This year’s LSFRC theme for our monthly reading group and annual conference is Activism & Resistance. For more information about the theme and our events, visit the Activism & Resistance and Reading Group website sections. For the conference call for papers, visit this post.
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.
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
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
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 Ajayi, Zane 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.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
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)
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)
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)
The long-standing issue of Sinophobia and anti-Asian hate in the West, borne out of colonialism and later amplified in what seems to be a new Cold War, was significantly worsened in the wake of the global health crisis of Covid-19. This has brought all of us to a very dangerous point in contemporary history. We are currently witnessing a surge in hate crimes against not only Chinese people, but also East and Southeast Asians both here in the UK and globally (e.g. Atlanta Shooting, Chinese lecturer under racist attack in Southampton, Asians in the UK reflect on a year of hatred, etc.).
We are angered and frightened by the inaction of the British state over the attacks on East and Southeast Asian people; we are equally outraged that discrimination against East and Southeast Asian communities has always been under reported by the mainstream media; and we are disheartened that the general public remains unaware of or even indifferent about the racist attacks experienced by Asians both within and beyond UK.
We unequivocally condemn all racist incidents around the globe. We condemn anyone who utters or justifies racist abuse. We cannot allow such historical and systemic racism to continue unchallenged, which is and has been motivated and rationalised by white supremacy.
We strongly support calls for the UK government to act immediately and decisively, to re-examine the continuing anti-Asian history in this country, and to provide efficient support for victims of Covid-19-motivated racism, as well as for anti-racist community organisations across the UK.
Resources / Links
Sign the petitions
- Southeast and East Asian Centre – SEEAC
- Southeast and East Asian Centre (SEEAC) is a welcoming home to the migrants, refugees and anyone of Southeast and East Asian heritage in the UK
- NüVoices Resources to help fight anti-East and Southeast Asian racism https://nuvoices.com/2021/03/19/resources-to-fight-anti-east-and-southeast-asian-racism/
- Remember & Resist
Project seeking to expand abolitionist practice and thinking in E/SE Asian diaspora in UK from @daikonzine & #RemembertheEssex39
Resources against hate crime without policing
- UKFCP (The U.K. Federation for Chinese Professionals)
- End the Virus of Racism
- besea.n (Britain’s East and Southeast Asian Network)
- ESA Scotland
- Asian Leadership Collection CIC
- Guide: Sinophobia and Anti-Asian Hate – Choon Young Ta (6min read) https://www.anewseducation.com/post/guide-sinophobia
- “The government also released a poster about the rules on face coverings featuring the image of an East Asian woman. Research showed that 33% of images used to report COVID-19 in the British media have used been images of Asian or East people. The ethnic Chinese population in the U.K. stands at 0.7% and less for other East Asian minorities, but this is not a case of better representation, instead it just emphasises negative stereotypes and preconceptions.”
The schedule for our fourth Work in Progress event has now been finalised. In addition to an exciting array of presentations across disciplines and media, we are honoured to have Dr Chenshu Zhou from University of Pennsylvania and Dr Jinyi Chu from Yale University. They will be participating in an open dialogue regarding their presentations “Lockdown, Drones, and Collective Action in the City of Wuhan: Sensations of a Viral Video” and “How did a Chinese Ghost Become a Surgeon in St. Petersburg?”
The event will be held on 10th April from 11:00am – 5:20pm. We’ll be using Zoom as our platform, and the event is free and open to all. The link to the Zoom meeting room is now ready, you can sign up for our email newsletter to obtain zoom link/password. We will also share this info in our Facebook group.
*Please note that all times listed are British Summer Time (BST). If you will be participating from a different time zone, you may use this time-converter to see the correspondent time for you (https://www.thetimezoneconverter.com).
11:00-11:30: Guangzhao Lyu: “Fall of the Last Utopia: Critical Utopias in Hao Jingfang’s Vagabonds as the Representation of China’s Post-socialist Transition”
11:30-12:00: Ruiying Zhang: “’Mind Transformation’ in Late Qing Science Fiction”
12:00-13:00: Lunch break
13:00-14:00: Guest talk
- Dr Chenshu Zhou: “Lockdown, Drones, and Collective Action in the City of Wuhan: Sensations of a Viral Video”
- Dr Jinyi Chu: “How did a Chinese Ghost Become a Surgeon in St. Petersburg?”
14:00-14:30: Ibtisam Ahmed: Short story – “Shame”
14:30-15:00: Xiaoli Yang: “Morphological Fantasies: Posthuman (Dis)embodiment in Tian Xiaolei’s Artwork”
15:10-15:40: Lu Gan: “Kim Stanley Robinson and China”
15:40-16:10pm: Cristina Diamant: “Made for You: (Ir)Responsible-ability in Human-Posthuman Relationships in Novels by Kazuo Ishiguro and Jeanette Winterson”
16:20-16:50: Diana Andreea Novaceanu: “Medical Utopias? Clinical Embodiments of an Uncertain Future”
16:50-17:20: Maxine Gee: “Adaptation of Arthur Machen’s Great God Pan”
We can now announce that our next Work In Progress session will be completely virtual and will be held on 10th April 2021 from around 1-5pm – times may vary slightly as we put together the schedule.
We are honoured that this WiP will involve special guests Dr Chenshu Zhou from University of Pennsylvania and Dr Jinyi Chu from Yale University. Dr Zhou and Dr Chu will be participating in an open dialogue regarding their academic career experiences as well as their presentations “Lockdown, Drones, and Collective Action in the City of Wuhan: Sensations of a Viral Video” and “How did a Chinese Ghost Become a Surgeon in St. Petersburg?” They will also participate as part of the peer group for the wider event.
The aim of these sessions is to provide a space where people can share their work, and seek feedback from the community, without the pressure of a particular format, theme or set of expectations (in contrast, say, to a formal conference). Contributions can include presentations of academic work and research, or creative projects outside of academia. We’re also happy to host any kind of workshop or activity you’d like to trial, or a game you want to playtest, or some creative material you want feedback on.
This is an open event without a fixed structure or format, but if you are planning on giving a spoken or conference style presentation please keep these to ten minutes to leave plenty of time for questions, discussion and feedback. If you could also bring talking points or questions you’d like to discuss that would be very helpful! International participants are very welcome but should note that we will be running on UK time.
If you would like to present something at Work in Progress #4, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) a brief overview (we do not require formal proposals) of what you’d like to do by the end of the day 31st March, accompanied by a title if you have one. Exact time slots will vary depending on how many contributors we have, but we hope to offer each contributor between 30 minutes in total (10 mins for presentation etc and 20 mins for question and discussion).
Deadline for submissions is March 31st.
In love and solidarity,
The LSFRC team
The March installment of this year’s reading group will be on Samuel R. Delany’s Tales of Nevèrÿon (1978). The session will take place online on jitsi.meet between 7 and 8.30 pm UK time, and is open to all. If you are interested in taking part, you can keep up with details of the event in our Facebook group, Twitter profile or Instagram profile. We also have a mailing list, details for which will be added to our About page soon (you can also find our email details there if you want to get in touch off-social media).