How Science Fiction Shapes Our Reality

In July, I attended San Diego Comic-Con for the first time, because I was part of a panel sponsored by American Mensa entitled “How Science Fiction Shapes Our Reality.” Most of the panel was recorded (up to the point when we started taking questions from the audience), and is now available for your viewing pleasure at this link.

For those who are interested, I mentioned the following publications and authors:

Nature Magazine
Fantastic Books
Release the Virgins edited by Michael A. Ventrella
Jar Jar Binks Must Die by Daniel M. Kimmel
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Yevgeny Zamyatin
Gregory Benford
Geoffrey A. Landis
Catherine Asaro
“Deadline” by Cleve Cartmill (March 1944 issue of Astounding Science Fiction)
John W. Campbell, Jr.
“Beggars in Spain” by Nancy Kress (April 1991 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, later expanded into a novel)
Robert Heinlein

One thought on “How Science Fiction Shapes Our Reality

  1. Continuing this discussion, Allen Steele’s guest editorial in the September/October 2019 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, entitled “More than One Way to Skin a Starship,” begins with these two paragraphs:

    “There’s a theory, which I happen to share, that science and SF comprise a never-ending feedback loop, one that’s been going on ever since Jules Verne decided to pick up a pen and write his first novel, Paris in the Twentieth Century (which he wrote before 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but which wasn’t published until 1996). According to this theory, just as SF writers peer over the shoulders of scientists and technologists to gain inspiration, so scientists and technologists are often inspired by SF to explore new ideas or develop new inventions.

    “It works this way: if a SF writer notices that a scientist has discovered a new means of luring a mouse into a trap and uses that knowledge to write a story about a better mousetrap, another scientist may read that story, decide that the idea is feasible ,and use it to theorize a better way of killing mice. The technologist takes that information and uses it to invent a better mousetrap. Whereupon a different SF writer notices the existence of Mousetrap 2.0 and concocts a story about one that’s even better, Mousetrap 3.0, which is noticed by yet another scientist, and so forth.”

    I’d suggest you seek out the full editorial (and the full magazine, too).


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