Current Issue

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research 1/2018

Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Aino-Kaisa Koistinen, Laura E. Goodin & Dennis Wise
Editorial 1/2018

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Jyrki Korpua
And So It Began – Celebrating the Five Years of Fafnir

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Michael Godhe
“The Old Stories Had Become Our Prison”: Globalisation and Identity Politics in John Barnes’s Science Fiction Novels A Million Open Doors and Earth Made of Glass

Abstract: The article discusses how issues raised by globalisation are represented in John Barnes’s novels A Million Open Doors (1992) and Earth Made of Glass (1998). I will argue that science fiction can work as a model for a futural public sphere, bridging the gap between the humanities and natural science, and enabling a broader public discourse about the societal impacts of science and technology.
Through the novels’ protagonists, Barnes discusses matters of authenticity and identity politics triggered by the globalisation discourse of the 1990s – issues that have again been brought to the fore in the political sphere. By setting the stories in our galaxy in the 29th century, Barnes is debating, challenging, and contesting dystopian as well as utopian conceptions of globalisation in our time. Barnes’s novels highlight the implications of nationalist ideologies, identity politics, and notions of authenticity.
But Barnes also shows how utopian thinking on a borderless global world and idyllic visions of a post-national society (expressed in some of the more utopian streams of globalization literature) are undermined by identity politics. In this sense, Barnes’s novels are opening up a terrain for debating these issues, forming a basis for a futural public sphere.

Keywords: Science fiction, Futural public sphere, Globalisation, John Barnes, Identity politics

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Houman Sadri
Mass Surveillance and the Negation of the Monomyth

Abstract: The enduring popularity of superhero narratives in the post-9/11 cultural landscape testifies, to some extent, to the continued cultural ubiquity of Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’, but the notion of heroism itself is challenged somewhat by another seemingly ubiquitous product of the terrorist attacks: the proliferation, and absorption into Monomythical narratives, of the tropes of mass surveillance and technologically-aided snooping. It is my argument that the ability to perform such acts of surveillance essentially precludes and negates the Hero’s Journey itself – not for moral reasons, but because these acts represent the use of a power beyond that of a mortal hero, and the essential repositioning of the characters in question as godlike beings. As a result of this repositioning, the Monomyth – a pattern which, after all, describes the progress of mortal humans through dangerous terrain that they do not always understand – no longer applies, and thus neither do the terms hero or heroic. Thus, the Batman of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s Nick Fury negate their own heroism and, by committing acts of hubris, invite the miasma and nemesis they are seen to suffer by the respective films’ conclusions. In this way, the paranoia and, indeed, surveillance possibilities of the post-9/11 age can be seen to inform and, to an extent, redefine, both the Monomyth and the very concept of the Monomythical hero.

Keywords: Mass surveillance, Monomyth, Superhero, Panopticon, Hubris

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Elizabeth Oakes
The Absence of Madness: Altered States in James Tiptree, Jr.’s Short Fiction

Abstract: Speculative fiction opens a window into the cultural resonances of madness, drug trips, and dreams. Thematic nuance may arise from the stylistic specifics involved in representing these states of consciousness. This paper presents a case study of two of James Tiptree, Jr.’s short stories, focusing on her representation of altered states. A quantitative, computational approach is combined with a qualitative, stylistically framed reading. The reading locates the absences that typify Tiptree’s portrayal of altered states in the text and relates these depictions to contemporaneous ideas about mental illness.

Keywords: James Tiptree, Jr., Stylistics, Madness, Computational analysis

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Beata Gubacsi
Birds, Bears, and Writing Humanimal Futures: An Interview with Jeff VanderMeer at the 75th Science Fiction WorldCon, Helsinki, August 2017

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Pamela A. Jackson
San Diego State University’s Speculative Fiction Collections: A Growing Center for the Study of Popular Culture

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Sean Guynes-Vishniac
Book Review: Twenty-First-Century Popular Fiction

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Laura Antola
Book Review: Superhero Comics

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Anwesha Maity
Book Review: Travails with the Alien: The Film That Was Never Made and Other Adventures with Science Fiction

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Don Riggs
Book Review: Science Fiction Adapted to Film

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T. S. Miller
Book Review: Imagining the Future of Climate Change: World-Making through Science Fiction and Activism

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Jonathan W. Thurston
Book Review: She-Wolf: A Cultural History of Female Werewolves

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Megan Fontenot
Book Review: There Would Always Be a Fairy Tale: More Essays on Tolkien

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Jyrki Korpua
Book Review: Binding Them All: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on J. R. R. Tolkien and His Works

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Nicholas Dalbey
Book Review: The Sweet and the Bitter: Death and Dying in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings

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Call for Papers Fafnir 1/2019

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