Philosophical Sci-Fi

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” – Roy Batty, Blade Runner

Is it better to burn twice as bright but only live half as long? This was one of the enduring philosophical questions explored by the cult classic Blade Runner. Blade Runner is an example of philosophical sci-fi, sci-phi, or “philoscifi” as I call it.

All good stories entertain, but they may soon be forgotten. Philoscifi stays with you because it often contains thought provoking ideas. Big ideas. For example, how does finding intelligent life change our place in the universe and our conception of God (Robert J. Sawyer’s Calculating God)? What would a society organized on the basis of genetics be like (Brave New World, Gattaca)? Philoscifi is not the only type of literature that can do this, but it is extremely well suited for the job.

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