Science Fiction Studies
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Abbreviated title (ISO 4)
|Sci. Fict. Stud.|
|Edited by||Arthur B. Evans|
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.
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, Jr. (DePauw University), Dr. Joan Gordon (Nassau Community College), Dr. Veronica Hollinger (Trent University), Dr. Rob Latham and Dr. Sherryl Vint (both at the University of California at Riverside), and Dr. Carol McGuirk (Florida Atlantic University).
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”. 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”. 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, November) and averages 150-200 pages. A representative issue contains 5-6 articles ranging in length from 5,000 to 15,000 words, 2-3 review-essays, and 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, and Animal Studies and Science Fiction. A regular rotation of open and special issues has characterized the journal’s publication schedule from the outset: roughly one-third of its 105 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 37 scholars, representing in their expertise the international scope of the field.
SFS can be subscribed to separately, and a subscription is included with membership in the Science Fiction Research Association.
- Jim Zook, “Daring Journal of SF Theory,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (June 1, 1994): A:8.
- Paul Kincaid, “Learned Journals,” The Times Literary Supplement (March 7, 2003): 24-25.