Activities per year
This book explores what science fiction can tell us about the human condition in a technological world (with the dilemma's and consequences that this entails) and also engages with the genre at points where we apparently find it on the far side of science, technology or human existence. As such, it is the result of the joint efforts of scholars and scientists from various disciplines. While some of the contributors to this volume have been working professionally with science fiction for some time, others are newcomers who bring perspectives from their own field of specialization to the study of this genre. It is our hope that this interdisciplinary approach will set an example for those who, like us, have been busy assessing the ways in which fictional attempts to fathom the possibilities of science and technology speak to central concerns about what it means to be human in a contemporary world of technology. Although a scholarly work, this book is also designed to be accessible to a general audience that has an interest in science fiction as well as a broader academic audience. Aspiring (or experienced) science fiction writers may be interested in reading critical assessments of the science and technology behind some of the major works of their genre; assessments that may in turn provide the inspiration for new stories based on an enhanced understanding of the dynamics of science and technology. Film critics and literary critics with a good working knowledge of science fiction may find fresh insight in the perspective that philosophers and theologians offer in engaging with this genre. Readers with an interest in the public understanding of science and technology may be surprised to discover how narrative elements drawn from science fiction can enter the public debate on the merits and vices of new technologies. Further, those with a concern for the future may find inspiration in what a study of the politics and ethics of science fiction can tell us about the moral and political dilemmas of our own time. Although this book is more likely to be picked up by someone who already has an interest in science fiction, this is certainly not a necessary precondition for reading it. Indeed, one of the aims of this book is to demonstrate what can be achieved in approaching science fiction as a kind of imaginary laboratory for experimentation, where visions of human (or even post-human) life under various scientific, technological or natural conditions that differ from our own situation can be thought through and commented upon.