International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts 2010

Beginning today, the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts holds their 31st conference in Sunny Florida on the topic: Race and the Fantastic. I wish I could be there this year, but I have my exams to worry over. I particularly miss having an opportunity to speak with Nalo Hopkinson again now that I’ve had a chance to read some of her works. I first met her at the SFRA conference in White Plains, New York, which was also my first real conference. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much to talk about then, because I was in a Campbellian continuum of mid-century SF. However, she was very kind to speak with me, and I enjoyed listening in to the larger conversation. Thankfully, I have since broadened and enjoyed a great deal more of science fiction as a result of that meeting.

<Waves to everyone by the pool!>

And a reminder: the Science Fiction Research Association 2010 Conference will be held in Carefree, Arizona on June 24-27, 2010 with the theme, “Far Stars and Tin Stars: Science Fiction and the Frontier.” Find out all of the details at the official conference site here or on the organization’s site here.

CFP: ICFA 31, Race and the Fantastic, March 17-21, 2010

Graham J. Murphy, IAFA Public Information Coordinator, is currently at WorldCon, but he sent out the following preliminary CFP for the 31st International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Read below for the details:

The 31st International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts
Race and the Fantastic
March 17-21, 2010 (awards banquet on the evening of the 20th)

Guest of Honor: Nalo Hopkinson, award-winning author of Blackheart Man, Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, The Salt Roads, Skin Folk, The New Moon’s Arms; editor/co-editor of Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction, Mojo: Conjure Stories, Tesseracts 9, and So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy

Guest of Honor: Laurence Yep, award-wining author of Sweetwater,
Hiroshima, Dragonwings, Child of the Owl, Sea Glass, Dragon Steel, The Rainbow People, Dragon’s Gate, Dream Soul, The Junior Thunder Lord; co-editor of American Dragons: Twenty-Five Asian American Voices

Guest Scholar: Takayuki Tatsumi, author of Full Metal Apache:
Transactions Between Cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop America, Cyberpunk America, Japanese SF Controversies: 1957-1997; co-editor of Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime

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 for paper proposals is October 31, 2009.

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

Please visit for more details and a listing of Division

ICFA 2009, Fantastists’ Use of Time Panel

Following my early morning panel, I walked down the hall to the Maple room for the Fantastists’ Use of Time:  Erikson and Gaiman panel, chaired by Stefan Ekman of Lund University.  

Aidan-Paul (A.P.) Canavan of the University of Liverpool delivered an awesome presentation titled, “Time for a (Lack of) Change:  The Passage of Time in Fantasyland.  He combined keen observation with comedic wit in his essay about the static historical, social, and technological development of fantasy worlds that he described as “trapped in never changing amber.”  Generally speaking about the fantasy genre as a whole, his idea of static non-development in fantasy is compelling–i.e., why after eons of time and hundreds of generations combined with the interaction with other cultures and intelligent species such as elves have humans not emerged from the long Dark Age of the fantastic soul?    

A.P. was followed by the standing delivery of Scott D. Vander Ploeg of Madisonville Community College who read his essay, “Time for Gaiman:  The Overlap of Temporalities in The Graveyard Book and Other Fictions.”  Imagine a late 70s television detective with a tough mustache talking about Gaiman’s whimsical re-imagining of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1894), and you’ll almost be there.  I enjoyed hearing about the additional intertextuality between Gaiman’s work and The Odyssey, but the really interesting part about his presentation was the marginal space inhabited by the main character.  Gaiman’s characters in many, if not all, of his works come to find him or herself in-between two worlds, parallel but asymptotically separated by a gap traversable by characters emblematically of the two worlds.  I need to run out and find a copy of The Graveyard Book, now!

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.

Back from IAFA 2008

I made it back to Kent on Sunday from IAFA 2008.  I consider the conference a great success, because my presentation on Transformers, the Global War on Terror, and the new post-9/11 SF Narrative went astoundingly well and I met some of the best folks in SF Studies!  I think the guy with TB on my return flight passed it on to me, because I’m fighting a sore throat and a cough.  I’m taking plenty of medicine and vitamin supplements, so I expect to pull through in a few days.  Expect updates this week summarizing my experiences at IAFA and the panels I attended.

IAFA or Bust!

My wonderful girlfriend, Yufang, drove me up to the Cleveland Airport so that I could catch a plane headed back down south to IAFA in Orlando, FL. I flew Continental Airlines, and I had a First Class seat. Normally I don’t fly First Class, but I waited too long to purchase my ticket and that’s all that was left for non-stop flights between Cleveland and Orlando. However, the price was more expensive, but the First Class experience (my first) was well worth it! I had a spacious seat, three glasses of red wine, a snack that included more wine, cheese, meat, crackers, and cookies (as opposed to just a packet of mixed nuts), and a fellow non-First Class traveler as my next-seat mate (a produce supply chain manager–not sure about his official job title, but it his work sounds interesting–though I had more questions than I was comfortable asking regarding modern farming and displacement practices).

After arriving at the Orlando Airport Marriott, I ran into Lisa Yaszek and Doug Davis who were on their way out to the pool. Later that night, I talked to two long-time IAFA-goers, Tim and Brian, at the opening reception. Then, I ran into Karen Hellekson and Craig Jacobsen, co-editors of SFRA Review. We all moved outside and had an enjoyable talk out on the dock behind the hotel on a large pond. While enjoying the night breeze, Taryne Jade Taylor joined us. If she’s representative of Florida Atlantic’s MA in English, SF and Fantasy track, then they must have an outstanding program! After the first exodus of bodies, Aidan-Paul Canavan lurked into the darkness under the gazebo. It was great seeing him again (he’s in the PhD program at the University of Liverpool).

What a great arrival to the conference–enjoying time with old friends and new!

Blogging IAFA 2008

I’m currently reporting from the first of three conferences I’m attending this year–the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts 2008 Conference. It goes by different names IAFA or ICFA. Look for posts detailing my first IAFA conference experience. The night’s young, and there’s a lot to recap on my first and second days here!

P.S. Fresh out of the “Politics and Singularity” panel, James Patrick Kelly and Ted Chiang walk into the bar. Hm, there might be a joke in there somewhere…