Academic Strand

Sunday 9th June

FREE ENTRY. No ticket needed, just come along!

Come along for to Academic Strand, where early career researcher present their papers on Scotland’s contribution to science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Presenters have a maximum of five minutes to present their papers, a time limit that will be strictly enforced.

After a brief introduction by the academic strand team, seven people present five-minute papers exploring Scotland’s contribution to science fiction fantasy and horror. Once the papers are complete, the audience will be invited to vote for the favourite papers. The presenters will be invited back on stage to answers questions while the votes are tabulated. The most popular papers will be announced and invited back for Session Three.

Session One: 10am-11am in the Lomond Room

Fraser Dallachy: The Historical Thesaurus of English as a writer’s resource

Peter Kao: Scottish Gothic Writing in James Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Jennifer deBie: Scottish Creations: Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus and 19th century Scottish Medicine

Sarah Ghasedi: The Woman Doctor in Margaret Todd’s Mona Maclean, Medical Student

Bethany Campbell: Holding on Through the Changes: Tam Lin & Scottishness in Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard

Vicky Brewster: "Getting the Hang of Being Human" in Michel Faber's Science Fiction

Keith Williams: Remembering the ‘Lost’ Scottish Father of American science fiction

Session Two: 12pm-1pm in the Pentland Room

Jonathan Thornton: Glasgow and Edinburgh in Oliver Langmead’s Dark Star and Metronome

Clara Botamino Gonzalez: Touring the city of Edinburgh through Laura Hird’s fiction

Rebecca Langworthy: George MacDonald: The Grandfather of Fantasy

Mary Lawton: Hans Christian Andersen’s Scottish Mermaid

Ruth EJ Booth: Queer Resistance in Hal Duncan’s The Land of Somewhere Safe

Svetozar Manev: Outlander’s White Lady: Reimagining the Theme of the Fairy Mistress in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander

Session Three: 2.45pm-3.45pm in the Braid Room

The most popular papers from Sessions One and Two are presented again, and the audience invited to vote for its favourite. After a brief Q&A, the winner and two runners-up shall be announced. The winner gets to give their paper to a packed room in the Pleasance Theatre at 6.30pm, just before best-selling author Ben Aaronovitch takes the stage.

About the Academic Strand

Curating the academic strand at CYMERA 2019 is David Bishop, the programme leader for Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University, and the author of 20 published novels. For details about how the academic strand will work at the festival, email

For the academic strand at CYMERA 2019, we are asking for papers that explore Scotland’s contribution to science fiction, fantasy and horror. That can range from writers and creators born in Scotland [from Stevenson and Conan Doyle to Iain Banks and beyond] to those who have made Scotland their home; from Scotland as a location for the genre’s narratives [such as Under the Skin by Michel Faber] to themes of Scottishness present in genre writing. Your paper may focus on one or more of the genres; it could look beyond prose fiction to consider science fiction, fantasy and horror in graphic novels and comics by Scottish creators; or at adaptations of Scottish science fiction, fantasy and horror narratives into other media.

We invite 100-word proposals for five (5) minute papers. Suggested topics include, but are certainly not limited to: 

  • Scottish authors of the genres – past and present

  • Themes of Scottishness within the genres

  • Scotland as a location, be it rural, urban or both

  • Scotland’s role in the development of these genres

  • New theoretical perspectives on Scottish science fiction, fantasy and horror

  • Scotland’s influence on one or more of the three genres

  • Intersections, blends and hybrids within Scottish fictions of the genres

  • Scottish graphic novels and comic books within the genres, and their creators

  • Adaptations of Scottish science fiction, fantasy and horror

  • Scotland’s contribution to the genres in other media, such as games

  • Genre blending and bending in Scottish writing

  • Dualities in Scottish genre writing and its cities

  • Scotland as a filming location for science fiction, fantasy and horror film and TV