Using science fiction to explore real world issues
A monthly short story discussion group
“Ethics and law, while deeply fascinating to some, come off as dry and boring to many of my peers. Like a child’s tasty smoothie covertly enriched with nutritious vegetables, science fiction stories in the NGTC science fiction short story club, I believe, have served as an incredibly engaging medium enabling the exploration of situations that have prompted some fascinating ethical and legal discussions. The different disciplinary perspectives of the attendees so far (i.e., business, law, ethics, & computer science), and the different levels of expertise (undergraduate & graduate students, as well as, legal and ethics experts) have been a unique asset allowing a level of comfortability in asking questions, while still getting exposed to a quality level of informed, insightful, and relevant information. The NGTC science fiction and ethics book club, lacks the feel of a rigorous class, yet each month this book club leaves me with an abundance of food for thought in line with concerns at the intersection of society and emerging technologies.” - Colton Harper, President of Broader Considerations of Technology and computer science PhD student
The club is open to all University of Nebraska students, faculty, and staff. Meetings held in the "B1G Ten Room" in the City Campus Union at 7:00 PM.
Drop-in attendance is always welcome, but signing up is encouraged for reminders and weather cancellation information. Sign up here.
Tuesday, Sept 7th - “The Machine Stops” Full Text Link; Alternate Full Text Link - E.M. Forster - written in 1909 it describes a world where the human population has lost the ability to live on the surface of the earth and each person has all their bodily and spiritual needs met by an omnipotent global machine. Optional "Further Reading" for this story.
Tuesday, October 5 - “The Dead Past” Full Text Link - Isaac Asimov - This story questions of the ethics of government direction and oversight of the parameters of scientific endeavor.
Tuesday, November 2nd - “Rustys” Full Text Link - Nnedi Okorafor - in a future Kinhasa, we see a dystopian post-colonial tech future filled with urban decay; a portrait not unsimilar to the present central african megacity, with themes of intercultural mob violence and the parameters of “artificial” intelligence.
Tuesday, December 7th - “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience” Full Text Link - Rebecca Roanhorse - When a Native American man finds work selling "Tourists" an "authentic Indian experience" in this Hugo and Nebula award wining story, the lines of the man and the product begin to blur - with an interesting twist.
February (Date TBD): “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” Full Text Link - Harlan Ellison - The story is a satirical look at a dystopian future in which time is strictly regulated and everyone must do everything according to an extremely precise time schedule.