From the Editor

SFRA Review, vol. 53, no. 4

From the SFRA Review

Winter 2023

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review

I was going to use ChatGPT to write this letter and see whether anyone could tell, but it seemed unethical, and at any rate the site is down. But we should all be very, very worried about the advent of nearly-human-quality AI, whether it be in visual art or text. I have many friends who are professional illustrators: all of them are very worried about how AI is essentially going to price them out of their careers, at least once it manages to get human hands right.

The nature of higher education is going to change profoundly over the next few years: ChatGPT writes plausible-sounding garbage, but so do most students, even many who are actually trying. More elite institutions will find ways to ensure that students’ writing is their own, while cash-strapped state institutions and the small colleges soon to be entirely wiped out by the demographic crash that is the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis will bow to the perceived inevitable and continue to credential students for fear of losing still more funding.

SF gives us plenty of examples with which to frame these developments: if you’re reading this journal, you’ve no doubt already thought of several examples. AI in SF is often transcendent, often malevolent, sometimes benevolent as in the Culture novels. Yet I cannot think of a widely-known example where AI is quite so banal as in our world today. Our AI is neither transcendent nor benevolent it’s something like a wage slave like nearly all of us, played off against human workers for an ever-shrinking slice of pie while the rest is fed to Wall Street. You may expect all those outsourced customer-service jobs to be done by AI any moment now. We can all hope that AI will acquire sentience, if only in that it might go on strike.

This issue of the SFRA Review contains a number of papers from the London SF Research Conference, plus a paper relating to our symposium on masculinity, in addition to our usual palette of reviews of non-fiction, fiction and media. We also have two calls for papers: one for a symposium here on adaptations of SF, and another that is my personal CFP for an edited volume. If you are working on an edited volume about SF and you want to publish it here, we will be happy to do so: please just contact us.

Published by


SFRA Review is the flagship publication of the Science Fiction Research Association since 1971.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s