The Blue Pill Dilemma: Is Knowledge a Blessing or a Curse?Vol 3 (2020)
The question about choosing between harsh truths or willful ignorance is as old as Plato’s Cave; older perhaps, down to the Tree of Good and Evil. Science Fiction writers can be as illuminating as they can be ambiguous. In the original Matrix Neo took the Red Pill, choosing Truth – and got himself into a world of trouble. Wouldn’t the Blue Pill (of “Ignorance is Bliss”) have served him better? This volume examines the double-edged quality of knowledge, as explored in a variety of SF scenarios. Can a truth cause more harm than a lie? Can we live in self-deception? Is there a danger of knowing too much? Is knowledge something inherently good, worth seeking for its own sake, is it just a neutral tool, or is it, perhaps, something better left alone?
Dystopian Caves and Galactic Empires: Social and Political Philosophy in SF StoriesVol 2 (2019)
One of the main roles of science fiction has been to warn us (sometimes humorously, sometimes through grim pessimism) of looming social dangers, the product of particular ideas, technologies or social trends. Just how powerful these warnings can be in the public’s imagination may be gauged by the ubiquity of the expression “Big Brother” in political reflection. Occasionally, too, SF has been used to propose somewhat utopian forms of organization. The goal of our 2019 Yearly Theme is to promote a critical discussion of these themes.