Monday, September 17, 2007

SciFi in the Mind's Eye

I've just received contributor's copies of SciFi in the Mind's Eye: Reading Science through Science Fiction (Open Court, Fall 2007), which is on the expensive side but handsomely made. It includes work by two of this blog's contributors (Helen Merrick and me) plus other familiar names like Nicola Griffith, Nancy Kress, Terry Bisson, and Tess Williams. And it's got a blurb on the back by Gwyneth Jones:

"A fascinating collection of essays, where-for once!-modern science-fiction novels get the close analysis treatment, alongside the inevitable (but here fresh and interesting) studies of Star Trek politics and the Aliens franchise. Consistently entertaining and illuminating: I particularly liked Margret Grebowicz's introduction, and the investigation of exactly how cyberpunk's ideas and images influenced the development of real-world cyberspace."

The description on the back reads:

"What does our favorite science fiction tell us about the culture of science? What do stories of cyborg women and genetic engineering show us about how science and values interact and how science and politics affect each other? In SciFi in the Mind's Eye, leading scholars look at the way science fiction informs and inspires contemporary research in science and technology, and how scientific breakthroughs spur authors on to yet more creative science-fiction narratives.

"Alongside investigations into the meaning of science fiction, SciFi in the Mind's Eye gives us previously unpublished 'interventions' by acclaimed science-fiction authors L. Timmel Duchamp, Nicola Griffith, Nancy Kress, Terry Bisson, and Stanisław Lem."

So far I've only read the introduction. But here's the table of contents:

Introduction: Down to Earth—Margaret Grebowicz


1. Race Through the Alpha Quadrant: Species and Destiny on “Star Trek”Harvey Cormier

2. The Island of Dr. Moreau: Interpretation of Images of Race and SpeciesNaomi Zack

3. It's in the Meat: Science, Fiction, and the Politics of Ignorance—Nancy McHugh


How To Do Things with Ideas—L. Timmel Duchamp


4. Pygmalion’s Legacy: Images of Cyborg Women in Science Fiction—Janet Vertesi

5. Tepper’s Republic: Feminist Separatism and the Question of EssenceEdrie Sobstyl

6. Clone Mothers and Others: Uncanny FamiliesStephanie S. Turner

7. Embodying Change: (R)evolutionary Theories of an Alien SynthesisTess Williams


Identity and SF: Story as Science and FictionNicola Griffith


8. Sciencepunk: The Influence of Informed Science Fiction on Virtual Reality ResearchJeremy N. Bailenson, Nick Yee, Alice Kim, and Jaireh Tecarro

9. Fictitious Contagions: Computer Viruses in the Science Fiction of the 1970sJussi Parikka

10. After the End of the World: Critiques of Technology in Post-Apocalypse LiteratureAndrew Pavelich


Ethics, Science, and Science FictionNancy Kress


11. Modest Witnesses? Feminist Stories of Science in Fiction and TheoryHelen Merrick

12. Cracking the Code: Genomics in Documented Fantasies and Fantastic Documentaries—Marina Levina

13. Knowing, Being, and the Reality Police: Science Fiction as Science StudiesDennis Desroches


Between Garlic and Eternity: Fragments from an Interview with Stanislaw LemEwa Lipska


14. Cognitive Constraints on Imagining Other WorldsE. Thomas Lawson

15. After the Space Age: Science, Fiction, and PossibilityMartin Parker

16. Learning from Ender’s Game: Childhood, Education, and WarMargaret Grebowicz

AfterwordTerry Bisson

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