SIFK 2019-21 Postdoctoral Researcher Anastasia Klimchynskaya is currently working on a book project titled “‘The Laboratory of the Mind’s Eye’: Nineteenth-Century Science and the Emergence of Science Fiction.” This project explores why science fiction arose in the nineteenth century as a coherent form, distinct from its literary predecessors. It brings together two national literary traditions, draws on the history of science, and considers literary, visual, and media texts to elucidate how technoscientific fictions leap off the page to form the next iteration of innovations and how narratives around techno-science shape human life. Klimchynskaya anchors a theoretical framework for science fiction in the scientific and technological history out of which it arose: examining the works of Jules Verne, Albert Robida, and H.G. Wells and popular science texts, she demonstrates that science fiction transformed previous literary forms and adapted earlier cognitive frameworks to engage in the meaning-making necessitated by technological modernity.

This book will apply Klimchynskaya’s theoretical framework to the present day, mapping how contemporary science fiction engages in meaning-making that resembles and differs from that which was necessitated by industrialization in the nineteenth century. It will also begin to trace how the machine rose to prominence in the nineteenth century as a different kind of “other” that humanity could define itself in relation to, eventually transforming into the AI of popular culture.

Related SIFK Courses

KNOW 40208: Man and/as Machine (Winter 2020)

Learn more about Anastasia Klimchynskaya.