CFP: Eaton 2009, Extraordinary Voyages: Jules Verne and Beyond

Rob Latham recently sent out a CFP for next year’s Eaton Conference on “Extraordinary Voyages:  Jules Verne and Beyond.”  I haven’t had an opportunity to go to the Eaton Conference, but I hope to soon.  Definitely check out the CFP below, and read more about the conference on their official site here!

The 2009 Eaton Science Fiction Conference

Extraordinary Voyages: Jules Verne and Beyond

April 30-May 3, 2009          

University of California Riverside

Extraordinary voyages have shaped world literature since the Biblical Flood and The Odyssey, but no single writer has done more than Jules Verne to forge this device into a narrative template for addressing modern issues.The UCR Libraries’ Eaton Science Fiction Collection, in coordination with the North American Jules Verne Society, proposes a three and one-half-day conference that will examine the traditions Verne exploited, Verne’s own extraordinary work, and his far-ranging influence in modern fiction and culture. In 1863, Jules Verne published the first of the sixty-four novels and short story collections that would become known as the “Extraordinary Voyages.” Verne’s influence on the hardware and the locales of modern science fiction: the center of the earth, the bottom of the seas, outer space, is widely recognized. More significant is his influence on the shape of modern SF: the extraordinary voyage has become a foundational motif by which scientific knowledge is linked to the exploration of richly-imagined worlds. This conference will explore the implications of the extraordinary voyage as a narrative and ideological mode that resonates in world SF down to the present day.

The conference welcomes scholars, collectors, and enthusiasts of the extraordinary voyage and will address, but not necessarily be limited to, the following sets of questions. What is the place of the extraordinary voyage within the complex of genres that makes up early or proto-science fiction: the utopia, the scientific romance, the hollow-earth tale, the Robinsonade, etc.? How has the extraordinary voyage been linked to discourses of travel and tourism, to scientific and technological revolutions, to the history of European colonialism and the rise of industrial militarism? In what ways does a detailed focus on the mechanisms of locomotion (balloon, rocket, steamship, submarine, train, aircraft) transform the imaginary voyage into an extraordinary voyage, and how has this technique influenced other SF traditions? Does the theme of travel, of transit across physical borders and toward extreme destinations, serve as an allegory for contact and communication across other sorts of boundaries (linguistic, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, national)? How do 20th-century writers (such as the so-called “steampunks”) rework legacies of Verne and other 19th-century SF, whether earnestly or satirically, as paradigm or as pastiche? What accounts for the remarkable afterlife of Verne’s characters, and those of 19th-century SF more generally, who appear in numerous revisions and elaborations by 20th- and 21st-century SF writers? What are the influences of the Vernian paratext: the thousands of maps, illustrations, photographs, and ornately colored and ornamented bindings of the first editions’ on contemporary works of imaginative fiction? How has the extraordinary voyage been translated into other cultures and other media, from comic books, graphic novels and film to theme parks and digital texts, and with what consequences?

Abstracts of 300-500 words (for papers of 20-minutes in length) should be submitted by December 15, 2008 to Melissa Conway, Head, Special Collections & Archives, UCR Libraries at Melissa.Conway [at]

Contact us: eatonconference [at]

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.