Serenity: Essays on Joss Whedon’s ‘Big Damn Movie’ *EXTENDED DEADLINE*

deadline for submissions: 
February 13, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Frederick Blichert, McFarland Press

EXTENDED DEADLINE: Abstracts due February 13, 2017.

Joss Whedon’s short-lived series Firefly developed a fierce following while it aired from 2002 to 2003. After its cancellation, fans cried foul and demanded more, which eventually led to the 2005 feature film follow-up Serenity, along with several tie-in comic books. The series and film were celebrated for their mixing of science fiction and western iconography, dystopic settings, progressive gender representations, underdog storylines, and clever and fast-paced dialogue.

Thus far, Firefly and Serenity have inspired four essay anthologies, a special issue of the journal Slayage, and countless essays published elsewhere. Despite this, relatively few publications have focused specifically on Serenity, with Firefly often standing at the forefront of critical and scholarly consideration. It is certainly difficult to divorce the film from the series, but numerous features of Serenity do set it apart from Firefly.

J.P. Telotte explores elements of Serenity that are specific to cinema in “Serenity, Cinematisation and the Perils of Adaptation,” while Ina Rae Hark reads Serenity through the lens of sequel studies in “Decent Burial or Miraculous Resurrection: Serenity, Mourning, and Sequels to Dead Television Shows.” My own forthcoming book on Serenity looks at the cult status of the film, framed alongside that of the series. Beyond these examples, relatively little work exists with Serenity as the primary focus of study.

This anthology aims to build on the excellent scholarship already in existence, while zeroing in on Serenity, not as an entirely stand-alone text divorced from Firefly, but rather as a rich site of reflection in its own right. Most if not all essays will at least touch on Firefly, and some may discuss the series at length. This is encouraged, as long as the topic of discussion is either centred on Serenity or seeks to illustrate contrast between the two texts.

Essay topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Genre
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Seriality
  • Transmedia storytelling
  • Intertextuality
  • Paratextuality
  • Adaptation
  • Fandom/fan fiction
  • Spectatorship
  • Authorship

This collection seeks to be engaging for fans and scholars alike. Writing style should be academic while still accessible to an audience without a deep knowledge of film studies. The essays will ideally cover a broad range of topics, offering a variety of entry points into Serenity while avoiding repetition across essays.

Only original essays will be considered for inclusion, to be published in this collection exclusively. The length of the final essay should be approximately 5,000 words. Authors will receive detailed formatting instructions along with due dates for submissions and revisions when their proposals are approved. Final submissions may be edited for grammar, clarity, and style, though any major changes will not be published without prior consultation with the author.

Please submit a 200-300-word abstract and preliminary bibliography in PDF or .doc format. Include a brief bio with any relevant experience, education, and publications.

Send your proposal to Frederick Blichert ( by February 13, 2017. You will be notified in early March if your proposal has been accepted. First drafts will be due in June.