CFP: Science Fiction Beyond the Western Tradition

Anthology on Science Fiction Beyond the Western Tradition (working title)
Editors: Yomna Saber (Qatar University), Amy Christmas (Qatar University)
Stichtag: 01.09.2017

“Science fiction is the major non-realistic mode of imaginative creation of our epoch. Why? Because science and technology are continually changing the conditions of our existence. And because science […] is the principal way modern culture locates us imaginatively in time and space.” (H. Bruce Franklin, 2007)

Over the past fifty years, science fiction has established itself as a serious genre, one which invites formal academic inquiry, while creatively underpinning our personal and social trajectories in an ever-increasingly technoscientific world. Science fiction narratives, whether in literary or cinematic registers, help us to understand ourselves, our societies, our politics and our world, by experimenting with alternatives, possibilities, and communing with the ever-present (and variously embodied) Other. Furthermore, as the critical history of science fiction in the Western tradition has clearly demonstrated, science fiction texts are culturally revealing in that they often key into and illuminate social concerns, anxieties, and the anticipated shapes of futures yet to come.

While science fiction in the Western, English-speaking tradition continues to dominate scholarship within the field, we are interested in applying the same critical principles to science fiction outside of the West. It is our intention to produce a high-quality introductory reader to serve as a starting point to the genre in non-Western cultures, nations and regions, with an emphasis on scholarship produced both on and by non-Western writers and academics. We hope that by investigating science fiction outside of the West, readers may gain insight into the genre across a range of cultural traditions, while also developing new and informed perspectives on these cultures themselves.

Outside of analyses concerned primarily with historical development or generic conventions, questions to consider may include (but are not limited to):

  • What is the creative or critical function of science fiction?
  • How does science fiction enable specific cultures to express or explore themselves?
  • What alternatives does science fiction pose? To what? And why?
  • How does science fiction intersect with issues of nationalism, language, religion, gender or cultural identity?
  • What do science fictional futures reveal about the way a nation looks forward?
  • How do science fiction texts communicate concerns or needs regarding technology, science, environment, evolution, progress, identity, politics, etc.?

We are interested in high-quality academic writing on science fiction literature or film texts by authors or directors from anywhere outside of the Anglophone West and Europe. We are also interested in historical / survey chapters that can provide an overview of science fiction practice in a particular nation, culture or region.

At this time, we are particularly seeking proposals on work produced in Latin America, South-East Asia, and the Arab world.

We hope to cover a wide range of historical periods, media, styles and themes; we realise that science fiction outside of the West has evolved differently in different cultures – our ability to document these differences will be one of our collection’s strengths. As such, while we hope to receive chapters on well-known names such as Liu Cixin, Nnedi Okorafor, Lauren Beukes et al., we are also relying on our contributors to bring to our readers’ attention new and/or lesser-known texts that may be considered generically and culturally relevant. We take a flexible view of what constitutes a ‘text’: literature may be expanded to include graphic novels, comics, manga, etc., while film may also cover television and new media such as videogames.

Submission procedure:

Researchers are invited to submit a 350-500 word proposal outlining the content and aims of their chapter, on or before 1st September 2017. Authors will be formally notified of their acceptance by 30th September 2017. Full chapters will be expected before the 15th January 2018. Chapters will be subjected to a double-blind peer review. Please submit proposals as Word documents to both and, using the subject line “Science Fiction Beyond the Western Tradition”.
Publisher: This proposed collection is currently under consideration at Palgrave Macmillan for their Global Science Fiction series.
Editors: Yomna Saber (Qatar University), Amy Christmas (Qatar University)
Inquiries may be directed to either or

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