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In this illustrated talk, Eric Link, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, introduces audiences to the field of science fiction film and literature. He answers the question what is science fiction? and discusses the language of science fiction, including such concepts as alloplastic and autoplastic societies, alterity, the novum, distance markers, and cybernetics. He discusses the impact of contemporary techno-philosophical ideas such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the technological singularity hypothesis on modern science fiction, and gives a tour through many of the most common science fiction plot structures, from the alien contact story to the alternative history to the dying-earth scenario.

This lecture requires no specialized knowledge of literary theory: it is intended for broad academic audiences. (133 kB)
Closed Captions for Understanding Science Fiction