Reading Reality through Science Fiction
The academic journal Messages, Sages and Ages (http://www.msa.usv.ro/), based at the English Department, University of Suceava, Romania, invites contributions for an issue on “science fiction as reality-check”; the theme issue is guest edited by Roberto Paura (University of Perugia, Italy).
As speculative fiction, science fiction (SF) in literature and film has proved able to lay bare the contradictions of modernity’s techno-utopian projects far ahead of its time, prompting readers to reflect on the relationship between humankind and technological civilization. Over seventy years ago, in his robot stories Isaac Asimov anticipated today’s debate on the relationship between automation and technological unemployment. In the Cold War years, post-apocalyptic fiction played a decisive role in making exceedingly clear the dangers of nuclear war as well as in stimulating reflection on its likely long-term consequences. In the 1960s and 70s, the emphasis on the issues of overpopulation and the ecological bomb influenced the rise of the ecological movement. In the 80s, the cyberpunk scene foreshadowed the pervasive social impact of cyberspace on our lives, examining the emergence of large corporations based on the power of big data. Today, at the core of SF lie 1) climate change (i.e. ‘climate fiction’ – Kim Stanley Robinson), 2) the boundary between reality and simulation (i.e. Matrix and Westworld), 3) the pitfalls of the digital age (i.e. The Circle, Black Mirror), 4) the trade-off between opportunity and risk in the context of genetic engineering (i.e. Jeff VanderMeer, Annalee Newtiz or Paolo Bacigalupi) and 5) the rise of post-human species (i.e. Charles Stross, Greg Egan or Altered Carbon).
Therefore, in our effort to come to terms with SF’s popularity and broad reach, we ask: what do we learn from SF narratives? How can SF novels, movies and TV-series be used as a ‘reality-check’ for the whims and desires of western culture?
We invite submission on topics including, but not limited to:
– Anthropocene in contemporary SF
– SF and transhumanism
– Climate fiction
– Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
– Technological existential risks in contemporary fiction
– Technological unemployment in SF
– SF and futures studies
– The images of science in contemporary SF
– SF and contemporary philosophy (i.e. hyperobjects)
– SF as postmodern literature
We welcome original papers in English and invite proposals (no more than 9,000 words) from senior as well as junior academics. The blinded manuscript, abstract (cca. 200 words) with 5 keywords and a brief curriculum vitae (cca. 300 words) should be in Word and PDF format. Each electronic copy must be sent by email attachment to: firstname.lastname@example.org AND email@example.com.
Deadline: June 1, 2019.