The International Fantasy Award

While researching a paper that I’m writing on the exchange of real and cultural capital in the major Science Fiction awards, I ran across this bit of trivia.  I always considered the Hugo Award the oldest major SF award, but according to Reginald’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards (1991), this distinction goes to the now discontinued International Fantasy Award.  It was first given at the 1951 British Science Fiction Convention, and it was created by Leslie Flood, John Beynon Harris (John Wyndham), G. Ken Chapman, and Frank A. Cooper.  Unfortunately, it didn’t have a long run, and it was cancelled in 1958.  

Looking through the winners, I found it striking that John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids won 2nd place to John Collier’s Fancies and Goodnights in 1952.  I had to search Google for information on Collier’s collection, because I had never heard of it before.  It’s interesting to find works that win prizes, but are later marginalized–by this I mean marginalized in terms of recognition of the work and the sales of the work– compared to works that don’t win prizes or only make prize shortlists.  

There are some great pictures from IFA ceremonies and more information about the prize on Greg Pickersgill’s GOSTAK website here.

CFP: IAFA, Time and the Fantastic

Graham Murphy sent out a CFP for the 30th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts.  Next year’s theme is “Time and the Fantastic.”  I was at IAFA earlier this year, and it was much fun!  I got to meet a lot of great folks, see some old friends, and listen to a number of excellent presentations.  Also, IAFA is a great place to connect with authors that you may study.  Below is the CFP, so please read and send in an abstract.  See you in Orlando!

The 30th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts

Time and the Fantastic


The 30th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts will beheld March 18-22, 2009, at the Orlando Airport Marriott in Orlando,Florida. The conference begins at 3pm on Wednesday and ends at 1 am on Sunday upon the conclusion of the conference banquet. Malcolm J. Edwardsand Brian Stableford write that “the metaphysics of time continues to intrigue writers inside and outside the genre” of the fantastic; thus, the focus of ICFA-30 is on the intriguing relationships between time and the fantastic. Papers are invited to explore this topic in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other related modes of the fantastic. In addition, we especially look forward to papers on the work of our honored guests:


Guest of Honor: Guy Gavriel Kay, Aurora Award-winning, Caspar Award-winning, and Mythopoeic Fantasy Award-nominated author of the Fionavar Tapestry (The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, The Darkest

Road), Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, and The Last Light of the Sun


Guest of Honor: Robert Charles Wilson, Hugo Award-winning author of Axis, Spin, The Chronoliths, Darwinia, Mysterium, and A Bridge of Years


Guest Scholar: Maria Nikolajeva, author of The Aesthetic Approach to Children’s Literature (Scarecrow), The Rhetoric of Children’s Literature (Scarecrow), and From Mythic to Linear: Time in Children’s Literature (Scarecrow)


As always, we also welcome proposals for individual papers and for academic sessions and panels on any aspect of the fantastic in any media. The deadline is October 31, 2008.


We encourage work from institutionally-affiliated scholars, independent scholars, international scholars who work in languages other than English, graduate students, and undergraduate students.


The Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for an Essay Not in English is open to all members of the IAFA. The IAFA Graduate Student Award is open to all graduate students presenting papers at the year’s conference. Details are available via Robin Reid, Second Vice-President ( Finally, the Dell Magazines Undergraduate Science Fiction Award will also be handed out at this year’s conference.


Visit for more details.

Paul Kincaid’s What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction

Before a week’s long vacation, I finished reading and writing a review of Paul Kincaid’s What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction.  This is a great collection of Kincaid’s essays on a variety of topics centered around SF and the fantastic.  

In his introductory essay, from which the title of the book is taken, he tackles one of the major concerns of SF scholarship, which is the definition of SF.  He skillfully manages to create a pragmatic definition that draws on Samuel R. Delany’s idea of a SF language, or what Damien Broderick calls the SF “mega-text.”  

The collection is broken down into these sections:  Theory, Practice, Christopher Priest, Britain, the World, Gene Wolfe, and 1 April 1984.  The Priest section is very strong, and there are many other insightful and enthusiastically written pieces throughout the thirty-two essays and reviews in the book.

Keep an eye out for my full review in an upcoming issue of Foundation:  The International Review of Science Fiction.

Discover more of Paul Kincaid’s scholarship online here, and read about his current work on his blog here.

Strange Horizons Web Zine Needs Your Help

The almost eight year running Web Zine of the Fantastic, Strange Horizons, needs their readers assistance to continue bringing quality works by authors and critics to the online world.  They are undertaking a important fund drive that’s only made the half-way mark, so they need someone to help fire their booster rockets to reach their modest goal.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather get these guys up to orbital velocity before they crash down on my head.  Let’s collectively redirect our browsers to their home page or directly to the fund raising page here.

P.S. There are membership prizes and bonuses for donating.  Also, they are a non-profit, so your donation is tax deductible!