Human culture and science fiction: a review of the literature, 1980-2016

Menadue, Christopher Benjamin, and Cheer, Karen Diane (2017) Human culture and science fiction: a review of the literature, 1980-2016. SAGE Open, 7 (3). pp. 1-15.

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This article aimed to uncover the foci, themes, and findings of research literature that utilized science fiction content or concepts to describe and illustrate human culture. To capture a representative range of research, the PRISMA process was applied to database searches across a range of disciplines, not restricted to science fiction journals. Findings revealed that science fiction literature has been used in research across disciplines including theology, semantics, natural sciences, and education. Two characteristics of the use of science fiction in research became evident in the review: its role as a tool for advocacy and cultural insight and its effectiveness as an aid to learning and teaching. An unclear boundary between real science and science in the public imagination is problematic for research success, but the purposeful integration of fictional representations of science (both natural and social) into the research story has demonstrable benefits. To address the limited application of objective methodologies, adoption of increasingly robust quantitative analysis into research in the fields of literature and culture is recommended. This would assist in bridging the two cultures divide between the humanities and natural sciences.

Item ID: 49764
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2158-2440
Keywords: convergence, fiction, methodology, multidisciplinary, science communication, two cultures
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Copyright Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
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A version of this publication was included in the following PhD thesis: Menadue, Christopher Benjamin James (2019) Science fictions, cultural facts: a digital humanities approach to a popular literature. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian Post Graduate Award
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2017 05:20
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4799 Other language, communication and culture > 479999 Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified @ 70%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470523 North American literature @ 20%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470504 British and Irish literature @ 10%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 60%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 20%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture @ 20%
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