Fantasies of the Middle Lands
August 2-5, 2024
August 2-5, 2024
Download PDF of Call for Papers here
Mythcon 53 main page
Progress Report #1
Call for Papers
CONFERENCE THEME: FANTASIES OF THE MIDDLE LANDSThe idea of “middle-ness” can suggest stability—the center of an object is less likely to break than its edges. It can also suggest the opposite: something in a state of change can be said to be “in the middle”—neither one thing nor another. Mythcon 53, located in the middle of the continental U.S., welcomes papers exploring the concept of “middle-ness” as it is worked out in fantasy, science fiction, and related genres. Paper topics can cover a wide range of possibilities, including but not limited to the following:
- Locations: This could mean the implications of a place name including the word “middle,” such as Middle-earth or Midgard; places in our world that either shape or appear in fantasy such as the English Midlands or Middle America as in Stranger Things or American Gods; or even liminal places that appear in fantasy such as train stations, purgatory, or The Wood Between the Worlds.
- Characters: the middle child in a family (Arya Stark, Edmund Pevensie); adolescents negotiating that in-between space (Luce in The Owl House; Ged in Earthsea); individuals or people groups who are a mix of others (Tolkien’s Númenóreans; Percy Jackson).
- Textual middle-ness: intertextuality, genre-crossing, multiple media, even the middle books/movies of a trilogy (The Empire Strikes Back, The Two Towers).
- Authors: considering the location of the con, Midwestern authors and scholars such as Tim O’Brian, Jack Zipes, Lois McMaster Bujold, or Philip Jose Farmer.
Each paper will be given a one-hour slot to allow time for questions, but individual papers should be timed for oral presentation in 40 minutes maximum. Panels are also welcome, and both papers and panels may be presented virtually or in person. Paper abstracts of no more than 300 words, along with contact information, should be sent to the Papers Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15, 2024. Please include your A/V requirements and the projected time needed for your presentation. If your programming interests are more in line with Diversicon’s focus (see http://www.diversicon.org/), then please send your proposal to email@example.com.
All presenters must register for the full conference; please see the Mythcon 53 Registration page for information and rates.
Participants are encouraged to submit papers chosen for presentation at the conference to Mythlore, the refereed journal of the Mythopoeic Society. All papers should conform to the 9th edition of the MLA Style Manual.
Presenters who are full-time undergraduate or graduate students are encouraged to submit their completed conference papers in advance for consideration for the Alexei Kondratiev Student Paper Award. Please see www.mythsoc.org/mythcon/alexei.htm for more information.
GUESTS OF HONOR
Eleanor Arnason is the award-winning author of dozens of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, including stories about a mythic “Big Mama,” and Icelandic troll stories collected in Hidden Folk. She is also a poet, and co-edited the collection Time Gum and Other Poems from the Minicon Poetry Readings. Eleanor’s novel A Woman of the Iron People not only won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 1992, but was the recipient of the first-ever James Tiptree Jr. Award. Her first novel, The Sword Smith, drew upon her reading of Icelandic myth as well as other mythic traditions.
Brian Attebery is a three-time winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies. He is the author of The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature from Irving to Le Guin (1980), Strategies of Fantasy (1992), Decoding Gender in Science Fiction (2002), Stories About Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth (2014), and most recently, Fantasy: How It Works (2012). He has also edited anthologies and the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.
More complete information about our guests may be found on the Mythcon 53 main page.
ABOUT THE MYTHOPOEIC SOCIETYThe Mythopoeic Society is an international literary and educational organization devoted to the study, discussion, and enjoyment of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and mythopoeic literature. We believe the study of these writers can lead to greater understanding and appreciation of the literary, philosophical, and spiritual traditions which underlie their works, and can engender an interest in the study of myth, legend, and the genre of fantasy. Find out about the Society s activities at: www.mythsoc.org
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