The Romance of Science Fiction / Fantasy
Deadline: January 1, 2017
Whether we consider romance novels incorporating elements of the fantastic, the future, or the alien, or works of Science Fiction/Fantasy exploring love, desire, and other aspects of romantic culture, the relationship between these genres has been enduring and productive. Following up on a series of joint panels at the 2016 national conference of the Popular Culture Association, the Journal of Popular Romance Studies calls for papers for a special issue on the intersections between romance and science fiction/fantasy in fiction (including fan fic), film, TV, and other media, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world. This special issue will be guest edited by Gillian I. Leitch, PCA co-chair for SF/Fantasy, and Erin Young.
Contributions might consider questions like the following, either in terms of particular texts (novels, films, TV shows, etc.) or in terms of genre, audience, and media history:
- How has the intersection of these two popular genres opened up new possibilities in conceptualizing gender, desire, sexuality, love, courtship, or relationship structure, not just recently, but since the earliest years of SF/Fantasy?
- How has their intersection allowed us to see existing concepts of gender, desire, sexuality, love, courtship, and relationship structure in fresh or critical ways?
- How have authors, filmmakers, producers, and fans played these genres against one another, for example by using romance to critique traditions in SF/F, or SF/F to critique the tropes of romance? How has this counterpoint been explored by authors, filmmakers, producers, and fans of color, or by LBGTQIA creators and audiences?
- How might reading classics of SF/F as romance change our perception of them: works like Dune and the Witch World novels, The Left Hand of Darkness, or even E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series, which are threaded on a tale of eugenic love?
- What happens to works of paranormal, futuristic, or time-travel romance when we read them through the lenses provided by SF/Fantasy Studies?
- What happens when teaching works of SF/Fantasy and popular romance? How do these genres co-exist or compete in pedagogical experience or classroom practice?
- How do works of SF/Fantasy and popular romance coexist and interact in library ecosystems? What issues arise in terms of collection development, readers advisory, or community engagement?
Special Issue CFP: Romance/Fans: Sexual Fantasy, Love, & Genre in Fandom (3/1/17; 3/15/18)
Romance is one of the most beloved genres of media around the world. Catherine Roach describes fans of romance fiction as ‘ludic readers... who read for play and pleasure’ (2016, 32). According to Roach, romance fandom is both ‘intensely private, as the reading experience can be, but also powerfully communitarian’ (32). Despite the popularity of romance media, romance fandoms remain relatively unaddressed within fan studies. Traditionally, the relationship between “shipping” and romance has been cast as either oppositional or ambivalent. Catherine Driscoll argues that romance “generally appears as a mute field” in studies of fan fiction (2006, 82). Romance is framed as a force that sexually explicit fan fiction responds to or acts against. This framework has a tendency to privilege certain fan works and overgeneralize popular romance genres.
This special issue aims to examine the romance/fan relationship from three directions. First, we seek to examine the relationship between fan works and romantic storytelling today. How do we theorize the flow of works, authors, and audiences between contemporary fandoms and commercial romance genres? By examining romantic texts and their producers, how might we reconsider the rich dynamism of romantic aesthetics and tropes across cultures, national contexts, and media? Next, we want to explore what constitutes a romance fan or romance fandom. What is a romance fan/fandom and how are they positioned in relation to other fan networks? Finally, we want to consider the figure of the romance fan and its construction. How do discourses depicting fans as overly romantic and hysterical frame our understandings of romance and romance fandom? How are fans able to resist these characterizations?
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
* Romance and fan fiction; the application of terms like romance, erotica, erotic-romance, and pornography to fan works.
* The creation, curation, and sharing of visual media (e.g., fan vids and gifs; memes; manips) in romance fandoms.
* The role of sexually explicit materials in romantic fan works.
* Book clubs and reading the romance.
* Romance fan field trips, gatherings, and conventions.
* Shipping and anti-shipping practices in fandoms.
* Romance anti-fandom.
* Social media practices in romance fandoms (e.g., the use of Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook).
* Social activism in online romance fandoms.
* Romance fandom and the event (e.g., comic cons, book releases, movie premiers).
* Teens and youth cultures in romance fandom.
* The figure of the fangirl and “fangirling” as excessively romantic.
* Representations of romance fandom (e.g., in reviews/articles, on screen, in print, online).
Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC, http://journal.transformativeworks.org/) is an international peer-reviewed online Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works copyrighted under a Creative Commons License. TWC aims to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community. TWC accommodates academic articles of varying scope as well as other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing.
Theory: Conceptual essays. Peer review, 6,000–8,000 words.
Praxis: Case study essays. Peer review, 5,000–7,000 words.
Symposium: Short commentary. Editorial review, 1,500–2,500 words.
Please visit TWC's Web site (http://journal.transformativeworks.org/) for complete submission guidelines, or e-mail the TWC Editor (editor AT transformativeworks.org).
Contact—Contact guest editor Katherine Morrissey, Athena Bellas, and Eric Selinger with any questions or inquiries at romancefans[AT]katiedidnt.net.
Due date—March 1, 2017, for estimated March 2018 publication.