Sunday, December 12, 2010

Call for Papers: Neil Gaiman Collection Planned

As most readers may know Jessica and I were lucky enough to collaborate with The Mythopoeic Society and chair a Mythcon in 2008; even luckier we were to have worked with Tolkien Scholar and Astronomer Kristine Larsen of Central Connecticut State University on the same conference. From this collaboration the idea for our book The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who was born.

Many of you know this book was published by Kitsune Books in May (2010). From the success of The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who, our publisher has asked us to continue "The Mythologicial Dimensions..." series and we are happy to announce the Call for Papers for the second volume being planned:


The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman is an author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, comic books and graphic novels, theatre and film. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. Gaiman's writing has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker, as well as the 2009 Newbery Medal and 2010 Carnegie Medal in Literature. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work.
Fans of Neil Gaiman who saw the CBS interview heard from Gaiman that when he was growing up he wished to have written The Lord of the Rings. Gaiman is very much a fan of Tolkien and of fairy stories.  Fans of Doctor Who know by now Gaiman has written a story for the Doctor, set to be a part of the 2011 Series 32/6 of the Matt Smith Era.
Click here to Read Gaiman's Blog about the experience of the read through of his Doctor Who story, which will be the 3rd episode of the next series.

What follows is the Call for Papers for The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman



Submissions are sought for the forthcoming second volume of the critical essay series: The Mythological Dimensions to be published by Kitsune Books in 2012. This second volume will be on the subject of the Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman with a mind toward the incredible opportunity for multidisciplinary discourse on his work.

The works of Neil Gaiman are as diverse as clouds in the sky. To say that Gaiman is just an author would be doing both him and his work a disservice. Although he is best known for his books, his expertise is in the realm of myth, rather than any one medium. Gaiman’s name has also been attached to film scripts, comic books, and graphic novels, even a much anticipated episode of Doctor Who. He’s influenced songwriters and artists of all stripes. He’s been at the forefront of the graphic novel movement and has fought for the rights of comic book artists, being a board member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

The goal of this volume is to explore the worlds tapped into by Gaiman. While authors like Lewis, Le Guin, and Tolkien spent time creating a secondary world separate from our own, Gaiman amends our world. It can be said that Coraline’s space beyond the door, the Sandman’s realm of Dream, the land beyond the Wall, even the Gap between the subway stations are all Gaiman’s ‘secondary world’ creations—and they are—but they are also extensions of our own primary world.

Prior to submitting for this volume, each potential contributor should be familiar with the overall style and format of The Mythological Dimensions primary volume, The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who. The motto of this series is “written by fans for fans” and we will hold strict adherence to this rule. All essays will be expected to adhere to scholarly standards of analysis but at the same time be accessible to the interested fan who is not an academic by trade. Therefore successful abstracts will be judged as much on content as writing style.

Each contribution must demonstrate knowledge of Gaiman as an artist. We are looking predominantly for contributions that examine: how Gaiman transcends stereotypes, ideas, and symbols within his work; how Gaiman’s characters eradicate boundaries, or create new ones; how Gaiman views old myths through a fresh lens.

Essays can relate to, but should not be limited by, the following suggestion topics in relation to the mythical:

1. In “An Introduction” to his collection Smoke & Mirrors, Gaiman discusses the nature of story being like “mirrors. We use them to explain to ourselves how the world works or how it doesn’t work. Like mirrors, stories prepare us for the day to come. They distract us from the things in the darkness.”

2. The relationship of Gaiman and his characters to modern culture. Have Gaiman’s characters molded modern culture in any way? Are his characters a mirror of our culture—“A distorting mirror, to be sure, and a concealing mirror, set at forty-five degrees to reality….”

3. Gaiman readily admits that he wished he had written The Lord of the Rings. Throughout Gaiman’s work there are side-jokes and wonderful references to Tolkien’s work. Purposefully examine Tolkien and Gaiman, going beyond a mere comparison/contrast. Examine how intrinsic Tolkien’s work was/is to Gaiman. Could Gaiman have written a word without Middle-earth backing him up?

4. The influence of “real world myth” into Gaiman’s explored realms. Again, such an examination should endeavor to go beyond simply noting that Northern myths (like Sigfrid or Beowulf) inspired certain of Gaiman’s tales. More than a simple source study.

5. In “The Mapmaker,” Gaiman links the tale told to the map drawn. “One describes a tale best by telling the tale…The way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story. It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless. The tale is the map which is the territory. You must remember this.” Examine Gaiman’s concepts of dreamland territories, mythological or mythopoeic maps, and worlds that exist beyond the edges of the drawn map, the known world, the experienced territory.

6. Gaiman’s penchant for ‘rewriting’ myth; how does this re-envisioning of mythic tales from Beowulf to Anansi to OĆ°inn to Snow White affect modern approaches to these myths? Critics of his vision of Beowulf cringe at the idea of Angelina Jolie as Grendel’s mother, but was Gaiman too far off when looking at the original tale? How does Gaiman preserve the integrity of a myth while refracting it in his “distorting mirror?” Is the integrity preserved at all?

We will give precedence to pieces which demonstrate a range of Gaiman’s work, or take a character, particular story, or single facet of Gaiman and explore it in regards to the work of another author/artist. The Editors would discourage a singular case study of any of Gaiman’s characters, and would like to dissuade any submissions from concentrating on any individual work of Gaiman’s to exclusion. We would also like to note that this collection will explore a large swath of Gaiman’s work and in order to accomplish the collection’s goals, we cannot accept multiple submissions on topics; so we encourage you to send your abstracts in a timely fashion.

All submitted abstracts and papers are to be sent to mythicdocwho@gmail.com

Abstracts of 500-750 words should be submitted, along with complete contact information for and a biographical paragraph about the submitter, by email to the editors by February 15th, 2011.

If accepted, articles should be completed as Word documents with MLA formatting.

Complete submissions should be sent electronically to the editors by July 1st, 2011 to mythicdocwho@gmail.com

All deadlines are firm.

Editors:

Dr. Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State University

Larsen@mail.ccsu.edu

Jessica Burke, College of Staten Island

JessicaBurke23@gmail.com

Anthony S Burdge, Northeast Tolkien Society Co-Chair/Independent Scholar
anthonyburdge@gmail.com

14 comments:

Maggie said...

Okay, so this may just be the coolest thing I've ever heard. If anyone deserves more companion works it's our own Mr. Gaiman. Expect my abstract forthwith!

P.S. What is the policy here on multiple submissions, at least here in the abstract stage? I'm sure several of us have many. many good ideas, considering how layered Neil's work is. It would be a shame if we missed a gem paper because someone set forward their glass idea.

Chairs: Anthony & Jessica said...

Send in separate abstract submissions. We agree that Neil's work is layered-- that's an understatement. Trust that if we get an absolute gem, we won't let it fall by the wayside. We won't be making any firm decisions until after the 2/15/11 duedate. So, as long as your ideas are to us by then, you'll get equal consideration. ~Jessie

TURTLE!!! said...

What would the approximate length of the finished paper?

Chairs: Anthony & Jessica said...

Turtle-
We have yet to fully determine the overall length of each paper/chapter-it depends on the quality of the abstracts, but a good target to aim for is 10,000 words,--however shorter well argued papers would also be welcome-~Anthony

CJ said...

What is your policy on author eligibility? Is there an education level cutoff or will abstracts be considered no matter an author's qualifications?

Chairs: Anthony & Jessica said...

CJ,
We have worked in the past with authors who have minimal or major writing and publishing experience.

We have not a huge guideline for author elibility, there is no education level cutoff, but would prefer authors to have some experience.
However, if this is your first time publishing an essay, if we accept your abstract to be a part of the collection, and the piece is well constructed and well argued, and passes approval by all three editors and the publisher--then the author's qualifications of writing the proposed piece shouldnt be a problem

LaShawn said...

Do you except collaborative submissions? A friend and I would like to work on it together.

Chairs: Anthony & Jessica said...

LaShawn, by all means collaboration is more than fine, my wife Jessica and I have worked on chapters and contributions together previously, --
When you submit the abstract, we would just need a bio from the both of you rather than just one author.
Cheers,
Anthony

OrigamiGirl said...

This sounds fantastic and exactly what I would have referenced for my disseration had it existed.
As it is I have a completed dissertation on the subject of The Sandman and its representation of 'the three' and a whole bunch of other stuff that would be included in an abstract.
It has not yet been published and received excellent marks. Would it be acceptable to offer my disseration with perhaps some editing for this book?
Thank you,
Ruth

Chairs: Anthony & Jessica said...

Greetings Ruth,
Yes indeed it is ok to submit your dissertation for consideration for the collection. Please send us a full abstract, & bio, cv if applicable.
We are not making any firm decisions until after the 2/15/11 deadline
Cheers!
Anthony

RC said...

when it says February 15th, does it mean midnight of february 14th or midnight of february 15th?

Chairs: Anthony & Jessica said...

Greetings, the Call for papers deadline is by the morning of the 15th. Anything post noon will not be accepted, after 15th midnight will technically be 16th. So get it in now if you haven't already/

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