But now, we must eat! Food and Drink in Science Fiction
But now, we must eat!
Food and Drink in Science Fiction
Shepard: Why are you so interested in fish from the Presidium?
Kargesh: It’s so decadent! Eating fish from the Presidium would be like screwing Sha’ira.
Mass Effect 2 (2010)
Guinan: Gentlemen, something new from Forcas Three.
Data: I believe this beverage has provoked an emotional response. [...]
Guinan: It looks like he hates it.
Data: Yes. That is it. I hate this. […] It is revolting!
Star Trek Generations (1994)
What is the secret of Soylent Green? […] Soylent Green is made out of people.
Soylent Green (1973)
In her contribution to Reel Food: Essays on Food and Film (2004), Laurel Forster remarks that “food appears as an important element in a surprising number of […] science fiction films” and helps “illuminat[e] social, national, and even global structures, agencies, and order.” Thus, the interrelationships between food and science fiction offer “a valuable means of understanding the link between the individual and controlling powers around her/him.” While many science fiction texts employ food and drink in uncritical ways and/or as “simple” (if such exists) props supporting the narrative action, the genre also often foregrounds food and drink (and the attendant activities of eating and drinking) as means for generating affect and/or producing meaning. For example, in David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986), half-mutated Seth vomits digestive juices onto his morning donut to prepare it for consumption, noting, “Oh, that is disgusting,” thereby mirroring the viewer’s response to the on-screen action. Similarly, when first the aliens and then “undercover” Frank consume the green, vomit-like goo in Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste (1987), this moment might evoke laughter or, more likely, induce anastaltic reflexes. Likewise, disgust and revulsion were likely the first reactions Star Trek: Discovery (2017–) viewers had to Terran Empress Georgiou dining on the ganglia of a Kelpian—a sentient species kept as slaves and livestock. What do these corporeal responses to food images mean? What meanings do food and drink, more generally, communicate in science fiction texts?
This volume will discuss food and drink in science fiction across media—movies, television shows, literature, video games, comics, etc. Of course, as forms of sustenance, food and drink are among the essential elements of life. But this is also precisely why representations of food and drink are always ripe with meaning. As this book will show, science fiction uses food and drink to explore pertinent issues ranging from the homogenization of food in a globalized economy to the exploitation of our natural resources and the attendant phenomena of water, air, and soil pollution, deforestation, and the scarcification of food.
If you are interested in contributing to this volume, please submit a 500-word proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be acknowledged. If you do not receive a confirmation of receipt within 48 hours, you may assume that your email hasn’t reached us for some reason. In that case, please re-submit. Please also direct any questions you might have to the email address indicated above.
FYI: We will most likely first approach European university presses with this project, as they generally move ahead faster than their American counterparts.
November 15, 2018: deadline for abstracts
December 15, 2018: notifications (please note that the acceptance of your abstract does not guarantee your chapter’s inclusion in the collection)
June 30, 2019: chapter drafts due
September 30, 2019: feedback to authors
December 31, 2019: revised chapters due
Cindy Miller has co-edited about a dozen books, including What’s Eating You? Food and Horror on Screen (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Laughing Dead: The Horror-Comedy Film from Bride of Frankenstein to Zombieland (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), and Steaming into a Victorian Future: A Steampunk Anthology (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).
Steve Rabitsch is the author of Star Trek and the British Age of Sail: The Maritime Influence throughout the Series and Films (McFarland, in print) and co-editor of Set Phasers to Teach! Star Trek in Research and Teaching (Springer, 2018).
Michael Fuchs has (co-)authored about fifty published and forthcoming journal articles and book chapters, which have appeared (or are forthcoming) in venues such as the Journal of Popular Television, the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, the European Journal of American Culture, and the European Journal of American Studies.