About Mapping the Impossible

Mapping the Impossible is an open-access student journal publishing peer-reviewed research into fantasy and the fantastic.

We welcome submissions from undergraduate and postgraduate students (and from those who have graduated within the last year) from any higher education institution. We publish articles on any aspect of fantasy and the fantastic and any work within this transmedial genre. Increasingly, students from more established disciplines (including, but not limited to, Literature Studies, Game Studies, Film and Television Studies, Media Studies, Philosophy and Theology) elect to write essays on a fantasy related topic that intersects with their primary discipline: Mapping the Impossible is an ideal venue for the publication of such work.

Submitting work to the journal is an excellent opportunity to hone your article writing skills, because you will receive feedback on your writing from at least two of your peers. And while we do only accept submissions in English, we aim to be sensitive and welcoming to second language speakers, and provide copy editing as part of the publication process. Submissions may be based on a piece of work you’ve already written for a course, or you may opt to write an original piece for submission to the journal. We are an academic journal, so we publish scholarly critical essays of between 3000 and 5000 words, including references but not including bibliography.

As above, the Editorial Board and reviewers are fellow students. We are keen to attract participants from a variety of disciplines: if you are currently a student (or are a recent graduate) and have an academic interest in fantasy, please get in touch to find out more about becoming a reviewer. Working with the journal is another great opportunity to develop critical skills and gain experience of working as part of a team (remotely, for the most part). And it also looks good on your CV!

Finally – while we do not offer full payment for papers at Mapping the Impossible, we are pleased to be able to provide a small, token reward for each paper we publish. For more details, please see our Rewarding Research page.

Defining Fantasy

In ‘The City of Lost Books’, Robert Maslen defines Fantasy as that which ‘focuses instead on what certainly did not happen and never could, foregrounding the impossibility of what it represents.’ While this is only one definition of how fantasy works, and certainly not definitive, we find ‘representing impossibility’ to be a useful starting point when approaching fantasy, the fantastic, and the techniques of wider speculative fiction. However, we would like to note that this is only a starting point. We are open to papers that explore all different kinds of interpretations and definitions of fantasy across disciplines and across media, possibly even those contradicting our journal’s own name!

The Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic

Mapping the Impossible is affiliated with and supported by the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic along with the annual fantasy research conference GIFCon, and is generously hosted by the University of Glasgow. It’s wonderful to be a part of such a vibrant community of fantasts, and we strongly encourage checking out the Centre, GIFCon, and the University of Glasgow’s Masters in Fantasy if the research we’re publishing inspires you.