Fantastic Geographies

deadline for submissions: 
March 13, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
TU Dortmund University
contact email: 

Fantastic Geographies

13th Annual Conference of the Association for Research in the Fantastic

(Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung)

TU Dortmund University (Dortmund, Germany)

22-24 September 2022


"There is a theory that says if anyone ever figures out exactly what the universe is for and why it is there, it will disappear on the spot and be replaced by something even more bizarre and incomprehensible. - There is another theory according to which this has already happened."

With his world-famous novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams has shown that there is so much more 'out there' than humans – or Arthur Dent – can imagine. Earth is, after all, only one within a universe of planets, and even here humans have not yet explored all of the depths, the caves, and the deepest forests. Fantasy takes advantage of these voids and fills them with the uncanny and the marvellous, the scary and the hopeful – the possibilities are almost endless. However, what all of these voids have in common is that they can be located, even if this is as vague as somewhere.

Every fantasy genre, across every medium, has its own mechanisms and rules by which these geographies are constructed, whether through description and imagination or computer-generated landscapes. Distances must be bridged, means of transportation must be found, chartered, or hijacked, rituals must be performed – all in order to discover, enter, or leave a particular place. Here, it is important to note where this place is located and whether the fantastic geography extends, supplements, contests, or even replaces reality.

In this context, cartography plays a special role: historically, cartographers incorporated monsters into their elaborate maps in order to fill previously unexplored geographic blind spots or to discourage other explorers from seeking out these places. Today, detailed maps of secondary worlds are an integral part of many fantasy books. Furthermore, fans and professionals industriously produce artworks and maps of these worlds or even transfer them into other contexts when adapting them into computer or board games.

Meanwhile, people can reside in multiple virtual and imagined realities as well as spaces simultaneously, projecting their image and voice across vast distances. This also raises philosophical questions about the construction of fantastic spaces: have we already come to the point where we know too much about our universe and are now confronted with something even more bizarre? What happens to our bodies and identities when they are transferred into these abstract spaces?

We invite papers on all forms and genres of the fantastic and their engagement with geography in both a narrow and broader sense, whether they deal with literature, comics, film, television, music, video and board games, or (live) role-playing games (German or English). In the open track, any paper on the fantastic can be submitted. However, we especially welcome topics such as:

- Construction and rules of fantastic geographies of any kind

- Geography and different forms of the fantastic (SciFi, Horror, Fairy Tales, Urban Fantasy, etc.)

- Representation of different geographies and cartography (e.g. metropolis, fairy tale forest, outer space), also as an artistic achievement

- Historiography of fantastic geography

- Abstract, digital and imaginary spaces

- fantastic geographies in children’s literature and Young Adult Fiction

- Geographies of the body

- Gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disabilities, aging, and geography

- Adaptation theory and translatology in fantastic geographies

- Ludology and Geography

- Geography as a palimpsest or heterotopia

- Fantastic sensescapes (soundscapes, smellscapes, etc.)

- Ecology and environmentalism

- Displacement and Emplacement

- Exploration as a practice

- Geography and Transportation


Abstracts (300 words, in German or in English) for twenty-minute papers, together with a short biography (150 words), should be submitted to by 28 Feb 2022. You can find all current information about our conference on our website:

The deadline has been extended until 13 March 2022!

PhD students can apply for one of the travel grants the Association for Research in the Fantastic awards (200€). If you are interested, please indicate this when submitting your abstract.

Conference organising team: Kristin Aubel, Christian Lenz, Sarah Neef