CFP: Digital Science Fiction

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 14:41

While I don't have time to submit an article for this special issue, given the wide range of media engagement with science fiction (and science fictional themes) these days, I certainly think it's worth sharing:

 

CFP: “Digital Science Fiction”

Science Fiction Studies special issue  

(Guest Editor: Paweł Frelik)

In the last few decades, digital technologies have dramatically reconfigured not only the circumstances of media production and dissemination, but also cultural genres and conventions expressed in them. Science fiction has not been immune to these changes, but their impact extends far beyond mere enhancement of sound or vision. In older media, such as science fiction film and television, special effects and non-linear editing have affected aesthetics as well as story-telling strategies and stories themselves. New sf media have emerged, too, most readily exemplified by video games.

While similar technologies have long been a thematic staple of sf, the actual arrival of digitality has proven somewhat problematic. Science fiction emerged as a predominantly narrative discourse and much of its cultural relevance has so far been ascribed to its capacity to address contemporary issues and anxieties through stories— but stories that are, ideally, plot- and psychology-driven, formally sophisticated, and conceptually complex. However, the centrality of traditionally-understood narrative in science fiction stands in direct opposition to the character of digital technology, which, as Andrew Darley noted, “endorses form over content, the ephemeral and superficial over permanence and depth, and the image itself over the image as referent.” This incompatibility has resulted in frequent denunciations of sf media forms that de-privilege narrative in favor of visuality or simulation.

Science Fiction Studies seeks articles for a special issue devoted to “Digital Science Fiction.” Both in-depth analyses of individual authors or texts and more general, theoretical discussions are invited. We are specifically interested in submissions focused on videogames and virtual environments; digital art, graphics, and illustration; electronic music; music videos; and apps, software, and cybertexts.

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • critical and theoretical tools and approaches to digital science fiction;
  • digital technologies and their impact on definitions of science fiction;
  • digitality and sf’s thematic preoccupations – limitation, extension, revision?
  • visuality and simulation as new modes of meaning-creation;
  • the politics of digital science fiction;
  • digitality and the transformation of sf narrative;
  • materiality of digital technologies in science fiction;
  • digital transmedia texts.

Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted by 15 February 2014 to Paweł Frelik (<pawel[dot]frelik[at]umcs[dot]edu[dot]pl). Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by 1 March 2014. Full drafts (5,000 to 7,000 words) will be due by 31 August 2014. The issue is provisionally scheduled for November 2015.

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