Palgrave SFF: A New Canon

Palgrave Science Fiction and Fantasy

A New Canon

A Palgrave Pivot book series of short (c. 30,000 words) critical introductions to major science fiction and fantasy novels, comics, games, albums, etc (non-film/non-TV texts). A new canon shaped by scholars for critics, students, and fans.

Series Details

Written for a student and academic audience, books in the Palgrave SFF: A New Canon series introduce, contextualize, and provide field-level insights on a single work of SFF. Books in this series answer two basic, but complicated, questions about their text:

  • Why does this text matter to SFF—as a genre, mode of production, cultural and historical phenomenon, and artistic practice?
  • Why does (or should) this text matter to SFF readers, scholars, and fans?

Palgrave SFF provides the sort of focused attention on significant individual works of SFF that rarely goes beyond the length of online essays, academic articles, or chapters in an edited collection or monograph, and seeks to offer “go-to” books for thinking about, writing on, and teaching major works of SFF. By subtitling the series “A New Canon,” we acknowledge the role of scholarship in creating ideas of canon but also seek to destabilize definite notions of “the canon.” Thus, the series will survey a range of “classic” and should-be-classic texts.

Volumes in the series emphasize the critical approaches and major questions each text inspires. Each book begins with introductory material of c. 5,000 words that (1) provides a thesis answering the two questions stated above; (2) gives a brief biocritical background to the author; (3) places the text in question in the context of the author’s oeuvre; and (4) provides a brief socio-historical contextualization of the novel. The body of the book—c. 20,000 words—should survey the major approaches to the text in question, balancing consideration of the expected and the innovative so as to provide a thorough, yet novel, introduction of the text.

Palgrave SFF is best compared to series like BFI Film and TV ClassicsTV MilestonesConstellationsDevil’s AdvocatesPop Classics, and other short “minigraph” series that focus on a single text and are written for broad appeal. Palgrave SFF is a “Pivot” book series of short book c. 25k-30k words with a series-standard bookcovers, and are typically published and available within 12 weeks of the final manuscript’s submission.

Forthcoming books

Books forthcoming in the Palgrave SFF series include:

  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
  • Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem
  • Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy
  • Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer
  • Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed
  • William Gibson’s Neuromancer
  • Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow
  • N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season
  • Élisabeth Vonarburg’s The Silent City
  • Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower
  • Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time
  • Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora
  • Joanna Russ’s The Female Man

Want to Contribute?

If you are interested in writing a c. 30k word critical introduction to an important, beloved, or even criminally forgotten SFF text, please contact the editors (emails below) with a short pitch of c. 250 words detailing the text you wish to write about, answering the two major questions above, and providing a short outline of possible chapter topics (can be bullet points).

For a clearer understanding of the chapter structure used across all volumes in the series, please consult this PDF.


Keren Omry

Sean Guynes