The Challenge of Science Fiction: “Where is my flying car and my anti-gravity boots??”
Guest speaker Maura Heaphy is a senior lecturer at OSU, teaching a course in science fiction called “Flying Cars and Anti-gravity Boots? Where is the Future Science Fiction promised us?” See a powerpoint of the presentation here!
As the course is described, “Within the theme of “science and technology, … this course asks you to consider three scenarios of advanced technology that could yet happen in our lifetimes, and which pose a challenge to our current ideas of morality and our expectations of the world. … stories are … discussed, not as literature or story-telling, but as a way of putting a human face to the challenges we might have to face in the future.”
At our meeting in September, Maura introduced some basic history of scifi, and considered a short story by William Gibson, “The Gernsback Continuum” – available online at the link, and also at these links, pdf, and audio (23:12). According to Ms. Heaphy, “I think it’s a very witty consideration of the way that ‘the future’ can bleed into our lives and affect the way we live now. The story focuses on the art deco future of the 1920’s and ’30’s, but I think we’ll be able to make all sort of connections to pop culture that we’re all familiar with, like Star Trek and Back to the Future, just for examples …”
For extra credit, consider these recommendations as well: “The Introduction to a book called Future: A Recent History, by Lawrence R. Samuel. I think it does a very good job of establishing that the idea of a “future” that offers us change and new wonders is quite new, and even thought it’s been a recognizable concept only briefly, it’s meant very different things to different people at different times in the past century or so.”
And just for fun, here is a link to two stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, from the Wind-up Girl Universe. N.B. “The Calorie Man.”
Columbus Futurists thanks Ms. Heaphy for her insights, and a fun conversation –