Science Fiction and Fantasy SIG
Science fiction and fantasy (SFF) have played a role in film, television and video games since each medium’s inception, and in the new millennium dominate global screens. The vast majority of popular media franchises are SFF, and these genres proliferate around the world and at lower-budget levels, with, for example, thousands of SFF shorts released on the internet every year. Science Fiction and Fantasy have also propelled screen media forward through technological developments that have pushed the boundaries of special effects, transformed our understanding of performance, and changed how film, television, and videogames are produced and consumed globally.
These complexly interrelated genres have long histories of scholarship, with journals dating back decades, including Extrapolation (founded 1959), Foundation (founded 1972), Science Fiction Studies (founded 1973) and Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts (founded 1990). Film studies scholarship on SF coalesced in the 1980s and 1990s, with foundational work by Vivian Sobchack, Annette Kuhn, Constance Penley, Lynn Spigel, Andrew Gordon, J.P. Telotte and Scott Bukatman, and on fantasy early in the new millennium, with key contributions by Jack Zipes, Bliss Cua Lim, Elyce Rae Helford and Martin Barker. Television studies scholarship developed slightly later, with extensive work on shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Fringe and Game of Thrones central to rethinking notions of cult and quality TV and to contemporary debates about genre and authorship. Hitherto, games scholarship has not really foregrounded genre in the same way but – building on work by Paweł Frelik, Andrew Ferguson, Esther MacCallum-Stewart and Tanya Krzywinska – the current ‘Games and SF’ issue of Science Fiction Film and Television (founded 2008) is breaking new ground.
Historically, SFF studies has been dominated by prose fiction, although that is changing, and the SFF scholarship that appears in screen studies often demonstrates very different concerns. The principal aim of the proposed SFF special interest group is to further connect these communities, fostering communication and collaboration in order to establish and maintain SFF studies as a prominent sub-field of screen studies, and vice versa.
to build and sustain a welcoming, cohesive and active research community in screen studies focused on science fiction and fantasy
to provide a UK-based hub and network for screen SFF scholars
to foster, mentor and provide opportunities for postgraduate and EC researchers
to promote equality, diversity and inclusivity in SFF screen studies
to encourage collaboration on projects which contribute to and help shape the field (e.g., publications; events, panels, symposia and conferences; major projects and funding bids)
to host regular online and FTF events (e.g., book/issue launches, roundtable discussions, watchalongs, 'meet the editor' sessions, work-in-progress groups)