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    IAF INTERFICTIONS ONLINE INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN ends above target goal

    Thanks to 277 generous backers for our Interfictions Indiegogo Campaign, we raised $10,318 by the time our campaign ended at midnight, July 14th, 2014.  When we launched on June 3rd, we were staggered to find donations doubling almost daily, until after about 3 weeks we had reached our original target goal of $8,500, and were able to move on to our Stretch Goal of $10,000.

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    INTERFICTIONS issue #3 is up online!

    The editors of Interfictions Online are happy to announce the birth of the journal’s latest issue, on May 22, 2014!

    The Spring 2014 issue’s non-fiction offerings include Mark Craddock’s poignant collage in Aerial Acrobatics and Gender Reassignment Surgery – A How-To Guide, while Inda Lauryn’s Parallels and Transitions splices analysis of contemporary female vocalists into a graduate school memoir. Isabel Yap’s Life Is Not a Shoujo Manga speaks for itself. And in an interview with Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Zerfoss, the two creators discuss their illustrated guide to writing, Wonderbook.

    The fiction offerings remix tropes from ghosts to automata, with new work by Richard Butner, Su-Yee Lin, Kat Howard, Tade Thompson and S. Craig Renfroe Jr.

    Several of the poems in this issue reimagine older narratives: Sridala Swami’s AI Winter draws on the Mahabharata, Sonya Taaffe’s Double Business on Hamlet, and Mary Alexandra Agner’s Hypothesis Between Your Ribs on the brief life of Charles Darwin’s daughter.

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  • Henry Jenkins on the Pleasures of Not Belonging
    by Geoffrey | November 9th, 2009 |
    Henry Jenkins

    I’m honored to announce that we’ve just added an excellent essay by media scholar Henry Jenkins to the Essays section of our site: On the Pleasures of Not Belonging. Jenkins, who has been referred to as “the 21st century Marshall McLuhan” (by none other than Howard Rheingold, who should know), is the author of nine books on media theory and culture, including Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide and The Wow Climax: Tracing the Emotional Impact of Popular Culture, was until recently the co-head of the Comparative Media Studies program at MIT, and is now the provost’s professor of communications, journalism and cinematic art at the University of Southern California. Jenkins also maintains the influential (and incredibly prolific) blog Confessions of an Aca-Fan at henryjenkins.org – which will very soon be hosting some interviews with the editors of Interfictions 2. (On a more personal note, Henry is also my friend, my mentor, and the guy who introduced me to Ellen Kushner about four years ago – which is how I first found out about the IAF!)

    The eagle-eyed among you will notice that Henry’s essay is in fact the foreword to our just-released (and much-ballyhooed) second anthology of short interstitial fiction, Interfictions 2. Here’s an excerpt:

    One of the reasons I don’t belong in this book is that I’m an academic, not a creative artist, and let’s face it, historically, academics have been the teachers and enforcers of genre rules. The minute I tell you that I have spent the last twenty years in a Literature department, you immediately flash on a chalkboard outline of Aristotle’s Poetics or a red pen correcting your muddled essay on the four-act structure. Throughout the twentieth century, many of us academic types were engaged in a prolonged project of categorizing and classifying the creative process, transforming it to satisfy our needs to generate lecture notes, issue paper topics, and grade exam questions. After all, academics are trapped in our own imposed categories (“disciplines” rather than “genres”) which often constrain what we can see, what we can say, and who we can say it to. Academics are “disciplined” through our education, our hiring process, our need to ‘publish or perish’, and our tenure and promotion reviews. Most academics read or think little outside their field of study. As Will Rogers explained, “there’s nothing so foolish as an educated man once you take him out of the field he was educated in.”

    I may gain a little sympathy from you, dear reader, if I note that for those twenty years, I was a cuckoo’s egg – a media and popular culture scholar in a literature department – and that I am finally flying the coop, taking up an interdisciplinary position at a different institution, because I could never figure out the rules shaping my literature colleagues’ behavior.

    Many literature professors may hold “genre fiction” in contempt as “rule driven” or “formula-based” yet they ruthlessly enforce their own genre conventions: look at how science fiction gets taught, keeping only those authors already in the canon (Mary Shelly, H.G. Wells, Margaret Atwood, Thomas Pynchon), adding a few more who look like what we call “literature” (William Gibson, Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick), and then, running like hell as far as possible from any writer whose work still smells of “pulp fiction.” Here, “literature” is simply another genre or cluster of genres (the academic mid-life crisis, the coming of age story, the identity politics narrative), one defined every bit as narrowly as the category of films which might get considered for a Best Picture nomination. I never had much patience with the criteria by which my colleagues decided which works belonged in the classroom and which didn’t.

    What I love about the folks who have embraced interstitial arts is that some of them do comics, some publish romances, some compose music, some write fantasy or science fiction, but all of them are perfectly comfortable thinking about things other than their areas of specialization. In that sense, I do very much belong in this collection as a kindred spirit, a fellow traveler, both phrases that signal someone who does and does not fit into some larger movement. Maybe we can go to each other’s un-birthday parties and not belong together.

    To be sure, academics are not, as Buffy would put it, “the big bad.” We may have gotten inside your head but with a little mental discipline, you can shove us right back out again. Most interstitial artists ritually burned their old course notebooks years ago. They started to write the stories they wanted to be able to read, only to be told by their publisher that their book would sell much more quickly if it could be positioned into this publishing category for this intended audience and to achieve that you just need to cut back on this, expand on that, and add a little more of this other thing. I often picture James Stewart in Vertigo gradually redressing, restyling, and redesigning Kim Novak’s entire identity, all the while creepily asserting that it really shouldn’t make that much difference to her. That’s the process those of us who sympathize with the concept of interstitial arts are trying to battle back into submission or at least push back long enough so that we can demonstrate that there are readers out there, a few of us, who want the stuff that doesn’t really fit into fixed genres, though it may bear some faint family resemblance to several of them at once. Viva the mutts and the mongrels! Long live the horses of a different color!

    In true Jenkinsian fashion, Henry proceeds to rocket from Genre Theory 101 and Michel Bakhtin to Barth Anderson and Susan Stinson, from Catherine Tosenberger and fan fiction to the duckbilled platypus, from Tzvetan Todorov and Scooby-Doo to Bollywood and cooking masala. The essay is a wonderfully joyous, freewheeling ride through theory and pop culture, a deep dive into the interstitial nature of contemporary media studies and industries. So what are you waiting for? Check out the essay now!

    finish line

    One Response to “Henry Jenkins on the Pleasures of Not Belonging”

    1. ellen kushner Says:

      That’s
      http://www.interstitialarts.org/who/ellen_kushner.html
      to you, pal!

      (Hey, Geoff -Thanks for posting this tonight! I’m so glad Henry introduced us.)

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