Extended Deadline: Call for Book Chapters on the Science Fiction of Connie Willis

deadline for submissions: 
March 25, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Carissa Turner Smith
contact email: 

Doomsday Every Day: Connie Willis’s Science Fiction

Proposals are invited for contributions to an edited collection on the science fiction of Hugo- and Nebula-Award-winning writer Connie Willis.

Many readers during the COVID-19 pandemic have noticed the eerie prescience of Willis’s description of the 21st-century outbreak of a mystery illness in Doomsday Book (1992): Americans who resist disease-controlling measures as an infringement of their “civil liberties,” people who insist on inaccurately calling the illness “the Indian flu,” and even toilet paper shortages. Beyond current resonances, however, one of the strengths of Willis’s work, in Doomsday Book and in the rest of her oeuvre, is in her recognition that the world ends every day, “a piece at a time, and our problem is not so much survival as living through it, a different thing altogether” (Willis, Impossible Things 1).

The collection considers the relevance of Willis’s fiction to embodied ethics in the COVID era and beyond. Aside from the more obvious relevance of themes of contagion, trauma, and everyday heroism, the collection will also reflect Willis’s commitment to considering issues from apparently contradictory—including the comic and tragic—perspectives (as she says in an interview, “many of my stories represent an ongoing argument with myself about issues that I find troubling or complicated”).

Suggested essay topics include but are not limited to:

  • Willis, gender, and science fiction
  • Posthumanism in Willis’s short stories
  • Willis and species extinction (or other ecocritical approaches)
  • Technological innovation and ethics in Willis’s fiction
  • Memory and trauma in Willis’s fiction
  • Willis and Hollywood
  • Passage and cognition studies
  • Lincoln’s Dreams, post-2020
  • Willis’s works in conversation with other writers 

Contributions on Doomsday Book, Fire Watch, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Bellwether, and All Seated on the Ground have already been accepted, but these texts may receive additional analysis in theme-focused essays that address multiple works.

Please send proposals including a 250-word abstract and a short contributor biography to Dr. Carissa Turner Smith (csmith@csuniv.edu) by March 25, 2021.

Completed drafts of accepted essays will be due by July 1, 2021.