The stuff what I done in 2019

As I continue this Xmas to struggle with The Anthropocene Unconscious, this fucking recalcitrant book that refuses to be written, it is nice to look back over the year to see what else has happened – though that warm sensation might just be procrastination…

The biggest thing this year was receiving the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Distinguished Scholarship Award, and being the Scholar Guest of Honour at the 40th International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, 2019. It was lovely to be back at the conference, and to catch up with so many people, after a seven year hiatus.

My GoH speech  received the not-so-rare distinction of being mocked in Private Eye‘s ‘Pseuds Corner’, between Charlotte Church and Grimes – ‘Our Frightful Hobgoblin, or, Notes Towards Full-On Fully-Automated Luxury Green Interspecies Feminist Queer Space Communism of Colour’. (A longer version of it, with a longer title, is forthcoming in Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts some time.)

Private Eye

I also appeared on a panel with Sarah Pinsker, John Rieder, Nisi Shawl, Joan Slonczewski, Fran Wilde, and did an opening plenary with Sherryl Vint and author GoH G. Willow Wilson (!), whose work I’ve loved since first reading Cairo. And as a special bonus, Willow is just lovely to hang out with.

While I’m namedropping, this year I also got to drink way too much wine with:

  • the Quay brothers, before and after but not actually (and surprisingly) during a panel I did with them (and Andrzej Klimowski, Danusia Stok and Simon Ings) on Stanislaw Lem for the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival/Polish Cultural Institute at The Barbican in April
  • Mike Hodges (again), before and during a screening of his Black Rainbow, which I introduced for Cinema Rediscovered in Bristol in July
  • Andrea, Karolina and Claudia before and – from a shared bottle classily passed back and forth along the row – during a screening of Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead I introduced at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw in December

There was, however, no wine consumed before, during or after the screening of Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer’s Menschen am Sonntag I introduced for Bristol Festival of Ideas’ Festival of the City/Southwest Silents in Bristol in October. (In my very slight defence it was a Sunday at noon, and I had neglected to bring any bad influences with me.)

I gave one other keynote this year

  • ‘Revenant, Repetition, Road Block: Foreclosed Futures in Late-Anthropocene SF’, Striking Back? On Imperial Fantasies and Fantasies of Empire, Max Planck Institute, Göttingen, Germany in September

but after the absurd number I’ve done in the last few years, I figured it’s about time to get back into the discipline of giving 20 minute papers, so I did these two (though the first one was pulled out of the hat when someone had to withdraw at the last minute from a conference I organised):

  • ‘The Great Derangement and the Anthropocene Unconscious’, Imag(in)ing the Anthropocene, UWE/Watershed in June
  • ‘Other Affect in Slow SF: The Clone Returns Home and Dead Slow Ahead’, Senses of Science Fiction: Visions, Sounds, Spaces, University of Warsaw, Poland in December

Oh, and I organised a conference, Imag(in)ing the Anthropocene, mainly as an excuse to hang out with Karolina and Dan over a rainy Bristol weekend in June

Publications-wise, Global Studies in Science Fiction, which I co-edit with Anindita Banerjee and Rachel Haywood Ferreira, published a couple more volumes:

  • Amy Ransom and Dominick Grace, eds, Canadian Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Bridging the Solitudes
  • Simone Brioni and Daniele Comberiati, Italian Science Fiction

The collection I co-edited with Rhys Williams finally appeared:

  • M John Harrison: Critical Essays

IMG_20190611_123409459.jpg

I published my first journal article for a couple of years, but it has a long and complicated history, and was written ages ago:

  • ‘Afrofuturism and the Archive: Robots of Brixton and Crumbs’, Science Fiction Film and Television 12.1 (2019): 171–193

It was uncommissioned and is actually the first article I have ever cold-submitted to a journal. Which felt like an accomplishment of some sort until Gerry Canavan kindly pointed out that since I founded the journal what else could they do…

I published a couple of book chapters and my first review in a couple of years:

  • ‘Afrofuturism in the New Wave Era’ in Eric Carl Link and Gerry Canavan, eds, The Cambridge History of Science Fiction (Cambridge UP 2019), 396–414
  • ‘Science Fiction and Cult Cinema’ in Ernest Mathijs and Jamie Sexton, eds, The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema (Routledge 2019), 59–68
  • ‘Bradley Schauer, Escape Velocity: American Science Fiction Film, 1950–1982’, Science Fiction Studies 137 (2019): 200–203

I also contributed to the ‘Extrapolation­ at Sixty’ symposium, and wrote screening notes for the first time

  • ‘Ice Ice Baby’, screening notes on Iceman (Schepisi 1984) for Science Fiction Theatre/Castle Cinema in London in April

And I finished my three-year stint as a jury member for the SFRA’s Pilgrim Award – John Rieder received it his year – and I examined a couple of pretty impressive PhDs:

  • Sinéad Murphy, Present Futures and Present Pasts: Speculative Aesthetics in Contemporary Arab Literature (King’s College, London 2019)
  • Evdokia Stefanopoulou, The American Science Fiction Film in the 21st Century: Between Bodies and Worlds (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece 2019)

Now if only The Anthropocene Unconscious was as easy to write as this post…

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