Science fiction explores the wonderful, baffling and wildly entertaining aspects of a universe unimaginably old and vast, and with a future even more immense. It reaches into that endless cosmos with the tools of rational investigation and storytelling. At the core of both science and science fiction is the engaged human mind--a consciousness that sees and feels and thinks and loves. But what is this mind, this aware and self-aware consciousness that seems unlike anything else we experience? What makes consciousness the Hard Problem of philosophy, still unsolved after millennia of probing? This book looks into the heart of this mystery - at the science and philosophy of consciousness and at many inspiring fictional examples - and finds strange, challenging answers.The book's content and entertaining style will appeal equally to science fiction enthusiasts and scholars, including cognitive and neuroscientists, as well as philosophers of mind. It is a refreshing romp through the science and science fiction of consciousness.
Every age has characteristic inventions that change the world. In the 19th century it was the steam engine and the train. For the 20th, electric and gasoline power, aircraft, nuclear weapons, even ventures into space. Today, the planet is awash with electronic business, chatter and virtual-reality entertainment so brilliant that the division between real and simulated is hard to discern. But one new idea from the 19th century has failed, so far, to enter reality-time travel, using machines to turn the time dimension into a two-way highway. Will it come true, as foreseen in science fiction? Might we expect visits to and from the future, sooner than from space? That is the Time Machine Hypothesis, examined here by futurist Damien Broderick, an award-winning writer and theorist of the genre of the future. Broderick homes in on the topic through the lens of science as well as fiction, exploring some fifty different time-travel scenarios and conundrums found in the science fiction literature and film.