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ISSN 0048-9646 Newsletter October 1982 e Number 105 THE PRESIDENT'S COLUMN The academic programming at the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago was a first. Programs appealing to academic interests had been offered at WorldCons before, but never as a separate track, never so extensively, and never so identified. Certainly it was a success: the sessions were at least as good as those at more customary academic meetings, and the attendance, though not overwhelming, averaged fifteen to thirty people, some of them SFRA members, some not. We didn't mark the SFRA membership forms (perhaps we should have), but if Liz Cogell noted a surge of memberships in September we will take that as an indication that the programming was responsible. The credit for AcTrackbelougs to Mack Hassler, who worked long and hard to make this an effective representation of academic interest in science fiction, and Mack and his wife attended every session. When they weren't in the AcTrack room, they were tending part of a booth in the huckster room where they solicited memberships with the aid of a portable display Mack had prepared at Kent State. Speaking about the display, it is a handsome and lightweight self-standing piece that portrays the benefits of SFRA membership, including front covers of all the publications and a pocket for SFRA membership forms. Betty Hull plans to take it to MMLA. Perhaps one of our members would volunteer to take the display to the next NCTE meeting or to MLA or to other appropriate meetings.
2 One of our publishers might allow us three feet of its table: if Academy Chicago (publisher of our annual volume) is not represented, I might persuade New American Library or Oxford to offer us space. Do we have any volunteers? This year's dramatic increase in membership will be only the first step if we continue to make ourselves known in areas where academics who do not know us can be presented the opportunity to join. --James Gunn MINUTES OF THE SFRA BUSINESS MEETING 9 July 1982 at Lawrence, Kansas The meeting was called to order at 11:20 a.m. by Prp-si dent Gunn at the Ho1idome. Approximately 40 members, in addition to the Executive Committee, were present. NOTE: Because much of the information presented at the Business Meeting is covered in detail in the minutes of the Executive Committee, the reader is referred to the EC minutes at appropriate points, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication. A. Secretary's Report 1. The Secretary reported on 1982 membership and the 1982 Directory (See EC minutes, sections A and E). 2. The Secretary announced the timetable for the biennial election (EC minutes, Sect. Q) and reminded members of two related items: the By-Laws provision for nomination-by-petition, for which the deadline will be 31 July 1982; and the cut-off date set by the Executive Committee for payment of dues and consequent elibibility to vote, of 15 August 1982.
3 B.. Treasurer's Report 1. The Treasurer distributed a statement of income and expenditures (reproduced in the Newsletter, issue #103). 2. The Treasurer announced the new policy for 1983 of not supplying back issues of SFRA publications and journals to members-who join or renew after 15 February (EC minutes, Sect. M). C. Newsletter Editor's Report 1. The Newsletter Editor reported on the depleted stocks of back issues (EC minutes, Sect. C). D. SF&F Book Review 1. The Book Review editor reported on costs. They have been lowered by photocopying to about $250 per issue, which means that the cost per year for 1983 will be approximately $6 per member subscription, barring sharp rises in costs. 2. In response to a query from Charlotte Donsky, the Editor stated that size of type could be increased, but only by making the Review have more pages and, consequently, higher costs. E. Announcements 1. Academic Track at Wor1dCon. The President announced that SFRA was not taking on this obligation as an organization; rather, members of SFRA are putting forth the effort, with SFRA lending support and good will. There will be no official SFRA presence at WorldCon, owing primarily to the cost of providing a suite, booth, or other facility. 2. 1983 Annual Meeting. The President announced that the Executive Committee has established Midland, Michigan, as the site and 9-12 June 1983 as the dates. The meeting will be sponsored by SFRA, Central Michigan Uni versity, and the Matrix Festival; the Conference organizer will be Joe DeBolt (EC minutes, Sect. H). DeBolt
4 was introduced, spoke briefly about the plans for the meeting, and answered a few questions from the floor. 3. SFRA 1982 Annual Volume. The President announced the Annual Volume and gave some details (EC minutes, Sect. I). The volume will be a trade paperback with a list price about $8.95. F. New Business 1. SF at the MLA. Thomas C1areson announced the difficulties being encountered with the Modern Language Association, which has rejected continuing status for the SF group, even though SF has a long tradition at MLA (Extrapolation having originally been the newsletter of the standing MLA SF seminar). C1areson, appointed by the Popular Culture Association to the MLA Delegate Assembly, will ask through that body for continuing status for SF. Charles Elkins stated that he and David Ketterer had succeeded in gaining approval for a Special Session at the 1982 MLA convention, but only on the third try. There seemed to be little sentiment for an official SFRA stand on the matter at the present time, but the President urged interested MLA members to make their opinions known through MLA channels. There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 12:35 p.m. Respectfully submitted, William H. Hardesty, III, Secretary
5 SFRA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES The meeting was called to order at 2 p.m., 8 July 1982, at the Holidome, Lawrence, Kansas, and adjourned at 4:30 p.m. Present were President James Gunn, Treasurer Elizabeth Cummins Cogell, Secretary William Hardesty, Immediate Past President Joe De Bolt, SFRA Newsletter Editor Elizabeth Anne Hull (ex officio). Absent was Vice-President Mary Kenny Badami. Presidential candidate Thomas Remington was present as a guest (presidential candidate Patricia Warrick was invited but could not arrive in time), as was SF&F Book Review Editor Neil Barron. A. Secretary's Report The Secretary reported that membership stands at 358, of whom 117 are new members. This compares with 299 in 1981 (of whom 230 renewed for 1982) and with an all-time year-end previous high of 307 in 1979. The Treasurer announced that 14 additional persons have paid their dues, to bring the total to 372, including joint members and honorary members. B. Treasurer's Report (Reproduced in the Newsletter, issue #103.) C. Newsletter Editor's Report 1. Because of the large membership, stocks are exhausted of some back issues. 2. Issues continue to reach members erratically because of poor bulk mail service by the US Postal Service. Members of the Executive Committee praised the appearance and accuracy of the Newsletter. A motion was made, seconded, and approved unanimously that the one-year probationary period for the Editor (required by Article VIII of the By-Laws) be declared ended. D. SF&F Book Review
6 So far the Review appears to be quite successful. Prob lems with appearance and readability are being worked on and should be ironed out with the help of the new technology to be used by Joe De Bolt, who will assume responsibility for printing in early fall. The question of renewals was raised; the Committee agreed that subscriptions should be renewed on a calendar-year basis, with credit to be given for the unused portion of a subscription which began after the first issue. The $15 subscription fee was, after some discussion, left unchanged. E. The 1982 Directory The Secretary announced that the Directory should be out in September. A motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to include in the Directory only those members who had paid their dues by the end of the Annual Meeting. The Secretary was enjoined to keep the Directory costs at or below the $650 spent in 1981. F. 1982 Wor1dCon Plans While SFRA is not officially participating, there wlll be an "academic track" at WorldCon, organized by Donald M. Hassler. There will be no SFRA booth or hospitality suite, but several members of the Executive Committee and many members will be there and can represent the Association informally. G. 1983 Wor1dCon Plans After some discussion, the Executive Committee decided that SFRA resources do not permit us to sponsor an "academic track" in Baltimore, though as individuals we applaud and support such an effort. H. 1983 Annual Meeting Immediate Past President De Bolt presented a proposal to hold the Annual Meeting in Midland, Michigan, in conjunction with that city's Matrix festival, during the period 9-12 June. Special features of the proposed
7 meeting would include: a prominent SF writer as general speaker; panels on "Science and the Future" and "Arts and the Future," including writers, artists, and scientists; special programming, including an art show and a film festival; and a nationally-prominent guest academic speaker. These events would be supported by Matrix at their complex, and SFRA members would pay heavilydiscounted fees to attend. Lodging and SFRA panels would be at a nearby motel complex, with bus transportation provided between Matrix and the motel. Costs to members would be similar to those for the 1982 meeting. A motion to accept the proposal was made, seconded, and passed unanimously, De Bolt abstaining. I. Annual Volume Status Report The 1982 Annual Volume, published by Academy Chicago, is entitled Science Fiction Dialogues and will be out this fall, perhaps in time for WorldCon. The contract with the publisher provides for the Association to get a number of copies at a substantial discount. After some discussion, a motion was made, seconded, and passed to announce the availability of copies at discount in the Newsletter, the payment by members to be sent to the Treasurer and the copies to be mailed by a designated person after all orders are received. The President announced the resignation of volume editor Gary Wolfe, whose academic duties do not permit him to continue past the initial volume. The names of several persons who might succeed him were mentioned, and the President agreed to discuss the editorship with them. Succeeding volumes are not guaranteed by the publisher but are likely if sales of the first volume are good. J. SFRA Depository The President announced that no changes have occurred in the situation since the last Executive Committee meeting. K. Taping of the 1982 Annual Meeting About 16 hours of material from the Meeting is to be gathered on tape: the keynote talk by Harry Harrison,
8 the morning general sessions, and those afternoon sessions which are not formal academic papers. It was moved, seconded, and approved unanimously that SFRA assume the costs of this taping, estimated at $180. L. Reception Contingency Fund A motion was made, seconded,and passed unanimously to permit SFRA to absorb a portion of the costs, up to $150, of the authors' reception-autographing session. M. Extrapolation Request for Relief The Secretary presented a letter from Sandy Clark, Journals Circulation Manager of Kent State University Press. Ms. Clark is concerned that rising costs are straining the journal. Some of these costs are preventable: for example, the journal must mail back issues at first-class postal rates to members joining at any time during the claendar year. Kent State is planning to raise regular subscription rates in 1983 and feels it must raise the rate paid by SFRA. Members of the Committee noted that Extrapolation is stating a lem (late renewals) shared by the Newsletter and Li2 Book Review, as well as SFS. Accordingly, it was moved, seconded, and approved unanimously to enforce Article VII of the By-Laws (Section 2 specifies that annual dues are to be paid by December 31 of the year prior to the year for which they are due). Members be informed that, beginning in 1983, back issues can no longer be sent to members joining or renewing after 15 February of any given year. The Secretary was charged to inform the journals of this policy and to offer Extrapolation a 50-cent increase in the subscription fee paid per member by SFRA. N. De Bolt-Gunn Survey Interim Report Gunn announced that there have been no changes in the situation since the last Executive Committee meeting. O. New Member Recruitment Program
9 The President announced that the computer program pre pared by Bob Ewald now has all members of the last five years stored in it. Persons to be approached about joining SFRA include authors of articles in journals (Extrapolation, SFS, JPC, JAC, others), presenters of papers at the International Conference on the Fantastic, etc. Ewald will be furnished with stationery, envelopes, membership forms, and other support in his effort. P. Membership Form Changes The Executive Committee decided to retain the current form, with the addition of a brief statement about the annual volume and a code to indicate year and printing. Q. Election Procedures The Secretary announced the deadlines for the 1982 biennial election. Platform statements are to be furnished by candidates by 5 August and will appear in the Newsletter mailed 10 September, which will also contain the ballot. Ballots must be received by the Immediate Past President by 15 October. Results will be announced in the Newsletter. R. Tax Free Status The Treasurer announced that the situation has not changed since the last meeting. S. Dues for 1983 A motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to retain dues at the same schedule as in 1982. T. ERA Boycott vote of 1978 After some discussion, the Executive Committee agreed not to raise the question of whether or not the Association should reconsider the boycott vote taken at the 1978 Business Meeting and ratified by mail ballot. U. Changes in the By-Laws
10 Thomas Remington raised the question of the possibility of revising the By-Laws to stagger the terms of Presi dent and Vice-President to promote continuity. The Executive Committee, after some discussion, appeared to believe that the office of Immediate Past President exists to provide some continuity; consequently, no ByLaws change was deemed necessary. Respectfully submitted, William H. Hardesty, III, Secretary 1982 HUGO WINNERS Best Novel: Downbelow Station, C. J. Cherryh (DAW) Best Novella: "The Saturn Game," Poul Anderson (An",-og, Feb. 2) Best Novellette: "Unicorn Variation," Roger Zelazny (Isaac Asimov's, April 13) Best Short Story: "The Pusher," John Varley (F&SF, Oct.) Best Nonfiction Book: Danse Macabre, Stephen King (Everest) Best Dramatic Presentation: Raiders of the Lost Ark
William Rainey Harper College r ... ..... THE PILGRIM AWARD 1 9 8 2 N ElL BAR RON "In recognition of distinguished contributions to the study of science fiction." Presented by the Science Fiction Research Association
2S PILGRIM AWARD PRESENTATION SPEECH 10 July 1982 Lawrence, Kansas Tonight marks the thirteenth occasion the Science Fiction Research Association has met to present the Pilgrim Award for outstanding contributions to the fields of science iction and antasy scholarship. The Pilgrim A,yard Commii::tee for 1982 consisted of Lahna F. Diskin, Charlotte Donsky, Hal W. Hall, William M. Schuyler, Jr., and myself as chair. The committee interpreted "outstanding contributions to science fiction and fantasy scholarship" to apply to a body of work and activity which has contributed significantly to the development of or to bring recognition to science fiction and fantasy as academic fields. "Scholarship" was taken to include the full range of disciplines (literary, historical, philosophical. sociological, etc.), criticism, bibliography, cdiLing, pedagogy, and related activities. Happily, the committee members were able to arrive at an early and strong consensus on the award recipient. On behalf of the committee, I am pleased to announce that the recipient of the Pilgrim Award for 1982 is Neil Barron. Neil's qualifications for the Pilgrim Award are so self-evident that a lengthy account of them would be superfluous. His work, most especially the two editions of Anatomy of Wonder (New York: R. R. Bowker, 1976, 1981), has not only made a significant contribution to science fiction scholarship, it has also brought significant recognition to science fiction as a legitimate area of academic concern. Anatomy of Wonder is so obviously a necessary and indispensable work that we must wonder now just what we did without it. Not the least of its major contributions is the
3S coverage in the second edition of foreign-language SF and scholarship, documenting the growing international community and making many of its achievements accessible to monoglot Americans. Although Neil compiled many of the sections of Anatomy himself, it is an edited work which includes substantial contributions by a number of scholars and critics. As with any outstanding edited work, however, its excellence is more than the sum of its parts. To conceive a project of this scope, complexity, and authority required vision; to bring it to realization--twice, now--required editorial abilities of a high order, among them intelligence, knowledge, stamina, patience, and tact. The committee also wished to honor Neil for editing the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review, the latest incarnation of which is now issued under SFRA auspices. As Hal Hall commented during the committee's evaluation process, Neil's "editorial talents and broad knowledge of the field make this review source unusually reliable." I think it is not unimportant to note in this connection that the new SF&FBR, which is entirely Neil's brainchild, enables the SFRA to fulfill one of its basic functions far more adequately than ever before, that of providing continuing, comprehensive, and authoritative guidance to science fiction and fantasy literature and scholarship. It is for these reasons that the 1982 Pilgrim Award for outstanding contributions to science fiction and fantasy scholarhsip honors Neil Barron. --Robert Galbreath, Chair 1982 Pilgrim Award Committee
4S PILGRIM AWARD ACCEPTANCE SPEECH My thanks to all of you. As a footnote to Harry Harrison's and Will McNelly's introduction to this year's John W. Campbell Memorial award winner, I might add that John Dean, an SFRA member who teaches at the Uni versity of Paris, wrote to say that Riddley Walker is an outstanding book whose merits could only be suggested in Walter Meyers' review in the April issue of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review. Last May I sent my list of nominations for the Pilgrim Award to Bob Galbreath, chairman of this year's Pilgrim Committee. I suggested four possibilities, one of which was "no award," feeling that in some years that might be the most appropriate choice. Bob's reply said that the committee had compiled about two dozen names, of which he personally felt that five or six were fully deserving. But no one on the committee felt that "no award" was appropriate. It's therefore with bemused embarrassment that I accept this award. My wife, Carolyn, who unfortunately could not accompany me, says that she is pleased that the committee didn't accept my "no award" suggestion. Because this conference's theme is turning points, I want to share some autobiographical reflections which illustrate the theme. I can't recall precisely what prompted me to write my first article about science fiction, published in 1970, coincidentally the founding year of the SFRA. Probably one of the motives was curiosity tinged with nostalgia. I referred to the thenforming SFRA but apparently didn't join for a few years, nor did many others I suspect, for neither the SFRA nor SF had achieved anywhere near the acceptance it now enjoys. I'll return to this point in my closing remarks. The first article was composed in 1968, the year Locus began, almost two decades after I'd been an active teen-
5S age fan in the late 40s and early 50s. When I recently reread that article, I realized how limited the field then was--and many of the limitations seemed selfimposed, as they still do, a matter I'll touch upon again. By the time my second essay appeared in the September 1973 issue of Choice, Jack Williamson had documented the growing academic acceptance of SF in his booklet, Teaching SF, the Aldiss history had been published, and other studies began to appear, although their number was still few and university press imprints very rare. In both these essays I remarked that what the field most needed was a systematic and comprehensive guide to SF literarture, both primary and secondary, documenting and supplementing the narrative histories of Aldiss and later Gunn. Since no one came forward to prepare such a guide, I decided to undertake it with the help of others. I recently unearthed a May 1974 letter to the consulting editor at Bowker which began: "God! Why did I undertake this project?" That is a sentiment I've sometimes felt since, and not only in connection with Anatomy of Wonder. Because I've not had the opportunity to publicly thank my contributors to both the first and second editions, I'd like to do so now. Only two of them are here tonight, Tom Clareson and Joe De Bolt, and many of them I've never had the pleasure of meeting in person. Although it sometimes felt as if I'd written the entire book, it was their efforts and shared knowledge and enthusiasm which made the guides as valuable as they have proved, and as the Hugo nomination suggests. I should add that, although Anatomy was prepared for a broad audience, I have found it, as I hope you have, an exceptionally helpful retrospective survey, since none of us have the time--or would want--to read more than a small fraction of what has appeared, to say nothing of what is currently being published. That's the reason I urged the revival of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review, which could be regarded as an extension of Anatomy, which is also a cooperative effort, and which
6S I hope you are finding useful. Although SF and fantasy fiction now represent about a fourth of the roughly 2000 books of original fiction published each year in the U.S. [Charles N. Brown, Locus editor, estimates the figure at 18% because of the influx of mass market romance paperbacks], most of it is still labeled and marketed as category fiction and reviewed as such, when it is reviewed at all. It has left Dena Brown's gutter and isn't going to return. But the old habits and suspicions linger, as I recently discovered. Last fall I was reading the latest Best American Short Stories annual. Along with the O. Henry awards volume, these select what is presumably the best short fiction published first in North American magazines, from obscure quarterlies to Cosmopolitan and Playboy. When I checked the lists of the roughly 160 magazines which are read, the only category fiction magazine listed was Elery Queen's Mystery Magazine. That puzzled me. Why none of the SF or fantasy magazines? Anyone want to guess? The jacket for the 1981 annual speaks of the magazines checked as those "currently publishing serious short fiction." Perhaps, I thought, the operative word was "serious," and the contents of SF and fantasy magazines are in some sense tainted--"popular," "escapist," choose your own pejorative--and were for that reason not checked. To find out I wrote Shannon Ravenel, who has made the preliminary selection for the past few years. She reads--are you ready for this, Fred Pohl, Harry Harrison, and Jim Gunn?--1200-lS00 stories each year and selects about 10% for reading by each year's guest editor, which in recent years have included Hortense Calisher, Joyce Carol Oates, Stanley Elkin and, for 1982, John Gardner. The 20 or so stories selected for reprinting are followed by a list of 100 "other good stor ies." When I asked her if there was a policy which precluded consideration of SF or fantasy magazines for possible
7S candidates--the cozy conspiracy theory--the reply astonished, amazed and astounded me. No, there is no such policy. Perhaps, she delicately suggested, "It may be that they themselves do not see our anthology as having any bearing on the work they publish." I don't know if the reason is that simple; let us charitably hope this was an oversight on the part of the magazine editors, most of whom have agreed to send complimentary subscriptions to the editors of the two annuals. As I concluded in a brief piece for the July 1982 issue of The Patchin Revie,,,: More science fiction and fantasy stories will now be considered for the t,vo maj or best American short fiction annuals. But the timing is somewhat ironic, for some fo the most significant short fiction is published in original anthologies, whose contents aren't even eligible for consideration. Still, it's a beginning. Fans have been building barricades and walls for more than five decades. It's time we all built a few bridges. After documenting this footnote to our cultural history, I was reminded of a remark a friend made: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. I was pleased to note at yesterday's business meeting that SFRA membership is at an all-time high, about 375 members. At our present rate of growth we may soon exceed the membership of the SFWA. Perhaps each of us could have an SFWA member assigned to us as a--mascot? Symbiote? More than human, indeed. Although there is nothing inherently praiseworthy about large size, I think the SFRA could and should have at least twice its present membership. Achieving such a goal would require little in money but much in determination and commitment--on the part of each of you. When people write to me for information about the SF&FBR, or if I have occasion to write anyone even remotely likely to have a serious interest in SF or fantasy, I always include a personal note discussing the
8S SFRA and include a membership form. I know that many have later joined the SFRA or at least subscribed. Extrapolation's subscribers now total about three times our SFRA membership. I find it difficult to believe that at least half the subscribers who aren't members would not seriously consider joining the SFRA if the benefits were explained in a well-designed mailing piece, which could be used for similar mailings to ScienceFiction Studies and Foundation subscribers. Or, the membership secretary could send a letter to the authors of all serious articles about SF or fantasy, inviting them to join. The personal touch is especially important--how many of you have specifically approached a colleague in person or by correspondence to join the SFRA? The effort required in most cases is so modest, yet the satisfactions can be beyond measure--for both of you. I suspect one reason the SFRA has relatively few members is sheer ignorance--of its existence, its nature (at least some people believe membership is limited to academics, or that fantasy is excluded), and its benefits. The academic programming at this September's Chicon will present an excellent opportunity for us to publicize the SFRA, as does the teaching institute now in progress here at the University of Kansas. If you attend meetings of MLA or PCA, talk to potential members and give them a membership form. I hope each of you will use every possible opportunity to invite someone to join. As I remarked in note to a review, scholarhsip which is not shared soon deteriorates to self-indulgence. Like tend toward the incestuous, inhabitants of a flatland. New members could bring an added dimension, fresh ideas, and increasing vigor as the SFRA's growth marks a turning point. I hope you will join with me in seeking out such people, who may be the Pilgrim winners of tomorrow. Thank you. --Neil Barron 10 July 1982
11 NEWS FROM ABROAD CALL FOR PAPERS: Just the Other Day: Science Fiction and the Construction of Reality Restant (Review for Seimotic Theories and the Analysis of Texts), a magazine publishing mainly in the field of texttheory, plans the publication of a collection of essays on the social and philosophical speculations generated by and in science fiction. Luk de Vos (University of Antwerp) will be the editor, and the book will be the second instalment of the project "Utopian Thought." The first instalment appeared in 1978, under the title Science Fiction: Status or Status QUo? Just the Other Day will be publsihed by EXA, Antwerp, Belgium/Eugene, Oregon, in the autumn of 1983. Deadline for manuscripts: 30 April 1983. The book will consist of four parts. Contributors should address themselves to at least one of the following questions: 1. Nature and artifice. How is the rise of science fiction to be related to the heritage of rationalist thought that developed in the direction of technology after the Age of Enlightenment? How did metaphysical thinking manage to maintain itself within this changed epistemological direction? Which founders of science fiction contributed to this, and how did they react to the changing world view? 2. The philosophy of the inhuman. How is negative thinking (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Nihilism, the Absurd) integrated into technological extrapolation? Did science fiction contribute to an increase in apocalyptic thinking, and how can this be related to faith in progress? Man's final position in the post-materialist age? 3. Reds under Beds. Which social utopias does science fiction develop as a defense against dehumanization? In the Dutch language area a number of far-reaching con-
12 cepts have been worked out, which drew on and Social Democracy for their inspiration. Analyses of the relationship with foreign movements and currents of ideas occupy a central position here, as well as the opposition between Holland and Flanders. 4. The fourth part is reserved for creative literature. Hugo Raes, Sybren Polet, Eddy C. Bertin, Georges Ade, Vincent van der Linden and others have already promised contributions. Manuscripts (two copies) should be sent to Restant, The Editor, Hof ter Bollen 51, B 2672 Liezele Puurs, Belgium. Thirty contributions will be selected. Languages of publication are Dutch, French, English and German. Texts should conform to the MLA Style Sheet. Notes should follow the text. Necessary photographic material (in black and white) will be printed alongside. Contributors will receive a copy of the book and fifteen offprints. They are requested to send a short biographical note. QUERY: The Apocalypse & Doom in Contemporary Writing I am beginning work on a project which will take some years and which involves investigation of apocalyptism and doom prophecy in contemporary writing, including (but not limited to) science fiction in the broadest sense. The study will be partly literary, partly sociological, and partly psychological. I want to ask such questions as: what are the literary roots of contemporary apocalypticism (going back as far as the Book of Revelation in the Bible, for instance); what are the reasons for the current appeal of such writing; and what does such writing owe to the current political and social climate, the rise or recrudescence of the peace movement, the green movement, etc. The book will attempt to be an objective and dispassionate (but not unsympathetic) survey of what I discern as a significant trend in writing since 1945, both among 'high culture' writers and among those writing for a popular or mass market. The book will not be literary criti-
13 cism in the classic sense because it will not make explicit judgments of literary value or otherwise; but nor will it be pruely sociological. It will attempt to apply the theory so dazzlingly adumbrated by Frank Kermode in The Sense of an Ending, namely that man is obsessed by the 'end of things' and in creating fictions makes artifacts that are end-oriented by their very nature. I hope this gives ... some idea of what I am after. The writing I am studying is serious, earnest, often rather puritanical, and strongly marked by Christian eschatology even if the influence is largely unconscious and the results quite unorthodox. What I should like to know is whether [there is] anyone else working in this field, perhaps a colleague or a graduate student, so that I can get in touch with him/ her to our mutual scholarly benefit. --John Fletcher Prof. of Comparative Lit. Univ. of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ ENGLAND CALL FOR PAPERS Papers (8-10 typed, double-spaced pages) or detailed proposals (250 words, typed, double-spaced) on the subject of "Lost Civilizations: Satire and/or Escapism" are invited for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Area of the Popular Culture Association Meeting to be held in Wichita, Kansas, 24-27 April 1983. Send papers/proposals by 15 October 1982 to: Prof. Veronica Kennedy, 105 West 13th Street, IfllF, Ne,.! York, NY 10011 USA.
14 M, P, SHIEL STUDY IN PROGRESS M. P. Shiel (1865-1947) is relatively little read today, although his well-known 1901 novel, The Purple Cloud, has been reprinted several times, most recently by Gregg Press in 1977. Ris relative obscurity has not deterred the Reynolds Morse Foundation from publishing three lengthy (200+ pages each) volumes dealing with Shiel. Volume I, Writings, contains two novels and 15 short stories, many not previously reprinted. Volumes II and III comprise 858 pages of The Shielography Updated. The fourth and final volume, Shiel in Diverse Hands, collects 28 essays, some reprinted exploring the many facets of Shiel. One of these essays is that of E. F. Bleiler, which appeared in Bleiler's Science Fiction writers (SF&FBR 5) and is one of the most balanced brief accounts available. Three essays by Shiel are appended in which Shiel explains his theories of literature in light of his own unorthodox writing style. The distributor, J.D.S. Books, Box 67 MCS, Dayton, OR 45402, is offering all volumes at 15% discount for SFRA members sending prepaid orders and who identify themselves as SFRA members. Two formats are available: a 22 ring binder with tabbed sections; or an untabbed cloth edition. The net delivered prices are: Volume I II & III IV Ring $21.25 $63.75/pair Cloth $38.25 $76.50/pair price not set When the price and publication date (tentatively winter 1982/83) are more definite, details will appear here. A brochure providing fuller details on the contents of the volumes is available form the distributor. --Neil Barron
15 HARK TO THE HOBBIT The Mind's Eye, Box 6727, San Francisco, CA 94101, has a "special introductory offer" for their cassette radio drama recordings for various ages. A six-cassette, five-hour radio adaptation of The Hobbit is available for $24.95. The l2-cassette, l2-hour recording of The Lord of the Rings is $44.95. A number of children's adventure, fantasy and fairy tales are available, as well as recordings of The Time Machine, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Conan Doyle, Dickens, Twain, Hawthorne, Melville, Henry James, Poe, and others. A catalog provides complete details. Orders may be placed by calling toll free 1-800-227-2020 outside California; 415-883-2023 inside, 9-5 Pacific time. --Neil Barron TVMN TEACHING GUIDE REVISED Marshall Tymn, 721 Cornell, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 USA, has revised his 63-page 1981 booklet, A Teacher's Guide to Science Fiction, and now has available A Teacher's Guide to Fantastic Literature, $10, the title reflecting the inclusion of fantasy as well as SF. This 103page, 8-l/2xll-inch, spiral-bound guide is printed on recto pages only, permitting easy note-taking. A preliminary text for teachers of SF or fantasy, it will be revised and expanded when published in a more permanent format after testing and comment by teachers. A contract has been signed but no publication date has been set. The new guide includes a provocative survey of the teaching of SF by author Lloyd Biggle, who works with Tymn at his annual weekend conferences on teaching SF; an annotated guide to resources: books, newsletters, periodicals, organizations and recent awards; a guide to practical tools: teaching guides, text/anthologies, and films (Vincent Miranda assisted here); thematic
16 bibliographies; and approaches to structuring courses on SF and fantasy (the fantasy section is by Roger Schlobin). The stiff cover illustration might have come from a 1948 Planet Stories and should be dropped from any future edition. --Neil Barron CALL FOR FIFTH EATON CONFERENCE PAPERS The fifth annual Eaton Conference will be held at the University of California, Riverside campus, on the weekend of 9-10 April 1983, about five weeks later than past conferences. Mainly focusing on the classics of "hard" SF, the conference seeks to examine such topics as: 1) modes of creating worlds that are new and plausible; 2) scientific encounters with the alien/unknown; 3) the human sciences and science fiction; 4) the role of paraand pseudo-sciences; 5) the rhetoric of hard SF; 6) fictional critiques of science; 7) the presentation of science in nonscience fiction. Papers should be 12-15 pages in length (30 minutes' reading time) and should be long enough to constitute a significant and detailed .statement on a major problem, yet short enough to allow discussion. Papers should be sent no later than 15 December 1982 to: George Slusser, University of California Riverside, University Library, Box 5900, Riverside, CA 92517 USA. The coordinators for this conference are Slusser, curator of UCR's Eaton collection, and Eric S. Rabkin, professor of English at the University of Michigan. --Neil Barron
17 FRENCH ANNUAL TO CONTINUE L'Annee de la SF, whose fifth volume was reviewed in SF&FBR 6, will be publsihed in 1983 by Stan Barets, whose Temps Futurs bookstore in Paris is the major specialty bookstore in France. Barets has previously published heroic fantasy books. Succeeding Jacques Goimard as editor is Daniel Riche. --Jean-Daniel Breque NPR TO PRESENT DRA;:A SER I ES BASED ON "CANTICLE" National Public Radio will present a new IS-part drama series, A Canticle for Leibowitz, based on the novel of the same name by Walter M. Miller, Jr. John Bos, Director of NPR's Arts and Performances Programs called the Hugo-award winner "one of the great science fiction works of the past quarter-century," and added, "Thanks to Producer/Director Karl Schmidt and the WHA Drama Center in Madison, WI, we will bring this epic to a nationwide radio audience." A presentation of the network's daily drama strip NPR PLAYHOUSE, the series will air on member stations nationwide this November. "When I first read the book I knew it would make a stirring radio drama," says Schmidt. "This seris calls upon the listener to imagine the nightmarish aftermath of atomic war--while offering a human, darkly comic and harrowing view of the post-apocalyptic society." The cast of the production includes Carol Cowan, the Narrator; Karl Schmidt, the Chornicler; Jim Freeman, Brother Francis; Barton Heyman, the Poet, Russell Horton, Taddeo; Frederick Coffen, Joshua; Marcia Lewis, Mrs. Grales; and Rogers Keene, the Wanderer. ,The novel has been adapted for radio by John Reeves.
18 Original music for the series is composed by Gregory Fish and Robert Budney. Co-producer is Marvin Nonn. Senior Producer for the NPR Playhouse is Mary Lou Finnegan. 7TH ANNUAL INTENSIVE ENGLISH INSTITUTE PRELIMINARY ANNOUNCEMENT For the seventh summer, the University of Kansas will offer teachers of science fiction an opportunity--11-29 July 1983 at the University of Kansas at Lawrence--to obtain a basic understanding of their subject, what it is and how it got to be that way and what difference it makes, and insights into the teaching of science fiction, all in a solidly packed three weeks of heated discussions and interactions. Full particulars on costs and housing options will be sent on request. The faculty will be, as usual, James Gunn and Stephen Goldman. The visiting lecturers will be Gordon Dickson, Theodore Sturgeon, and Frederik Pohl. Since the students are asked to read 30 or so books prior to arriving in Kansas, it's not too early to write for the reading list: James Gunn, English Dept., University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045 USA. Interested potential students won't want to miss former institute student Joseph J. Marchesani's article in the summer 1982 issue of Extrapolation, "Chalkdust on the Stars: Learning to Teach Science Fiction."
The SFRA Newsletter is published ten times a year by the Science Fiction Research Association. Address editorial correspondence to: Elizabeth Anne Hull, Liberal Arts Division, 19 William Rainey Harper College, Palatine, IL 60067 USA Audio-Visual Materials Editor: Gary Acton, Dept. of English, Eastern Montana College, Billings, MT 59101 USA SPACE Charles Elkins, English Dept. Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199 USA SFRA Newsletter Advisory Committee Peter Brigg, Dept. of English, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2Wl, CANADA Betsy Harfst, Communicative & Creative Arts Division, Kishwaukee College, Malta, IL 60150 USA Donald M. Hassler, Honors & Experimental College, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242 USA Veronica M. S. Kennedy, 105 W. 13th St., #llF, New York, NY 10011 USA SFRA Executive Committee President: James Gunn, 2215 Orchard Lane, Lawrence, KS 66044 USA Vice-President: Mary Kenny Badami, Dept. of Speech, Bloomsburg State College, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 USA Secretary: William H. Hardesty III, Dept. of English, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056 USA Treasurer: Elizabeth Cummins Cogell, Dept. of Humanities, Universty of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, MO 65401 USA I Immediate Past Pres.: Joe De Bolt, Sociology Dept., Central Michigan Univ., Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 USA SFRA Newsletter Editor (ex officio), address above. Copyright 1982 by SFRA
..... ..... e SFRA Newsletter #105 Elizabeth Anne Hull, Editor Liberal Arts Division William Rainey Harper College Palatine, IL 60067 Address Correction Requested Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Palatine, Illinois Permit No. 54 53701BOGJPO A SFRA2 Y JANICE M eOGSTAD PO BOX 2056 MAlJISUN I. I r 1
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n No. 105 (October, 1982)
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Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
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History and criticism
Science Fiction Research Association.
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