USF Libraries

SFRA Review


Material Information

SFRA Review
Physical Description:
Science Fiction Research Association
University of South Florida -- Libraries
Science Fiction Research Association
Place of Publication:
Detroit, MI
Publication Date:
quarterly, [2003-]


Subjects / Keywords:
Science fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Science fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
review   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - (DLC)SN 99044169|41127205
usfldc doi - S67-00124
usfldc handle - s67.124
System ID:

Related Items

Preceded by:
SFRA newsletter (Online)

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Summer 2009 Editors Karen Hellekson l6 Rolling Rdg. Jay, ME 04239 karenhellekson@karenhellekson com Craig Jacobsen English Department Mesa Community College 1833 West Southern Ave Mesa, AZ 85202 edu Managing Editor Janice M Bogstad Mcintyre Library-CD University ofWisconsin-Eau Claire 105 Garfield Ave. Eau Claire, WI 54702-5010 Nonfiction Editor Ed McKnight 113 Cannon Lane Taylors, SC 29687 Fiction Editor Edward Carmien 29 Sterling Rd. Princeton, NJ 08540 Media Editor Ritch Calvin 16A Erland Rd. Stony Brook, NY 11790-1114 rcalvink@ic.sunysb edu The SFRA R eview (ISSN 1068-395X) is published four times a year by the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), and distributed to SFRA members. Individual is sues are not for sale; however, all issues after 256 are published to SFRA s Web site (http:// no fewer than 10 weeks after paper publication. For information about SFRA and membership, see the back cover. SFRA thanks the Univers i ty of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for its assistance in producing the SFRA Review. u.. U) I A publication of the Science Fiction Research Association SFRA Review Business Term Limits SFRA Business SFRA 2009 Conference Wrap-up Update and Request for Help Changes to the SFRA Web Site SFRA Announces New Grants 2009-2010 Award Committee Personnel Meeting Minutes Meeting Minutes 2008-2009 SFRA AWARDS Remarks for Pilgrim Award Remarks for Pilgrim Award Pilgrim Award Acceptance Speech Remarks for Pioneer Award Pioneer Award Acceptance Speech Remarks for Clareson Award Clareson Award Acceptance Speech Remarks for Mary Kay Bray Award Mary Kay Bray Award Acceptance Speech Remarks for the GraduateStudent Paper Award Graduate Student Paper Award Acceptance Speech Feature: 101 Mundane SF 101 13 Fiction Reviews Rift in the Sky Cyberabad Days Conspirator Nonfiction Reviews Black Space Bram Stoker's Notes for Drarula Everyone Loves Dick A Hideous Bit of Morbidity Savage Perils Tech-Noir Media Reviews Grn:r?"' Moonlight Terminator: Salvation Star Trek What Bums Also Breathes in Stardust Monsters vs. Aliens The Garners: Dorkness Rising Space Chimps Calls for Papers SUBMISSIONS 16 16 17 20 22 22 23 24 25 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 34 Wireless The Best of Gene Wolf Undead TV Metamorphoses of the Escape Pod The Sandman: Brief Lives Buck Rogers in the 25th Century 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 7 7 7 10 11 11 12 12 12 12 13 18 20 26 27 35 36 37 38 The SFRA R eview encourages submissions of reviews, review essays that cover several related texts interviews and feature articles. Submis sion guidelines are available at or by inquiry to the appropriate editor. Contact the Ed i tors for other submissions or for cor respondence.


EDITORS' MESSAGE Term Limits Karen Hellekson and Craig Jacobsen Alert readers of the SFRA meeting minutes that appear in this issue will find that there is already discussion about replac ing the two of us as editors of the Review. When we came on board, we agreed with each other that we would do the job for three years, and we are now midway through the second year. If you have an interest in editing the Review, feel free to contact us ( and ask questions. We'll print a job description when it's time to actually fill the job. We also hasten to stress that the three-year limit is one we made up, for our own sanity and to permit long-term planning. There is no term limit set by SFRA bylaws, and successful candidates may serve as long as they like at the Board's discretion. We are foreseeing an era of transition: we are not sure how much longer the print version can be sustained, but sustain it we will, in part because the membership likes the print version. We anticipate that some content will begin to migrate online, particularly for sections of the Review that are particularly time sensitive, such as calls for papers, many of which are obsolete by the time we go to print. We're looking forward to exploring and exploiting the full capabilities of our new Web architecture. Meanwhile, you're not getting rid of us that fast. We continue working behind the scenes to bring you interesting, relevant content. As always, we encourage all SFRA members to sub mit content to us. We are always on the lookout for people to research and compile the calls for papers. We have some lOis in the works, including one in the New Weird, and this issue features Ritch Calvin's Mundane SF 101. We would love to see some One Course features and particularly invite teachers to send us theirs. Those who wish to contribute reviews should contact the respective review editors, whose contact information is listed on the masthead. DODD CONFERENCE COORDINATOR MESSAGE SFRA 2009 Conference Wrap-up Lisa Yaszek and Doug Davis Over I 00 people attended SFRA's 2009 annual conference in Atlanta, GA at hotel midtown this past June. Braving floods, airport closings, all-night interstate drives, frozen travel bud-2 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 gets and the second great depression, guests came from as far as South America and were as young as four months of age. The conference featured 21 panels of academic papers, a large book room with four independent dealers, a day-long stream of creative readings by seven guest authors, and an southern buffet awards banquet. We tried out several new initiatives at this year's conference: all of our guest authors served as respondents for each of the conference's 21 panels; we featured two film screen ings by local independent filmmakers; the "Sci Fi Lab" podcast interviewed each of our guest authors; Georgia Tech and WREK radio filmed and taped much of the conference presentations; and the SFRAjoined forces with the SFWA to hold the first open mike reading night by SFWA members. Those who didn't make it to Atlanta this year can soon see several of the panels and hear all of the interviews and readings and awards ceremony speeches online-we will send out details to the SFRA e-mail list as soon as they are available. The confer ence venue, the hotel midtown, was a welcoming and comfort able place, conveniently located in midtown Atlanta amidst a variety of eateries and attractions. The hotel's steep discount on rooms, the generous financial support of Georgia Tech and Gordon College, and a larger than expected number of walk-in conference registrants all helped us bring in the conference un der budget, leaving the SFRA with a nest egg for the forthcom ing conferences in Arizona and Poland. As usual, SFRA conference participants explored a wide array of issues related to teaching, reading, and researching SF across media. As conference hosts, we did not get to attend near ly as many panels as we might have liked, but were delighted to hear the many lively conversations they provoked afterward. (And our students continue to reference these panels and con versations in their Class discussions this summer.) We were also delighted to see so many conference participants engage the con ference themes of engineering the future and southern-fried sci ence fiction and fantasy in their presentations. The latter theme was particularly fruitful for those scholars who explored how the complex and often contradictory history of race relations in the American south inform the unique storytelling tradition that Mark Dery, Alondra Nelson, and others call "Afrofuturism." In deed, as many of the scholars exploring this subject made clear, it is precisely by working within new storytelling traditions that science fiction writers begin to engineer new futures for their chosen genre as well. Of course, we cannot take sole credit for the success of SFRA 2009. Instead, we hope you will all join us in thanking Susan George, Mary Pharr and Patrick Sharp for preconference sup port, and then in thanking Susan and Mary again for running the registration table. We also want to thank Susan, Joshua Cuneo, Craig Jaconsen, Shelly Rodrigo, Jason Embry, Joseph Brown, and Jason Ellis for serving as our author liaisons: as one author put it, "I felt safe and cuddled!" by all the careful attention. Thanks also to Ed Carmien for hosting Open Mike Night, Paul Clifton for organizing the WREK interviews; and last but abso lutely not least, our good friend who organized the conference program, oversaw the multimedia room, supervised the graduate student ice and beer brigade to the Windsor Suite, and made all the clocks run on time: Jason Ellis.


HISTORICAL PRESERVATION PROJECT Update and Request for Help Leslie Kay Swigart As reported in the Summer 2008 Review (#285: 5), the SFRA, in partnership with the University of South Florida Libraries Digital Collections (Dr. Mark I. Greenberg, Director, Special Collections and Florida Studies Center), is engaged in a project to digitize the complete run of the SFRA Review (origi nally the SFRA Newsletter) from issue #1, 15 January 1971. Just before the 2009 Conference, Mark's colleague Richard Bernardy (Digital Collections Systems Administrator) reported that the first round of digitization had been completed, thanks primar ily to Jan Bogstad, the Review's managing editor, who provided most of the initial batch of copies for the project. These original copies were converted to searchable texts in the most labor-intensive fashion, without "disbanding" (chopping the spine and scanning the now-loose pages), because the origi nals will now be donated to the SF Collection at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library of the University of Kansas (http://, our hosts for the 2008 confer ence. It is hoped that we can complete the digitization project, and the KU collection of original issues, but this can only happen with your assistance. As this is written, in mid-July, the digitized collection is incomplete. I've recently received five of the missing issues (#231-234, 257) from Art Evans at Science Fiction Studies (thanks Art!); these issues will be sent to Florida before I leave for Montreal and Worldcon. Thus, by the time you read this, the digital collection should include at least issues #31, 37-39, 41, 72, 105, 150/151, 158-179, 181-186, 188-204, 208-213, 215-285 (1974/Aug; 1975/Feb-Apr, Jun-Jul; 1979/Jun; 1982/0ct; 1987/ Aug; 1988/Jun-Jul; 1990/Jul-Aug; 1990/0ct; 1993/Mar-Apr; 1993/Nov-Dec; 1994/Sep-Oct; 1995/Jan-Feb; 2008/Sum). An additional call or two for donations (or loans) will have appeared on SFRA-L, IAFA-L, and SF-Lit. Have copies gathering dust on your overcrowded book shelves? Taking up valuable space in your overflowing filing cabinets? If you have copies of the Review/Newsletter that you would like to donate to the project for digitizing and then dona tion to KU (or other incomplete institutional collections should we receive more than one copy of an issue), if you would like to loan your copies for the project and have them returned to you after scanning, or if you have questions about the project, please contact me. Also being sought are older copies of the SFRA Membership Directory for donation to KU and other special col lections, but they are not part of the digitization project. To view, browse, or search the digital collection of the Review, please point your browser to: To read about the USF Libraries' Science Fiction and Fan tasy Collection, please see: cfm?Pg=FeaturedCollection. All donations of Reviews, Newsletters, or Membership Directories should be sent to me as coordinator of the project. My preferred mailing address is: PO Box 15294, Long Beach, California 90815-0294, USA. E-mail me at: WEB DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE Changes to the SFRA Web Site Matthew Holtmeier There have been quite a few new changes to the SFRA site, and, as you might have noticed, it is still constantly going through changes. With all of the possibilities now available to us, it is difficult to choose what features will serve our organi zation best. So far, we've had a few suggestions from members that we've been able to implement. For example, we've added a resources section where members can post files, such as syllabi, class assignments, and other teaching resources. We also have a teaching forum where more permanent conversations regard ing teaching science fiction can take place. For example, Phil Nichols has started a thread on "Ray Bradbury in Media" and Bruce Rockwood has posted some comments and ideas (and is soliciting suggestions) for a law and literature class he is teach ing. Currently this is the only forum topic please let me know if there is another guiding topic you would like to see structuring conversation on the Web site. Perhaps the largest change on the Web site is that we've made online registration available to members. Now, when our next membership starts (September), members have the option of updating their membership using our membership store. All members need to do is visit our membership store by clicking the "Join SFRA'' tab on the Web site. You will recognize all of the normal membership types such as "individual" and "student." Recently, we have also made it possible to purchase optional journal subscriptions (Foundation, New York Review of Science Fiction, FEMSPEC, Journal ofthe Fantastic in the Arts, and Locus). To purchase these optional subscriptions at the reduced SFRA rate, all you need to do is include these items in your cart along with your SFRA membership. Of course, if you prefer the good ol' paper method, you can download the paper membership form under the "Membership" tab. By making online subscription available to members, we are initiating the first step in the transition to a Web-based member ship database. This should make finding like-minded members and communicating with them much easier. All members on the Web site now have a profile space where they can insert a few words about themselves, as well as a section for interests in sci ence fiction styled as tags. If you are unfamiliar with tags, they are short descriptors generally used to organize information. Here, you are using the tags to describe yourself, so that each member who enters "Philip K. Dick" as an interest becomes part of a group. If you enter your profile and click on one of these tabs, it will pull up a list of members with the same tag. Want to connect with and contact other members interested in William Gibson? This is one simple way to do so. We are still thinking and talking about how we might use the Web site to make membership to the SFRA a more useful and exciting experience. If you have anything you'd like to contrib ute, please let me know. SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 3


SECRETARY'S MESSAGE SFRA Announces New Grants Shelley Rodrigo Historically, the SFRA had a Support a Scholar fund that was funded from general donations on the registration form and any excess funds that the organization might have. The majority of the time, these funds were given to scholars to help cover costs for attending the annual conference and/or subsidize member ship fees. The 2007-8 Executive Board decided to develop more cohesive grant applications for two reasons : first, the organiza tion had a large amount of money in savings; and second, histori cally, grants given were not organized, advertised, and decided on in a systematic or balanced manner; typically, people or orga nizations asked and the president, or the EC, decided whether or not to give them money. The 2009-10 EC is happy to announce four new grants to support SF Scholarship, Travel to the annual SFRA conference, SFRA Membership, and SF Organizational support The new grant process includes calls for proposals as well as submission and blind evaluation processes (only the secretary of the organization will match names with proposals). Please check the Web site for more detailed information about grant proce dures and deadlines. And although the organization still has robust savings, please realize that conferences will probably get more expensive and folks will continue to apply for these grants; therefore, do not stop giving to the SFRA Support a Scholar fund each year when you renew your membership! AWARDS UPDATE 2009-2010 Award Committee Personnel Lisa Yaszek SFRA announces the following committees for next year's awards and thanks their members for agreeing to serve. Pilgrim Award: Elizabeth Hull (chair); Gary Wolfe; Marleen Barr. Pioneer Award: Larissa Koroleva (chair); Sherryl Vint; De Witt Kilgore Clareson Award: Doug Davis (chair); Paul Kincaid; Andy Sawyer. Mary Kay Bray Award: Patrick Sharp (chair); Jason Ellis; Susan George. Graduate Student Paper Award: Jim Davis (chair); David Mead; Alfredo Suppia. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Meeting Minutes Shelley Rodrigo SFRA Executive Board Meeting Date : June 12, 2009; 10:38-11 : 05AM Atlanta, GA Attending: L i sa, Yaszek, President 4 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 Ritch Calvin, Vice President Shelley Rodrigo, Secretary Donald M Hassler, Treasurer Adam Frisch, Immediate Past President Craig Jacobsen, Coeditor, SFRA Review Karen Hellekson, Coeditor, SFRA Review I. Awards and Grants A. Status of2010Award Committee Replacements (Lisa}-Have just begun looking for new members; at the business meet ing discussed that we have streamlined all the committees to a 3-year rotation. All committees need one new member this year. B. Status of organizational SFRA Grants (Shelley}-updated based upon comments from members, generic email; will an nounce and pass out at the general business meeting. II.SFRA Annual Meetings A. SFRA 2009: Atlanta, GA (Lisa }-seems to be going well; everyone who preregistered is here and we've had a bunch ofwalk-ins. Looks like we might be coming out $1,000 or $2,000 ahead. 70 preregistered and at least 10-15 watk-ins; we have approximately 85 attendees thus far. Let's make sure to track exactly what is going on in terms of day passes, etc, so we can be sure to emulate advertising and registration offer ings in the future. It appears that regional folks really want one-day passes. B. SFRA 2010: Phoenix, AZ (Craig}-delivered second of three deposit checks to the resort; we've started leaning on people to participate on specific panels; talking about doing some preconference workshops/short courses on Thursday morn ing: intro to SF studies (targeted to students in places without SF scholars); digital SF texts (targeted to folks with a primary literature background); and teaching SF. We're going to do four areas of"review" panels: print, televi sion, film and digital media. Definitely Friday and hopefully Saturday lunches: international scholar lunch (Pawel Frelik) and if we can afford it a second lunch with a scientist. Orga nization needs to talk about Joan Slonczewski doing lunch presentations; they are usually well attended. Any ideas/inno vative ways to get the journal editors to come and participate? C SFRA 2011: Poland (Craig email chat with Pawel, all is look ing good) D. SFRA 2012: Detroit (ask Steve Berman to say a few things on Sunday) E. SFRA 2013: West Coast, maybe Patrick with support from other West Coast (California) folks. If he took it in 5 years, he would want to host it on his campus in a new conference center. F. Status of the SFRA Conference Bible (Ritch}-Scanned all in and have in PDF file. We'll put it up on the Web in some form. Make sure to tell Dave Mead he doesn't have to worry about scanning. III.Publications, Web Site, and Listserv A. SFRA Review: Status of contingency plan (Lisa}-Jan Bogstad, the managing editor may retire in 2 years. Lisa talked with Jan about the current financial arrangements The University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, is currently paying


for printing and mailing and Jan's time. The cost of foreign mailing is becoming increasingly expensive. The organization needs to be prepared in the next 3-5 years to go digital (which will probably coincide with Jan retiring and the ever-shrinking budget). What will be involved by moving online; infrastruc ture for notifying people (e-mail and USPS notification); con sider reducing cost of membership or save money for grants. The current editors signed up for an informal 3-year term, end ing of2010. We need to start recruiting; we need to identify necessary skills and call for editors. B. Status of SFRA Archive: The University of South Florida is very close to being done. Alll20 issues in first batch and has completed a template catalog, standard sized, etc. However, they still are missing a few issues. If anyone has spare copies of any vintage, send. They want to know where to send DVD archives; we decided on one to president and another to SFRA archives. C. Internet SF database: Ritch has manually entered bibliograph ic information for each article back to issue #250 and needs access to the archive material to do more. D. SFRA 2008 Proceedings (Karen): peer review is completed and going well. McFarland has made the offer to do yearly proceedings; however, is that a path we want to go down? Karen needs $200 for offsetting various expenses (printing, mailing, etc.). Would McFarland be interested in doing an SF series instead of proceedings? Would SFRA be interested in starting its own print on demand press? E. New Web site costs (Ritch): The Web site design company sent the invoice for the final billing and the page looks like it is ready to go live and the new site is the live site. Matt Holt meier will hopefully get it up any minute now! At this point it will look and act like old site; however, other capabilities will phase in. The store site is up and there is a link from the site. F. We need to be asking our key joi.nnals to make sure they are sending someone to conferences and do ''work." IV. Organizational Membership (Mack) A. Increasing Numbers: up to 347 (there are membership forms down at the registration desk). B. What is the Point of Membership? What does membership get? (Shelley asked): Membership in professional organization solely focused on SF; bundled discounted journals; directory (trying to expanded indexed materials); substantial number of institutional members who renew regularly; supporting/partici pating in an academic community, the new grants; refresh our call for members/publicity materials. C. Members Directory: build in trying to do more robust index ing of member interests through updated renewal forms which we'll pilot this year in online renewals through the Web site. D. Should we do online elections? (Adam}-just get a sense of the membership at the meeting; consider if you want to run for office (put slate together at end of next year's meeting) VI. Other Old Business VII. Any New Business A. Hal Hall-retiring in the next 2 years and is concerned about the future of his database; current plan is to turn over to Cush ing library and have triple ownership with library and IAFA. He does have a few librarians in mind. Is SFRA interested in doing more work and having more control over the database? SFRA GENERAL BUSINESS Meeting Minutes Shelley Rodrigo Date: June 14, 2009; 9:00-11:00 AM Atlanta, GA Called to Order: 9:02 AM Adjourn: 10:22 AM EC Attending: Lisa, Yaszek, President Ritch Calvin, Vice President Shelley Rodrigo, Secretary Donald M. Hassler, Treasurer Adam Frisch, Immediate Past President Number of General Attendees: 17 conference attendees I. Awards and Grants A. Status of2010 Award Committee Replacements (Lisa) We have five award committees and all are operationalized (3-year rotating positions); we are looking for replacements. Email Lisa with suggestions or if you are interested in serving. B. Status of organizational SFRA Grants (Shelley}-These devel oped out of general support a scholarship; Shelley will make sure to "announce" and "advertise" as needed. The grants are: 1. Travel 2. Membership 3. Scholarship 4. Organization II. SFRA Annual Meetings A. SFRA 2009: Atlanta, GA (Doug): Including guest authors we had 90 people; about a dozen walkins; total conference costs approximately $13,500 and brought in about $16,000 (including money from institutions). The hotel gave us a great deal. Bringing our own technology saved lots of money. We would like to see some of the extra money going towards travel grants and the 20 10 conference. Congrats and thanks to everyone. Motion to thank conference organizers and program director; seconded. B. SFRA2010: Phoenix,AZ (Craig): Good shape! One more week for the low-low 2009 conference rate. C. SFRA 2011: Poland (Lisa): We are on track and Pawel Frelik has a great deal of support. D. SFRA 2012: Detroit (Steve Berman), proposal (introduced to Debby Randolph willing to work with as a cohost). Steve done some research on hotel rates; look into support for local SF Association; try to get some support from cohost institu tions. Looking into locaUregional writers, will work with Ed Carmien and the SFWA. SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 5


E. SFRA 2013 and beyond: Patrick Sharp and some colleagues are committed to making a conference happen in Los Angeles. Possible outreach to SLSA. F. Hopefully 2014 out of country; someone asked if Andy Sawyer ever hosted in Liverpool? G. Status of the SFRA Conference Bible (Ritch): In the mid-80s each conference directors would write up a report oflogistics & strategies; the booklet was passed along until early 90s and now there is a huge gap; Ritch scanned and we'll do a wiki for recent conference directors so we can more easily update. We need to streamline conference fiscal processes including using Pay Pal. III.Publications, Web Site, and Listserv A SFRA Review-going fine; remind everyone that Karen H. and Craig J. are halfway through their 3-year term; continue to recruit folks for 101 and One Course features. The SFRA Review is being partially underwritten by University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and if that is withdrawn it is no longer affordable to print. Jan Rogstad will be retiring in a couple of years; therefore, we are looking at different models and that the current paper-based model will probably not last beyond 5 years. Question: if we went digital would we go back to six a year? Open call for new hosts or transition to digital media (possible ad-hoc committee if we are seriously going that way) B. Status of SFRA Archive (Lisa and Karen): Leslie Swigart is in charge of the project of digitizing all back issues to bearchived at Florida, and everything will be online there (except Directory issues). The permanent URLs should be going up in the next two weeks. Could we sell a DVD of the entire archives? C. Internet SF database: (Ritch): is a great resource to look for authors, publications, and reviews. The SFRA Review was not indexed; Ritch has begun the process of entering all the reviews (done back through #250). D. SFRA 2008 Proceedings (Karen): Just got back from blinded pair review; the proceedings are having difficulty with internal coherence with topics, etc.; McFarland has offered to do an nual proceedings. E. New Web site (Ritch): We have a new Web site coming online; we have contracted with a company to redesign and host; the switch will be flipped very soon; look the same but there will slowly be added new features (blogs, wikis, online member ship forms, etc.). We'll be doing a pilot of online membership renewal; however, we are figuring out balanced our traditional processes with digitizing processes. IV. Elections A. One of the questions is to hold our elections online; candidate statements are there and can easily follow-up with the act of voting; not worrying about logistical concerns (only one per son vote, etc.); unanimous support for an online voting option. We think we'd get a lot more overseas votes if we have online elections. B. We are always looking for candidates; email Adam if you are interested in serving. Request not to use rhetoric of "I was talked into running; however, I'm not interested." 6 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 V. Organizational Membership {Mack) A For the last couple of years we've seen a gradual upward trend; 2008 at about 346 members (stopping in approximately August); 2009 we are already at 347; one of these years we'll reach 400. It's the highest our numbers have been in decades. We are going increase the payment we make to the regular journals $1 per member per journal (SFS and Extrapolation) to cover the increasing cost of mailing. Currently, we can ab sorb this in our budget without increasing the cost of member ship. B. Request about adding another pass through journal. We have put adding additional journals online until we have an online membership renewal system that can more readily have a database track everything. C. Request to track data about the membership; not seeing us get new librarians, archivist and bibliographers. We put Hal Hall on this issue. Everyone recruit! We might not have as many scientist as well. VI. Other Old Business A. Mack reminds us that during this period of transition toward electronic renewal of membership and an electronic Direc tory, members must continue to watch for physical mailings through the post as well as to be sure they have some form of the renewal form on file with the officers. VII. Any New Business A. Hal Hall's database: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Data base (; Hall will be retiring and not know what will happen with/to the database. His ideal is to having Cushing Library keep it and have cosponsored with IAF A and SFRA.' What would the costs be? Ask Hal what the actual costs of hosting it. The idea of the association owning intellectual work is a good thing. The concern is if we own it and there are problems, does the organization take that bad rap. It does already have the ability to make corrections and additions. This also comes back to recruiting librarians and bibliographies. Ask people to take ownership of specific jour nals (to update, edit, etc.). Possibly talk to current members (Andy in the UK, etc.). Even maintaining the architecture that the data is in is a huge job in itself. Definitely people agree that SFRA has a say. Try to get some institutions working col laboratively. Another issue is whether or not we would want to collaborate with IAFA-at minimum it is complicated to collaborate with another organization. B. John Clute's encycl9pedia will soon be going online (possibly another membership benefit or pass through subscription). C. History of the Organization: We need someone to write a his tory (founding member is no longer with us, earliest events are falling behind); Oral history; some year someone followed around for a few years; could imagine Bill Hardesty take under consideration. Possibly Story Core (histories); students with media skills; ethical, IRB, etc. David Gregory is a new member is writing a dissertation on the SF community. D. Facebook: Patrick Sharpe has offer to run the Facebook page. And do we need to have a concerted social media effort. Start an ad hock meeting on Social Media.


DODD Remarks for Pilgrim Award F. Brett Cox One of the many gaffes of which I am habitually guilty is fail ing, in social situations, to introduce one friend to another under the mistaken assumption that they've already met. This occasion is far too momentous for me to take that risk. My impulse is to say, truthfully, that this year's Pilgrim Award winter needs no introduction. But on the off chance that any of you have not met him, permit me to introduce you. Brian Attebery is professor of English at Idaho State Univer sity, where he teaches courses in American literature, American Studies, folklore, and, of course, the literatures of the fantastic. He is the author of The Fantasy Tradition in American Litera ture: From Irving to Le Guin, published by Indiana University Press in 1980; Strategies of Fantasy, published by Indiana UP in 1992; and Decoding Gender in Science Fiction, published by Routledge in 2002. He coedited The Norton Book of Science Fic tion, published in 1993, and wrote for that indispensable volume a teacher's guide that remains perhaps the single most useful such instrument I have ever encountered. He has also published articles and reviews too numerous to mention, and in 2006, a short story in the prestigious online magazine Strange Horizons. And, as if all that weren't enough, he currently serves as the edi tor of Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. Brian's three full-length books clearly demonstrate the breadth ofhis knowledge, from his deep awareness of the tradi tions of American literature that inform much of the science fiction and fantasy work that all of us in this room have devoted ourselves to, to the theoretical sophistication that can, and should, be brought to bear on the literature of the fantastic, to his unceasing testimony to the crucial role of gender in the study ofliterature. They are one and all important books, influential books, indispensable books. For three decades he has been fully engaged not only with the texts of the fantastic, but with its communities; he has been a regular and welcome presence at not only SFRA but also ICFA, Wiscon, Readercon, and other conventions and conferences. Brian understand not only what we do, but who we are. I can only add that the Pilgrim Award committee was in a state approaching shock that Brian had not already been recog nized for his career achievements. So I take the greatest pleasure, both professional and personal, in soothing our jangled nerves by presenting the 2009 Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to science fiction and fantasy scholarship to Brian Attebery. Remarks for Pilgrim Award Ursula K. Le Guin [The following remarks by Ursula K. Le Guin were also pre sented at the 2009 SFRA Awards ceremony.] Our field of writing and scholarship is wondrously lucky to have a Brian Attebery working in it-a brilliant and_passionate advocate, a careful and original thinker, and a man of peace. Science fiction fosters a rather cantankerous breed of writers and readers, given to shouting at one another and resigning from things. And scholars are all too often given to intense territorial ity and discreetly malevolent one-upmanship. Brian never plays any of these games or pays the slightest attention to them. He re ally doesn't. I've never been able even to get the least little bit of gossip out of the man. He just can't. His mind works differently. It sees likenesses not differences, wholes not fragments, sees the shape intended or implied through the failure to fully attain it. Science fiction and fantasy is, in its own strange way, still a genuine community of people, and Brian is the kind of man a tribe depends on, a nonjudgmental teacher with a true sense of what our tribal culture is, what it is we do and why we do it. His writings take advantage of what's useful in modem literary theory without ever wandering off into the trendy obscure; they are both unprententious and sophisticated, adventurous and ac cessible. My favorite ofhis books still is Strategies of Fantasy, but all Brian Attebery's strategies of thought and criticism are fruitful and intriguing. Surely nobody could better deserve the Pilgrim Award. Pilgrim Award Acceptance Speech Brian Attebery Thank you to the SFRA, the Pilgrim Award Committee, and all the friends I have made over the years through my work on fantasy and science fiction. Let me start by taking you back through some of those years. When I was a graduate student, just starting to work on my dissertation, I remember sitting in Robert Scholes's office at Brown University when his telephone rang. It was a long distance call, so he excused himself and took it while I looked around and wondered if I would ever have so many books, an office that comfortable, or a job. Most of what I heard of the conversation was Scholes saying, "Yes, Darko ... No, Darko." Afterward he explained that it had to do with something called the Pilgrim Award, given out by the Science Fiction Research Association-the first I had heard of the award. I don't think it was the year Darko Suvin got the award. They were discussing that year's winner: Brian Aldiss, maybe, or Tom Clareson. At that time, I had never been to a science fiction conference. I had never met any science fiction writers, or any scholars of the fantastic except for Scholes and my adviser Barton St. Armand, an Emily Dickinson scholar with a side interest in H. P. Love craft. Aldiss, Clareson, and Suvin along with Delany, Russ, and Le Guin: all of them were just names in books or on the pages of Extrapolation and Science-Fiction Studies (which still had its hyphen). Yet I knew their voices. SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 7


These were people engaged in a fascinating conversation about the literature that most appealed to me: the literature of the possibly possible (SF) and the unapologetically impossible (fantasy), rather than the merely real. They were the inner circle. They were witty, illuminating, alarmingly erudite. They were doing something new and they knew it: their writing was filled with a sense of discovery and hope. They really were pilgrims in space and time. I wanted to join them, though I hardly felt I had anything to add. Shortly afterward I gave my first academic paper, at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association. It wasn't particu larly good. That didn't matter too much since it was up against a humor panel that included Art Buchwald and Mark Russell. Our session could have been held in a broom closet. At any rate, I was trying to show that contemporary writers like Le Guin and Zelazny were the true inheritors of the American romance tradition represented by Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville. Actually I still think that's true. It just isn't very interesting. It doesn't really offer a new way to read, which is ultimately what critical work is for. Before I could think about new ways to read, though, I had to become aware of how I had been taught to read and why. That meant learning a lot of history: literary history, cultural history, history of criticism, history of teaching. Sometimes it meant assembling the history first, so that I could then learn it. The dissertation I wrote with Professors St. Armand and Scholes was a history of American fantasy. It was published as a book, which makes it look like a final product. I didn't realize at the time that it was really just Volume I, the groundwork for the kind of study I wanted to do once I figured out how to do it. I also had to unlearn most of what I had been taught about reading, or at least to become aware that my ways of reading were the product of particular social situations and historical movements. Since I was trained in a combination ofNew Criti cism and F. R. Leavis's Great Tradition, both of which are very good at pretending to be universal, it took a lot of theoretical digging to expose and uproot my own critical assumptions. I'm still working on that project. I've been helped, over the years, by friends and colleagues at Idaho State University; by Seymour Chatman's NEH seminar on narrative theory, which gave me many of my digging tools; and by the community of scholars in fantasy and science fiction whose conversation still engages and challenges me. From the very beginning, I have thought about writing. About the time I was sitting in Robert Scholes' office, I was also trying to figure out who my writing self was. I did a lot of experiment ing with style and form, imitating this or that critic and listening to my own voice on the page. I realized that when things were really working well, my writing self was smarter than I was. Or, more precisely, that there was a language of scholarship, a set of rhythms and terms and rhetorical structures, that allowed me to make discoveries I wasn't capable of making on my own. Over the years, I have had several crises of confidence and conscience: what am I doing and why is it worth it? Who cares about this stuff anyway? Each time, my way out of the crisis has been through writing and thinking about writing. I really should print out a set of Rules for Writers and frame it over my com puter, since I keep coming back to the same realizations about 8 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 my work. The discoveries are nothing earthshaking. I'm sure lots of people have discovered them before, but they are central to what I am trying to do as a scholar, and they are the sort of thing that we all have to discover for ourselves, on our own personal journeys. Discovery number one: my real work is writing. One of the major perks of working on fantasy and science fiction is getting to meet authors whose works we study and teach. Thanks to Robert Scholes, who suggested my name to an editor, one of my first scholarly gigs was to write an encyclopedia entry on Ursula Le Guin-up until that time, just one of those distant, Olympian voices. She was nice enough to allow me to come to Portland to interview her-and thereby to begin a thirty-year friendship. At the first SFRA conference I ever went to, in Rolla, Missouri, I got to hang out with Suzette Haden Elgin and other SF writers. Over the years at SFRA and the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, I have met most of my other idols, includ ing Gene Wolfe, John Crowley, Roger Zelazny, and too many others to name. That's all wonderful, but it also tends to generate writing envy. You probably know the feeling: you're surrounded by creative people, and you're just a hanger-on, a wannabe, a parasite. People hear that you do something with science fiction and they ask, "What have you written?" And they don't mean "Which scholarly journals have you published in?" My discovery came when I thought about my days. What do I spend most of my time doing? I do a lot of things-read, teach, edit, sit in meetings-but they almost all depend on the act of putting words together on a screen or a page. That's my primary work. I write. If I spend most of my time and energy writing, I am a writer, and I'd better pay attention to the craft of writing. If you think about the list of Pilgrim Award winners, it includes about as many fiction writers as academics, from early winners Damon Knight and Jack Williamson (who was both) to last year's honoree Gwyneth Jones. I don't think this is an accident. They bring to SF criticism not only an awareness of the inner workings of fiction but also an ability to express ideas in lively and elegant prose. Essays are different from fiction, but good sentences are good sentences: specific, concrete, verb driven, grounded in experience, anchored in the senses. There is no reason critical writing can't be entertaining. Nobody actually forbids us to develop personal voices, to tell jokes, to generate suspense, to make verbal music. These writerly techniques, I would claim, are not mere ornaments but enablers of thought. A pun can be the germ of an idea. (I take great pride in having once, in a scholarly work, described uncanny moments in fiction as "unheimlich maneuvers.") I actually learned a lot about writ ing criticism from poets-Donald Hall, Randall Jarrell, and Wil liam Stafford. They showed me that all writing is discovery; all writing is creative; all writing is autobiography in that it traces a journey and an evolution of the self. And all writing is hard work. If the writer doesn't do the work, the reader has to. This is a painful truth for someone who is basically lazy. That's also my second realization: that I hate to write and will do almost anything to avoid it. The process is slow and uncomfort able and just plain difficult. Ifl'm going to get anything doneand I love having written even more than I hate writing-then I had better care passionately about what I'm writing about. I have


to feel that I might make a difference somehow, somewhere. Luckily, the issues I care about are deeply embedded in the literature I love. Both science fiction and fantasy have powerful things to say about perception, belief, identity, language, tradi tion, change, and imagination. I care a great deal about those things and about the genres that do most to remind us of their importance. If I ever start to lose my passion, I can always go read one of those smug cultural commentators who periodically dismiss SF or children's literature or fairy tales. You know, the ones who think they are too grown up for anything so enjoyable, or anything that takes us outside of the daily round of work, gos sip, desire, and betrayal, which is to say, the literary mainstream. You see, even thinking about those commentators, I get passion ate. I get another paragraph written. Oddly, some people mistake passion for political correctness, a term that is far past its sell-by date. I'm not sure if those people think we are not supposed to care about injustice or about listen ing to different perspectives-or if they're just not very careful readers. I suspect the latter, since most of the negative comments I have received came in response to the anthology which Ursula Le Guin, Karen Fowler, and I put together, and most of the criticism showed no evidence that the complainers had read the stories or indeed anything past the introduction and the table of contents. Both the experience of editing the Norton Book and the reactions to it-negative and positive-have strongly affected the direction of my subsequent critical work. I have been more aware of what is at stake, and where my true passions lie. My third discovery about writing is that it only works when I force myself to ask the hard questions. That's especially true when writing about something I care deeply has to be tempered and tested by critical thought. Otherwise it does become a mere exercise in political or aesthetic orthodoxy (and I think aesthetic correctness is more harmful than the political variety). When I look back at my early papers, like the one on science fiction and nineteenth-century romance, the problem is not that they're badly written or that they misread the material. It is that they don't probe deeply enough into their own-which is to say, my own-assumptions and reading practices. I didn't ask hard enough questions. But what exactly is a hard question? Well, that one is. I believe that when we study literature, we are never study ing just the literary work itself Instead, we're examining our own interaction with that text. That is difficult because it means bringing to consciousness the very structure of consciousness, which is the business of theory. Psychological theory, political theory, feminist theory, semiotic theory: these all have to do with making the invisible patterns of thought and culture more vis ible, so that they can be challenged. Sometimes I will be in the middle of writing about a story, when the Theory Fairy peeks over my shoulder and asks some thing like, "But what exactly is a character?" "What does fantasy reveal about the basic fabric of storytelling?" "If a concept like androgyny changes depending on the direction one looks from, what is its meaning?" These are "Whew!" questions. They're the sort of questions that make you question pretty much everything you've learned about literature and society and your own sense of self. They're big questions: you know you're not going to answer them fully even in a book-length project. Here are two quick ways to recognize a hard question. First, if you ever hear yourself saying, "Somebody ought to explain this or that," you have probably just posed a hard question, especially if you look around and can't find anyone else stepping forward to be that somebody. You read a study, for instance, of the way fic tion depicts consciousness, and you think to yourself, "But what about shared consciousness or telepathy? How does that relate to narrated thought? I wish somebody would write about that." Bingo. You've just asked a hard question. Second, a hard question is one that makes you take up a whole new field of study. When I was writing Strategies of Fantasy, I knew I wanted to examine the hybrid form of science fantasy, and I knew that science fantasies often turned out to be funnyFletcher Pratt and Sprague de Camp's Harold Shea stories, for instance, which mix magic and logic with wonderfully comic results. In order to say anything about science fantasy, I had to spend a couple of months coming up to speed on theories of humor. A lot of what I learned never made it into the chapter on science fantasy, but I had to know the range of possibilities before settling on the one that worked, which was Arthur Koes tler's concept of cognitive dissonance. Once I hit upon that idea, I had a key to the stories I was investigating. It wasn't just that they fit the pattern but that the pattern itself was significant. By being funny, these stories said something rather profound about the ways we cope with the unknown. I have had to reeducate many times to meet the demands of this or that hard question. I have acquired a dilettante's knowl edge of nanotechnology, the struggle for Aboriginal rights in Australia, psychological studies of gender formation, evolutionary biology, theories of metaphor, Native American storytelling, environmental ethics, the neurobiology ofhappiness. I've forgot ten a lot of what I learned for particular projects, but I think each minicourse of study leaves a mark on me-each changes the way I see the world and the mirror worlds ofliterature. It's also the fun part of the job. Not so much fun is confronting myself The hardest part of hard questions is that they tum back on the questioner: they're double-edged blades. I think writers of fiction all know this: that if you are going to write a story about, say, violence, you are going to end up confronting all your own memories and fears and denials of violent impulses and behaviors. The same is true of good scholarship. You can't write about gender without examining your own desires and experiences and constructed gender identity. You can't write about fantasy and myth without questioning your own mythic beliefs. At some point, the hard question is going to be "Who are you to write about this?" and if you can't come up with a good answer, you probably won't finish the project. If you are lucky, that last hard question morphs into something more productive: "Who are you when you write about this?" In other words, what does the question tell you about your self? What I often find, when I probe, is that myself-my writ ing self-is not any one thing, but an amalgam of many voices and many interactions. The last of my discoveries, and the most comforting, is that we don't have to do all that hard work alone. I said near the beginning that a critical language can sometimes be smarter than SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 9


the person who wields it. The only way that is possible is if writ ing arises somewhere other than in the limited self. In Greg Egan's story "Reasons to Be Cheerful," the main character has had diseased parts of his brain replaced with prosthetic tissue, which then must be programmed. Rather than impose a personality on him, psychologists create a composite identity from the memories of"4,000 dead men" (226). It is up to him to construct a coherent self from all those contradictory impressions and impulses. The character finally decides that "Everyone had to carve a life out of the same legacy: half univer sal, half particular; half sharpened by relentless natural selection, half softened by the freedom of choice" (227). Egan's story is a remarkably apt parable for writers. We are all composite beings, especially when we communicate. Language comes in a box labeled "Some disassembly re quired." Before we can construct sentences of our own, we have to take someone else's sentences apart, and the words still retain the dents and nail holes from earlier constructions. They want to go back into the patterns they once had, which means that we are always echoing influences. We all start out as ventriloquists' dummies. My first conference paper was a pastiche of critical voices that I found compelling, which explains how the American Renaissance imposed itself on science fiction of the 1960's. Over time, though, F. 0. Matthiessen's and Daniel Hoffman's turns of phrase have been supplemented by discourse structures bor rowed from Scholes, Chatman, Mikhael Bakhtin, Jane Tompkins and others, to the point where I begin to recognize my own critical voice in the mix. It's still their language, but I think it has become mine as well. The most important thing about conversations, of course, is that they aren't monologues. It takes other people to show us who we are. We need other, contrasting voices to teach us how we sound. Even as I stand here talking, I'm also listening, watch ing for cues and reactions, and responding to things I've heard other Pilgrims say over the years. In that category, I include a lot of people whose scholarly journeys haven't yet been recognized by the SFRA with the official pilgrim's cockle shell. (I learned about pilgrims and their cockle shell badges, by the way, not from Chaucer but from the great fantasist E. Nesbit.) The great discovery I made so many years ago in Professor Scholes's office was that I was not alone, that there was a community of people dedicated to exploring the literature of the unknown and the impossible, and I might be able to get together with those others and talk with them. Better yet, that I was always in conversation with them, no matter where I happened to be, in Providence, or Atlanta, or Rolla, Missouri, or Pocatello, Idaho. That last discovery is the one that allows me to write. I can face the terrible blank page as long as I know my fellow explor ers are out there listening, ready to say "amen" when I'm right, to correct me when I'm wrong, and to take my bits and pieces of ideas and develop them into new and grander structures of thought and writing. So thank you all once again, not just for the award but for accompanying me on my pilgrimage and sharing tales as we go. 10 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 Remarks for Pioneer Award Chrissie Mains The Pioneer Award is presented each year to honor the writer of the best critical essay-length work published in the previous year. Past winners, including Veronica Hollinger, Roger Luck. hurst, Brian Stableford, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr., and many others, have made substantial and significant contributions to the study of science fiction and fantasy. The names of other winners may be less well known-at least for now-but all have been recognized by the SFRA for writing that provokes thought and challenges ideas. This year, the Pioneer Award Committee faced a difficult and daunting task in selecting the award-winning article for 2008. It was, simply put, a very good year for SF scholarship. Aside from the consistently excellent articles published by Extrapo lation, Science Fiction Studies, Foundation, JFA, and other journals regularly publishing articles on science fiction, the com mittee had to find time to read articles published in new journals such as Science Fiction Film and Television, in special issues such as the Yearbook in English Studies, and in several antholo gies published this year, including Queer Universes and New Boundaries in Political Science Fiction, among others. We had a lot of reading to do, much of it of outstanding quality, and it took some discussion to come to an agreement on a single work. But in the end, we agreed to select Neil Easterbrook as the winner of the 2008 Pioneer Award for his article "'Giving an Account of Oneself': Ethics, Alterity, Air" published in Extrapo lation 49.2. Neil's article on the award-winning and critically acclaimed novel by Geoff Ryman deals with both challenging theoretical concepts and a challenging work of SF literature in an engaging and accessible voice. Neil's analysis of the novel, in the view of one committee member, "unfolds from mundane to operatic grandeur, mirroring the movement of the novel itself," resulting in a fresh look at ethics as both process and an account of the selves of characters and readers; the article represents a fine example of original scholarship which expands the limits ofknowledge in general and of"self-knowledge," the ultimate purpose of any research. Another committee member calls Neil's article "a consummate example of the qualities of the best SF scholarship ... equally adept at engaging the complex philo sophical history of ethics as at providing a nuanced reading of a complex and timely novel." And the third feels that Neil's article "wonderfully demonstrates the potential of literary criticism in general and SF scholarship more particularly not only to analyze and interpret compelling works of literature and cultural critique but also to explain that literature and the world to all kinds of readers, from scholars to students." The committee-Larissa Koroleva, last year's winner Sherryl Vint, and chair Christine Mains-would like to heartily con gratulate Neil, not only for this particular accomplishment for which he is being recognized tonight, but also for his past and future contributions to the criticism and teaching of science fic tion. We all regret that none of us is able to be there to honor him in person.


Pioneer Award Acceptance Speech Neil Easterbrook Let me begin with the four greatest words someone in the audience at a banquet can ever wish to hear: this will be short. Allow me to say three things. Thing one. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you. Thing two. Like every one of you, I'm just grateful to find out that somebody somewhere found something I'd written of some interest. And to find out that somebody somewhere thought something I'd written marginally stronger than other things that others had written is extraordinarily gratifying. But, and I now address the selection jury, just what were you people drinking? You notice that not one of them had the cour age, not even the dutch courage, to show up here in Atlanta to defend the choice. More seriously, the award makes me recognize how lucky I am, and the sheer contingency of the occasion. Because so much really good work is being done now, and in journals and books that are outside our core-of Science Fiction Studies, Extrapo lation, Foundation, JFA, Paradoxa, Utopian Studies, SFRA Review, Science Fiction Film and Television, Vector, Configurations-jeeze, just considering the core journals, it is increasingly likely that this sort of fortuitous contingency will only metasta size. One of the judges told me that the short list was 17 essays, and my very sincere response was "why so few?" To repeat: there's lots of astonishingly good work now being produced by our community. My essay just happened to come out in a journal and at a time when the sorts of things I was doing appealed to the jury, who this year just happened to be Chrissie Mains, Larissa Koroleva, and Sherry} Vint. Some of our colleagues write wonderful essays, but go their entire careers without such singular notice, and what a shame it is that they just happen to fall between the cracks. So I recognize how contingent such an award is, and I'm humbled to be included on the list with very distinguished past winners. Thing three. I owe individual thanks to many people. For instance, to my older brothers Gregg and Frank. (The bastards ) They set an impossible standard of success. But couldna done it without 'em. (The bastards.) Within the community of SF scholarship : First to Wendy Pearson and Susan Knabe, who included me in the special issue of Extrapolation devoted to Geoff Ryman; To the nefarious cabal of Greencastle-Rob Latham, Art E v ans, Joan Gordon, and especially Istvan Csicsery Ronay Jr. and Veronica Hollinger; To the folks now running Extrapolation, including Javier Martinez, Andrew M. Butler, and Mike Levy; In several books and now for Science Fiction Film and T e levi sion to Sherry} Vint and Mark Bould, who have enc ouraged me enormously, tolerating my delays and still taking everything I've written for them, and only occasionally telling me that this or that paragraph was rubbish; To Fred Erisman, my colleague at TCU, who first urged me to join SFRA. Many, many others have graciously befriended me at these conferences. Take Brian Attebery. First time I met Brian we were on a panel together, with Veronica, at ICFA. In my paper, called "", and following Sturgeon's law, I pretty much denounced 90% of SF criticism as a self-indulgent, incompetent fraud. Rather than calling me what I deserved, an ignorant and arrogant little prick, Brian warmly engaged me in conversation, talked me down from the window ledge--drew me out rather than called me out. That's the kind of convivial gener osity I've experienced in the community of SF scholars, a com munity I'm now proud to be within-to carry the membership card, wear the decoder ring, and know all the secret handshakes. But there's one last person I need to thank. His work and his influence have been profound, but he's always the man behind the curtain, too humble take any credit. One specific person drew me to this community, engaging my interest first by inviting me to ICFA and by then introducing me to everyone he knew, and he knew everybody, and that got me to SFRA; I owe Len Hatfield the deepest gratitude. Thanks again. Remarks for Clareson Award David G. Hartwell and Doug Davis Hal Hall is one of the founding scholars of the SFRA, and of them, one of the few leading bibliographers who compiled the history of SF criticism and of book reviewing Hal has won nu merous awards for his contributions to both library and science fiction publications, and we are delighted to present him tonight with another award, a career achievement award that honors his life's work in the service of science fiction scholarship One of the goals of scholarship is to leave a legacy upon which future scholars can build. Hal has met this goal doubly; as a curator, bibliographer, and indexer, he has worked diligently and tirelessly to celebrate and preserve science fiction's past and present. Hal has compiled valuable indexes of the field, includ ing the science fiction and fantasy reference index, the science fiction book review index, and the science fiction research index He is the Curator of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection of the Cushing Library at Texas A&M University. The science fiction and fantasy research collection contains not only hundreds of feet of original author manuscripts but also over 20,000 monographs and 10,000 periodicals covering five hundred titles, including over ninety percent of the American science fiction magazines and almost 90 percent of the British magazines published prior to 1980 The history of the field has been in safe hands. And so has its future. The other half of Hal's l egacy is virtual and digital. Hal has become one of the most important librar ians in the SF field, and was the first to support Internet initia tives in the promulgation of bibliographic information about SF fantasy, and horror. To complement his own efforts, he arranged to b eco me host for the Scienc e Fiction and Fantasy Research SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 11


Database, which is available online (http://sffrd.library.tamu. edu/). And so Hal became a nexus for all contemporary infor mation about SF bibliography, both of fiction and of secondary literature. This is of course an ongoing process, but it is the best we have, and it keeps getting better. After Everett Bleiler, and along with Neil Barron, Robert Reginald, L. W. Currey, Hal is of the great second generation of SF bibliographers (the first professional generation) who first told us what was there, who delineated the literary history of SF. Without him, we would be shallower and know less about SF. He is one of the giants upon whose shoulders we stand, who himself is still standing. It honors us to give him the Clareson Award for lifetime service to the field of science fiction studies. Clareson Award Acceptance Speech Hal Hall Thank you to the SFRA, the award committee, and my col leagues here. It is unexpected, to say the least. To be honored in Tom Clareson's name is to be doubly honored. Tom was my friend, mentor, and colleague, and a gentleman of the first order. He encouraged me to step onto the path that lead me to a career in the bibliography of science fiction, first in indexing science fiction and fantasy book reviews, and later to tackle the history and criticism literature. Little did I know where that would lead. Had someone told me there were 85,000 history and criticism items to track down, I would have been daunted. Nor, in 1969, did I expect the pilot issue of Science Fiction Book Review Index to result in listing 100,000 book reviews. I am reminded of the running commentary with Neil Barron. When I presented him with a bibliography of 4,000 history and criticism items, Neil commented that surely that was almost all. "Less than half,'' I suggested. Later, when the number hit 20,000, Neil noted, "That has to the majority," to which I replied, "Less than half." Now I would tell Neil that I was an optimist-there are thousands more items related to the history and criticism of SF and fantasy to be located, in more languages than I can identify, much less read. The database has moved to a new platform, and new soft ware recently, and is now housed in the Texas A&M University Institutional Repository, a move that is intended to ensure avail ability and the potential of continued updating even after I cease to be an active contributor. With any luck, I will hang around long enough to revise many of the entries to be more uniform. Editorial decisions reached 35 years ago, designed for a printed book format, are no longer the preferred choices for a searchable online database. After that is done, a combined version of the book review indexes lurks in the back of my mind. Finally, I am honored to be included in the company of previ ous Clareson Award winners. Thank you. 12 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 Remarks for Mary Kay Bray Award Ritch Ca I vi n On behalf of this year Mary Kay Bray Award committee, Patrick Sharp, Jason Ellis, and me, I would like to present this year's award for the best review, review essay, or extended essay in SFRA Review to Sandor Klapcsik for his review of Rewired: A Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel. The 2008 volume of SFRA Review presented us with quite a few very good selections, and we had a number of very strong contenders. However, we were able to settle fairly quickly upon Sandor's review. As members of the committee wrote, we were "impressed by the amount of knowledge he dem onstrated in his review, and the way he was able to weave that knowledge into" the review. And, that he "seamlessly weave[s] a deep knowledge of cyberpunk into the review." So, on behalf of the committee, I am very pleased to present the 2009 Mary Kay Bray Award to Sandor Klapcsik. Mary Kay Bray Award Acceptance Speech Sandor Klapcsik I would like to express my gratitude for the Mary Kay Bray Award and the congratulations e-mails. I also feel obliged to thank my mentors in the United States and the United Kingdom. First, Mr. Andy Sawyer, whose SF Archives in Liverpool serve as a bridge between the two continents for science fiction schol ars. Second, Mr. Gary K. Wolfe, whose reviews are models to follow. Third, Mr. Donald E. Morse, who first made me believe that I could study and write papers in the United States. And fourth, Mr. Michael Levy, whose advice and friendship helped me a lot while I was a Fulbright fellow at the University of Min nesota. An extremely important thing that I learned in the United States is that the official sponsors should also be mentioned. In this case, it is the Fulbright Program, and the Zo1tai Foundation in Minneapolis that I have to thank. It is a great honor to win this prize, especially for a not-yet doctor, not-quite-English-speaker like me. I am really happy that you liked my review-I enjoyed writing it. I hope you are having a wonderful conference in Atlanta, and hopefully I can see you all in 2010-or, if the conference is held in the European continent, in Poland 2011. Thank you. Remarks for the Graduate Student Paper Award James Davis The main mission of the SFRA is to promote scholarship in the field of science fiction, and a major component of that mis sion is to encourage graduate students in the field. Toward that end, SFRA provides travel grants to assist graduate students who wish to attend the annual conference, and presents annu-


ally the Graduate Student Paper Award for the best student paper presented at the previous year's conference, as judged by the members of the committee. The 2009 winner is David M. Higgins, a doctoral student at Indiana University. David's paper, "The Imperial Unconscious: Samuel R. Delany's The Fall of the Towers," examines the politi cal nature of Delany's trilogy. It was chosen unanimously by the members of the committee, who all cited its depth of research, originality of ideas, and clarity of presentation. The award con sists of a certificate and a check. Because of a family emergency, David could not be here this evening to accept the award. Accepting the award in his place is De Witt Kilgore, his advisor at Indiana University. Graduate Student Paper Award Acceptance Speech David M. Higgins I'd like to thank the association and the awards committee very much for this honor, and I'm deeply sorrowful that I can't be there in person to accept the award this year. My paper, which was about Samuel Delany's series The Fall of the Towers, was a great joy to write, and I'd love to encourage anyone who is interested to check out Delany's early writing, which is often neglected by those who focus on his later works. And congratu lations to all of this year's others award winners! DODD Mundane SF 101 Ritch Calvin What Is Mundane Science Fiction? Much like cyberpunk, mundane science fiction is a form or subgenre of science fiction that is practiced by a small-though growing-number of science fiction writers. Just as the origins of (or codification of) cyberpunk can be placed with the publica tion the Mirrors hades anthology by Bruce Sterling, wherein he sets out the tenets or characteristics of cyberpunk and argues for the validity of the genre, the origins of (or codification of) mundane science fiction rests with Geoff Ryman, who "founded a small group of writers called the Mundanes" (Ryman, "Take" I). The need for and the characteristics of mundane science fiction were codified in "The Mundane Manifesto" by Ryman and the Clarion West 2004 class of writers. They state in the opening line of the Manifesto that they are "pissed off and needing a tight girdle of discipline to restrain our sf imaginative silhouettes" (Ryman, "Mundane Manifesto" 4). The Manifesto "The Mundane Manifesto" was originally posted online, though it, contrary to all common wisdom about information made available on the Web, seems to have completely disap-peared from cyberspace; only fragments of it remain. For example, a summarized version of it can be found at Wikipedia. com. Nevertheless, the Mundane Manifesto is reprinted in June 2007 issue of the New York Review of Science Fiction (#226). The Manifesto is composed of four main parts. Part 1 asserts, in nine statements, that many of the familiar tropes, techniques, and technologies of science fiction are unrealistic, and therefore, should be avoided. The mundanes hold that faster-than-light trav el, hospitable planets, intelligent aliens, interstellar trade, communication with alien species, and alternate universes all remain too far-fetched, too unrealistic to be of interest. Furthermore, the belief in, advocacy of, and employment of these devices lead us to tum away from-to escape from-the importance and immediacy of crises here on planet Earth. As they conclude, "the most likely future is one in which we only have ourselves and this planet" (4). Although "mundane" is often taken to mean "banal" or "ordinary," it also denotes "of the world" (Ryman, "Geoff''; Kelly). Part 2, then, begins a list of "Stupidities" that have been created due to the improbabilities committed in part 1. The Stu pidities include "alien invasions," "flying saucers," "devices that can translate any language," and slipping into alternate realities that differ from our own by small degrees. Part 3 acknowledges that the Stupidities have entertained and delighted many millions of readers and viewers; however, the mundanes assert that the destruction of those same Stupidities will be equally enter taining. Furthermore, they offer an "imaginative challenge" to science fiction authors to work from the standpoint that "Earth is all we have" (5). They contend that the (re)tum to the here and now will compel writers and readers to (re)awaken to the wonder and diversity of the Earth and to the dangers it currently faces. Lest the writer or reader think that such a move would eliminate the science from "science fiction," they argue that "robotics, virtual realities, enhanced genomes, nanotechnology, quantum mechanics" are all fertile grounds for mundane SF. Finally, part 4 sets out a number of "promises" by the mundanes. In these promises, they vow to create "a collection of mundane science fiction" that does not commit the "Stupidities" of science fiction, but to also have the freedom to write (stupid) science fiction, if they should choose to. The Movement Following the creation of the Manifesto, Ryman and others set out to make the case for mundane science fiction and to make it more visible. One strategy was to create a blog, Mundane-SF (, which is subtitled, "Reviews and Science News (Caveat Lector: We Will Transform the Way You Think about SF)." Between November 2004 and June 2008, the blog was updated regularly. The posts by the five regular contributors to Mundane-SF consist of current science news (including news of the singularity, the antithesis of Mundanity); promo information on Ryman, mundane writers, and, especially, Interzone #216; analyses of the contents science fiction magazines, including Analog, Asimov's, F&SF, and others; and finally, defenses against attacks on mundane SF. The Controversy It should also be remembered that the trajectory and aims of mundane SF are not entirely new. For example, in 2000, soci ologist Wayne Brekhus published "A Mundane Manifesto," in which he "calls for analytically interesting studies of the socially SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 13


uninteresting." Brekhus continues, "I argue that the extraordi nary draws disproportionate theoretical attention from research ers. This ultimately hinders theory development and distorts our picture of social reality. This manifesto paves the way for an explicit social science of the unmarked (mundane). It is hoped that a similar manifesto can be written for the humanities." Finally, he suggests, ''Although there are many deviance jour nals to explicitly analyze socially unusual behavior there is no Journal of Mundane Behavior to explicitly analyze conformity." Thus, well before Ryman does so, Brekhus argues that the focus on the "extraordinary" shifts our focus away from the "ordinary" and, ultimately, blinds us to the immediacy of the here and now. Instead, he calls for an explicit tum to the immediate and the mundane. Furthermore, an SF Web site called Futurismic: Near Future Science Fiction and Fact since 2001 ( also rejects out of hand many of the traditional forms of SF. The blog, like Mundane-SF, features science articles and essays on the ef fects of scientific discoveries on the human condition. According to the author guidelines, Futurismic rejects all fantasy, horror, and space opera, as well as offworld SF, distant futures, aliens, alternate histories, and time travel. Instead, they explicitly seek "mundane sf, post-cyberpunk sf, satirical/gonzo futurism, and realistic near future hard sf." So, as Abigail Nussbaum suggests, the changes demanded by the mundanes and occurring within other media are "aesthetic rather than ideological. [ ... ] The Mun dane SF manifesto [ . ] isn't spearheading a new movement in SF so much as describing a change already in effect and attaching ideological significance to it." In the midst of these precursors and in the midst oflarger changes, Ryman and the Clarion West writing class of 2004 produced their Manifesto. Just as cyberpunk, Mirrors hades, and Gibson and Sterling created a controversy, so too have mundane science fiction, Interzone #216, and Ryman. After the Manifesto was published, critics and criticism were swift and ranged from the well considered to the vitriolic. One of the first individuals to produce an extended commentary was Ian McDonald on his LiveJoumal blog. There McDonald engages in a point-by-point response to the Manifesto, largely agreeing with many of the tenets (with occasional quibbles). His fundamental objection, however, much like Nussbaum's, is that a great deal of very good work (in a variety of media) is already being produced that fits the criteria ofMundanity, without any awareness of or need for a Manifesto. Similarly, in his column in Asimov's Science Fiction, James Patrick Kelly agrees with many of the tenets of mundane science fiction (MSF), but ultimately finds that too many of his favorites books and stories fall outside the tenets ofMSF. Rudy Rucker, on the other hand, is less sympathetic to the movement. Rucker produced his own "Transrealist Manifesto" in 1983, wherein, like the mundanes, Rucker rejects the "escapist" tendencies of science fiction. Instead, he argues for transreal ism, in which "a valid work of art should deal with the world the way it actually is" ("realism"). However, Rucker argues that the "Stupidities" of science fiction, namely "time travel, anti gravity, alternate worlds, telepathy, etc.," "are in fact symbolic of archetypal modes of perception, and, therefore, necessary components." In his rebuttal of the mundanes ("To Be or Not to Be"), Rucker also engages in a point-by-point refutation of the "implausibility" of FTL travel; he ultimately suggests that 14 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 he is the antithesis ofMundanity. While writing a time travel novel well might be difficult (and too often falls into implausible traps), instead of rejecting it as an SFnal trope, Rucker "prefer[s] to continue searching for ways to be less and less Mundane" ("To Be" 19). Nevertheless, the intent and purpose of the Mundane Mani festo was not the same as Martin Luther nailing his theses to the church door, nor the same as Karl Marx's Manifesto. In fact, Ry man says that the Manifesto was "jokey'' ("Third" 5)-though this was said three years later and after a great deal of vitrioland never intended to be a "serious" statement, even though he considers writing fiction a "serious game" ("Third" 5). Accord ing to Ryman, if writers take up the challenge ofMundanity, if they are willing to adhere to its tenets and reject Stupidity, perhaps "something new [will come] out of it" ("Third" 5). The Texts The characteristics defined as mundane SF have long been around. In other words, SF that dealt specifically with planet Earth and the here and now existed long before the Manifesto. For example, Judith Merril's 1948 story, "That Only a Mother" focuses on a mother's love for her child and the near-future ef fects of radiation; Ann Warren Griffith's 1953 story, "Captive Audience," although set in 1984, extrapolates from advertising strategies, especially for women in the domestic setting. Further more, mundane science fiction also shares many characteristics with cyberpunk, postcyberpunk, and near-future science fiction. Istvan Csicsery-Ronay suggests that cyberpunk "reverses the 'expansive mode' of a science fiction heading into outer space 'to show that human consciousness can contain the future"' (Botting 121). For example, William Gibson's novels depict a "near future urban"(Botting 121) landscape, and Bruce Ster ling's Schismatrix represents (some of) the near-future effects of global capitalism. Not all cyberpunk, however, would fulfill the criteria ofMundanity. "Mozart in Mirrorshades" (1984), by Sterling and Lewis Shiner, postulates an alternative past reality and therefore would be excluded. With both the British and the American New Wave, a core group of writers, publications, and texts could be identified. Certainly, people argued over that core, and some individuals and texts were included over protests and denials. Similarly, with cyberpunk, and core set of writers emerged over time. Again, some individuals were included by association, and some indi viduals denied their inclusion, but Sterling, Gibson, and Rudy Rucker (among others) were taken as givens. Mirrorshades, Neuromancer, and Wetware were considered canonical. In the case of mundane SF, however, the core and the canon are less clear. The signers of the Manifesto, with the exception of Ryman, are anonymous. Mundane-SF lists a numbers of writers who may have "accidentally" committed mundane SF. They include Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, Gregory Benford, Michael Bishop, Pat Cadigan, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Gwyneth Jones, Nancy Kress, George Orwell, Kim Stanley Robinson, Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick, and Gene Wolfe (though it should be noted that all of these writers have also produced nonmundane works). The list also includes "newer" writers, including Ted Chiang, Cory Doctorow, Maureen McHugh, and GeoffRyman. While many of these writers are associated with


earlier movements, at least some of their work fulfills, to varying degrees, the characteristics of MSF. Developing a canon of mundane SF is also difficult. Certainly, Interzone #216 is intended to be a foundational text. In his in troduction to the issue, Ryman reiterates and clarifies his vision for mundane SF. In her analysis of the special issue, Niall Har rison examines each of the stories therein and determines that on the whole, Interzone #216 does not make "a convincing case for mundane sf." According to Harrison, if mundane SF is intended to "reinvigorate our thinking about the future," then, ironically, Interzone #216 "isn't so much about looking forwards and think ing about change as it is about coming to terms." Nevertheless, Interzone includes stories by veterans such as Ryman, Elisabeth Vonarburg, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and relative newcomers Lavie Tidhar, Billie Aul, R. R. Angell, and Anil Menon One ofthe features on Mundane-SF was called "mundane spotting," in which "frankh" would-sporadically--examine the short new fiction published by SF magazines and read them for Mundanity. From "his" "mundanespotting" posts, a list of mundane writers (whether intentional or accidental) emerges, in cluding John McDaid, Michael Burstein, Jeffery Kooistra, Susan Palwick, Bruce McAllister, J. R. Dunn, Jeff Carlson, Carl Fred erick, A. R. Morlan, Greg Rollins, S L. Gilbow, Jay Lake, G. D. Leming, Wil McCarthy, Charles, Midwinter, David Marusek, and Jason Stoddard. A number of established writers appear as well, including Maureen McHugh, Gwyneth Jones, Ben Bova, Jack Dann, Nancy Kress, Bruce Sterling, and Elizabeth Bear. Finally, a number of novels fit into the mundane classifica tion. In one of the earlier examples ofMSF, and certainly written well before the Manifesto, is Maureen McHugh's 1999 novel, China Mountain Zhang. Nussbaum, commenting of several recent MSF novels, writes, "they take place on or around Earth, in societies largely the same as our own, and their scientific MacGuffins are suitably 'believable."' The blogger Mandolin suggests that McHugh employs "many fascinating science fictional elements-future homophobia, America's loss of primacy as a global power, the colonization of Mars, people who can use technology to have flying races" that "function as the background in service to the main characters' more mundane problems. How can people learn to be happy with each other? How can a gay man, isolated and displaced, find his place in the world? The backdrops are Mars and a decaying future, but the problems are timeless." While much ofthe novel is Earth cen tered, the subplot of a Mars colony would compel MSF purists to discount the novel. In 2004, or 0001 in the Year of the Manifesto, the mundane progenitor published Air; Or, Have Not Have. Although it is of ten categorized as such, Ryman himself contends that Air should not be taken an example ofMSF. In an interview with Carolyn Hill, Ryman says that Air was begun before the articulation of the Manifesto (qtd. in Chiang 211). Instead, he calls it "Mundane fantasy" (211). Nevertheless, the novel does adhere to many of the MSF tenets. It examines the impact of a new technology on a small, remote village. While the novel does appear to be near future, and while it does appear to be Earth-based, the tech nology'' offered in the novel is not scientifically based, thereby rendering the novel outside the realm ofMSF. In Elizabeth Moon's novel Speed of Dark (2003), she exam ines notions of normalcy and modes of seeing the world. In a near-future setting, her protagonist is an autistic pattern recog nitionist (shades of William Gibson). When a new technology enables a "cure" for autism, the protagonist ponders the effects on his self, his identity, and his way of apprehending the world. As the blogger Nyssa notes: "Moon's novel shows that there are many situations and issues that are relevant to our lives that can be explored. Even though Mr. Crenshaw is a cardboard cutout of the greedy businessman who has no regard for human life, the fact remains that people like him exists in reality who can cause real harm to real people." Ian McDonald's River of Gods was first published in 2006. Set in the near future (2047, one hundred years after Indepen dence), the novel posits the genetically engineered as part of a separate caste. In India, they struggle over access to natural re sources (water) and struggle against the development of full Als. In all of these elements, the novel seems to fit into the criteria ofMSF. McDonald calls it "accidental" MSF, in part because he wrote the novel without any awareness of such a movement or manifesto. In 2007, Charles Stross published his novel, Halting State. According to an interview on, Stross contends that "the novel started off as a piece of stunt writing, but he found it fit in within the 'mundane' definition of SF" (Adams). Stross continues, "That is, [it's] only got one piece of not-currently-ex isting tech in it, and it's one in which large amounts of research money [are] being spent right now because it is actually pos sible" (qtd. in Adams). Also set in the near future (2012), the economic machinations and power struggles are all too familiar, and the technological innovations are all predicated on current scientific research. Geoff Ryman makes it clear the he and the mundanes never intended for MSF to completely supplant SF. In the original Manifesto, they pledge "Not to let Mundanity cramp their style if they want to write like Edgar Rice Burroughs as well" (Ryman, "Mundane Manifesto") Rather, the Mundane Manifesto sets out a number of strategies and criteria that signal a (re)turn to Earth and to the here and now. In this, MSF shares traits with both the New Wave and cyberpunk. MSF taps into the political, social, scientific, and literary zeitgeist and creates a set of aesthetic criteria (though I would disagree with Nussbaum and suggest that the aesthetic is grounded in ideology). The extent to which Mundanity affects the larger field of SF remains to be seen. After all, the mundanes themselves vow "To burn this manifesto as soon as it gets boring." Works Cited Adams, John Joseph. "Halting State Is Mundane." 30 Nov. 2006. 10 June 2009. dex.php?id=39000. Brekhus, Wayne. Mundane Manifesto." Journal of Mundane Behavior. 2000. 3 June 2009. http://www.mundanebehavior. org/issues/v 1n1/brekhus htm. Botting, Fred "'Monsters of the Imagination' : Gothic, Science, Fiction." A Companion to Science Fiction. Ed. David Seed Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005. 111-26. Chiang, Ted. "Is Air Mundane?" Extrapolation 49.2 (Summer 2009): 211-13. Futurismic. 2009. 2 June 2009. SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 15


Griffith, Anne Warren. "Captive Audience." The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, Third Series. Ed. Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, I954. I97-2I2. Harrison, Niall. "Mundanezone." Torque Control. 23 May 2008. 2 June 2009. http:/ mundanezone. Kelly, James Patrick. "On the Net: Mundane." Asimov's Science Fiction. 2007. 2 June 2009. sue 080I /Onthenet.shtml. McDonald, Ian. "Heads Down, There's Going to Be Incoming ... LiveJournal, 27 May 2005. I June 2009. http://ianmcdonald. ---.River of Gods. New York: Pyr, 2006. McHugh, Maureen. China Mountain Zhang. New York: Tor, 1999. Merrill, Judith. "That Only a Mother." Women of Wonder: The Classic Years. Ed. Pamela Sargent. San Diego: Harvest, 1995. 65-73. Moon, Elizabeth. Speed of Dark. New York: Ballantine, 2003. Mundane-SF. 2008. I June 2009. Nussbbaum, Abigail. "It's Almost Obligatory: Mundane SF." Asking the Wrong Questions. 2 November 2005. 2 June 2009. http:// wrongquestions. /its-a1most-obligatory mundane-sfhtml. Nyssa. "The Speed of Dark and Mundane SF." Nexus Archives. 7 May 2008. 10 June 2009. http://nshadowsong.wordpress. com/2008/05/07/the-speed-of-dark-and-mundane-sf/. Rucker, Rudy. "To Be or Not to Be: Mundane SF." New York Review of Science Fiction 230 (October 2006): 18-19. Also avail able, with illustrations, at. blog/2007 /07 /15/on-mundane-sf/. ---. ''A Transrealist Manifesto." A Writer's Toolkit by Rudy Rucker. 2 June 2009 alistmanifesto.pdf. Ryman, Geoff. Air: Nave Not Have. New York: Griffin, 2004. ---."Geoff Ryman Interviewed by Kit Reed." Infinity Plus 1 June 2009. htm. ---. "Interview." Front Row BBC Radio 4. 2 May 2008. http:// --. "Mundane-SF." Interzone #216 (June 2008): 6. ---."The Mundane Manifesto." New York Review of Science Fiction 226 (June 2006): 4-5. ---. "Take the Third Star on the Left and on til Morning!" New York Review of Science Fiction 226 (June 2006): 1, 4-7. Sterling, Bruce. Schismatrix. New York: Arbor House, 1985. ---and Lewis Shiner. "Mozart in Mirrorshades." Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology. Ed. Bruce Sterling. New York: Ace, 1988. 223-46. Stross, Charles. Halting State. New York: Ace, 2007. 16 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 DODD Rift in the Sky Bruce A Beatie Julie E. Czerneda. Rift in the Sky: A Novel of The Clan Chronicles. New York: Daw Books, 2009. Paperback, viii+ 419 pages, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-7584-0560-1. Anyone who picks up this book in a store or library with no prior knowledge of the Clan Chronicles will find the going hard, as I did. Only after about the first quarter of the book did I finally begin to understand something of the backstory of the races and individuals involved in this story, and to get s ome idea of where the action was going. This book is the conclusion of Czerneda's "Stratification" tril ogy, itself the prequel of her "Trade Pack Universe" trilogy (of which the first, A Thousand Words for Stranger, 1997), was her trrst book. The "Author's Note" at the end (which I didn't read till the end) offers some helpful information) promises a final "Reunification" trilogy. The nine volumes together will tell of three generations of a near-human, psychically gifted race and its movement from an "outworld" shared with two totally alien and sometimes hostile races, to a galactic civilization apparently dominated by humans. In spite of the problems facing an unprepared reader, once one figures out the situation and the (possible) meaning of Cz erneda's esoteric vocabulary (presumably defined in the earlier novels), her overuse of italics, and the oddities of her style, it isn't a bad story. Had I not accepted the task of reviewing the book, I would have abandoned it after the first few chapters, but by the end I was enjoying it. A quick Internet search (deliberately not undertaken until I'd written the comments above) reveals that Czerneda, a Canadian, has published thirteen novels-four trilogies (including two unrelated to each other or to the two noted above), an indepen dent novel; she has edited thirteen anthologies and published some nonfiction, including a book on using SF in the classroom According to her own Web site, she is "formerly a researcher in animal communication, [and] has also written non-fiction, from biology texts to the use of science fiction to develop literacy. She currently lives at the edge of a forest with her family, enjoying rocketry and canoeing whenever there's time." Cyberabad Days Karen Helle k so n Ian McDonald. Cyberabad Days: Return to the India of 2047. New York: Pyr, 2009. Paperback, 280 pages, $15, ISBN 978-129102-699-0. In this anthology of seven short stories set in a coherent future India, McDonald applies SF tropes to Indian mythology


while contemplating current topics such as global warming and water shortage s, and in large part succeeds. Six ofthe stories were originally published in magazines or anthologies and date from 2005 to 2008. One long story was written specifically for this volume. Setting and theme link them together, creating in aggregate a well-thought-out, beautifully articulated future world. A short introduction by Paul McAuley, ''America Is Not the Only Plan et," focuses on the globalization inherent in McDonald's texts and notes that McDonald, a British writer, has from the first at tempted to range wide, from Mars to Africa. Yet the ancient his tory oflndia runs through all of these stories, even as characters undergo body reforming, place hardware in their heads, and in other ways link their bodies to the machine Cars have aeais, but aeais may also appear as people. Women's hands form traditional mudras, now keyed to evoke a reaction from a machine. Every one wears a lighthoek coiled behind an ear, granting them access to a shared virtual world. Everywhere there is the body, and the machine, and their intersection. Several stories are told from the point of view of children. In "Sanjeev and Robotwallah," a traditional boy longs to be a badmash, a robot-boy, although it's clear his hero worship is mis placed; and in "Kyle Meets the River," a privileged boy briefly escapes his world, only to be unceremoniously brought home, the gap between the haves and have-nots distressingly unbridge able. Several stories focus on duty related to marriage In "The Dust Assassin," a privileged girl loses her family in a water war, only to find herself engaged to be married to the heir of the fam ily that destroyed her. In the amusing "An Eligible Boy," a young man seeks the advice of an aeai matchmaker to find a wife. Parents have overwhelmingly chosen to bear boys, thus leaving girls to marry in short supply, and subtle strategy is required to find a bride-although it turns out that brides require strategy just as subtle. And in "The Djinn's Wife," a beautiful dancer falls for a djinn, an aeai, and marries him in a media firestorm, only to discover her duty is to betray him, for he has gone rogue, his intelligence too advanced to be borne, and he must be destroyed by the Krishna Cops. Two stories deal with people outside humanity, either by nature or by design. The "goddess" of"The Little Goddess" becomes so because when she is quite young, it's discovered that death amuses her After several years, she is cast out, and she finds herselfunmarriageable, with potential bridegrooms not nearly desperate enough to marry someone with such a history. She begins smuggling aeais, permitting their consciousness to be placed inside her head, only to be left holding the bag during a sting operation seeking to rein in the aeais' greatly increasing autonomy and consciousness. In "Vishnu at the Cat Circus," the only original story in the volume as well as the longest, the titular hero, a genetically altered man, tells a stranger all about his life: his slow, long-lived struggle to adulthood, his decision to become a eunuch, his eventual withdrawal from the larger world. But Vishnu plays a crucial part in the division of the aeais' universe from our own. Humans increasingly decide to down load themselves as data to become bodhisoft, with life in the real world merely a rehearsal for this transcendence. Vishnu needs to close the door on this other universe and restart the cycle. The joy of this universe lies in its teeming life, the potential in this mass of humanity. The pervasiveness of technology links humanity together even as it spawns a form of intelligent life that seeks to transcend our world. McDonald makes Indian mythol ogy and practice literal by attaching it to the technological: one can literally attain transcendence by becoming bodhisoft; an aeai can share consciousness with a human, peering out of a tech nologically emplaced literal third eye. Yet gods and goddesses are recognized inside humans, creating a riotous mix of human, divide, and machine. Conspirator Janice M. Bogstad C. J. Cherryh. Conspirator. Book 10 in the Foreigner series New York: DAW, 2009. Hardcover, 384 pages, $25.95. ISBN 978-97564-0570-0 Devotees of either Cherryh or her Foreigner series will be delighted to know that the intrepid Bren Cameron has yet an other adventure in him. It looked like the series would end with what was being called the "third" trilogy, until this volume was announced. The tenth book in what seemed previously to be a nine-book series, Cherryh's Conspirator continues the adventures ofBren, human translator to and close confidant of Tabini, ruler of a planet to which beleaguered humans migrated from space cen turies earlier. These novels are all adventure stories, with a very Japanese-Edo period feel to them (add space stations, clashes over advanced technologies, and multiple alien races) with as sassinations and coups abounding. In this case, the dynamic trio ofBren and Tabini's grandmother and son (Ilisidi and Cajeiri), who were central to the last two novels, are reunited, although in fact, their adventures take place separately and the very dynamic Ilisidi reduced to stereotypical bit parts until she drops a political bomb at the end of the story (an end that is manifestly another beginning). These last four are being represented as two and two (De stroyer and Pretender Deliverer and Conspirator) }:>ut this is probably totally a marketing convenience and Cherryh clearly has more stories to tell, more plots to reveal and more plans to delight the readers in yet another far-future universe. Before I go into more detail, let me admit that I am hooked on these books, despite the predictability of yet more unfortunate decisions by the now eight-year-old Cajeiri, and the plethora of point-of-view shifts, this time between advisor Bren and young Cajeiri that would doom a volume by a less experienced author Plots for all novels in this series involve some sort of adven ture, capture, escape, alien first contact, court intrigue and pow er politics, and this novel is no exception. While Bren's interior monologues about his duties, strategies, experiences and feelings are present as usual, an increasing amount of the plot focuses on the precipitous and ingenious acts of Cajeiri, who puts himself into danger and must be rescued not one but three times Well, it should be admitted that he rescues himself the third time, but that's where the court intrigue and power politics come in And these are related through his point-of-view narrative including, again, lots of interior monologue as he strategizes his next steps in each crisis. SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 17


Part of Cherryh's charm is the mix of downright shoot-'em-up adventure with complex political maneuvering. This particular offering in the series is so steeped in political intrigue that some of it spills over into an appendix where the author explains how the 'opposition' houses got to be that way and maps the geogra phy which contributes to their disaffection In Conspirator the story ofleader Tabini's coup from two books ago is carried forward with several attempts on the part of powerful southern lords to once again destabilize his rule. By this time, the reader is so used to plots which hinge on kidnap ping and assassination (an institutionalized practice, complete with its own guild of enforcers, some of whom work for Bren and Tabini) that we know enough to consider each such action as part of a much larger strategy, one we, along with Bren and Isildi, and their accomplished security forces, will eventually work out. The plot starts calmly enough, with Bren back from the stars, established in the residence of an Atevi lord in the capi tal of their planet. But within the first chapter, he finds himself forced to leave the capital for his newly awarded country estate in the South of the Atevi mainland, exiled by the imminent ar rival of that lord to the capital. Thus the story is enlivened by two rebellious acts on the part ofCajeiri, who first refuses to be confined to his father's palace, and then even to Bren's estate on the Southern coast of the atevi continent. Cajeiri disgusted with the strictures put on the royal son in his father's care, and fearing what will happen when is grandfather Tatiseigi (on his mother's side) and grandmother, Ilisidi,(on his father's side) join the family in the capital, decides to take French leave and go to stay with his friend Bren for a promised fishing trip. Since he IS Tabini's son, he is in great danger when outside the care of adults and his first adventure is to be rescued from this ill conceived trip. His second is to grow impatient with the grownups on the day they are to go boating and take a small boat out himself, along with his bodyguards in training This necessitates a day-and-night-long "boy" hunt on the waters of an inlet that lead to the sea. He is rescued only with the help of a neighbor, Baiji, another player iii the power politics to come, and the nephew oflord Geigi who is minding his estate for him while Geigi is off at the new space station. Baiji has not been idle while Geigi was gone, and has gotten himself in a bit of trouble. His assistance with the rescue of Cajieri pulls Bren and the boy closer into the plots that surround him, so that Cajeiri third and only self-rescue is from the very southern lords who take over Geigi s estate and intend to take over the country. That we see his as yet juvenile perorations on the events as he and his friends manage to elude their erstwhile captors adds spice to the story-and his ingenuity is praised often in the same conversa tions where is failings are detailed and punishment discussed. Cherryh is also very good at adding details convincingly to the story which bring in the entire history of human contact with their Atevi landlords In the course of this story, she makes refer ence to the humans' first landing, their catastrophic war with the Atevi old disagreements which ceded humans the island of Mospheira but also left a lasting wound with the Edi and the Gan clans who previously in habited it. This is not Cherryh's best novel, and it isn't even the best novel in the ten-book series but it still rises above most science fiction series novels in its exposition on truly alien races and its pursuit of the possible outcomes of putting together two such dis-18 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 parate races as humans and Atevi. It plays on Cherryh's strength in articulating the alien, even if at times her examples (Bren's concerns about how to understand and define his relationship with Atevi lord and bodyguard alike take center stage) can seem repetitious. I would not recommend starting the series with this novel, but I predict that if you start the series you will read all the way to this novel. Together, they are vintage Cherryh science fiction. Wireless Sandor Klapcsik Charles Stross. Wireless. New York: Ace Books, 2009. Hardcover, xiv + 352 pages, $24.95, ISBN 978-0441017195. Stross's writings have established his fame as an author who can effortlessly combine various sub genres of SF. His latest short story collection proves just as versatile. Wireless is considerably different from his previous collec tion, Toast. Those stories rather resembled third-generation cy berpunk, post-Singularity literature and "blogpunk" (Broderick 11): infodump narrations featuring computer geeks, sysadmins, who often try to save the world, or at least make a better place of it. In his interviews, Stross intends to distance his writings from the dominance of Singularity (Kleffel55; Hameon 5). In Wireless, the blogpunk theme and mode of writing are only represented in "Unwirer" and "MAXOS." The former is a col laboration with Cory Doctorow, a story that could be read as a sequel to Little Brother. (Stross's afterword defines it as alternate history, but its setting evokes the near future dystopia of a police state.) "MAXOS," a pseudo-article previously published in the scientific magazine Nature, is saturated by info-tech jargon, while it problematizes the conventional SF element of first con tact: Stross's alien message replicates a symptom of present-day computer culture. Most stories of Wireless draw on versatile, often long-estab lished conventions, such as the folktale, the Faust myth, satire, time travel stories, space opera, alternate history, spy fiction, lovecraftian horror and so on. All in all, they can be character ized only by the umbrella term SF. Nevertheless, certain themes have remained intact from his previous collection. The clash between unimpeded information flow and irritating paper work is still a crucial idea in Stross's oeuvre, materialized in the introduction of Wireless. Stross targets the sympathy of the audience by associating his writing method and working environment with the 9 to 5 worker's office hours, and by attributing the alienation of the writer from their audience to the long editing process of novels. "You" and "I" both work in an office, indicates Stross, doing the treadmill and struggling with tedious paper work; the short story provides the only means for speedy communication between us, since the texts "push the reward-feedback button much more frequently [and rapidly] than novels." The clash between information gathering and bureaucracy is frequently experienced by Stross's secret agents. As James Schellenberg argues about The Atrocity Archives, Stross's bureaucrat-spies "show what a bafflingly ordinary and boring person might do in extraordinary circumstances ... they rise


above and beyond the call of duty, with every inspirational cliche intact--cubicle dwellers ofthe world, rise up!" Apropos, Wire less includes "Down on the Farm," a new Laundry spy story, portraying the conflict between field agents and HR manage ment, theoretical thaumaturgists of mathematical magic and the bureaucrats of the NHS trust. The retro feeling of cyberpunk becomes tangible here when an early IBM computer, a 1602, and an old-fashioned manual typewriter of the late 1950s, an Imperi al 66, are manifested, the latter evoking Scott Bukatman's essay on Gibson's typewriter. Spying plays a crucial role in two of the volume's well researched alternate histories as well, in "Missile Gap" and "A Colder War." The former is a Locus Award-winning novella, featuring the embodiments of Carl Sagan, Yuri Gagarin-who is on a mission similar to that of Captain James T. Kirk-and Gregor Samsa, on a discworld. Due to a twist at the end, a second reading of the story will be considerably different from the first; what is more, major parts of the plot will remain unrevealed even after further rereadings of this masterly woven narrative. The latter story evokes both his own Laundry novels and Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald," since, as is revealed in the afterword, Stross has created a tribute to H. P. Lovecraft's universe, especially his "At the Mountains of Madness." "A Colder War" becomes a meticulously detailed alternate history, a re-envisioned version of the 1980s, in which the unsuccessful re election campaign of Jimmy Carter, the aggressive foreign policy of Ronald Reagan, the fiasco ofLt Colonel Oliver North, as well as the Chernobyl disaster and the Lebanon Hostage Crisis, turn into side effects of a confrontation between mankind and the Shoggoths. "Rogue Farm," my favorite piece in the collection, evokes the atmosphere of a postapocalyptic state in the second half of the twenty first century, when Britain becomes heavily underpopu lated. The increasingly scarce population is probably not brought about by war-even though Maddie, the female protagonist is a combat veteran. Instead, the population decline may be the result of cyberpunk visions and nightmares, the increase and partial loss of high-tech inventions, and the conflict between biotech and information technology. We are a few decades after the Internet age, following the disappearance of self-replicating, robotic network terminals. Cars are rare or extinct, tractors are antique. This is the age of thriving "gene-hackery" and Larry Niven's exploding "stage trees," when farm animals are created by biofabricators and are herded by talking dogs who smoke marijuana in their spare time. To compensate for the effects of global warming and to avoid stress-originating from office work, of course-humans become green literally, start photosynthesizing and turn into rogue farms. The decrease of human fertility, however, remains a crucial problem, and a considerable part of the urban technol ogy is in shambles: the Internet has collapsed, and the ruins of technologized consumer culture swarm the countryside. Never theless, EMP devices, jammers and surveillance systems are still widely used, and uploading personalities into computer files for backups comes across as an ordinary procedure even on farms. The conflict between the rogue farm and Joe, who used to be "a software dude," evokes Bruce Sterling's Shaper-Mechanist confrontation. The narrator's description of the landscapes, which become artificially uncultivated by bioborgs and rogue farms, also implies a conflicting interaction between biotech and information technology: "a supermarket trolley of precambrian vintage, its GPS tracker long since shorted out. The bones of the technological epoch, poked from the treacherous surface of the fossil mud bath. And around the edge of the mimsy puddle, the stage trees grew." Stross's utilization of Scottish dialect is the most noticeable in "Snowball's Chance," an enjoyable but not quite flaw less story. The setting, the near-future ice age in Scotland is neatly described: the extreme climate results from humanity's shield against global warming. The atmosphere is enhanced by contemporary references such as the use of the Euro, an exist ing Scottish brewery, and, of course, bureaucracy. The satire is tangible when the devil's contract is written in present-day juridical jargon (but he is required to reveal the fine print), dis crepancies are solved by the head office and senior management, the conversations are monitored for compliance, and so on. The story, however, ends disappointingly: if the supernatural forces create a carefully detailed contract that enlists several restrict ing conditions, it should definitely exclude a wish that leads to further wishes. I have found the collection's last two stories slightly less en tertaining. Both of them evoke planetary romances: "Trunk and Disorderly'' is a satirical tale that flashes the setting of Arabian Nights on Mars, while "Palimpsest" is a time travel novella featuring numerous, tribal and strictly hierarchical civilizations in the course of history (a time opera?), which is frequently inter rupted by long scientific descriptions and spy story tropes. The story details the protagonist's surprise at the "lies" in the major historical archives of the time police, since the library docu ments timelines that never happened-should that strike either him, an experienced time traveler who has supposedly killed his own grandfather, or a present-day reader as an astonishing and original idea? Stross's introduction to his latest collection celebrates the domination of the short story form in the history of SF. This is in sharp contrast with the forward of Toast, which emphasized the temporary nature ofthe texts (Stross 10). The new intro raises the reader's interest and expectations, which will mostly be ful filled in Wireless. Almost all of the stories could be read before either online or in print sources ("Palimpsest" is the exception), and "A Colder War" appeared in Toast. "Rogue Farm" has also been adapted into an animated film by Mark Bender and Garry J. Marshall. The collection, therefore, does not give something unexpected and totally fresh for his fans-not in this sense. The originality of ideas, however, is remarkable in most of the stories; the storytelling and characterization is frequently allur ing. Thus, Wireless verifies the significance and versatility of Stross's oeuvre in contemporary SF. Works Cited Broderick, Damien. Rev. of Down and Out of the Magic Kingdom, by Cory Doctorow. New York Review of Science Fiction. 15.11 (2003): 11-12. Bukatman, Scott. "Gibson's Typewriter." Flame Wars: The Dis course of Cyberculture. Ed. Mark Dery. Durham: Duke University Press, 1994. 71-90. SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 19


Hameon, Ariel. "The Singularity Ate My Homework and Other Reasons Why I Can't Predict the Future." New York Review of Science Fiction 17.2 (2004): 1+ Kleffel, Rick. Rev. of Saturn's Children, by Charles Stross. Inter zone 218 (Oct. 2008): 54-55. Schellneberg, James. "Bureaucrats in Space." Strange Horizons. 28 Aug. 2006. 22 June 2009. http://www.strangehorizons. com/2006/20060828/schellenberg-c.shtml. Stross, Charles. "Introduction: After the Future Imploded." Toast. Holicong: Cosmos, 2006. 9-20. The Best of Gene Wolf Amy J. Ransom Gene Wolfe. The Best of Gene Wolfo: A Definitive Retrospective of his Finest Short Fiction. New York: Tor, 2009. Hardcover, 478 pages, $29.95, ISBN 0-7653-2135-1. If you know Gene Wolfe for his epic novels like The Wizard Knight (2004) or the now-classic Book of the New Sun (1980-83), his mastery of the short form might come as a surprise. This col lection, chosen and designated by Wolfe himself as his "finest" and "best," reflects his great versatility as a stylist, introducing me not to another side of Gene Wolfe, but to a great variety of other sides. He applies here his well-known disrespect for conventions to just about every genre in the book. But frankly, such violations make reading Wolfe both fun and challenging; I continually asked, "What is he doing now?" And in the end, I felt like the boy in the opening story, "The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories" (1970), who declares, "I don't want it to end" (23). This hefty tome contains thirty-one previously collected sto ries ranging in length from a 1-page short-short to several nearly 50-page novellas, including "The Death of Dr. Island" (1974 Nebula and Locus awards), "The Fifth Head of Cerberus" (1972 Nebula nominee), and "Seven American Nights" (1978). Each of fered with an afterword tidbit by Wolfe and arranged in chrono logical order, these stories represent, as the subtitle suggests, a retrospective of Wolfe's career. They run the entire gamut of science fiction and fantasy genres, subgenres and hybrids, with some detective tales and a few cruel or whimsical mainstreams thrown in to boot. Thinking that readers of this review would like to know perhaps just how many "science fiction" and how many "fantasy" stories the collection offered, I started a "simple" table to tally the votes. I ended up with a tangled mess of subheadings, arrows, footnotes, and question marks, so I stopped trying to classify and just enjoyed the banquet. Rang ing from the supernatural horror of "The Tree is My Hat," the futuristic horror of"The Hero as Werwolf," to a Bradbury-esque science fiction in "The Toy Theatre," through the postmodern religious allegory "Game in the Pope's Head," to the SF inspired by E. T. A. Hoffmann of"The Marvelous Brass Chessplaying Automaton," there is something for everyone, except perhaps the hardcore fan ofhard SF. In those texts that can be called science fiction collected here, it seems clear that for Wolfe (as for the Bradbury of The Martian Chronicles, or the C. S. Lewis ofthe Out of the Silent Planet trilogy) outer space and the far future offer the possibilities 2 0 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 of estrangement for social, religious, and other forms of com mentary on the present, rather than themes to explore in and of themselves. What is not missing is the "sensawunder." A number of texts deal with childhood, toys, games, and the power of stories to free us from the burden of everyday life, revealing Wolfe's sheer delight in the power of the imagination and his ability to share it with his readers. Wolfe's sense of awe and wonder, as many know, also embraces a Catholic sensibility, revealed in several stories with religious themes, including two of my favorites that deal with hell, "Game in the Pope's Head" and "Bed and Breakfast." Not suprisingly, several stories consider the nature of humanity; loneliness and isolation also figure as recurrent themes in the collection. I admit that a couple of these left me cold ("Forlesen," a Kafka-esque homage to the man in the grey flannel suit) or just plain confused ("The Eyeflash Miracles"). I also missed an element central to Wolfe's novels: the richly developed characterization of Severian and Sir Able of the High Heart makes their stories so compelling. And yet, his skill at painting characters and building universes appears perhaps all the more clearly here in that, in the space of a few pages, Wolfe creates worlds nearly as vivid, telling his story in a wide range of voices. The volume's pedagogical interest, I think, is twofold. For creative writing courses, a number of these texts might be used as models or studies in various fiction techniques, and Wolfe offers pointers on his own approach to writing in a number of the afterword pieces. Then, for advanced courses in genre stud ies, this volume offers a wealth ofhybrid forms for analysis. Although little academic study has been done, Wolfe stands out as a major figure in contemporary science fiction and fantasy and such a capstone volume may indicate that the time is ripe for "Wolfe studies" to begin appearing. Like a greatest hits album, The Best of Gene Wolfe offers an easily accessible sample of a significant corpus and should adorn any library that does not already hold his earlier story collections. DODD Black Space Amy J. Ransom Adilifu Nama. Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008. Paperback, 200 pages, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-292-71745-9. Although race representations have been integral to the genre since Georges Melies's A Trip to the Moon (1902) depicted moon men as black "savages," discussions of race in books on science fiction film appear few and far between. While there are many studies of race in film, and these often include discussions of SF films,1 important works on SF film largely ignore the question of race.2 To my knowledge, Adilifu Nama's Black Space: Imagining


Race in Science Fiction Film, therefore, fills a significant gap in the scholarship by providing the first book-length survey of the intersection between race and SF film.3 Furthermore, Nama does so with style and grace, using a discourse that is both scholarly and accessible, making this a good text for an upper-level under graduate or a graduate-level course. Rather than simply labeling films as "racist" or not, Nama examines "the cultural politics" of representing race "not only in SF cinema but alongside the sociohistorical place that blackness has occupied in American society" (2). His cultural studies ap proach avoids the esoterism of those heavily steeped in post structuralist theory while offering more analytical depth than often found in film studies approaches concerned with produc tion history and the business of film Nama accepts the paradigm for SF studies that "SF film is also a powerful lens by which to observe the collective racial desires, constructs, fantasies, and fears circulating throughout American society" (2). He makes clear that, as the title suggests, by "race," he primarily means blackness, more specifically, "the symbolic discourse with the multiple racial discourses and ideas surrounding black racial formation, past and present, that are circulating in American culture" (4). Nama provides a historical overview in chapter 1, "Struc tured Absence and Token Presence," which reaffirms the general perception that black characters and actors have, until recently, been nearly absent from SF films, although the race question has not, as his reading of The Time Machine (1960) demonstrates. The subsequent five chapters each focus on a particular sub theme related to the representation of race: "Bad Blood: Fear of Racial Contamination," "The Black Body: Figures of Distor tion," "Humans Unite! Race, Class, and Postindustrial Aliens," "White Narratives, Black Allegories," and "Subverting the Genre: The Mothership Connection." These include analysis of such topics and films as anxiety about interracial sexuality and racial purity in The World, The Flesh and the Devil (1959) and The Omega Man (1971), and the alien as a figure of blackness in Enemy Mine (1985) and Predator (1987). In these cases, in spite of the inclusion of black characters (and, by extension black ac tors), Nama sees SF film as reinscribing contemporary dominant ideology about race as a source of anxiety. He then reads films like Ro//erba/1 (1975), Alien (1979), Robocop (1987), and They Live (1988) as offering "a counterimpulse .. radically critical of the established economic order," which presents "racial coopera tion as a necessary stage in mounting an effective challenge to economic elites and the institutions they control" (97). He offers nuanced readings of several films, such as Alien Nation (1988) and Minority Report (2002), "against the films' preferred or intended messages" of acceptance that, according to Nama, hide "draconian racial politics" (143). In contrast, Nama interprets the inclusive casting and the heavily African Americanized human society of Zion in The Matrix films (1999-2003) as offering a clear countemarrative of race to mainstream audiences. Finally, his concluding chapter examines SF tropes in African Ameri can popular culture, including the role ofthe blaxploitation-era Space is the Place (1974) and the funk musician George Clinton in the development of afrofuturism Black Space is not an exhaustive, encyclopedic examination of every SF film that features a black central character, 4 nor does it trace the development of race representations in SF film from its roots Nama admits that his interest lies "in the nuclear age of post-World War II America, in which "SF cinema truly began to take shape" as a genre (13), and he provides a solid survey of that era, with particular attention to films since 1970. The work offers an index and a relatively thorough bibliography, although I would have liked to see references to key works like Richard Dyer's White (1997) or anything by Donna Haraway. I highly recommend Nama's work for both its readability and its topical ity Race continues to be a central tension in U.S. society, and SF has been and will be a vehicle for the expression of race anxiety as well as for exploring ways to resolve those tensions as the reality of a postwhite world approaches ever nearer. Indeed, the number of SF films released since 2004-that year's L Robot is the most recent film included in Nama's study-and particularly those starring Will Smith indicate the need for studies that con tinue to examine how SF film represents race. 5 Notes 1. To wit: Ed Guerrero's Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Film (1993), Heman Vera and Andrew M. Gordon's Screen Saviors : Hollywood Fictions of White ness (2003), as well as Gwendolyn Audrey Foster's Performing Whiteness (2003), and Richard Dyer's White (1997) all offer discussions of SF-horror films within the larger framework of race representation in film 2. For example, Vivian Sobchack's Screening Space (rev. ed 1987) fails to even index race; J.P. Telotte's Science Fiction Film (2001) includes one indexed reference to racial discrimination as one of SF film's "general themes" (16), but which his genre study fails to treat. Gregg Rickman's otherwise excellent The Science Fiction Film Reader (2004) offers no essays with race as a central topic, although Rickman himself points out the obvi ousness of "negative Jewish, Asian and black stereotypes" in the Star Wars franchise (xxvii-xxviii). While a number of essays in Rickman's volume raise the question of race, they do not develop it; for example, Susan Sontag's seminal essay, "The Imagination of Disaster" (1965) reprinted in Rickman, refers to the Jewish question but not to civil rights; Robin Woods's reprinted review of Blade Runner (1985) examines the Other-but in reference to psychoanalytic theory rather than race studies (283), while Rich ard van Busack's essay on the Planet of the Apes refers briefly to Eric Greene's study of that franchise and its "racial allegory." 3 At least three books focused on particular film franchises do exist: Eric Greene's Planet of the Apes as American Myth : Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series (1996), Daniel Bernardi's "Star Trek" and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future (1998), and Micheal C. Pound's Race in Space: The Representation ofEthnicity in "Star Trek" and "Star Trek : The Next Generation" (1999) 4. For example, no reference is made to Five (1951, dir Arch Oboler), and although Nama briefly mentions The Invasion of the Body Snatchers franchise, he does not discuss Forest Whitaker's role in its 1994 version 5. Indeed, Nama's assertion that "Will Smith is a seminal figure in American SF cinema" (39), based the actor's roles in Independence Day (1996), Men In Black (1997) and its sequel (2002), and L Robot (2004), appears nothing less than prophetic, given the release of I Am Legend (2007), Hancock (2008), and Seven Pounds (2008), with a 2010 project called Monster Hunter SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 21


announced on the Internet Movie Database, as well as a prequel to I Am Legend in development ( nm0000226/). Bram Stoker's Notes for Dracula Philip Kaveny Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller, eds. Bram Stoker's Notes for "Dracula": A Facsimile Edition. Foreword by Mi chael Barsanti. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008. Hardcover, 342 pages, $65, ISBN 978-0-7864-34107. "Every Picture Tells a Story," sang teen idol Rod Steward in 1971 in the title song of his number-one hit album by the same name. The same thing may be said about Bram Stoker's Notes for "Dracula": A Facsimile Edition, because what is a facsimile if not an exact reproduction of a picture, of text, a photograph, or even a legal document? In this case it is a series of pictures on nearly every page from handwriting to sketches, photographs and even typescripts of the creative process by which an author's series of ideas, images, experiences, and research are tracked. Nobody would contest that every book not only tells a story, but has its own story from the time that pen or pencil hits paper until it comes to existence as a mechanically reproduced written work of art through the process of publication and distribution This book gives us strong reasons to be interested in the story of Bram Stoker's Dracula at the start of its existence. Editors Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller, both world-class figures in the field of Dracula studies and the broader field of horror literature, have done a masterful job. They have compiled Bram Stoker's notes and research materi als which were auctioned off two years after his death in 1912. I made an extensive search of responses to their book and I could find nothing but laudatory comments for their efforts in creat ing this unique and valuable resource to the growing field of Bram Stoker/ Dracula studies. Even a cursory search of the MLA International Bibliography online indicates over 500 articles in the last fifteen years. This book is a must for any university, college, public, or (particularly) secondary school library collection. Dracula is a high-interest topic, and this book offers students the opportu nity to identify and interact with a facsimile of primary source materials-indicating to them that there is more out there in the world than Wikipedia This book is also a must for anyone working in horror, dark, or erotic fantasy. One ofthe many pleasures of this text is to read Bram Stoker's own holographic hand, his typescript, his notes and even his humorous sketches ofhimsel I also think, within the limits of fair use, this facsimile is a resource for a working horror writer. I came to this conclusion when I was kept up for most oflast night thinking about Bram Stoker's own (and much of the nineteenth c e ntury's) preoccupation with premature burial and his refe r e nces to the "Munich Hous e of the Dead whe r e corpses were discreetly displayed in repose on couches, with music and flowers as observers walked among the dead looking for s i gns of life for a three-day period. This would make a won derful time travel story and, I would add a wonderful name for a rock group. 22 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 As much as I enjoyed the documentary and almost artifact like aspect of the text, it is the annotations that make the bones of the text come alive and, in a hermeneutic sense, raise the context and make contemporary the almost timeless modernity and adaptability of Stoker's Dracula. The advent of this study culturally situates Stoker's work in both late nineteenth-century Victorian Europe, and twenty-first-century global media culture. The authors never claim what they cannot prove, and at the same time, they never close the door to someone (like myself) to use their work as a pointer toward some really big questions and future areas of scholarship. For example, one might ask how the blood-sucking undead corpse of Bram Stoker's Dracula becomes, more than 110 years later, transformed into the (forever seventeen-year-old) teen idol vampire hero Edward Cullen of the Twilight novel series and film, with its overwhelming popular reception by teens. In some conservative circles where even the Harry Potter books are off limits, these novels are acceptable. The short answer is that the Twilight franchise's Edward was there from the start because of the ambivalent nature of Stoker's project, as we can see in the summary in Bram Stoker's Notes of the physical characteristics of Count Dracula (299). In the supporting biographical information, including photo graphs and sketches, some of them Stoker's own, one sees Stoker as a kind of theatrical impresario and London Lyceum manager for the great London actor Henry Irving (perhaps the model for the count himself). As one goes through the book notes and supporting material, one sees Stoker not so much as a writer concerned with the literary gestures of his day but perhaps, even intentionally in a contemporary sense, as a kind of a franchise builder, pointing toward the future with enough fungibility in his property Dracula to bridge the gap between literature folklore, and in the process becoming folkloric in its own right. Part of what drives this progression is the powerful sexual ity of the novel, which Bram Stoker's Notes takes us into. Mina describes the necessity of involuntary but compelling exchange of bodily fluids with the count almost in the same way former female pornography sex workers sometimes describe their work. I can only touch the surface of that thread here. However, Bram Stoker's Notes do cause one to look at Dracula through the lens used by Foucault's History of Sexuality, Part //that is to say, in terms not of the forbidden set against the background of Victo rian sexual repression, but rather as an exemplar of a Victorian obsession and medicalization, at least of female sexuality. Everyone Loves Dick Nei l Easterbrook Lejla Kucukalic. Philip K. Dick : Canonical Writer of the Digital Age. New York: Routledge, 2009. Cloth, xiv + 177 pages, $95, ISBN 0-415-96242-0. A parallel phenomenon of the wide expansion of scholarly attention to SF in recent years has been an explosive inte rest in the work of Philip K. Dick. Perhaps best noted in this height ened evaluation has been the appearance of two volumes in the Library of America devoted entirely to PKD's fiction of the 1960s and 1970s, a nice antidote to the despair those of us who admire PKD's fiction have felt with each release of a Hollywood


adaptation. Where Hollywood apparently thinks Dick's value is restricted to how many chase scenes and explosions can accom pany a "high" concept, most of us feel "our home-grown Borges" (as Ursula K. Le Guin has described him) offers a trenchant, unironically sober, and ultimately unrivaled critique of the present. Lejla Kucukalic's Philip K. Dick: Canonical Writer of the Digital Age is the latest addition to an increasingly robust assessment ofPKD's fiction. Some evidence of that interest can be found in the MLA International Bibliography, which now lists 285 items; Hal Hall's SF research database lists 1,611 items. These days, it seems everybody loves PKD. Yet much ofthe work on PKD is uneven. Kucukalic's book is a perfect instance both of that uneven scholarship and of the false first impressions many readers might glean from such works. Initially, the book feels merely like a modestly punched up dissertation (and indeed it was, at the University of Delaware in 2006). A preface is followed by an introduction, which is followed by a chapter devoted to a quick biography of the writer; both introduction and biography exhibit traits of the infamous survey of the secondary literature that still marks many disserta tions. The bio remains entirely superfluous, except perhaps for a dissertation advisory committee not already familiar with PKD or his work, as seems obvious from the acknowledgments page (ix) The book then develops as a series of five readings, each pairing a novel with a critical model: Martian Time Slip meets Foucault and Levinas; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is paired with various texts by Norbert Weiner; A Maze of Death is matched with Rollo May's Existence; A Scanner Darkly meets Baudrillard; and Valis, while given no single point of contrast, finds its most salient connection with the physicist Hermann Minkowski (140-43). Other aspects of the book give off equally bad vibes There are, for example, quite an astonishingly large number of gram matical errors (mostly subject-verb agreement and missing articles), awkward diction, ambiguous passive constructions, and both sentence fragments and run-ons, all obviously unintention al. Spelling is occasionally erratic. Other infelicities of style mar the book. There are errors of documentation and of definition, almost all of which come from misrepresenting sources or leap ing from one idea to another. I am cited half a dozen times, and though Kucukalic ostensibly thinks my reasoning sound (which I find flattering), I am presented as arguing things I did not argue. Here's one more example, this time one that's much more precise. In the chapter concerning DADES, we find this endnote: "The force of necessity (noos) from Plato's cosmology expressed in Timaeus, the irrational streak eating away at the good god's creation" (159 n4). Set aside the fact that this is a grammatical fragment. This note is attached to the following sentence, a comment concerning the "existential crisis" in Deckard's world: "the force of death that is overpowering the world through the radioactive dust and garbage, represents both a physical and metaphysical trend" (70-71). With complete sympathy for the argument, I find the note as it stands simply unintelligible. Then there's the problem of accuracy. Noos, more often transliterated as nous, means mind or intellect itself Like most words in clas sical Greek, it can take on other meanings, and so occasionally it will be rendered as will, but in Timaeus it is associated with the crafty Demiurge, the godlike designer of the cosmos, not with the forces of entropic decay. Necessity, in classical Greek, is ananke, a word that Kucukalic does use later in the book (163 n24), but there she calls it "fate,'' whereas the classical Greek for fate is moira. Whether these errors are Kucukalic's (as I think them) or are down to PKD's spotty, irregular education (some thing less formal than driven by obsession and serendipity) is a matter for others to dispute. Philip K. Dick is littered with such errors, almost all of which are factual rather than interpretative problems. Although the number and frequency of errors seems to diminish as the book continues, they cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, most readers would stop in the first two chapters; having seen some problems, they will go back to watching reruns of Seinfeld, giving the cat a bath, or scribbling their own smug little scholarly diatribes These, certainly, were my first thoughts. But a reader who carries through will fmd, at its core, a very interesting set of reflections on PKD. The book is best in its readings of Martian Time Slip and A Maze of Death, books not already discussed by a great amount of scholarly criticism. Some of the critical pairings are enlightening, and even when they ring false, Kucukalic's analysis suggests interesting ways that PKD's fiction might be understood Scholars working on any of these five novels might benefit from reading Kucukalic's chapters. While there's no single thesis to unify the five readings, each contains some sharp observation, something one wouldn't imag ine after just the first glance While Philip K. Dick is a much stronger book than a cursory scan might suggest, at the publisher's price-an utterly astonish ing $95-this book cannot be recommended for library pur chase. A Hideous Bit of Morbidity Jordana Hall Jason Colavito, ed. Hideous Bit of Morbidity": An Anthology of Horror Criticism from the Enlightenment to World War L Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008. Hardcover, 384 pages, $65, ISBN 978-786439683. Jason Colavito's expansive anthology of horror criticism succeeds in the two primary goals he sets for his book. First, it provides a historical perspective of horror criticism from the 1800s through World War I. Second, it makes much of early horror criticism and other little-known sources within the genre available once more to scholars. If for no other reason than this, Colavito's collection is worthy of note and a place on library shelves. As Colavito eloquently declares, "from The Castle of Otranto through the guns of August, horror literature was at the forefront ofEnglish letters (if not critical respectability)" (7). The sheer number and variety of sources he includes demonstrates this, and in choosing those sources, the editor is careful to provide a solid view of opposing critical and cultural responses to horror He incorporates essays and articles of all-but-forgotten authors and critics, and critical powerhouses such as H. P. Lovecraft. Likewise, no author is featured more than twice in the anthology. This allows Colavito to accomplish a critical revival while giv ing a broad view of the entire scope of criticism that responded to the development and evolution of horror fiction. At the same SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 23


time, this limits the inclusion of some of the more significant works by leading scholars that often heiped to shape changes in the genre and its critical reception. Nevertheless, as a result of the inclusion of so many out-of-print sources, the anthology's appeal ranges from students looking for an introduction to horror to specialists in the field. Besides scholarly criticism are personal letters, articles from newspapers, magazines, excerpts from popular and academic books, poems, and advertisements, and a plethora of cultural sources useful to give an adequate portrayal of the popular reception of horror fiction. Likewise, the reprints of illustra tions, photographs, and other images all demonstrate the gothic, Victorian, and especially Romantic style so dominant within the genre. And Colavito is very careful to preserve the integrity of the original sources, noting that only "obvious typographical errors" are corrected, retaining original spelling and syntax (11). Additionally, the range of opinions considers the art form from both cultural literary perspectives, high and low. The editor gives a careful and remarkably sweeping over view of such a broad subject, and the sources are well organized to clearly represent the changes that occur within the genre between the 1750s and 1917. A good scholarly resource and historical, cultural study of the horror genre, "A Hideous Bit of Morbidity" is a worthy addition to any scholarly library. Savage Perils Jason W. Ellis Patrick B. Sharp. Savage Perils: Racial Frontiers and Nuclear Apocalypse in American Culture. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007. Hardcover, 270 pages, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-8061-3822-0. Patrick B. Sharp's first book, Savage Perils: Racial Frontiers and Nuclear Apocalypse in American Culture, is an engaging and well-researched interdisciplinary work that combines historical, cultural, and literary analysis to construct a narrative about race, science, and technology in America from its begin ning through the middle ofthe twentieth century. The author carefully builds his case that scientific justifications for the so cial constructions of race have informed and continue to inform the way Americans see themselves and other peoples around the world. His project is ultimately one about the discourse lying the intersection of race and technology in America and how that discourse made possible both the racist official governmental responses to the first phase of the cold war and the challenges to that racist and futile doctrine of protecting the white nuclear family. Savage Perils is a unified work that maintains its argumen tative focus, and it is chronologically organized to reveal how the association of race and technology developed in the United States. The book aims to chart the circuits between race and na tion, civilization and savagery, Occident and Other, and overcivi lization and frontier as found in the development ofthe United States and American culture. The author shows that throughout American history there has been a racist identification of white ness with civilization and the accoutrements of technology, and nonwhiteness with savagery and backwardness. Beginning with 24 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 the Industrial Revolution and the promotion of Darwin's key concept of "man as toolmaker," there developed a racist anxiety over nonwhites obtaining and developing technology with the perceived strategy to invade and destroy the supposedly superior white American nation. Furthermore, Sharp demonstrates that the dominant racist modes of thinking continue to inform and impact the present through cycles of social assumptions justified by pseudoscientific analysis, which in tum feeds new assump tions embedded in cultural works. Furthermore, Savage Perils illuminates the cybernetic feedback loop that forms this discourse, which stretches back to the early United States. This discourse begins with assumptions coloring science, which in tum justifies rather than tests those assumptions. Science then informs cultural works including proto-SF (and later SF proper) including the early future-war stories. These stories make up the cultural background radiation that informs the way people (i.e., white American government officials, soldiers, and civilians) think about race leading up to, during, and after World War II. Even tum-of-the-century shifts in anthropology and the biological sciences are not enough to counteract these socially embedded ideas. The linkage running through it all is an implicit understanding that to be American is to be white; that the American frontier and its savagery creates Americans as better than their European origins; and finally, that Darwin's concept of "man as toolmaker" points the way to evolutionary superiority by means of our technology and war making with those peoples of color, also considered savages, on an expansive frontier. Sharp relies on numerous historical primary texts and a range of established and more recent secondary texts to support his ar gument. In the book, he engages a number of concepts including future-war stories, nuclear frontier stories, nuclear frontiersman stories, and subjective narratives of those directly affected by the atomic bomb. He also covers official government accounts released to the press and civil defense literature. Through these examples, Sharp reveals the complicity with and challenges to the accepted (or perhaps unconscious) racist beliefs on the part of much of white America leading up to and beyond the Second World War. His elaboration on these themes includes in-depth discussion of a number of texts including, but not limited to, the following: Jack London's "The Unparalleled Invasion," H. G. Wells's The World Set Free (which defined the narrative frame work for future works on nuclear apocalypse in Britain as well as the United States), John Hersey's Hiroshima, Philip Francis Nowlan's The Adventures of Buck Rogers, Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, General H. H. "Hap" Arnold's "The 36-Hour War," Philip Wylie's Tomorrow!, Walter Miller Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz, and Frank Pat's Alas, Babylon (the latter two examples deconstruct racist civil defense messages by penalizing prejudice). Savage Perils may be of most interest to researchers focusing on race and SF as well as race, science, and technology. Sharp brings a lot of diverse materials together into this one book, which makes it an invaluable source for further research. As such, it should be carried in library collections devoted to any of the above topics, because it offers breadth of field combined with depth of focus. Additionally, I would recommend it as a secondary text in an undergraduate or graduate course that engages race, technology, SF, or a combination of these, because


it is approachable and not overly laden with jargon. Because of its scope, it is a wonderful companion text to some of the other recent scholarship devoted to race and SF, including Elizabeth Anne Leonard's edited collection Into Darkness Peering: Race and Color in the Fantastic (1997), De Witt Douglas Kilgore's Astrofuturism: Science, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Space (2003), and Sharon DeGraw's The Subject of Race in American Science Fiction (2007), or research on the first phase of the cold war, including M. Keith Booker's Monsters. Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War: American Science Fiction and the Roots of Postmodernism, 1946-1964 (2001), David Seed's American Science Fiction and the Cold War (2002), and Lisa Yaszek's Galactic Suburbia: Recovering Women's Science Fiction (2008). Savage Perils is without a doubt an important contribution to the continuing discussion of race in American culture, and I recom mend it to those of you actively researching in the field-as well as those of you who are not-because I guarantee you that there are insightful and thought-provoking revelations contained within. Tech-Noir Mark Decker Paul Meehan Tech-Noir : The Fusion of Science Fiction and Film Noir Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008. Hardcover, 264 pages, $55. 00, ISBN 978-0786433254. Arguing for the existence of a literary or filmic subgenre gets difficult after the definition has been crafted Once a catchy name has been coined and a set of criteria has been determined, a critic must simultaneously produce enough evidence that the subgenre exists while at the same time avoiding the appearance of superficial engagement with either the primary texts or the relevant secondary sources. When you consider that a credible description of a subgenre should involve a discussion of scores of texts that is anchored by more extensive readings of key texts, and when you consider that these readings should be combined with extensive historical and theoretical contextualizing, you realize that an author of such a study has a difficult choice : either try the patience of editors and readers especially readers who are not academic researchers-with a heavily footnoted doorstop or create a tighter narrative that sacrifices analytical totality to create an easily grasped overview. Paul Meehan takes the second approach in Tech-Noir: The Fusion of Science Fiction and Film Noir. Broadly speaking, Meehan makes a good choice, with his study successfully argu ing for the existence of a filmic genre that combines science fic tion and noir. Though it is difficult to provide a quick summary of the extensive list of films under consideration or ofMeehan's evaluation of those films, it is safe to say that Tech-Noir amasses so many examples of these entertaining hybrids that a fair minded reader cannot finish this book without being convinced that films like Blade Runner and the Matrix trilogy represent recent iterations of a filmic subgenre that combines noir's surreal depiction of crime and human depravity in the metropolis with such SF staples as mad scientists, aliens, and deranged robots. Yet Meehan's convincing genealogy and taxonomy of a primar ily American genre that has roots in Weimar Germany and has seen expression elsewhere in Europe is hampered by inconsistent historical contextualization and, more importantly, a spare theo retical apparatus that will frustrate academic readers. Meehan discusses more than 130 films in a book that, if you exclude front and back matter, is only 237 pages long. While that works out to an average of just over one and three quarters pages of analysis per film, Meehan's relatively brief summaries do not stray from a discussion of the criteria he sets forth for tech-noir films. Consequently, he makes a convincing argu ment that science fiction and film noir have been deftly blended in films ranging from Fritz Lang's 1922 film Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler and the 1927 film Metropolis through scores of films like 1936's The Walking Dead, 1957's Not of This Earth, 1962's The Manchurian Candidate, 1965's Alphavi//e, 1972's Solaris, 1981's Blade Runner, 1997's Gattaca, and 2006's A Scanner Darkly. While it would be difficult to comment on the quality of each one ofMeehan's capsule discussions, almost all of them are at least convincing, if not compelling. Meehan does, however, include some films that either don't seem to really merit the ap pellation noir, like the relentlessly suburban The Stepford Wives, or films that are primarily concerned with genres other than noir and science fiction, like the classic-cartoon-nostalgia-driven Who Framed Roger Rabbit? or the 1994 British television movie Fatherland, which is primarily an exercise in alternate history. Although Meehan seems to be generally aware of the histori cal and theoretical context of the films he discusses, his book heavily emphasizes documenting the recurrence oftech-noir themes and characters by means of close readings of the individ ual films. While this approach is understandable and effective, generating an array of readings that strongly support his conten tions about the shape of the subgenre, Meehan's execution of that approach is lopsided. His use of secondary sources is erratic and incomplete-there are only 64 footnotes in the entire book and his historical contextualization is very broad. Given the structure of the book, this is particularly problematic. Six ofMeehan's seven chapters cover specific historical periods, with the book devoting chapters to the 1950s and the 1980s and dividing up the rest of the 90-year span under consideration into chapters cover ing roughly 16 or 17 years As one would expect, Meehan begins each chapter with a few paragraphs of historical contextualiza tion, but the author often recounts what is widely accepted about twentieth century German and American history. Consequently, readers must endure statements like "the postwar years were a time of nuclear angst in America (8 8), along with the occasional head scratcher like the discussion of the "emergence of rock music" during the 1960s. If Meehan's historical contextualization is bland but largely uncontroversial, his theoretical discussion can be maddeningly vague. While the author has a solid grasp on the major genres he discusses and presents an enlightening discussion of the history of film noir, he often makes statements that seem broadly Marxist or feminist but are not backed up by reference to any theorist or theoretically informed secondary work. Consequently problematic statements are often presented in a way that impli e s Meehan's conclusions are obvious. The most telling example of Meehan's theoretical haste comes in his discussion of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Meehan ostensibly demonstrates that he understands the film's feminist themes when he observes that the 50-Foot Woman "literally and figuratively breaks the chains of SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 25


the male-dominated world and does what many wronged women in the audience no doubt wished they could do to their conniv ing, two-timing husbands" (106), but he casts doubt on that un derstanding by labeling the 50-Foot Woman a SF femme fatale. Although a femme fatale can do much to subvert male domina tion, she is usually presented as a sexually powerful woman who is both enticing and threatening, not an enormous monster who is only terrifying. It's interesting to imagine the 50-Foot Woman as both a battered wife and a femme fatale at the same time, but Meehan needs to make a more convincing case by engaging with relevant feminist theory. A potential reader should not make too much of the problems discussed above, however, because they are primarily explained by Meehan's choice to create a readable overview rather than an exhaustive study. This is an interesting and enjoyable book that will give serious fans and academic researchers (who are prob ably also serious fans) much to think about. Meehan's hit-or-miss approach to secondary scholarship and theoretical contextualiza tion may make this book less attractive to graduate students and other professional researchers who are looking for texts to add to their personal libraries, even though the book should be con sulted by those working with any of the films Meehan discusses. Instead, researchers and teachers should recommend that their library purchase Tech-Noir. Because of its accessible prose and broad sweep, it would be an excellent reference text for courses focusing on noir and science fiction. Furthermore, given the nu merous succinct descriptions oftech-noir films, those who teach science fiction may find the book handy when composing syllabi or fleshing out primary research. Undead TV Karen Hellekson Alana Levine and Lisa Parks. Undead Tv. Essays on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007. 224 pages. Paper, $21.95, ISBN 978-0-8223-4043-0. Library cloth, $74.95, ISBN 978-0-8223-4065-2. Undead TV joins several other academic books analyzing Joss Whedon's cult TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), including Rhonda Wilcox, Why "Buffy" Matters: The Art of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (2005), Rhonda V. Wilcox and Da vid Lavery, eds., Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (2002), and James B. South, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunny dale (2003). Innumerable critical essays on Buffy have appeared, and the show remains a popular topic on the academic confer ence circuit. There is also an online academic journal devoted to Buffy: Slayage ( It could certainly be argued that "Buffy studies" is a legitimate cross-disciplinary field of study, incorporating scholars in English, media studies, television studies, popular culture, gender, and women's stud ies. This rich text, so resonant for youth, adults, and academics alike, uses metaphors to explore power, resistance, authority, sex, life, and death-all within the rubric of a show about vampires and other evil creatures, and the high-school girl destined to kill them. 26 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 Undead TV comprises eight chapters, with a useful introduc tion by the editors that lays out the landscape of Buffy and Buffy studies and summarizes the essays' contents. A number of black and-white screenshots and other images illustrate the essays. All the essays share a long bibliography provided at the end of the book, and an index closes the volume. The title of the book points to an underlying point of the book: Buffy continues to be shown in reruns, it had a spin-off show, Angel, and its characters live on in various tie-ins, including a comic book series and a book series; it could truly be said to be undead, particularly as scholars continue to explore the text and do the work of continu ally making it relevant. Mary Celeste Kearney's "The Changing Face of Teen Televi sion, or, Why We All Love Buffy," analyzes the cross-age audi ence appeal enjoyed by Buffy, noting that it appeals to tweens who are "reading up" and to older folks who are "reading down," and linking this cross-age appeal to a deliberate attempt on the part of the networks-first the WB, then UPN-to broaden the appeal of the show to attract a youthful audience desired by their advertisers. As a text, Buffy deliberately plays with this audi ence with the construction of characters with "multiple, shifting identities" (34). In "I Know What You Did Last Summer: Sarah Michelle Gellar and Crossover Teen Stardom," Susan Murray analyzes Gellar's persona, showing how Gellar became associ ated with her character, Buffy, and how that persona has affected Gellar's choice in roles-and our readings of these roles. Like Kearney's essay, Murray's also discusses the show's cross-age appeal in terms of"marketing strategies and spectatorposition ings" (43), with Gellar's teen stardom the lynchpin of multimedia marketing, from TV to the Internet to film to comics to books. Annette Hill and Ian Calcutt's "Vampire Hunters: The Sched uling and Reception of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel in the United Kingdom" discusses not only scheduling, but also censorship and editing of the episodes to make them appropriate for the broadcast time and station. This resulted in a unique fan experience: in addition to forming groups to obtain and share the originary (uncut) source text, UK fans also frequented message boards, forums, discussions, and chat. The constraints placed on the program resulted in Buffy becoming "a comparatively hard to-find commodity abroad" (71). Amelie Hastie, in "The Epistemological Stakes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Television Criticism and Marketing Demands," the best essay in the volume, discusses merchandising in terms of ancillary texts, but also broadens the discussion to the mer chandising of the academic, with the show valorizing academics (what other show has montages of study scenes as the characters read up on various monsters?) even as it conflates temporality and history. "Surely," Hastie concludes, "the production and reproduction of knowledge in all of the Buffy texts is directly related to academic occupations and preoccupations ... Bu.ffy .. .is often explicitly about investigation and knowledge" (89). The next chapter, Cynthia Fuchs's "'Did anyone ever explain to you what "secret identity" means?' Race and Displacement in Buffy and Dark Angel," moves from analyses of reception, marketing, and audience to close readings of Buffy and Dark Angel, both TV shows that feature strong, superhuman woman protagonists. Race in Buffy is often metaphorical (although also literal, as images of slayers of color attest), but rather than pre senting people of color, Buffy "tends to displace raced identity


and anxieties about race onto species-related anxieties, which are typically performed as various romances": Willow and Oz the werewolf, Xander and the demon Anya. Fuchs argues that su perhuman Buffy is trying to pass as human. Allison McCracken, in a gender analysis entitled "At Stake: Angel's Body, Fantasy Masculinity, and Queer Desire in Teen Television," studies the character of the sometimes bad, sometimes good vampire Angel in both Buffy and its spin-off, Angel, noting that the character can accept violence upon his body, "a masochistic object of teen girls' erotic pleasure" (118). Angel's "queer erotics" created a new kind of male TV hero, "one who served largely to under mine and critique masculine dominance and normalcy'' (141). To balance this reading of Angel is Jason Middleton's "Buffy as Femme Fatale: The Cult Heroine and the Male Spectator," which assesses the male gaze on the female body in formal shot by-shot analyses of TV shows and comic books. With plenty of illustrative images, Middleton discusses the notion of the pin-up conflated with the action shot in these texts: he targets the aspect of fandom (as in a fanzine entitled Femmes Fatales) that prefers "to construct Buffy as a cult heroine" (163). Elana Levine returns to feminism in the volume's final es say, "Buffy and the 'New Girl Order': Defining Feminism and Femininity." Levine argues that Buffy is sited at a place and time where feminism is different than the New Woman, who has been part of popular culture since the 1970s. Buffy herself is a third-wave feminist, marked by contradictory indicators of girlieness and toughness; the character of Willow may also be similarly read, and ex-demon Anya continually struggles not only with how to be human, but how to be a girl. All of these signal multilayered attempts to navigate the terrain of gender and superhuman strength. This smart volume can be profitably read within the rubric ofBuffy studies, but it can also be read as an indication of larger concerns having to do with merchandising, marketing, and audience, as well as sophisticated analyses of gender, race, and feminism, and ought to be read by people researching these concerns. The well-argued analyses delve deep into Buffy even as they underscore the importance of Buffy to television in gen eral: Buffy broke new ground in terms of depictions of men and women, and especially in that regard, it has something important to say about the human condition. Metamorphoses of the Werewolf Justin Everett Leslie A. Sconduto. Metamorphoses of the Werewolf A Literary Study from Antiquity through the Renaissance. Jefferson, NC: MacFarland, 2008. Paper, 228 pages, $39.95, ISBN 9780786435593. It is a pleasurable event when a work addressing the pre genre origins of science fiction, fantasy, and horror appears. Most books, if they discuss ancestral works at all, cover them only briefly in order to move on to the mainstream of these genres in the nineteenth century or later. Leslie A. Sconduto's Metamor phosis of the Werewolf addresses the origins of the werewolf as a mythic figure without directly making reference to the werewolf's appearance in modem fantasy and horror Sconduto's book covers literary treatments of the werewolf in the Greco Roman tradition, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance without addressing how these iterations of the myth may have influenced the figure as it appears in modem horror and fantasy. This is both a disappointment and a relief. Coming from a position of relative ignorance about the origins of the werewolf, I had hoped to learn from this book how the modem version of the story had been shaped. However, I was pleased to have been so thoroughly introduced to the origins of the figure of the were. wolf, particularly as it appears in the medieval and Renaissance traditions. In the end, though I was somewhat disappointed that the book did not connect the older literary treatments to those with which we are more familiar, I came away from this book with a greater understanding of the origin of the werewolf than I had when I first opened it. The first chapter of the book, "The Werewolf in Antiquity," was perhaps the most disappointing to me. This is less due to the depth of the discussion than it was the limitation of refer ences in Greek and Roman sources. However, though the author cites, translates, and discusses sources in French throughout the book-something that is particularly illuminating when the French romances are discussed in later chapters-here the fail ure to discuss the Latin of the original text from the Metamor phoses emphasizes the author's lack of ease with the classical sources Further, this chapter is fewer than eight pages long, so it seems underdeveloped. The discussion of the implications of the analysis is thin here. This chapter had the potential to be the most interesting in the book, but it needed more careful develop ment and more in-depth analysis. In the second chapter, "The Church's Response to the Were wolf," the author becomes more comfortable and authoritative. The analysis of the texts cited is in much greater depth, and the discussion of how the narratives emphasize "the humanity of the werewolves and with it the opposition between outer appearance and inner reality" (32) is particularly compelling. The emphasis, in this and succeeding chapters, on the inherent humanity of the werewolf in the medieval and Renaissance traditions can be compared to modem werewolf narratives which often empha size the transformed person's bestiality as opposed to his or her inherent humanity. In the chapters that follow, the author discusses several medieval romances that feature werewolf protagonists. Chapter 4 discusses Bisclavret, a character who retains his chivalric qualities ofloyalty and courtesy in spite of his transformation; chapter 5 introduces Me/ion, a noble werewolf who must learn to surrender pride and a desire for revenge to chivalry; and chap ter 6 considers Arthur and Gorlagon, a cautionary tale about adultery and the nature of women. Chapter 7 analyzes Guil luame de Palerne, the last of the medieval romances featuring chivalric werewolves. It is in this chapter that the author begins to bring together the common themes illustrated in the forego ing chapters: that werewolves are men disguised as wolves, not men actually transformed into wolves, and that they maintain their human characteristics. Even though these characters may at times act like beasts and commit acts of extreme violence, this is but an illusion, because within, they remain men and have at their disposal that will that allows them to choose to act as men or as beasts, despite their appearance to the contrary. SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 27


It is in chapter 8 that the more familiar "wicked" werewolf reappears. The author shifts from discussing literary texts to treatises such as the Malleus ma/eficarum (The Hammer of Witches), which describe, in part, werewolves in terms of witch es, madness, and trickery. Though this chapter contains much that is interesting, the very long passages of original text-often in French with equally long translations-cause the author's discussion to be lost. The effect is more like leafing through a pile of related papers than reading a well-constructed argument. In chapter 9, the author begins to tie the discussion together, not ing that what binds the medieval and Renaissance versions of the werewolf is the beliefthat only God can transform a man, and that the apparent transformations are largely matters of trickery and self-delusion. Further, she argues that werewolf tales are ways for the medieval and Renaissance worlds to deal with violence and stories of cannibalism (187) and the problem of transubstantiation, particularly across Catholic/Protestant lines. Metamorphoses of the Werewolfis a valuable text, bu tone that does not go quite as far as it could have. When the author is in comfortable territory-particularly within the discussion of the medieval romances-the discussion is engaging, though the book's weak opening and failure to connect the discussion to later versions of the werewolf myth is a matter of some concern. I would have liked for this to have been a longer book with a more in -depth discussion of the werewolf in the ancient world and chapters tracing the further transformation of the werewolf from the Renaissance through the current age. Perhaps this author will consider extending this discussion in a succeeding volume. In spite of some weaknesses, I think this is a strong treatment of a subject that is a welcome contribution to the fields of folklore, fantasy, and horror. DODD "Anybody heard the name 'John Connor?"': Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles [TV series] Ed Carmien Smart, really smart, time travel yams are rare. More typical is the Back to the Future model, where time travel serves as a plot device, and changing the past erases people from pictures or similar silly (if fun) things. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (T:TSCC) is one of the smart ones. Or was. As ofthe middle of May 2009, Fox canceled the series, reportedly having demanded the budget be cut by half a million a season-a demand the show's producers declined to accept. For a full review of the Terminator mythos, including ref erences to Harlan Ellison, see SFRA Review #284, "Somewhere a Cog Turns," my look at the show's first season. 28 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 e s ow s au renee uc e out a ter a ust a revrate eason of nine episodes. The network renewed the show, and a arvelous run of 22 episodes in season 2 ensued, wrapping up n March 2009 with an extremely promising finale that show ased some fine writing and SF concepts. Very briefly, the TV Terminator series cemented the concept f "alternate timeline" time travel, and actions taken by the haracters on screen have echoes that lead down different paths han the familiar mythos presented in various films. Future John onnor's reliance on reprogrammed "metal," for example, leads o a subplot in which future human resistance fighters send an ndependent mission back through time intended to break John's ink to friendly terminator Cameron, perceived as the beginning f John's attachment to machines in place of people. Effect can recede cause-with time travel. The overall plot of the series culminated in a finale that romised a third season that would start in a future where John onnor is just John Connor, sans any "future leader of man ind" baggage. Smart time travel: John's actions in the past ump him forward in time. His absence during the opening year fthe war against the machines means he's not known as the avior of mankind when he arrives in the future. Fox's decision to terminate the series seems odd. With the ourth Terminator movie released in May 2009 (and with DVD o follow in the fall), keeping this series alive seemed like a no rainer. Fox's record on such decisions is questionable, but it is lso hard to ignore that network television is changing. Shows raw smaller audiences today, and that reduces advertiser rev nue. Battles tar Ga/actica (BSG), commonly touted as "the best show on TV," succeeded for five seasons-T.TSCC's modest success was not enough to carry the show into a third season, nd in fact, thanks to the writer's strike, the entire run is limited o 31 episodes. Despite the foreshortened story arc, the show remains poten ially useful in the SF classroom. It offers a less romantic picture f the meaning of artificial intelligence than, say, BSG. In the pening episode of the second season, "Sampson and Delilah," he damaged Cameron reverts to type and attempts to kill John onnor. When the machine is trapped and helpless, Connor egins the process of removing "her" CPU (as seen in T2 and revious episodes of the show). "Things are good now," the machine says, as John hesitates. 'I'm sorry for what I did," it continues, adding "Please, I don't ant to go .. .I love you .. .I love you, John, and you love me ... s these lines are delivered actor Summer Glau is uncharacter stically emotional. "She" is frantically begging for her life. Job onnor grimaces and pulls the plug. Are we to imagine he has just ended a "life"? No. These erminators are not synthetic humans-they are less techno ogically fantastic than Cylons, merely complex machines. hese toasters are programmed to say anything (often imitating nother person's voice) to accomplish the mission demanded by heir programming. If sentient, they are alien, and emphatically not human. "Bor o Run," the show's final episode, completes this element of the verall story arc. "You need to understand how it works," Cam ron tells him. "This chip. This body. The software is designed o terminate humans. The hardware is designed to terminate


n a moment t at reca s a oweve 1rtat10n carne on hroughout the entire series, Cameron removes her shirt and bra, ies down and instructs John to straddle her. "She" then details ow to cut open her abdomen, saying "If I'm damaged, you hould know," making the ostensible reason for this act a veriIcation of "her" functional state. However, the real message is xpressed when John reaches into Cameron's chest, "below the reastplate." "There," Cameron says, "what does it feel like?" "Cold," John replies. Her heart, indeed, is cold. She is a ma hine, albeit programmed to fight on the side of humanity, and s such the show's ongoing debate about how to treat Cameron he cyborg provides a good contrast to BSG's more optimistic nd idealistic message regarding artificial life. Barring something unexpected as of this writing, we may ever know the intended message regarding machine intel igence. The show does contain a potential "human" machine n the form of John Henry, and a plot element (required in any 'smart" time travel yam) indicates there is more than one ma hine faction in the future. In any event, T:TSCC raises useful time-travel issues as well s questions about the nature of humanity and what it means to e human. Too bad we'll never know how things tum out in the 'Sarah is a brunette" Terminator timeline. Moonlight [TV series] Candace R. Benefiel oonlight: The Complete Series. Dir. Rod Holcomb, et. al. Perf. Alex O'Loughlin, Sophia Myles. Warner Home Video. 2009. Moonlight lasted only sixteen episodes, its promising first season interrupted by the writers' strike of2007-8. Despite amering a 2008 People's Choice Award for Best New Drama nd an unusually passionate and vocal fanbase, it was canceled "nMay2008. The vampire as private investigator is not an unfamiliar trope n television and fiction, one that lends itself to serialization. oonlight drew early critical comparisons with the popular uffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff, Angel (1999-2004), but ctually was far closer in tone and content to Forever Knight 1992-1996). In addition, the series added in elements from the xtremely popular genre of paranormal romance, as it explored he dawning attraction between series main characters Mick St. ohn (Alex O'Loughlin) and investigative reporter Beth Turner Sophia Myles). One of the chief tenets of Moonlight is that the several hun red vampires in Los Angeles are hiding in plain sight. They are argely nocturnal, but (in the tradition of Stoker, if not common llmic vampire lore) these vampires are able to tolerate a limited mount of sunlight. This is not a world where other supernatural reatures lurk. Mick St. John is using his "special abilities," as e terms it in episode 1, to help humans, as penance for his past isdeeds. Where Angel fought demons and mythological mences, Mick is more likely to deal with murderers, rogue arms ealers, and purveyors of illicit drugs, although often the cases eyon t e as1c etectlve p ots, t e senes use eac ep1so e o highlight steps in the progression of the romantic relation hip between Mick St. John and Beth Turner. Miele, turned into vampire on his wedding night by his (now ex-) wife, Coraline Shannyn Sossamon), had once rescued a small child from her lutches, and in the years since has watched over the girl. Now hat she is an adult, he lets her know of his existence, although oncealing his nature and his connection to her past. One of the strengths of the series is the believable growth of this relation hip, including Beth's conflict between her feelings for her cur ent boyfriend, assistant district attorney Josh Lindsey (Jordan elfi), and the compelling, mysterious stranger who has entered er life. The series, created by Trevor Munson and Ron Koslow Beauty and the Beast) began with strong influences ofthe film oir genre, filled with shadowy, enclosed spaces and a hero rapped by the echoes of his past. The tension between the toxic elationship between Mick and femme fatale, Coraline, and his ewfound interest in fresh young blonde Beth take Mick far rom the Gothic trappings of the traditional vampire tale, and "nto the realms ofboth noir and romance genres. There is a harp break between noir atmosphere of the first twelve epi odes, written and produced before the writer's strike caused a everal-month-long break in the series, and the final four, which ook a decidedly lighter tum. However, the noir influence is ost clearly visible in the main character, a man trapped and de med by the burden of his past mistakes, and his desire to atone or what he feels is unforgivable. Also notable is the overall style of the series. The sets are ichly detailed, and contribute to the noir feel. Mick's loft/office, or example, is decorated with stark, postmodem furniture and rt that accentuates his alienation from humanity: The idea behind the show was to put a modem spin on the vampire genre, so [production designer Alfred Sole] want ed the sets to reflect that quality. Mick's loft, the center piece of the permanent sets, had to embody the character's personality and life experience as well as provide every day practicality for a vampire attempting to live unnoticed in a mortal world . [H]is living space had to reflect this lifetime of experience as well as a contemporary aesthetic that fit the feel of a modem drama. (Goldman 59) Another standout in the cast of regulars is Mick's best friend nd mentor, the 400-plus-year-old vampire JosefKostan (Jason ohring). As portrayed here, this rich, ancient vampire has the ppearance of a man in his twenties, and although first present d as a hedonistic playboy, is given unexpected depths of emoion as the series progresses. His verbal edge adds needed humo n the dark tones of the early episodes, and as an unrepentant ampire, he provides a foil to the angst of the main character. Moonlight uses its story arc to explore the nature ofhuanity and love in unexpected ways. The primary question of hether love can conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles, uch as vampirism, and heal the wounds left by the past, are in he forefront of this series. The characters, even the minor ones, re surprisingly complex. Beth's boyfriend, Josh, for example, is either unlikeable nor a cardboard character to be discarded. He s presented as a passionate believer in justice, and although his SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 29


vamptre, the tact that he ts a genumely good man makes her all the more difficult. One negative of the DVD release is the total lack of extras or !commentary Despite the gap of eight months between the series !cancellation and the release of the DVD in January 2009, the set !has a rushed look, as though the production company had little nterest in offering a quality product. As a series, it had its ups and downs. The quality of writing !varied from episode to episode, and there were gaping holes n consistency on vampire mythos as defined within the show "tself The tragedy of Moonlight was that in the sixteen episodes hat were filmed, the series, hampered by frequent changes in ended just as it was beginning to find its way into Ia more detailed exploration of the world it was creating. Work Cited Goldman, Nathan "Vampires in the Angel City." Perspec ives 16 (Feb.-Mar. 2008): 58-61. Terminator: Salvation [film] Ed Carmien Terminator : Salvation. Dir. MeG. Perf Christian Bale, Helena Bon ham Carter, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood Halcyon, 2009. The Terminator series reaches back to 1984. Four movies, several novels, and a television series comprise the official mythos Prior to Terminator: Salvation, the formula was always time travelers from the future fight to secure wictory for their faction in a war that hasn't started yet. In the l

carries facial scars. He gets those scars in T4. His spouse, fore cast as such in T3, is a medico-although a veterinarian in T3, it makes sense that she's shifted her talents to people in T4. To the extent possible given the nature of the "past" provided by earlier movies, T4 seems true to the cinematic world of Terminator as we know it, although for this reviewer dates are always out of focus . Fans of the series will appreciate these touches, and nonfans can at least appreciate the spectacle. Real fans will bemoan Fox's cancellation of the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Con nor Chronicles, and the fact that the writers of that Terminator tale managed to bring uncertainty, mystery, and drama to the mythos, something that the makers of T4, with all their millions, could not do. There is not much material for serious discussion of science fiction issues in T4. There are echoes of time travel questions from other films. Is it single universe? Alternate timeline? Are there paradoxes? Answer those questions by viewing and dis cussing other films. Can machines be human? Look elsewhere In T4, machines are machines, unless they're hybrids, in which case the human half wins out without much apparent struggle. As with much science fiction cinema, the pretty pictures on the surface are all one gets in T4. Luckily, a guy named James Cam eron made a couple of films in which there is something below the pretty pictures-! suggest any exploration begin there. Star Trek [film] Catherine Coker Star Trek. Dir. J. J. Abrams. Perf. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Bana. Paramount, 2009. Full disclosure: I am exactly the sort ofhardcore Star Trek aficionado Abrams's film claims to run away from. I have the encyclopedias, the ornaments, and the ability to recite factoids and name the episode or book from which they came. The film, according to all the hype, was not for me. It was for everyone else. And the kicker is: I enjoyed it as much as, if not more than, my non-Trekkie/Trekker friends. The script, by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, delivers on every bit of Trek lore you would expect. Young Spock lifts a single eyebrow and dryly delivers, "Fascinating." Bones is a doctor, not a physicist, dammit. Scotty's engines can't take much more Et cetera Perhaps the most amazing thing about the film is how deeply each actor has seemingly internalized the char acter played without giving in to wholesale imitation. This is a reboot that is an homage, not a carbon copy. Because it is a reboot, it holds a significant debt to Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica. Moore, himself a veteran writer of the latter-day Star Trek franchises, engineered a brilliant rede sign of a series best known as being a Star Wars knockoff with some Mormon imagery. Battlestar reimagined a nauseatingly wholesome family show (with obligatory cute small child and ro botic dog) as a meditation on the natures of humanity, terrorism, religion and government (the small child was quickly written out; the dog was never there to begin with), while simultaneously rewriting beloved characters' genders, races, and personalities. rams wntes a new tar re umverse t at IS muc ar er han the original (we're treated to not one, but genocides n a two-hour film) but nonetheless retains a hopeful optimism bout the future-<:reator Gene Roddenberry's hallmark. No atter how bad things look they will get better. The clever trick that Abrams pulls off is fashioning a reboot hrough manufacturing an alternate reality. "We must forget ll that we might have been. This is what we are now," Spock tates A four-issue comic book prequel, Countdown, explicates hat we are told through a flashback in the film: in the future, orrible events will drive a Romulan mad, and to wreak his engeance he will travel back in time to destroy the Federation. Countdown takes place some time after the last Star Trek film ffering-Captain Picard is an ambassador now, and cameos re made by Worf, Geordi LaForge, and the latest Data iteration ilms that require print prequels tend to hold structural weak esses, though fortunately this is not so here. The prequel com 'cs elaborate on a larger story, but the film is no way beholden 0 it. Thus, we have a film true to its extensive mythology, its revious incarnations, and its multimedia megatexts. So here's nother kicker: this looks like Star Trek and sounds like Star Trek but it is not Star Trek. Though the Star Trek franchises have often veered far closer o science fantasy than science fiction, their stories have always ocused on ideas: the nature of humanity, the forging of utopia, he balance of the environment with technology. Even the worst f the films have tried to grapple, however awkwardly and adly, with age-old concepts like the place of God and eternal outh Abrams's ideas, however, are his conceits: how an alter ate reality can be forged through wormholes and paradoxes. owever this idea really begins and ends with the contrasts in he elder Spock (called Spock Prime) and his young counterpart, nd with the James T. Kirk born at the moment of his father's acrifice contrasted with the Kirk we have come to know from he series. These different takes on beloved characters are the rue crux ofthe story. However, this same story offers the oportunity for the exploration of many more ideas-an opportu ity that is not taken-at least, yet. As mentioned earlier, the film contains two genocides The trst is the destruction of Romulus via supernova in the original imeline, a destruction that may or may not have taken place hrough the negligence of the Federation in general and the Yul an Science Academy in particular. This disaster is what spawns he madness ofNero, a Romulan miner, and his vendetta with Spock. A man driven mad by the genocide of his people is not a ew story, but here it is glossed over. Nero does little more than rowl and stalk around the stage. Given his historical namesake, ne would think his madness would resonate more somehow hen we see the holograms of his pregnant, dead wife, we hould be invited to sympathize with his horror and his loneli ess. But we aren't, and instead are treated to more growling nd explosions. The second is the destruction of Vulcan at the hands ofNero. Spock notes in his log that six billion are dead, that he estimates hat no more than ten thousand Vulcans could have survived, nd that he is now a member of an endangered species In ad ition, the Vulcans have developed a hyperemotional control to ounteract their violent emotions which had nearly destroyed SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 31


em m t e1r ancient 1story a contro t at apses m t e pon arr, r mating heat, that can also lead to madness. What happens to uch a species, such a people? This, too, is not discussed, be ond Spock Prime's declaration that he will found a new colony or the Vulcan people. But there are dozens of implications left hat are completely undiscussed. While the movie must itself nd, only a line or two needs utterance to open up some aware ess of the issues at hand. This lack implies a lack of awareness n the part of the authors-a lack that has historically not been een in the previous Trek incarnations. Ultimately, the film reminds us of an exercise in fan fieion. An excellent piece of fan fiction can illuminate the lives of eloved characters, develop alternate universes to explore new venues in storytelling, and add an emotional depth that may ot be found in the original. However, it often lacks the true ess of the original-an attention to detail, to characterization, o canon. The new Star Trek shows a breadth of knowledge and nderstanding of the original, but it misses the point. What Burns Also Breathes in Stardust: Zowie Bowie Finds His Own Moon [film] Matthew Snyder Moon. Dir. Duncan Jones. Perf. Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominque McElligott, Kaya Scodelario, Robin Chalk and Benedict Wong. Sony Classics. 2009. lfthere ever was a sad subnarrative to children of celebrities un amok, the car accidents, anorexia, plastic surgeries, school ropouts-dreams ofDemerol and the addled days of other ad ictions found in Hollywood-Duncan Jones seems to have rea II of the articles on the subject. If so, he read them not to relive hem or reenact them, but to avoid them entirely. Living inside fthe cloistered preen and glow oflconomania, being the child o David Bowie, is no small life negotiation in a world drawn in y the shimmied swirl of cellophane, cameras, and plastics. And y being a child of the 1970s-then free of the now ever-present urning eye of the British press-the director spent his child ood studying at private schools aloft in the great countries of urope: Switzerland, Germany, London, and Scotland. Upon each in g adulthood, he studied for his bachelor's degree at the ollege of Wooster and wrote a thesis titled, however portent usly, How to Kill Your Computer Friend: An Investigation of he Mind/Body Problem and How It Relates the Hypothetical Thinking Machine. After dropping out of his PhD program in hilosophy at Vanderbilt University, Jones transferred to the ondon Film School, moving slightly off the mark from his hildhood dreams ofbecoming the next "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Yet instead of hitting raves and clubs to Destination Self-Immolation, Jones worked at bridging the gap between is interest in philosophy and cinema, all while studying at the ondon School of Film. He later worked as a director of com e rcial s in Britain to hone his craft in a real-world setting. The oung Bowie spent ten years in total writing, planning, and rafting a story for Sam Rockwell and used a patchwork quilt of onnections to find the needed funding for his first film. Moon, 32 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 s one m1g t suspect, IS an attempt at exp onng IS un ergra u te philosophy thesis at Wooster to the contours of sound and mage. Questions of the mind/body relationships to the self are entral to the thematic concerns of his debut work. Made for a ysterically scant budget of $5 million, confabbed with CGI and raditional microminiature sets, Moon allows Duncan Jones to eizure-dream his way to the Space Oddity within. Name-checking the lost legacies of an earlier, more experi ental science fiction cinema as seen with films as various s THX-1138, Silent Running. and Solaris, Moon seems oddly skanee of the thematic concerns of its more contemporary rethren like Transformers or Terminator 3. The spitting glitter fthese latter CGI spectacles seems largely invisible from the lim's modus operandi, and instead, Jones uses SF as a platorm for delving into the psychology of emotional distress and motional feeling-of retracing the arc of the human condition. nee the child of an icon, shadowed by media and the garish reen glitz, Jones escapes from the black hole of failure, indirec ion, and hesitance. And among the failures and compromises ade or lost in the gaps between A-listers and celebutards, Dun an Jones finds himself in the rare company of success with his ebut film, Moon. Much like Sophia Coppola's exorcism of her ather's long shadow with her first film, Virgin Suicides, Dun an Jones's Moon silences the sounds of his own father's voice. Showing an intense understanding of the self and human sub. ectivity, the lust for life and the dangers of nonexistence, Moon s thoughtful counter to the dishwater intellectualism found in ecent SF cinema. The film, as such, breaks through the shitpile fMichael Bay's dumbed-out CGI bonanzas and George Lucas's pace operas to rejoinder those tiresome narratives for a film hat harkens back to the Yuletide prayers of cyberpunk. Moon, ore than any film since Children of Men, pushes the boundar. es of SF, all while still clasping onto its more resilient legacies nd visual tropes. In reviewing this debut work (although severa Ilm critics made mention of both Blade Runner and 2001 Space Odyssey, and even Tarkovsky's underseen and misunderstood olaris), I found that Moon has as more to do with Hitchcock's Vertigo as to anything so seemingly connected to the science lCtion of the 1970s. A clever melange of film influences, Moon rapples with Kantian and Lacanian ideas of the self as well as ur newfound fears of a world estranged from us-of a world hat makes devil deals with technology to replicate human be ngs into mirror images themselves. [Author's Note: Spoilers ahead.] Set in a near-time future rom an unknown year, Sam Bell (played by Sam Rockwell) is usy harvesting on the moon for a substance known as helium Sam is alone and quietly troubled, working in the bleak lash of Earth's afterglow for a substance that offers his home Janet's only true source for energy independence. Other than robot affectionately nicknamed Gerty (eerily voiced by a Sir evin Spacey, who smoothly glides from the moon base's many eiling rails), Sam is left to his silence, his breathing, and the rief passing communications to his wife and daughter back on arth. A miner-astronaut in space, Sam is slowly winding down is three-year purgatory on the barren crust of a dead moon. e plays ping-pong. He sings songs to himself. He carves small iniature versions of his hometown out ofwood with maniacal etail and abject precision. And in a resplendent and thoughtful eference to Robinson Crusoe and Blade Runner, we see Sam


ount o t e ays remammg wtt pen-mar e appy aces, s he lovingly touches his family photographs of a wife and aughter he has not seen for three years. Memories dried and rifting, he thinks only of those he has left behind. He waits on he moon. They wait on Earth. Among all of the detritus and runge of a moon base seemingly in decay and in dire need for epairs, Sam is slowly-at least seemingly-losing his mind nd suffering nosebleeds. He hears voices. He sees ghosts. He hen sees himself facing himself. What follows from here is a sychological journey that films unrelated to the SF genre have iscussed and explored with intense feeling: what would you o if you saw another version of yourself? Although previous orks like Dead Ringers, Fight Club, and Adaptation serve as ble-bodied comparisons to Jones's examination of the self, one should look no farther than Hitchcock's Vertigo to understand he film's complete and difficult metanarrative. And like Jimmy Stewart's character, Scottie Fergusun, in he aforementioned film, the detective suddenly realizes that verything he has been told about a woman's fate has been onsecrated by deceptions and preconceived lies. His obsession ith Madeleine is really with a Kansas-born girl named Judy, ired by a wealthy man, whose ultimate goal is to find an alibi o his own wife's murder, and in doing so, sets out to manufac re a witness to his wife's death. In Duncan Jones's retelling f this same narrative thrust, Sam meets Sam, thinking that he s insane or losing his mind. They seem different, but look the same, but remember similar and disturbing details about their ife and their time with her. It is in this space of the film that Sam Rockwell gives the most urgent, subversive, and wholly ompelling performance of his career. Playing between emoions and countervailing pivot points of two selves warring for he ultimate sense of self, Rockwell adroitly sends off his own asterpiece Theatre of Hamlet talking to himself. And as Moon ontinues on in the empty stark caverns of the base, the film lowly reveals-through psychological dread and despair-that he men are in fact both clones of one original Sam Bell. And in rue cyberpunk fashion, a la William Gibson, or in the proto orms of Philip K. Dick, we find out that the corporation inolved in collecting helium 3 has an ulterior and secret purpose oward maintaining its profit margins. We find out that several Iones are kept down below the base. They were created to save oney, and in effect, reduce any exorbitant costs of retraining he original Sam Bell's future replacements back on the moon. nd like any kind of yogurt lying on a Food 4 Less grocery shelf, they have an expiration date. Monsters vs. Aliens [film] my J. Ransom onsters vs. Aliens. Dir. Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon. Perf. Reese Witherspoon. Dream Works Animation, 2009. As its title suggests, Monsters vs. Aliens pits the star tropes f fantasy/horror and science .against each other, placing the ormer, however, soundly in the field ofthe latter, drawing eavily upon the tradition of the SF horror film. Its "monsters" penly reference well-known creatures from the 1950s nuclear nxiety films such as The Blob (1958, dir. Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.; ema e 1 u. uc usse e reature rom t e ac agoon (1954, dir. Jack Arnold; remake projected 2011, dir. reck Eisner), The Fly (1958, dir. Kurt Neumann; remake 1986, ir. David Cronenberg), and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958, ir. Nathan Juran; perf. Allison Hayes). In this animated feature, !though they have been imprisoned for decades, these cin matic monsters are redrawn as human and lovable, and they are ffered a chance to redeem their perceived "sins" when aliens ttack and they save the world. Of particular interest for academic study is the central char cter, Susan/Ginorma (voiced by Reese Witherspoon). About to e married to a self-serving, ambitious television meteorologist Derek, voiced by Paul Rudd), Susan is struck by a meteorite nd begins to grow to an amazing, colossal height. Discover ng the existence of the other monsters-B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), he Missing Link (Will Arnett), and Dr. Cockroach, PhD (Hugh aurie )-triggers a journey of self-discovery for Susan, so that y the end of the film she rejects the traditional feminine role of support and helpmeet to Derek. In fighting the aliens, she dis overs hidden abilities and strengths within herself; symbolic of er new self-acceptance, she embraces the media name adopted or her, becoming forever "Ginorma." This work can be fruitfully read in tandem with the riginal Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, in which Gwendolyn Au rey Foster examines "the specter of gender" (73). Foster sees he 1950s film as blaming the woman for the rape that results in er monstrosity and uses her as an example of the "bad-white ody" in the SF monster films of that decade. In contrast, the re ent film offers visions of a woman rejecting traditional gender oles, opting for an active life, valuing both her female friends nd her new monster friends, and adopting a name that, while t draws on the child's expression, "ginormous," also points irectly to her sexuality, the enormous vagina. The film itself esists closure on the heteronormative couple as Susan/Ginorma hooses to remain single. And yet this manifestly feminist mes age clashes with a racial reading of its character the Missing ink, whose representation reinscribes a number of stereotypi al images of the African American (or even Irish in nineteenth entury English cartoon drawings) man, including large lips, a ow brow line, an overactive libido, and-most obviously-the status ofbeing "less evolved." The film's revisionist look at monsters from the 1950s reposiions monstrosity into the politics of acceptance and tolerance f the contemporary world, yet, it still posits the existence of n evil "other" in the form of the demonized aliens. Like Space Chimps, it also satirically references U.S. politico-scientific intitutions and the films of Stanley Kubrick. Leading the assault pon the aliens, but also the monsters' prison guard, General R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland), recalls George C. Scott's eneral Buck Turgidson in Dr. Strange/ave (1964), as does the ar room in which he and others meet with the president. With ts obvious referentiality, as well as its pastiche characteristics, his text could be used fruitfully to illustrate the conventions fthe SF monster film subgenre. It also fits into what is now ppearing to be a major trend that includes original stories that lay on anxieties about science and the environment (like M. ight Shamyalan's The Happening, 2008) and remakes of SF nd horror texts from the 1950s and the 1960s, including I Am SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 33


Work Cited oster, Gwendolyn Audrey. Performing Whiteness: Postmodern Rei Constructions in the Cinema. Albany: State University Press ofNew York, 2003. The Garners: Darkness Rising [film] Nathan Rockwood The Garners: Dorkness Rising. Dir. Matt Vancil. Perfs. Nathan Rice, Carol Roscoe, Brian Lewis, Scott C. Brown, Christian Doyle, Jen Page. Dead Gentlemen Productions, 2008. The Garners: Dorkness Rising (alternatively known as The Garners II), an independent film by Dead Gentlemen Pro uctions, parodies the players and game content of tabletop ole-playing games-specifically, Dungeons and Dragons by izards of the Coast. Following the story of a group of friends laying through a D&D adventure, the film alternates between he "reality" of the players around the gaming table and the antasy world of their characters, providing a satirical look at ot only the antics of obstinate paladins and lusty bards, but !so at the social conflicts that arise between players when their ersonal goals differ. At first glance, it may seem strange to attribute academic urpose to a film like Dorkness Rising. As the back of the DVD ase describes it, All Lodge wants is for his gaming group to finish their adventure. Unfortunately, they're more interested in seduc ing barmaids, mooning their enemies, and setting random villagers on fire. Can the group overcome their bickering to save the kingdom, or will the evil necromancer Mort Kern non triumph unopposed? A parody of fantasy films and the adventure gaming community, The Garners: Dorkness Rising is a hilarious romp through the world of sword and sorceryin this case, a world of exploding peasants, giant house cats, and undead roast turkeys. Game on! Clearly, the goal of the Dead Gentlemen was to produce an ntertaining film about a subject they enjoy, but taking the time o watch and understand the movie may inspire some scholarly pplications. Despite being written and directed so that it stands on its wn, Dorkness Rising is essentially a sequel to the Dead Gentle en's older film, The Garners. In comparison, The Garners as a short sketch that briefly parodied gaming stereotypes nd relied on special effects on par with Photoshop, and Dork ess Rising is a feature-length film with a fleshed-out plot and level of professional polish that many similar indie films lack. owever, the force driving Dead Gentlemen films to cult popu arity among garners is not the growing strength of their budget, ut rather their application of skillful writing and directing to a ocial commentary that dissects a subject close to their personal . . 34 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 n t e mencan sout w en wntmg e A ventures o uc eberry Finn, the Dead Gentlemen draw on their knowledge of aming to provide a tale that is mainly true-with some stretch rs thrown in, just to make their points clear. While Dorkness Rising has significant appeal to garners imply for its entertainment value, the film provides several in cresting points for academic exploration, and even more so than n the previous The Garners, the humor and the game content iscussed are meant to be accessible to nongaming audiences. uch like the SF satire film Galaxy Quest, there are many mo ents where a fan of the original material will have a deeper nderstanding of the history behind a given joke, but the film orks to establish context for even a complete newcomer to the enre. First, Dorkness Rising provides a look at not only the stereo ical (and stereotypically ridiculed) behaviors of garners, but lso why those garners are playing those games at all. Just as articipants in any social activity-sports, parties, etc.-may ach have their own agenda, each of the characters in Dorkess Rising has a clear and distinct goal within the game. By bserving them, the audience can explore several of the various otivations that lead people to play role-playing games, design lternate persona, and engage in imagination play. Second, because the motivation behind gaming is an ad ittedly narrow focus, the social conflicts that arise between he players in the film can be generalized to other situations. orkness Rising is rife with issues of trust, pedantry, cheating, nappropriate behavior, peer pressure, and social consequences. ven the deceptively complex question of what makes a good story is given explicit attention. Third, as alluded to above, there are parallels one can draw etween DorknessRising and more traditional examples of social criticism, such as Huckleberry Finn. To some students, he humor in Dorkness Rising or other modern media may be ore accessible than Twain's artful but increasingly archaic rose, providing a stepping stone by which they can approach he idea that Huck Finn is supposed to be hilarious. The critical ommentary in Dorkness Rising is not targeted at a vast social nstitution like slavery or racial prejudice, but it nonetheless elies upon the same elements of satire and irony. Given the relatively adult nature of the film (it is officially 'Not Rated" but resides in the approximate realm ofPG-13/R tlms for its use of fantasy violence, coarse language, and sexual eferences), it would not be appropriate viewing in many class ooms, but could find a place in a certain secondary, under raduate, or graduate classroom investigating any of the related opics. As a text on its own, or as a text to compare to other arodies Galaxy Quest springs to mind again-The Garners: orkness Rising is worth consideration as more than simple ntertainment. Space Chimps [film] my J. Ransom pace Chimps. Dir. Jeff DeMicco. Perf. Jeff Daniels. Vanguard Animation, 2008.


pace imps o ers a vtston o space exp orat10n wtt a concience. Just as the Senator (voiced by Stanley Tucci) announces hat the plug will be pulled on space research, an unmanned robe indicates the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Unwilling o risk human lives, a sudden inspiration-or rather, a visual mage hacked in by chimp-geek Comet (Zack Shada)-leads im to revive the space chimp program. While three highly rained chimp astronauts are already prepared for the mission, he Senator wants a media-friendly image of heroism. Who will tll this role? Ham III (Andy Samberg), the apparently unheroic ut thrill-seeking grandson of Ham (first chimp in space), is eluctantly "recruited" by kidnapping from his current job as circus performer (he is regularly shot from a cannon). For nately, his grandfather's chimp technician Houston (Carlos lrazaqui) accompanies Ham, bringing experience and knowow to the newly formed team. With Comet and Houston on he ground, Ham III, Luna (Cheryl Hines), and Titan (Patrick arburton) blast off to encounter sentient life on the other side of a wormhole. What they find is a local cargo cult gone orribly awry: the earlier probe has been appropriated by the hildishly evil Zartog (Jeff Daniels), a real monster from the id. fter he has been fully probed "for purely scientific purposes," he machine delights him with him images of "Earth culture." few fortuitous pushes of various buttons grant him the power o use the new technology to enslave the planet and organize a uge public works project which will result in his own palace modeled after a Las Vegas casino-hotel, of course), as well ascps-the destruction of the village where everyone else lives. ealizing that Earth's intervention has inadvertently caused this atastrophe, the chimps resolve to stay and help the Malgorians save their village and dethrone Zartog. The film's commercial success has led to the development of a sequel, Return to Mal go announced for 2010). Space Chimps obviously references such space exploration tlms as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969; dir. Stanley Kubrick), but t most readily calls to mind the Planet of the Apes (1968; dir. ranklin J. Schaffner), its sequels, and Tim Burton's 2001 re ake. The female astronaut Luna's delivery and characterizatio esembles that ofKim Hunter's portrayal ofZira in the original tlm, and it depicts chimps as a highly intelligent, technological y and scientifically savvy species. The animated comedy large y avoids the social commentary imbedded in the Apes films r in Kubrick's space epic, and yet, it offers some "lite" food or thought. Its satire of the politics of space exploration and nding, the shallowness of "Earth culture," and its potentially egative impact on extraterrestrial communities, coupled with its positioning of the primate chimpanzees as more intelligent, umane, and responsible than their human counterparts, reflect certain social conscience on the part of the film's creators. ndeed, this last element obviously undoes Kubrick's imagery of rimate savagery, so central in contrast to the human astronauts nd the megalith, which has been read as racist in its potential lignment of "less highly evolved" apes with so-called primitive eoples. A racial reading, similar to that in Eric Greene's Planet if the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films nd Television Series (1996), might prove interesting; apart fro he chimps and one scientist with a clearly South Asian accent, he most prominent faces "of color" in this cast are the brightly inted Malgorians. A t oug t e 1 m ts somew at u tt mtg t prove an nteresting opener or icebreaker for a course that makes a larger ontextualization of a number oftopics, including representa ions of space exploration as well as the use of animal subjects or experiments deemed too dangerous for humans. Pedagogi ally, engaging in a topic with a student-friendly text that both ntertains as it can be used for social analysis can often result n generating discussion and building up a friendly audience efore more difficult texts or topics are engaged. Clearly, Space himps cries out for a reading through-or could be used o illustrate-Donna Haraway's fascinating examinations of umans, primates and race in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women 1991) or Modest-_Witness@Second_Millennium. Female_ anMeets Onco MouseTM Feminism and Technoscience 1997). It also engages directly with postcolonial theory in its irect demonstration of the negative impact of Encounter, as ell as its call for responsibility in exploration. And yet it does ot question the fundamental paradigm itself: space exploration s depicted as exciting, heroic, and necessary; humans-represented by the chimps-are fundamentally compassionate, but learly culturally and technologically superior to other beings n the universe, as Zartog's aspirations to appropriate human ultural artefacts reveal. Escape Pod [podcast] lfred E. Guy Jr. scape Pod. Founder and Editor, Stephen Eley. Managing Editor, Jeremiah Tolbert. Escape Artists. May 2005-present. On April15, I caught up to Escape Pod. And if that sentence oesn't make sense, I envy you, because it means Escape Pod is n your future. Escape Pod is an SF podcast produced by Steve Eley. Each eek since May 2005, Eley has provided an audio performance fan SF short story; broadcasts average about 40 minutes, eaning the stories are roughly 6,000 words, or 15 published ages. There have been 200 full-length episodes and roughly 50 'flash" episodes, which average about 5 to 7 minutes long. The short version of this review is: Escape Pod is wonderful, nd if you haven't listened to it, you must. It's also 100 percent ree. One easy way to access the stories is via the "podcast" section of the iTunes Store. You can also visit Escape Pod's Web site ( for information on other ways to ownload or stream the episodes. The stories include a mix of science fiction and fantasy. early all are reprints from the main SF magazines, although here are occasional Escape Pod originals (notably the "Union ues" series-see below). To my taste, at least a third of the tories rate at "very good" or higher; another third are either njoyable or at least interesting and provocative. The roster of tories on Escape Pod ranges very widely. There are a handful ftruly classic stories, including Robert Heinlein's ''All You ombies, Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall," and Robert Silverberg's 'When We Went to See the End of the World." At the next rank f canon for the SF scholar or deep fan, a substantial portion fthe stories come from top contemporary authors, including SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 35


1za et ear, av1 nn, e 1ang, ory octorow, ancy ress, Ken MacLeod, Robert Reed, Mike Resnick, Benjamin osenbaum, Robert Sawyer, and Michael Swanwick. Tastes ary, and you might choose to highlight different luminaries, bu here's no denying the remarkable collection of talent available. f special interest to SFRA readers, perhaps, are Escape Pod tories by recent SFRA honorees, including 2009 guest authors ichael Bishop, Andy Duncan, and Paul Di Filippo. For five eeks each spring, Escape Pod also hosts performances of that ear's Hugo-nominated short stories. The authors I've mentioned so far represent perhaps 50 of he 200 full-length stories in the series, but as powerful as it s to access such high-quality productions of their work-for ree-they are not the only reasons to subscribe. In fact, I've een delighted with the authors that Escape Pod has introduced e to for the first time. Once again, tastes will vary, but here rea handful of the most powerful stories that I would likely not ave encountered without Escape Pod: "Squonk the Dragon" y Pete Butler; "The King's Tail" by Constance Cooper; "The inner Game" by Steve Eley; "The Life and Times of Penguin" y Eugie Foster; "Cinderella Suicide" by Samantha Renderon; "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss" by Kij Johnson; "Tk'tk'tk" y David D. Levine; "Friction" by Will Mcintosh; "Ulla" by aniel Schwabauere; and "Blink. Don't Blink." by Ramona ouise Wheeler. This list includes stories of the following SF ubgenres: children's fantasy, political allegory, hard SF, cyber unk, first contact, and space opera. And that hardly exhausts he range of the podcast. Worth special mention is the Union ues series of stories by Jeffrey R. DeRego, currently at nine i n tallments, which creates a near future where superheroes with -Men-like powers have been licensed-and unionized-in an ffort to normalize their relations with the rest of us. Each episode of Escape Pod begins with a brief biography f the story's author. For the first two years, introductions also included two or three minutes of reflections by Eley-on SF, on riting, or on cultural and political themes. These discussions ave been moved to the few minutes after the story (which Eley ails the "outro"), which now also includes listener feedback on revious weeks' stories. The audio quality is generally pristine. here's almost no trolling for donations. Eley occasionally in ludes a paid plug, but only briefly and for appropriate items ( S F ovels, Escape Pod productions do not include authors reading heir own work; they are also somewhat minimalist, eschewing usic or special effects. Eley himself is the reader for about half fthe first 150 stories. Guest readers occasionally feature an specia ll y idiosyncratic voice or style, but most of the perfor ances evince a straightforward aesthetic that keeps the focus n the stories. (Two of my favorite guest readers are Frank Key nd Anna Eley, Steve's wife.) Eley has been appearing in fewer pisodes during the past year, in part to avoid burnout and in art because of the company's expansion into two other pod asts: Pseudopod (October 2006), which focuses on horror, and odCastle (April 2008), which features fantasy. Although SF films are a central part of my teaching prac ice, I haven't yet incorporated audio books. I do already teach everal stories that have been produced on the podcast, and on he basis of my practice with film and TV adaptations, here's ow I'd be likely to incorporate Escape Pod: (I) Pass out a short 36 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 ec t10n o t e st ory on paper m c ass l a ces where a reader could make choices about tone, pace, or ol u me. (3) Experiment with students reading a few passages n very different ways. (4) Ask students to reflect on how these ariati o ns might affect their sense of the overall story. (5) Listen o get h e r to that same section from Escape Pod. (6) Ask students o discuss the choices Escape Pod's reader made, and what ef ec t s these seem to have on the story. Perhaps my only critique of the series is that its selections k e w toward more humor than I might choose on my own. h irty to 40 of the full-length stories have either a madcap, o st mod ern quality or are resolved by classic comedy conven ions. (Although for a truly brilliant, humorous flash piece, isten to "The Team-Mate Reference Problem in Final Stage emon Confrontation" by Constance Cooper.) I don't think I'm umo rles s but in SF, my preference is for tough and thoughtful athe r than clever. I think Connie Willis's Lincoln's Dreams is n e of the world's great books, for instance, but I don't really ike To Say Nothing of the Dog. The percentage of comic stories on Escape Pod probably efl e c ts in part Eley's taste, and in part that such material comes cross more readily in performance. Where reading to yourself llo ws you to pause, reread, and ponder, audio books move for ard relentlessly. This forward momentum lends itself to stories ith a first-person perspective or a strong narrative voice. Once ou've enriched your pool with these kinds of stories, I think a igh e r percentage of these voices are going to be eccentric or the r wise "off." As someone who commutes 150 miles a day or work, I've noticed I listen to more suspense and plot-heavy 1 ction in the car and save poetry for reading at home. Similarly, s c ap e Pod sometimes emphasizes playfulness over profundity. But this is a small concern in light of the deep, varied bril i a n ce of Escape Pod's offerings. Overall, I can't recommend t h e ri e s highly enough. And if this review offers more endorsee n t than analysis, I think you'll understand why when you a mple Escape Pod's wares. After discovering the series in 00 8, I listened to as many as two stories a day for months at a i me What I refer to at the top of this review as "catching up" is h e day when I had exhausted the series' backlog-now I have o wait for my weekly fix every Thursday. If you're new to the odcast you have the opportunity to burn its candle at both end or more than a hundred hours yet. Happy listening. The Sandman: Brief Lives [graphic novel] Dom inick Grace eil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, and Vince Locke. The Sandman: Brie Lives. New York: DC Comics, 1994. The comic book The Sandman was published by DC Com c s from 1989 to 1996. Written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by a r i ou s hands (the original artists, Sam Keith and Mike Drin enberg, are credited as cocreators), the series was the flagship i tl e ofDC's then-new Vertigo imprint and has become one of he most highly regarded mainstream comics. Issue 19 of the


ream won t e or antasy wa r or s ort tchon, t e on y omic ever to do so, and is included in Dream Country, the third olume in the collected series. The series has been kept in print n the form of ten trade paperbacks (an eleventh collection of ew stories was created and published in 2003). The Sandman is nusual in that Gaiman conceived fairly early on of a finite run or the series (mainstream comics are in general ongoing serials) nd managed to convince DC to let the series end when and as e wanted it to. The ten volumes that comprise the original run ontribute to the overall arc but are also reasonably accessible s stand-alone works to those unfamiliar with other volumes; he analogy might be a later volume in an ongoing SF series that es onates more deeply with long-term readers but that can be icked up and read by a neophyte Brief Lives is volume 8 in the eries and one of the longest story arcs; while some of its ele ents will go over the heads of new readers and others acquire heir full significance only in subsequent volumes, the book can e read as a self-contained work. Gaiman's forward asserts that the reader needs to know only he following: "There are seven beings that aren't gods, who xisted before humanity dreamed of gods and will exist after the ast god is dead. They are called The Endless. They are embodi ents of (in order of age) Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, esire, Despair and Delirium. Approximately three hundred ears ago Destruction abandoned his realm." That is indeed, for he most part, all a reader needs to know, and enough for the stute reader to suspect that the following narrative will involve quest. Delirium (who used to be Desire but changed-change is one of the major themes of the book) misses her absent brothe nd convinces Dream to accompany her on a quest for the issing Destruction. Yes, they go looking for Destruction, the rony of which is deliberate and leads to a major narrative thread ompleted only in the penultimate volume in the series As a quest narrative, Brief Lives is unconventional in many ays. For one thing, it reverses the usual quest trajectory from he familiar to the unfamiliar world in that the questors are not umans who enter supernatural realms but rather supernatu al creatures who enter the mundane world on their quest; one igh t liken it on this front to a work such as Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn. The book's relatively few instances of humor nvolve their unfamiliarity with mundane life, such as, for nstance, how to drive a car without drawing the attention of a raffic cop. Second, the narrative is almost as much antiquest s actual quest, in that Dream has no real interest in finding is brother but merely seeks diversion, developing a belief in he quest as quest only as it proceeds. Third, and perhaps most significantly, the climax is highly unconventional. Dream and elirium do find Destruction but do not restore him to his for er position, as we might expect given the common quest motif f br inging back the lost thing and using it to restore order. nstead, Destruction simply gives them dinner, says he's not going back, and departs to unknown. Though Dream seems hanged by the experience, whether he has in fact fully grasped r accepted Destruction's rationales for his abdication is not ully clear; Gaiman deliberately frustrates the expectations set y convention about how a quest will change the questor and/or he questor's world. Readers familiar with Gaiman's novels may ot be surprised by this; indeed, Brief Lives is in many ways an nticipation of American Gods and features versions of some t e go s w o appear m t at nove as we as some para e vents and one major symbol, the coin. Instead, Gaiman uses the quest structure to meditate on ubjects such as mortality and change. Though the protagonists re theoretically Endless, their functions govern major aspects f the lives of ephemeral creatures of all kinds, and it is this esponsibility that has driven Destruction to abandon his realm. estruction as a phenomenon remains a reality in the world, but estruction personified is no longer responsible for it, no longer urdened with the implications of his function. Indeed, he has nstead become a creator of sorts, as an artist, worker on the onstruction of the Panama Canal, and even chef. His surrender f his function coincided with the birth of the Age of Reason nd its inevitable trajectory on the path to nuclear Armageddon. hough he is Destruction, he chooses, in effect, not to be, in ontrast to other supernatural figures we encounter in the work, uch as Ishtar or Bast, who continue in reduced or attenuated orms as tragic shadows of their former selves, or Delirium, who as changed from Desire by changes in the world, or, obviously ost significantly, Dream, who fails to recognize that he has hanged but who is put in the volume on the path that leads to is ultimate transformation. As an unconventional quest narrative, Brief Lives is a useful ork with which to unpack the conventions of the form. As a editation on the meaning and function of gods and myths as anifestations of aspects of human reality, as supposedly end ess and eternal manifestations of the ephemeral, the brief, the ork is considerably more interesting and a useful text to dis uss when considering the purposes myths serve. In this regard, it can be compared productively with other works in the comics radition, ranging from Kirby's New Gods or Eternals (Gaiman as in fact authored an Eternals reboot for Marvel) to more evisionist works such as Alan Moore's Miracleman. In prose tction, Gaiman might be considered productively in relation to oger Zelazny or, more recently, Neal Stephenson, or, on the ore fantasy-oriented end of the spectrum, Robert Holdstock. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Newspaper Dailies, Volume One, 1929-1930 [graphic novel] Dom inick Grace hi lip Nowlan and Dick Calkins. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Newspaper Dailies, Volume One, 1929-1930. Nechannock, PA: Hermes, 2008. We are currently in the golden age of comic strip and comic ook reprints, with numerous publishers bringing literally ozens of older works, both famous and obscure, back into rint For science fiction scholars (and enthusiasts), few of these re likely to be of more interest than the Hermes Press integral eprint of the seminal newspaper comic strip Buck Rogers in he 25th Century, which (if all goes according to plan) will be eprinte d in its entirety in several volumes over the next few ears. The first volume came out late last ear, and the sec-SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 37


n an t u are ort commg. ecause t e stnp ran or c ose o forty years, finally being retired in the mid-1960s, this is a ajor undertaking. Volume I presents the first 582 daily strips, close to the first o years of continuity, in a handsome 12-by-9 hardback format n high-quality paper, with two strips appearing per page. Conequently, the strips are reproduced at a generous size, not quite s large as they would have appeared when first published but till big enough for plenty of clarity and detail to show through. his is not as important for Buck Rogers as it might be for some ther strips, given the relative unsophistication of Calkins's art, ut it does contribute to ease of reading. Buck Rogers is really more important for its formal innova ions and for its pop culture penetration than for its aesthetic ualities. It was one of the first continuity-based adventure trips and the first science fiction strip, though it debuted in pa ers the same day as Tarzan, so serial adventure/SF was clearly n the air. From very early on it brought into the newspapers n array of major SF tropes, from suspended animation (Buck s from 1929 and spends 500 years asleep to awake in 2429, hough there is no significant use made of this fact for satirical r any other purpose) through the conquering of America by ostile forces (the first few months detail adventures involving he resistance of intrepid rebels against the "Mongol Reds" who ave conquered most of North America, though again there is ittle serious consideration either of the Mongol motivations or he militaristic, even fascistic, American culture that fights for 'freedom"), superscience (antigravity belts, space ships, various uperweapons, etc.-indeed, Ron Goulart claims in his intro uction that the strip's tie-in products included a toy ray gun hat made a "zap" noise then fired, thereby introducing "zap" as verb and a weapon-modifying adjective to the English lan uage), robots, domed cities, and, early on, space opera, as the ongol Reds quickly recede as foes when Tiger Men from Mars rn up and Buck's spacefaring adventures begin. Especially early on, Nowlan and Calkins are clearly trying o develop an appropriate sense of pace for a narrative unfold. ng at the rate of three or four panels per day at most, as well as grammar of comics, and even by the end of the volume they ave not fully mastered either narrative pacing or strip design. Some standard SF strip devices (e.g., the cutaway illustration bowing the schematics of futuristic ships) appear quickly, but he strip rarely looks truly futuristic except superficially. In the trst few months, characters actually fly biplanes, though anti ravity rocket ships soon appear. Most of the stories, as well, are superficial and adolescent n their sensibilities, especially when the focus shifts from dventure to romance, especially the romance between Buck nd Wilma Deering, the intrepid "girl" soldier he meets upon wakening in 2429 and with whom he almost immediately falls n love. Many of the sequences stumble when combat with robot rmies, or negotiations with alien races (or Mongol Reds), or uperscience industrial espionage gets mixed up with Buck and/ r Wilma acting like a grade 5 student's idea of a mature human eing in love. (A comment by a newspaper in 1930, reprinted s an example of early promotional material, that the strip has 'tremendous boy appeal" is all too true, sadly.) Nevertheless, for a course focusing on the history of SF, espe ially in a pop culture context, Buck Rogers offers a fascinating 38 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 ecor o t e eve opment not on yo a popu ar-orm narraive but also of multimedia penetration and merchandising. Even ithin its first couple of years, the strip targeted a developing andom by offering pictures to those who wrote in, starting polls bout what uniform Buck should wear, and so on, and the edito ial materials provide insight into the merchandizing of Buck ogers and into the development of early tie-ins such as com cs, Big Little books, and film. The strip's Mongols, its Martian iger Men, the relationship between Buck and Wilma, and even ccasionally the art anticipate the later but superior Flash Gor on strip by Alex Raymond and other popular SF motifs. And bile the strip is arguably both sexist and racist, it is equally rguably open to more complex readings, since Wilma is pre ented (at times) as a capable soldier-she rescues Buck in his arliest adventures and occasionally overcomes him in othersnd the Mongols, though drawn as Oriental stereotypes, are not resented merely as the yellow peril but are given a range of otivations and characteristics. One might argue that they are resented as an array of cliches rather than as just one, but then, o are Buck and the other white characters. And the story does ccasionally attempt to make something approximating plau ible use of its SF elements, such as the limits and implications f the antigravity belts, problems of motion and inertia in space, nd others. In possibly the most interesting gesture toward a enuinely SFnal device, one sequence involves using Phobos as weapon against ground-based Martian Tiger Men forces. Buck ogers is not great science fiction, but it is important early pop SF and could lead to rewarding discussion and exploration of SF s a pop culture phenomenon in an array of course contexts. DODD @)0[ utvrP Compiled by Jen Gunnels Call for Papers-Book itle: Participatory Popular Culture and Literacy Across Bor ders opic: We will explore how students' online literacy practices intersect with online popular culture. The book will draw chapters from literacy and popular culture scholars from a variety of countries to illustrate and analyze how literacy practices that are mediated through and influenced by popular culture create both opportunities and tensions for secondary and university students. We invite theoretical, empirical, and pedagogical essays for the collection. Areas of participatory popular culture may include, but not be limited to, fan fiction, fan forums, video, blogs, social networking sites, remixes, music creation or downloading, video games, comics and graphic novels, and multiperson role-playing games. ue date: January 15,2010. 2-3-page proposal. Inquiries wel come.


Call for Papers-Book itle: Superheroes Since the Year 2000 opic: Submissions are invited for an upcoming edited book cov ering the superhero genre. There is a great need to re interpret such issues as morality, power, patriotism, and heroism in this new millennium, especially as events such as 9-11, terrorism, torture, corporate profiteering, economic decline, and techno logical advances impact the United States and the world. This book will focus on the superhero genre in all facets of media, not just the printed comics. Articles on superhero television shows, movies, and online sites are welcome as well. How ever, the article must address the topic since the year 2000. For our purposes, superheroes can be defined as someone hav ing abilities beyond those of normal humans (in other words, someone with superpowers or powers gained through train ing). For example, characters such as Batman, Green Arrow, Harry Potter, and James Bond classifY as superheroes. ue date: October 31, 2009. 500-word abstract or full paper; CV for each author or coauthor. ontact: Kevin Williams ( : Call for Papers-Book itle: Stephenie Meyers s Twilight Saga opic: Together with my colleague Marijane Osborn, I am editing a collection of essays on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga. This volume is in the proposal stage and we already have many ofthe essays we will likely use in the collection. What we are hoping for is essays to top off the collection. The collection casts a broad net, covering the books, the film(s), fan activity, and other Meyer, vampire/ werewolf tie-ins. While we are interested in any topics relat ing to the series, we are particularly hoping for papers that address some of the following: fan fiction, fan activity, the film(s), posthumanism, werewolves/shape shifters, Native American themes and characters, and religion!Mormonism. While we are targeting an audience that includes members of the profession, most of the requests we get for critical infor mation on Meyer comes from undergraduates, so the essays should be accessible to the clever and motivated undergradu ate student. ue date: Not specified. Send query, abstract, or complete paper. ontact: Amy Clark (amclarke AT Call for Papers-Book itle: Finale-Considering the Ends of Television Shows opic: At least since the end of M*A *S*H (1972), the final episodes of television series have often become "cultural spectacles" (as Joanne Moreale deems them in an important essay on the Seinfeld finale). Recently, the finales of Life on Mars, The Sopranos, and Battlestar Galactica proved contro versial, engendering water cooler debates around the world. The final episode of LOST in May 2010 may likely prove the mostuzze m e story o t e me 1um. a es asci nate us because they bring "'verses" to an end-in the case oflong-running shows, very complicated 'verses, exposing in the process our cultural obsessions, our "reading" practices, our imagined identities, our fascination with television. ontact: David Lavery (david.Iavery AT ue date: None specified. Send proposal and briefbio. : Call for Papers-Journal itle: Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History, vol. 2 opic: Reception, the journal of the Reception Study Society, invites submissions for its second issue, for fall2009. The journal seeks to promote dialog and discussion among schol ars in several related fields: reader-response criticism and pedagogy, reception study, history of reading and the book, audience and communication studies, institutional studies and histories, as well as interpretive strategies related to feminism, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and postcolonial studies. The journal publishes theoretical and practical analyses in these fields, focusing mainly but not exclusively on the literature, culture, and media of England and the United States. ue date: August 15, 2009. 500-word proposal. ontact: Philip Goldstein (pgold AT, University of Delaware, 333 Shipley St., #309, Wilmington, DE 19801. : Call for Papers-Conference itle: Southwest/Texas PCA/ACA onference date: February 10-13, 2010 onference site: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Albuquerque, NM opic: This is a special CFP on the works of Joss Whedon, including Dol/house, Dr. Horrible s Sing-along Blog, com ics (Buffy season 8, Astonishing X-Men, Runaways, Spike, Angel, Fray), Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Serenity. Topics might include the construction of place and space; the intersec tions of memory, identity, and consciousness; socioeconomic class; sexuality and gender performance; race and ethnicity; teaching Joss Whedon's work. All Whedonverse topics will b considered. Please be sure to check out the essays published in Slayage: The Online Journal of Buffy Studies (http://slaya as well as the many publications on Whedon's work before submitting. Familiarity with the field is expected. ue date: November 15, 2009, for proposal submissions; December 15, 2009, for registration (required to appear on program). 250-word paper proposals, 500-word panel propos als; include full contact info (name, institutional affiliation if any, postal address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail) for all participants, working titles for proposals, and current CV. on tact: Both Alyson Buckman (abuckman AT and Tamy Burnett (tamy.burnettAT : SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 39

PAGE 40 The Science Fiction Research Association is the oldest professional organization for the study of science fiction and fantasy literature and film. Founded in 1970, the SFRA was organized to improve classroom teaching; to encourage and assist scholarship; and to evaluate and publicize new books and magazines dealing with fantastic literature and film, teaching and materials, and allied media performances. Among the membership are people from many countries-students, teachers, professors, librarians, futurologists, readers, authors, booksellers, editors, publishers, archivists, and scholars in many disciplines. Academic affiliation is not a requirement for membership. Visit the SFRA Web site at For a membership application, contact the SFRA Treasurer or see the Web site. President Lisa Yaszek SFRA Executive Committee Vice President Secretary Rochelle Rodrigo English Department Mesa Community College 1833 West Southern Ave. Ritch Calvin Literature, Communication, and Culture Georgie Institute ofTechnology Atlanta, GA 30332-0165 16A Erland Rd. Stony Brook, NY 11790-1114 Treasurer Donald M. Hassler 1226 Woodhill Dr. Kent, OH 44240 SFRA Standard Membership Benefits SFRA Review Four issues per year. This newsletter/journal surveys the field of science fiction scholarship, including extensive reviews of fiction and nonfiction books and media, review articles, and listings of new and forthcoming books. The Review also prints news about SFRA internal affairs, calls for papers, and updates on works in progress. SFRA Annual Directory One issue per year. Members' names, contact information, and areas of interest. SFRA Listserv Ongoing. The SFRA listserv allows members to discuss top ics and news of interest to the SF community, and to query the collective knowledge of the membership. To join the listserv or obtain further information, visit the listserv information page: Extrapolation Three issues per year. The oldest scholarly journal in the field, with critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, book reviews, letters, occasional special topic issues, and an annual index. Science Fiction Studies Three issues per year. This scholarly journal includes critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, review articles, reviews, notes, letters, international coverage, and an annual index. 40 SFRA Review 289 Summer 2009 Mesa, AZ 85202 Immediate Past President Adam Frisch 343 Lakeshore Dr. McCook Lake, SD 57049-4002 SFRA Optional Membership Benefits (Discounted subscription rates for members) Foundation Three issues per year. British scholarly journal, with critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, reviews, and letters. Add to dues: $33 seamail; $40 airmail. The New York Review of Science Fiction Twelve issues per year. Reviews and features. Add to dues: $28 domestic; $30 domestic institutional; $34 Canada; $40 UK and Europe; $42 Pacific and Australia. Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts Four issues per year Scholarly journal, with critical and bibliographical articles and reviews. Add to dues: $40/1 year; $100/3 years. Femspec Critical and creative works. Add to dues: $40 domestic indi vidual; $96 domestic institutional; $50 international individual; $105 international institutional. Science Fiction Research Association

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