Tag Archives: Vaccines

Science Fiction Today – Immunization

IVaccines and immunizations are a huge topic in today’s world and extremely controversial, which is part of the reason that looking at where science fiction goes with immunizations is so much more interesting. There are so many facets with where immunizations go in science fiction stories. For some stories it is not brought up at all because the hows of a healthy society just do not come up. In some stories we end up with miracle technology that somehow solves all illnesses. People end up scanning themselves every once in a while and the technology has a way to just remove the disease or get rid of the problem.

The other part that often comes up is forced or coercive immunization. Where the government or some entity in power decides that immunization is the best option for society, but feeling that the only way to guarantee that it happens is to either force the issue or do it in a way that people do not know about it.

Technological Miracle

In many science fiction stories their seems to be a miracle technology that solves all or at least most problems. If you look at Star Trek there are so many common diseases that just do not seem to be around anymore because they seem to be able to solve most known diseases pretty quickly. Then you have Elysium where the rich people have access to a body scanning machine that finds what ails you and solves the problem.

Now these two stories show the two different uses for this sort of technology. One is that it is available to all and society can live longer because of these advancement. The other option is that the technology is only available to those who can afford it, furthering the divide because suddenly the rich can stay healthy and the poor fight for the scraps.

Forced Immunization

The other option is that we force immunizations onto people because it is believed that it is for the betterment of society. The situation that really comes to mind is Serenity, where it was not about disease, but actually for how society behaves.

At the same time it shows an example of how forced immunization could function. If it was something that could be pumped into the air or put into the water supply would a government or agency go that far? In Serenity it obviously goes very wrong and forcing it on everyone does not work because for some people it would cause complications.

Immunizations are such a complicated topic because of the perceived risks and benefits to not just individuals, but to society as a whole.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Editorial – We Desperately Need Comics

A while back I wrote an article discussing the opinions of critics of comics, superhero stories, and the like. This was prompted in particular by comments from the director of Birdman, Alejandro Inarritu, a director who has now won best director for a film which has now won best picture at the Oscars. So he’s earned some level of us paying attention to him.

So when my original source, We Minored in Film, wrote another piece regarding film industry comments against comic book and superhero films, it got me thinking again. Well, combined with other things I have been thinking about. Other things happening in the world.

In short, my question is, what should we be turning our attention to instead, if not the superhero movies, if not to comics and, because there are more critics out there, how about all of speculative fiction? We need to be paying attention to and worrying about the real world, right? Alright. Let’s do that.

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When Does the End Justify the Means?

We often sit in awe of the miracles of modern medicine. We have managed over the last few centuries to dramatically decrease the mortality rate and increase peoples’ lifespans. The question we often don’t ask is what did it take to get to this point? When do the ends (medicinal cures or vaccines) justify the means?

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I recently started thinking about these questions while reading the series Maze Runner (SPOILER ALERT). I also watch a show called Dark Matters on the Science Channel that often highlights the tension between morality and scientific discovery. Instead of simply talking about the ethics of scientific discovery, I will use two stories, one fiction (Maze Runner) and one non-fiction (Dark Matters), to explore the boundaries between ethics and advancements in science. Continue reading