CFP: Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema — Dossier for Film Matters 8.3


 This call is to solicit essays – from undergraduate scholars – for a Film Matters dossier on recent (post-1989) science fiction cinema, to be published in issue 8.3 (winter 2017).  We are looking for papers that engage with the following questions concerning the science fiction genre.


While criticizing the present, science fiction explores and stages alternative worlds and ways of organizing society. How does science fiction address the nature of the sociopolitical tensions that confront us, the possible consequences and possible solutions? How can we envision the world differently by imagining enhanced or post-apocalyptic futures? What does this cinematic genre tell us about ourselves and the age of technological renaissance in which we live? How has it been impacted by the proliferation of special effects? Conversely, what is the heritage of its foundational masterpieces and why are they more relevant than ever today?


We are also interested in exploring how contemporary science fiction successfully hybridized with other film genres such as the western, martial arts movies, melodrama, comedy, horror, and film noir. The scope of the dossier ranges from filmmakers in the late 20th century to contemporary imaginings of digital cinema and virtual simulations. Not simply an exploration of science fiction as a genre, this is an invitation to explore what kinds of cultural work science fiction cinema performs and how it has contributed to larger debates about media theory.


Please submit your work to Fabrizio Cilento ( by December 1, 2016.


Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:


  • The Heritage of Science Fiction Classics, B, and Cult Movies
  • Technology, Design, and Special Effects
  • Stars and Stardom in Contemporary Science Fiction
  • Science Fiction Crossovers (hybridization with other film genres such as the western, martial arts movies, melodrama, comedy, fantasy, horror, and film noir)
  • Utopias and Dystopias
  • Prequels, Sequels, and Remakes
  • Star Wars and Star Trek films
  • Global and Postcolonial Science Fiction
  • Social Science Fiction
  • Good Aliens/Bad Aliens
  • Monster Movies
  • Most Adapted Science Fiction Writers (Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Robert Henlein, Arthur Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick and others)
  • Low Budget and Indie Science Fiction
  • Science Fiction in the Digital Age
  • Virtual Simulations



Ideally, papers – including reviews of recent science fiction films, reviews of recent scholarly books on the science fiction genre, or interviews with relevant scholars in the field – should:


  • Explore the recent developments of science fiction cinema.


  • Explain key movements in science fiction, such as technological utopianism, cyberpunk, steampunk, retrofuturism, and afrofuturism.


  • Trace the roots of contemporary media theories such as cyborg feminism and trans/post-humanism, back through science fiction films.


  • Develop a critical account of how ideas about media and technology have been shaped by the discourses associated with science fiction.




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