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Past Events

Douglas Adams Memorial Debate
From Star Wars to the Battle of Ideas
Is science fiction good for public debate?
Venue: Apollo Cinema, West End, 19 Regent Street, London SW1Y 4LR
Date: May 3, 2007
Time: 7.00pm
Tickets: £7
Booking: http://www.sci-fi-london.com/2007web/tickets.htm or 020 7451 9944

Science fiction often tells us more about social attitudes and anxieties than science itself, and can be a spur for debate about everything from genetics to consciousness, from war to climate change. Sci fi can move people to engage in science, inspiring young people to become scientists, and encouraging the general public to debate the consequences of science for society. It can also frighten us, making us wary of new technology and its unintended consequences. Is this all to the good, or does sci fi skew our understanding of science?

Writers and filmmakers often take their inspiration from science and ask ‘what if…?’, but when it comes down to it, they have few qualms about ditching scientific accuracy in favour of gripping narrative. Does it matter how much actual science gets into sci fi, as long as it gets people talking? Do writers and directors have a responsibility to make their science accurate, or even educational?

Should ‘proper’ sci fi deal with hard science rather than ‘issues’? Or should we stop worrying and just enjoy it?

Science comedy warm-up: Mark Stevenson