Science Fiction has played a powerful role in human culture’s relationship to new technological developments. It has not only foreshadowed the possibilities involved by applied scientific research but also delineated the potentials for conflict as a result of it. Issac Assimov’s works have inspired generations of scientists and politicians to unabashedly embrace the automation and artificial intelligence while as early as the 1920’s Karel Capek depicted the anxiety of such developments in Rossum’s Universal Robots that has since become one of Hollywood’s most recurring tropes. It is not just, however, in the inspiration of a select few that helped science fiction become a potent voice for expressing the varieties and anxieties of the human condition. Books such as Looking Backward played a large historical role in helping American’s to understand the possibilities involved in increasingly technological world and how best they could benefit from it.
The books I’ve chosen thus far for the SubCulture book club all represent modern iterations of Science Fiction/Science Fantasy that have each been heavily awarded for their aesthetic and intellectual content. Over the next 6 months we’ll look at new worlds, future Earths that’ve taken on an entirely new form due to technological changes, as well as a historical attempt to apply Science to all aspects of human relations. We’ll discuss what it means to the characters involved and what it means to us now in an age where each of is, to an extent, a cyborg.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
The Windup Girl by Pablo Bacigalupi
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
Red Plenty By Francis Spufford
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson