Popular Medical Humanities Books
Science fiction and the medical humanities.
Founded in , Literature and Medicine is a peer-reviewed journal publishing scholarship that explores representational and cultural practices concerning health care and the body. Areas of interest include disease, illness, health, and disability; violence, trauma, and power relations; and the cultures of biomedical science and technology and of the clinic, as these are represented and interpreted in verbal, visual, and material texts. Literature and Medicine features one thematic and one general issue each year. Past theme issues have explored identity and difference; contagion and infection; cancer pathography; the representations of genomics; and the narration of pain. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
Research on science fiction within the medical humanities should articulate interpretative frameworks that do justice to medical themes within the genre. This means challenging modes of reading that encourage unduly narrow accounts of science fiction. Admittedly, science studies has moved away from reading science fiction as a variety of scientific popularisation and instead understands science fiction as an intervention in the technoscientific imaginary that calls for investment in particular scientific enterprises, including various biomedical technologies. However, this mode of reading neglects science fiction's critical relationship to the construction of 'the future' in the present: the ways in which science fiction proposes concrete alternatives to hegemonic narratives of medical progress and fosters critical self-awareness of the contingent activity which gives 'the future' substance in the here-and-now. Moreover, the future orientation of science fiction should not distract from the function of medical science fiction as 'cognitive estrangement': the technological innovations that dominate science-fiction narratives are less concrete predictions and more generic devices that explain in historical time the origins of a marvellous world bearing provocative correspondences to our own, everyday reality. The editorial concludes with a series of introductions to the articles comprising the special issue, covering the print edition and a special online-only section.
A recent lunch conversation skittered around awhile before landing, not atypically these days, on how we should all be preparing for the AI apocalypse. But the forms AI might take, and how those different forms might affect how people really live, still seems worthwhile to ponder. If AI is to thrive, and if we are to thrive alongside it, what will that relationship look like? Well then. Still, news that science fiction decreases mental effort and understanding, even if it does not go quite so far as to induce stupidity, is dismaying to those of us who find it a useful tool to think with all the more so if we teach it to medical students. That news also runs counter to recent arguments made by Tod Chambers and Phillip Barrish, respectively, that speculative fiction helps medical humanities scholars expand and enrich their work.