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Sci-fi’s Impact On Fact: Blurring The Line Of Fantasy And Reality


Photo: Bill Lile / Flickr

Sci-fi and space exploration have permeated human media since it first seemed feasible. But how far apart is fact and fiction?

Following the recent discovery of seven Earth-like planets 40 light years from here, space is once again in the public consciousness.

But humans have been intrigued by space since before we were physically exploring it. Novelists and film makers have used space in sci-fi literature and film for the last century, instilling multiple generations with a curiosity of the cosmos.

On this week’s Noon Edition, we discussed how sci-fi literature and film helps shape factual science, how the two worlds have grown together through the years, and why both are so important to the future of the human race.

Joey Eschrich, Editor and Program Manager for the Center of Science and the Imagination, touched on the ability of sci-fi to comment on current issues.

“It’s interesting and helpful to look at science fiction as a futurism but it’s also interesting to look at it as political critique. And that goes all the way back to Frankenstein,” he said.

Indiana University Associate English Professor, De Witt Kilgore, noted sci-fi’s ability to act as a playground for imagined societal change.   

“When you put that [social relations] in a science fictional context, it’s fair game to wonder how social and political change will be affected by the things that we discover, the places we will go to,” he said.


De Witt Kilgore: Associate Professor, Department of English Indiana University

Richard Durisen: Professor Emeritus, Indiana University Astronomy

Greg McCauley: Executive Director / CEO, Link Observatory

Joey EschrichEditor and Program Manager, Center for Science and the Imagination

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