Book Author Sought: Joss Whedon, J. J. Abrams, and the Fantastic

full name / name of organization: 
A. Bowdoin Van Riper/Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
contact email: 

Joss Whedon and J. J. Abrams and have done for the new century what George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg did for the last: defined the look and feel of the Fantastic on screens large and small. Their credits—as writers, directors, producers, and series creators—range across science fiction, fantasy, and horror, from Lost and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers and a rebooted Star Trek, and (in projects like Alias) blur the dramatic lines between the mundane and the fantastic. Their parallel, yet wildly different, careers stand at the heart of the twenty-first century renaissance of fantastic film and television.

Rowman & Littlefield is seeking an author for a single-author volume of approximately 80,000 words—working title Joss Whedon and J. J. Abrams: Masters of the Fantastic—that would asses their work and influence. Completion of the manuscript by the end of 2014 (so that the book will appear in conjunction with the release of Whedon's Avengers 2 and Abrams' Star Wars VII in the summer of 2015) is considered highly desirable.

The ideal author for this project will have solid academic credentials and the ability to write vividly and engagingly for non-academic audiences. Rowman & Littlefield hopes to issue the book as a general-interest title—one conceived and written, from the ground up, to engage intelligent readers who are not professional scholars—if the right author can be found.

Content and organization are left to the author, but in addition to discussing their major films and television series, the finished work should:

  • Take a broad view of both careers, acknowledging Whedon's genre work as a scriptwriter and Abrams' as a producer
  • Relate the work of Whedon and Abrams to larger developments in sf/fantasy/horror film and television in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  • Discuss the two careers in relation to one another at some point, even if only in the introduction and/or conclusion

Above all, the work should have a strong authorial "voice" and a clear point-of-view that is developed throughout the book. Comprehensive coverage is important, but the book should read as an interpretive study, not a heavily annotated filmography.

Prospective authors are invited to submit an outline (2-3 paragraph overview of the volume and a chapter breakdown with a 1-paragraph abstract of each chapter), plus a brief CV highlighting relevant publications, to:

Dr. A. Bowdoin Van Riper
Series Editor, "Science Fiction Television," Rowman & Littlefield

Deadline for Proposals: 1 December 2013