Kendal, Z; Kendal, Z; Smith, A; Champion, G; Milner, A
(Springer International Publishing, 2020)
This chapter asks whether science fiction (SF) has a predisposition to a particular ethical orientation. Rather than seek a single answer to this question of SF’s ethics, Kendal examines two classic SF texts and the traditions they represent: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy (1951–1953), one of the most iconic series of SF’s American “golden age,” and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s Мы (We) (1921), a highly influential dystopian novel from an Eastern European SF tradition. Drawing on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, Kendal argues that the genre SF that developed in the American pulp magazines was dominated by themes and modes of literary representation best described as totalising, while SF not governed by these generic expectations has often engaged effectively in a more ethical representation of the other.