’s SNL Monologue
Everfair (Nisi Shawl)
Frankenstein in Bagdad (Ahmed Saadawi)
Future Impermanent (curated by Amy Butt & Dan Byrne-Smith)
Graduation (Kanye West)
How Long ’til Black Future Month? (essay by N.K. Jemisin)
Neuralink
New Action (Nisi Shawl, e-flux journal)
New Suns 2 sequel anthology edited by Nisi Shawl confirmed
“Racism and Science Fiction” (Samuel R. Delany)
The Galaxy and The Ground Within (Becky Chambers)
“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” (Ursula K. Le Guin)
“the river” (adrienne maree brown, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements)
“The Romance of Resistance: Tracing Transformations of Power Through Bedouin Women” (Lila Abu Lughod)
“The Trojan Girl” (N.K. Jemisin)
“Upload to Cloud” (Diana Dupu)