Science Fiction Studies

Science Fiction Studies (SFS) is an academic journal founded in 1973 by R. D. Mullen. The journal is published three times per year at DePauw University. As the name implies, the journal publishes articles and book reviews on science fiction, but also occasionally on fantasy and horror when the topic also covers some aspect of science fiction as well. Known as one of the major academic publications of its type, Science Fiction Studies is considered the most "theoretical" of the academic journals that publish on science fiction.

Science Fiction Studies
DisciplineScience fiction
Edited byArthur B. Evans
Publication details
Publication history
SF-TH Inc.
Standard abbreviations
Sci. Fict. Stud.
OCLC no.301704877


Le Voyage dans la lune
A still from Voyage a la Lune—this image is also the logo of the Science Fiction Studies journal.

SFS has had three different institutional homes during its lifetime. It was founded in 1973 at Indiana State University by the late English professor Dr. R. D. Mullen, where it remained for approximately five years. In 1978, it moved to McGill University and then to Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where it was supported by a Canadian government grant until 1991. SFS was brought back to Indiana to DePauw University in 1992 where it has remained ever since. The parent company of SFS is SF-TH Inc., a not-for-profit corporation established under the laws of the State of Indiana. Dr. Arthur B. Evans (DePauw University) serves as president of SF-TH Inc. and managing editor of SFS. The other senior editors of SFS are Dr. Istvan Csicsery-Ronay (DePauw University), Dr. Joan Gordon (Nassau Community College), Dr. Veronica Hollinger (Trent University), Dr. Carol McGuirk (Florida Atlantic University), Dr. Lisa Swanstrom (University of Utah), and Dr. Sherryl Vint (University of California at Riverside).

Peer review

SFS is refereed, very selective (its acceptance rate averages around 37%), and its 900+ subscription base includes institutions and individuals in the US and Canada and more than 30 foreign countries. SFS has been called the world’s most respected journal for the critical study of science fiction. Recognized as having brought a rigorous theoretical focus to the study of this popular genre, SFS has been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, where Jim Zook noted that "Since its founding... Science Fiction Studies has charted the course for the most hard-core science fiction critics and comparatists. That focus has earned the journal its reputation as the most theoretical scholarly publication in the field, as well as the most daring".[1] SFS has also been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement, where Paul Kincaid compared the world’s three principal learned journals that focus on science fiction: Science Fiction Studies, Extrapolation (published at the University of Texas, Brownsville), and Foundation (published at the University of Liverpool, UK). He concluded that "Science Fiction Studies ... has always been resolutely academic, the articles always peer-reviewed ..., and with an uncompromising approach to the complexities of critical theory".[2] On top of being the most theoretically sophisticated journal in the field, SFS also has the broadest coverage of science fiction outside the English language, with special issues on Science Fiction in France, Post-Soviet SF, Japanese SF, and Latin American SF.


SFS appears three times per year (March, July, and November) and averages 200 pages in length. A representative issue contains 5–8 articles ranging in length from 5,000 to 15,000 words, 2–3 review-essays, two dozen book reviews covering scholarly works, plus a substantial Notes and Correspondence section. Special issues follow the same format but are usually guest-edited. Recent special issue topics include Technoculture and Science Fiction, Afrofuturism, Latin American Science Fiction, Animal Studies and Science Fiction, Science Fiction and Sexuality, Italian Science Fiction, Digital Science Fiction, and Spanish Science Fiction, among others. A regular rotation of open and special issues has characterized the journal’s publication schedule from the outset: roughly one-third of its 130+ issues have been special issues. These special issues often have a major impact on the field, setting critical agendas and initiating debates. Guest editors are drawn from the consulting board of 35 scholars, representing in their expertise the international scope of the field.

SFS offers both print and electronic subscriptions (the latter through JSTOR) via the SFS Store on its website. A subscription is also included with membership in the Science Fiction Research Association.

See also


  1. ^ Jim Zook, "Daring Journal of SF Theory", The Chronicle of Higher Education (June 1, 1994): A:8.
  2. ^ Paul Kincaid, "Learned Journals", The Times Literary Supplement (March 7, 2003): 24–25.

External links

Andrew M. Butler

Andrew M. Butler is a British academic who teaches film, media and cultural studies at Canterbury Christ Church University. He is a former editor of Vector, the Critical Journal of the British Science Fiction Association and was membership secretary of the Science Fiction Foundation. He is a former Arthur C. Clarke Award judge and is now a member of the Serendip Foundation which administers the award.

He has published widely on science fiction and, less often, fantasy, in journals such as Foundation, Science Fiction Studies, Vector and The Lion and the Unicorn. His interests include Philip K. Dick, Terry Pratchett (Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature, co-edited with Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn was nominated for a Hugo Award), Jeff Noon, Iain M. Banks, Ken MacLeod, Christopher Priest and Philip Pullman. An article for Science Fiction Studies, "Thirteen ways of looking at the British Boom", on the British science fiction boom won the Science Fiction Research Association Pioneer Award in 2004.

Buffy studies

Buffy studies (or Buffyology) is the study of Joss Whedon's popular television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, to a lesser extent, its spin-off program Angel. It explores issues related to gender and other philosophical issues as expressed through the content of these shows in the fictional Buffyverse.

Neda Ulaby of NPR describes Buffy as having a "special following among academics, some of whom have staked a claim in what they call 'Buffy Studies'". Though not widely recognized as a distinct discipline, the term "Buffy studies" is commonly used amongst the academic Buffy-related writings.

Center for the Study of Science Fiction

The Center for the Study of Science Fiction is an endowed educational institution associated with the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS, that emerged from the science-fiction (SF) programs that James Gunn created at the University beginning in 1968. The Center was formally established through an endowment in 1982 as a focus for courses, workshops, lectures, student and international awards, a conference, fan groups, and other SF-related programs at the University of Kansas.

Eaton Collection

The Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy, formerly known as the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature, is "the largest publicly accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian and dystopian literature in the world". It is housed in Special Collections and Archives of the UCR Libraries at the University of California, Riverside. It consists of more than 300,000 items, including hardcover and paperback books, SF fanzines, film and visual material, and comic books, including manga and anime, as well as a variety of archival materials.

Epic Pooh

"Epic Pooh" is a 1978 article by the British science fiction writer Michael Moorcock, which reviews the field of epic fantasy, with a particular focus on epic fantasy written for children. In it Moorcock critiques J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings for its politically conservative assumptions and for being escapist literature.

Originally written for the British Science Fiction Association, "Epic Pooh" was revised for inclusion in Moorcock's 1989 book Wizardry and Wild Romance.

Mythopoeic Society

The Mythopoeic Society (MythSoc) is a non-profit organization devoted to the study of mythopoeic literature, particularly the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and C. S. Lewis, all members of The Inklings, an informal group of writers who met weekly in C.S. Lewis’ rooms at Magdalen College, Oxford, from the early 1930s through late 1949.

Robert Scholes

Robert E. Scholes (1929-2016) was an American literary critic and theorist. He is known for his ideas on fabulation and metafiction.

He graduated from Yale University. From 1970 until his death in 2016, he was a Professor at Brown University.

With Eric S. Rabkin, he published in 1977 the book Science Fiction: History, Science, Vision, which considerably influenced science fiction studies. In it, they attempt to explain the literary history of the genre, but also the sciences such as physics and astronomy.

Scholes became well known as a cogent guide to literary theory and semiotics as they became influential in U.S. literary studies in the 1970s and 1980s. His 1982 book Semiotics and Interpretation was praised in the Times Literary Supplement as offering "a clutch of examples of semiotics usefully and intelligently applied, which Scholes's patient, cheerful tone and his resolutely concrete vocabulary manage to combine into a breezily informative American confection."Scholes held honorary doctorates from Lumière University Lyon 2, France, (1987) and SUNY Purchase (2003). He was a president of the Semiotic Society of America (1989–1990) and of the Modern Language Association of America (2004). In 1998, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Scholes served most recently as the director of the Modernist Journals Project. In his collaboration with Clifford Wulfman, Modernism in the Magazines: An Introduction (2010), Scholes offered a primer on early twentieth-century magazines, with particular attention given to the relationship of advertising to editorial content.

Science Fiction Research Association

The Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), founded in 1970, is the oldest, non-profit professional organization committed to encouraging, facilitating, and rewarding the study of science fiction and fantasy literature, film, and other media. The organization’s international membership includes academically affiliated scholars, librarians, and archivists, as well as authors, editors, publishers, and readers. In addition to its facilitating the exchange of ideas within a network of science fiction and fantasy experts, SFRA holds an annual conference for the critical discussion of science fiction and fantasy where it confers a number of awards, and it produces the quarterly publication, SFRA Review, which features reviews, review essays, articles, interviews, and professional announcements.

Science fiction

Science fiction (often shortened to Sci-Fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction, typically dealing with imaginative concepts such as advanced science and technology, spaceflight, time travel, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a "literature of ideas".

Science fiction libraries and museums

With the growth of science fiction studies as an academic discipline as well as a popular media genre, a number of libraries, museums, archives, and special collections have been established to collect and organize works of scholarly and historical value in the field.

Shorter Views

Shorter Views is a 2000 collection of essays on race, sexuality, science fiction, and the art of writing by author, professor, and critic Samuel R. Delany.

The Encyclopedia of Fantasy

The Encyclopedia of Fantasy is a 1997 reference work concerning fantasy fiction, edited by John Clute and John Grant. Other contributors include Mike Ashley, Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, David Langford, Sam J. Lundwall, Michael Scott Rohan, Brian Stableford and Lisa Tuttle.

The book was well-received on publication. During 1998, it received the Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, and Locus Award. The industry publication Library Journal described The Encyclopedia of Fantasy as "the first of its kind".Since November 2012, the full text of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy is available on-line, as a companion to the on-line Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. The editors of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction have stated that there are not any plans to update the Encyclopedia of Fantasy, at least for the foreseeable future, although some death dates post-1997 have been added.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is an English language reference work on science fiction, first published in 1979. In October 2011, the third edition was made available for free online.

The Last Celt

The Last Celt: A Bio–Bibliography of Robert Ervin Howard is a biography and bibliography of Robert E. Howard by Glenn Lord. It was first published by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in 1976 in an edition of 2,600 copies.

The Motion of Light in Water

The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village is an autobiography by science fiction author Samuel R. Delany in which he recounts his experiences as growing up a gay African American, as well as some of his time in an interracial and open marriage with Marilyn Hacker. It describes encounters with Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, and Stokely Carmichael, a dinner with W. H. Auden, and a phone call to James Baldwin. Hazel Carby called it one of two contemporary autobiographies that are "absolutely central to any consideration of black manhood" (the other being that of Miles Davis). Among many cultural events of the decade that he witnessed, Delany recounts his attendance at the first New York City performance of artist Allan Kaprow's 18 Happenings in 6 Parts, the 1959 performance piece that, for many, marks the end of modernism and the beginning of postmodernism. In section 17.4 of the University of Minnesota Press edition, he describes the event and its venue, and speculates on its artistic significance. The introduction puts an emphasis on the idea of the unreliable narrator; Delany's accounts often contrast his life as it "felt" to ways in which it actually occurred. In the chapter, The Future Is in the Present of the book Cruising Utopia by José Esteban Munoz, Delany's The Motion of Light in the Water serves to explain how the future, as a formed of utopia, can be "glimpsed" in the present through what Delany employed as "the massed bodies" of sexual dissidence.

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