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Does science fiction give us an unrealistic expectation that we can effectively inhabit Mars? Questions on discovery, imagination and progress


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How did we get here? Science fiction did some of the work (well done 1984 and Brave New World; better luck next time, RoboCop) … but the forces that shape the direction of our collective future involve factors like science, economics, social values, environments and politics, too.

Nobody would deny that it’s hard to look forward with clear, prescient eyes, but that’s never stopped us from trying, and the steady arrival of exciting discoveries and advances makes imagination impossible to stifle. Yet we need only look to the discovery of water on Mars to see the complications at play: any attempt to conclusively verify the discovery may contaminate the results.

Are our expectations and impressions of science aligned with the possible, pragmatic truth? And if not, who can change that? Cory Doctorow, Maggie Ryan Sandford, Sammy J and Upulie Divisekera discuss the stories we tell about technology and humanity, and explore the real obstacles that stand between scientific potential and vision made real.

Tickets to this event are available at the door. Arrive at least twenty minutes prior to the event to purchase.

Note to early bookers: if you booked tickets to this event prior to Thursday 19 November, some details may have changed. Please check for details.




Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger – the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of Walkaway, a novel for adults, a YA graphic novel called In Real Life, the nonfiction business book Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, and young adult novels like Ho... Read more

Maggie Ryan Sandford

Maggie Ryan Sandford is a science journalist, fiction and comedy writer, and human behavior researcher at the Science Museum of Minnesota, whose work focuses on equity in science education, the relationship between science and art, and cetaceans. With a background in broadcast radio and TV productio... Read more

Sammy J

Sammy J is an award-winning comedian, writer and musician. A proud nerd, he abandoned his law degree to travel the world and sing funny songs for a living. You may have seen him on TV, at a festival, or as one half of the man/puppet duo Sammy J & Randy. He is the host of ABC Radio Melbourne Brea... Read more

Upulie Divisekera

Upulie Divisekera is a molecular biologist, science communicator and writer based in Melbourne. Over her research career, Upulie has worked in cancer research, developmental biology and is currently involved with nanotechnology research. She co-founded the highly successful science outreach program,... Read more


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