Lyu Guangzhao is currently a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at University College London (UCL). Apart from his PhD studies listed below, Guangzhao is the co- founder of London Chinese Sci-Fi Group since April 2019, organising monthly reading groups that featured contemporary Chinese SF novels and short stories. After March 2020, due to the pandemic lockdown, the reading group was moved online and became attractive for the audience both within and beyond the UK, which has increased its reputation among the circles of Chinese SF studies. Meanwhile, Guangzhao is also a co-director of London Science Fiction Research Community. He was in charge of the Chinese stream of the 2020 LSFRC annual conference (six panellists) and invited Chen Qiufan (author of Waste Tide) and Emily Jin (well-known SF translator) for related roundtables. Guangzhao is generally interested in science fiction studies, utopian studies, apocalypse literature, neoliberalism or late capitalism, postmodernism, and literary geography.
Guangzhao’s PhD project focuses on the comparison between the British SF Boom (Iain M. Banks, Ken MacLeod, China Miéville, etc.) and the Chinese SF New Wave (Liu Cixin, Han Song, Chen Qiufan, etc.), both of which started to take shape around the 1990s. This was an age when the UK was increasingly dependent on neoliberal values under the regimes of Margret Thatcher and the New Labour and when China was moving towards a post-socialist modernity that welcomed individual responsibility and market competition. In my study, I believe these two SF movements can provide an alternative viewpoint to interrogate the broader social, cultural, and ideological transitions in both countries, and vice versa.
Beata Gubacsi is a PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool. Her research interests are genre, trauma, climate and animal studies, technology in medicine and health care with a focus on gaming and mental health. While working on her thesis, “Literature of Monstrosity: Posthumanism and the New Weird”, she has also been involved in Bluecoat Liverpool’s science fiction projects as part of her LiNK placement, and co-hosting and facilitating workshops at the Being Human Festival, Tate Exchange, and Nottingham New Art Exchange. She is author of the column, "Medical Humanities 2.0", for The Polyphony, the blog of the Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University while also running the Current Research in Speculative Fiction Conference. Most recently, she has joined the team of the Fantastika Journal as assistant reviews editor.
Her research project, “Literature of Monstrosity: Posthumanism and the New Weird”, seeks to establish conceptual and aesthetic connections between Critical Posthumanism and the New Weird through their interactions with postmodernism. One of the most significant of these overlaps is the way both Critical Posthumanism and the New Weird responds to “global weirding”, the current ideological and environmental crisis, by redefining the notion of the Other via anti-humanist postmodernist criticism of normative ideologies. The thesis argues that said crisis is not only traumatic in itself but also a return of a previous primordial trauma, the abjection of the ultimate Other, the animal. Regarding both Critical Posthumanism and the New Weird as trauma narrative, embodied in the figure of the posthuman/monster, yields the question whether New Weird can be understood as posthumanist literature?
Having completed her doctorate at Brunel University in science fiction literature and continental philosophy, Dr Emily Cox researches sf, gender theory and the work of Giorgio Agamben and Gilles Deleuze. She is particularly interested in applying Agamben’s concepts of inoperativityand bare life to gender theory in sf media and popular culture. Dr Cox also works as Public Relations editor for the journal Femspec, and her article ‘Denuding the Gynoid: The Woman Machine as Bare Life in Alex Garland’s Ex Machina’ is soon to be published in the journal Foundation.
Joy Hancock is a fourth-year doctoral student in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Tennessee. Before entering her current program, Joy received a Modern Language Combination B.A. at the University of Central Florida (2002-2006). She also completed an M.A. in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Tennessee (2008-2010). Her research focuses on ice metaphors in early 20th century German speculative texts. Joy’s dissertation project, Blood and Snow: Conservative Nationalism and Ice Spaces in Weimar Germany’s Science Fiction, examines bizarre “technical utopian novels” published in Germany between 1918 and 1933. The project centers on the role of literary ice as the “reimagined” conservative battlefield in 1920s science fiction. In addition to her research, Joy is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in German and has traveled all over the world. She is thrilled to be extended the SFRA Support A New Scholar sponsorship and looks forward to increasing her participation in the academic science fiction community.
Joy Hancock’s dissertation, Blood and Snow: Conservative Nationalism and Ice Spaces in Weimar Germany’s Science Fiction, focuses on a fascinating speculative genre. Pioneered by Hans Dominik, the technischer Zukunftsroman (“technical utopian novel”) proved immensely popular in Germany’s Weimar Republic (1918-1933). The formulaic narratives feature an engineer or scientist who avenges Germany’s enemies using advanced technology. Intriguingly, the Zukunftsroman authors often utilize ice “spaces” such as the Arctic or Greenland as key narrative settings. Joy argues that these ice spaces intersect with conservative narratives of Kultur und Technik (culture and technology), two interrelated concepts that Weimar intellectuals believed could only be realized through warfare. The popularity of campy science fiction ice narratives to some extent eased the 1930s transition to National Socialism.