Paradoxa

Paradoxa publishes articles on genre literature: science fiction, horror, mysteries, children's literature, romance, comic studies, the fantastic, best sellers, the occult, westerns, oral literature, and more.

Welcome to Paradoxa

Paradoxa publishes articles on genre literature: science fiction, horror, mysteries, children's literature, romance, comic studies, the fantastic, best sellers, the occult, westerns, oral literature, and more. Paradoxa invites submissions on all aspects of genre literature which make a significant and original contribution to the study of those genres.

Current Issue

Paradoxa, Volume 25, Africa SF.

“Superbly curated and impressively recondite, these essays are as provocative as they are wide-ranging—from the weird that is Sun Ra to African Apocalypse to the Wakanda homeland of Marvel’s Black Panther … and for someone like me, a child of the African diaspora, and a full-out futurist geek, it is indispensable.” –Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)

“Whether it’s musician Sun Ra, American SF writer Octavia Estelle Butler or the Ghanaian AfroCyberPunk writer Jonathan Dotse, this issue of one of North America's most lively journals is crammed with wonderfully wide windows opening onto African and African-inspired writing and music around from the world. You really don’t want to miss this one!” —Samuel R. Delany, author of Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders (2012)

“Franz Fanon opened his seminal book The Wretched of the Earth with the bold statement: ‘Decolonization is the veritable creation of new men.’ There is something intrinsically science fictional about the new beings and temporal disjunctions in the colony, the postcolony and the trajectories of uneven development. In this special issue of Paradoxa, guest editor Mark Bould has brought together an outstanding group of critics to think through the conjuncture of Africa and science fiction really for the first time with proper rigour and critical sophistication. The collection contains Bould’s essential outline of the African re-functioning of science fictional tropes, and some brilliant interventions into the history of comics, colonial adventure fiction and film. This heady brew is rounded off with John Rieder’s powerful reflections on the weird and wonderful world of Sun Ra’s ‘occult jazz’ experimental mythology. This collection breaks new ground: the horizon of science fiction studies has just been expanded again.” Professor Roger Luckhurst, Birkbeck, University of London, author of Science Fiction (2005).

Preview this issue

Issues in Preparation

No. 26 New Directions in Science Fiction Criticism (submissions closed)

No. 27 The Futures Industry Call for Papers (anticipated publication date December, 2015)

More than thirty years ago, Fredric Jameson suggested in “Progress versus Utopia” (1982) that, far from providing us with blueprints of the future, the function of science fiction was to dramatize our inability to imagine a future distinct from the capitalist present. Much of his work since, including his “genealogy of the future” in Valences of the Dialectic has focused on the importance of speculative fiction for working through the difficulties of utopian thinking in a context thoroughly saturated by capitalist thinking.

Capitalism has colonized our present and our ability to think about the future. But more importantly, it has also consumed this future in the form of futures markets that script certain trajectories as we deplete limited oil reserves and watch the extinction of hundreds of species due to pollution and climate change.

In the twenty-first century, the future has never seemed so polarized, and we oscillate between dystopian visions of scarcity and collapse (what Chris Harmon calls Zombie Capitalism, 2010) and visions of corporate advertising for products such as cellular phones and luxury cars. These “essential” items suggest that their consumers can live in the future now through these technological marvels. Everyone from Monsanto (Monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/feed-the-future-initiative.aspx) to Verizon (verizon.com/powerfulanswers/) to biotech entrepreneur Craig Venter—in his book Life at the Speed of Light (2013)—claims to be building a better world. Such discourse appropriates and erodes the language of those who seek to articulate alternative futures.

This issue of Paradoxa invites papers that address the struggle to imagine—and shape—the future in interdisciplinary frameworks. Mark Fisher argues in Capitalist Realism (2012) that the language of advertising is a key mechanism by which we are encouraged to invest in the future as the future of capitalism. It is imperative that we interrogate these limiting visions of the future and reinvigorate the utopian project of imagining and nurturing alternative visions of the social.

As examples of this reimagining, authors are referred to Arjun Appardurai’s call for “an anthropology of the future” in The Future as Cultural Fact; Elizabeth Povinelli’s analysis of the frozen space-time of neoliberalism and her observation that it destroys alternative futures by “denying them social substance” (Economics of Abandonment 134); Kaushik Sunder Rajan’s work on the economies of biocapital and its Derridean rhetoric of “truth”; Melinda Cooper’s work in Life as Surplus on what she calls “capitalism delirium [which] seeks to refashion the world rather than interpret it” (20).

How might we reclaim the future, not only the material future as a space of greater equity and social justice, but also the future as our imaginative ability to think about estranged and new worlds rather than to capitulate to a future as envisioned by global capital? Can science fiction foster a critical understanding of the intersections of political economy and contemporary technoscience, or does its own status as an entertainment commodity inevitably compromise its capacity as a tool for social critique? What is the role of speculative thinking in political struggle and social justice today?

We invite proposals of 500 words for papers of 5000-9000 words. Proposals are due October 1, 2014. Authors will be notified within 3 weeks if their abstract has been accepted. Full papers will be due July 1, 2015. Each paper will be subject to external peer review before acceptance is final. For additional information about past Paradoxa projects, see www.paradoxa.com. Please send proposals to Sherryl Vint at sherryl.vint@gmail.com

No. 28 New Voices from Senegal Call for Papers (anticipated publication date December, 2016)

Paradoxa invites submissions that examine the creative energy of contemporary Senegal, a West African intellectual and artistic center of gravity. In addition to the widely respected elders voices of Ousmane Sembene, Mariama Bâ, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Senghor, Cheikh Anta Diop and others, we will examine the artistic expression of a new generation. We are interested in papers that explore contemporary Senegalese literature and cinema, including Senegalese intellectualism, regional diversity, the emerging power of the female voice, the Senegalese diaspora, and other perspectives that examine the vitality of Senegalese letters and film.

We are interested in bringing the vitality and cultural perspective of this nation’s rich cultural heritage to the attention of Western readers. We therefore encourage papers that will explore what is uniquely Senegalese, as well as papers that contrast Senegalese productions with other literary and cinematic traditions. We are prepared to accept submissions that will examine, for example, one author’s entire oeuvre, or papers that propose a broader approach to a cultural phenomenon.

Possible subjects include (but are not limited to) the work of Ken Bugul Moussa Touré, Boubacar Boris Diop, Fatou Diome, Sokhna Benga, Safi Faye, Khady Sylla, Nafissatou Dia Diouf, Alain Gomis, Felwine Sarr, Oumar Sankharé, Tidiane Ndiaye, Ousmane Sow, Joseph Gaye, Ramaka Youssou Ndour, Baba Maal, Moussa Sene Absa, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Adellatif Coulibaly, Sada Kane, Abibatou Kemgné Traoré, Laurence Gavron, Sheikh Alioune Ndao, Didier Awadi, The School of Dakar-second generation (painting), Mansour Sora Wade, Djibril Diop, Mambéty Louis Camara, Dyana Gueye, Samba Felix Ndiaye, Ben Diogaye, Sylvie Kande, Abasse Ndione.

We invite proposals of 500 words for papers of 5000-9000 words. Proposals should be submitted by April 15, 2015, and authors will be notified by May 30, 2015 if their abstract has been accepted. Authors are expected to be familiar with the scholarly discourse, and should prepare their papers following MLA style guidelines: i.e., endnotes, works cited, citations within the text, etc. Submissions should be in the 5000-9000 word range, and should include a 250-500 word abstract. All submissions will be subject to the standard (blind) peer-review process, and authors of papers that are accepted for publication should expect to receive comments and suggestions from anonymous referees.

Send all queries regarding this special Paradoxa project to Guest Editor, El Hadji Malick Ndiaye ndiayee@seattleu.edu. Deadline for submissions is April 15, 2015. For additional information about past Paradoxa projects, see www.paradoxa.com

No. 29 (Political) Prisoner Narratives (anticipated publication date December, 2017)

The Call for Papers is in preparation