Walls of Words

Nicole Lobdell

Nicole Lobdell is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English in 19th-century British literature at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN.



CFP: Science Fiction Studies: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at 200

CFP: Science Fiction Studies: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at 200

Science Fiction Studies is currently soliciting proposals for a July 2018 special issue celebrating the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), a work that forever changed the genre of science fiction. In Frankenstein, Shelley experimented not only with subject matter, new scientific inventions and their many terrifying and horrific possibilities, but also narrative and form. Her use of multiple frame narratives, nested one within another, was a notable shift from the eighteenth-century novels she grew up reading, and her merging of popular culture’s fascination with science and the Gothic broadened the emerging genre of science fiction. Her refusal to provide a clear didactic lesson left readers to judge for themselves the actions of Victor Frankenstein, and the ending left the Creature’s fate unclear, the possibility of its survival forever impacting future readers and writers. Adaptations and appropriations of Shelley’s narrative and form have become staples of science fiction, and as such, Frankenstein holds a celebrated spot as a creative source that inspires subsequent science fiction.

Shelley’s novel did not always enjoy the critical acclaim and canonical status that it now holds. Nonetheless, Frankenstein continues to resonate and influence the definitions, forms, narratives, and media of contemporary science fiction and contemporary authorship. In what ways does Frankenstein’s influence transform how authors and readers understand the limits of science fiction? How do the genre-bending and metafictional components of Frankenstein influence definitions of science fiction? What does Frankenstein have to say about the current political climate and global issues such as citizenship, immigration, and war? These questions have inspired this call for papers, and the editors envision this special issue as a celebration of Mary Shelley, the legacy of Frankenstein, and the light it continues to cast on science fiction since its publication. Essays that explore the intersections of recent science fiction novels and critical approaches are particularly encouraged, as are essays that consider cross-media adaptations of Frankenstein or Frankenstein-inspired narratives. Other potential topics could include:

Adaptations (art, comics, theatre, videogames, etc.,)             Immigration    

Aesthetics                                                                                                     Intertextuality

Animal Studies                                                                                            Medical Humanities

Culture of 1818 & 2018 (citizenship, immigration, war)      Neuroscience

Digital Humanities                                                                                     Philosophy

Digital Media                                                                                               Poetry

Disability Studies                                                                                       Popular Culture

Feminisms                                                                                                      Romanticism

GeoHumanities                                                                                           Science and technology (AI, robotics)

Globalization and postcolonial                                                            Visual Culture


Please send proposals (300-500 words) by 1 Aug. 2017 to Michael Griffin (michael.griffin@lmc.gatech.edu) and Nicole Lobdell (nicolelobdell@depauw.edu). Completed papers (6000-8000 words) will be due by 1 Oct. 2017.