[SIGCIS-Members] Literature on the place of science fiction (and its fandom) in the history of technology

Ian S. King isking at uw.edu
Sat Aug 18 11:45:37 PDT 2018


I'm glad you mentioned Asimov, because it jogged my memory: Asimov, I.,
Warrick, P. S., & Greenberg, M. H. (1984). *Machines that Think: the best
science fiction stories about robots and computers*. Henry Holt & Co.

It has some very good stories, including one of my personal favorites: A
Logic Named Joe, which effectively describes modern client/server computing
as a universal information resource.  Asimov leaves tying together the
stories to the theme as an 'exercise for the student'.  -- Ian

On Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 3:21 PM, Janet Abbate <abbate at fastmail.com> wrote:

> David Ferro and Eric Swedin edited a volume called "Science Fiction and
> Computing: Essays on Interlinked Domains” (McFarland & Company, 2011).  I
> have an essay in there on Vernor Vinge and the Internet.
>
> I used to assign SF in an undergrad history of technology course as a way
> for students to grasp both cultural meanings of technology and the fact
> that assumptions about how technology will evolve are often wrong. For
> example, Isaac Asimov’s 1956 story “The Last Question” (which students
> love) assumes that as computers get more powerful they must become
> physically larger, culminating with planet-sized supercomputers.
> Miniaturization was not a self-evident trend. Then I ask students what
> current conventional wisdom about computers might be wrong.
>
> Janet
>
> > On Aug 17, 2018, at 11:48 AM, David C. Brock <dcb at dcbrock.net> wrote:
> >
> > Dear All,
> >
> > I would be very grateful to learn of your favorite pieces that you’ve
> read on this topic: the place, role, and function of science fiction and
> science fiction fandom in the history of technology, and especially the
> history of computing. I’m wholly ignorant about it, bibliographically.
> >
> > Thanks as ever,
> >
> > David
> >
> > +++++++++++++++
> > David C. Brock
> > dcb at dcbrock.net
> > 40 Russell Street, Greenfield, MA 01301
> > Mobile: 413-522-3578
> > Skype: dcbrock
> > Twitter: @dcbrock
> >
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-- 
Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS, Ph.D. Candidate
The Information School <http://ischool.uw.edu>
Dissertation: "Why the Conversation Mattered: Constructing a Sociotechnical
Narrative Through a Design Lens

Principal Investigator, "Reflections on Early Computing and Social Change",
UW IRB #42619

Archivist, Voices From the Rwanda Tribunal <http://tribunalvoices.org>
Value Sensitive Design Research Lab <http://vsdesign.org>

University of Washington

There is an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China."
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