If you haven’t voted yet, help us choose the Journal’s 2020 theme!
What will our next Yearly Theme be?
- “Surveillance Capitalism” and the New Panopticon. This is a growing concern (and if you haven’t heard the expression, you probably will, soon). I don’t want to define it too narrowly, but it has to do with the online giants wanting to know everything we do—for profit—and us volunteering that information—for convenience. It has been recently explored in Black Mirror, and the oddly ambiguous The Circle, but it was advanced already in the memorable chase scene in Fahrenheit 451.
- Bioethics in Science Fiction: Addressing genetic technologies, “bio-enhancements,” “moral” enhancements, life-extending technologies, to name a few issues.
- Technology: Savior or Destroyer? Addressing one of the favorite topics of SF authors since at least Frankenstein. (Of course, this theme is already present in most of the other proposals.)
- Should We Fear Artificial Intelligence? For this theme we would introduce a constraint: articles should focus only on instances of AI “done right” (or mostly right) in SF. (Most of AI in science fiction is done very “loosey gosey”, as a plot device and to introduce interesting questions about personhood and the value of humanness. But occasionally authors pay closer attention to how computers actually work; my examples would be Clarke’s 2001—the novel—and the recent videogame The Turing Test.)
- Is Knowledge a Blessing or a Curse? This question may sound strange for philosophers, but some SF stories develop interesting ambiguities in this matter—think of the cycles of self-destruction in A Canticle for Leibowitz, or some questions posed by Star Trek’s “The Cage” and “The Apple.”
These topics incorporate some themes suggested by our contributors (e.g. an issue dedicated to the Canticle for Leibowitz or to the ongoing Westworld series), which are probably too specific at this stage. In the future we would also like to dedicate some issues to particularly important SF authors, but again, this shall wait until we have developed the necessary critical mass.
I look forward to your responses! Just send us an email with your input, (editor.jsfphil atgmail.com) and any additional comments.
Voting will be open until midnight, July 19th.
— The Editor