Science Fiction as the Conscience of Science

My review of Ridley Scott’s Prophets of Science Fiction ran on Slate’s Future Tense channel today! Here’s a teaser:

Science fiction’s reputation for appealing to the nerdy and anti-social has long suggested that it has more to do with escapism than the real world.

Yet as Ridley Scott’s new Discovery Science show, Prophets of Science Fiction, chronicles, the genre deserves to be taken seriously for its ability to tease out the ethical and moral issues that accompany technological progress. Upon first hearing about Prophets, I expected the director of Alien and Blade Runner to get completely lost in space while discussing Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, and Philip K. Dick and how their work “foreshadowed” current technologies. Despite the name (we’ll get to that later), I am happy to report that Scott delivered this concept just as efficiently as he delivered that alien baby to the screen: The show successfully brings science fiction and fact into conversation with one another. 

One thought on “Science Fiction as the Conscience of Science”

  1. Found you through Porter Anderson on Twitter. Great article on Slate. I studied with a well-known Mary Shelley scholar at UCLA in the '90s and what you say is true…Frankenstein is a product of Shellye's own interesting times, her far-out friends and family, her mother's death, and her ambivalence toward childbirth. But she spun it into a helluva great story, one that's still relevant. Prophetic by accident, perhaps, but still a great achievement for a teenager of her (or anyone's) times.

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