UPDATE: [20th] CFP: Contemporary Gothic Science Fiction (deadline 05/05/2008; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Sara-Patricia Wasson
contact email: 

The deadline for abstracts has been extended to 5 May 2008.

Papers are sought for an uncontracted critical collection exploring gothic
traces in science fiction film and text since 1980. 'Gothic science
fiction' is a hybrid genre, even arguably oxymoronic: as Fred Botting
notes, unlike 'gothic', science fiction usually projects its contemporary
anxieties onto the future rather than the past. Recent forms of science
fiction like alternative history 'steampunk' may unsettle this
contradiction. Papers are invited which explore or challenge this hybrid

Gothic tropes in contemporary science fiction can express a wealth of
contemporary anxieties over gender, race, class, sexuality, and age.
Monstrous transformations and disintegrations write large the dreads of
each period. Such anxieties are also written within the very spaces of
text and film, with Anthony Vidler’s 'architectural uncanny' embodying
ambivalence over urban change.

Chris Baldick argues that Gothic texts comprise a 'fearful sense of
inheritance in time with a claustrophobic sense of enclosure in space,
these two dimensions reinforcing one another to produce an impression of
sickening descent into "disintegration"'. (Baldick 1992 xiii). The Gothic
text often flourishes in spaces that imprison or restrict efforts to move
or exist comfortably and that the combination of both circumstances creates
the feeling of disintegration or fragmentation. This recurrent
preoccupation and fascination with psychological or mental instability is a
notable trope in the Gothic novel; as Linda Dryden notes, that 'Gothic
fiction is often a literature of transformations where identity is
unstable' (Dryden 19). Catherine Spooner sees the contemporary Gothic as
preoccupied by ‘the legacies of the past and its burdens on the present;
the radically provisional or divided or 'other'; the preoccupation with
bodies that are modified, grotesque or diseased (Spooner 2006: 8). The key
word is 'transformation', of body or mind.

Following a recent successful conference at Napier University, Edinburgh,
this uncontracted collection invites abstracts on different aspects of
contemporary Gothic science fiction, engaging with literary texts and films
produced since 1980. Possible subjects for papers include, but are not
limited to:
1) Gothic monstrosity and gender in science fiction
2) Gothic tropes enacting anxieties over gender/class/race/sexuality
3) Anthony Vidler’s “architectural uncanny”
4) Intersections between Moers’ ‘female gothic’ and contemporary texts
5) ‘terror’ versus ‘horror’ in recent texts
6) China Mieville
7) M. John Harrison
8) The Matrix
9) Iain M. Banks
10) Richard Morgan
11) James Blaylock
12) Maurice Renard
13) Richard Matheson
14) William Gibson and later revisions of cyberpunk gothic
15) ‘steampunk’ science fiction

The deadline for abstracts has been extended to 5 May 2008.

Please send a 100 word biography and 500 word abstracts as attachments in
Microsoft Word to Dr. Sara-Patricia Wasson (Napier University), s.wasson_
at_ napier.ac.uk, and Martyn Colebrook (University of Hull),
Martyn.Colebrook_at_english.hull.ac.uk. Please put “Contemporary Gothic
Science Fiction” in the subject line of the correspondence, as all
submissions will be filed electronically.

Decisions on abstracts will be forthcoming within a month of the deadline.

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Received on Fri Sep 21 2007 - 13:55:05 EDT