The role of the military's science fiction

A recent hot take suggested that the military's use of fiction ignores the genre's inherent warnings about technology. The opposite is true.

The role of the military's science fiction
Photo: U.S. Army / Andrew Liptak

Military history and science fiction are topics that are pretty near and dear to my heart — it's something that I've written about a bit over the years, and I was a bit aggravated at a post that cited a couple of my pieces from OneZero and The Verge about military fiction in The Conversation earlier this week: Militaries Plunder Science Fiction for Technology Ideas But Turn a Blind Eye to the Genre's Social Commentary by Will Slocombe. Just... ugh.

In recent years, there's been a bit of a trend within various militaries to begin using science fiction as a tool when it comes to imagining the future of the military. Most of this is released internally through small contests from various academic centers or posts, but there's also the occasional book, like August Cole and P.W. Singer's Ghost Fleet and Burn-In, or  Ret. Admiral James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman's 2034, in which those authors are looking at technology and geopolitical trends, and marrying them with a fictional narrative in order to bring some attention to the concerning futures that they coming toward us.  

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