The Science Fiction Western: Representation of Female Characters in the Late Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Media

deadline for submissions: 
March 25, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Melanie A. Marotta, PhD

I am seeking original, previously unpublished essays for a collection tentatively titled The Science Fiction Western: Representation of Female Characters in the Late Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Media. An academic publisher has expressed interest.

Unfortunately, one of my contributors has pulled out of the project. As a result, I am seeking an additional essay. While I am looking for an essay, I am happy to accept more if they contain examinations of previously unaddressed areas of study.

In reference to historians’ accounts of the frontier, Susan Armitage writes that “Women are either absent or incidental to the story”.While women may have been attracted to the Frontier Myth concept, they are infrequently the main focus of American Western stories. Adult males, however, appeared prominently within literature in connection to this myth. Even after its closure in 1890, the frontier continued to live on in literary, cinematic, and gaming forms.

With the advent of the late twentieth and twenty-first century, the science fiction western has increased in popularity and, with that interest, an increase in focus has been placed on female characters.

Study direction: This study will investigate the changing role of female characters in the late twentieth and twenty-first-century science fiction Western. Are the roles for female changing or are they recreations of traditional / typical Western roles for women?

For this study, I have chosen to examine the period that began just before the release of Kevin Costner’s monumental film, Dances with Wolves, as this is when popularity for the Western was once again revived. I have also chosen to include the Science Fiction Western (the frontier is explored on the ground in the future) and the Space Western (the frontier is explored in space). I am also interested in the portrayal of African American and Native American female characters.

Works that could be considered:

Television: The Expanse, Killjoys, Defiance, Star Trek series (in particular Deep Space Nine, Voyager)

Films: Cowboys vs. Aliens, Terminator, Avatar, Star Wars

Gaming: Fallout 4, Red Dead Revolver

Literature: Jonatham Letham’ Girl in the Landscape, Octavia E. Butler’s Parables, Steven King’s Dark Tower series, Mari Collier’s Earthbound, Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Please do not submit abstracts about anime, comic books, graphic novels, tabletop gaming, and Firefly.

The essays will be grouped into the following sections: literature, film, television, and gaming.

The deadline for a 350-500 word abstract is March 25, 2017.

Abstracts of proposed essays (as a Word or pdf attachment) and a brief CV should be sent to femalesfwestern@gmail.com.

Acceptances will be sent immediately. Length of completed essays is 5,000-7,000 words.