History Lab: Fiction and the Future
When reading the news, we sometimes come across tales of new inventions that look suspiciously like technology from classic science fiction. Headlines might announce real-world versions of robots, tricorders, flying cars, or invisibility cloaks. Scientists readily credit the fiction that inspired them or use metaphors from well-known stories to explain their work.
How does fiction influence science, and how does science influence fiction? Can the stories we tell about the future actually shape what is to come? And how might the process of scientific discovery change if different types of people, places, and experiences were more widely represented in our science fiction?
This workshop explores intersections between fiction, science, and the future. We’ll dig into some examples of literary tropes that have influenced scientists, reflect on our favorite works of sci-fi, and experiment with creative-writing techniques. Bring your curiosity, a penchant for storytelling, and an enthusiasm for science fiction!
This event is free, but registration is required.
Recommended Reading and Listening
- “The Interplay of Science and Science Fiction,” NPR, June 18, 2004.
- Sunny Moraine, “Imagine and Survive: Resistance through Speculative Fiction.” Tor, March 27, 2017.
- PJ Patella-Rey, “Technological Solutionism, Existential Entitlement, and Insights from Star Trek DS9,” Cyborgology, January 18, 2017.
- Alison Pezanoski-Browne, “Interview with Ytasha Womack on Afrofuturism and the World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy,” Bitch Media, 2013.
- Eduardo Porter, “To Curb Global Warming, Science Fiction May Become Fact,” New York Times, April 4, 2017.
- Michelle Nijhuis, “Stories Are Waves,” Aeon, July 18, 2014.
About History Lab: Imagining Our Scientific Futures
Join The Institute’s Center for Applied History this summer for History Lab, a series of free monthly seminars taking place from June through August, to explore topics ranging from science fiction to medical self-tracking.
For more information, please contact program associate Rebecca Ortenberg at 215.873.8247 or firstname.lastname@example.org.