While it was happening, this mostly felt like another year lost to the day job – launching a new BA and helping launch a new MA while the previous new BA was only entering its third year – so loads of new modules to design and teach alongside a tidal wave of related admin. It came as a bit of a surprise, then, to see how long this post turned out to be.
The big news, I guess, was the decision to stand down as an editor of Science Fiction Film and Television, which Sherryl Vint and I launched a decade ago. We have now ascended to the giddy heights of editors emerita/us, while leaving all the hard work of actual editing to Gerry Canavan, Dan Hassler-Forest and another to be announced soon. (Though Sherryl and I return almost immediately as guest-editors for 11.2, the ‘Celebrating Mary Shelley’ issue.)
The other big news is that Rhys Williams and I finally finished editing M John Harrison: Critical Essays, which should be out from Gylphi soon(ish). This is the second collection to come from the conference we organised at Warwick back in 2014; the first was SF Now (Paradoxa 26), which somehow we turned around in three months rather than three years.
I also joined the advisory board of Comparative Literature and Culture.
I wrote one journal article this year, and quite freakily it came out just four months later:
‘From world sf (via, if we must, World Sf) to world-sf: an introduction’, Fantastika 2 (2017)
I published three essays in edited collections
‘Between the Sleep and the Dream of Reason: Dystopian Science Fiction Cinema’ in Rainer Rother and Annika Schaeffer, eds, Future Imperfect: Science Fiction Film (Bertz/Fischer Verlag 2017), 42–63
‘Pulp SF and its Others, 1918–39’ in Roger Luckhurst, ed., Science Fiction: A Literary History (British Library 2017), 100–128
‘Afrocyberpunk Cinema: The Postcolony Finds Its Own Use for Things’ in Graham J Murphy and Lars Schmeink, eds, Cyberpunk and Visual Culture (Routledge 2017), 213–234
And I wrote two other essays, the first of which came out within a month of submitting a hastily concocted first draft, and involved what was without doubt the most astonishingly brilliant experience of being edited I have ever had (goddammit, that sounds sarcastic; they really were incredible to work with). I am also extremely grateful to the editors of the second piece, who tolerated six months of delays as the day job (and not unrelated health issues) got in the way.
‘Dulltopia’ in Junot Díaz, ed, Global Dystopias (Boston Review) (2017), 191–206
‘Space/Race: Recovering John M. Faucette’ in Isiah Lavender III and Lisa Yaszek, eds, Afrofuturism Through Time and Space (Ohio State UP)—forthcoming
I published one review essay, six reviews and an introduction to a novel
‘Max Sexton and Malcolm Cook, Adapting Science Fiction to TV: Small Screen, Expanded Universe, Steven Gil, Science Wars through the Stargate: Explorations of Science and Society in Stargate SG-1 and Douglas and Shea T. Brode, eds, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek: The Original Cast Adventures’, Critical Studies in Television: The International Journal of Television Studies 12.3 (2017), 315–19
‘Brian Willems, Shooting the Moon’, Science Fiction Film and Television 10.3 (2017), 418–421
‘African Science Fiction’ on Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry’s ‘African SF’ Special Issue, The Los Angeles Review of Books (2 October 2017)
‘David S. Roh, Betsy Huang and Greta A. Niu, eds, Techno-Orientalism: Imagining Asia in Speculative Fiction, History, and Media’, Extrapolation 58.1 (2017), 95–99
Contributor to ‘Best SF Films of 2016’ (reviews of Evolution, He Never Died and Mænd & høns/Men & Chicken), Vector 285 (2017), 11–18
‘Introduction’ to HG Wells, The Time Machine (Pan Macmillan, 2017), vii–xv
In memoriam, I wrote a piece about Mark Fisher and an entry for a collection Mike Levy was to have edited and which Farah Mendlesohn brilliantly took on in his stead:
‘Verschränkung’. Contribution to ‘In Memoriam: Mark Fisher’, Los Angeles Review of Books (2017)
Entry on Arrival for Mike Levy and Farah Mendlesohn, eds, Aliens in Popular Culture (Greenwood)—forthcoming
There was an absurd world tour of keynotes, plenaries and other invited research presentations
‘Making Habitable Worlds in the Late Anthropocene’, The Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability, University of Warwick, 20 November 2017
‘Art/Science at the Edge’ closing plenary discussion with Susanne Winterling, chaired by Bodhisatva Chattopadhyay, Synchronizing the World: Historic Times, Globalized Times, Anthropogenic Times, Universitetet i Oslo, Norway, 12–14 June 2017
‘This is the Worst of All Possible Worlds’, Dystopia Now, Birkbeck, 26 May 2017
‘The Anthropocene Unconscious of African Second Contact Narratives: District 9, Rosewater, Lagoon’, Inventions of the Text seminar series, University of Durham, 10 May 2017
‘Staying with Wahala: Making Time in the Anthropocene’, Africa of the Past, Africa of the Future: The Dynamics of Time in Africanist Scholarship and Art, SOAS, University of London, 5–6 May 2017
‘Figuring History in Robots of Brixton and Crumbs’, The Distorted Mirror: Reflections of Time and Space in Speculative Media, Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies/Universität Bayreuth, Germany 29–30 April 2017
‘Afrofuturism Archive Anthropocene’, Cornell University, 17 April 2017
‘Making Afrofuturism, Salvaging History’, University of California, Riverside, 10 April 2017
and some public talks
Selected and introduced Arthur Robison’s The Informer for Southwest Silents, The Lansdown, Bristol, 18 October 2017
Introduced Robert Zemeckis’s Contact for Electric Shadows in the Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral, 4 October 2017
Selected and introduced Jacques Feyder’s Visages d’enfants for Southwest Silents, The Lansdown, Bristol, 15 March 2017
and the media non-appearance
Like almost everyone I know in the UK (except Caroline Edwards), I spent a couple of hours being interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s We Are the Martians, 6–8 March 2017, but did not actually appear on any of the programmes (though some of my words did, albeit from the mouths of presenters). I even came to the rescue when the producer had only an hour or so in which to find a (literal) hole in the ground in Arizona to record an echo-y cave effect while reconstructing John Carter’s first astral visit to Mars/Barsoom. But still my fucking words are only fucking good enough to fucking air if fucking said by someone fucking else they are actually fucking paying for their fucking labour with my fucking licence fee.
I also examined one PhD, Thomas Connolly’s Bio/Techno/Homo: A Critical History of the Human in Anglo-American Science Fiction (Maynooth University, Eire 2017), and served my first year as a jury member on two awards:
The Science Fiction Research Association’s Pilgrim Lifetime Achievement Award for Critical Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy, which went to Tom Moylan
The International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts’ David G Hartwell Emerging Scholar Award, which went to Grant Dempsey