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‘Space Horror in Films’ Anthology: Opportunity to Contribute an Essay

In 1979, the word A L I E N was spelled out across the top of an ominous movie poster, conveying a sense of foreboding of something unknown. An eerie, yellow light seeped out of the egg-shaped space pod with the tagline: In space no one can hear you scream. Audiences were drawn along with the Nostromo crew as they explored the mysterious, abandoned ship on LV-426 and encountered a new and hostile alien species. It was one of the first movies to successfully combine science fiction and horror in an interstellar setting, spawning several inferior imitations in the 1980s while also inspiring standout films that furthered the genre, such as Event Horizon (1997), Pitch Black (2000), Sunshine (2007), and Europa Report (2013). While it may have seemed like space horror was a new genre after the release of Ridley Scott’s film, the genre has a rich history that took hold of movie audience-goers almost thirty years prior with the space horror films that could best be classified as invasion films. With a plethora of films, much has been written about science fiction, horror, or on individual films (mostly the Alien franchise), yet surprisingly, little analysis can be found on space horror as its own genre in cinema. It was with this gap that I pitched a book idea, was accepted, and now have a tentative title, Essays on Space Horror in Films, 1950s – 2000s. Now, it’s onto the next step, and here is where you come in.

I am seeking intelligent, engaging essays that deconstruct and analyze the genre by utilizing one or more of the myriad of space horror films that exist (domestic and/or international) since the 1950s through present day. There are several themes worth exploring, such as claustrophobia and fears of outer space (Pandorum, Dark Star, Europa Report, The Black Hole), the influence of slasher films (Alien, Event Horizon, Jason X, Sunshine, Leprechaun 4: In Space), concept of the final girl (Alien, Prometheus, Dead Space: Downfall), Cold War fears (most invasion films of the 1950s – 1970s), and paranormal/occult (Event Horizon, Hellraiser: Bloodline, Dracula 3000, Ghosts of Mars). It’s also up to you to choose your theoretical framework, whether it's semiotics, vernacular, Freudian, historical, gender – it should be a framework you are familiar with and will support the points you are making with the result of defining the space horror genre. The intended audience for this collection will include individuals studying and/or interested in expanding their understanding of science fiction, horror, and, of course, space horror.

If I haven’t lost you yet, and you are still interested, then I hope you’ll submit a brief 300 to 500-word abstract of your essay idea. Along with that, I would like to see what kind of sources you are initially thinking to reference in your essay, so I can see what you plan to cite. Plus, a short, one-page CV of your writing experience thus far. You are not penalized for not having published in the past; again, it is a way for me to get to know you and your past experience. These three items are due to me by August 25, 2015. By September 1, I’ll respond with either an acceptance or rejection email. My decision will be heavily based on which essays work well together to best represent the space horror genre. The completed manuscript will be off to the publisher by mid-next year, and I am hoping for a book release by the end of 2016.

What do you get if your abstract is accepted and included in the book? You’ll get a complimentary copy of the book, which will likely retail for approximately $40. Best of all, you’ll have bragging rights, which is admittedly pretty sweet. If you are a crossover writer, then being included in this anthology will expand your presence into a new market.

If you would like to know more and/or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at spacehorrorfilms (at) gmail.com. You can catch me at my blog each week at spacehorrorfilms.blogspot.com.



Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar residing in Southern California and is the editor of James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (2014, McFarland & Company). She is the James Bond, Espionage and Eurospy Area Chair for the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association’s annual conference held in Albuquerque, NM, each February. She writes daily on all things spy related at her blog, Spy-Fi & Superspies. She annually presents at the SWPACA and has presented at WonderCon Anaheim as part of the Comic Arts Conference series. She is also an academic member of the Horror Writer’s Association in Los Angeles and the National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS).

Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer. She has edited James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (McFarland & Company), as well as the forthcoming book, Essays on Space Horror in Film, 1950s – 2000s.  Follow Michele on Twitter, @mcbrittany2014.