Science fiction and the medical humanities


  • Dr Gavin Miller

    University of Glasgow

Project summary

This project asks why science fiction matters to the medical humanities. ‘Science fiction’ is taken to include the familiar genre elements of narrative fiction, cinema and TV, but also extends to the technoscientific imaginary, and its imagining of future possibilities enabled by biomedical technological progress. To avoid merely cataloguing innovations within science fiction, the project explores three methodological approaches: science fiction as public engagement, utopian extrapolation and socio-political critique.

The goal is to do the groundwork for future, collaborative, large-scale research projects informed by questions developed within this project’s portfolio of exploratory activities and outputs. A series of themed workshops and a concluding conference will consolidate a network of interested researchers, clinicians, and writers. An online bibliography of primary and secondary sources will aid future research. Significant research questions are defined by one or more pathfinding peer-reviewed articles, accompanied by a themed issue of BMJ Medical Humanities. Public engagement, and creative stimulus to the field, are provided by a creative-writing competition on the theme, ‘Science Fiction, Medicine, and Disease’, with shortlisted entries published in a paperback volume.