Lisa Halliday’s “Asymmetry”: A Misreading

Anna Fenton-Hathaway Despite its title, Asymmetry comprises two seemingly unrelated sections of equal length, appended by a slim and quietly shocking coda. – Alice Gregory, New York Times review (2018) Gregory’s phrase “shocking coda”—and her “seemingly,” I suppose—has ruined me for this book. I am reading like a doctor.

Love in the Time of Science Fiction

Anna Fenton-Hathaway   “I think we’re gonna be surprised by how deeply emotional we’ll [be] . . . with the things that we’re gonna invent, coming soon, the robots and things like that, because we’re gonna program emotion into them. . . . [W]e’re not really ready for how much love we might have for…

Bad Readers or Bad Sci-Fi?

Anna Fenton-Hathaway 1. A recent lunch conversation skittered around awhile before landing, not atypically these days, on how we should all be preparing for the AI apocalypse.

“Those Are the Terms”

Anna Fenton-Hathaway When Ursula Le Guin’s 1973 “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” appears on a Science Fiction and Bioethics syllabus, what should medical students think? First, they might reasonably ask, is this even science fiction? bioethics?

What Does Defamiliarization Make Happen?

Anna Fenton-Hathaway I learned the literary term “defamiliarization” years after it had upended a tiny part of my worldview. Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (1877), narrated by the horse of the title, was the vehicle for that early upending. One particularly heart-rending chapter meant that for years I could not look at a horse without being…