Call for Submissions Emanations II: Second Sight

Carter Kaplan posted the call for the next Emanations collection subtitled “Second Sight.” You can read it below or on the official website here.

Carter put together a successful first collection that can be found on Amazon here. He and his contributors do very good work, and I am very glad that I can be a member of the Board of Editorial Advisors.

Read on, and send in your work:

Call for Submissions Emanations II

International Authors and the editors of Emanations are happy to announce a Call for Submissions:

Emanations: Second Sight

Emanations is an anthology series featuring fiction, poetry, essays, manifestos and reviews. The emphasis is on alternative narrative structures, new epistemologies, peculiar settings, esoteric themes, sharp breaks from reality, ecstatic revelations, and vivid and abundant hallucinations.

The editors are interested in recognizable genres—science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, local color, romance, realism, surrealism, postmodernism–but the idea is to make something new, and along these lines the illusion of something new can be just as important. If a story or poem makes someone say, “Yes, but what is it?” then it’s right for Emanations. Essays should be exuberant, daring, and free of pedantry. Length is a consideration in making publication decisions, but in keeping with the spirit of the project contributors should consider length to be “open.”

Our editorial vision is evolving. Contributors should see themselves as actively shaping the “vision” of Emanations.

Send files with brief cover note to Carter Kaplan:

IAsubmissions@hotmail.com

Deadline: April 2, 2012

Emanations is a not-for-profit literary project and contributors cannot be compensated at
this time. All proceeds from the sale of Emanations will support the efforts of International Authors to publish new voices from around the world.

Please post questions, suggestions and ideas. The project is a collaborative effort, and as we share ideas the “vision” transforms, evolves, and grows. When we write stories and poems we hope to bring to bear the entire battery of modern and postmodern literary devices. More simply: we like good, strong writing. Our essays are incisive, precise, keen, challenging, and driven by the writer’s desire to advance an intelligent audience’s understanding of important subjects.

The Fine Print:

1) Submit files as follows: double space, Microsoft Word, Times New Roman 12 pt. The book will be formatted by the editors before publication.

2) No simultaneous submissions (contributors should get fairly quick feedback anyway, especially if their submission meets our needs). Material that is obviously pulled from a file and has nothing to do with the goals of the anthology won’t get any feedback beyond the initial acknowledgement.

3) Word count/line count? See details above. We’re flexible, but contributors should be sensible when considering what they send in. A novella? Well, maybe, and so on…. Rules of thumb: a) Stories: very short to 20-30 pages. b) Poems: send in 5-10 pages. c) Essays: 5-10-30 pages.

4) Published as hard copy only—Emanations will be available on Amazon. Participants who make a substantial contribution of material, editorial work, or art will get a copy. It can take some time to get copies to contributors outside of North America. In the case of our first anthology, for example, it took forty-five days to get a copy to a contributor in to Nepal.

5) In the past, International Authors has made it possible for contributors to purchases copies “at cost” using coupon codes, and so on. International Authors is a consortium, and as such every contributor is a “member” or our community, and contributors are encouraged to help promote the anthology by sending review copies to newspapers, journals and relevant Web sites.

6) Copyright “reverts” to contributors upon publication. That is, after a piece appears in Emanations, the contributor can seek to publish their piece elsewhere. Contributors should understand that Emanations will remain for sale on Amazon indefinitely.

Published By International Authors

Board of Editorial Advisors

Ruud Antonius, Netherlands/Spain
Steve Aylett, UK
Michael Beard, US
Michael Butterworth, UK
Jason W. Ellis, US
Cedric Cester, Spain
Mike Chivers, UK
Mack Hassler, US
Horace Jeffery
Hodges, South Korea
Sushma Joshi, Nepal
Carter Kaplan, US
Devashish Makhija, India
Vitasta Raina, India
Elkie Riches, UK
Dario Rivarossa, Italy
Kai Robb, US
Stephen Sylvester, US

MIT Science Fiction Society’s Open-Shelf Collection of SF

If I get a chance, I would love to browse the MIT Science Fiction Society’s (MITSFS) open-shelf collection of science fiction. There are a number of items that I have had trouble tracking down for my research that I believe could be in their collection. It sounds astounding!

On the fourth floor of the MIT Student Center, roughly 60,000 books and thousands of magazines crowd the narrow, overstuffed shelves of the MIT Science Fiction Society Library. Mobiles and paper bananas dangle from the ceiling, an infamous multivolume erotic SF series has been chained in place to prevent its awfulness from infecting nearby books, and newly donated boxes make it hard to navigate without tripping–or stopping to check out an intriguing title. Established in the early 1960s, the library now houses more than 90 percent of all science fiction ever printed in English, making it the worlds largest open-shelf collection of the genre. Fans and scholars alike make pilgrimages to W20-473 to lay reverent eyes on rare finds.

via An Astounding Collection – Technology Review.

The Postnational Fantasy Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction, Now Published and Available from McFarland!

UPDATE: The Postnational Fantasy now has its own page on dynamicsubspace.net here.

I am very pleased to announce the publication of The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction, my first co-edited collection of essays with with my good friends and colleagues Masood Ashraf Raja and Swaralipi Nandi! Click here to purchase it directly from the publisher McFarland & Co or click here to purchase it from Amazon (they should receive copies soon).

Below, I have included the book jacket copy, editor biographies, and the table of contents.

The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction

Edited by Masood Ashraf Raja, Jason W. Ellis and Swaralipi Nandi

Foreword by Donald M. Hassler

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-6141-7

EBook ISBN: 978-0-7864-8555-0

notes, bibliographies, index

225pp. softcover 2011

Buy Now!

Price: $40.00

Available for immediate shipment

About the Book

In twelve critical and interdisciplinary essays, this text examines the relationship between the fantastic in novels, movies and video games and real-world debates about nationalism, globalization and cosmopolitanism. Topics covered include science fiction and postcolonialism, issues of ethnicity, nation and transnational discourse. Altogether, these essays chart a new discursive space, where postcolonial theory and science fiction and fantasy studies work cooperatively to expand our understanding of the fantastic, while simultaneously expanding the scope of postcolonial discussions.

Table of Contents

Foreword by DONALD M. HASSLER

Introduction by MASOOD A. RAJA and SWARALIPI NANDI

Part I: Postcolonial Issues in Science Fiction

1. Science Fiction as Experimental Ground for Issues of the Postcolonial Novel by MICHELE BRAUN

2. Truth Is Stranger: The Postnational “Aliens” of Biofiction by KAREN CARDOZO and BANU SUBRAMANIAM

3. Forms of Compromise: The Interaction of Humanity, Technology and Landscape in Ken MacLeod’s Night Sessions by ADAM FRISCH

4. The Language of Postnationality: Cultural Identity via Science Fictional Trajectories by CHRIS PAK

Part II: The Nation and Ethnicity in Science Fiction

5. The “Popular” Science: Bollywood’s Take on Science Fiction and the Discourse of Nations by SWARALIPI NANDI

6. Postcolonial Ethics and Identity in Mike Resnick’s Kirinyaga by JENN BRANDT

7. The Frontier Myth and Racial Politics by ÁNGEL MATEOS-APARICIO MARTÍN-ALBO

8. Dystopia and the Postcolonial Nation by SUPARNO BANERJEE

Part III: Towards a Postnational Discourse

9. Body Speaks: Communication and the Limits of Nationalism in Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis Trilogy by KATHERINE R. BROAD

10. Engineering a Cosmopolitan Future: Race, Nation, and World of Warcraft by JASON W. ELLIS

11. When “Nation” Stops Making Sense: Mexican and Giorgio Agamben’s “State of Exception” in Children of Men by STACY SCHMITT RUSNAK

12. Fantastic Language/Political Reporting: The Postcolonial SF Illocutionary Force Is with Us by MARLEEN S. BARR

About the Contributors

Index

About the Editors

Masood Ashraf Raja is an assistant professor of Postcolonial literature and theory at the University of North Texas, and editor of Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies. Jason W. Ellis is an English literature Ph.D candidate at Kent State University and holder of an M.A. in science fiction studies from the University of Liverpool. Swaralipi Nandi is an English literature Ph.D candidate at Kent State University, whose research focus is postcolonial literature and theory.

Also read the announcement on Masood Raja’s blog here.

The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury, Volume One (1938-1943) Released

I received a letter from The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University that the first volume of The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury: A Critical Edition is now available. It is a critical collection of Bradbury’s stories in the order that they were written, and it includes commentary by the editors William F. Touponce and Jonathan R. Eller on the stories, thirteen of which have never been anthologized. This is the first of a proposed three volume series. More information is available on the publisher’s website here.

I’m a big fan of Ray Bradbury. I fell in love with his writing shortly after beginning my early science fiction explorations with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. I figured if I were to begin reading SF, I should begin with the three Grand Masters. My favorite titles by Bradbury include The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, and The Illustrated Man.

Kent State Colleagues CFP, Critical and Transnational Approaches to American Popular Music

My colleagues Professor Babacar M’Baye and fellow PhD student Alex Hall have sent out the following cfp for a collection of essays on American popular music. If you study the cultural significance of American music, you should consider contributing. Read on for the full cfp:

CFP: Critical and Transnational Approaches to American Popular Music

Babacar M’Baye & Alexander C.O. Hall, eds.
Critical and Transnational Approaches to American Popular Music is an ambitious project that examines both the local and transnational significance of American popular music such as Blues, Rock and Roll, and Hip Hop. The first part of the book will situate these musical genres in the large and complex framework of American popular culture in which language, utopia, and traditions have played major roles in the construction of identity, activism, and social change. The second part of the book will put American Blues, Rock and Roll, and Hip Hop in conversation with similar or different musical genres from other parts of the world in which identity, resistance, and social transformation are also crucial parts. By inviting contributions about the local and transnational significance of American popular music, this edited volume wants to encourage original and theoretical analysis of American musical genres such as Blues, Rock and Roll, and Hip Hop while recognizing and studying the connections between such genres and their parental cousins or progenies from around the world.

Theoretically, Critical and Transnational Approaches to Popular Music is a collection of essays whose project is to study popular music using critical theory, equaling a collection of essays that is rooted in what has come to be known as “new” or “critical” musicology, but is also known simply as critical music studies. This book will employ a variety of critical perspectives in its treatment of the works it deals with, thereby widening the book’s audience via its interdisciplinary and transnational situation within the discourse of critical music studies. Looked at another way, the book fits comfortably under the umbrella of cultural studies—indeed, the book will be dealing with the cultural ramifications of the musical works. Nevertheless, each essay will employ a critical perspective relevant to the study of its musical subject. Some of the essays will, for instance, use literary theory to examine works at the level of narrative, while others will be interested in the political critique inherent in certain works. Still other essays in the collection will deal with the cultural collisions that result in, for instance, transnational forms of American popular music genres such as Rock and Roll, Hip Hop, and Rap.

REQUIREMENTS:

All manuscripts must be original (hence, not under consideration for any other journal or book) and submitted in MS Word format. The entire essay (including endnotes and bibliography) should not exceed twenty five double-spaced pages and must include a concise title and a 200-word abstract. The essay must follow the conventions of The Chicago Manual of Style (latest edition). Articles in languages other than English will be considered; however, they must also be presented in English. All submissions must include the author’s current affiliation and contact information (e-mail and postal addresses, etc.) as well as an up-to-date curriculum vitae. The deadline for receipts of contributions is May 31, 2011.

Please address queries and papers to:

Editor:

Dr. Babacar M’Baye
Associate Professor
Department of English
113 Satterfield Hall
Kent State University
Kent OH 44242
Email: bmbaye@kent.edu
Co-Editor:

Alexander Charles Oliver Hall, M.A.
Teaching Fellow
Department of English
Kent State University
Satterfield Hall 209-F
Kent, OH 44242-0001
ahall43@kent.edu

My First Book Chapter in Practicing Science Fiction: Critical Essays on Writing, Reading, and Teaching the Genre

I received a nice Media Mail surprise today: Karen Hellekson sent me a complimentary copy of the book that she edited along with Craig B. Jacobsen, Patrick B. Sharp, and Lisa Yaszek from McFarland Publishers titled Practicing Science Fiction: Critical Essays on Writing, Reading, and Teaching the Genre. I’m particularly tickled about this arrival, because this is my first book chapter! My long ago essay, originally written for Masood Raja’s Postcolonialism course during my first year at Kent State and substantially rewritten since then for conferences and now this book project, has finally seen the light of day in print as chapter three of this collection titled, “Revealing Critical Theory’s Real-Life Potential to Our Students, the Digital Nomads.”

I have included a copy of the Practicing Science Fiction’s overview and chapter abstracts below, copied from Karen’s website. Please pick up a copy from the publisher here or on amazon.com here. Royalties from the collection go to the Science Fiction Research Association, of which I am a member and the organization’s publicity director.

About the book:

Practicing Science Fiction

Karen Hellekson, Craig Jacobsen, Patrick Sharp, and Lisa Yaszek

Overview
The edited volume Practicing Science Fiction: Critical Essays on Writing, Reading and Teaching the Genre (ISBN 978-0-7864-4793-0) seeks to add to the academic literature related to reading, writing, and teaching science fiction. By presenting these ideas together, we hope to show the synergy between these modes of engagement and analysis. No edited volume has addressed the intersection among these three topics. The concerns of reading, writing, gender, and media—the topics that comprise the four sections of the book—are used to distance and critique concerns of interest to those interested in intellectual growth. The contributors to the teaching section discuss how science fiction texts lend themselves to teaching things other than SF literature. The writing section is not a how-to, but rather analyses of inscription and reinscription of knowledge and tradition through reading and writing. Finally, the sections on media and women contain close readings of exemplar texts related to larger issues such as female agency, memory, and ecodystopia that are usefully articulated through the distancing of SF.

Abstracts
From Practicing Science Fiction: Critical Essays on Writing, Reading and Teaching the Genre (c) 2010 SFRA by permission of McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, http://www.mcfarlandpub.com.
Part 1. Teaching
Teaching with Science Fiction
Section edited by Craig Jacobsen
The essays in this section demonstrate that pedagogical studies are integral to, rather than tangential to, the scholarship of science fiction. Understanding science fiction requires more than just being able to dissect a story or novel, or apply a theoretical viewpoint to a film. A profound understanding of science fiction means realizing what science fiction can be made to reveal about the world. (pp 7–12)

1. Grokking Rhetoric through Science Fiction: A Practical Examination of Course Construction
Jen Gunnels
Traditional teaching methods and materials for core curriculum all too often leave the student disengaged, or worse, confused. A text’s placement in the Western canon does not automatically make it accessible or engaging. It can leave the students bored and unconnected, and it can give them an inaccurate perception of rhetorical thought and the writing process. That is not to say that the canon is not important—it is—but often undergraduate core courses, especially mass courses such as rhetoric and composition, fall back on the same few texts. A reliance on canonical material—canonical to the instructor, but often unfamiliar to undergraduates—splits student focus between understanding the materials used to illustrate the concepts and the concepts themselves. A more accessible literature has the potential to free the student to concentrate on the new, often complicated, ideas being presented, and science fiction in particular can engage students who are studying core subjects by providing exemplar texts that clearly and compellingly illustrate major fundamental points. Here, I examine the use of science fiction in teaching basic undergraduate rhetoric and composition, and I reenvision its implementation. I include basic rhetorical elements that a course should cover, and I analyze a sample assignment, a brief rhetorical analysis of Tom Godwin’s 1954 story “The Cold Equations,” to illustrate basic rhetorical tools and wider arguments affecting rhetorical choices. (pp 13–23)

2. Incorporating Science Fiction into a Scientific Rhetoric Course
Michael J. Klein
Many of the scientific and technological achievements of the past century were prefigured by writers of speculative or science fiction. The scientific and technological achievements we view as commonplace (e.g., the Internet, wireless communication, advances in reproduction) were often discussed by literary authors decades before their “discovery.” Conversely, advances in science and technology drove authors to further their speculations and logically extend the discoveries of the day in their writing. In that spirit, I decided to expand the traditional canon of works I used in a scientific rhetoric course to include works of science fiction. The students in the course compared and contrasted the representation of science and scientists in fictional and factual accounts, examined the ways in which texts become important to a culture and a discourse community, and identified the means by which science informed science fiction, and vice versa, during the past century. I found that for undergraduates, the addition of literature made the concepts of scientific rhetoric more accessible and fostered greater conversation between students studying different subjects. The students in the humanities and social sciences used the literary works as a stepping stone to understanding the discourse within the scientific community. Conversely, students in the sciences and engineering recognized and appreciated the humanistic elements of science by seeing parallels in the works of fiction. These results speak to the benefits of increased dialogue among disciplines that address the concepts of science and technology. (pp 24–36)

3. Revealing Critical Theory’s Real-Life Potential to Our Students, the Digital Nomads
Jason W. Ellis
I propose a reading of Mike Resnick’s science fiction novel, Ivory: A Legend of Past and Future (2007), that engages critical poststructuralist theory and postcolonial theory for the purpose of providing a way to advance these theories in relation to the here and now of college undergraduate students. Ivory simultaneously promotes and challenges the practices of Orientalism, but my purpose is to engender further discussion regarding potential solutions to the problem of Orientalism presented in the text. Nomadology and rhizomatic resistance may provide a means to solve the problem represented in the novel. Ivory represents these concerns by showing how the fictional problem and its solution in fact epitomize our everyday digitalized and online existence. The novel explores models and provides examples of the online technologies that digital nomad students may use for self-empowerment and personal protection from the encroachment on their lives by the state and by global capital. (pp 37–50)

Part 2. Reading
Reading and Writing SF
Section edited by Patrick Sharp
The attempts of some to divide the sciences and humanities into two cultures ignore the fact that both contribute to the same system of genres that circulate throughout our culture. Scientists regularly draw on SF to make the case for why their science is important and worthy of funding. Authors of SF regularly draw on scientific narratives as they develop their “charming romances.” Though the system of genres in our culture has evolved over time, this interchange between science and SF has remained constant. The essays in this section explore specific texts as sites of this ongoing exchange between the interconnected subcultures of science and literature. They also address the importance of literacy—in regards to both science and literature—to the traditions of SF reading and writing. (pp 53–57)

4. Reading/Writing Martians: Seeing Technē and Poiēsis in The War of the Worlds
Charles Harding
From its opening lines, The War of the Worlds is concerned with seeing, or comprehending, through reading and writing. Wells’s novel emerges from a cultural environment in which a lack of foresight and illiteracy mark future-war stories and scientific discourse. Wells interrogates this cultural blindness and fosters competency by presenting his narrator as a scientific—that is, a knowing—spectator of the Martian invasion. The narrator strives to distinguish himself from those who exhibit nescience in relation to the attack. His insight proceeds from his ability to read—to comprehend and translate—what emerges from the Martian cylinders. The Martians figure as a prevision of a technologized future, and the narrator’s scrutiny of their features and annihilative machinery reveals a potentially dangerous element in humanity’s relationship to technology. This danger manifests in the Martians’ degenerate technē, their transformation of the world into a totally mechanized and depersonalized system. Despite the forbidding nature of this futuristic world, the possibility remains that it may be averted. This possibility lies in poiēsis, or artistic producing, which in The War of the Worlds culminates in the narrator’s rewriting of the invasion. According to Heidegger, poiēsis constitutes a space for an essential reflection on the danger for humanity in technology. Wells’s novel offers an opportunity for reflection on future humankind, embodied in the Martians, and its relationship to advanced technology by inviting readers to see alongside the narrator as he scrutinizes the Martians and their technē. With The War of the Worlds, Wells suggests that science fiction must be knowing fiction. (pp 58–73)

5. The Creation of Heinlein’s “Solution Unsatisfactory”
Edward Wysocki
Robert Heinlein’s short story “Solution Unsatisfactory,” which appeared in Astounding Science-Fiction in May 1941 under the pen name Anson MacDonald, is well known for its presentation of a precarious world situation after the development of a nuclear weapon. This story appeared well before the establishment of the Manhattan Project for the development of an atomic bomb. Knowledge of the state of nuclear physics in the time before the story’s creation is presented to show that its concept grew from an uncertainty regarding the means by which an atomic bomb could be constructed. The source of basic premise of the story, the use of radioactive dust rather than a bomb, is identified as Astounding’s editor, John W. Campbell Jr. Development of the story, while retaining the basic weapon concept, was then taken by Heinlein in a different direction than had been originally suggested to him. Possible sources of technical information available to Heinlein are then considered, and a connection shown to a friend of Heinlein who had just received his PhD in the field of nuclear physics, Robert Cornog. The dust idea presented in the story occurred shortly before the same idea appeared in a report developed to suggest possible military applications of atomic fission. Although the close timing between the work of fiction and the report has been noted previously in the literature, no effort had apparently been made to establish a connection. In this essay, I propose a definite connection. (pp 74–86)

6. Entropy, Entertainment, and Creative Energy in Ben Bova
Donald M. Hassler
Even though Ben Bova is discounted by some as an “easy” writer or, perhaps, even because of this fact, his usefulness as a representative of the genre has impressed me. Further, I like his storytelling both for its ease and for its consistency. So this essay is one of several I have written attempting to account for genre effects in SF. I discuss several recent Bova novels, each dealing with the extrapolation of what we know of one of the planets in our system; and I find, in fact, some rich resonance of what I call “genre effects” in these books. I write in part as a fan, as well as an academic who hopes to set enthusiasm into the larger context of literary study. Many of Bova’s storytelling techniques seem outdated because they appear in the same milieux as postmodern experimentation, and I evoke the family romance metaphor from Freud—we tend to seek out and to feel comfortable with the “generation” of our fathers. Much of my point, then, about Bova’s effects is captured in what I label in the title as “the entropy” of reading and genre. I argue that the vigorous generation, or family sense, in these science stories allows us to see beyond. (pp 87–96)

Part 3. Media
Media and Science Fiction
Section edited by Karen Hellekson
The proliferation of nonprint SF texts, such as film, television, Web content, comic books, and video games, indicates that SF remains a valuable and generative mode of storytelling. All three essays use close readings of exemplar nonprint texts to draw conclusions about contemporary concerns. And all three essays rely on texts that are themselves part of a larger multimedia megatext, be it the Doctor Who or Watchmen universes, or the film megatext created by the subgenre of the ecodystopia. All three essays rely on displacement—of genre, of medium, of message, of memory. They illustrate the power of nonprint SF as a tool to effectively engage with contemporary concerns. (pp 99–103)

7. Remembering Torchwood: Investigating the Postmodern Memory Crisis on the Small Screen
Susan A. George
In this analysis of the importance and reliability of memory in the context of postmodern SF, I use close readings of two exemplar episodes ( “Adam” and “Sleeper”) of the television program Torchwood (2006–9) to explore the fundamental nature of humanity. Torchwood asserts that some essential qualities escape quantification. These qualities define the human and separate the human from the nonhuman. Memory is the locus of these qualities, not some metaphysical or religious construct called the human soul. (pp 104–16)

8. Text’s Resistance to Being Interpreted: Unconventional Relationship between Text and Reader in Watchmen
Ho-Rim Song
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s graphic novel Watchmen (1986–87) experiments with postmodern literary devices, forms, and style to problematize the conventional concept of interpretation. In particular, the text deconstructs the conventional relationship between text and readers as the interpreted and the interpreter, and by doing so, it calls into question readers’ perception of their own reality as well as that of the text. Watchmen ultimately claims that interpretation, or the act of finding truth or meaning, is meaningless for our postmodern reality. (pp 117–29)

9. “Breathe, baby, breathe!” Ecodystopia in Brazilian Science Fiction Film
Alfredo Suppia
This analysis of four ecodystopian Brazilian SF films—Claudinê Perina Camargo’s 93° Tunnel (1972), José de Anchieta’s Stop 88 (1978), Roberto Pires’s Nuclear Shelter (1981), and Marcos Bertoni’s Armadillo Blood (1986)—demonstrates that ecodystopia is one of the most structured and long-lasting manifestations of science fiction in Brazilian cinema, offering critical and speculative visions at the crossroads of social, political, and environmental issues that continue to remain strikingly relevant today. These films shed light on Brazilian anxieties regarding modernization in the atomic era that reflect greater world ecological concerns that are only becoming more compelling. (pp 130–45)

Part 4. Women
Women and Writing
Section edited by Lisa Yaszek
Women’s science fiction has taken a wide variety of forms over the past two centuries, but nearly all such writers have grappled with two fundamental questions: who counts as a hero in a technoscientific world, and what story forms best convey this heroism to readers? These questions are very much at the heart of the four essays included in this section. The first two authors examine how two iconic women writers, Joanna Russ and Octavia Butler, complicate received ideas about the nature of the science fiction hero. The second set of authors explore how women writing science fiction use their narrative practices to meditate on the nature of storytelling itself. (pp 149–53)

10. Hail the Conquering Campbellian S/Hero: Joanna Russ’s Alyx
Eileen Donaldson
For many theorists, both feminist and not, the figure of an archetypal, active female warrior hero has been problematic. Many feminists believe it is gender stereotyping to suggest that women are unable to possess the force of the archetypal warrior hero and that this archetype is ultimately available to both men and women. I briefly define the nature of the archetypal hero and an argument is made for the active female s/hero who possesses the “masculine” powers of the hero and thus allows the archetypal power of the active warrior hero to pass to women. Joseph Campbell’s work on the archetypal hero of myth is drawn on extensively. One of the genres that allow an exploration of the s/hero is SF. I explore the s/hero in SF, particularly as she is evoked in Joanna Russ’s Alyx stories, published as short stories first and then collected in 1983 and published as The Adventures of Alyx. (pp 154–67)

11. Essentialism and Constructionism in Octavia E. Butler’s Fledgling
Kristen Lillvis
Although critics have argued that science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler confines her heroines to biologically determined sex and gender roles, in this article, I look beyond genetic predispositions and explore the influence of social and material conditions on her characters’ beliefs and actions. I use Butler’s final novel, Fledgling (2005), to investigate acts of sexual violence, demands of heterosexual sexual practices, and traditional notions of maternal roles as they affect the novel’s human and vampire species as well as Butler’s protagonist, a genetically engineered being whose biology aligns her with both species but whose amnesia frees her from a socially constructed consciousness. I posit that although biological tendencies may exist in the novel, Butler uses her heroine’s atypical beliefs about and responses to female behavioral norms to demonstrate that sex-specific characteristics become unavoidable truths only for the individuals and societies that choose to accept them as such. (pp 168–82)

12. Joanna Russ and the Murder of the Female Child: We Who Are About To…
Rebekah Sheldon
In this essay, I investigate the violation of the rescue of the female child theme in Joanna Russ’s 1977 novel We Who Are About To…. In stories like “The Second Inquisition” (1970), Russ positions the reader as the double of the child in the plot and rescues both by engendering the story as a hero. I assert that We Who Are About To… rends open this closed loop through its refusal of proper narrative structure and its murder of the female child. I interpret this murder as an interrogation of the metaphysics of presence implicit in the rescue thematic, a move to a deconstructive writing practice and a liberation of the child from service as the site of future redemption. (pp 183–96)

13. Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn: The Taoist Way in Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Telling
James H. Thrall
Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Telling (2000) is more than simply a novel steeped in Taoism. It is, in fact, an attempt to make a political point by imagining a novel in a Taoist mode. Her protagonist moves beyond merely studying the Telling, a way of life modeled on Taoism, to becoming a practitioner herself. Le Guin contrasts her construction of the Telling’s grassroots system of communicating life wisdom through story with hierarchical systems of domination and control. By emphasizing the importance of properly engaged listening, which she sees as a key aspect of both Taoism’s and the Telling’s feminist principle, Le Guin advocates an alternative politics that embraces “peaceful anarchy” rooted in cooperation and discernment rather than conflict. (pp 197–212)

Citation information
Hellekson, Karen, Craig Jacobsen, Patrick Sharp, and Lisa Yaszek, eds. Practicing Science Fiction: Critical Essays on Writing, Reading and Teaching the Genre. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2010.