Literature: Special Issue "American Sci-Fi" DEADLINE EXTENDED!

Joelle Renstrom's picture
Call for Papers
February 23, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Literature, Popular Culture Studies

You are invited to submit a paper for possible inclusion in a Special Issue of Literature (ISSN: 2410-9789) entitled “American Sci-Fi”. Literature is an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal on literature and cultural studies published quarterly online by MDPI. The journal welcomes original research articles and reviews. The aim of this Special Issue is to provide a platform for science fiction afficianados to present new research and insights into a ever-evolving genre with increasingly significant socio-cultural impacts. The theme is intentionally broad and open-ended, with potential research areas noted below.

Science fiction has become one of the most popular and influential genres of literature. It affects real-world innovations, approaches, and reactions to scientific and technological advancement (and/or regression). While the genre is prevalent globally, the American science fiction subgenre reflects not only what it means to be human but what it means to be American (or not), to live in America (or not), and to compete and/or collaborate with America. For example, American sci-fi is more likely than Japanese sci-fi or manga to represent robots as evil. Why? How did the “evil robot” narrative develop in American sci-fi, and what narrative counterpart developed in Japan? How have those narratives influenced cultural views on robots?

This Special Issue aims to explore the evolution of American science fiction and the impact it has had and continues to have on readers. The goal is to have a collection of at least 10 articles, and the Special Issue may be printed in book form if this number is reached.

Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Proto-American sci-fi (Hawthorne, Poe, Twain, Melville, Bierce, and more)
  • “Dime novels” of the 1860s–1870s
  • “Pulp” sci-fi of the late 1800s (Burroughs, Merritt, etc.)
  • Space opera
  • American “New Wave” sci-fi (mid 1960s–mid-1980s)
  • Cyberpunk and/or steampunk
  • Modernist influences (and/or challenges or subversions of them)
  • Dystopian/apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic literature
  • Examinations of the “other” (aliens, robots, AI, etc.)
  • Themes/tropes particularly prevalent in—or missing from—American sci-fi
  • Political/military sci-fi
  • Social criticism/commentary (racism, sexism, xenophobia, imperialism, etc.)
  • Human evolution
  • Space exploration/colonization
  • Parallel universes/alternate worlds
  • Relationships between sci-fi and historical/cultural events

I look forward to receiving your contributions! Please send proposals directly to the guest editor. 


Contact Info: 

Guest Editor: Joelle Renstrom   

Literature Editorial Office, Lumi Xie editoral contact 

Contact Email: