Where can I get my book on SF reviewed?

This is a follow-up of sorts to the previous article on outlets for publishing book-length SF criticism.

Ok, so now you’ve published your book. It’s out. The beautiful hardcopy is in your hands. You want people to know that it exists. What do you do?

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This is a book on SF that I wrote. I’m currently working on obtaining reviews for it. It took five years to write so it’s probably worth a little while attempting to let the world know about it, right?

Well, firstly your publisher should have a publicity department or at least a person who assumes responsibility for that role. Speak with them. In fact, many publishers will be pro-active about this, and request that you provide some suggestions for publicity in your original pitch or proposal document. So by the time you’ve published your book, this is already something that you and your publisher ought to have thought about.

Again, depending on the exact nature of your book, there are potential outlets beyond the SF-specific niche of journals and publications. You know your book best, and should be able to identify some of those publications.

In relation to SF, potential review outlets fall into two broad categories – academic journals and non-academic journals. This is not a quality distinction so much as a technical one. Both will let potential interested readers know about your book. But academic journals will be aggregated in academic journal aggregators, which could trigger citations, which in turn may or may not be an important issue for you. If, for example, you’re trying to make a case for tenure at a university, this may be a big deal.

Anyhow, and as previously this is FAR from exhaustive, here are some potential review outlets for monographs or other books on SF criticism.

Foundation – This has been running since the early Seventies and is an official publication of the Science Fiction Foundation. As of the time of writing (ie January 2021), Paul March-Russell is editor, and Allen Stroud is reviews editor. That’s who to contact and their contact info is here.

Extrapolation – is even longer established, dating from the Fifties. It’s currently published by Liverpool University Press, who also manage a significant series of SF criticism in book form. D. Harlan Wilson is the reviews editor, but Andrew Butler may be worth contacting from a British/European perspective also.

For publications dealing with visual SF, LUP also publish Science Fiction Film and Television (and are also actively seeking reviewers.) Contact the editors at gerrycanavan@gmail.com and dhasslerforest@gmail.com.

Science Fiction Studies is the big SF journal stateside. It’s currently edited by Arthur Evans, who is probably also a good person to contact about your book.

Fafnir is a great little journal published out of Scandinavia. Dennis Wise, who is based in America (and who would like you to know is NOT the former Chelsea footballer!) is the current reviews editor and a good man to contact about your book.

Ancillary Review of Books specialises in SF and other fantastikal genres. They’re well worth checking out. You can find out about their editorial collective and who to talk to about reviewing your book here.

Hélice is another Europe-based journal, and is associated with the excellent Sci-Phi journal. The distinction is that Sci-Phi publishes fiction and essays, whereas Hélice publishes reviews, in Spanish and English. You should look to contact Mariano Martín Rodríguez (martioa@yahoo.com); Sara Martín Alegre (Sara.Martin@uab.cat) or Mikel Peregrina Castaños (peretorian@gmail.com)

Vector is the critical journal of the BSFA and it is currently edited by Polina Levontin and Jo Lindsay Walton, along with occasional guest editors. They are open to submissions on a rolling basis. To query, contact vector.submissions@gmail.com. They don’t have a standing body of reviewers, but it’s a great journal and worth speaking to them in the hope that a review might be able to be arranged.

Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts is a well-established stateside journal which looks at SF in all media. Jeffrey A. Weinstock is the current reviews editor, while for reviews of works in languages other than English, it is recommended to contact David Dalton.

MOSF Journal of Science Fiction is relatively recently established and closely associated with the Museum of Science Fiction in Washington DC. The journal’s managing editor, Aisha Matthews, is the best principal contact.

Primarily in German language, Die Zeitschrift für Fantastikforschung (ZFF) is a major peer-reviewed European SF journal. Information on the editorial team can be found here.

It’s also worth talking to some of the many SF publications out there too of course, and perhaps to other literary and even more general publications, depending on the exact topic and remit of your book.

Many SF publications are happy to review academic texts on SF. Among those who welcome such reviews are Proxima, published in Denmark, and the long-running and well-respected Strange Horizons.

It’s worth considering publications which do not specialise in SF too. For example, the general literary journal, the Los Angeles Review of Books is traditionally friendly to SF as a genre and has published many articles and reviews on SF themes over the years.

As always, do some due diligence by actually reading journals and publications before contacting them cold, and don’t be upset if a) they can’t find a reviewer for your book; b) have too many reviews pending to consider reviewing it or c) the review isn’t exactly what you hoped for. Such is life.

I hope this is of help, and as before, I will amend as I gather new pertinent information and attempt to keep this current.

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